Rugby World Cup 2011 (Empowering) Bill

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The Government’s facing criticism over special powers granted to Rugby World Cup Minister, Murray McCully.

The Rugby World Cup Empowering Bill, passed by Parliament last night, gives the minister the ability to make final decisions on urgent consent applications connected to the event.

Labour List MP Phil Twyford says that could be dangerous. He says Mr McCully is a meddler and and a manipulator who won’t respect the conventions of accountable government.

But National MP John Hayes says there are protections in place. He says Mr McCully can only take decisions on the most urgent applications following consultation with at least two other ministers. Mr Hayes also points out the power only applies between the first of July 2011 and the end of the tournament.

The Greens share the concern over the powers for the World Cup Minister, and the Maori Party has also voiced concerns about the Bill.

While it supports it, MP Rahui Katene is unhappy with special provisions allowing the granting of liquor licenses for the event. She’s worried there’s too much focus on alcohol for the event, something that could cause problems.