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Select Committee Meetings 5 - 12 May 2000

SELECT COMMITTEE BUSINESS
5 May 2000 to 12 May 2000
Committee meetings
There were 18 committee meetings this week including one in progress in Christchurch. All the other meetings were in the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented (4)

Finance and Expenditure
 Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s Monetary Policy Statement, March 2000

Justice and Electoral
 Petition 1999/6 of Martin Muir and 832 others

Primary Production
 1998/99 financial review of Landcorp Farming Limited

Transport and Industrial Relations
 Petition 1996/1957 of David Angus Wilson and 761 others


Bills referred to select committees
The Smoke-free Environments (Enhanced Protection) Amendment Bill was referred to the Health Committee.

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

Commerce (Alan Witcombe, Matthew Andrews)
This week the committee heard evidence on the Sale of Liquor Amendment Bill (No. 3). Next week a subcommittee will travel to Invercargill to hear evidence on this bill and some petitions.

Education and Science (Clare Sullivan, Malcolm McNamara)
This week the committee began hearing evidence on the Education Amendment Bill. The Minister of Education appeared before the committee to explain the policy of the bill and answer questions. Next week the committee will continue to hear evidence on the bill in Wellington and Auckland.

The committee has also released its terms of reference for the inquiry it is conducting into student fees, loans, allowances and the overall resourcing of tertiary education. Submissions close on Monday, 10 July. The committee seeks submissions from students, academics, tertiary providers and other interested parties on the following matters:

 The strengths and weaknesses of the current system of student fees, loans and allowances

 The future social and economic impacts of student debt, including the sustainability of the scheme

 The implications of the current funding model on the quality of education, course selection, skill availability and the 'brain drain

 Any other matters to do with the resourcing of tertiary education.

Employment and Accident Insurance (Marie Alexander)
The committee met in Wellington three days this week to hear submissions on the Employment Relations Bill. The committee is currently meeting in Christchurch and will meet in Hamilton on 15 May and Auckland on 19 and 22 May.

Finance and Expenditure (Graham Hill, Julian Kersey)
The committee met on 10 May to consider the Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Statement for March 2000. It has now presented this report. The committee will meet next 24 May 2000.

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (David Sanders, Andrew Fieldsend)
The committee considered its timetable for the consideration of its inquiry into the role of human rights in foreign policy. It has decided that it will extend the date for accepting submissions on the inquiry to 31 July 2000.

Government Administration (Adrian Carpinter, Lesley Ferguson)
The committee considered the Parliamentary Service Bill and four financial reviews, both of which it will continue next week.

Health (Nick Aldous, Marcus Ganley)
The committee met on Wednesday, 10 May to hear evidence on the Alcohol Advisory Council Amendment Bill. Submissions were heard from the Ministry of Health, industry representatives, a research organisation and the New Zealand Drug Foundation.

The committee will meet on 17 May to receive evidence and a departmental briefing on the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill and the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill.

Justice and Electoral (Jayne Wallis, Andrew Fieldsend, Fiona McLean)
The committee began hearing evidence on its Inquiry into the 1999 General Election. Don Hunn and Mel Smith, who gave evidence on their Review of the General Election Process 1999, were followed by the Electoral Commission and the Electoral Enrolment Centre.

The committee reported back the petition of Martin Muir and 832 others requesting that the Government review the legislation on the termination of unborn children and ensure that the right to life be guaranteed. The committee noted that the Minister of Justice has announced his intention to propose a review of abortion law and, as the review is likely to cover the issues raised by this petition, the committee made no recommendation to the House.

Next week the committee will hear evidence on the Statutes Amendment Bill (No. 7) and the Legal Services Bill.

Law and Order (Tracey Conlon, Tracey Rayner)
The committee did not meet this week. It will meet next Thursday, 18 May. The committee has received an extension to the report date of the Arms Amendment Bill (No. 2) until 30 August 2000.

Local Government and Environment (David Bagnall, Malcolm McNamara)
On 10 May the committee heard the submission of the New Zealand Planning Institute on the Resource Management Amendment Bill and further evidence from the New Zealand Law Society. Next week the New Zealand Historic Places Trust will appear to present its submission. The committee will also receive a briefing from departmental officials on the review of water and waste-water legislation and the review of local government funding powers, and also about local elections and polls.

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 considered the Te Ture Whenua Maori Amendment Bill and the Maori Purposes Bill at its meeting this week. A total of 22 submissions have been received to date on the Te Ture Whenua Maori Amendment Bill. The committee also gave initial consideration to its inquiry into Te Whanau o Waipareira Trust and will continue its discussions next week on this and the Maori Purposes Bill.

Primary Production (Bob Bunch, April Bennett)
The committee completed hearing evidence on the Fisheries Amendment Bill (No.2) and Supplementary Order Paper No.22. It heard from the following organisations as well as one individual submitter: Te Ohu Kai Moana (Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission); Te Waka A Maui me ona Toka Mahi Tuna; Tuna New Zealand Limited; Moana Fisheries; Te Waihora Management Committee; Lake Ellesmere Fishermens' Association; Central Eel Enhancement Company Limited; Whangarei Snake Bank Cockle Fishers; New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council; and New Zealand Big Game Fishing Council.

The committee also considered the Dairy Industry Amendment Bill. Next week, the committee will further consider the two bills and the 1998/99 financial review of Timberlands West Coast Limited. It will also be briefed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry into the bee mite biosecurity risk (open to the public).

Regulations Review (Shelley Banks, Fiona McLean)
On Wednesday, 10 May the committee heard oral evidence from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry on the Biosecurity (Ruminant Protein) Regulations 1999 (SR 1999/410). The regulations seek to ensure 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 committee questioned ministry officials about the breadth of the definition of "operator" in the regulations and expressed concern that a number of small-scale farmers might unknowingly be covered by the regulations. Certain offences against clause 5 (requiring operators to prepare a ruminant protein control programme) and clause 13 of the regulations (requiring feed suppliers to label feed intended for ruminant animals) are categorised as offences of "absolute liability". The committee questioned officials about the appropriateness of absolute liability offences being imposed in regulations rather than primary legislation. In addition, the committee explored whether the offences specified in clauses 5 and 13 are appropriate for offences of absolute liability (where no defence is available). The penalties for all offences specified in the regulations are a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual and up to $15,000 for a corporation. The committee's consideration of the regulations is ongoing.

Social Services (Tim Cooper, Louise Gardiner)
The committee received a briefing this week from the Minister of Housing, Hon Mark Gosche. While many of the details have yet to be finalised, the Minister indicated some of the expected changes within the housing sector, based around the introduction of income-related rents for State house tenants. The Government expects the new rental regime to be in place by the end of the year. The committee will not be meeting next week.

Transport and Industrial Relations (Lyn Main, Karen Smyth)
This week the committee heard further evidence on the Airport Authorities Amendment Bill (No. 2). It also considered some international treaties, petitions and financial reviews, which will be further considered next week.

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
Inquiry into reading in New Zealand (22 May 2000)
Inquiry into student fees, loans, allowances and the overall resourcing of tertiary education (10 July 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 (31 July2000)
Inquiry into New Zealand’s economic and trade relationship with Australia (16 June 2000)

Justice and Electoral
Habeas Corpus Bill (19 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
ph: 471 9534, fax: 499 0486, or at carol.rankin@parliament.govt.nz

Compiled in the Select Committee Office, Office of the Clerk, 12 May 2000

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