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Weekly Select Committee News - to 28 July 2000

SELECT COMMITTEE BUSINESS
21 July to 28 July 2000
Committee meetings
There were 22 committee meetings, all in the parliamentary complex, and one site visit (in Auckland) this week.

Reports presented (10)
Social Services
 Visit of the Social Services Committee to Australia 6 – 9 June 2000 (I. 12A)
 Housing Restructuring (Income-Related Rents) Amendment Bill (29-2)

Health
 Nurse Maude Association Bill (323-1)
 1998/99 financial review of the Health Research Council of New Zealand

Government Administration
 Gaming and Lotteries Amendment Bill (36-1)
 Fire Service Amendment Bill (35-1)
 Estimates for 2000/01 Vote Office of the Clerk

Law and Order
 Estimates for 2000/01 Vote Courts

Intelligence and Security
(established pursuant to the Intelligence and Security Committee Act 1996)
 Estimates for 2000/01 Vote Communications Security and Intelligence
 Estimates for 2000/01 Vote Security Intelligence

Bills referred to select committees
The Student Loan Scheme Amendment Bill was referred to the Social Services Committee.

The Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Amendment Bill (No 3) was referred to the Social Services Committee.

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

Commerce (Alan Witcombe, SC-Commerce@parliament.govt.nz)
On 3 August the committee will examine Vote Energy, administered by the Ministry of Economic Development. The Minister of Energy, Hon Pete Hodgson, is scheduled to appear and give evidence from 12.10 pm for about 45 minutes.

The committee will also give further consideration to the Sale of Liquor Amendment Bill (No 3), Vote Commerce, Vote Communications, Vote Consumer Affairs and Vote Government Superannuation Fund.

Education and Science (Clare Sullivan, SC-ES@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee heard evidence on Vote Research Science and Technology and the Educational Establishments (Exemption from Certain Rates) Bill.

Employment and Accident Insurance Legislation (Marie Alexander,
SC-EAI@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met twice this week. The Employment Relations Bill is due to be reported by 1 August.

Finance and Expenditure (Graham Hill, SC-FE@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met on 26 July to hear evidence from Ministers and officials on Vote Economic Development, Vote Finance, the Fiscal Strategy Report and the Budget Economic and Fiscal Update. The committee considered further the Taxation (FBT, SSCWT and Remedial Matters) Bill. The committee also considered the Taxation (Annual Rates, GST and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill. At its meetings next week the committee will hear evidence on Vote Revenue and Vote State-Owned Enterprises. For the remainder of the time the committee will hear evidence from public submitters on the Taxation (Annual Rates, GST and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill.

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (David Sanders, SC-FD@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee visited New Zealand Defence Force locations in Devonport and Whenuapai on 27 July. The committee was participating in the Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration 2000. This is "a US Department of Defence annual command, control, communications and computers (C4) technology demonstration designed to evaluate how emerging commercial and military C4 technologies and practices can be quickly and effectively applied to Joint and Combined operational problems in all warfare dimensions whilst enhancing interoperability." Other countries participating in the exercise included Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Turkey.

Next week the committee will continue its consideration of the Estimates and the International Crimes and International Criminal Court Bill.

Government Administration (Fiona McLean, SC-GA@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee reported on the Fire Service Amendment Bill. The committee was unable to reach a recommendation as to whether the bill should proceed. The particular difficulty dividing the committee was as to whether clause 3(3) should be included in the bill. Clause 3(3) seeks to repeal provisions in the principal Act (sections 6(3), (4), and (5) of the Fire Service Act 1975) which prevent certain persons from being Commission members. The provisions apply to any person who is a member of, or an office holder in, or an employee of, any association of employees.

Government members supported the inclusion of clause 3(3) in the bill. They believe it is undesirable to restrict the options available to the Minister when he or she is considering the appropriate membership of the Commission. They consider the honours and appointments process is sufficiently robust to deal with any potential conflicts of interest that may arise from an individual being nominated for appointment to the Commission. Accordingly, Government members support the removal from the principal Act of what they consider to be a potentially discriminatory condition.

Opposition members supported the clause 3(3) amendment to the bill with one proviso. They agree with the submission of the New Zealand Fire Service Commission that employees or members of employee associations representing current members of the New Zealand Fire Service should not be eligible for membership of the Commission. Opposition members consider that a perceived conflict of interest would arise if an official of an employee organisation, representing employees of the New Zealand Fire Service, were to be appointed to the Commission. Accordingly, Opposition members did not support clause 3(3) of the bill proceeding in its present form.

The committee also reported to the House on the Gaming and Lotteries Amendment Bill. The committee recommended that this bill proceed and did not recommend any amendments.

The committee continued its examination of the 2000/01 Estimates. It heard evidence in relation to Vote Pacific Island Affairs, specifically on the Pacific Business Trust, Vote Arts, Culture and Heritage, Vote State Services and Vote Sport, Fitness and Leisure. The committee concluded its consideration of Vote Office of the Clerk and presented its report.

The committee will meet next Thursday to continue its consideration of the Estimates. It will hear evidence on Vote Internal Affairs and Vote Tourism from the Minister of Internal Affairs and of Tourism, Hon Mark Burton. The committee will also continue consideration of Vote Parliamentary Service, Vote Pacific Island Affairs, Vote State Services and Vote Sport, Fitness and Leisure.

Health (Nick Aldous, SC-Health@parliament.govt.nz)
This week the committee completed consideration and presented reports on the Nurse Maude Association Bill and the Health Research Council financial review. Next week it will consider the Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care) Bill and its companion bill, the Criminal Justice Amendment Bill (No 7). The committee will then hear further evidence from the Minister of Health and officials on the 2000/01 Health Estimates.

Justice and Electoral (Tracey Conlon, SC-JE@parliament.govt.nz)
At its meeting on 26 July the committee heard from the Parliamentary Counsel Office on its examination of the Estimates for Vote Parliamentary Counsel. The examination touched on the recruitment and retention of staff, salary levels, resourcing levels, access to legislation and revision-tracking of changes to draft legislation.

The committee further considered the Estimates of Votes Attorney-General, Justice and Treaty Negotiations, and proceeded with consideration of its inquiry into the 1999 General Election and the Referenda (Postal Voting) Bill.

During its afternoon session, the committee heard further evidence on Supplementary Order Paper No 25 relating to the Matrimonial Property Amendment Bill. Evidence was heard from Judge Mahony, the Principal Family Court Judge, the National Council of Women and the Public Questions Committee. In addition, the committee heard a number of other submitters by teleconference.

The committee will be meeting again next Wednesday to further consider its examination of the Estimates, and to consider the Legal Services and Referenda (Postal Voting) Bills.

The subcommittee met in Wellington on 24 July, to continue consideration of the inquiry into matters relating to the visit of the President of China to New Zealand in September 1999. It heard further evidence from the New Zealand Police.

Law and Order (Wendy Proffitt, SC-LO@parliament.govt.nz)
This week the committee met to consider the Truth in Sentencing Bill. It also considered Votes Police and Corrections and presented its report on Vote Courts.

Next Thursday the committee will hear evidence from the Attorney-General, Hon Margaret Wilson, on Vote Serious Fraud. The Serious Fraud Office will also give evidence. The committee will continue its consideration of Vote Police and Corrections. It will also continue consideration of the Truth in Sentencing Bill.

Local Government and Environment (David Bagnall, SC-LGE@parliament.govt.nz)
On 25 July the committee heard submissions on the Forests (West Coast Accord) Bill. Submitters included Property Rights in New Zealand Incorporated, the South Taranaki Branch of the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society, the Furniture Association of New Zealand and Design Mobel, a leading furniture maker.

At Wednesday's meeting (26 July), the committee heard evidence on the 2000/01 Estimates from Hon Sandra Lee, in her different capacities as Minister of Conservation and Minister of Local Government. In relation to Vote Conservation, the primary focus was on biodiversity issues, particularly pest control. Discussion of Vote Local Government ranged over the various significant policy developments expected in this area, culminating in the revision of the Local Government Act 1974.

The committee will meet next Wednesday (2 August) in the morning to consider the Resource Management Amendment Bill and the Resource Management (Costs) Amendment Bill, and in the afternoon to hear further evidence on the Forests (West Coast Accord) Bill. On Thursday (3 August), the committee will consider the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Amendment Bill (No 2).

The committee has set a closing date of 1 September 2000 for submissions on the Tauranga District Council (Route K Toll) Empowering Bill.

MMP Review (Louise Sparrer, SC-MMP@parliament.govt.nz)
The terms of reference for the review of MMP are set out in a press release located at www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz/programme/committees/pressrelease.html.

Maori Affairs (Kia Paranihi, SC-MA@parliament.govt.nz)
This week the committee heard evidence on Vote Maori Affairs and the Te Ture Whenua Maori Amendment Bill. It will continue with these items next week.

Primary Production (Bob Bunch, SC-PP@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met on 27 July to further examine the estimates of expenditure for Vote Agriculture and Forestry and Vote Lands. The committee questioned Ministers for over two hours about what their intentions were for the coming year. Hon Jim Sutton, Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Rural Affairs, was questioned about the promotion of rural affairs in government policy while the development of the LandOnline project comprised the majority of questions to the Hon Paul Swain, Minister of Lands.

The committee also considered its inquiries into organic agriculture in New Zealand and the sale of the Property Services Division of Terralink New Zealand Limited to its former employees.

Next week the committee will further consider all four votes under examination (Votes Agriculture and Forestry, Fisheries, Biosecurity and Lands) as well as its inquiries.
Privileges (Fay Paterson, SC-Privileges@parliament.govt.nz)
On 25 July a matter of privilege was referred to the committee. It relates to proceedings initiated in the High Court in respect of the Forests (West Coast Accord) Bill, which is currently before the Local Government and Environment Committee.

Social Services (Tim Cooper, SC-SS@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee has now heard evidence on all six votes it is examining as part of the 2000/01 Estimates. On Wednesday it examined Vote Senior Citizens and Vote Housing. It also advertised for submissions on two bills. The Student Loan Scheme Amendment Bill has a closing date for submissions of 8 September 2000. The bill aims to give effect to the Government's intention not to charge interest on student loans for full-time, full-year students and low-income, part-time students while they are studying. The Children, Young Persons and Their Families Amendment Bill has a closing date of 20 October 2000. This bill aims to ensure that the principal powers relating to the searching of children and young persons in residences run by the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services, and the seizure of items found during a search, are set out in legislation, not regulations. 25 copies of submissions on these bills should be sent to Tim Cooper, Social Services Secretariat, Select Committee Office, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 1.

Transport and Industrial Relations (Lyn Main, SC-TI@parliament.govt.nz)
As part of its examination of the Estimates, the committee heard evidence on Vote Transport from the Minister of Transport and ministry officials. Also present to give evidence were senior managers from the seven entities with performance agreements with the Minister. The Minister discussed the Government’s plans for major public consultation on the Road Safety Strategy to 2010 programme and intentions to take a broad approach to road safety, including enforcement, education and road engineering. Removing the caps on alternatives to roading capital projects and on passenger transport services were also discussed as part of the government’s road safety strategy.

When the committee meets next week it will consider Vote Accident Insurance, and hear evidence from the Minister and officials. The committee’s examinations of the Estimates are due to be reported back to the House by 14 August.


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

Commerce
Chartered Professional Engineers of New Zealand Bill (1 September 2000)

Finance and Expenditure
Taxpayers’ Charter Bill (31 July 2000)

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone Extension Bill (2 October 2000)

Justice and Electoral
Local Elections (Single Transferable Vote Option) Bill (1 September 2000)

Local Government and Environment
Tauranga District Council (Route K Toll) Empowering Bill (1 September 2000)

MMP Review
Review of MMP and other aspects of the electoral system (31 July 2000)

Social Services
Social Welfare (Transitional Provisions) Amendment Bill (11 August 2000)
Children, Young Persons and Their Families Amendment Bill (No 3) (20 October 2000)
Student Loan Scheme Amendment Bill (8 September 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, 28 July 2000

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