17 October 2006

Validating legislation - Peter Dunne's reply

I'm grateful for Peter Dunne's reply, although it still avoids the issue about the apparent (in my view, dubious) urgency of the legislation:

-----Original Message----- Sent: Tuesday, 17 October 2006 1:07 pm To: Dean Knight Subject: Re: Validating legislation - urgency Dear Mr Knight

Thank you for your message. The Bill goes far beyond the issue of the last election. The Treasury has advised that on the basis of the Auditor-General's report all party spending since 1989 has probably been unlawful, which therefore leaves the Government's books for that period unlawful. This Bill is therefore necessary to resolve that. The Bill also defines what MPs can and cannot do up to the end of 2007, by which time new rules are required to be drawn up and put in place. Without this, and again on the basis of the Auditor-General's report, Parliament will not be able to operate effectively. We are already having perfectly legitimate accounts, which are nothing to do with election spending, refused for payment, for example. I made it clear last week that we would not support retrospective legislation if it was merely to get people off the hook for the 2004/05 and 2005/06 years, because I did not think that was proper. However, this legislation goes much further than that and is necessary to protect the overall integrity of the Government's accounts for the last 17 years, which in turn has some implications for our reputation as a country in the international financial marketplace. The Bill does not absolve parties of their responsibilities in the wake of the Auditor-General's report, nor should it. I have announced earlier today that our Caucus has agreed to repay the money in question, and we will honour that. However, the strong legal advice we and others have received is that repaying the amount in question does not make the expenditure lawful. It remains unlawful and the Government's accounts consequently unlawful, until the legal position is tidied up. That is standard practice, and Parliament passes similar legislation virtually every year to validate various expenditures caught this way, often to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Regards, Hon Peter Dunne MP for Ohariu Belmont / Leader of United Future Minister of Revenue / Associate Minister of Health United Future - Strong Families, Strong Country http://www.unitedfuture.org.nz

1 comment:

martin-paulo said...

"we would not support retrospective legislation if it was merely to get people off the hook... However, this legislation goes much further than that..."

WTF? Did he really mean to say this?

Course Outline

Lord Justice Lawton in Maxwell v Department of Trade and Industry [1974] 2 All ER 122 said:

"From time to time ... lawyers and judges have tried to define what constitutes fairness. Like defining an elephant, it is not easy to do, although fairness in practice has the elephantine quality of being easy to recognise. As a result of these efforts a word in common usage has acquired the trappings of legalism: 'acting fairly' has become 'acting in accordance with the rules of natural justice', and on occasion has been dressed up with Latin tags. This phrase in my opinion serves no useful purpose and in recent years it has encouraged lawyers to try to put those who hold inquiries into legal straitjackets.... For the purposes of my judgment I intend to ask myself this simple question: did the [decision-maker] act fairly towards the plaintiff?"

This course examines the elephantine concept of fairness in the law, along with other contemporary legal issues.

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