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Select Committee News Weekly Bulletin

(Earlier killed version contained missing ends of paragraphs.)

SELECT COMMITTEE BUSINESS
31 March to 7 April 2000
Committee meetings
There were 21 committee meetings. Three, including one in progress, were outside Wellington. The remainder were in the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented (68)
Commerce
1. 1998/99 financial review of Meridian Energy Limited
2. 1998/99 financial review of Mighty River Power Limited
3. 1998/99 financial review of Solid Energy Limited
4. 1998/99 financial review of Transpower New Zealand Limited
5. 1998/99 financial review of Genesis Power Limited
6. 1998/99 financial review of the Ministry of Commerce
7. 1998/99 financial review of New Zealand Post Limited
8. 1998/99 financial review of Television New Zealand Limited
9. 1998/99 financial review of New Zealand on Air

Education and Science
10. 1998/99 financial review of the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Limited
11. 1998/99 financial review of New Zealand Forest Research Limited
12. 1998/99 financial review of the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology
13. 1998/99 financial review of the Ministry of Education
14. 1998/99 financial review of the National Library of New Zealand
15. 1998/99 financial review of the Institute of Environmental Science and Research

Finance and Expenditure
16. Budget Policy Statement 2000 (I. 3A)
17. Financial review of the financial statements of the Government of New Zealand for the year ended 30 June 1999
18. 1998/99 financial review of the Earthquake Commission
19. 1998/99 financial review of At Work Insurance Limited
20. 1998/99 financial review of The Treasury

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
21. 1998/99 financial review of New Zealand Defence Force

Health
22. 1998/99 financial review of Northland Health Limited
23. 1998/99 financial review of Tairawhiti Healthcare Limited
24. 1998/99 financial review of the Health Sponsorship Council
25. 1998/99 financial review of Taranaki Healthcare Limited
26. 1998/99 financial review of Waitemata Health Limited
27. 1998/99 financial review of Auckland Healthcare Services Limited
28. 1998/99 financial review of Hutt Valley Health Corporation Limited
29. 1998/99 financial review of Good Health Wanganui Limited
30. 1998/99 financial review of MidCentral Health Limited
31. 1998/99 financial review of Wairarapa Health Limited
32. 1998/99 financial review of Canterbury Health Limited
33. 1998/99 financial review of Healthlink South Limited
34. 1998/99 financial review of Health South Canterbury Limited
35. 1998/99 financial review of Healthcare Otago Limited
36. 1998/99 financial review of Coast Health Care Limited
37. 1998/99 financial review of Residual Health Management Unit
38. 1998/99 financial review of New Zealand Blood Service Limited
39. 1998/99 financial review of Capital Coast Health Limited
40. 1998/99 financial review of Manukau Health Limited
41. 1998/99 financial review of Southern Health Limited
42. 1998/99 financial review of the Health Funding Authority
43. 1998/99 financial review of the Ministry of Health

Justice and Electoral
44. 1998/99 financial review of the Crown Law Office
45. 1998/99 financial review of the Ministry of Justice
46. 1998/99 financial review of Parliamentary Counsel Office
47. 1998/99 financial review of the Legal Services Board
48. 1998/99 financial review of the Abortion Supervisory Committee

Local Government and Environment
49. 1998/99 financial review of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment
50. 1998/99 financial review of the Department of Conservation

Mori Affairs
51. 1998/99 financial review of the Ministry of Mori Development

Officers of Parliament
52. Alterations to the 1999/2000 appropriations for Vote Audit, Vote Ombudsmen and Vote Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment and the 2000/01 draft budgets for the Audit Office, the Office of the Ombudsmen and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

Primary Production
53. 1998/99 financial review of Land Information New Zealand
54. 1998/99 financial review of Crown Forestry Management Limited
55. 1998/99 financial review of Quotable Value New Zealand Limited
56. Petition 1996/2070 of Sean Weaver and Pat McNamara and 5433 others

Social Services
57. 1998/99 financial review of the Department of Social Welfare
58. 1998/99 financial review of the Department of Work and Income
59. 1998/99 financial review of Housing New Zealand Limited
60. Petition 1996/1973 of Anita Treefoot

Transport and Industrial Relations
61. 1998/99 financial review of the Maritime Safety Authority
62. 1998/99 financial review of Transfund New Zealand
63. 1998/99 financial review of the Ministry of Transport
64. 1998/99 financial review of the Department of Labour
65. 1998/99 financial review of the Accident Compensation Corporation
66. 1998/99 financial review of the Land Transport Safety Authority of New Zealand
67. 1998/99 financial review of Transit New Zealand
68. 1998/99 financial review of The Transport Accident Investigation Commission


Bills referred to select committees
The Education Amendment Bill was referred to the Education and Science Committee with a report due by 14 June 2000.

The Dairy Industry Amendment Bill was referred to the Primary Production Committee with a report due date of 12 June 2000.


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

Commerce (Alan Witcombe, Ainslie Rayner)
The committee met on 6 April and considered the Business Law Reform Bill and the Motor Vehicle Dealers Bill. It presented several financial review reports as listed above. The committee will not be meeting over the adjournment.

Education and Science (Clare Sullivan, Malcolm McNamara)
This week the committee presented a number of financial review reports as above. The next meeting date for the committee has not yet been set.

The committee has had the Education Amendment Bill referred to it. The clauses in the bill affect enrolment schemes, school governance, the removal of the bulk funding option and the removal of age restrictions. The bill also makes amendments relating to tertiary student associations. The committee has set a closing date of Monday, 8 May 2000 for submissions.

Finance and Expenditure (Graham Hill, Julian Kersey)
The committee met on 5 April to receive a briefing from the Inland Revenue Department and Treasury officials on the Income Tax Amendment Bill. It received a briefing from the Controller and Auditor-General on the third report for 1999 and the first report for 2000. The committee also heard evidence from the Ombudsman on Case W42893 on IRD’s policy and procedures to hold and use its official information and process requests for official information it holds. Next week on 12 April the committee will consider the Taxation (FBT, SSCWT and Remedial Matters) Bill and the Public Audit Bill.

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (David Sanders, Andrew Fieldsend)
The committee was briefed by Mr Ali Kazak, Representative of the Palestine Liberation Organisation Delegation to Australasia and the South Pacific. Mr Kazak spoke on the Middle East Peace Process. The committee also reported on its financial review of the New Zealand Defence Force, which includes reference to the current deployment in East Timor.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and the Ministry of Women's Affairs briefed the committee on its treaty examination on the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The MFAT also briefed the committee on the Statute of the International Criminal Court (the Rome Statute).

The committee gave further consideration to its inquiry programme. Terms of reference for an inquiry into the role of human rights in foreign policy were agreed to. The terms of reference are to inquire into New Zealand's part in the promotion and implementation of international human rights, focussing particularly on the Asia/Pacific region. This inquiry to have particular reference to:

 the debate on the interpretation of human rights, particularly in the Asia/Pacific
 the place of human rights in the relations between New Zealand and other countries
 the place of the debate on human rights in the debate on regional security and stability
 New Zealand's role in the establishment and strengthening of multilateral human rights instruments
 the extent of ratification of UN human rights treaties, particularly in the Asia/Pacific region, and the impact this has on the promotion and protection of the rights of children (including child labour issues), women, workers, indigenous people and minorities
 the role of existing New Zealand institutions, both governmental and non-governmental, and the means by which these might be improved
 the adequacy of existing mechanisms for the formulation, implementation and review of human rights strategy as an integral component of foreign policy.

The committee will present a report containing recommendations to the House. Expanded terms of reference are available directly from the secretariat of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee.

Government Administration (Louise Sparrer, Lesley Ferguson)
The committee examined the New Zealand Tourism Board and the New Zealand Fire Service Commission yesterday. Both organisations reported on progress in terms of governance, roles and responsibilities. The NZTB also reported on results achieved by the industry in the wake of the America’s Cup. The Fire Service reported on progress in its financial control and management environment. Progress on the completion of a single employment contract to unify the Fire Service was also discussed. The committee has now completed the public hearing phase of its financial review programme. It will not meet in the April adjournment.

Health (Nick Aldous, Marcus Ganley)
The committee reported back several financial reviews and considered the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill (No. 4).

Justice and Electoral (Jayne Wallis, Andrew Fieldsend, Fiona McLean)
The committee met on Wednesday, 5 April to consider its 1998/99 financial reviews and the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill and to hear evidence on the Legal Services Bill. The committee has now reported its financial reviews to the House.

On Wednesday the committee will continue to hear evidence on the Legal Services Bill. It will not meet for two weeks during the Easter break.

Law and Order (Tracey Conlon, Tracey Rayner)
The committee is in the process of hearing submissions on the Arms Amendment Bill (No. 2). The first hearing on this bill was held in Auckland on Thursday, 6 April, followed by a meeting in Christchurch on Friday, 7 April.

Next week, the committee will hold three meetings to hear further evidence on the bill. On Monday, it will meet in the Legislative Council Chamber in Parliament House. This is followed by meetings in Palmerston North on Wednesday, 12 April and Dunedin on Thursday, 13 April.

There has been a very high level of public interest in this bill, with approximately 6500 submissions having been received. The committee is required to report on the bill by 30 June 2000.

Local Government and Environment (David Bagnall, Malcolm McNamara)
The committee presented its report on the financial review of the Department of Conservation. The committee stated that the development of the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy has highlighted the continual erosion of this country's conservation values. The department is not funded to deal with many needs that have already been identified and the committee considers this must be addressed. For instance, the committee is concerned that currently the department is only funded for the treatment of 40 percent of conservation land identified as being at risk from possums.

In its financial review report on the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, the committee concluded that the office's investigations are relevant and important, the need for its work is increasing and so are the costs. For the sake of our long-term environmental future, the committee considers the office should be better resourced.

Next week, the committee will receive a briefing from Hon Phil Goff and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on international environmental agreements. The committee will also commence hearing evidence on the Resource Management Amendment Bill.

MMP Review (Louise Sparrer)
The House has established the MMP Review Committee. This is a statutory requirement under the Electoral Act 1993. It should not be confused with the inquiry being conducted by the Justice and Electoral Committee into the 1999 general election. The terms of reference for the committee to consider are:

(a) the effect of sections 35 and 36 of the Electoral Act 1993 (relating to the division of New Zealand into general electorates) on the operation of the electoral system,
(b) the provisions of the Electoral Act 1993 dealing with Mori representation,
(c) whether there should be a further referendum on changes to the electoral system,
(d) the appropriate number of members of Parliament, taking into account the results of the 1999 citizens initiated referendum on that issue,
(e) the extent to which party lists have resulted in better representation of women,
(f) the effectiveness of the current electoral system with respect to the representation of the tangata whenua and ethnic minorities, and
(g) any other matter relating to the electoral system.

The committee must report finally before 1 June 2002 and include in its report a statement indicating :

(a) whether, in its view, there should be changes to sections 35 and 36 of the Electoral Act 1993,
(b) whether, in its view, there should be changes to the provisions of the Electoral Act 1993 dealing with Mori representation,
(c) whether, in its view, there should be a further referendum on changes to the electoral system, and if so, the nature of the proposals to be put to voters and the timing of such a referendum,
(d) what, in its view, is the appropriate number of members of Parliament,
(e) what changes, if any, might be made to the electoral system to further enhance the representation of women,
(f) what changes, if any, might be made to the electoral system with respect to the representation of tangata whenua and ethnic minorities, and
(g) what other changes, if any, should be made to the electoral system.

The membership of the committee is as follows: Rt Hon Jonathan Hunt (Chairperson), Hon Peter Dunne, (Deputy Chairperson), Georgina Beyer, Chris Carter, Rod Donald, Stephen Franks, Grant Gillon, Hon Tony Ryall, and Rt Hon Jenny Shipley.

In a press release, the chairperson, Rt Hon Jonathan Hunt, said “People have started already to make submissions on the review of MMP.” While noting that some comments on the electoral system have been made in the lead up to the establishment of the committee, Mr Hunt said “I expect and look forward to a free and frank exchange of ideas and views on these issues. Public input, through the submission process, will be a key element of those exchanges.”

The committee is now calling for submissions on the review. The closing date for submissions is 31 July 2000. Mr Hunt said that he is looking forward to receiving public submissions. “The committee will be hearing public submissions in Wellington but it will travel to other parts of New Zealand where this is appropriate”, he said.

“I know there are high expectations from the review. To be successful, however, public participation is vital”, he said. “To assist with this, the committee secretariat will place public information about the committee and its work on a parliamentary website. For updates and information, those interested should see www.clerk@parliament.govt.nz.

Mori Affairs (Kia Paranihi, Denise Te Karu)
On 5 April the committee reported on its financial review of the Ministry of Mori Development (Te Puni Kokiri). Submissions on the Te Ture Whenua Maori Amendment Bill are still being received, with a closing date of 28 April. Panui have been widely circulated to iwi and Maori organisations throughout the motu as well as a number of individuals. The committee next meets after Easter on 4 May.

Officers of Parliament (Adrian Carpinter)
The Officers of Parliament Committee presented its report to the House on the alterations to the 1999/2000 appropriations and the 2000/01 draft budgets for the Officers of Parliament. The committee's recommendations include:

 A capital contribution of $1.2 million (GST not applicable) in 2000/01 for the Audit Office to select, purchase and implement computer-based audit support tools.
 An increase in the Office of the Ombudsmen's annual appropriation for 2000/01 and outyears of $190,000 (GST inclusive) to assist the Office to meet the workload demands placed on it.
 An increase in the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment's annual appropriation for 2000/01 and outyears of $242,000 (GST inclusive) to increase the Parliamentary Commissioner's investigatory work and the level of assistance to select committees.

The committee also notes its intention to explore long term options for managing the demand on the Office of the Ombudsmen with the Minister of Justice and the Ombudsmen.

Primary Production (Bob Bunch, April Bennett)
The committee met on 6 April 2000 and heard evidence from Terralink New Zealand Limited in the 1998/99 financial review of that State enterprise. The main issue of the hearings concerned the sale of the company's Property Services Division early in 1999.

The committee has also initiated an inquiry into organic agriculture in New Zealand. The purpose of the inquiry is to develop an overview of New Zealand organic agriculture's market potential, identify the factors that are constraining organic production development, and develop a definition of "organic" that is acceptable to producers and consumers. The terms of reference for the inquiry are:

 to examine international markets and trends for organic agricultural exports in order to identify what, if any, potential there is for New Zealand organic agricultural exports
 to examine the relationship between international and New Zealand certification standards for organic agriculture in order to identify which, if any, standards are most appropriate for organic exports
 to examine international and New Zealand systems of verifying organic certification
 to examine the relationship between organic certification standards and retail quality assurance standards
 to identify financial barriers faced by farmers in converting to organic production systems
 to report its findings and recommendations, if any, to the House of Representatives.

The committee has not yet decided to call for submissions. This will be done in the near future and another press statement will be made at that time.

The committee has reported back on the 1998/99 financial reviews as listed above. The committee also reported back on the petition of Sean Weaver and Pat McNamara and 5433 others requesting an immediate stop to logging of publicly-owned forests on the West Coast in exchange for a West Coast regional development package.

The committee is seeking a briefing from ENZA on its decision to juice high quality apples rather than exporting them. The briefing is being scheduled for 27 April.

The Dairy Industry Amendment Bill has been referred to the committee. The bill will amend the Dairy Industry Act 1952 for the purpose of implementing the European Union (EU) requirement that the issuing of EU Import Monitoring Arrangement (IMA) certificates covering country-specific butter and cheese quotas be transferred from the New Zealand Dairy Board to the New Zealand Government. The bill needs to be enacted by 1 July 2000 to give effect to the agreement reached between the European Commission and New Zealand officials. The committee is inviting public submissions as set out below. Late submissions will not have the opportunity to give oral evidence.

The next committee meeting will be on Thursday, 27 April.

Social Services (Tim Cooper, Louise Gardiner)
The committee’s financial review reports were presented this week. The Housing New Zealand report focuses on work the company has been doing in the light of imminent policy changes that have been signalled for the sector. With the detail of that policy still to emerge, only preliminary work has been done.

The Department of Social Welfare report focuses on the current operations of the Ministry of Social Policy and the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services, the two entities that replaced the department as it was in October 1999. The committee expressed a desire to see the ministry fulfill its initial vision of taking leadership and responsibility for the overall co-ordination of public sector social services policy. The committee also expressed some concern at CYFS's rate of response to non-urgent notifications, and about its strategy for foster care placements.

Finally the committee's report on the Department of Work and Income includes a recommendation to the department that it offers training to its staff in dealing with clients who are mentally ill. It also explores the department's handling of student loan applications, issues of service delivery and staff morale. And it signalled that it was considering its options in pursuing the financial and other details of a confidential settlement made with a senior manager over the department's training conference in Taupo.

Next week the committee will hear evidence in Auckland on the parliamentary Commissioner for Children Bill. It will not meet in the following two weeks of the adjournment.

Transport and Industrial Relations (Lyn Main, Karen Smyth)
The committee reported back on the 1998/99 financial reviews as set out above.

In the process of conducting these financial reviews the Transport and Industrial Relations committee has scrutinised the overall performance and current operations of these organisations and prepared narrative reports. The reports draw the attention of the House to organisational performance and other matters that are of concern to committee members.

The committee has also been hearing evidence on the Airport Authorities Amendment Bill (No. 2). The closing date for submissions has passed, and the bill must be reported back by August.

The committee heard of evidence on a petition, in the name of former Alliance MP, Pam Corkery, which asks for a ban on the use of space-saver tyres. The Ministry of Economic Development also gave evidence during examination of an amendment to the International Maritime Satellite Organisation Convention. The committee’s next meeting will be on 3 May, after the adjournment.


Closing dates for submissions
Committees are receiving submission on the following items with the closing date shown. Bills can be purchased from Bennetts Government Bookshops. Twenty copies of submissions are required.

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)

Finance and Expenditure
Public Audit Bill (12 May 2000)
Taxation (FBT, SSCWT and Remedial Matters) Bill (12 May 2000)

Health
Nurse Maude Association Bill (28 April 2000)

Justice and Electoral
Habeas Corpus Bill (19 May 2000)
Referenda (Postal Voting) Bill (14 April 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)

MMP Review
Review of MMP and other aspects of the electoral system (31 July 2000)

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

Primary Production
Dairy Industry Amendment Bill (27 April 2000)

Social Services
Student Loan Scheme Amendment Bill (No. 6) (20 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
carol.rankin@parliament.govt.nz
Compiled in the Select Committee Office, Office of the Clerk, 7 April 2000

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