The government appears confident it can pass legislation seen as essential for the adoption of e-commerce before the next election. But despite the best lobbying efforts of the IT Association and IT Minister Paul Swain, no one’s making any promises.
A spokeswoman for Leader of the House Michael Cullen says the Crimes Amendment (No 6) and Electronic Transactions Bill are before Cullen, and the legislation is a priority for the government.
She says the legislation has a good chance of getting passed before the election and that the government would make “its best endeavours” to do so.
But the spokeswoman says she can’t say whether the bills will be pushed further up the list of bills before the House, despite pressure from ITANZ and IT Minister Paul Swain.
A spokeswoman for Paul Swain confirmed that the IT minister had recently written to Cullen saying he was “very keen” to get the bills passed, but it was up to Cullen to sort out the list of priority legislation.
ITANZ executive director Jim O’Neill is demanding an urgent meeting with Cullen, fearing the legislation may not be passed before the November poll.
O’Neill says the legislation, which will outlaw hacking and give firms legal status to electronic documents and contracts, is urgently required. Without it, the progress towards adopting e-commerce was being “knee-capped”, he says.
O’Neill claims high-level organisations such as the State Services Commission, and others in the US and the UK, are reinforcing that message to ITANZ.
At present, he says, the bills are in the 20s on the order table, when they need to be in the top 15 to ensure their passage before the election.
Lawyer Craig Horrocks, of Auckland firm Clendon Feeney, labels the delay to the passing of the Crimes Amendment Bill a “disgrace”.