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Select Committee Business 4 - 11 May

Select Committee Business

From 4 May to 11 May 2001

Committee meetings

There were 18 committee meetings, all within the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented

Social Services

- Housing Corporation Amendment Bill (93-2)

Finance and Expenditure

- Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s Monetary Policy Statement, March 2001

- Standard Estimates Questionnaire 2001/02

Local Government and Environment

- Resource Management Amendment Bill (313-2) and Petition 1996/935 of Jim Hedley and others and five petitions of a similar nature (1996/1879, 1996/1899, 1996/1929, 1996/1954, and 1996/2027)

Justice and Electoral

- Bay of Plenty Regional Council (Maori Constituency Empowering) Bill (49-2)

Transport and Industrial Relations

- 1999/2000 financial review of the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand

Bills referred to select committees

The Telecommunications Bill was referred to the Commerce Committee with a report due by 27 August 2001.

The Government Communications Security Bureau Bill was referred to the Intelligence and Security Committee. This committee is not a select committee. It is a statutory committee established pursuant to the Intelligence and Security Committee Act 1996. Services to this committee are provided by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

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 on Tuesday and Thursday to further consider the Electricity Industry Bill. The report due date for the bill has been extended to 28 May.

Next week the committee will meet on Thursday to consider the Electricity Industry Bill and the Electronic Transactions Bill. The report due date for the latter bill has also been extended, to 21 June 2001.

The committee has called for public submissions on the Telecommunications Bill. The closing date for submissions is 13 June. The committee has also called for submissions on the Sydenham Money Club Bill, a private bill introduced to the House by Rt Hon Jim Anderton. The closing date for public submissions on this bill is 31 May. The committee is still seeking submissions on its Review of the Radio New Zealand Charter. The closing date is 25 May.

Education and Science (Louise Gardiner, SC-ES@parliament.govt.nz)

On Tuesday, 8 May, the subcommittee on the inquiry into the teaching of reading in New Zealand met. The full committee met on Thursday, 10 May, when it conducted a hearing on the 1999/2000 financial review of the Education and Training Support Agency (Skill New Zealand). Matters discussed included the implementation of the Modern Apprenticeships Scheme, and the relationship between Skill New Zealand and the proposed Tertiary Education Commission.

The committee also met to consider its review inquiries of public tertiary education institutions. The committee plans to conduct financial reviews of one university and one polytechnic per year, on a cyclical basis. The first institutions to be reviewed are Victoria University of Wellington and Southern Institute of Technology in Invercargill.

The committee has called for submissions on Supplementary Order Paper 133 (the SOP), which contains proposed amendments to the Education Amendment Bill (No 2), which is currently before the committee. Submissions on the SOP will be accepted until Monday, 14 May. The committee will hear evidence on the SOP in Wellington next week, and possibly in other major centres, depending on the number of submissions received.

The next meeting on Thursday, 17 May, will include further consideration of the Education Amendment Bill (No 2), the review inquiries into tertiary institutions, and other items of business before the committee.

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

This week the committee heard submissions on the New Zealand Stock Exchange Restructuring Bill. This 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.

Next week the committee will hear evidence from the Governor of the Reserve Bank on the May 16 Monetary Policy Statement. This is open to the public and will take place from 10 am to 10.40 am. In the afternoon, from 3.30 pm to 6 pm the committee will continue to hear evidence on the New Zealand Stock Exchange Restructuring Bill.

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (David Sanders, SC-FD@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee met this week to continue hearing submissions on the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone Extension Bill. This will continue for the meetings in the next two weeks. The committee also considered its financial review of the New Zealand Trade Development Board. The committee gave initial consideration to the Terrorism (Bombings and Financing) Bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 13 July, 2001.

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

Next week the committee will continue to hear evidence on the Cigarettes (Fire Safety) Bill. It will also consider the Civil Defence Emergency Management and Statutes Amendment Bills.

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

The committee heard 12 submissions this week on the Medical Practitioners (Foreign Qualified Medical Practitioners) Amendment Bill. This is a member’s bill in the name of Hon Ken Shirley. Submitters included the New Zealand Medical Association, The New Zealand Qualifications Authority and the New Zealand Overseas Doctors Association. The committee also heard from overseas-trained doctors who have been affected by the current registration procedure. The committee will meet again next Wednesday and continue hearing submissions on this bill.

The committee currently has a number of items of business before it. These items include:

- Smoke-Free Environments (Enhanced Protection) Amendment Bill. The closing date for submission on this bill is Monday 2 July 2001.

- Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill and the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill

- an inquiry into health strategies relating to cannabis use

- 15 petitions.

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

This week the committee presented its report on the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (Maori Constituency Empowering) Bill. It also commenced hearings on the Electoral Amendment Bill (No 2) and considered the inquiry into the 1999 General Election.

The committee, by majority, recommended that the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (Maori Constituency Empowering) Bill be passed, with amendments. The purpose of the bill is to allow the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to establish a Maori electoral constituency for the election of councillors. The number of eligible voters enrolled on the Maori roll would be used to determine the proportionate number of Maori seats as compared to the number of general seats on the council.

The committee recommended modifications to the means of determining the number of Maori members, and other changes, to make the bill’s provisions consistent with the relevant primary legislation. It also recommended provisions covering transitional arrangements to implement the bill for this year’s local authority elections taking place on 13 October. These are:

- two Maori electoral members to be separately elected, in addition to the 12 general members

- Maori members to be elected “at large’, as there is insufficient time for any alternative boundary proposals to be considered

- the existing Maori roll for parliamentary elections to be used.

The committee’s report on the bill will be available from Bennetts Government bookshops early next week. The committee’s Local Electoral Bill report, which was presented last week, is now also available via the publications menu at the office’s website: www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz.

Next week the committee will travel to Auckland to hear submissions on the Electoral Amendment Bill (No 2), the Victims’ Rights Bill and Supplementary Order Paper No 112, and the Prostitution Reform Bill. The remaining submissions on the Electoral Amendment Bill (No 2) will be heard in Wellington on 23 May. The rest of the month will be spent considering that bill and the inquiry into the 1999 General Election.

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

Law and Order (Tracey Rayner, SC-LO@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee met on Thursday, 10 May, to consider: the Degrees of Murder Bill; the Crimes Amendment Bill (No 6) and Supplementary Order Paper No 85; the Crown Organisations (Criminal Liability) Bill; the petition of John Louis Dean and three others.

The Crown Organisations (Criminal Liability) Bill aims to provide incentives for the Crown to avoid instances of systemic failure, and to provide for accountability of the Crown if systemic failure occurs. It does this by implementing the recommendation in Judge Noble’s report into the Cave Creek tragedy, that the Crown’s longstanding exemption from prosecution under the Building Act 1991 and the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 be removed, by:

- providing for Government departments, Crown entities and other Crown-related organisations to be treated substantially the same as private sector corporate bodies

- conferring on these organisations a separate legal identity, for the purposes of criminal prosecution

- introducing a new offence into the Building Act 1991.

The closing date for submissions is 30 June 2001. Submissions can be sent to Tracey Rayner, Clerk of the Law and Order Committee, Room 10:15, Bowen House, Parliament Buildings, Wellington.

The committee next meets on Thursday, 17 May, from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm.

Local Government and Environment (David Bagnall, SC-LGE@parliament.govt.nz)

On Tuesday the committee presented its report on the Resource Management Amendment Bill. The committee recommends, by majority, that the bill be passed with amendments.

The Resource Management Amendment Bill makes a number of significant amendments to the Resource Management Act 1991. The previous Government introduced the bill in July 1999. Nearly 400 submissions were received, 215 of which were oral submissions. The committee has spent over 80 hours hearing evidence and considering the bill since March 2000.

Many submissions highlighted that the administration of the Act by local government has so far been variable both in quality and in approach. The committee is also concerned that the workload currently before the Environment Court is more than it can deal with expeditiously, and strongly recommends that the Government apply additional resources to allow the Environment Court to clear this backlog.

In the report, Opposition members express concern that the original aim of the bill - to reduce compliance costs - has been lost. They believe many of the changes adopted by the committee add to the costs of implementing and using the legislation.

The Chairperson stated that, in considering this bill, the committee’s approach has been to apply the presumption that the current wording of the Act should not be changed without good reason. The committee has sought to improve the practice and procedures of the Act, without compromising environmental outcomes or reducing opportunities for public participation.

Significant changes recommended include:

- proposed amendments to the definitions of “amenity values” and “environment” not to proceed

- provisions relating to the transfer of regulatory functions from the New Zealand Historic Places Trust to local authorities not to proceed at this time

- the effect of proposed plans (including provisions relating to financial contributions) not to be limited, except where councils resolve to defer rules coming into effect

- the current presumption against subdivision to be retained

- the board of inquiry mechanism for preparation of national policy statements to be retained, but streamlined

- regional councils to retain “integrated management’ function

- biodiversity functions to be specified for both regional councils and territorial authorities

- regional policy statements not to be optional, but provision to be made for them to be combined with other planning documents

- use of independent commissioners on request not to be mandatory

- contestable processing of resource consents not to be introduced

- non-complying category of activity to be retained

- limited notification not to proceed

- resource consent applications not to be referred directly to Environment Court

- awarding of security for costs by Environment Court to be precluded.

The committee supports the retention, with amendments, of a number of provisions in the bill. Some of the more significant provisions include:

- historic heritage to be given extra significance as a matter of national importance under section 6 of the principal Act, and a definition of the term “historic heritage” to be retained in amended form

- iwi planning documents to be given greater weight

- timeframes for processing resource consents to be adjusted and clarified

- provision to be made for notification and non-notification decisions to be appealed to Environment Court

- process for preparation of national policy statements to be simplified

- Second Schedule of the Act to be repealed

- section 32 for development of provisions in plans and policy statements to be clarified, and written evaluation reports to be required

- transfer to other public authorities of further powers of local authorities to be provided for, with responsibility shifted to the transferee

- local authorities to be able to delegate further functions to employees

- scope and impact of national environmental standards to be clarified.

Copies of the committee’s report on the Resource Management Amendment Bill are available from Bennett’s Bookshops.

On Wednesday, the committee considered the financial review of the Environmental Risk Management Authority and the petition of Rosemary Godwin and others relating to asbestos contamination in East Tamaki. The committee also heard further evidence on the Local Government (Elected Member Remuneration and Trading Enterprises) Amendment Bill, and will continue to hear submissions next week.

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

This week the committee received a briefing from the Law Commission on its recent study paper on Maori customs and values in New Zealand law. This was followed by briefings from Te Puni Kokiri on the Crown Forestry Rental Trust and best practice for Maori in schools.

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

The committee continues its consideration of the issues raised in the 289 submissions on the review of MMP. It next meets on 23 May.

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

The committee met on Thursday, 10 May. The committee received a briefing from the Apple and Pear Board, the regulatory body overseeing the Apple and Pear Export Permits Committee and ENZA. The briefing focused on the likely effects on the pipfruit industry following the Government's announcement to end ENZA'a monopoly. The committee next considered the Misuse of Drugs (Industrial Hemp) Amendment Bill, the 1999/2000 financial review of Terralink Limited and the inquiry into sustainable forestry management.

Next week the committee will be consider the inquiry into sustainable forestry management and the Foreign Fishing Crew Wages and Repatriation Bond Bill.

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

The committee met on Wednesday, 9 May. The committee is considering a complaint from the New Zealand Association of Game Estates about the Deer Farming Notice No 4 1986.

The committee will next meet on Wednesday, 16 May. It will hear evidence from Land Information New Zealand about the Survey (Departmental Fees and Charges) Amendment Regulations 2000 (SR 2000/82) and Land Transfer Amendment Regulations 2000 (SR 2000/83) as they relate to the Landonline automation surcharge. Evidence will be heard from 3.30 pm to 4.00 pm and will be open to the public.

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

The committee has completed its 1999/2000 financial review of the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand. In its report the committee commented on some recommendations made by the Controller and Auditor-General in December last year in a follow-up audit on safety auditing carried out by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The committee considered issues about assessing aviation risk and targeting resources at high-risk areas, and said in its report, “We believe it is good policy to consider varying the depth and scope of audits. We also recommend that CAA gives consideration to varying the rate of audits, where an operator scores well, in order to better target its resources.” CAA told the committee it prefers to target audits by depth and scope, rather than frequency. It aims to be in regular contact with operators, to be able to identify any signs of change and consequent potential safety risks.

The committee is critical of conflicting information about frequency of audits. It noted that some operators understood that good quality index scores would lead to a reduction in frequency of audits and that CAA’s website endorses this.

CAA relationships with the aviation industry have generally been more of a problem with smaller operators in the general aviation sector. However, CAA told the committee that 90 percent of its work has been successfully managed through open, positive relationships, including forums, direct contact, and industry association meetings. CAA believes that the May 2000 restructure is proving beneficial, and that relationships with the general aviation sector are now better than ever.

CAA acknowledged that there had been a significant falling out with the aviation industry over the medical certification process, particularly with the 1 percent rule, but did not believe that there was a general breakdown in relationships in other areas (such as normal rule-writing processes). The committee questioned this view and noted criticism from the aviation industry about the rule-making process, saying,

“We are concerned about the impact this has on the effectiveness and efficiency of the organisation.” The committee is also concerned that CAA has not conducted a new customer survey since it completed its restructure in May 2000.

The committee is concerned that aviation safety targets are not being met - only two of the nine accident reduction targets set for June 2000 were achieved. CAA told the committee that operational activities in the poor-performing safety target areas are disparate and of considerable variety. This is reflected in the range of causes of accidents and incidents, including collisions with objects (wires, birds) and weather-related factors. The declining dollar, with rapidly rising costs of aircraft, fuel and spares and associated economic pressure on operators and maintainers is also a factor, as is the ageing general aviation aircraft fleet and industry skill shortages, especially in experienced flight instructors and licensed engineers. CAA referred to a poor industry safety culture as affecting safety outcomes.

The committee next meets on Wednesday 16 May when it will be considering the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill (No 2).

The committee continues to hear submissions on the Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation Bill. It will hear evidence in Auckland on 21 May and in Wellington on 30 and 31 May.

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)

Telecommunications Bill (13 June 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)

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

Terrorism (Bombing and Financing) Bill (13 July 2001)

Law and Order

Criminal Investigations (Blood Samples - Burglary Suspects) Amendment Bill (30 June 2001)

Crown Organisations (Criminal Liability) 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

ph: 471 9534, fax: 499 0486, or at carol.rankin@parliament.govt.nz

Compiled in the Select Committee Office, Office of the Clerk, 11 May 2001


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