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Select Committee Business 9-16 March

Select Committee Business
From 9 to 16 March 2001
Committee meetings
There were 20 committee meetings and one site visit. Three meetings were outside Wellington.

Reports presented (7)
Finance and Expenditure
„h Taxation (Beneficiary Income of Minors, Services-Related Payments and Remedial Matters) Bill (70-2)
„h Budget Policy Statement 2001 (I. 3B)

Maori Affairs
„h 1999/2000 financial review of Te Reo Whakapuaki Irirangi

Transport and Industrial Relations
„h 1999/2000 financial review of the Transport Accident Investigation Commission
„h 1999/2000 financial review of the New Zealand Railways Corporation
„h 1999/2000 financial review of R Corporation
„h 1999/2000 financial review of the Land Transport Safety Authority of New Zealand

Bills referred to select committees
The New Zealand Stock Exchange Restructuring Bill (a private bill) was referred to the Finance and Expenditure Committee.

The Electoral Amendment Bill (No 2) was referred to the Justice and Electoral Committee.

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 met twice. On Tuesday it continued hearing evidence on the Electricity Industry Bill. On Thursday the committee heard evidence from Solid Energy New Zealand Limited, Radio New Zealand Limited and New Zealand On Air as part of its annual examination of their 1999/2000 financial reviews.

Next week the committee will again meet twice. It will begin the consideration phase of the Electricity Industry Bill on Tuesday. It should also be noted, however, that the Minister of Energy, Hon Pete Hodgson, will give evidence in public session from 5.15 pm to 6.00 pm on the bill the same day.

On Thursday the committee will hear evidence from Transpower New Zealand Limited as part of the 1999/2000 financial review. Under a separate item of the business, the committee will also question Transpower New Zealand Limited, following the financial review hearing, on the Electricity Industry Bill. Transpower has already appeared before the committee to present its submission, but has been called back to allow members more time to question the company. The committee will also commence consideration of the Takeovers Code (Implementation and Enforcement) Bill.

Education and Science (Louise Gardiner, SC-ES@parliament.govt.nz)
This week the committee conducted hearings of evidence in the 1999/2000 financial reviews of the Specialist Education Service and Early Childhood Development.

Wednesday 14 March was the closing date for submissions on the Education Amendment Bill (No. 2). The committee will begin hearing evidence shortly.

Finance and Expenditure (Tim Cooper, SC-FE@parliament.govt.nz)
This week the committee heard evidence from the Governor of the Reserve Bank on his just-released March Monetary Policy Statement. The committee questioned Dr Brash on his decision to reduce the Official Cash Rate to 6.25 percent. The committee then questioned officials from the Overseas Investment Commission on its procedures for approving overseas investment in New Zealand. The committee heard evidence on the Government Superannuation Fund Amendment Bill and further considered the 1999/2000 financial review of the Public Trust Office.

Next week the committee will meet to consider various items: the 1999/2000 financial review of the Public Trust Office, the Government Superannuation Fund Amendment Bill and the Public Trust Bill.

Government Administration (Lesley Ferguson, SC-GA@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee has resolved to undertake an inquiry into the operation of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993. The committee intends to seek public submissions on this inquiry.

This week the committee travelled to Christchurch and Auckland to hear evidence on the inquiry into New Zealand¡¦s adoption laws and the Civil Defence Emergency Management Bill. It has now concluded hearings on the adoption inquiry.

Next week the committee is to hear evidence from Tourism New Zealand and the Hillary Commission for Sport, Fitness and Leisure on the 1999/2000 financial review. It will also hear further evidence on the Civil Defence Emergency Management Bill.

Health (Kia Paranihi, SC-Health@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee has completed its 1999/2000 financial review hearings of Auckland Healthcare, Good Health Wanganui, Mid Central Health, Northland Health, Lakeland Health, West Coast Healthcare and Southern Health. Still to be heard is Taranaki Healthcare. This is scheduled for 21 March.

The closing date for submissions on the Medical Practitioners Bill comes up at the end of this month (31 March) and April 23 remains, at this point, the closing date for submissions on the Smoke-free Environments (Enhanced Protection) Amendment Bill.

Justice and Electoral (Wendy Proffitt, SC-JE@parliament.govt.nz)
This week the committee considered the Local Elections (Single Transferable Vote Option) Bill. It also heard the last submissions on the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (Maori Constituency Empowering) Bill and continued hearing submissions on the Local Electoral Bill.

Next week the committee will continue to consider the Local Elections (Single Transferable Vote Option) Bill and hear submissions on the Local Electoral Bill. It will also consider the Prostitution Reform Bill and the Victims' Rights Bill (along with Supplementary Order Paper No 112 relating to the bill).

The committee is currently calling for submissions on the Electoral Amendment Bill (No 2). This bill is intended to streamline electoral enrolment and improve the administration of General Elections. The closing date is yet to be notified.

Among the significant changes being proposed to the administration of General Elections are the following:

„h There will be continuous enrolment of voters, meaning that voters will not have to re-enrol at each election.
„h The count will be simplified, with the count of special votes starting before close of polls on Election Day.
„h Public opinion polls will be banned for the 28 days before a General Election.
„h For the first time people on the Maori roll will be able to vote in every polling place.
„h Officials will be authorised to release electoral information to create comprehensive and accurate registers of members for iwi and Maori organisations.
„h There will be a new regional management structure to help improve election administration.

The committee is currently accepting submissions. Submitters should send 20 copies of their submissions to the Clerk of Committee, Justice and Electoral Committee, Bowen House, Parliament Buildings, Wellington. For more information, call Wendy Proffitt on (04) 471-9539, or e-mail as above.

Law and Order (Tracey Rayner, SC-LO@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met on Thursday,15 March. The sessions were open to the public during hearings of evidence on the Crimes Amendment Bill (No 6) (the bill) and Supplementary Order Paper No 85 relating to the bill.

Oral submissions were made by Telecom, Vodafone, Telstra Saturn, the Privacy Commissioner, New Zealand Law Society, Internet Society of New Zealand, Law Commission, the Churches' Agency on Social Issues, the Peace Council of Aotearoa New Zealand, New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties, Auckland Council for Civil Liberties, Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, Environment and Conservation Organisation of New Zealand, GATT Watchdog, Peace Foundation, Anti-Bases Campaign, Indonesia Human Rights Committee, Rangitauira & Co, Barristers & Solicitors, and a number of individual submitters

The committee next meets on Thursday , 22 March. From 10.00 am to 10.30 am the meeting will be open to the public during a hearing of evidence from the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions on the Crimes Amendment Bill (No 6) and Supplementary Order Paper No 85. The remainder of the session will be closed to the public during consideration of the Habeas Corpus Bill, the petition of John Louis Dean and three others, and the Degrees of Murder Bill.

Local Government and Environment (David Bagnall, SC-LGE@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee travelled to Napier on Wednesday to hear evidence on the Hawke's Bay Endowment Land Empowering Bill. Submissions were heard from the promoters of the bill, the Hawke's Bay Regional Council and the Napier City Council, who are seeking to have certain (mainly residential) leasehold land freed from its status as endowment land. The Napier Leaseholders Association and Napier Leaseholders Mutual Benefit Company presented evidence, as did the Westshore Residents and Development Association.

Next week the committee will hear evidence on the financial review of the Environmental Risk Management Authority. The Chairperson and Chief Executive of the authority will attend as witnesses. The committee will then consider the Resource Management (Costs) Amendment Bill.

Maori Affairs (Marcus Ganley, SC-MA@parliament.govt.nz)
This week the committee heard evidence from the Secretary of Education on its inquiry into the mainstreaming of services to Maori, which is focussing initially on the Ministry of Education. Following this it heard evidence from the Maori Trustee as part of its inquiry into the operations and performance of the Maori Trustee.

Next week the committee will have two meetings. On Thursday, 22 March, the committee will meet in Wellington. At this meeting it will receive a briefing from Hon Steve Maharey as Chair of the Cabinet Social Equity Committee as part of the inquiry into the mainstreaming of services to Maori. On Friday, 23 March, the committee will travel to Kaikohe to have hearings on its inquiry into the possible collapse of Lake Omapere. Following the hearings at the Mid North Motor Inn from 10.30 am to 1.00 pm the committee will visit the lake itself.

MMP Review (Louise Sparrer, SC-MMP@parliament.govt.nz)
As part of its review of MMP, the MMP Review Committee commissioned UMR Insight Limited to undertake a study on public attitudes towards MMP. This comprised 10 discussion groups throughout the country, 20 in-depth interviews with people from a wide range of backgrounds, and a national telephone survey all aimed at exploring current perceptions to and understanding of MMP in some detail.

The committee has released the results, which are interesting, to encourage more debate and discussion on MMP and the electoral system in general.

An executive summary has been prepared, which summarises the key findings of the polling research. It covers issues such as the level of interest in electoral issues, the level of knowledge, overall views of MMP including people¡¦s expectations, the plusses and minuses, and how it rates compared with the First-Past-the Post system. The research also tested people¡¦s impressions on whether or not MMP has made a difference to the way parties and governments operate.

In addition to this research, which took place at the end of last year, the committee commissioned UMR Insight to ask a specific question about MMP in its February omnibus survey. The question that was asked was ¡§Should we stay with MMP as it is, keep it but make some changes, or change to another electoral system altogether?¡¨ The results of that survey are also included in the executive summary. This can be viewed at www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz in the publications section.

Primary Production (Bob Bunch, SC-PP@parliament.govt.nz)
This week, the committee met on Thursday, 15 March, while its subcommittee on the organic inquiry met on 13 and 15 March.

The committee heard evidence from Asure New Zealand Limited on its 1999/2000 financial review and from the Seafood Industry Council on the Foreign Fishing Crew Wages and Repatriation Bond Bill. It also considered its inquiries into organic agriculture and sustainable forestry management.

Next week the committee is receiving a briefing from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry about the latest biosecurity measures being implemented by the Government. It will further consider the Foreign Fishing Crew Wages and Repatriation Bond Bill and its inquiry into organic agriculture in New Zealand. If possible, the committee will also commence hearing evidence on the Fisheries (Remedial Issues) Amendment Bill, but that will depend on submissions received, the deadline for which is Monday 19 March.

Regulations Review (Fiona McLean, SC-RR@parliament.govt.nz )
The committee met on Wednesday, 14 March. It heard evidence on its inquiry into regulation-making powers that authorise international treaties to override any provisions of New Zealand enactments. The committee may consider any matter relating to regulations and report on it to the House.

The committee heard evidence from the Law Commission, the New Zealand Law Society, the Legislation Advisory Committee, and from a member of the Faculty of Law at the University of Waikato. Submitters raised a number of concerns about the constitutionality of these regulation-making powers.

The committee will next meet on Wednesday, 21 March. It will be hearing further evidence on its inquiry at that meeting. Evidence will be heard from 3.15 pm to 4.30 pm and is open to the public.

Transport and Industrial Relations (Lyn Main, SC-TI@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee has been hearing evidence on two bills dealing with aviation issues: the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill and the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill (No 2). Hearings will continue next Wednesday on the second bill, which is due to be reported back by 27 April 2001. This bill provides new provisions for the regulation of medical certification, and the committee has been hearing evidence mainly from doctors, pilots and others in the aviation industry.

1999/2000 financial review reports were presented this week on the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) and the Land Transport Safety Authority (LTSA).

In its report on TAIC the committee expressed concern that only 48 percent of its accident investigation reports were completed within the target period, with potentially adverse results for transport safety. The committee was pleased, however, that all the accidents and incidents investigated show the probable causes were determined, following a steady rise over the last four years. Staffing levels leave the commission exposed ¡V TAIC¡¦s two rail investigators are investigating 25 percent more rail occurrences than it expected, and have a backlog to deal with. In its report the committee suggested ¡§that TAIC assess its resources and determine whether they are sufficient to investigate all appropriate accidents where public safety is involved; if they are not, the commission should make recommendations to Government accordingly.¡¨

The committee examined LTSA¡¦s television and cinema road safety advertising programme, noting that it wants to see some evidence of the links between LTSA¡¦s tracking of advertisement awareness and bringing down the road toll. Last year, and again for 1999/2000, the committee continues to be critical of the road toll target, and feels it would be more meaningful if based on previous years. The 1999/2000 target was for no more than 450 deaths (the actual was 492). The overall target for 2000/2001 is no more than 420.

In the coming year the committee will be following up on LTSA¡¦s reports using its newly-established crash analysis system (CAS). LTSA is also now a member of the Australian New Zealand Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP). The committee notes that LTSA¡¦s take-up with ANCAP is well behind other similar countries. In December LTSA released some survey results showing that for most New Zealand drivers a vehicle¡¦s safety features are a low priority. The committee has told LTSA it is concerned at the results of this survey, and that the safety of road vehicles is a major consideration for overall transport safety.

The committee is concerned that in 1999/2000 no older drivers were successful in obtaining ¡¥conditional licences¡¦, although 460 drivers 80 years and over applied. The committee will be seeking a report from LTSA on this issue, and noted that the provision to allow conditional licences has raised a public expectation that is not being met. Older drivers who fail the older driver test may apply for an exemption from having to re-sit the test ¡V this exemption could then be in the form of a conditional licence.

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

Commerce
Supplementary Order Paper No 123 relating to the Chartered Professional Engineers of New Zealand Bill (20 April 2001)

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

Government Administration
Cigarettes (Fire Safety) Bill (31 March 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)

Local Government and Environment
Auckland Aotea Centre Empowering Amendment Bill (2 April 2001)
Taranaki Regional Council Empowering Bill (2 April 2001)

Primary Production
Fisheries (Remedial Issues) Amendment Bill (19 March 2001)

Transport and Industrial Relations
Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation Bill (23 March 2001)

General
You can find further information about select committees on our website at www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz.

Compiled in the Select Committee Office, Office of the Clerk, 16 March 2001

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