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Weekly Select Committee News Bulletin - 9/2/2001

SELECT COMMITTEE BUSINESS
From 2 February to 9 February 2001
Committee meetings
There were no committee meetings this week.

Reports presented (1)
Commerce
„h Commerce Amendment Bill (296-2)

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

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 Friday, 2 February the committee presented its report on the Commerce Amendment Bill. The bill amends the Commerce Act 1986. It aims to assist general deterrence by clarifying when certain offences are illegal, increasing the likelihood that offences will be detected, making offending profitless both for bodies corporate and their agents, and halting anti-competitive conduct at an early stage by signalling more use of interim injunctions.

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

„h a new purpose statement promoting competition for the long-term benefit of New Zealand consumers
„h omission of clause 3, which would have expanded the range of conduct deemed to substantially lessen competition
„h putting greater emphasis on penalising individual offenders
„h providing that if the plaintiff proved each of the three elements of section 29, the defendant would have an opportunity to prove the arrangement was, nevertheless, not anti-competitive
„h narrowing the scope of the prohibition on indemnities in the bill to relate to price fixing offences only
„h providing for alternative pecuniary penalties based on a multiple of the illegal gain or a percentage of turnover
„h (by majority) increasing the possible maximum amount of pecuniary penalties that may be imposed on bodies corporate from $5 million to $10 million.

The committee was unable to reach agreement on the followings matters:

„h replacing the prohibition against the use of a dominant position in a market with much of the language in the equivalent Australian provision, including a new lower threshold of "substantial degree of power in a market" (section 36)
„h clarifying the effect of section 36 by replacing "use" with "take advantage of" and to make clear that anti-competitive intent can be inferred from behaviour
„h replacing the "dominance" threshold for mergers and acquisitions with the equivalent Australian threshold, which is "substantially lessening competition" (section 47)
„h empowering the Commerce Commission to issue cease and desist orders (proposed new sections 74A to 74D)
„h exempting the Commerce Commission from the requirement to give undertakings as to damages where the Commerce Commission applies for an interim injunction (proposed new section 88A).

The report is available from Bennetts Government Bookshops or can be accessed via a link at the top of the publications page at www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz.

The committee is inviting public submissions on the New Zealand Guardian Trust Company Amendment Bill (a private bill). The closing date for submissions is 2 March 2001. The purpose of the bill is to reinstate New Zealand Guardian Trust Limited's statutory authorisation to transact business with its parent company and the parent company's subsidiaries and associated companies. Copies of the bill can be purchased from Bennetts Government Bookshops.

The committee has adopted and released transcripts of evidence taken from Television New Zealand Limited and New Zealand Post Limited following hearings held on 9 November 2000. The hearings formed part of the committee's examination of the 1999/2000 financial review of the two State enterprises.

Finance and Expenditure (Graham Hill, SC-FE@parliament.govt.nz)
At its meeting on 14 February 2001, the committee will hear submissions on the Budget Policy Statement 2001. The submissions will be heard from 10.15 am to 11.00 am and the meeting is open to the public.

Government Administration (Louise Sparrer, SC-GA@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee is to meet on Tuesday, 13 February to continue its consideration of the Crimes (Criminal Appeals) Amendment Bill, and the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification (Prohibition of Child Pornography) Amendment Bill.

The committee also meets on Thursday, 15 February 2001 to consider the financial performance of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for the 1999/2000 year. Sir Selwyn Cushing, Chairman of the NZSO¡¦s Board and Chief Executive, Ian Fraser are to appear before the committee to give evidence on the orchestra¡¦s performance.

Health (Kia Paranihi, SC-Health@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee set a closing date for submissions on the Smoke-free Environments (Enhanced Protection) Amendment Bill for 23 April this year.

Programming of hearings to examine a number of hospitals health services as part of the financial review process is yet to be finalised. Hearings on the committee's inquiry into health strategies relating to cannabis are also yet to be finalised.

Coming up for consideration are the Criminal Justice Amendment Bill (No 7) and Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care) Bill.

Justice and Electoral (Wendy Proffitt, SC-JE@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee¡¦s first meeting for the year is on 14 February. At that meeting it will consider the Local Elections (Single Transferable Vote Option) Bill and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (Maori Constituency Empowering) Bill. The committee will also consider its inquiries into the 1999 General Election and into the Law Commission, and the 1999/2000 financial review of the Legal Services Board.

Law and Order (Tracey Rayner, SC-LO@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee next meets on Thursday 15 February 2001, from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm, to consider the Arms Amendment Bill (No 2).

Submissions on Supplementary Order Paper No 85 (the SOP) to the Crimes Amendment Bill (No 6) (the bill), close on Friday, 9 February 2001. The report on the bill and the SOP is due by 31 May 2001.

Local Government and Environment (David Bagnall, SC-LGE@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee did not meet this week. Next week the committee will consider the Resource Management Amendment Bill on Wednesday morning.

Regulations Review (Fiona McLean, SC-RR@parliament.govt.nz )
At its meeting on 14 February 2001, the committee will hear evidence from the Ministry of Economic Development on the regulation-making powers in the Electronic Transactions Bill, currently before the Commerce Committee. The evidence will be heard from 3.30 pm to 4.00 pm and the meeting is open to the public. The committee may consider any regulation-making power in a bill before another committee and report on it to that committee.

Transport and Industrial Relations (Lyn Main, SC-TI@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee is meeting on Wednesday, 14 February to hear evidence on the 1999/2000 financial review of Accident Compensation Corporation.


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

Commerce
Electricity Industry Bill (14 February 2001)
New Zealand Guardian Trust Company Amendment Bill (2 March 2001)

Education and Science
Education Amendment Bill (No 2) (14 March 2001)

Finance and Expenditure
New Zealand Superannuation Bill (9 February 2001)

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

Government Administration
Cigarettes (Fire Safety) Bill (31 March 2001)
Civil Defence Emergency Management (28 February 2001)

Health
Medical Practitioners (Foreign Qualified Medical Practitioners) Amendment Bill (31 March 2001)
Smoke-free Environments (Enhanced Protection) Amendment Bill (23 April 2001)

Justice and Electoral
Bay of Plenty Regional Council (Maori Constituency Empowering) Bill (12 February 2001)
Prostitution Reform Bill (26 February 2001)
Local Electoral Bill (26 February 2001)
Victims¡¦ Rights Bill and Supplementary Order Paper No 112 (12 March 2001)

Local Government and Environment
Local Government (Elected Member Remuneration and Trading Enterprise) Amendment Bill (19 February 2001)
Inquiry into the role of local government in meeting New Zealand¡¦s climate change target (15 March 2001)

Law and Order
Supplementary Order Paper No 85 (the SOP) to the Crimes Amendment Bill (No 6) (9 February 2001)

Social Services
Housing Corporation Amendment Bill (23 February 2001)

Transport and Industrial Relations
Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation Bill (23 March 2001)
Civil Aviation Amendment Bill (2 March 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
at carol.rankin@parliament.govt.nz

Compiled in the Select Committee Office, Office of the Clerk, ¡K 2001

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