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Weekly News from the Select Committee Office

Select Committee Business
17 March 2000 to 24 March 2000

Committee meetings

There were 18 committee meetings, all within the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented (7)

Education and Science

· Industry Training Levies Bill (105-1)

· Petition 1996/1924 of Karen Johansen and 470 others

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

· 1998/99 financial review of the New Zealand Customs Service

· 1998/99 financial review of the Ministry of Defence

Law and Order

· 1998/99 financial review of the Department for Courts

· 1998/99 financial review of the New Zealand Police

Maori Affairs

· Petition 1996/1950 of Dr Huirangi Waikerepuru and others

Bills referred to select committees

The Habeas Corpus Bill was referred to the Justice and Electoral Committee.

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

Commerce (Alan Witcombe, Ainslie Rayner)

The committee met on Thursday, 23 March 2000. Hon Jim Anderton, Minister for Economic Development, appeared before the committee to discuss the delivery of the Government's new economic development policies. The committee then conducted the financial reviews of Transpower Limited and New Zealand Post Limited.

The committee will next meet on Thursday, 30 March 2000 to conduct three financial reviews. It will hear evidence from Television New Zealand Limited, Radio New Zealand Limited and New Zealand on Air.

Education and Science (Claire Sullivan, Malcolm McNamara)

The committee conducted its financial reviews of the National Library of New Zealand and the Institute of Environmental Science and Research. Next week the committee will further consider financial reviews.

Employment and Accident Insurance (Marie Alexander)

The committee met for the first time this week and elected Graham Kelly as Chairperson. It is calling for submissions on the Employment Relations Bill. The closing date for submissions is 3 May.

Finance and Expenditure (Graham Hill, Julian Kersey)

The committee met on 22 March to hear evidence from the Treasurer on the Budget Policy Statement and from public submitters: the New Zealand Business Round Table, the New Zealand Employers' Federation and Federated Farmers. At the next meeting on 29 March the committee will hear evidence from the Governor of the Reserve Bank on the March Monetary Policy Statement and hear evidence from the Earthquake Commission on the 1998/99 financial review of the Commission.

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (David Sanders, Andrew Fieldsend)

This week the committee heard evidence on the review of two Crown entities, the New Zealand Trade Development Board and the New Zealand Antarctic Institute, and the considered its reviews of two departments, the Ministry of Defence and the New Zealand Customs Service. The committee considered two international treaty examinations. These are the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); and the Statute of the International Criminal Court (the Rome Statute). The committee decided to retain both of these treaties for examination itself.

Next week the committee will begin hearing evidence on the Pardon for Soldiers of the Great War Bill. The committee will give further consideration to the financial reviews still before it. The committee will have a joint meeting with the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, from the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia. That committee is visiting Wellington as part of the annual select committee exchange program between New Zealand and Australia.

Government Administration (Louise Sparrer, Lesley Ferguson)

The committee examined the three cultural entities within its subject area yesterday. These are the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. The dominant theme to emerge from all three was the decline in private sector sponsorship of the arts in New Zealand. Corporate sponsorship is moving towards high profile, high impact events rather than providing support on a continuing or "infrastructure" basis. 1998/99 was acknowledged as a difficult year in which the arts community competed against such events as the America's Cup, the Rugby World Cup and the Millennium. Both the NZSO and Te Papa are facing serious funding problems with the NZSO expected to be insolvent by the end of May. Te Papa is forecasting both operational and depreciation losses. Both entities are hopeful their funding difficulties wil Justice and Electoral (Jayne Wallis, Andrew Fieldsend, Fiona McLean) The committee met on Wednesday to begin hearing evidence on the Legal Services Bill. The purpose of the bill is to restructure and modernise the administration of legal aid by providing a central agency to administer legal aid. The committee heard evidence from the Legal Services Board and representatives of the New Zealand Law Society.

The committee will continue to hear evidence on the bill next week in Auckland in the Endeavour Room at the Barrycourt Motel in Parnell, from 10.00am to 1.00pm and from 2.30pm to 4.00pm.

Law and Order (Tracey Conlon, Tracey Rayner)

The committee met on Thursday, 23 March and heard evidence from the Audit Office on the Third Report for 1999. The committee will next meet on Thursday, 30 March and will hear evidence on the Truth in Sentencing Bill.

Local Government and Environment (David Bagnall, Malcolm McNamara)

On Wednesday, the committee considered the Wildlife (Penalties) Bill and two local bills. Next week, the committee will receive a briefing in public from Hon Marian Hobbs, Minister for the Environment, on the Resource Management Amendment Bill. The committee will also receive an introductory briefing from the Environmental Risk Management Authority. During the meeting, the committee will also consider three financial reviews.

The committee has now set a closing date of 8 May 2000 for submissions on the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Amendment Bill. This bill amends the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 to reflect existing Government policy in respect of hazardous substances, and particularly relates to procedures under that act.

The committee released a letter from Hon Marian Hobbs, which notes that the Government may wish to make two small additions to the bill by way of supplementary order paper. These additions would: · Clarify that the change proposed in clause 7 of the bill also apply in respect of substances controlled by the transitional provisions of the Act; and · Make some minor changes to the powers of enforcement officers under the HSNO Act based on experience with enforcement officer powers in the Health and Safety in Employment Act. Submitters may wish comment on these proposals (details of which have not been finalised) when preparing submissions on the bill.

Primary Production (Bob Bunch, April Bennett)

The committee met to consider the draft budgets of the Officers of Parliament for the 2000/01 financial year and alterations to their 1999/2000 appropriations. Further consideration of these budgetary matters will take place at the next meeting on Wednesday, 29 March.

Primary Production (Bob Bunch, April Bennett)

The committee met on Thursday, 23 March to consider four financial reviews. The committee heard evidence from Land Information New Zealand and AgriQuality New Zealand Limited as part of the committee's examination of their financial performance and current operations. The committee further considered the financial reviews of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry of Fisheries.

Next week will comprise mostly financial reviews, with Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Fisheries, Land Information New Zealand, Animal Control Products Limited, Timberlands West Coast Limited and Terralink New Zealand Limited being considered. Asure New Zealand Limited will give evidence as part of its financial review. The committee has also called the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to the meeting to answer some questions over the recent incidents involving breaches of biosecurity. The briefing will be open to the public. The time has yet to be determined, but is tentatively scheduled for 12.30pm to 1.00pm.

Social Services (Tim Cooper, Louise Gardiner)

The committee heard evidence on the financial review of the Department of Social Welfare at its meeting on 22 March 2000. This is the last full-year review of the department, which ceased to exist on 30 September 1999. Issues discussed included the current operations of the two entities that emerged from the department on 1 October 1999: the Department Of Child, Youth and Family Services and the Ministry of Social Policy. At its next meeting the committee will hear evidence on the financial review of Housing New Zealand Limited.

Transport and Industrial Relations (Lyn Main, Karen Smyth)

At the meeting on Wednesday, 22 March, the committee heard evidence from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Land Transport Safety Authority (LTSA) as part of its financial reviews of these two Crown entities. The review of the CAA includes examining the functions of the Aviation Security Service (AVSEC), which provides a range of airport security services. The service was heavily involved in security matters surrounding the APEC meetings last year. The committee questioned the CAA on changes to its procedures for monitoring aircraft operators and flagging risks or potential problems. Evidence was given by the LTSA about implementation problems with the issue of the new drivers' licences.

At next week's meeting the committee will be considering further the financial reviews of the CAA and the LTSA and another six organisations, including the Department of Labour and the Ministry of Transport. The committee must report these reviews back to the House by 6 April.

Closing dates for submissions

Committees are receiving submission on the following items with the closing date shown:

Commerce

Business Law Reform Bill (14 April 2000) Sale of Liquor Amendment Bill (14 April 2000)

Education and Science

Inquiry into reading in New Zealand (22 May 2000)

Employment and Accident Insurance

Employment Relations Bill (3 May 2000)

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

Pardon for Soldiers of the Great War Bill (24 March 2000)

Health

Nurse Maude Association Bill (28 April 2000)

Justice and Electoral

Referenda (Postal Voting) Bill (14 April 2000) Inquiry into the 1999 General Election (31 March 2000) Inquiry into matters relating to the State visit of the President of China to New Zealand in 1999 (7 April 2000)

Local Government and Environment

Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Amendment Bill (No.2) (8 May 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 at carol.rankin@parliament.govt.nz

Compiled in the Select Committee Office, Office of the Clerk, 24 March 2000


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