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Weekly Select Committee News

SELECT COMMITTEE BUSINESS
20 April 2000 to 28 April 2000
Committee meetings
There were two committee meetings this week, both in the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented
No reports were presented this week.

Bills referred to select committees
No bills were referred this week.

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


Education and Science (Clare Sullivan, Malcolm McNamara)
Next week the committee will conduct the financial reviews of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and the Special Education Service.

The committee is accepting submissions on the Education Amendment Bill and the Inquiry into Reading in New Zealand, with closing dates as set out below.

Employment and Accident Insurance (Marie Alexander)
On 27 April the committee started its hearings of submissions on the Employment Relations Bill with a submission from the NZ Council of Trade Unions, accompanied by numerous supporters. The committee will continue hearing submissions through May, and is likely to travel to other main centres to hear submissions.

Justice and Electoral (Jayne Wallis, Andrew Fieldsend, Fiona McLean)
A subcommittee is conducting an inquiry into matters relating to the State visit of the President of China to New Zealand in 1999. The terms of reference for 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; and
 assessing whether the powers of government pertaining to the maintenance of public order are appropriate; and

 assessing the procedures for the exercise of those powers.

The subcommittee is meeting in Christchurch on Monday, 1 May 2000 to hear evidence on the inquiry. Witnesses representing the Police, the former Government, and protesters are among those giving evidence.

The hearing will be at the Parkroyal Christchurch and will be open to the public from 11.00 am.

Local Government and Environment (David Bagnall, Malcolm McNamara)
On 3 May, the committee will conduct the financial review of the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA). The authority is responsible for assessing, monitoring and reviewing hazardous substances and new organisms. The committee will then hear evidence on the Resource Management Amendment Bill from Local Government New Zealand. This organisation represents the 86 local authorities in New Zealand, although a number of councils have also made separate submissions.

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 held an all day meeting on 27 April. The morning was taken up primarily with briefings on various issues that the committee is considering. ENZA, the apple marketing company, briefed the committee on its decision to juice export quality braeburn apples rather than to put them on the market. This was followed by briefings on organic agriculture from Bio-Gro New Zealand Limited and the Organic Products Export Group. The third briefing was from Mr Kent Thomas on new fishing technology designed to avoid by-catch of non-targeted fishing species. The committee also considered the 1998/99 financial review of Terralink New Zealand Limited.

In the afternoon, the committeeconsidered the Fisheries Amendment Bill (No.2) and the Dairy Industry Amendment Bill. The committee then heard evidence on the latter bill from the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association and the New Zealand Dairy Board. Hearings on the Dairy Industry Amendment Bill will conclude on 4 May and hearings on the Fisheries Amendment Bill (No.2) will commence on the same day.

Social Services (Tim Cooper, Louise Gardiner)
The committee has invited Hon Steve Maharey to appear on Wednesday, 3 May, to give a briefing on his vision and intentions for the social services sector. He may highlight areas of significant potential change within his portfolio. The committee will consider the Parliamentary Commissioner for Children Bill.


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)

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)


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, 28 April 2000

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