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Weekly Select Committee News - 29 Sept

From 22 September to 29 September 2000
Committee meetings
Being an adjournment week there were only four committee meetings, with just one of these in the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented
No reports were presented.

Bills referred to select committees
No bills were referred to select committees.

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

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (David Sanders, SC-FD@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee did not meet this week. However, it will have two meetings next week to hear submissions on the treaty examination of the Closer Economic Partnership agreement with Singapore. The meetings are currently scheduled on Tuesday, 3 October from 3.15pm - 6pm and Thursday, 5 October 9am - 1pm.

Government Administration (Fiona McLean, SC-GA@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee did not meet during the adjournment. The committee will next meet on Thursday, 5 October 2000 to commence consideration of an inquiry into New Zealand’s adoption laws. On 21 September 2000, the House resolved that the Government Administration Committee be instructed to inquire into New Zealand’s adoption laws with the following terms of reference:

To consider the Law Commission’s final report on the legal framework for adoption in New Zealand as set out in the Adoption Act 1955 and the Adult Adoption Information Act 1985, having regard to changes in attitudes towards adoption, including an increased focus on children’s interests and the unique character of New Zealand society, including Maori and other cultural values and needs;

To consider whether any other changes to the current law are desirable in light of issues arising from past adoption practices; and

To review the provisions of the Adoption (Intercountry) Act 1997 that allow for the approval of accredited organisations and the delegation of functions under the Act to those organisations and to recommend what changes to the adoption laws should be considered to better address contemporary social needs and to improve the operation of those laws.

At its next meeting, the committee will also continue its consideration of the Casino Control (Poll Demand) Amendment Bill. The closing date for submissions on this bill was 23 September 2000. The committee will also consider the Films, Videos and Publications Classification (Prohibition of Child Pornography) Amendment Bill. The committee has not yet resolved to call for submissions on this bill.

Justice and Electoral (Wendy Proffitt, SC-JE@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee did not meet this week. It will be meeting again next Wednesday to further consider its examination of the Matrimonial Property Amendment Bill and Supplementary Order Paper No 25. At that meeting it will also continue its consideration of the inquiry into the 1999 General Election.

The subcommittee will meet on Wednesday to further consider 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)
The committee did not meet this week. Next week it will continue to consider the Crimes Amendment Bill (No 6), the Arms Amendment Bill (No 2) and two petitions.

Maori Affairs (Kia Paranihi, SC-MA@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee will meet on 5 October to give consideration to Te Ture Whenua Maori Amendment Bill. On October 12 it will meet at Waitetoko marae approximately 10 kilometres north of Turangi to hear submissions on the Pouakani Claims Settlement Bill. This bill has an early reporting date of 6 November and submissions close next Friday, 6 October.

MMP Review (Louise Sparrer, SC-MMP@parliament.govt.nz)
Hearing of evidence on MMP continues this week with a meeting on 4 October in the Legislative Council Chamber. Those appearing at this meeting are Professor Jonathan Boston, and a number of individuals. Professor Boston will be providing comment on a possible constitutional reform agenda. He considers that some of New Zealand’s current constitutional arrangements are not well suited to an MMP environment. In particular the arrangements for the formation and termination of governments, the calling of early elections, and the term of Parliament. Professor Boston notes that Proportional Representation systems tend to enhance the likelihood of coalition/minority governments that are not always as stable as majority/single party governments. He has provided examples of constitutional conventions from other countries (principally Scandinavian) designed to enhance stability and durability within coalition/minority governments. The committee will also meet with Professor Andrew Reynolds, a noted international commentator on electoral systems. The meeting commences at 8.00am.

Primary Production (Bob Bunch, SC-PP@parliament.govt.nz)
The Primary Production Committee travelled to Lincoln University in Canterbury on Thursday, 28 September 2000 to hear evidence on its inquiry into organic agriculture. Included in the submissions heard were:

Heinz Watties Australasia
New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research Ltd
Arable Food Industry Council
Organic Products Exporters Group
The Green Party of Aotearoa
Ecological Foundation

Following the hearings, the committee went on a site visit to the university’s organic Kowhai Farm and Biological Husbandry Unit.

Next week on 5 October 2000, the committee will hear evidence on the Foreign Fishing Crew Wages and Repatriation Bond Bill, a private member’s bill in the name of Graham Kelly, and also consider its organic agriculture inquiry.

Social Services (Tim Cooper, SC-SS@parliament.govt.nz)
Next week the committee will receive a briefing from the Ministry of Youth Affairs on New Zealand's conformity to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. This is part of the committee’s consideration of petition about the rights of fathers and children in family law. The committee will also finish hearing evidence on the Student Loan Scheme Amendment Bill.

Closing dates for submissions on bills
Committees are receiving submissions on the following items with the closing date shown:

Chartered Professional Engineers of New Zealand Bill (27 October 2000)

Education and Science
Apprenticeship Training Bill (24 October 2000)

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

Inquiry into health strategies relating to cannabis use (7 February 2001)

Maori Affairs
Pouakani Claims Settlement Bill (6 October)

Social Services
Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Amendment Bill (No 3) (20 October 2000)
Social Security Amendment Bill (13 October 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

Compiled in the Select Committee Office, Office of the Clerk, 29 September 2000

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