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Select Committee Weekly News - April 27th

Select Committee Weekly News - April 27th

SELECT COMMITTEE BUSINESS

From 20 April to 27 April 2001

Committee meetings

There were six committee meetings, all in the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented (1)

Primary Production

1. Inquiry into organic agriculture in New Zealand (I. 11A)

Bills referred to select committees

No bills were referred.

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 did not met in the adjournment. It will next meet on Thursday, 3 May, when it will conduct a second hearing on the 1999/2000 financial review of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. The foundation is the Government's largest investor in research and development. It invests in research, science and technology and provides a range of support schemes for business, grants for research, and scholarships. More information on the Foundation can be found at its website, www.frst.govt.nz. The meeting is open to the public from 10 am to 11 am, in Room G.011, Parliament House.

The committee will also hear evidence from the Ministry of Education on the petition of Gavin Piercy and 3660 others, which requests that an indicative referendum be held on the subject of compulsory school closures.

Finance and Expenditure (Julian Kersey, SC-FE@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee met on 26 April to hear submissions on the New Zealand Superannuation Bill. The committee will continue to hear evidence on this bill in Wellington between 10 am and 1 pm on 2 May.

Government Administration (Lesley Ferguson, SC-GA@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee continued its consideration of the inquiry into New Zealand’s adoption laws. It is due to report on this inquiry by 14 May 2001.

The closing date for submissions on the inquiry into the operation of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 and related issues is 4 May 2001. The committee intends to inquire into:

1. The capacity of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 (the Act) to deal with the impact of new technology on the classification process set out in the Act, in particular, the impact of the Internet on the classification process including the transmission of live performances and related activities.

2. The adequacy of the complaint procedure under the Act, and the powers of the Chief Censor to deal with the complaints received by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (the Office). In particular, whether the process by which publications are submitted for classification under the Act is adequate and whether the procedure for lodging a complaint about a publication is adequate given that the present Act requires a citizen to make a complaint to the Office before the Chief Censor can act.

3. The definition of “objectionable’, as set out in Section 3 of the Act, to determine whether the Court of Appeal’s narrow interpretation of the words, “matters such as sex, horror, crime, cruelty, or violence” in the Moonen v Film and Literature Board of Review, adequately carries out the intent of the Act.

4. Whether or not the Bill of Rights Act 1990 should apply to all matters prescribed in Section 3(2) of the Act, or whether Section 3(2) of the Act should state that notwithstanding anything in the Bill of Rights Act 1990, publications that promote the matters in that section are “objectionable’.

5. The issues to emerge from the Court of Appeal’s decision in Living Word Distributors Limited v Human Rights Action Group as to whether:

(a) section 3(3)(e) of the Act should be linked to a “gateway’ in section 3(1) of the Act, and if so, the extent to which this interpretation would defeat the intent of the Act.

(b) to include a “hate speech’ provision in the Act that would allow the Office to classify “hate speech’, and whether to amend the Human Rights Act 1993 to provide a penalty for the dissemination of “hate speech’.

6. Issues surrounding the operation of the provisions that relate to the public display of a publication (that includes art), in particular:

(a) official labels for all publications classified by the Office

(b) the premises/part of premises definition

(c) display conditions on unrestricted publications.

7. Whether quantity, quality and timeliness measures for the Board of Review be included in a Memorandum of Understanding or in legislation, and if an inquiry into the means of “maximising the efficiency and effectiveness of the Act’ should be extended to all three bodies involved in rating and classification.

8. The definitions of “publication’, and to take into account the difficulty of making excisions to digital publications. This may allow for the partial examination of digital publications for classification and remove the power of the Office to request excisions.

9. The definition of “broadcasting’ in the Broadcasting Act 1989 in relation to the matters referred to above.

10. The concept of legislating that trailers shown before a feature should be for films rated no higher than the following feature.

11. The potential for and appropriateness of a cross-rating system, and the desirable characteristics of such a system.

12. The viability of creating one media regulatory agency.

Please send 20 copies of your submission to Lesley Ferguson, Clerk of the Government Administration Select Committee, Parliament Buildings, Wellington.

Next week the committee is to meet on 3 May to hear evidence on the Cigarettes (Fire Safety) Bill.

Health (Matthew Andrews, SC-Health@parliament.govt.nz)

Next week the committee will begin hearing submissions on the Medical Practitioners Bill. Also next week the committee is required to report on the Intellectual Disabilities (Compulsory Care) Bill and the Criminal Justice Amendment Bill.

Justice and Electoral (Wendy Proffitt, SC-JE@parliament.govt.nz)

This week the committee met all day on 26 April 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. It also commenced hearing evidence on the Prostitution Reform Bill. The New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, the Christian Heritage Party and the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards appeared before the committee.

Next week the committee will again 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 latter two bills must be reported back by 3 May. The committee will also consider the Electoral Amendment Bill (No 2) and the Inquiry into the 1999 General Election.

Submissions on the Electoral Amendment Bill (No 2) close on Monday 30 April. As the committee intends to commence hearings the following week it is important that submissions are received in time.

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

MMP Review (Louise Sparrer, SC-MMP@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee did not meet over the adjournment. Its next meeting is scheduled for 9 May.

Primary Production (Bob Bunch, SC-PP@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee has reported on the inquiry into organic agriculture in New Zealand, Organics - New Opportunities for the Future. The report is available through Bennetts Bookshop or Legislation Direct via local bookshops. Conclusions and recommendations are set out below.

The committee has drawn the following conclusions:

- There is a trend, both internationally and domestically, towards food that is considered safe in terms of the end product and the process used to produce it.

- Because of the way the country produces food already, New Zealand is well placed to benefit from this trend and develop its organic industry.

- The organic systems that have developed the most have been in the kiwifruit and pipfruit industries. Both of these industries have benefited from significant research input and from an overall industry strategy to reduce chemical inputs and move to integrated pest management.

- Many of the constraints that the industry has faced have been largely due to a lack of critical mass and, therefore, resources to contribute to research, education and advisory and extension services.

- The Government has a role to protect consumers and industry from fraudulent use of the term 'organic', ensure market access is not restricted, encourage environmentally sustainable primary production systems, contribute to research relevant to the industry and ensure that market information is available.

- Genetic engineering will continue to be a significant issue for the organic sector.

The inquiry developed against a backdrop of rapid growth in the market potential for organic products. The demand for organic products is predominantly attributed to health and environmental concerns and consumer demand for safe food produced from less chemically dependent systems.

Despite the growth of the organic sector, organic agricultural exports are still relatively insignificant, being less than one percent of New Zealand’s total agricultural exports. Several factors constrain the development of the industry. These include reduced financial returns during conversion, limited access for producers to technical information and advisory services, lack of research, low numbers of tertiary education programmes and a negative perception of the organic industry.

Overcoming these barriers needs both industry and government support. Accordingly, the committee has made recommendations on how the State and the industry might appropriately participate in the development of the organic sector.

The committee has recommended to the Government that:

- the Minister of Agriculture include in the Purchase Agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry a requirement to collate marketplace and product information and undertake forecasting in relation to the market potential for organics

- a national minimum standard be developed that ensures access to high value markets and is based on IFOAM principles and, where appropriate, Codex Alimentarius criteria

- the export official assurance scheme being developed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Organic Products Exporters Group be implemented before 2005

- a small growers certification scheme for the domestic market be established

- the Minister of Research, Science and Technology request the Foundation of Research, Science and Technology to develop a Strategic Portfolio Outline and reference group that is focused on organic production

- organic agriculture be included as one of the factors to be considered when government initiatives in sustainable land management, biodiversity and rural affairs are proposed

- Industry New Zealand consider proposals for the funding of organic advisors and/or co-ordinators as part of its regional development strategies

- any co-ordination by the Government be part of its industry development strategies with the co-ordination driven by a group of like-minded producers

- organics be included in agricultural, horticultural and land-based production education programmes

- government agencies continue to be supportive of efforts to develop the organics industry.

- in acknowledging gaps in the organics industry infrastructure, interim support continue to be provided to the Organics Working Group, including the supply of support services by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, until these gaps are filled

- a review of the domestic small growers certification programme be undertaken to assess the benefits/outcomes of this expenditure

- environmental sustainability be included in the criteria for the national minimum standard.

The committee recommends to the organics industry that:

- a small growers certification scheme for the domestic market be implemented

- the industry identify its specific research needs and advocate them to government funding agencies.

The committee hopes that its recommendations, if taken up by the Government and the organic industry, will facilitate the development of the organics industry and, in particular, organic agricultural exports.

On Thursday the committee heard further evidence on its inquiry into sustainable forestry management, including evidence from the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand and Federated Farmers of New Zealand. It considered the 1999/2000 financial review of Quotable Value New Zealand Limited, the Fisheries (Remedial Issues) Bill and Supplementary Order Paper 128 relating to the bill.

Next week the committee will hear more evidence on the inquiry into sustainable forestry management and further consider the 1999/2000 financial review of Quotable Value New Zealand Limited.

Regulations Review (Fiona McLean, SC-RR@parliament.govt.nz )

The committee did not meet in the April adjournment. It will next meet on Wednesday, 2 May. It will hear evidence on a complaint about the Deer Farming Notice No 4 1986. Evidence will be heard from the complainant from 3.30 pm to 5.00 pm. The complainant is the New Zealand Association of Game Estates, represented by Chen, Palmer and Partners. The hearing will be open to the public.

Transport and Industrial Relations (Lyn Main, SC-TI@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee will meet on Wednesday, 2 May. In the morning it will consider the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill (No 2). From 4.00 pm to 6.00 pm it will hear submissions on the Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation Bill.

Closing dates for submissions

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

Commerce

Review of the Radio New Zealand Charter (25 May 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)

Justice and Electoral

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

Law and Order

Criminal Investigations (Blood Samples - 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

at carol.rankin@parliament.govt.nz

Compiled in the Select Committee Office, Office of the Clerk, 27 April 2001


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