Debate on the Crown Minerals (Permitting and Crown Land) Bill was heated this evening as MPs worked through the bill’s committee stage.
Labour MP Moana Mackey said the Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridge’s last minute plans to bring in tougher penalties for those who protested near offshore oil rigs were an “utter dog’’.
Mackey said it was a sop to encourage more international exploration companies to come here as National had put all its eggs in one basket when it came to economic policy and had run out of ideas.
Attorney General Chris Finlayson said he was concerned at allegations that the changes were a breach of international law and then ripped into critics such as Geoffrey Palmer who he described as a “ranting Jehovah’’.
The plain meaning of the law was not about protest but about interference of operations on the high sea, he said.
The House rose just before 10pm debating part two of the bill. The Government did not make as much as progress as it would have hoped on the bill with Speaker David Carter granting an urgent debate on the GCSB issue.
Votes on the first part of the bill were completed by 61 to 59 with National, ACT and United Future in favour of Government amendments and voting down Opposition amendments.
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