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Select Committee Weekly News Bulletin - 2 June

SELECT COMMITTEE BUSINESS
26 May 2000 to 1 June 2000
Committee meetings
There were 23 committee meetings including one in progress. Five meetings were held in Auckland and the remainder were in the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented (9)
Government Administration
 Parliamentary Service Bill (324-2)
 Petition 1999/0034 of Neil Geoffrey Frances
 Petition 1999/0024 of Kathleen Anne Laurent

Primary Production
 Dairy Industry Amendment Bill (13-2)
 1998/99 financial review of AgriQuality New Zealand Limited

Social Services
 Student Loan Scheme Amendment Bill (No 6) (327-2)
 International Treaty Examination of the Convention Concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour

Transport and Industrial Relations
 International Treaty Examination of the Amendments to the International Maritime Satellite Organization Convention and Operating Agreement
 1998/99 financial review of the Civil Aviation Authority


Bills referred to select committees
The Social Welfare (Transitional Provisions) Amendment Bill was referred to the Social Services Committee.

The Matrimonial Property Amendment Bill, along with Supplementary Order Paper No 25, was referred back to the Justice and Electoral Committee with a report due by 4 September 2000. This bill was considered and reported back by another select committee in the previous parliament.


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 finished hearing evidence on the Sale of Liquor Amendment Bill (No 3) and the Business Law Reform Bill. The committee also received a briefing from officials on the Economic Development (Industry New Zealand and Ministry of Economic Development) Bill, for which submissions will be closing on 16 June 2000. The committee set the closing date for the Chartered Professional Engineers of New Zealand Bill as below.

Education and Science (Clare Sullivan, Malcolm McNamara)
This week the committee began consideration of the Education Amendment Bill, having completed hearing evidence. The committee is due to report the bill back to the House by Wednesday, 14 June 2000.

The committee has set a closing date for submissions on the Education (Limiting Number of Universities) Amendment Bill as set out below. The committee is not meeting next week.

Employment and Accident Insurance (Marie Alexander)
The committee continued meeting all week hearing evidence on the Employment Relations Bill. This completes the hearings and the committee will start working through the issues on 6 June.

Finance and Expenditure (Graham Hill, Julian Kersey)
The committee met on 31 May 2000 to receive a briefing from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand on the May Monetary Policy Statement and to hear evidence on the Taxation (FBT, SSCWT and Remedial Matters) Bill. At its next meeting on 14 June the committee will continue to hear evidence on the Taxation (FBT, SSCWT and Remedial Matters) Bill. The committee has now set dates for receiving submissions on two tax bills as set out below.

Government Administration (Louise Sparrer, Lesley Ferguson)
The committee met on 1 June and considered two petitions. One petition from Neil G. Frances and 215 others requested that the New Zealand Official Yearbook continue to be available in print copy. The committee reported to the House that Statistics New Zealand would be releasing a hardcopy version of the yearbook in early October 2000. In the foreseeable future Statistics New Zealand intends to print a hardcopy of the yearbook every second year. The market for books such as the yearbook has been affected by the volume of up-to-date information available through other sources such as the Internet, and by the range of other quality reference books available. The decision to shift to publishing the hard copy yearbook every second year was made as part of the 1997/98 budget. It was part of a package of savings put to Ministers, and accepted, to help fund improvements in official statistics.

The other petition considered by the committee was from Kathleen Anne Laurent requesting that the House of Representatives establish a body to monitor promises made by the Government. The committee considered that New Zealanders already have available a range of political and constitutional mechanisms that provide the appropriate checks and balances on the exercise of executive powers of government. Ultimately the election process provides the final word on the success or “honesty” of a government in keeping its promises. The committee subsequently had no issues to report to the House.

The committee continued its consideration of the Gaming Law Reform Bill and heard from Hon Mark Burton, Minister of Internal Affairs.

The Controller and Auditor-General briefed the committee on the Governance and Oversight of Large Information Technology Projects Report. Recent, highly publicised difficulties with public sector IT projects, such as the National Library and Police INCIS projects have focused public and political attention on them. Problems have included failure to deliver what was required and major time and cost overruns. The report does not revisit the issues of project management in detail. Instead the problem from the angle of governance and oversight is examined and provides some key messages for members of select committees to help them carry out their oversight role with more confidence in the outcome.

Health (Nick Aldous, Marcus Ganley)
The committee will be meeting at the Barrycourt Hotel in Auckland on Wednesday, 7 June from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm to hear submissions on the Alcohol Advisory Council Amendment Bill, the Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care) Bill and the Criminal Justice Amendment Bill (No 7). Submitters on the Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care) Bill include the Human Rights Commission and the Health and Disability Commissioner.

Justice and Electoral (Tracey Conlon, Andrew Fieldsend, Fiona McLean)
The committee met in Auckland on Wednesday to hear submissions on the Inquiry into the 1999 General Election. The committee heard from the Coromandel Electorate of the Green Party, NMP, the Auckland City Council and some individual submitters.

The committee also heard evidence on a number of other items of business, including 1999/2068 Petition of Edward and Anne McMullin, the Referenda (Postal Voting) Bill, the Statutes Amendment Bill (No 7) and the Legal Services Bill.

The Matrimonial Property Amendment Bill has been re-referred to the committee, together with a supplementary order paper regarding property rights in same sex and de facto relationships. The committee must report to the House by 4 September 2000.

The Justice and Electoral Subcommittee will meet in Auckland on Wednesday, 7 June 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 6.30 pm in the Discovery Room at the Barrycourt Hotel in Parnell, Auckland. Submissions are scheduled to be heard from Free Tibet protestors and from the New Zealand Police. The subcommittee has already heard evidence in Christchurch and in Wellington on the inquiry.

Law and Order (Tracey Conlon, Tracey Rayner)
The committee met on Thursday and considered a number of items of business.

Local Government and Environment (David Bagnall, Malcolm McNamara)
On 31 May the committee heard evidence on the Resource Management Amendment Bill from the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors. The committee also received a briefing from Local Government New Zealand on its review of water, waste-water and stormwater services, and also on the review of local government funding powers and local election policy. Next week, the committee will meet on Wednesday at Orakei Marae in Auckland to hear iwi 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 met on 1 June to give consideration to the Maori Purposes Bill, which has a reporting date of 30 June 2000. It also dealt with its inquiries into Te Whanau o Waipareira Trust and the mainstreaming of services to Mori.

The committee will hear from Mr Hyrum Parata later this month as a matter of redress in relation to allegations made against him in the House. There will be no meeting of the committee during the adjournment week (5 to 9 June).

Primary Production (Bob Bunch, April Bennett)
The committee met on Thursday, 1 June 2000. It further considered the Fisheries Amendment Bill (No 2) as well as the 1998/99 financial reviews of ASURE New Zealand Limited, Terralink New Zealand Limited, Timberlands West Coast Limited and AgriQuality New Zealand Limited.

The committee reported back on the 1998/99 financial review of AgriQuality New Zealand Limited after receiving a briefing from the Crown Company Monitoring Advisory Unit on advice about employment provisions to the company and the Minister of State Owned Enterprises.

The committee recommended to the Minister for State Owned Enterprises and the Crown Company Monitoring Advisory Unit that they consider reviewing State enterprise employment contracts and in particular, how best to avoid these companies being put at risk by the departure of employees, who then compete against them.

The committee acknowledged that AgriQuality New Zealand's resources and institutional knowledge play a vital role in New Zealand's ability to respond to biosecurity emergencies. It is the committee's unanimous view that Government must provide adequate financial resources to ensure that New Zealand's emergency response capability is maintained.

The report concludes:

"Our review of AgriQuality highlights risks associated with the establishment of State enterprises, particularly in terms of protecting company revenue and intellectual property. We consider there is a need for Government to identify and minimise these risks, while maximising the benefits in order to protect the Crown's assets.

On the broader issue of biosecurity we will seek further information on biosecurity systems and the Government's responsibility to maintain the highest level of border protection."

The committee next meets on Thursday, 15 June 2000 to further consider the Fisheries Amendment Bill (No 2) and 1998/99 financial reviews of State enterprises.

Social Services (Tim Cooper, Louise Gardiner)
The committee has been selected by the Speaker to take part in a joint committee exchange with the Australian Federal Parliament.

Committee members will spend Tuesday 6 to Friday 9 June in Canberra. The programme will include meetings with members of the Australian House of Representatives Standing Committee on Family and Community Affairs and the Senate Community Affairs Legislation and Reference Committee.

Topics nominated for discussion are trans-Tasman in scope and reflect some of the most pressing priorities facing both parliaments. Themes include programmes aimed at placing the unemployed in work, the provision of social services to indigenous and minority groups, social objectives in housing provision and the issue of welfare and child support reciprocity.

The joint committee exchange programme is an annual event, with an Australian committee visiting the New Zealand Parliament each year and vice versa. In 1997 the Primary Production Committee and in 1998 the Health Committee visited their counterparts in Canberra.

Transport and Industrial Relations (Lyn Main, Karen Smyth)
On Wednesday 31 May the committee considered three petitions. It heard evidence from the Ministry of Transport and the Land Transport Safety Authority (LTSA) on the petition in the name of former MP, Pam Corkery. This petition asks that the use of space saver tyres be banned in cars and other vehicles. Evidence was also heard from the Ministry of Transport on the petition of Dr Otto Bauer. Dr Bauer’s petition seeks a review of licensing and driver testing rules and fees on the grounds that they discriminate against people on the basis of age, and arbitrarily impact on the living standards of older drivers. The committee heard evidence from Dr Bauer and Jim McKenzie, past president of Grey Power New Zealand.

The Ministry of Transport and LTSA also gave evidence on the petition on behalf of the Willowbridge Hall Inc Society. This petition, presented in September 1997, is concerned about some railway service vehicles not triggering warning systems at rail/road crossings.

The committee has completed its international treaty examination of the amendments to the International Maritime Satellite Organisation Convention and Operating Agreement (INMARSAT). In its report the committee has recommended that the Government assure itself that the global maritime distress and safety service will not be adversely affected by the corporatisation of INMARSAT.

The 1998/99 Financial Review of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has also been reported back. In reviewing the financial year and current operations of CAA the committee has drawn the attention of the House to a number of matters. In particular the committee is concerned with the often difficult relationship between CAA and some operators in the aviation industry, particularly smaller operators. The committee sees that managing this relationship is very important, particularly with regard to accident rates for smaller aircraft.

The committee is not meeting during the adjournment week. At its next meeting, on 14 June, the committee will hear a submission from Gwynneth Ann Andrews on her petition seeking an inquiry into the actions of emergency and ancillary services in the rescue of survivors on the Southern Air Flight accident in Foveaux Strait in August 1998.


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)
Chartered Professional Engineers of New Zealand Bill (7 July 2000)

Education and Science
Inquiry into student fees, loans, allowances and the overall resourcing of tertiary education (24 July 2000)
Education (Limiting Number of Universities) Amendment Bill (30 June 2000)

Finance and Expenditure
Taxation (Annual Rates, GST and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill (5 July 2000)
Taxpayers’ Charter Bill (31 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)

Social Services
Housing Restructuring (Income-Related Rents) Bill (26 June 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
carol.rankin@parliament.govt.nz

Compiled in the Select Committee Office, Office of the Clerk, 1 June 2000

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