'Outrageous': 24h window on cyclone bill submissions criticised

Parliament and the Beehive.

A less than 24-hour time frame for public submissions on the second cyclone recovery bill is being criticised as a "farce of parliamentary process".

The Government and Administration Select Committee emailed at 9pm last night, calling for submissions by 5pm today.

A think-tank submitting on the bill called the process "an abhorrent approach" to law-making. The New Zealand Initiative's executive director, Oliver Hartwich, said the short time frame was "outrageous" and unusual even in times of urgency.

The legislation aims to support the rebuild and recovery after cyclones Hale and Gabrielle, but it also grants broad powers to the minister in charge.

"It is offensive to New Zealand's constitutional traditions unless one wishes to wind the clock back to the reign of King Henry VIII," the think-tank's submission said.

The devastating impact of Cyclone Gabrielle on Hawke's Bay last month as seen from the air.

But the chair of the select committee, National MP Ian McKelvie, stands by the expedited process.

He said there's precedent for bills of a similar nature to progress at a similar speed, citing the legislation after the earthquakes in Christchurch and Kaikōura.

McKelvie said that as long as the committee knew who wanted to submit by 5pm on Wednesday, then those submissions will be heard.


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