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Select Committee Business 1-8 Dec

From 1 December to 8 December 2000
Committee meetings
There were 22 committee meetings, some of which were subcommittees. Two meetings were in Auckland. The remainder were in the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented (7)
Justice and Electoral
 Petition 1999/138 of Nigel Colin Christie

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
 1999/2000 financial review of the New Zealand Customs Service
 1999/2000 financial review of the Ministry of Defence

Social Services
 1999/2000 financial review of the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services

Government Administration
 1999/2000 financial review of the State Services Commission
 1999/2000 financial review of the Department of Internal Affairs

Intelligence and Security
(established pursuant to the Intelligence and Security Committee Act 1996)
 1999/2000 financial reviews of the Government Communications Security Bureau and the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service


Bills referred to select committees
The Cigarettes (Fire Safety) Bill was referred to the Government Administration Committee. This is a member’s bill in the name of Grant Gillon.

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 continued with its programme of 1999/2000 financial review examinations, hearing evidence from the Ministry of Economic Development on its performance, and current operations. The committee then gave consideration to Television New Zealand Limited and New Zealand Post Limited.

Next week the committee has no public sessions, but will consider further the 1999/2000 financial review of the Ministry of Economic Development, which must be reported before the first sitting day of next year. It will continue considering the financial reviews of Television New Zealand and New Zealand Post.

Education and Science (Clare Sullivan, SC-ES@parliament.govt.nz)
This week the committee heard evidence on the financial reviews 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 Auckland.

Finance and Expenditure (Graham Hill, SC-FE@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met on 6 December to hear evidence from the Governor of the Reserve Bank on the December Monetary Policy Statement and from the Minister of Revenue and the Commissioner of Inland Revenue on the 1999/2000 financial review of Inland Revenue. It also considered its inquiry into the powers and operations of the Auditor-General in relation to community trusts, and its inquiry into Jan and Murray Willis's taxation matters and related investigations by organisations other than the Inland Revenue Department.

At its next meeting on 13 December the committee will consider the 1999/2000 financial review of The Treasury and the Crown financial statements, and its inquiry into the powers and operations of the Auditor-General in relation to community trusts. It will also hear evidence on the Taxation (Beneficiary Income of Minors, Services-Related Payments and Remedial Matters) Bill.

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (David Sanders, SC-FD@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee heard evidence from the Australian High Commissioner in relation to its inquiry into New Zealand's economic and trade relationship with Australia.

The committee also considered its 1999/2000 financial reviews. The Ministry of Defence and the New Zealand Customs Service were reported pro forma. Next week there will be further consideration of the New Zealand Defence Force and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The committee also began consideration of the Volunteers Employment Protection Amendment Bill. The bill aims to provide some protection of employment for Territorial Force personnel who are involved in training and deployments overseas.

Government Administration (Louise Sparrer, SC-GA@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee continued 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 that commenced before the introduction of the bill).

The committee reported on its 1999/2000 financial reviews of the Department of Internal Affairs, and the State Services Commission.

The committee has called for public submissions on the Cigarettes (Fire Safety) Bill. The bill directs the New Zealand Standards Council to promulgate a cigarette safety standard, and provide a penalty for a breach of that standard. The bill seeks to reduce the risk of ignition presented by cigarettes. Cigarette fires cause an average of 20 deaths or injuries to members of the public and fire fighters each year in New Zealand. As the ignition source, in fires responsible for over 20 percent of all fire deaths, cigarettes are the nation’s largest single cause. An average of 600 fires a year is attributed to careless disposal of cigarettes.

The closing date for submission on the Cigarettes (Fire Safety) Bill is 30 March 2001. Please send 15 copies of your submission to Louise Sparrer, Clerk of the Government Administration Committee, Select Committee Office, Parliament Buildings, Wellington.

The committee heard 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.

The committee heard from ECPAT New Zealand, Calum Bennachie, the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards and the Catholic Women’s League of New Zealand. All the witnesses support the intent of the bill to protect children from sexual exploitation. There was also widespread support for a comprehensive review of censorship laws in New Zealand particularly given the proliferation of pornography arising from the growth of the internet. However, all the witnesses considered the bill was either unnecessary or needed significant amendment to avoid unintended consequences such as banning sex education material or scientific/medical works.

The committee will consider the bill further at its next meeting.

Health (SC-Health@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee is re-advertising for submissions on its inquiry into health strategies relating to cannabis use. The terms of reference for the inquiry are "To inquire into the most effective public health and health promotion strategies to minimise the use of and the harm associated with cannabis and consequently the most appropriate legal status of cannabis." Submissions close on 7 February 2001.

Justice and Electoral (Wendy Proffitt, SC-JE@parliament.govt.nz)
This week the committee considered 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.

Next week the committee will consider the inquiry into the Law Commission and the 1999/2000 financial reviews of the Ministry of Justice and the Crown Law Office. It will also hear evidence on the 1999/2000 financial review of the Legal Services Board.

Law and Order (Tracey Rayner, SC-LO@parliament.govt.nz)
Next week the committee will consider several 1999/2000 financial reviews and the Arms Amendment Bill (No. 2). It will also look at the petition of Michael Stove and others.

Local Government and Environment (David Bagnall, SC-LGE@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met on Wednesday to consider the Resource Management Amendment Bill and the committee's inquiry into the role of local government in meeting New Zealand's climate change target.

Next week the committee will continue its consideration of these two items, and will hear evidence in public on the 1999/2000 financial review of the Ministry for the Environment. The Secretary for the Environment and other senior officials from the ministry will be in attendance.

The subcommittee on Otorohanga Termites will also meet next week.

MMP Review (Louise Sparrer, SC-MMP@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met this week to consider its inquiry. This was the last meeting for the year.

Maori Affairs (Marcus Ganley, SC-MA@parliament.govt.nz)
On 7 December the committee heard evidence from Dr Simon Chapple, Dr Robert Alexander and Professor Mason Durie on Maori socio-economic disparity. This was followed by a briefing by officials from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and Te Puni Kokiri on auditing and monitoring of closing the gaps programmes. On Thursday, 14 December, the committee will receive a briefing from the Minister of Maori Affairs, Hon Parekura Horomia.

Officers of Parliament (Shelley Banks, SC-OP@parliament.govt.nz)
This week the committee considered advice from The Treasury on the 2001/02 Draft Budgets and Alterations to 2000/01 Appropriations of the Audit Office. This was the committee's last meeting for the year.

Primary Production (Bob Bunch, SC-PP@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met on Thursday, 7 December. It considered the Foreign Fishing Crew Wages and Repatriation Bond Bill, which was followed by two briefings. The first was from the Apple and Pear Export Permits Committee on the current situation on independent export permits in the pipfruit industry and the second was from the Minister of Fisheries’ office on the Government's recently launched Oceans Policy Initiative.

The committee considered the 1999/2000 financial review of Timberlands West Coast Limited. The committee will meet next Thursday, 14 December, to consider the Timberlands review as well as the 1999/2000 financial review of Land Information New Zealand and the inquiry into organic agriculture in New Zealand.

The subcommittee on organic agriculture in New Zealand also met this week to consider the inquiry. It will meet again on 12 December 2000 to progress the inquiry.

Social Services (Tim Cooper, SC-SS@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee focused on housing issues this week. It received a briefing from Housing New Zealand on the implementation of income-related rents, which came into force on 1 December 2000. It also heard evidence on the 1999/2000 financial review of the Ministry of Housing.

The committee has presented its report on the financial review of the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services. It covers issues such as increased notifications, workload pressures and relationships with other agencies. In its conclusion, the committee said: "We urge the Government to work with the department to address the wide range of fundamental issues identified in our report. We are very concerned that the department is working over capacity and that the only way to respond to pressures in certain areas is to reallocate resources. We acknowledge that the department provides a demand-driven service, but as the organisation charged with statutory care and protection of children and young people it must be sufficiently resourced to meet the demand."

Next week the committee will further consider the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Amendment Bill (No 3), and the 1999/2000 financial reviews of the department of Work and Income and the Ministry of Housing.


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)
Cigarettes (Fire Safety) Bill (31 March 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, 8 December 2000

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