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Parliamentary Committee does most of its duty

  • September 30th, 2008

The Regulations Review Committee has reported on Michael Cullen’s shameful abuse of power when the Canadian pension fund was blocked from taking a 40% stake in Auckland International Airport.

Given where share prices are today, for a one week political hit that failed Cullen has deprived that company’s shareholders of perhaps $.5bn, or enough foreign exchange for NZ to pay half its Kyoto penalty, or most of the price of a dud railway.

The Committee upheld the complaint of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce and the NZ Business Roundtable, on grounds supported by the New Zealand Law Society’s Rule of Law Committee, and the committee’s adviser (and Law Commission member)  Prof John Burrows.

The Committee held that Cullen made an "unusual and unexpected" use of the regulation-making power in the Overseaas Investment Act.

They recommend that the government go to Parliament if they want to make up rules like that, and get a law to cover "strategically important infrastructure" if such a class means anything, and don’t do it again.

The recommendations are the only disappointment. This case cried out for use of their disallowance motion. 

Still, to achieve a report containing the strong and simple criticism it does is a credit to the Committee, including the Labour members on the committee. Dropping a disallowance motion was possibly  the price for unanimity in the report.

The members and staff of the committee deserve credit. They are:


 Committee staff

Claire MacMillan, Clerk of Committee

Tim Workman, Clerk-Assistant (legal services)

Dr Richard Worth (Chairperson)

Hon Mark Burton

Hon Marian Hobbs

Eric Roy

Dr Pita Sharples

Lesley Soper

Lindsay Tisch



  • pedro
  • October 2nd, 2008
  • 3:46 pm

That abuse of power is second nature to CULLEN .WASNT IT OWEN GLENN WHO SAID CULLEN WAS A BULLY!

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