16 Jan 2012

Number of bills sitting on Parliament's books criticised

4:54 am on 16 January 2012

The Law Commission says while the Government is urging all its departments to cut operating costs, Parliament has 65 bills sitting on its books.

President Sir Grant Hammond says that when Parliament rose in October 2005 there were 26 bills on the order paper, in 2008 there were 58 and last year, 65.

He says that represents work that's been completed by the various ministries and agencies that's been introduced to Parliament, but it hasn't been dealt with.

Sir Grant says it's a fair amount of undisposed of business.

Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee calls Sir Grant's comments an injudicious outburst which does not help the situation.

He says there are only about 13.5 hours a week to consider legislation which needs proper scrutiny.

Mr Brownlee says a change to standing orders has allowed more time to move a number of bills through the House more quickly.

He says many of the people complaining about the number of bills on the order paper are the same to complain when urgency is used to get legislation passed.