Labour's bid to delay National's asset sales legislation has failed with the bill passing the committee stage yesterday and likely to receive its third and final reading when Parliament next sits on Tuesday.
Labour's State-Owned Enterprises spokesman, Clayton Cosgrove, vowed to fight the Mixed Ownership Model bill "tooth and nail" before the committee stage this week and his party previously demonstrated its mastery of delaying tactics when it held up the Act-sponsored voluntary student membership bill for most of last year.
But with National hopeful of passing the remaining stages of the mixed ownership model bill by the end of this week, Labour effectively only delayed it by a single day of Parliament's time.
That was in spite of the 300 or 400 amendments or supplementary order papers Labour put up to slow its progress.
Mr Cosgrove said the tactic failed because National MP Eric Roy, who chaired the committee stage, dismissed most of those amendments using "using some pretty loose rulings because he personally deemed them not to be serious".
"They were perfectly in order, they were perfectly proper. We appealed, we kicked up a fuss, we called the Speaker but he ruled them out."
National's partners, Act and United Future, support the legislation but its other partner, the Maori Party, opposes it and drew criticism this week for voting with the Government on procedural amendments.
However, it is expected to vote against the bill at the third reading.
Although the third reading is time-limited and the Opposition will not be able to delay the legislation further, Mr Clayton said Labour would continue to fight the plan to sell up to 49 per cent of Mighty River, Genesis and Meridian, and coal miner Solid Energy.
Every time the Government sold shares in the companies, a process expected to begin with Mighty River within a few months, "this will be a weeping sore".
"The public will be reminded of what John Key and his government have done, and when they get their first power bill with price rises, that will be care of John Key."By Adam Bennett Email Adam