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Govt to consider expert panel to improve regulation

Thursday 5th June 2008

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Commerce Minister Lianne Dalziel says she will recommend the Government consider a Select Committee recommendation to establish a high-level expert taskforce to investigate ways of improving the process for making and reviewing regulation.

The Commerce Select Committee has recommended against passing ACT leader Rodney Hide's Regulatory Responsibility Bill, saying the committee supported the need to improve regulatory review and decision-making but felt more work is needed before any legislation could be considered.

"I think that the Commerce Select Committee's struggle with the Regulatory Responsibility Bill is evidence of the complexity that inevitably arises when dealing with the risk of unintended consequences, which all regulatory frameworks carry with them, including a law designed to improve them," Dalziel said.

"For that reason I am pleased that the Select Committee has not rushed to propose legislative changes that run the risk of opening a can of worms in terms of adding further layers of complexity."

The Committee considered 189 submissions and sought advice on a number of options but said there was little agreement amongst committee members and submitters on the best way to tackle the issue.

To greater consensus, the Committee recommended a taskforce comprising experts in public policy and economic, legal and constitutional matters, and draw on advice from officials, the Law Commission, Parliament and submitters from the private sector.

"While Rodney Hide's bill has not succeeded in its current form I think it's fair to say this has been a worthwhile exercise in that it has focussed attention on the need for refining the processes to enable us to develop high quality regulation," Dalziel said.

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