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Select Committee Business

From 24 November to 1 December 2000
Committee meetings
There were 21 committee meetings and two site visits this week. Two committee meetings were outside Wellington. The remainder were in the Parliamentary complex.

Reports presented
Law and Order
 Crimes (Bribery of Foreign Public Officials) Amendment Bill (322-2A) (formerly part of the Crimes Amendment Bill (No 6))
 Petition 1999/140 of Terence O’Keefe and 38 others

Local Government and Environment
 Tauranga District Council (Route K Toll) Empowering Bill (43-2)

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
 New Zealand/Singapore Closer Economic Partnership Bill (75-1)
 International treaty examination of the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombing
 International treaty examination of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism

Maori Affairs
 Te Ture Whenua Maori Amendment Bill/Maori Land Amendment Bill (336-2)

Regulations Review
 Subordinate Legislation (Confirmation and Validation) Bill (78-1)

Government Administration
 1999/2000 financial review of the Lotteries Commission
 1999/2000 financial review of the Museum of New Zealand – Te Papa Tongarewa
 1999/2000 financial review of Government Property Services
 1999/2000 financial review of the Building Industry Authority
 1999/2000 financial review of the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs
 1999/2000 financial review of the Ministry of Culture and Heritage


Bills referred to select committees
No bills were referred.

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

Commerce (Alan Witcombe, SC-Commerce@parliament.govt.nz)
On Thursday, 7 December, the committee will give further consideration to the Commerce Amendment Bill from 9 am to 10 am. Following this item of business, the committee will hear evidence from the Ministry of Economic Development on its 1999/2000 financial review. The examination will also include scrutiny of Industry New Zealand and its activities during the period under review. This session will be open to the public and is scheduled for approximately two hours.

Education and Science (Clare Sullivan, SC-ES@parliament.govt.nz)
The meeting for Thursday was cancelled. Next week the committee will hear evidence on the financial review of the Education Review Office and the Ministry of Education. The subcommittee on the inquiry into student fees, loans, allowances and the overall resourcing of tertiary education heard evidence in Dunedin. Next week it will hear evidence in Auckland.

Finance and Expenditure (Graham Hill, SC-FE@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met on 22 November to hear evidence on its inquiry into Jan and Murray Willis's taxation matters and related investigations by organisations other than the Inland Revenue Department. The committee also received a briefing from Inland Revenue Department officials on the Taxation (Beneficiary Income of Minors, Services-Related Payments and Remedial Matters) Bill. At the next meeting on 6 December the committee will hear evidence from the Governor of the Reserve Bank on the December Monetary Policy Statement; consider the financial review of the Treasury and the Crown financial statements; consider its inquiry into the powers and operations of the Auditor-General in relation to community trusts; hear evidence on the Taxation (Beneficiary Income of Minors, Services-Related Payments and Remedial Matters) Bill; and consider the 1999/2000 financial reviews of the Audit Department and The Treasury.

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (David Sanders, SC-FD@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee presented its report on the New Zealand/Singapore Closer Economic Partnership Bill yesterday. The committee did not recommend any amendments. The bill is part of the Government's ratification process for the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement with Singapore that is due to come into effect on 1 January 2001.

The committee also reported on two international treaties that had been referred to it. The committee was briefed on the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings. The committee had no matters to draw to the attention of the House.

The committee was also briefed by the delegation of French parliamentarians presently in New Zealand.

Government Administration (Louise Sparrer, SC-GA@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee continued its consideration of the Crimes (Criminal Appeals) Amendment Bill. The purpose of the bill is to reform and clarify the case management procedure for dealing with criminal appeals in the Court of Appeal. The removal of the processing of legal aid applications from the Court of Appeal will change the way in which cases are handled by the Court. The bill also provides for the validation of Court of Appeal decisions under the current legislative framework (except for two proceedings, which commenced before the introduction of the bill).

The committee also has the Summit Road (Canterbury) Protection Bill. This is a local bill in the name of Hon David Carter. This bill provides for the consolidation and amendment of the law relating to the protection of the scenic amenities for the Summit Road and other roads in the Port Hills of Canterbury. The deadline for submissions on this bill is 31 January 2001.

The committee reported on its 1999/2000 financial reviews of the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, the Building Industry Authority, Government Property Services, the Museum of New Zealand – Te Papa Tongarewa, and the New Zealand Lotteries Commission.

Next week the committee is hearing evidence on the Films, Videos and Publications Classification (Prohibition of Child Pornography) Amendment Bill. This is a member’s bill in the name of Anne Tolley. The purpose of the bill is to provide the fullest protection possible for children in New Zealand’s censorship legislation. The bill amends the meaning of “objectionable” to provide a total and effective ban on any material dealing with sexual conduct by children or young persons, irrespective of the material’s intentions or effects, or the manner in which the conduct is dealt with in the particular publication. The effect of the amendment is that child pornography will constitute an exception to freedoms under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. Critics of the bill note that under the amended meaning of “objectionable”, all manner of academic, literary, scientific, medical, artistic, or other works that discuss the sexual conduct of children would be considered objectionable. This could include sex education materials or a documentary exposing the sexual exploitation of children. The Attorney-General has made a section 7 report on the bill, which states that the bill appears to be inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act 1990. Hearing of evidence on this bill is open to the public and starts at midday on 7 December.

Justice and Electoral (Wendy Proffitt, SC-JE@parliament.govt.nz)
This week the committee considered the inquiry into matters relating to the visit of the President of China to New Zealand in 1999. The committee also considered the Local Elections (Single Transferable Vote Option) Bill and the Prostitution Reform Bill. In addition, the Ministry of Justice appeared before the committee for the third time on the 1999/2000 financial review of the ministry.

Next week the committee will consider the 1999/2000 financial review of the Ministry of Justice, the Local Elections (Single Transferable Vote Option) Bill, the Inquiry into the Law Commission and the Inquiry into the 1999 General Election.

Law and Order (Tracey Rayner, SC-LO@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met on Thursday, 30 November.

The committee considered and presented a report on the Petition of Terence O'Keeffe and 38 others.

The committee considered the 1999/2000 financial reviews of the New Zealand Police, the Department of Corrections and the Serious Fraud Office. Also considered were the Habeas Corpus Bill and the Arms Amendment Bill (No 2).

The committee next meets on Thursday, 7 December, from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm.

Local Government and Environment (David Bagnall, SC-LGE@parliament.govt.nz)
On Tuesday the committee met to consider the Tauranga District Council (Route K Toll) Empowering Bill. The committee's report on this local bill was presented on Wednesday.

In its report, the committee noted its concerns about the way in which this bill has been brought to the House of Representatives. This is the third piece of legislation relating to tolls in Tauranga. It would have been preferable for overall legislation to have been introduced to consolidate Tauranga District Council's tolling legislation. The time frame expected by the council for the passage of the bill has been somewhat ambitious. The committee considers that neither extended rail-freight, nor public transport options have been seriously explored. Some members are concerned that there has been a lack of overall strategic planning for one of the country's fastest growing populations.

While the committee has some concerns about the way in which the council has been administering tolls in Tauranga, the committee understands that this road will not proceed in the near future without the further tolling authority set out in this bill. The local community is clearly in favour of the road. The committee has therefore recommended that the bill be passed, but has also recommended a number of amendments detailing ways in which the council must act transparently and be held accountable for the levying of tolls for Route K and the PJK Junction.

On Wednesday the committee received a briefing from Local Government New Zealand on the inquiry into the role of local government in meeting New Zealand's climate change target. Witnesses from this organisation, which represents the interests of territorial and local authorities, included Basil Morrison and Hon Margaret Shields, the new President and Vice-President, and John Hutchings, Strategy Leader. They outlined various ways in which local government contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Obstacles to local government fulfilling this role were discussed, as well as ways in which central Government could provide assistance.

The committee also discussed the Resource Management Amendment Bill, and then briefly heard evidence from the Manukau City Council on the Petition of Rosemary Godwin and others, which relates to properties contaminated with asbestos in East Tamaki.

Next Wednesday the committee will not be hearing evidence. It will continue its consideration of the Resource Management Amendment Bill and the Resource Management (Costs) Amendment Bill. There will also be further consideration of the inquiry into the role of local government in meeting New Zealand's climate change target.

Closing dates for submissions have been set for two local bills referred recently to the committee. Submissions on the Auckland Improvement Trust Amendment Bill will be received until the closing date of 8 February 2001. This bill relates to parts of Alten Road Reserve and Albert Park that include an historic air-raid tunnel shelter complex. Copies of the bill are available from Bennetts Government Bookshops.

The closing date for submissions on the Hawke's Bay Endowment Land Empowering Bill is 1 February 2001. This bill relates to land set aside for the Napier Harbour Board, and includes provisions for the land to be freed from endowment and made available for sale by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council or the Napier City Council. Copies of the bill are available from Bennetts Government Bookshops and may also be purchased through Beattie & Forbes Booksellers in Napier.

Maori Affairs (Marcus Ganley, SC-MA@parliament.govt.nz)
Next week the committee will be hearing evidence from Dr Simon Chapple, Dr Robert Alexander and Mason Durie on Maori socio-economic disparity. Following this the committee will receive a briefing from Te Puni Kokiri on its auditing and monitoring of closing the gaps programmes.

Officers of Parliament (Shelley Banks, SC-OP@parliament.govt.nz)
On 30 November, the committee (along with members from the Finance and Expenditure Committee) attended a site visit to the Office of the Controller and Auditor-General for a presentation on the Audit Office's Strategic Business Plan for 2001 to 2004. On 7 December the committee will receive advice from the Treasury on the Business Plan, leading in to the committee's consideration of the Draft Budget of the Audit Office for 2001/2002 and any alterations to the 2001/2001 appropriations for Vote Audit.

Primary Production (Bob Bunch, SC-PP@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee held hearings on Thursday morning on a variety of matters currently under consideration. The New Zealand Dairy Board briefed the committee on its strategy about organic dairying as part of the committee's inquiry into organic agriculture in New Zealand. This was followed by questioning of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry of Fisheries as part of their 1999/2000 financial review.

Earlier in the week the subcommittee on the inquiry into Organic Agriculture in New Zealand met on Tuesday to give further consideration to the inquiry.

Next week, on 7 December, the committee will consider the 1999/2000 financial reviews of Timberlands West Coast Limited and Land Information New Zealand, and the Foreign Fishing Crews Wages and Repatriation Bond Bill. It will also be briefed by the Government on the new oceans policy initiative and the Apple and Pear Export Permits Committee on pipfruit exports. Both briefings are open to the public.

The subcommittee on the inquiry into Organic Agriculture in New Zealand will also meet on 5 December to further consider the inquiry.

Regulations Review (Fiona McLean, SC-RR@parliament.govt.nz )
At its meeting on 29 November, the committee heard evidence on a complaint relating to the Survey (Departmental Fees and Charges) Regulations 1998 and Survey Regulations 1998. Evidence was heard from the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors. Any person or organisation can make a complaint to the committee if he or she is aggrieved at the operation of any regulation.

The committee also heard evidence from the Minister of Immigration, together with officials from the Department of Labour, in relation to the Immigration (Special Regularisation) Regulations 2000 SR 2000/187. These regulations allow for the regularisation of the immigration status of certain persons and their immediate family who are or become unlawfully in New Zealand on or before 30 March 2001 but who, by reason of personal circumstances, could be considered to be well-settled in New Zealand. The regulations provide the procedures for such people to apply for an initial temporary permit under a transitional immigration policy, and then for a residence permit under a special residence policy.

Social Services (Tim Cooper, SC-SS@parliament.govt.nz)
Next week the committee will hear evidence on the 1999/2000 financial reviews of Housing New Zealand and the Ministry of Housing.

Transport and Industrial Relations (Lyn Main, SC-TI@parliament.govt.nz)
At its meeting on Wednesday, 29 November, the committee received a briefing from the Land Transport Safety Authority (LTSA) on the Road Safety Strategy 2010. The National Road Safety Committee has released a consultation document on the strategy and has held a series of meetings around New Zealand.

The committee also heard evidence on the 1999/2000 financial review of the Department of Labour. The committee's questions focussed on workplace, health and safety, and immigration issues.

The committee is next meeting on Wednesday, 6 December. It has requested a briefing from LTSA on the issues concerning passenger service licensing and the removal of kiddilocks in taxis.


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

Commerce
Electronic Transactions Bill (1 February 2001)

Finance and Expenditure
Government Superannuation Fund Amendment Bill (15 December 2000)

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
International Treaties Bill (31 March 2001)

Government Administration
Inquiry into New Zealand’s adoption laws (31 January 2001)
Summit Road (Canterbury) Protection Bill (31 January 2001)

Health
Inquiry into health strategies relating to cannabis use (7 February 2001)
Medical Practitioners (Foreign Qualified Medical Practitioners) Amendment Bill (31 March 2001)

Justice and Electoral
Bay of Plenty Regional Council (Maori Constituency Empowering) Bill (12 February 2001)
Prostitution Reform Bill (26 February 2001)

Local Government and Environment
Auckland Improvement Trust Amendment Bill (8 February 2001)
Hawke’s Bay Endowment Land Empowering Bill (1 February 2001)

Maori Affairs
Tutae-Ka-Wetoweto Forest Bill (31 January 2001)

Primary Production
Inquiry into sustainable forestry management (23 January 2001)


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, 1 December 2000

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