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Select Committee Business 16-23 Feb 2001

Select Committee Business
From 16 to 23 February 2001
Committee meetings
There were 19 committee meetings this week. Eighteen of these were in the parliamentary complex. One meeting is currently in progress in Christchurch.

Reports presented (5)

Health
* 1999/2000 financial review of the Health Funding Authority

Finance and Expenditure
* Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s Monetary Policy Statement, December 2000

Government Administration
* Crimes (Criminal Appeals) Amendment Bill (76-2)

Law and Order
* Arms Amendment Bill (No 2) (312-1)

Transport and Industrial Relations
* 1999/2000 financial review of the Accident Compensation Corporation


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)
Next week the committee will continue to hear submissions on the Electricity Industry Bill. This hearing of evidence will take place on Tuesday, 27 February from 3.15 pm to 6 pm. At its normal meeting time on Thursday, 1 March the committee will hear evidence from the three State-owned retail power generators. Mighty River Power Limited, Meridian Energy Limited and Genesis Power Limited will be appearing as part of the committee's annual examination of their performance and current operations.

Transcripts of evidence taken by the committee from the Ministry of Economic Development, Television New Zealand Limited and New Zealand Post Limited late last year as part of the annual financial review cycle will be posted on the internet shortly. To view, go to programme/select committees/press releases at www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz.

Education and Science (Louise Gardiner, SC-ES@parliament.govt.nz)
This week the committee considered the 1999/2000 financial reviews of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, Specialist Education Services and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

The subcommittee inquiring into student fees, loans, allowances and the overall resourcing of tertiary education heard evidence in public from Treasury officials, and discussed Treasury's responses to written questions on to the inquiry. Some of the issues discussed include the details of projected student loan asset size, international comparisons of spending on tertiary education, and the effects of changes in the student loan interest write-off policy.

Next week the committee will conduct the public hearing of evidence on the 1999/2000 financial reviews of Industrial Research Limited and the New Zealand Institute for Crop and Food Research Limited.

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (David Sanders, SC-FD@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee heard the final oral submissions on the Volunteers' Employment Protection Amendment Bill at its meeting yesterday. The committee also heard a submission on its inquiry into New Zealand's economic and trade relationship with Australia. Further submissions on this inquiry will be heard at next week's meeting from 9.30 am to 11.30 am.

Government Administration (Louise Sparrer, SC-GA@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee concluded its consideration of the Crimes (Criminal Appeals) Amendment Bill and has reported, recommending it be passed with amendments. The committee believes the amendments it recommends provide an appellant whose appeal is set down for a hearing on papers with substantial safeguards that will ensure a fair and proper hearing.

The committee began hearing evidence on the inquiry into New Zealand’s adoption laws. Next week it will continue to hear evidence from submitters on the inquiry.

Today the committee is in Christchurch hearing evidence on the Summit Road (Canterbury) Protection Bill.

Health (Kia Paranihi, SC-Health@parliament.govt.nz)
On 28 February the committee will hear evidence on Hon Dr Nick Smith’s petition that questions Medical Council decisions on the registration of foreign-qualified health professionals.

Justice and Electoral (Wendy Proffitt, SC-JE@parliament.govt.nz)
This week the committee considered the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (Maori Constituency Empowering) Bill, for which hearings commence in Wellington on 28 February from 10.30 am. The committee will be travelling to Whakatane to hear submissions on the bill on 7 March, and to Auckland on 8 March. The committee also considered the Local Elections (Single Transferable Vote Option) Bill, the Inquiry into the 1999 General Election and the 1999/2000 financial review of the Legal Services Board.

Next week the committee also considers the Local Electoral Bill and the 1999/2000 financial review of the Legal Services Board. See below for submission closing dates.

Law and Order (Tracey Rayner, SC-LO@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met on Thursday, 22 February to consider the Arms Amendment Bill
(No 2). The committee presented its report on the bill the same day. The report can be viewed at www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz through the publications link. Excerpts from the chairperson’s press release follow:

“Despite unanimity amongst members on most of the issues in the report, the committee was unable to reach agreement about whether the bill should proceed.

“Opposition members believe that the bill should be discarded and that the advice in the report should be picked up by the Government. The Government members believe that the issue of firearms control is an important public issue and that the current bill, whilst deficient, could be used as an adequate vehicle for implementing measures to bring about better firearms control laws for New Zealand.

“The committee has recommended that the Government establish a working group to look at the issues raised by the bill, and those raised as a result of our consideration of the bill, before implementing any further firearms control strategies. The composition of any working group should include organisations representing firearms owners, as well as groups calling for tighter arms controls, mental health services and health professionals, the Department of Child, Youth, and Family Services, the Ministry of Social Policy, and the Police”.

The committee next meets on Thursday 1 March, from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm, to consider the Crimes Amendment Bill (No 6) and Supplementary Order Paper No 85, as well as the Habeas Corpus Bill.

Local Government and Environment (David Bagnall, SC-LGE@parliament.govt.nz)
On Wednesday the committee heard evidence on the petition of Rosemary Godwin, which relates to subdivided residential land in East Tamaki that has been found to be contaminated with asbestos. The committee heard evidence from representatives of a residents' group and also from Manukau City Council officials. The committee also considered the Resource Management Amendment Bill.

The committee will consider the Resource Management Amendment Bill and the Resource Management (Costs) Amendment Bill when it meets next Wednesday.

People or organisations wishing to make submissions on the Inquiry into the role of local government in meeting New Zealand's climate change target should do so by 15 March 2001. The committee's interim report on the inquiry is available at the following website address: http://www.gp.co.nz/wooc/i-papers/i9a-climate.html.

Maori Affairs (Marcus Ganley, SC-MA@parliament.govt.nz)
At its meeting on Thursday this week the committee heard evidence from Te Mangai Paho (the Maori Broadcasting Funding Agency) on its 1999/2000 financial review.

Next week the committee will receive its quarterly briefing from the Minister for Maori Affairs. This will be followed by a briefing from officials relating to Lake Ompare.

MMP Review (Louise Sparrer, SC-MMP@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met on Thursday to start its consideration phase of the review. Although the deadline for submissions has passed, the committee will continue to accept late submissions. Submissions must relate to the committee's terms of reference. These are:

(a) the effect of sections 35 and 36 of the Electoral Act 1993 (relating to the division of New Zealand into general electorates) on the operation of the electoral system,
(b) the provisions of the Electoral Act 1993 dealing with Maori representation,
(c) whether there should be a further referendum on changes to the electoral system,
(d) the appropriate number of members of Parliament, taking into account the results of the 1999 citizens initiated referendum on that issue,
(e) the extent to which party lists have resulted in better representation of women,
(f) the effectiveness of the current electoral system with respect to the representation of the tangata whenua and ethnic minorities, and
(g) any other matter relating to the electoral system.

The committee meets next week to continue its consideration of the issues raised in submissions. To date 284 submissions have been received.

Primary Production (Bob Bunch, SC-PP@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met on Thursday, 22 February to consider the Foreign Fishing Crew Wages and Repatriation Bond Bill. It then received a briefing from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment on his recent report, New Zealand under siege: a review of the management of biosecurity risks to the environment. This was followed by further consideration of the 1999/2000 financial reviews of: AgriQuality New Zealand Limited; Asure New Zealand Limited; Animal Products Limited; Crown Forestry Management Limited; and Landcorp Limited.

Next week the committee will hear evidence on the 1999/2000 financial review of AgriQuality New Zealand Limited and give further consideration to its inquiry into organic agriculture in New Zealand and the Foreign Fishing Crew Wages and Repatriation Bond Bill.

The committee is travelling to Canterbury on 8 March and Southland on 9 March to conduct site visits and hear evidence on its inquiry into sustainable forestry management.

Privileges (Fay Paterson, SC-Privileges@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee will meet on 1 March.

Regulations Review (Fiona McLean, SC-RR@parliament.govt.nz )
At its meeting on 21 February 2001, the committee heard evidence from the Ministry of Economic Development on the regulation-making powers in the Electricity Industry Bill. Amongst other things, the committee is considering whether the regulation-making powers in the bill may be inappropriately broad. The bill seeks to exclude the application of the Regulations (Disallowance) Act 1989, and it permits the Minister to make what appear to be very broad-ranging rules to regulate the electricity industry. The committee will continue hearing evidence from the Ministry of Economic Development on 28 February. Evidence will be heard from 3.15 pm to 4.30 pm and the meeting will be open to the public.

The Regulations Review Committee may consider any regulation-making power in a bill before another committee and report on it to the committee. The Commerce Committee is currently considering the Electricity Industry Bill.

Social Services (Tim Cooper, SC-SS@parliament.govt.nz)
Housing is a major focus for the committee at the moment. This week the committee began its consideration of the financial reviews of Housing New Zealand Limited and the Housing Corporation of New Zealand. Hearings of evidence on these reviews will take place later in March. The committee is also beginning its consideration of the Housing Corporation Amendment Bill, which brings together the Housing Corporation, Housing New Zealand and the housing policy unit of the Ministry of Social Policy in one new organisation - the Housing New Zealand Corporation.

Transport and Industrial Relations (Lyn Main, SC-TI@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee’s report on the 1999/2000 financial review of the Accident Compensation Corporation was presented on Thursday, 22 February. The committee, in its report, concluded:

“We are supportive of the increased emphasis on injury prevention and rehabilitation that ACC is making. We hope this leads to continuing downward trends in new claims and the number of long-term claimants.

“Customer satisfaction and staff satisfaction rates are below ACC's targets and we hope to see significant improvement in these rates next financial year.

“We are particularly concerned that some clients are being overcharged by ACC. We recommend that the Minister of Accident Insurance now address this problem of double charging.”

The committee will hear further evidence from the Transport Accident Investigation Commission on its 1999/2000 financial review on Wednesday, 28 February.


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

Commerce
New Zealand Guardian Trust Company Amendment Bill (2 March 2001)

Education and Science
Education Amendment Bill (No 2) (14 March 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 Bill (28 February 2001)
Statutes Amendment Bill (31 March 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
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
Inquiry into the role of local government in meeting New Zealand’s climate change target (15 March 2001)
Auckland Aotea Centre Empowering Amendment Bill (2 April 2001)
Taranaki Regional Council Empowering Bill (2 April 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

A compendium of 1999/2000 financial review reports of government departments and offices of Parliament had just been produced. It is available from Bennetts Government Bookshops. The reference number is I. 20B.

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, 23 February 2001


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