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Keep limits on emergency legislation, New Zealand Law Society says

05 December 2016

The New Zealand Law Society says legislative changes in the wake of the recent 7.8 magnitude Kaikōura earthquake should be limited to what is strictly needed to aid recovery.

In an urgent submission on the Hurunui/Kaikōura Earthquakes Recovery Bill, the Law Society has told Parliament’s Local Government and Environment select committee it accepts that recovery from the recent earthquake requires emergency legislation and powers.

“But the impact on normal democratic, legal and administrative rights should be limited to what is absolutely required and only for so long as required,” Law Society representatives Austin Forbes QC and James Wilding told the committee.

The Law Society has recommended the committee consider adding a range of safeguards to the Bill. The Law Society says it is particularly important that those affected by Ministerial decisions and recommendations under the Bill are able to seek judicial review.

“The removal of judicial review and appeal rights can only be justified in exceptional circumstances. The Law Society agrees with a recent Parliamentary report that the right to seek judicial review of Orders in Council made under emergency legislation should be preserved,” they said.

The Law Society also submitted that any further Acts beyond those listed in the Bill which are to be made subject to the Act after it has been enacted should be required to be so by an enactment of Parliament and not just by an Order in Council.

The Hurunui/Kaikōura Earthquakes Recovery Bill is one of three Bills introduced to help with the earthquake recovery effort. It will allow the Governor-General, on ministerial advice, to make Orders in Council that change or override a range of existing Acts until 1 April 2018, to assist with the recovery.

The Bill was introduced on Thursday 1 December and passed on Thursday 8 December. The select committee reported on 8 December, recommending that it be passed..

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Last updated on the 9th December 2016