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Select Committee Business

SELECT COMMITTEE BUSINESS
19 May 2000 to 26 May 2000
Committee meetings
There were 24 committee meetings this week. Three of these meetings were in Auckland, two in Christchurch and the rest were in the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented (11)
Commerce
 Special report to the House in relation to the 1998/99 financial review of Television New Zealand Limited on a matter arising from the Commerce Committee’s comment on the company’s digital television strategy

Local Government and Environment
 1998/99 financial review of the Environmental Risk Management Authority

Social Services
 Briefing on ministerial intentions for social services policy and delivery.
 Tattoo (Parental Consent) (239-1)
 Interim report on the Parliamentary Commissioner for Children Bill
 Petition 1993/540 of Glenda Florence Burt and 1 other

Transport and Industrial Relations
 International Treaty Examination of the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (Montreal Convention 1999)
 International Treaty Examinations of the 1988 Protocol relating to the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea and the 1988 Protocol relating to the International Convention on Load Lines

Government Administration
 1998/99 financial review of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
 1998/99 financial review of the New Zealand Tourism Board
 1998/99 financial review of the New Zealand Fire Service Commission


Bills referred to select committees
The Chartered Professional Engineers of New Zealand Bill was referred to the Commerce Committee.

The Education (Limiting Number of Universities) Amendment Bill was referred to the Education and Science Committee to be reported back by 31 July 2000.

The Taxation (Annual Rates, GST and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill was referred to the Finance and Expenditure Committee to be reported back by 31 August 2000.

The Taxpayers’ Charter Bill was referred to the Finance and Expenditure Committee.

The Housing Restructuring (Income-Related Rents) Amendment Bill was referred to the Social Services Committee to be reported back by 24 July 2000.

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

Commerce (Alan Witcombe, Matthew Andrews)
A subcommittee met in Auckland to hear evidence on the Sale of Liquor Amendment Bill (No. 3).

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

Employment and Accident Insurance (Marie Alexander)
The committee has continued hearing submissions all week and is currently meeting in Christchurch. Further hearings are scheduled for Wellington and Auckland next week.

Finance and Expenditure (Graham Hill, Julian Kersey)
The committee met on 24 May 2000 to 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. At its next meeting on 31 May 2000 the committee will hear evidence from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand on the May Monetary Policy Statement and will continue to hear evidence on the Taxation (FBT, SSCWT and Remedial Matters) Bill.

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (David Sanders, Andrew Fieldsend)
The committee considered the Pardon for Soldiers of the Great War Bill and will continue with this next week.

Government Administration (Louise Sparrer, Lesley Ferguson)
On 26 May the committee presented its 1998/99 reports on the financial reviews of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, the New Zealand Tourism Board, and the New Zealand Fire Service Commission.

Te Papa was commended by the committee for having successfully extended the dimension of the museum experience by providing New Zealanders with the optimum museum experience. The committee expressed concern at Te Papa’s projected financial operating deficit. It believes this represents a very real and immediate risk to Te Papa’s ability to maintain its assets and consequently deliver a credible national museum. The committee recommended that Te Papa’s future funding levels be set at a level that enables it to continue to deliver a credible and sustainable national museum service.

The committee was pleased to see that the New Zealand Tourism Board was able to overcome the difficulties of the past year with payments to departing board members being resolved and a settlement being reached between the board and the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi. The board was commended by the committee for its “100% Pure New Zealand” global marketing campaign. The committee reported that the board is back on track and momentum restored to enable it to effectively grasp the potential economic benefits to be gained from the promotion of New Zealand to the world as the ultimate visitor destination.

The committee considered that the New Zealand Fire Service Commission (NZFSC) had made progress in restoring its financial and service performance management systems but there are still areas of ongoing concern. In particular:

 The long-running dispute between the NZFSC and the New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union. The committee believed the current situation is untenable and urged the parties involved in this long-running dispute to develop better pathways to relieve the tension and enable a resolution.

 The need for the NZFSC to continue to work towards re-establishing relations between paid and voluntary firefighters on which the service depends.

 The NZFSC’s revised level of debt. While the revised debt level was encouraging, the committee found the NZFSC’s explanations of debt level revision difficult to comprehend. The committee expressed strong reservations about the financial management practices in which debt levels were not revised at the appropriate times during the year. The committee wishes to see the NZFSC’s next statement of intent more accurately reflecting its level of debt.

 The fire service levy. The committee believes that the NZFSC’s levy issues require prompt resolution to ensure the levy burden is equitably shared by all recipients of the preventive and firefighting services and the NZFSC is therefore funded properly.

The committee considered the Parliamentary Service Bill and the Gaming Law Reform Bill this week.

Health (Nick Aldous, Marcus Ganley)
The committee met on Wednesday 24 June to hear submissions on the Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care) Bill. The bill sets out the limits that can be imposed on the freedoms of people who have an intellectual disability and who are in need of compulsory care. The committee will continue to hear evidence on the bill at its meeting on 31 May.

Justice and Electoral (Jayne Wallis, Andrew Fieldsend, Fiona McLean)
The committee heard further evidence on its Inquiry into the 1999 General Election. Among the submitters were a number of political parties: Labour, National, New Zealand First, the Green Party, Christian Heritage, the Alliance, and Mana Motuhake. Submitters discussed the allocation of broadcasting funding, the appearance of the ballot paper, and the publication of political polls near elections. Two of the political parties were concerned that local authorities have widely divergent rules about election hoardings. Another two submitters talked about Mori voting and enrollment. The Ministry of Justice also gave evidence on the inquiry, and responded to the Hunn and Smith report.

Next Wednesday the committee will travel to Auckland where it will hear further evidence on the Inquiry into the 1999 General Election including submissions from the Coromandel branch of the Green Party, the Society of Local Government Managers, and Auckland City Council. The committee will also hear submissions on the Statutes Amendment Bill (No.7), the Referenda (Postal Voting) Bill, the Legal Services Bill, and the petition of Edward and Anne McMullin on mandatory sentences for drunken drivers who cause death. The hearing will be at the Barrycourt Hotel in Parnell from 10 am to 3:30 pm.

The Justice and Electoral Subcommittee will meet in Wellington on Thursday, 1 June 2000 to hear further 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 3.30 pm to 5.00 pm in Room G.006 in Parliament House. Submissions are scheduled to be heard from a Government official and from Free Tibet protestors. The subcommittee has already heard evidence in Christchurch and in Wellington.

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 again on Thursday 1 June to consider its inquiries into Te Whanau o Waipareira Trust, the mainstreaming of services to Maori and possibly, the allegations made by Mr Tamihere on March 28. The committee currently has two bills before it, the Maori Purposes Bill and Te Ture Whenua Maori Bill.

Primary Production (Bob Bunch, April Bennett)
The committee made progress on its consideration of the Dairy Industry Amendment Bill and the Fisheries Amendment Bill (No.2). The committee also considered three 1998/99 financial reviews: AgriQuality New Zealand Limited; Terralink New Zealand Limited; and Timberlands West Coast Limited. Next week it will continue consideration of the Fisheries Amendment Bill (No.2) and, along with the above financial reviews, the financial review of Asure New Zealand Limited.

Social Services (Tim Cooper, Louise Gardiner)
The committee presented its report on the Tattoo (Parental Consent) Bill, recommending that it not proceed.

The committee also presented an interim report on the Parliamentary Commissioner for Children Bill. Government legislation is promised on this issue and the purpose of the report was to inform the House of the committee's thinking so far. The committee does not believe the commissioner should be made an Officer of Parliament, because this would constrain his or her ability to be an advocate in particular cases. The committee strongly supports extending the powers and independence of the commissioner and hopes the Government's legislation will achieve this end.

Transport and Industrial Relations (Lyn Main, Karen Smyth)
The committee reported on three international treaties on 25 May 2000.

The committee examined the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for the International Carriage by Air (Montreal Convention 1999) and heard evidence from the Ministry of Transport. The committee in its report to the House drew to the attention of the House the implications of this treaty for the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau.

The committee examined the 1988 Protocol relating to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea and the 1988 Protocol relating to the International Convention on Load Lines. The committee had no matters concerning these treaties to bring to the attention of the House.

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

Commerce
Economic Development (Industry New Zealand and Ministry of Economic Development) Bill (16 June 2000)

Education and Science
Inquiry into student fees, loans, allowances and the overall resourcing of tertiary education (10 July 2000)

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
Inquiry into New Zealand’s economic and trade relationship with Australia (16 June 2000)

Local Government and Environment
Forests (West Coast Accord) Bill (19 June 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, 26 May 2000

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