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Weekly Select Committee Business - 4 May

SELECT COMMITTEE BUSINESS

From 27 April to 4 May 2001

Committee meetings

There were 17 committee meetings, all in the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented (11)

Commerce

- 1999/2000 financial review of Transpower New Zealand Limited

- Petition 1996/512 of Hon Doug Kidd

Government Administration

- 1999/2000 financial review of the New Zealand Tourism Board

Health

- Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care) Bill (329-2)

- Criminal Justice Amendment Bill (No 7) (328-2)

Primary Production

- Fisheries (Remedial Issues) Amendment Bill (101-2) and Supplementary Order Paper No 128

- 1999/2000 financial review of Quotable Value New Zealand Limited

Justice and Electoral

- Local Electoral (88-2)

- Local Elections (Single Transferrable Vote Option) Bill (31-1)

Education and Science

- 1999/2000 financial review of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority

- 1999/2000 financial review of the Specialist Education Services Board

Bills referred to select committees (4)

The Sydenham Money Club Bill was referred to the Commerce Committee. This is a private bill.

The Misuse of Drugs (Industrial Hemp) Amendment Bill was referred to the Primary Production Committee. This is a member’s bill introduced by Nandor Tanczos.

The Crown Organisations (Criminal Liability) Bill was referred to the Law and Order Committee.

The Terrorism (Bombings and Financing) Bill was referred to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade 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)

On Wednesday, 2 May, the subcommittee on the inquiry into the teaching of reading in New Zealand met. The full committee met on Thursday, 3 May, when it conducted a hearing on the 1999/2000 financial review of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. Evidence was also heard 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.

On Friday, 4 May, the committee presented its report on the 1999/2000 financial review of the Specialist Education Services Board (SES) and New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

In the SES report, the committee discusses: the Wylie review of special education and SES's role in the provision of special education; the process for disestablishment of SES and its reconstitution as a directorate within the Ministry of Education (the ministry); and the transitional role of the ministry and its ability to manage risks associated with this process. The committee urges the ministry to ensure that SES retains staff with appropriate skills through the transition process, and discusses issues surrounding staff turnover and morale. SES's significant rate of turnover at senior management level is of concern to the committee, as is the organisation's $3.3 million surplus in 1999/2000 (which resulted from under-expenditure in key services and personnel costs), and the inconsistencies in answers relating to this surplus provided to the committee by SES. The report also addresses SES's strategy for successful delivery of services to Maori. Lastly, the report highlights the poor quality of many of SES's responses to committee written questions, and notes that “[m]embers must have confidence that the information with which they are provided is of the highest standard”.

In its report on NZQA, the committee discusses the Authority's implementation of the new National Certificate of Educational Achievement, and recommends the issuing of a national statement on assessment tasks and moderation methods as soon as possible. The report also examines: the role of NZQA's Quality Assurance Services Unit in monitoring course quality; the salience of statistics on course completion and graduation rates for private training establishments; and the favourable results achieved by NZQA in financial and service performance management, in assessments carried out by the Audit Office.

In its next meeting on Thursday, 10 May, the committee will hear evidence on the 1999/2000 financial review of the Education Training and Support Agency (Skill New Zealand). This will be conducted in Room G.011, Parliament House, from 11 am to 12 pm, and will be open to the public.

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

This week the committee heard the final submissions on the New Zealand Superannuation Bill. The committee will now consider the submissions. The deadline for reporting on the bill is 12 June.

At next week’s meeting, the committee will begin hearing evidence on the New Zealand Stock Exchange Restructuring Bill. The bill is a private bill that provides a mechanism for the conversion of the New Zealand Stock Exchange into a company if its members so choose.

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

There has been a good response to the committee’s call for public submissions on the Inquiry into the Films, Videos, Publications Classification Act 1993 and related issues. However, because of the nature of the inquiry, consideration will be given to accepting submissions beyond the official closing date of 4 May 2001. Please send 20 copies of your submission to Lesley Ferguson, Clerk of the Government Administration Select Committee, Parliament Buildings, Wellington.

Next week the committee will continue to hear evidence on the Cigarettes (Fire Safety) Bill.

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

This week the committee heard submissions on the Medical Practitioners (Foreign Qualified Medical Practitioners) Bill. Next week the committee will continue hearing submissions on this bill.

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

This week the committee presented its reports on the Local Elections (Single Transferable Vote Option) Bill and the Local Electoral Bill. It also considered the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (Maori Constituency Empowering) Bill and the Electoral Amendment Bill (No 2).

The committee recommended that the Local Elections (Single Transferable Vote Option) Bill, a member’s bill in the name of Rod Donald, not proceed, as its essential features have now been incorporated into the Local Electoral Bill. The Local Elections (Single Transferable Vote Option) Bill proposed to establish Single Transferable Voting (STV) as an alternative, optional voting procedure to First Past the Post (FPP) in local government elections.

The Local Electoral Bill represents the outcome of the first stage of a review of local electoral legislation, which intends to bring all local electoral-related legislation together in one Act. A number of the provisions in the bill are intended to be implemented in time for the local authority elections on 13 October this year.

The purpose of the bill is to modernise the provisions for the conduct of local elections and polls and provide sufficient legislative flexibility to accommodate new technologies and processes. The bill is derived from a principles-based framework that is intended to provide clarity and consistency for the conduct of local elections and polls, with provision for local choice regarding electoral system and voting methods.

Changes to the current law proposed by the bill include:

- providing for different electoral systems to be used: FPP, STV, or any other prescribed electoral system

- providing for the voting methods of booth voting, postal voting, any form of electronic voting or any combination of these, or any other prescribed method of voting

- increasing the voting period from two to three weeks, if postal voting is used

- removing the requirement for candidates to be New Zealand citizens

- providing for 150-word candidate profile statements containing information concerning candidates and their policies and intentions if elected to office

- providing for limits on candidates’ electoral expenses and disclosure of expenses and donations.

The main changes the committee made to the bill include:

- placing some provisions in the bill itself rather than in regulations, as proposed (These include provisions relating to the detail of STV, special votes, content of voting documents, forms for returns of electoral expenses and donations, requirements for distribution of candidate profile statements, and an approval process for new voting methods)

- providing that STV be the only alternative electoral system to FPP

- reinstating the requirement that candidates for local authority elections must be New Zealand citizens

- providing that each candidate may provide and have published a candidate profile statement in English or Maori or both to the limit of 150 words in each language

- providing that candidates may provide a recent photograph with their candidate profile statements

- providing that candidate profile statements be sent out to all dwellings at least one week in advance of voting documents

- increasing the limits permitted for electoral expenses, including providing for an extra tier for populations over 250,000 to address the needs of large metropolitan areas, and extending the period these limits apply.

Given the complexity of the issues involved and the innovative nature of some of the provisions, the committee intends to conduct a review in the six months following the 2001 local authority elections to evaluate the effectiveness of the new law and recommend future changes if appropriate.

Copies of the report will be available from Bennetts Government bookshops early next week.

Next week the committee is due to report on the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (Maori Constituency Empowering). It will also commence hearings on the Electoral Amendment Bill (No 2).

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)

This week the committee considered the Resource Management Amendment Bill. Next Wednesday, the committee will consider the 1999/2000 financial review of the Environmental Risk Management Authority and the petition of Rosemary Godwin and others, which relates to asbestos contamination in East Tamaki. The committee will also hear evidence on the Local Government (Elected Member Remuneration and Trading Enterprises) Amendment Bill.

Maori Affairs (Marcus Ganley, SC-MA@parliament.govt.nz)

On 10 May the committee will receive a briefing from the Law Commission on its recently released study paper Maori Custom and Values in New Zealand Law.

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

The committee met on Thursday, 3 May. It heard evidence from two organisations (Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand and Environment and Conservation Organisations of New Zealand) and one individual on its inquiry into sustainable forestry management. It also considered the 1999/2000 financial review of Quotable Value New Zealand Limited and the Misuse of Drugs (Industrial Hemp) Amendment Bill, which was referred to the committee the previous night.

On Friday, 4 May, the committee reported on the 1999/2000 financial review of Quotable Value New Zealand Limited. In the report the committee examined the company's financial performance, which included the following issues:

- the price and revenue reductions in rating valuation work

- the reduced cost of services

- new business

- the fact that the dividend down on previous financial year

- profit affected by tax requirement

- improved profitability expected

- risk of loss of business

- higher salaries

- valuation of leasehold land and

- monitoring movements in property value.

The committee concluded:

“Our review of the financial performance and current operations of Quotable Value reflects mixed results. On the one hand, the company has diversified its business by developing its non-traditional activities and consolidated its rating valuation market share by securing 100 percent of rating valuation contracts with local authorities. On the other hand, revenue has decreased, along with profitability and dividend to the Crown.

“We recognise, however, the wider benefits to New Zealand of a lower cost valuation structure. We are encouraged by the work that Quotable Value is doing to improve profitability and will continue to watch the company's progress with interest.”

Next week the committee will further consider the Misuse of Drugs (Industrial Hemp) Amendment Bill and receive a briefing from the Apple and Pear Board, the apple industry regulatory body, on Thursday, 10 May.

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

The committee met on Wednesday, 2 May. It heard evidence from the New Zealand Association of Game Estates and the Department of Conservation relating to the association’s complaint about the Deer Farming Notice No 4 1986.

The committee heard from both parties on the issue of whether the notice is a regulation, as defined by the Regulations (Disallowance) Act 1989. The committee has the power to consider complaints about the operation of regulations. If the committee determines the notice is a regulation, it may hear further evidence on the complaint.

The committee will next meet on Wednesday 9 May.

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

The committee started hearing submissions on the Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation Bill on 2 May with submissions from the New Zealand Employers' Federation, the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and the New Zealand Law Society. The committee will be meeting in Wellington on 9 May and in Auckland on 21 May to hear further submissions.

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)

Sydenham Money Club Bill (31 May 2001)

Education and Science

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

Finance and Expenditure

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)

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

carol.rankin@parliament.govt.nz

Compiled in the Select Committee Office, Office of the Clerk, 4 May 2001


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