Bill will go through, says Brown

Friday June 17, 2016 Written by Published in Politics

Despite opposition’s disapproval of the Appropriation Bill 2016, Finance minister Mark Brown is adamant the bill will sail unscathed through parliament, which ends today.

 

The bill, which contains the 2016/17 budget, is before the supply committee and is attracting some healthy debate regarding appropriations for the upcoming financial year.

Brown hopes the debate will end today before the bill is sanctioned in the House. But opposition spokesperson James Beer says they will oppose the motion put by the minister “vigorously,” because they have not been given enough time to properly scrutinise the bill.

He said that under Standing Orders, MPs should be given a mandatory 10 days to debate the Appropriation Bill.

Brown, on the other hand, says government needs to wrap up the proceedings on the bill by today to allow enough time for some ministers to attend meetings overseas.

Emphasising the Demo-One Cook Islands coalition’s determination to oppose the second reading of the bill, Beer says it is impossible for MPs to digest documents which took six months to prepare in a few days.

He also claimed government ministers wanted to “shut the parliament” yesterday.

Brown said the content of government’s budget was “very good” and that the opposition has to look for other things to criticise them over.

“People are obviously quite happy with the content of the bill. There hasn’t been much discussion on the content during discussion of its principles and merits. Discussions have been more on process and procedures.

“I’m surprised by that, because the content of the bill is very good and the budget is actually very good for Rarotonga and the outer islands.

“It’s just very hard for the opposition to attack the actual content.

“Obviously they have to look at something to criticise the government about and the only other thing really remaining is the process.”

Minister Brown is travelling to New York to attend a United Nations meeting there while Health minister Nandi Glassie will be Tonga to attend a regional in health ministers forum next week.

Prime Minister Henry Puna also has some official meetings in the coming days

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