Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Delay tactics keep monetary policy in agenda

Winston Peters. Photo / Joel Ford
Winston Peters. Photo / Joel Ford

Opposition parties used delaying tactics to ensure Winston Peters' Reserve Bank Amendment bill was not debated last night, allowing them to keep the issue of monetary policy firmly on the political agenda for another two weeks.

Mr Peters' bill would mean that rather than primarily focusing on controlling inflation, the Reserve Bank would have to consider other factors including the exchange rate when setting interest rates.

Earlier yesterday, Mr Peters questioned Prime Minister John Key on the Government's view of what it could to do influence the exchange rate and took advantage of seldom-used rules to have his MP Andrew Williams ask him a series of patsy questions about his bill.

Later, his bill was the fourth on the list of members bills to be debated last night.

The debate and vote on Labour MP David Clark's bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour was quickly completed.

So was the debate on Shane Jones' bill which would have allowed the office of the Ombudsman to recover the costs of investigations from the agencies being investigated. Both were voted down 61 to 59 with National, Act and United Future opposing them.

However, the pace slowed with Labour MP Darien Fenton's bill which would make ports and other businesses which are majority-owned by councils subject to the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.

Mr Peters and his MPs delayed the debate by seeking leave to table a series of documents listing organisations the bill would affect.

Despite Government MP's attempts to speed up the debate by speaking for only a fraction of their allotted time, the debate ground to a virtual standstill as it approached its end as Labour MPs joined in the delaying tactics with a long series of technical points of order.

The debate which was scheduled to take just over an hour was still not completed by the time the House rose at 10pm.

The vote on Ms Fenton's bill will be completed next members day before Mr Peters bill can be debated, giving the New Zealand First leader and other Opposition parties a further two weeks to use the bill as an excuse to question the Government's economic management.

- NZ Herald

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