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Weekly Select Committee News - 6 October

SELECT COMMITTEE BUSINESS
From 29 September to 6 October 2000
Committee meetings
There were 19 committee meetings, all in the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented

Commerce
 Business Law Reform Bill (319-2)

Bills referred to select committees
The Crimes Amendment Bill was referred to the Law and Order Committee with a report due by 13 November 2000.

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 Monday, 2 October 2000 the Commerce Committee presented its report on the Business Law Reform Bill.

The bill contains various amendments to a number of business law statutes and as referred was divided into nine separate parts. Most of the amendments contained in the bill are based upon suggestions from business law practitioners, enforcement agencies, and the wider business community. The bill also includes still outstanding recommendations of the Company Law Monitoring Group.

The committee recommended a number of changes to the bill, including:

 subjecting certain reports and communications of liquidators and receivers to absolute privilege in the context of their duty to report on suspected offences

 addition of a substantial new part relating to the Personal Property Securities Act 1999

 addition of a new part relating to the Receiverships Act 1993

 widening the pool of potential candidates for membership of the Securities Commission

 a threshold test for transfer of members or beneficiaries under the Superannuation Schemes Act 1989

 removal of one clause with controversial policy content

 a number of minor or technical amendments

 addition of two new schedules replacing the existing schedules to the Personal Property Securities Act 1999 incorporating amended definitions.

At its meeting this week the committee heard evidence on the Commerce Amendment Bill and Supplementary Order No 37. Organisations submitting included Russell McVeagh, Chapman Tripp, the Retail Merchants Association and the Commerce Commission. Next week the committee will continue its hearings on the bill and supplementary order paper with a three-hour meeting scheduled for Thursday morning, 12 October from 10.00 am.

Finance and Expenditure (Graham Hill, SC-FE@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met on 4 October to hear evidence from the Governor of the Reserve Bank on the August Monetary Policy Statement and consider further the Public Audit bill. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister for Revenue also gave evidence on the Government's progress in implementing recommendations from the previous Finance and Expenditure Committee's inquiry into the powers and operations of the Inland Revenue Department. At its next meeting on 11 October the committee will hear evidence on the Taxpayers' Charter Bill.

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (David Sanders, SC-FD@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met twice this week to hear submissions on the Closer Economic Partnership agreement with Singapore. The committee will be considering this treaty as its sole item of business at its next meeting on 12 October.

Government Administration (Fiona McLean, SC-GA@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee has resolved to call for public submissions on the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification (Prohibition of Child Pornography) Amendment Bill. The bill is intended to restore the fullest protection for children in New Zealand’s censorship legislation. The bill proposes to amend the meaning of “objectionable” in section 3 of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993, in response to the December 1999 decision of the Court of Appeal in Moonen v Film and Literature Board of Review. This amendment would mean that, where children are involved, and the Classification Office and the Film and Literature Board of Review on the facts judge the material to be pornographic, no further inquiry ought to be called for under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. The effect of the amendment is that child pornography will again constitute an exception to freedoms under the Bill of Rights and be subject to a total, and effective, ban.

The closing date for submissions on the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification (Prohibition of Child Pornography) Amendment Bill is 15 November 2000. Please send 20 copies of your submission to Fiona McLean, Clerk of the Government Administration Committee, Select Committee Office, Parliament Buildings, Wellington.

The committee commenced consideration of the inquiry into New Zealand’s adoption laws and continued its consideration of the Casino Control (Poll Demand) Amendment Bill.

Health (Nick Aldous, SC-Health@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee is hearing evidence on the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Bill. The bill makes significant structural changes to the public health system. The next public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, 11 October, from 10.00 am at Parliament House.

Justice and Electoral (Wendy Proffitt, SC-JE@parliament.govt.nz)
This week the committee considered the Matrimonial Property Amendment Bill and Supplementary Order Paper No 25, and related petitions. It also considered the Inquiry into the 1999 General Election. The committee commenced consideration of the 1999/2000 financial reviews.

Next week the committee will continue to consider the Matrimonial Property Amendment Bill, SOP 25 and related petitions. It will also consider the De Facto Relationships (Property) Bill. In addition, the committee will consider the 1999/2000 financial reviews, the Inquiry into the 1999 General Election and the Local Elections (Single Transferable Vote Option) Bill.

Law and Order (Wendy Proffitt, SC-LO@parliament.govt.nz)
The Crimes Amendment Bill was referred to the committee on 3 October 2000 with a report back date of 13 November 2000. The purpose of the bill is to bring New Zealand legislation into full compliance with ILO Convention 182 Concerning the Worst Forms of Child Labour. The bill will amend the Crimes Act 1961 by:
 creating a new domestic offence of engaging in sexual activity with a prostitute under the age of 18 years
 amending section 149 of the Act (relating to procuring for prostitution) to make it gender neutral and broaden the type of sexual acts to which it applies
 amending section 98 of the Act to provide a more general ban on debt-bondage and serfdom.

The closing date for submissions is 18 October 2000. Those wishing to appear before the committee to speak to their submissions are asked to contact the Clerk of the Committee prior to sending their submissions, as hearings will be held on Thursday, 19 October 2000.

This week the committee also considered the Crimes Amendment Bill (No 6) and the Arms Amendment Bill (No 2), and three petitions.

Next week the committee will commence hearing submissions on the Habeas Corpus Bill. It will also further consider the Crimes Amendment Bill (No 6) and the Arms Amendment Bill (No 2).

MMP Review (Louise Sparrer, SC-MMP@parliament.govt.nz)
Hearing of evidence on MMP continues with two meetings next week. The meetings will take place in G.006 from 8.00 am. Those appearing are individuals representing a wide range of views on MMP. The committee travels to Dunedin and Christchurch on 16 October to hear further evidence.

Primary Production (Bob Bunch, SC-PP@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee heard evidence on the Foreign Fishing Crew Wages and Repatriation Bond Bill at its meeting on Thursday, 5 October 2000. The bill is a member's bill in the name of Graham Kelly MP. Evidence was heard from the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council, Ngai Tahu Fisheries, the New Zealand Fishing Vessel Owner's Association, and Te Ohu Kai Moana. The committee also considered its inquiry into the sale of Property Services Division of Terralink New Zealand Limited.

The committee will commence hearing evidence on Thursday, 12 October, on the inquiry into the sale of Property Services Division of Terralink New Zealand Limited. The committee will also consider its inquiry into organic agriculture in New Zealand

Regulations Review (Shelley Banks, SC-RR@parliament.govt.nz )
The committee has called for public submissions on an inquiry into regulation-making powers that authorise international treaties to override any provisions of New Zealand enactments. The closing date for submissions is 17 November 2000. The terms of reference of the inquiry are, to examine:

 the circumstances in which regulation-making powers that authorise international treaties to override any provisions of New Zealand enactments have been used

 alternative means of implementing international treaties into New Zealand law by regulations that do not authorise the provisions of a treaty to override any provisions of New Zealand enactments

 whether it is appropriate to enact regulation-making powers to implement international treaties into New Zealand law, notwithstanding the provisions of any other enactment

 general principles for identifying if and when it is appropriate to enact regulation-making powers that authorise international treaties to override any provisions of New Zealand enactments

 what limits should be imposed on prescribing regulations to implement international treaties by overriding any provisions of New Zealand enactments.

Social Services (Tim Cooper, SC-SS@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee received a briefing from the Ministry of Youth Affairs on New Zealand's conformity to the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCROC). The ministry expanded on the parts of the convention that related particularly to family law legislation. The committee also finished hearing evidence on the Student Loan Scheme Amendment Bill. Next week the committee will make progress on three bills currently before it:

The Social Welfare (Transitional Provisions) Amendment Bill
The Social Security Amendment Bill
The Student Loan Scheme Amendment Bill

The committee will also begin to consider the financial review of the Ministry of Social Policy.

Transport and Industrial Relations (Lyn Main, SC-TI@parliament.govt.nz)
On Wednesday 4 October the committee heard evidence from Robert Shaw, a chief petitioner of one of three petitions before the committee urging the construction of the Transmission Gully road. The committee plans to hear further evidence on these petitions on Wednesday 11 October.

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

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

Education and Science
Apprenticeship Training Bill (24 October 2000)

Finance and Expenditure
Inquiry into the preparation of the 2001 Budget Policy Statement (3 November 2000)

Government Administration
Films, Videos, and Publications Classification (Prohibition of Child Pornography) Amendment Bill (15 November 2000)

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

Law and Order
Crimes Amendment Bill (18 October 2000)

Maori Affairs
Pouakani Claims Settlement Bill (6 October)

Regulations Review
Inquiry into regulation-making powers that authorise international treaties to override any provisions of New Zealand enactments (17 November 2000)

Social Services
Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Amendment Bill (No 3) (20 October 2000)
Social Security Amendment Bill (13 October 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
at carol.rankin@parliament.govt.nz

Compiled in the Select Committee Office, Office of the Clerk, 6 October 2000

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