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Select Committee News Bulletin

SELECT COMMITTEE BUSINESS

28 April 2000 to 5 May 2000
Committee meetings

There were 18 committee meetings, all of which were in the parliamentary complex. The Justice and Electoral Subcommittee meeting that was scheduled for Monday in Christchurch was cancelled because fog prevented committee members from getting there.

Reports presented (5)
Social Services
· Petitions 1999/18 of Sarah Ayre for Unconditional Universal Income Action New Zealand and 283 others and 1999/20 of Sarah Ayre for Unconditional Universal Income Action New Zealand and 185 others
· Petition 1999/23 of Sarah Ayre for Unconditional Universal Income Action New Zealand and 87 others
· Petition 1996/1040 of Grace Ward and 9 others

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
· International Treaty Examination of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Optional Protocol
· International Treaty Examination of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court


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)

Commerce (Alan Witcombe, Matthew Andrews)
This week the committee began considering submissions on the Business Law Reform Bill. Oral submissions were heard from Institute Chartered Accountants New Zealand, New Zealand Law Society, Investment Savings and Insurance Association, Watson Wyatt, the Privacy Commissioner, New Zealand Society of Actuaries and the Accounting Standards Review Board. Next week the committee will hear submissions on the Sale of Liquor Amendment Bill (No.3).

Education and Science (Clare Sullivan, Malcolm McNamara)
The committee met and heard evidence on the financial reviews of the Special Education Service and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

The committee also decided that although submissions on the Education Amendment Bill close on Monday, 8 May, the committee will accept written submissions up to Monday, 22 May. However, people wanting to appear before the committee are strongly advised to send their submission on Monday, 8 May.

Employment and Accident Insurance (Marie Alexander)
This week the committee heard evidence on the Employment Relations Bill at three meetings. The closing date for submissions has now passed and the committee is not receiving late submissions. The committee will continue to hear submissions in Wellington next week and will travel to Christchurch next Friday, 12 May.

Finance and Expenditure (Graham Hill, Julian Kersey)
The committee met on 3 May to hear evidence from the Retail Merchants Association on the Taxation (FBT, SSCWT and Remedial Matters) Bill and received a briefing from the Treasury and the State Services Commission on proposed changes to departmental accountability documents prepared for Parliament. At its next meeting on 10 May the committee will consider the Reserve Bank's Monetary Policy Statement for March 2000.

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (David Sanders, Andrew Fieldsend)
The committee heard three submissions on the Pardon for Soldiers of the Great War Bill, at its meeting yesterday. The bill has recently been adopted by the Government and the Minister of Veterans' Affairs is now in charge of the bill.

The committee also presented reports on two international treaty examinations. The committee made a narrative report on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The report notes that the establishment of the ICC, within the United Nations system, is one of the most significant recent advances in international humanitarian law. The ICC has jurisdiction over the most serious offences such as war crimes and crimes against humanity. The committee also made a pro forma report on its examination of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) treaty.

Government Administration (Adrian Carpinter, Lesley Ferguson)
The committee met on 4 May 2000 to hear submissions on the Parliamentary Service Bill. This bill replaces the Parliamentary Service Act 1985, which is now outdated as a result of public sector management reforms and the impact the introduction of MMP has had on Parliament's systems and administration. The bill is based on the findings of a 1998 independent review of the Act. The key features of the bill are:

· Recognition of the Speaker as the responsible minister for Vote Parliamentary Service (The Public Finance Act 1989 designates the Speaker as such and deems the Parliamentary Service to be a "department" for the purposes of the Act). These changes have cut across the intended functional responsibilities of the Parliamentary Service Commission.

· Establishment of the Parliamentary Service Commission as an advisory body to the Speaker with membership and voting arrangements that reflect the composition of the House.

· The General Manager of the Parliamentary Service is to be responsible to the Speaker with responsibilities that correspond to the matters for which a chief executive of a government department is responsible to his or her minister.

· Independent reviews of the funding resource available for administrative and support services to the House to be undertaken once in every parliamentary term.

· Clarification and consolidation of the provisions relating to land and other assets held for parliamentary purposes and the creation of a Parliamentary Corporation to exercise powers of a legal person in this regard.

The main issues covered in the submissions heard this week concern the establishment of the Parliamentary Service Commission as an advisory body as opposed to a decision-making one. Such a change to the status of the commission, it was argued, would increase the power of executive government and its advisers over the management of Parliament.

Concerns were also heard about the independent triennial review of the funding resource available to members. It was argued that members should be involved in this process.

Issues surrounding the actual membership of the commission were also raised. Representation of members on the commission, it was suggested, should reflect the parties elected to Parliament, as opposed to the proportional representation of members.

Health (Nick Aldous, Marcus Ganley)
The committee will meet on Wednesday, 10 May to hear evidence on the Alcohol Advisory Council Amendment Bill. This is a member's bill in the name of Belinda Vernon. It aims to enable ALAC to function more effectively. The key policies proposed include allowing ALAC to promote road and industrial safety and allowing ALAC to undertake activities that address the use of alcohol in combination with other drugs.

Justice and Electoral (Jayne Wallis, Andrew Fieldsend, Fiona McLean)
The committee continued to hear evidence on the Legal Services Bill this week. The Legal Services Board appeared for the second time and summarised its views of the evidence received by the committee and re-iterated its desire for the bill to proceed. The New Zealand Law Society and several community law centres made supplementary submissions on Supplementary Order Paper No. 21 (SOP), which is being considered along with the bill. The SOP omits and substitutes a new Part 4, which sets out provisions relating to the funding and operation of community law centres.

The committee will begin hearing evidence on its Inquiry into the 1999 General Election next Wednesday.

Law and Order (Tracey Conlon, Tracey Rayner)
The committee considered several bills this week. It is not meeting next week.

Local Government and Environment (David Bagnall, Malcolm McNamara)
On 3 May the committee heard evidence from the Environmental Risk Management Authority, as part of the financial review of the authority. The submission of Local Government New Zealand on the Resource Management Amendment Bill was also heard.

Next week, the committee will continue to hear submissions on the Resource Management Amendment Bill.

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.

M~ori Affairs (Kia Paranihi, Denise Te Karu)
The committee will meet next Thursday, 11 May. It will have a number of items to consider that day including the Maori Purposes and Te Ture Whenua Maori Amendment Bills. Submissions closed last Friday for the latter bill but are being accepted until 12 May. Anyone still wishing to make submissions should contact the clerk of the committee on 04 4719558.

Primary Production (Bob Bunch, April Bennett)
On Thursday 4 May the committee completed hearing evidence on the Dairy Industry Amendment Bill with the New Zealand Ice Cream Manufacturers Association appearing before the committee. Hearing of evidence also commenced on the Supplementary Order Paper 22 on the Fisheries Amendment Bill (No.2). The committee heard from Simunovich Fisheries Limited, Seafood Industry Council, New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fisherman (Inc.), The Plaintiffs Group of Proceedings and Coromandel Scallops Fishermen's Association.

The committee is now inviting public submissions on the Inquiry into organic agriculture in New Zealand. The closing date for submissions is Monday, 3 July 2000. 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
· 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.

Next week the committee will complete hearing evidence on the Fisheries Amendment Bill (No.2) and further consider the Dairy Industry Amendment Bill.

Regulations Review (Shelley Banks, Fiona McLean)
On 10 May 2000 at 3.15 pm, the committee will hear evidence from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry on the Biosecurity (Ruminant Protein) Regulations 1999 (SR 1999/410). The regulations seek to ensure that New Zealand does not suffer an outbreak of transmissable bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) by prohibiting the feeding of ruminant protein in any form to ruminant animals; and requiring operators to prepare, register and implement ruminant protein control programmes. BSE is believed to have spread in the United Kingdom from feeding ruminant protein in feed supplements to ruminants. The regulations have a broad application and are enforceable with significant penalties on conviction of an offence. The committee will consider whether the regulations raise any issues under the grounds in Standing Order 382 of the House of Representatives. These grounds include, that a regulation:

(a) is not in accordance with the general objects and intentions of the statute under which it is made:
(b) trespasses unduly on personal rights and liberties:
(c) appears to make some unusual or unexpected use of the powers conferred by the statute under which it is made:
(d) unduly makes the rights and liberties of persons dependent upon administrative decisions which are not subject to review on their merits by a judicial or other independent tribunal:
(f) contains matters more appropriate for parliamentary enactment:
(g) is retrospective where this is not expressly authorised by the empowering statute:
(h) was not made in compliance with particular notice and consultation procedures prescribed by statute:
(i) for any other reason concerning its form or purport, calls for elucidation.

Social Services (Tim Cooper, Louise Gardiner)
The committee received a briefing this week from Hon Steve Maharey, Minister of Social Services and Employment. The Minister set out his vision and intentions for the social services policy and delivery. A similar briefing from Hon Mark Gosche, Minister of Housing, will be held at the committee's meeting next Wednesday. The committee will also begin considering the Student Loan Scheme Amendment Bill (No. 6). In large part this bill makes technical adjustments to legislation to reflect the fact that the Department of Work and Income now administers the student loan application process. The bill must be reported back to the House by 30 June.

Transport and Industrial Relations (Lyn Main, Karen Smyth)
Following the adjournment, the committee met on Wednesday 3 May and began hearings on the Airport Authorities Amendment Bill. Evidence was heard from Te Whanau a Te Ngarara Inc. Next week the committee will hear evidence on the bill from the Kapiti Aero Club. The Airport Authorities Amendment Bill is designed to protect the Crown's reversionary rights in land vested in local authorities under the Reserves Act 1977 to hold in trust for airport purposes.

At next week's meeting the committee will also consider the 1998/99 financial reviews of the Civil Aviation Authority and Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited.


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)

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)

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)

Primary Production
Inquiry into organic agriculture in New Zealand (3 July 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
or at carol.rankin@parliament.govt.nz

Compiled in the Select Committee Office, Office of the Clerk, 5 May 2000

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