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Weekly Select Committee News Bulletin

SELECT COMMITTEE BUSINESS
7 April 2000 to 14 April 2000
Committee meetings (8)
There were eight committee meetings, three of which were outside Wellington.

Reports presented
No reports were presented.

Bills referred to select committees
No bills were referred.

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


Education and Science (Clare Sullivan, Malcolm McNamara)
The committee did not meet this week. It is currently receiving submissions as set out below.

Finance and Expenditure (Graham Hill, Julian Kersey)
On 12 April the committee considered the Taxation (FBT, SSCWT and Remedial Matters) Bill and the Public Audit Bill. The committee also heard evidence on the petition of Robert Snoep requesting that the House of Representatives investigate arms length sharemarket investments in Holland. The committee will meet next on 3 May to hear evidence from submitters on the Taxation (FBT, SSCWT and Remedial Matters) Bill.

The committee has appointed a subcommittee to follow up issues raised in reports to the House from the Controller and Auditor-General. The members are Mark Peck (Chairperson), Hon Max Bradford, David Cunliffe, Rodney Hide, Luamanuvao Winnie Laban and the Rt Hon Winston Peters.

The impetus for this sub-committee has arisen from a 1999 report highlighting the need for better accountability of the Government to Parliament and another report this year on a range of financial, purchasing, governance and accountability issues. The subcommittee will be exploring ways of ensuring governments get a better measure of desired outcomes from government policy.

“This sub-committee will create a higher profile for reports presented to the House by the Controller and Auditor-General,” said Mark Peck. “From time to time we will invite the Controller and Auditor-General to brief the committee in public on recent reports. We will use these occasions to focus the attention of the Government on issues raised in these reports.” In addition he stated, “we will suggest to other committees that they follow up on issues related to their areas of responsibility.”

“These reports provide valuable information and comment on a wide range of public sector organisational activity,” noted Mr Peck. “The time to progress these reports into appropriate action on a more systematic basis has now come. The Finance and Expenditure Committee intends to take a leading role in doing this.”

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (David Sanders, Andrew Fieldsend)
The committee will conduct an inquiry into New Zealand’s economic and trade relationship with Australia. The committee will consider issues related to this, including:

 benefits of Closer Economic Relations (CER)
 further development of CER
 the future directions and role of CER as a platform for other Free Trade Agreements
 management of the relationship including dispute resolution
 the impact of the federal system on bilateral trade an economic relations
 potential for harmonisation of tax, customs and business law
 the investment relationship
 industry assistance from Government
 a single trans-Tasman currency
 the contribution to the economic relationship of the freedom of trans-Tasman travel
 the economic value of the cultural relationship with respect to music, television, films and art.
 consideration of future steps towards closer relations between Australia and New Zealand including the implications, advantages and disadvantages of integration as one possible end point.

While submissions close on 16 June 2000, the committee may start hearing submissions received before then.

Justice and Electoral (Jayne Wallis, Andrew Fieldsend, Fiona McLean)
On Wednesday 12 April, the committee considered the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill. The purposes of this bill are to “enhance the maintenance of the proportionality of political party representation in Parliament as determined by electors,” and to “enhance public confidence in the integrity of the electoral system.” The bill would remove MPs from Parliament if they notified the Speaker that they had resigned from their political parties. The committee is required to report the bill back to the House by 28 April 2000.

The committee heard further evidence on the Legal Services Bill. Topics raised in Wednesday’s hearing included: legal aid coverage for environment law; appeals to the UN Human Rights Commission; administrative structure; the effects of bulk funding; funding for community law centres and the Law Foundation; access to legal aid; and legal access for people with disabilities.

The committee is currently accepting submissions on the Habeas Corpus Bill. This is a member’s bill introduced by Alec Neill MP in 1999 and is now in the name of Simon Power, Member for Rangitikei. The purpose of the bill is to make better provision for the exercise of rights of habeas corpus. Habeas corpus procedures are currently governed by English statutes that do not apply easily to the New Zealand judicial system. The committee will accept submissions on this bill until 19 May 2000.

Law and Order (Tracey Conlon, Tracey Rayner)
The committee had three meetings this week to hear submissions on the Arms Amendment Bill (No. 2). The committee met in Wellington on Monday, in Palmerston North on Wednesday and in Dunedin on Thursday and heard a large number of submissions from organisations and individuals. The report back date for the bill is 30 June 2000.

Local Government and Environment (David Bagnall, Malcolm McNamara)
The committee heard evidence on the Resource Management Amendment Bill this week. Next week it will meet in Auckland on Tuesday and Wednesday for further hearings on the bill.

Regulations Review (Shelley Banks, Fiona McLean)
The committee will meet next week to consider regulation-making powers in the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill (No. 4).

Social Services (Tim Cooper, Louise Gardiner)
The committee finished hearing evidence on the Parliamentary Commissioner for Children Bill in Auckland on 13 April. All submitters agreed that the powers and independence of the Commissioner should be enhanced. The bill, a member's bill in the name of John Wright, has to be reported back to the House by the end of June. The committee's next meeting will be on 3 May.


Closing dates for submissions
Committees are receiving submissions on the following items with the closing date shown. 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
Education Amendment Bill (8 May 2000)
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)

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
Inquiry into the role of human rights in foreign policy (16 June 2000)
Inquiry into New Zealand’s economic and trade relationship with Australia (16 June 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, 14 April 2000

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