Rates Validation Bill Does Not Cover Illegal Acts

by Desk Editor on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 — 7:46 PM

The eventual passage of the Kaipara District Council (Validation of Rates and Other Matters) Bill will not mean anyone found to have acted illegally will not be prosecuted.

The local bill completed its second reading in Parliament with MPs saying they did not like passing such laws but it was the least bad option to validate the rates. A number of MPs said they felt they were left in a deplorable position.

National MP Mike Sabin said this would not mean that anyone found guilty of corruption or bribery would escape punishment with a number of investigations under way in to the way rates were set in Kaipara and the funding of a very expensive sewage scheme.

Sabin also said those who went on a rates strike in protest would have to pay the rates, but they will not have to pay the penalties.

NZ First Winston Peters said the situation was so bad his MPs would not back the bill; the costs of the scheme would be spread around the whole of Northland if it was turned into a unitary council. Peters said there were major questions about transactions around the scheme and why auditing did not pick up problems.

The bill completed its second reading by 112 to 8 with NZ First and Mana opposing, and the Business Committee has agreed when it is next debated the third reading will immediately follow the committee stage.

MPs then returned to the interrupted first reading debate on the Privacy (Giving Privacy Commissioner Necessary Tools) Amendment Bill.

This will be followed by the first reading debates (up to just over an hour long) of the:

Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill (No 2)

Employment Relations (Continuity of Labour) Amendment Bill

Education (Breakfast and Lunch Programmes in Schools) Amendment Bill

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