National attacked for 'time-waster' Bills

National attacked for 'time-waster' Bills

Labour is criticising a National backbencher's Bill, saying that it's a waste of Parliament's time and holding back real proposed legislation.

Waimakariri MP Matt Doocey's Bill was pulled from the Member's Ballot and if passed, would allow companies to post their annual reports online rather than having to send hard copies to shareholders.

But Labour chief whip Chris Hipkins has accused the Government of filling the ballot with "time-waster Bills", thereby reducing any chance of Labour Bills to be pulled out.

He says while the proposed change is "perfectly valid", it didn't need its own Bill.

"These time-waster bills should be packaged into a Statute Amendment Bill and they will be likely passed quickly by Parliament. Then we could all get on with important matters."

Mr Doocey has defended his Bill, saying it was "good value" and would save costs for local business.

"I've got a company [in my electorate] that's got 35,000 shareholders and this will allow them to make savings they can put back into community funding - what a great outcome," he says.

"I'm told that Computershare estimate the companies they represent will save in excess of $300,000 on printing, postage, and man-hours thanks to this Bill by eliminating about 100 boxes of A4 copy paper worth of waste."

He said he didn't have control over when the Bill would be pulled out - numbers are drawn at random from a biscuit tin.

"A lot of that stuff is out of my control, but what's inside my control is I can put this Bill in the ballot, it's been selected and I'm pretty excited about it."

Mr Hipkins believes Labour has more important Bills which have been prevented from being drawn, including the Social Security (Apprenticeship Assistance for Youth) Amendment Bill or the Child Poverty Reduction and Eradication Bill.

"This shows the National backbench has no new ideas of its own and the MPs are just lackeys of Steven Joyce and the whips," Mr Hipkins says.

Members' Bills are introduced by MPs who aren't ministers - each member can only have one proposed Bill in their name at any one time.