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Select Committee Weekly News Bulletin

12 May 2000 to 19 May 2000
Committee meetings
There were 19 committee meetings, including two in progress in Auckland. There were four other meetings outside Wellington. The remainder were in the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented
Justice and Electoral
1. Petition 1999/22 of Sarah Ayre on behalf of Unconditional Universal Income Action New Zealand and 32 others
2. Petition 1999/25 of Duncan Webb and 211 others

Government Administration
3. 1998/99 financial review of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

Bills referred to select committees
The Economic Development (Industry New Zealand and Ministry of Economic Development) Bill was referred to the Commerce Committee to be reported back by 4 July 2000.

The Forests (West Coast Accord) Bill was referred to the Local Government and Environment Committee to be reported back by 3 August 2000.

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

Commerce (Alan Witcombe, Matthew Andrews)
This week the Commerce Subcommittee heard evidence in Invercargill on the Sale of Liquor Amendment Bill (No. 3) and several petitions about the cost of retail electricity in the South Island. On the bill the subcommittee heard evidence from several individual submitters as well as the Mataura Licensing Trust, the Invercargill Licensing Trust, the Ashburton Licensing Trust, the Southland Enterprises Inc, Southland Beneficiaries and Community Rights Centre, and the proprietor of Gerrards Hotel. After lunch the subcommittee heard evidence on the 1996/713 petition of Bruce Stirling and 546 others and six petitions of a similar nature from Mr Stirling and Transpower New Zealand Limited.

Next week the subcommittee travels to Auckland to hear evidence on the bill from numerous trusts including the Waitakere, Portage, Mount Wellington, Otara and Papatoetoe licensing trusts as well as other submitters like the Waitakere and Auckland city councils and some supermarkets. The hearing is scheduled to take place on Thursday, 25 May 2000 at Dalma Court Motor Inn, West Auckland and will be open to the public.

Education and Science (Clare Sullivan, Malcolm McNamara)
The committee is now hearing evidence on the Education Amendment Bill in Auckland.

Employment and Accident Insurance (Marie Alexander)
The committee has been meeting all week and is now hearing evidence on the Employment Relations Bill in Auckland.

Finance and Expenditure (Graham Hill, Julian Kersey)
The committee will meet next on 24 May 2000 when it will hear evidence on the Taxation (FBT, SSCWT and Remedial Matters) Bill and consider further a briefing from the Controller and Auditor-General on the Third Report for 1999 and the First Report for 2000.

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (David Sanders, Andrew Fieldsend)
The committee did not meet this week. Next week it will consider the Pardon for Soldiers of the Great War Bill.

Government Administration (Louise Sparrer, Lesley Ferguson)
On 18 May the committee presented its 1998/99 report on the financial review of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO). Of concern to the committee was the financial performance of the NZSO. Both sponsorship and concert revenue is declining. The critical issue for the NZSO is its continued viability. The Committee said this is an issue for the Government to determine. The committee expressed concern about the reliance of cultural agencies on private sponsorship but believed this is an area that also needs to be considered in the wider context of the role of government in arts and culture.

Health (Nick Aldous, Marcus Ganley)
The committee heard initial evidence on the Human Assisted Reproduction Bill and received a briefing from officials on the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill. Next week the committee will begin hearing evidence on the Intellectual Disability Compulsory Care Bill and the accompanying Criminal Justice Amendment Bill (No. 7).

Justice and Electoral (Jayne Wallis, Andrew Fieldsend, Fiona McLean)
The committee heard from the New Zealand Law Society on the Legal Services Bill and Supplementary Order Paper No. 21. It also heard evidence on the Statutes Amendment Bill (No. 7) from the Sports Drugs Agency, the Funeral Directors’ Association and the Distilled Spirits Association. The Statutes Amendment Bill will make minor amendments to 37 Acts.

The committee reported two petitions back to the House: that of Duncan Webb and 211 others, which requested that the House of Representatives abolish the right of appeal to the Privy Council; and that of Sarah Ayre on behalf of Unconditional Universal Income Action New Zealand and 32 others, on the subject of Government compliance with the Human Rights Act 1993. On the latter petition, the committee noted that government exemptions to the Human Rights Act expire on 31 December 2001 and that the Government has announced an inquiry into human rights protection that will cover, among other things, government compliance with human rights legislation.

Next Wednesday the committee will hear submissions on its Inquiry into the 1999 General Election from the Ministry of Justice and four political parties.

The Justice and Electoral Subcommittee is meeting in Wellington on Monday, 22 May 2000 to hear evidence on its inquiry into matters relating to the State visit of the President of China to New Zealand in 1999. The hearing of evidence is open to the public from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm and from 3.00 pm to 4.45 pm in Room G.006 in Parliament House. Submissions are scheduled to be heard from Government officials, from officers of the New Zealand Police and from Free Tibet protestors. The subcommittee has already heard evidence in Christchurch.

Law and Order (Tracey Conlon, Tracey Rayner)
The committee met on Thursday and considered several items of business. It will meet next Thursday to consider further the Arms Amendment Bill (No. 2).

Local Government and Environment (David Bagnall, Malcolm McNamara)
On Wednesday 17 May the committee heard evidence from the New Zealand Historic Places Trust on the historic heritage provisions in the Resource Management Amendment Bill. Following that, a briefing was received from the Department of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry for Economic Development about water and waste-water policy. The review of local government funding powers was also discussed, along with possible changes to local election legislation. Local Government New Zealand is scheduled to attend the committee to provide its perspective on these matters on 31 May.

Next week the committee will consider the financial review of the Environmental Risk Management Authority and the Wildlife (Penalties) Bill. A number of submissions on the Resource Management Amendment Bill will then be heard.

The committee has not yet set a closing date for submissions on the Forests (West Coast Accord) Bill.

Primary Production (Bob Bunch, April Bennett)
The committee met on Thursday 18 May 2000 to further consider the two bills it currently has before it, the Dairy Industry Amendment Bill and the Fisheries Amendment Bill (No.2).

The committee has also returned to reviewing the 1998/99 financial performance and current operations of State enterprises. This week the committee considered Timberlands West Coast Limited.

The committee has decided in principle to inquire into the sale of Terralink NZ Limited’s Property Services Division to its former employees. Damien O’Connor, Chairperson of the committee, said, “The inquiry has arisen out of the committee’s review of the 1998/99 financial review and current operations of Terralink NZ Limited. We have not completed the terms of reference for the inquiry and are awaiting further information from the Controller and Auditor General before we do so. When the terms of reference have been prepared, a further press statement will be made.”

The committee also received a detailed briefing from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry on the bee varroa mite. The ministry outlined the steps it has taken to assess the inroads the mite has made, reported on the studies undertaken to see what is the most effective way to respond to the incursion, and stated that it will be in a position to report to the Government on options to take in early June.

Transport and Industrial Relations (Lyn Main, Karen Smyth)
The committee is meeting next on Wednesday 24 May 2000. The committee will hear evidence on an international treaty - Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (Montreal Convention 1999). The Montreal Convention is a significant advance over the existing "Warsaw System" for international air carrier liability.

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)

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)


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, 19 May 2000

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