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Weekly News From Government Select Committees

SELECT COMMITTEE BUSINESS
14 April 2000 to 20 April 2000
Committee meetings
There were three committee meetings, two of which were held in Auckland.

Reports presented (1)

Justice and Electoral
 Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill

Bills referred to select committees
No bills were referred.

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


Employment and Accident Insurance (Marie Alexander)
The committee will start hearing evidence on the Employment Relations Bill on 27 April.

Justice and Electoral (Jayne Wallis, Andrew Fieldsend, Fiona McLean)
On Monday, the committee presented its report on the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill. The committee was equally split on the bill, with the Labour and Alliance members in support and the National, ACT and Green Party members opposed to it.

In the committee's report, the Government members said the bill would make a strong moral statement about "members' responsibility to remain loyal to the platform and party for which they were elected." The bill, they said, balanced this responsibility with the right of members "to differ from their parties and to express independence on certain matters without losing their seat in Parliament."

The National, ACT and Green Party members said the bill would not be enforceable against members who dissented from their parties, but who refused to formally resign from Parliament. The issues addressed in the bill are, they said, more appropriately considered by the MMP Review Committee.

The full report can be found on the Office of the Clerk website at:
http://www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz/publications/electoralintegrity.html

Local Government and Environment (David Bagnall, Malcolm McNamara)
The committee met twice in Auckland this week to hear 68 submissions on the Resource Management Amendment Bill. There will be further hearings on the bill in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. The committee is considering this bill alongside the Resource Management (Costs) Amendment Bill, a member’s bill in the name of Kevin Campbell. The committee’s next meeting is on 3 May.

MMP Review (Louise Sparrer)
The terms of reference for the MMP Review Committee are to consider:

(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.

The committee is calling for submissions on the review as set out below.

Primary Production (Bob Bunch, April Bennett)
The committee is meeting all day on 27 April 2000 in Parliament.

The morning session will comprise mainly briefings. The committee has asked ENZA in to brief the committee on ENZA's decision to juice part of the braeburn export crop (10.00 am to 10.30 am). This will be followed by two briefings on the committee's inquiry into organic agriculture, one from Bio-Gro New Zealand (10.30 am to 11.00 am) and Organic Products Exporters Group (11.00 am to 11.30 am). The last briefing in the morning will be from Mr Kent Thomas about new fishing technology for eliminating by-catch (11.30 am - 12 noon). All of these briefings are hearings of evidence and are open to the public.

The committee will then consider the 1998/99 financial reviews of Terralink New Zealand Limited and Landcorp Farming Limited.

The afternoon session focuses on the two bills: the Fisheries Amendment Bill (No.2) and the Dairy Industry Amendment Bill. Hearing of evidence on the Dairy Industry Amendment Bill will commence at 3.00 pm and will be open to the public.

The committee then meets on Thursday, 4 May 2000, to further consider the two bills.

Regulations Review (Shelley Banks, Fiona McLean)
The committee met on Tuesday to consider regulation-making powers in the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill (No. 4).


Closing dates for submissions
Committees are receiving submissions on the following items with the closing date shown. Twenty copies of submissions are required.

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)
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
ph: 471 9534, fax: 499 0486, or at carol.rankin@parliament.govt.nz

Compiled in the Select Committee Office, Office of the Clerk, {date}

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