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This Week's Select Committee News - 6 April

SELECT COMMITTEE BUSINESS
From 30 March to 6 April 2001
Committee meetings
There were 17 committee meetings, all in the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented (15)
Commerce
„h 1999/2000 financial reviews of Genesis Power Limited, Meridian Energy Limited and Mighty River Power Limited
„h 1999/2000 financial review of Radio New Zealand Limited
„h 1999/2000 financial review of New Zealand On Air
„h 1999/2000 financial review of Solid Energy Limited
„h Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal Amendment Bill (113-1)
„h 1999/2000 financial review of the Electricity Corporation of New Zealand

Health
„h 1999/2000 financial reviews of Canterbury Health Limited, Capital Coast Health Limited, Counties Manukau Health Limited, Health Care Hawke¡¦s Bay Limited, HealthCare Otago Limited, Healthlink South Limited, Health South Canterbury Limited, Health Waikato Limited, Hutt Valley Health Limited, Nelson Marlborough Health Services Limited, New Zealand Blood Service Limited, Pacific Health Limited, Tairawhiti Health Care Limited, Wairarapa Health Limited, Waitemata Health Limited, Health Research Council of New Zealand, Health Sponsorship Council, and the Residual Health Management Unit.

Local Government and Environment
„h Petition 1999/152 of Hon Sandra Lee

Maori Affairs
„h Inquiry into the possible collapse of Lake Omapere

Social Services
„h 1999/2000 financial review of Housing New Zealand Limited
„h 1999/2000 financial review of the Housing Corporation of New Zealand

Education and Science
„h 1999/2000 financial review of the Early Childhood Development Unit

Finance and Expenditure
„h 1999/2000 financial review of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand

Primary Production
„h 1999/2000 financial review of AgriQuality New Zealand Limited
„h 1999/2000 financial review of ASURE New Zealand Limited


Bills referred to select committees
The Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal Amendment Bill was referred to the Commerce Committee with a requirement to report back by 5 April 2001.

The Commerce Amendment Bill (No 2) was referred to the Commerce Committee with a requirement to report back by 30 April 2001.

The Taxation (Annual Rates, Taxpayer Assessment and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill was referred to the Finance and Expenditure Committee.

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

Education and Science (Louise Gardiner, SC-ES@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met twice this week. The meeting on Wednesday, 4 April, involved public hearings of submissions on the Education Amendment Bill (No 2). Eight submissions were heard, including those of the Wellington Community Law Centre, the New Zealand Principals' Federation, and Newlands College.

On Thursday 5 April the committee considered the 1999/2000 financial review of Early Childhood Development.

The committee is calling for submissions on Supplementary Order Paper 133, which contains proposed amendments to the Education Amendment Bill (No 2), currently before the committee.

The proposed amendments to the bill relate to five areas of education policy:

„h the dis-establishment of Specialist Education Services (SES)
„h validation of previous Crown payments to Te Kohanga Reo National Trust Board
„h amendments to the Enrolment Scheme legislation that was introduced with the Education Amendment Act 2000
„h clarification of the power of the Education Review Office to inspect school hostels (This is an extension of that section of the current bill dealing with regulating school hostels.)
„h an amendment to authorise the Ministry of Education to undertake an information-matching exercise for student loans when the Inland Revenue Department is unable to do so because no student IRD number is available or there is a mismatch of information. (This follows an amendment to the Student Loan Scheme Act in 2000 for interest write-offs while students are studying.)

The closing date for submissions on the Supplementary Order Paper is Monday, 14 May. The committee requires 20 copies of each submission. The committee anticipates hearing submissions in the week of 14 to 18 May. Copies of the Supplementary Order Paper can be purchased from Bennetts Government Bookshops.

Finance and Expenditure (Matthew Andrews, SC-FE@parliament.govt.nz)
This week the committee reported on its financial review of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. The report concentrates on the Overseas Investment Commission. The committee also called for submissions for the Taxation (Annual Rates, Taxpayer Assessment and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill and set a closing date for submissions of 11 May 2001.

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (David Sanders, SC-FD@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee meet this week to hear further submissions on the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone Extension Bill, the inquiry into the role of human rights and foreign policy, and New Zealand's economic and trade relationship with Australia. The committee's next meeting will from 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm on Tuesday, 10 April, to hear submissions on the International Treaties Bill.

Government Administration (Lesley Ferguson, SC-GA@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee concluded hearing evidence on the Civil Defence Emergency Management Bill. It continued consideration of the Summit Road (Canterbury) Protection Bill and commenced consideration of the Statutes Amendment Bill and the Cigarettes (Fire Safety) Bill. The committee is to hear evidence on the Cigarettes (Fire Safety) Bill on 3 and 10 May in Wellington.

The committee next meets on Friday, 27 April to continue consideration of the inquiry into New Zealand¡¦s adoption laws.

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, the Local Electoral Bill and the inquiry into the 1999 general election at an extended meeting.

Next week, on Tuesday, 10 April, the committee will continue to consider the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (Maori Constituency Empowering) Bill and the Local Electoral Bill. It will also consider the Prostitution Reform Bill.

On Thursday, 26 April, the committee will meet all day to consider the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (Maori Constituency Empowering) Bill, the Local Electoral Bill and the Local Elections (Single Transferable Vote Option) Bill. The committee will report all these bills to the House in early May. It will also consider the inquiry into the 1999 general election and commence hearings on the Prostitution Reform Bill that day.

Please contact the Clerk of the Committee for further information about the committee¡¦s meetings for the next month.

Local Government and Environment (David Bagnall, SC-LGE@parliament.govt.nz)
On Wednesday the committee considered the Resource Management Amendment Bill. Next week the committee will consider the Hawke's Bay Endowment Land Empowering Bill and hear evidence on the Local Government (Elected Member Remuneration and Trading Enterprises) Amendment Bill. The committee will meet all day on 18 and 26 April to consider the Resource Management Amendment Bill, the Resource Management (Costs) Amendment Bill and the financial review of the Environmental Risk Management Authority, and to hear some further evidence on the Local Government (Elected Member Remuneration and Trading Enterprises) Amendment Bill.

Maori Affairs (Marcus Ganley, SC-MA@parliament.govt.nz)
This week the committee finalised its report on its inquiry into the possible collapse of Lake Omapere. This can be found on the Office of the Clerk website:
http://www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz/publications/index.html

The committee will next meet on 3 May.

MMP Review (Louise Sparrer, SC-MMP@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee is not meeting over the adjournment. Its next meeting is scheduled for 9 May.

Primary Production (Bob Bunch, SC-PP@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee held its weekly meeting on Thursday, 5 April, hearing evidence on two items of business and considering a number of others. The Seafood Industry Council presented oral evidence on Supplementary Order Paper 128, was referred to the committee last Thursday for consideration in conjunction with the Fisheries (Remedial Issues) Bill. It also heard evidence from the State Services Commission and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry on the outcome report on the 1998 merger of the Ministries of Agriculture and Forestry.

Next Thursday the committee travels to Taupo to hear evidence on its inquiry into sustainable forestry management at the Tui Oak Motor Inn and Lake Terrace Motel from 10.30 am to approximately 3.50 pm.

The committee has reported on the 1999/2000 financial reviews of AgriQuality New Zealand and ASURE New Zealand Limited. In its review of AgriQuality New Zealand Limited the committee said in relation to biosecurity:

¡§AgriQuality is very clear about its role in an emergency response situation and is contracted to deal with specific pest or disease incursions. The MAF contract is robust and AgriQuality has fulfilled all of its obligations. However, we still remain uneasy about biosecurity arrangements. AgriQuality met MAF's requirements for the varroa mite incursion, but this was for containment, not eradication. The decision to contain was not AgriQuality's responsibility, however, as the Government had determined that eradication was not feasible, given the widespread presence of the mite and likely spread to feral bees. We hope that in future eradication is a viable option for biosecurity incursions rather than containment by necessity.

¡§We believe there is a surveillance gap in the biosecurity risk management arrangements. It appears that there is no responsibility for AgriQuality through the MAF contracts to maintain oversight of possible biosecurity incursions other than the general obligation of every New Zealander to report notifiable diseases or pests. We are concerned that a pest or disease could slip through the border and become established if AgriQuality and other surveillance providers are looking only for what is specified in contract rather than having a broader role in surveillance as well.

¡§We also see an information gap between policy and operations in the limited opportunity for AgriQuality to formally provide feedback and/or advice to MAF on biosecurity issues other than through contract negotiations, general biosecurity forums or at the discretion of MAF. We consider experience gained on the ground would be valuable in developing biosecurity policy. This should be on a formal as well as informal basis.¡¨

The committee concluded that AgriQuality has been successful in its first full year of operations in meeting financial targets, improving management systems, and consolidating its business. Its business growth strategy is sound and the need to protect intellectual capability is being addressed. AgriQuality's biosecurity efforts fulfill all contractual obligations, including response capability to any pest or disease incursion such as foot and mouth disease. The committee considers there are some unresolved biosecurity issues that involve AgriQuality, but these are not of the company's making. The committee intends to take up the matter of surveillance and information gaps with the Government.

In its report on ASURE New Zealand Limited (ASURE) the committee concluded:

¡§We consider that ASURE has made significant progress on developing and implementing programmes to become a successful commercial enterprise. This is reflected in:

„h the move to priced contracts
„h the achievement of core obligations
„h the successful restructuring of the middle management and finance departments
„h the introduction of the Simplified Business Framework and the Statistical Process Control System.

¡§Given that restructuring is almost completed and a new operating system has been implemented, we believe that ASURE is well positioned to capitalise on any future growth in the meat inspection business.¡¨

The committee will take a week's break before meeting on Thursday, 26 April.

Regulations Review (Fiona McLean, SC-RR@parliament.govt.nz )
The committee met on Wednesday, 4 April. It heard evidence from the Parliamentary Counsel Office on the committee¡¦s inquiry into regulation-making powers that authorise international treaties to override any provisions of New Zealand enactments. The evidence related to different methods of implementing international treaties through domestic legislation. The committee does not currently intend to hear any further evidence on this inquiry.

The committee also heard evidence from the Ministry of Justice and other officials relating to the High Court Amendment Rules (No. 2) 2000 (SR 2000/254).

The committee will not be meeting during the April adjournment, and will next meet on Wednesday 2 May.

Transport and Industrial Relations (Lyn Main, SC-TI@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee examined the 1999/2000 financial review of Airways Corporation at its meeting on Wednesday, 4 April. On Wednesday, 11 April, it is meeting from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and 1.30 pm to 5.30 pm to hear evidence on the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill (No 2).


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)

Education and Science
Supplementary Order Paper 133, relating to the Education Amendment Bill (No 2) (14 May 2001)

Finance and Expenditure
New Zealand Stock Exchange Restructuring Bill (2 May 2001)
Taxation (Annual Rates, Taxpayer Assessment and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill (11 May 2001)

Government Administration
Inquiry into the operation of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 (4 May 2001)
Dog Control (Hearing Dogs) Amendment Bill is Friday (4 May 2001)

Health
Smoke-free Environments (Enhanced Protection) Amendment Bill (23 April 2001)

Justice and Electoral
Electoral Amendment Bill (No 2) (30 April 2001)

Law and Order
Criminal Investigations (Blood Samples ¡V Burglary Suspects) Amendment Bill (30 June 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
carol.rankin@parliament.govt.nz

Compiled in the Select Committee Office, Office of the Clerk, 6 April 2001

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