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Select Committe Business

SELECT COMMITTEE BUSINESS
28 July to 4 August 2000
Committee meetings
There were 19 committee meetings, all in the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented (22)
Finance and Expenditure
 Taxation (FBT, SSCWT and Remedial Matters) Bill (11-2)

Employment and Accident Insurance Legislation
 Employment Relations Bill (8-2) and related petitions

Local Government and Environment
 Estimates for 2000/01 Vote Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment
 Estimates for 2000/01 Vote Energy – Energy Efficiency and Conservation
 Estimates for 2000/01 Vote Environment

Regulations Review
 Investigation into the Biosecurity (Ruminant Protein) Regulations 1999 (I. 16A)
 Investigation into six codes deemed to be codes of welfare under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 (I. 16B)

Justice and Electoral
 Estimates for 2000/01 Vote Attorney-General
 Estimates for 2000/01 Vote Parliamentary Counsel
 Estimates for 2000/01 Vote Justice
 Estimates for 2000/01 Vote Treaty Negotiations

Primary Production
 Estimates for 2000/01 Vote Fisheries
 Estimates for 2000/01 Vote Agriculture and Forestry

Social Services
 Estimates for 2000/01 Vote Employment Policy and Vote Work and Income

Transport and Industrial Relations
 Estimates for 2000/01 Vote Labour

Education and Science
 Estimates for 2000/01 Vote Crown Research Institutes
 Estimates for 2000/01 Vote Research, Science and Technology

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
 International treaty examination of the Protocol of Amendment to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (CCD)

Government Administration
 Estimates for 2000/01 Vote Sport, Fitness and Leisure
 Estimates for 2000/01 Vote State Services
 Estimates for 2000/01 Vote Parliamentary Service
 Estimates for 2000/01 Vote Pacific Island Affairs


Bills referred to select committees
The Shop Trading Hours (Abolition of Restrictions) Bill has been referred back to the Commerce Committee. The committee has previously considered this member’s bill and reported it to the House, unable to recommend that it proceed, due to a tied vote.

The Casino Control (Poll Demand) Amendment Bill was referred to the Government Administration Committee.

The Foreign Fishing Crew Wages and Repatriation Bond Bill was referred to the Primary Production Committee.

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

Commerce (Alan Witcombe, SC-Commerce@parliament.govt.nz)
This week the committee considered further the Sale of Liquor Amendment Bill (No 3) and heard evidence from the Minister in relation to the 2000/01 Estimates for Vote Energy.

The committee is inviting public submissions on Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) No 37. The SOP seeks to amend to the Commerce Amendment Bill and will be considered together with the bill. The closing date for submissions is 15 September 2000.

The SOP deals with the following nine issues: It aims to:

 re-target the prohibition against the misuse of a dominant position in a market to be the equivalent Australian provision including a new lower threshold of "substantial degree of power in a market"
 amend the merger threshold from "dominance" to be the equivalent Australian provision prohibiting business acquisitions and mergers that "substantially lessen competition"
 retain the provisions from another SOP that would have empowered the Commerce Commission to issue "cease and desist orders"
 further amend the possible maximum amounts of pecuniary penalties that may be imposed on bodies corporate from $5 million to $10 million
 replace the long title of the Act with a new purpose statement
 exempt the Commerce Commission from the requirement to give undertakings as to damages where the Commission applies for an interim injunction
 clarify that it will be an offence under section 29 of the Act if the target of a group boycott competes with an interconnected or associated body corporate of one of the parties of the boycott
 remove from the bill clause 3 that would have expanded the range of conduct deemed to substantially lessen competition
 narrow the scope of the prohibition on indemnities contained in the bill to relate to price fixing offences only.

Submissions should be addressed to Alan Witcombe, Commerce Committee Secretariat, Parliament House, Wellington.

Education and Science (Clare Sullivan, SC-ES@parliament.govt.nz)
This week the committee heard evidence on Vote Education Review Office and Vote Education from the Minister, Hon Trevor Mallard.

The committee has made decisions about hearing evidence on the inquiry into reading in New Zealand. It will travel to Christchurch, Auckland and Hamilton to hear submissions as well as hearings in Wellington. Submitters who indicated they want to present oral submissions will be contacted by committee staff.

The committee has received an extension on the date by which it has to report the Education (Limiting Number of Universities) Amendment Bill to 5 March 2001.

Employment and Accident Insurance Legislation (Marie Alexander,
SC-EAI@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee presented its report on the Employment Relations Bill and three related petitions on 1 August. By majority, the committee has recommended a number of amendments, including in relation to liability of directors and status of contractors. The bill, with the recommended amendments and the committee's report are available through a link on our website at: www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz/publications or at Bennetts bookshops.

Finance and Expenditure (Graham Hill, SC-FE@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met on 2 and 3 August to hear evidence on Vote Revenue and Vote State-owned Enterprises. For the remainder of the time the committee heard evidence from public submitters on the Taxation (Annual Rates, GST and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill. At its next meeting on 9 August the committee will consider further Estimates and meet a parliamentary delegation from the People's Republic of China.

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (David Sanders, SC-FD@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met this week and considered the International Crimes and International Criminal Court Bill. The committee also made a pro forma report on the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa. The committee also considered Vote Foreign Affairs and Trade and Vote Customs. The committee will hear evidence on its inquiry into the role of human rights in foreign policy next week.

Government Administration (Fiona McLean, SC-GA@parliament.govt.nz
The committee continued its examination of the 2000/01 Estimates. The committee heard evidence in relation to Vote Internal Affairs and Vote Tourism. The committee concluded its consideration of Vote Pacific Island Affairs, Vote Parliamentary Services, Vote State Services and Vote Sport, Fitness and Leisure and presented its reports.

The committee will meet next Thursday to continue its consideration of the Estimates. The committee has yet to conclude its consideration of Vote Arts, Culture and Heritage, Vote Internal Affairs and Vote Tourism.

The Casino Control (Poll Demand) Amendment Bill, a member’s bill in the name of Willie Jackson, was referred to the committee on 2 August. The bill seeks to amend the Casino Control Act 1990. Under the Act, the Casino Control Authority may not grant or renew a casino premises licence to an applicant until it has received a social impact report from the applicant and satisfied itself that the proposed casino will not have unduly negative social impacts on the place or region. The bill seeks to amend the Act in the following ways:

 In order “to satisfy itself”, the Casino Control Authority would be required to conduct its own independent social impact report.
 The people of the affected region would be given the opportunity to demand a poll on the question of whether to grant or renew a casino premises licence. The result of this poll would be binding on the Casino Control Authority.
The committee has not yet considered the bill.

Health (Nick Aldous, SC-Health@parliament.govt.nz)
This week the committee heard further evidence from the Minister of Health and officials on the 2000/01 Health Estimates. Next week the committee will further consider these Estimates.

Justice and Electoral (Tracey Conlon, SC-JE@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met this week to consider a number of items of business. It will meet next week to consider the Referenda (Postal Voting) Bill and the Matrimonial Property Amendment Bill and Supplementary Order Paper No 25.

The committee has presented its reports on Vote Justice, Vote Treaty Negotiations, Vote Parliamentary Counsel and Vote Attorney-General.

The subcommittee met on Thursday to continue its consideration of the inquiry into matters relating to the visit of the President of China to New Zealand in 1999.

Law and Order (Wendy Proffitt, SC-LO@parliament.govt.nz)
This week the committee further considered Vote Police and Vote Corrections and the Truth in Sentencing Bill. It also heard evidence on Vote Serious Fraud. Next week the committee will consider Vote Serious Fraud and the Crimes Amendment Bill (No 6).

Local Government and Environment (David Bagnall, SC-LGE@parliament.govt.nz)
On Wednesday the committee spent most of the morning considering the Resource Management Amendment Bill and the Resource Management (Costs) Amendment Bill. In the afternoon the committee heard evidence on the Forests (West Coast Accord) Bill from David Hilliard, Chief Executive of Timberlands West Coast Limited, and from Sir Duncan McMullin, Chairperson of the New Zealand Conservation Authority.

On Thursday, the committee presented its report on the 2000/01 Estimate for Vote Environment. The report contains the following conclusions:

 Follow-up of the report of the ministerial advisory committee examining the protection of biodiversity in relation to private land management, overdue at the beginning of August, should be expedited.

 The Government should require closer collaboration between the Ministry of Fisheries and the Ministry for the Environment on sustainable fisheries management.

 The Ministry for the Environment should expedite work on a national register of contaminated sites and on the issue of retrospective liability for orphan sites.

 The Government should give priority to finalising regulations to enable the amended Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act and the new regulations to enter into effect simultaneously, and as soon as is practicable.

The committee also presented a short report on Vote Energy  Energy Efficiency and Conservation. As the governance arrangements and work plan for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (established as a Crown entity from July 2000) are yet to be finalised, the committee accepted the Estimate for this vote. However, the committee expects to receive briefings about these arrangements when they are completed later this year.

Next week, the committee will complete its examination of Vote Conservation and Vote Local Government, and will continue to consider the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Amendment Bill (No 2) and the Forests (West Coast Accord) Bill.

MMP Review (Louise Sparrer, SC-MMP@parliament.govt.nz)
Just over 240 submissions have been received. It is likely that the committee will travel to Auckland, Dunedin and Christchurch to hear submissions although a final decision on a schedule for this has yet to be made. Public hearings in Wellington will be heard in the Legislative Council Chamber in Parliament Buildings.

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)
The committee will meet briefly on Tuesday 8 August to further consider the 2000/01 Estimates for Vote Maori Affairs. The committee is still accepting late submissions on Te Ture Whenua Amendment Bill. The final submissions hearing date is likely to be 24 August and people still wishing to make submissions should ensure their arrival with the clerk of the committee by 14 August at 4.00 pm. Some amendments to the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993 are proposed in the Maori Purposes Bill currently being considered in the House. Should anyone wish to inform themselves of these amendments they can obtain a copy from Bennett's Government Bookshop or from the "Knowledge Basket" (www.knowledge-basket.co.nz), operated by Legislation Direct. There is a charge for electronic copy.

Primary Production (Bob Bunch, SC-PP@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met to further consider the four Estimates votes it is examining. It reported on Vote Agriculture and Forestry and Vote Fisheries while considering Votes Biosecurity and Vote Lands. The two inquiries currently underway, the inquiry into organic agriculture in New Zealand and the inquiry into the sale of the Property Services Division of Terralink New Zealand Limited to its former employees, were also on the agenda for consideration.

A member’s bill, the Foreign Fishing Crew Wages and Repatriation Bond Bill, was referred this week. The committee has decided to call for submissions on the bill. The deadline for submissions is 4 September. By amending the Fisheries Act 1996, the bill's purpose is to create a fund from a bond, or a guarantee of the equivalent money by way of an insurance policy so that financial assistance can be provided to members of crews stranded in New Zealand ports. The bond, or its guaranteed equivalent by way insurance, will cover a crew's wages and cost of return-home air travel for the crew, in the event that the operator, or notified user of the vessel becomes, while the vessel is fishing in New Zealand's fisheries waters, unable to continue paying the crew's wages, or to provide return transport for the crew.

Next Thursday, 10 August, the committee will further consider Vote Biosecurity and Vote Lands. It will also consider the inquiry into the sale of the Property Services Division of Terralink New Zealand Limited.

The hearings of evidence on the inquiry into organic agriculture in New Zealand commence on Thursday, 17 August 2000. The committee will be travelling to hear evidence. Dates confirmed at present are:

Thursday, 31 August, Auckland for submissions from the northern half of the North Island
Thursday, 7 September 2000 - Palmerston North for submissions from the southern half of the North Island except for the Wellington region
Thursday, 28 September 2000 - Christchurch for submissions from the southern half of the South Island

A date for proposed hearings in Nelson has yet to be confirmed. Details of venues and submissions to be heard will be notified in later press releases.
Privileges (Fay Paterson, SC-Privileges@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met on Thursday to consider the matter of privilege referred on 25 July relating to action initiated in the High Court concerning the West Coast (Forests Accord) Bill. The committee elected Hon Margaret Wilson as its Chairperson and Hon Doug Kidd as Deputy Chairperson.

Regulations Review (Shelley Banks, SC-RR@parliament.govt.nz)
On 1 August, the committee presented two reports to the House of Representatives.

The first is on an Investigation into the Biosecurity (Ruminant Protein Regulations) 1999 (I.16A). The purpose of the regulations is to manage the risk of New Zealand suffering an outbreak of the disease "transmissible spongiform encephalopathy" (TSE). A form of the disease, commonly known as mad cow disease, is believed to have spread in the United Kingdom from feeding ruminant protein in feed supplements to ruminant animals. The regulations ban the feeding of ruminant protein in any form to ruminant animals, such as cattle, sheep, deer, and goats.

“We fully recognise the desirability of regulating to protect New Zealand from the potential risk of an outbreak of TSE.” Committee Chairperson, Hon Doug Kidd said. “However, despite their essential general purpose, these regulations raise issues of constitutional importance,” Mr Kidd added. “The requirements of the law must be clear and certain. Some provisions of these regulations are so broadly drafted or imprecise in their requirements that the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has an unreasonable discretion in determining when and how the law will apply.”

“The Regulations Review Committee is concerned about the creation of absolute liability offences in the regulations, which is a very unusual step. There was also a failure to follow an appropriate consultation process for the regulations,” Mr Kidd said.

The second report is on an Investigation into six codes that are deemed to be codes of welfare under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 (I.16B). Each of the six codes was in force as a voluntary code immediately before the Animal Welfare Act 1999 (the Act) came into force on 1 January 2000. The codes contain minimum standards and recommendations for the welfare of circus animals, animals used in rodeo events, exhibit animals, pigs, broiler chickens and layer hens. Under the Act, the codes are given the status of regulations for a transitional period of up to three years. It is not an offence under the Act to breach a code of welfare, but it is a defence to a prosecution for a breach of the Act if a defendant can show that he or she has equalled or exceeded a minimum standard in a code of welfare.

“The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has asked us to excuse the fact that the codes are vaguely drafted and some minimum standards are uncertain because the existing voluntary codes were hastily adapted to fit the new structure of the Animal Welfare Act 1999,” Mr Kidd said. “That lack of clarity may have legal consequences for individuals against whom a prosecution under the Act may be brought. We urge the Government to implement our recommendation to complete a review of the codes by the end of the year,” Mr Kidd added.

The reports contain a number of recommendations to the Government, which is required to present responses to the House by 30 October 2000. The committee's reports are available for purchase from Bennetts Government Bookshops nation-wide.

Social Services (Tim Cooper, SC-SS@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee scheduled at short notice a further examination of Vote Child, Youth and Family Services this week. It questioned departmental officials particularly on the progress of the Residential Services Strategy. The committee also presented its combined report on Vote Employment Policy and Vote Work and Income. The reports on the remaining four votes before it must be presented by 14 August.

Next week (from 10.00 am to 12 noon on Wednesday in Room 11.03) the committee will receive a briefing on the administration of special benefits. It will hear evidence from Downtown Community Ministry and the Wellington People's Centre, and from the Department of Work and Income.

Transport and Industrial Relations (Lyn Main, SC-TI@parliament.govt.nz)
On 1 August the committee heard evidence on Vote Accident Insurance from the Minister for Accident Insurance, Hon Dr Michael Cullen. The Minister was accompanied by officials from the Ministry of Labour and the Accident Compensation Corporation, including the Chairperson, Hon David Caygill. The Minister drew attention to administrative and policy issues to be addressed by this portfolio, including the preparation of a second bill. This completes the committee’s examinations of the Estimates, which 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)
Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) No 37 relating to the Commerce Amendment Bill (15 September 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)

Primary Production
Foreign Fishing Crew Wages and Repatriation Bond Bill (4 September 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
ph: 471 9534, fax: 499 0486, or at carol.rankin@parliament.govt.nz

Compiled in the Select Committee Office, Office of the Clerk, 4 August 2000

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