17 Dec 2009

Clause favouring Opua boatyard wrong - Speaker

10:08 pm on 17 December 2009

Parliament's Speaker says any clauses that confer a private benefit should not be included in a Government bill.

A Parliamentary select committee recommended new clauses in the Government's Lands Disposal Bill, to help Bay of Islands businessman Doug Schmuck use a public reserve for his Opua boatyard.

Following the decision, the Green Party's Russel Norman wrote to the Speaker asking him to clarify the situation.

Dr Norman says the letter in reply makes it clear the select committee was wrong.

"I think its a small victory for democracy. We've made sure that you can't just slip a private clause that benefits one particular individual at the expense of the community into a bill at select committee."

Dr Norman says it's a good start, but he hopes the Government doesn't try to "fix" the situation by allowing anyone to apply to build on the reserve.