22 Jun 2010

Fast-track Rugby World Cup bill debated

10:29 pm on 22 June 2010

A bill that will pave the way for building, alcohol and other consents to be fast-tracked during the Rugby World Cup is being criticised as unnecessary and open to abuse.

The Rugby World Cup 2011 Empowering Bill was debated for the first time in Parliament on Tuesday.

The bill passed its first reading in the evening, supported by all parties except the Greens.

It aims to set up the speedy processing of special liquor licences or requests for permission to extend existing conditions such as hours of operation or the size of a bar.

The bill would create the Rugby World Cup Authority, a Government-appointed board, to deal with the applications.

The authority's powers would extend much further than alcohol, allowing it to grant consent for any activity that has a connection with the Rugby World Cup.

Green Party Auckland Issues spokesperson Dave Clendon says there's been a five-year lead-up to the event and questions why there's an expectation of so many emergencies that will need to be dealt with by special legislation.

Mr Clendon says people may delay their consents on purpose to take advantage of the fast-track consents.

If passed, the legislation will cover only the period leading up to and during the tournament.