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Weekly news from the Select Committee Office

Weekly news from the Select Committee Office

Select Committee Business 18 February 2000 to 25 February 2000

Committee meetings There were 18 committee meetings, all in the parliamentary complex, and one site visit by the Officers of Parliament Committee.

Reports presented No reports were presented.

Bills referred to select committees The Airport Authorities Amendment Bill (No. 2) was referred to the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee.

The Referenda (Postal Voting) Bill was referred to the Justice and Electoral Committee.

Committee membership changes Mita Ririnui replaced Damien O'Connor on the Health Committee. Damien O'Connor replaced Mita Ririnui on the Justice and Electoral Committee.

Committee notes (for further information on an item, please contact the committee staff noted in italics)

Commerce (Alan Witcombe, Ainslie Rayner) The House appointed David Cunliffe as Chairperson and Kevin Campbell as Deputy Chairperson.

Committee on the Accident Insurance (Transitional Provisions) Bill (Marie Alexander) The committee met three times during the week.

Education and Science (Claire Sullivan, Malcolm McNamara) The committee heard evidence from the Ministry of Education on the Report of the Minister of Education on the compulsory schools sector in New Zealand, 1998, the Tertiary Education Sector Profile and Trends 1998 report and the briefing to the incoming Minister. Next week the committee will conduct a financial review of the Ministry of Education.

Finance and Expenditure (Graham Hill, Julian Kersey) The Committee met on 23 February to hear evidence from the Minister of Revenue and the Commissioner of Inland Revenue on the 1998/99 financial review of the Inland Revenue Department. This evidence focussed on the response the Government is formulating to the previous committee's Inquiry into the Powers and Operations of the Inland Revenue Department. The committee also received a briefing from the Commissioner on his briefing to the Incoming Minister. At the next meeting on 1 March the committee will exchange information and views with the Public Accounts Committee from Sarawak. It will also hear evidence from the Treasurer and the Secretary to the Treasury on the financial review of the Treasury, the Crown financial statements and the Treasury briefing to the Incoming Government.

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (David Sanders, Andrew Fieldsend) The committee has decided to make progress with the Pardon for Soldiers of the Great War Bill. The bill, a member's bill in the name of Mark Peck, was carried over from the last parliament. It seeks to legislate pardons for five soldiers executed for offences during World War I. The closing date for submissions is 24 March 2000.

The committee's next meeting is 2 March. The committee will hear evidence from three departments it is conducting financial reviews on: Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the New Zealand Customs Service.

Government Administration (Louise Sparrer) The committee will start on its programme of financial reviews at its next meeting. It will examine the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, the Office of the Ombudsmen, and Statistics New Zealand. The examinations will be open to the public.

The committee is still happy to accept submissions on the Parliamentary Service Bill. Although submissions on this bill closed on 1 November 1999, the committee is happy to receive submissions from interested groups up to 14 April 2000.

Health (Nick Aldous, Sharon Woollaston) On Wednesday the committee heard evidence on the 1998/99 financial review of Health Waikato Limited. The hearing focussed on the review of Health Waikato's computer system and governance issues. Next week the committee will continue the financial review examinations of hospital and health services, hearing from Health Care Hawke's Bay Limited and Southern Health Limited. The hearings of evidence will be open to the public.

Justice and Electoral (Jayne Wallis, Andrew Fieldsend) The committee met on Wednesday to continue its examination of the 1998/99 financial reviews. The Legal Services Board and the Crown Law Office both appeared before the committee to discuss their financial statements and operational matters. On Wednesday, 1 March, the committee will be considering the 1998/99 financial review of the Parliamentary Counsel Office and the Abortion Supervisory Committee. These sessions will be open to the public.

The committee also initiated an inquiry into matters relating to the State Visit of the President of China to New Zealand in 1999. The terms of reference of the inquiry are to examine the handling of demonstrations held during the State Visit of the President of China to New Zealand in 1999, and the impact of those events on the civil liberties and fundamental rights of New Zealanders. In particular,

· assessing whether there are enough protections for peaceful and lawful protest · assessing whether the powers of government pertaining to the maintenance of public order are appropriate · assessing the procedures for the exercise of those powers.

The closing date for submissions on the committee's inquiry into the 1999 General Election is 31 March 2000. The terms of reference for that inquiry are to examine the law and administrative procedures for the conduct of parliamentary elections in light of the 1999 General Election.

Law and Order (Tracey Conlon, Tracey Rayner) The committee heard evidence this week from the Department of Corrections on its financial review. Following this hearing, at which a wide range of issues was discussed, the committee received a briefing from the department on Integrated Offender Management. This new initiative, which will be implemented over the next two years, aims to introduce a coordinated approach to assessing and managing offenders.slegislate pardons for five soldiers

Next week the committee will meet to hear evidence from the Department for Courts on its 1998/99 financial review.

Submissions close next Friday (3 March) on the Crimes Amendment Bill (No. 6). This bill amends the Crimes Act 1961 to implement the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. In addition, it amends the Crimes Act to create crimes in relation to the misuse of computer systems and the dishonest obtaining of trade secrets, and to rationalise and update certain existing property crimes.

Local Government and Environment (David Bagnall, Malcolm McNamara) On 23 February, the committee heard evidence on the financial review of the Ministry for the Environment. Matters discussed included the development of environmental performance indicators and their ability to provide an accurate picture of progress in improving the state of the environment, iwi involvement in the work of the ministry; contaminated sites and waste management, and the effectiveness of the Resource Management Act 1991. Next week, the committee will conduct the financial review of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

Officers of Parliament (Adrian Carpinter) This week the Officers of Parliament Committee made a familiarisation visit to the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. Next week the committee will visit the Office of the Ombudsmen.

Primary Production (Bob Bunch, April Bennett) The Chairperson issued a press release yesterday about the committee's meeting with the Apple and Pear Export Permits Committee and ENZA. The text follows:

"The Primary Production Committee met with the Apple and Pear Exports Permits Committee and ENZA today about the independent apple export permit process. On 10 February 2000, the committee had received a briefing from the Minister of Agriculture, the Hon Jim Sutton, about the Apple and Pear Export Permits Committee and process of granting permits for complementary marketing of apples. "The objective of granting independent export permits is to support innovative marketing and new approaches to apple exporting. This is done within the criteria of granting permits as specified in section 45 of the Apple and Pear Export Regulations 1999. Section 45 specifies that applications for export permits must complement (not undermine) the current marketing activities of ENZA and must not be likely to result in any adverse effect on ENZA's reputation in the relevant overseas market or markets. "We wanted to be briefed by both organisations on what their respective understanding was of complementary marketing and the processes involved in granting permits. We needed confirmation that there is good communications between the two organisations."

"The briefing was held in private in order to facilitate discussion. We remain concerned about some aspects of the new export permits process and the committee will maintain a watching brief throughout the apple export season. We will review the situation regularly."

Social Services (Tim Cooper, Karen Smyth) The committee has begun to hear evidence on its financial reviews. On Wednesday it heard from the Housing Corporation of New Zealand and the Ministry of Housing. Next Wednesday, however, it will hear evidence on the Parliamentary Commissioner for Children Bill. This bill, a member's bill, is due to be reported back to the House by 30 June 2000. The committee intends to hear evidence on its other financial reviews later in March.

Transport and Industrial Relations (Lyn Main, Sue Goodwin) The committee met this week to hear evidence on the 1998/99 financial review of the Accident Compensation Corporation. The committee had also intended to hear evidence on the financial review of the Department of Labour but ran out of time. The Department of Labour has been re-scheduled to appear on 15 March.

On 22 February, the Airport Authorities Amendment Bill (No. 2) 1999 was referred for consideration. The bill aims to prevent the transfer to an airport company of land vested in a local authority under the Reserves Act 1977 unless either the Crown consents or it was not the Crown that originally vested the land in the local authority. The committee has called for submissions. See below for the closing date. Next Wednesday, 1 March, the committee will hear evidence on the 1998/99 financial reviews of the Transport Accident Investigation Commission and the Airways Corporation.

Closing dates for submissions on bills Committees are receiving submission on the following bills with the closing date shown:

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Pardon for Soldiers of the Great War (24 March 2000)

Health Criminal Justice Amendment Bill (No.7) (17 March 2000) Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care) Bill (17 March 2000) Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill (No.4) (29 February 2000)

Justice and Electoral Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill (25 February 2000) Legal Services Bill (25 February 2000) Statutes Amendment Bill (No. 7) (25 February 2000)

Law and Order Crimes Amendment Bill (No. 6) (3 March 2000)

Maori Affairs Te Ture Whenua Maori Amendment Bill (28 April 2000)

Social Services Student Loan Scheme Amendment Bill (No. 6) (20 April 2000)

Transport and Industrial Relations Airport Authorities Amendment Bill (No. 2) (5 April 2000)

General

You can find further information about select committees on our website at www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz. If you require additional information or have any feedback on the contents, please contact:

Carol Rankin Senior Parliamentary Officer ph: 471 9534, fax: 499 0486, or at carol.rankin@parliament.govt.nz

Compiled in the Select Committee Office, Office of the Clerk, 25 February 2000


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