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Select Committee Business 10-17 Aug 2001

SELECT COMMITTEE BUSINESS

From 10 August to 17 August 2001

Committee meetings

There were 20 committee meetings this week. One was held in New Plymouth and the remainder were in the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented (9)

Education and Science

- Inquiry into the teaching of reading in New Zealand: Me Panui Tatou Katoa - Let’s All Read (I. 2B)

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

- Visit of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee to Australia, 4 - 8 June 2001 (I. 4C)

- International treaty examination of the Amendments to the Acts of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) comprising the UPU Constitution and the UPU Convention (Adopted by the UPU Assembly on 15 September 1999 at its Beijing Congress)

- International treaty examinations of :

1. the Agreement Concerning the Adoption of Uniform Technical Prescriptions for Wheeled Vehicles, Equipment, and Parts which can be Fitted and/or be used on Wheeled Vehicles and Conditions for Reciprocal Recognition of Approvals Granted on the Basis of these Prescriptions, done at Geneva on 20 March 1958 and most recently revised on 16 October 1995 (“the 1958 Agreement’)

2. the Agreement Concerning the Establishment of Global Technical Regulations for Wheeled Vehicles, Equipment, and Parts which can be Fitted and/or used on Wheeled Vehicles, done at Geneva on 25 June 1998 (“the 1998 Agreement’)

Health

- Medical Practitioners (Foreign Qualified Medical Practitioners) Amendment Bill (59-1)

Law and Order

- Petition 1999/153 of John Louis Dean and three others

- Petition 1999/169 of Graeme Easte and 870 others

Government Administration

- Petition 1999/164 of Michael Philip Alexander Coote and 45 others

- Dog Control (Hearing Dogs) Amendment Bill (107-1)

Bills referred to select committees

The Police Amendment Bill (No 2) was referred to the Law and Order Committee with a report due by 2 October 2001.

The Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill was referred to the Justice and Electoral Committee with a report due by 12 February 2002.

The Local Government (Rating) Bill was referred to the Local Government and Environment Committee with a report due by 15 November 2001.

The Human Rights Amendment Bill was referred to the Justice and Electoral Committee with a report due by 1 November 2001.

The Biosecurity Amendment Bill was referred to the Primary Production Committee with a report due by 15 February 2002.

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 to further consider the Telecommunications Bill, and on Thursday to consider the Sydenham Money Club Bill and the Chartered Professional Engineers of New Zealand Bill, as well as give further consideration to the Telecommunications Bill. The committee obtained an extension of the report due date for the Telecommunications Bill to 2 October 2001 from the Business Committee.

The committee is not scheduled to meet over the adjournment period.

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

On Tuesday the committee presented its report on the inquiry into the teaching of reading in New Zealand, Me Panui Tatou Katoa - Let’s All Read. The report contains 51 recommendations to the Government addressing effective teaching practice, teacher education, Maori-medium education, resources, transience and absenteeism, second and third-wave interventions, visual and aural impairment, early childhood education and the role of whanau.

The chairperson of the committee, Liz Gordon, said “the committee believes the Government must clearly articulate what our national literacy goals are and explain how they are going to be achieved. It recommends the establishment of a national body to direct, guide and co-ordinate the various policy initiatives put in place to achieve the literacy goal. The report stresses the importance of the development of phonetic, word-level decoding skills as an element in a balanced teaching of reading programme’.

The report can be purchased from Bennetts Government Bookshops or viewed at www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz/publications.

On Thursday the subcommittee on the inquiry into student fees, loans, allowances and the overall resourcing of tertiary education met.

The committee will not meet next week.

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

The committee met on Wednesday, 15 August. It heard evidence from the Governor of the Reserve Bank on the August 2001 Monetary Policy Statement. It then considered the Taxation (Annual Rates, Taxpayer Assessment and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill. The committee received a briefing from the Inland Revenue Department on the release of the Compliance and Penalties discussion document.

The committee has called for submissions on the Trustee Companies Amendment Bill. The deadline for submissions is 7 September 2001. The bill provides for trustee companies to charge management fees against group investment funds, which are a form of managed fund that only trustee companies and the Public Trust Office are authorised to operate. The ability to charge a management fee will be subject to proper disclosure and reporting of specified information to beneficiaries or clients. The bill also provides increases in some value thresholds relating to the administration of estates. These increases are in line with the Public Trust Bill currently before Parliament.

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

The committee met this week to consider the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone Extension Bill, the International Treaties Bill and the Terrorism (Bombings and Financing) Bill.

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

The committee reported on the Dog Control (Hearing Dogs) Amendment Bill with the recommendation that it proceed. The bill proposes that hearing ear dogs, registered by Hearing Dogs for Deaf People New Zealand, and used by people who are deaf, or severely hearing impaired, be given all the rights presently available to guide and companion dogs. The bill, if enacted, would allow hearing ear dogs to accompany their owners into public places such as airports and restaurants, where at present their entry is often questioned and/or refused.

The committee will not meet next week.

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

This week the committee travelled to Auckland to hear submissions on the cannabis inquiry. The committee heard from the ESR and many other submitters. One submitter was kind enough to sing a song for the committee. The committee will not meet next week.

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

This week the committee heard submissions on the Prostitution Reform Bill, and considered the Victims’ Rights Bill and Supplementary Order Paper No 112, the Electoral Amendment Bill (No 2), the inquiry into the 1999 General Election, the Court Fees (Waiver) Bill, and the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill referred on Tuesday.

Next week the committee will meet all day in Christchurch at the Millenium Christchurch Hotel on Wednesday, 22 August, to consider and hear evidence on the Prostitution Reform Bill and to consider the Victims’ Rights Bill and Supplementary Order Paper No 112.

The committee is calling for submissions on three bills referred to it in the last week.

The due date for submissions on the Court Fees (Waiver) Bill is Monday, 27 August 2001. Submissions will be heard on Wednesday, 29 August. The purpose of the bill is to help ensure people are not denied access to the court system simply because they lack the means to pay court fees. The bill introduces a new power to make regulations enabling fees to be waived, reduced, or postponed in District Courts. The need for provision to waive fees in the District Court came to attention during the current review of court fees, but is independent of the level of fees.

The committee is particularly interested to receive comment on:

- whether criteria for waiving, reducing or postponing fees should be set out in the legislation

- whether there should be a review process of a decision in regard to waiving, reducing, or postponing the payment of fees

- what experience individuals or organisations have of the current use of waiver of fees.

The committee is also calling for submissions on the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill, to be received by Friday 5 October 2001. There are four main areas of reform:

- general sentencing purposes and principles

- the range of sentences and orders available to the courts

- sentencing for murder and high risk offenders

- the parole/final release of offenders from prison.

The main changes to sentencing and parole to be implemented by this bill include:

- more emphasis on the use of fines as the principal sentence for a wider range of offending

- expanding the use of sentences of reparation to recompense victims in a greater range of circumstances where they have suffered physical harm, emotional harm or loss of or damage to property

- provision for restorative justice processes to be taken into account when sentencing offenders

- abolition of suspended sentences of imprisonment

- clear sentencing guidance that sentences near the maximum should be imposed for offences near the worst instance of their type

- a wider range of sentences for crimes of murder

- reform of the current indeterminate sentence of preventative detention for high-risk offenders

- repeal of the home invasion legislation of 1999

- abolition of the standard final release date at the expiry of two-thirds of a finite prison sentence

- a new parole structure involving a single New Zealand Parole Board, with a set of principles governing the procedures of the Board and its decisions to release from imprisonment

- victims’ rights to make oral and written submissions to parole hearings, home detention hearings, and hearings to consider conditions of statutory release.

In addition, the committee is calling for submissions on the Human Rights Amendment Bill, to be received by Friday 28 September. The bill proposes amendments relating to the anti-discrimation standard for government activities and to the human rights institutional framework and complaints process. Significant changes include:

- a new Human Rights Commission focused on leadership, advocacy and education, while retaining a role in relation to complaints, which is focused on providing services to assist the parties to resolve their disputes

- the anti-discrimination standard of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 will be the standard for all government activities (except employment and the related areas of racial disharmony, and racial and sexual harassment)

- individuals being able to take complaints about discrimination against government policies, practices and legislation

- where discrimination is required by legislation, the Court may grant a declaration of inconsistency, which must be drawn to the attention of the House along with the Executive’s response to the declaration

- amendments to a number of other Acts to align them with the Government’s human rights policy. For example, extending “next-of-kin” status to include de facto partners of the same or different sex.

The committee prefers to receive 20 copies of any submissions. Copies of the bills can be purchased from Bennetts Government Bookshops.

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, 16 August, to consider the Police Amendment Bill (No 2) and eight petitions relating to police undercover operations and the impact of drug use on undercover officers. It also presented reports on two other petitions.

The Police Amendment Bill (No 2) was referred to the committee on 14 August, with a report due by 2 October 2001. The closing date for submissions is 29 August 2001. The bill amends the Police Act 1958 and the Police Regulations 1992. It clarifies aspects of the Police’s governance and accountability arrangements, including the constitutional relationship between the Commissioner and the Minister of Police and introduces proposals for improving the Police’s effectiveness in managing its human resources, including the development of a code of conduct for sworn officers.

Copies of the bill can be purchased from Bennetts Government Bookshops. The committee requires 25 copies of each submission. Those wishing to include any information of a private or personal nature in a submission should first discuss this with the Clerk of the Committee, as submissions are usually released to the public by the committee. Those wishing to appear before the committee to speak to their submissions should state this clearly and provide a daytime telephone contact number. For further guidance on making a submission, our publication Making a Submission to a Parliamentary Select Committee can be found on our web site at www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz.

The committee will next meet on Thursday, 30 August, to further consider the Police Amendment Bill (No 2).

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

On Wednesday the committee considered the Local Government (Elected Member Remuneration and Trading Enterprises) Amendment Bill, the inquiry into Otorohanga termites and the inquiry into the role of local government in meeting New Zealand’s climate change target.

The committee travelled to New Plymouth on Friday to hear evidence on the Taranaki Regional Council Empowering Bill. This bill empowers the council to deliver additional functions related to the development of recreational, cultural and heritage amenities in Taranaki. The primary focus of submissions on the bill is the proposed redevelopment of Rugby Park, New Plymouth.

The next meetings of the committee are on 28 and 29 August, when the committee will consider the Forests Amendment Bill, the Taranaki Regional Council Empowering Bill and the inquiry into the role of local government in meeting New Zealand's climate change target. The committee will also receive a briefing in public from the Audit Office on the results of the audit of local authorities.

The committee has called for submissions on the Rodney District Council (PENLINK Toll Road) Empowering Bill, with a closing date of 20 September 2001. This bill provides for the council to enter into an agreement with a private sector entity to finance, design, construct, maintain and operate a road to the Whangaparaoa Peninsula in exchange for the right to levy a toll on motor vehicles that use the road. At the end of an agreed period the road will be transferred to the council at no cost, to be operated toll-free after that date.

The Local Government (Rating) Bill has also been referred to the committee, with a deadline of 15 November 2001 for the committee’s report. The bill replaces the Rating Powers Act 1988, and relates to powers to set, assess and collect rates to fund local government activities. A closing date for submissions will be notified on the following page: http://www.gp.co.nz/wooc/npaper/select-committee-bills.html.

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

This week the committee received a briefing from the Inland Revenue Department, The Treasury and Te Puni Kokiri on the recently released discussion document Review of Taxation of Maori Organisations.

The committee meets again on Thursday, 30 August, when it will hear evidence from Hon Steve Maharey, chairperson of the Cabinet Social Equity Committee along with officials from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet on changes to reporting requirements for reducing inequalities programmes.

The committee has called for public submissions on its inquiry into the Crown Forestry Rental Trust. The inquiry has the following terms of reference:

To inquire into the operations and performance of the Crown Forestry Rental Trust. Matters that the committee will consider in its inquiry include:

1. Whether the Crown Forestry Rental Trust is fulfilling the purpose for which it was established

2. An assessment of the performance of the Crown Forestry Rental Trust to date

3. The progress the Crown Forestry Rental Trust has made towards determining the ownership of Crown forestry assets

4. What impediments exist to prevent the final determination of the ownership of the Crown forestry assets

5. The relationship between the Crown Forestry Rental Trust and other parties including claimants, the Waitangi Tribunal, the Office of Treaty Settlements and other institutions in the treaty settlement process and the impact of the Crown Forestry Rental Trust's “New Direction” on these relationships

6. The criteria used by the Crown Forestry Rental Trust to determine the allocation of funding to claimants

7. The appropriateness of the current legislative framework of the Crown Forestry Rental Trust

8. The appropriateness of the current lines of accountability of the Crown Forestry Rental Trust.

The closing date for submissions is 21 September 2001. The committee requires 20 copies of each submission. Those wishing to include any information of a private or personal nature in a submission should first discuss this with the clerk of the committee, as submissions are usually released to the public by the committee.

Those wishing to appear before the committee to speak to their submissions should state this clearly and provide a daytime telephone contact number. The committee notes that it may not be able to hear all those who wish to appear to make submissions.

For further guidance on making a submission, our publication Making a Submission to a Parliamentary Select Committee can be found on our web site at www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz.

Submissions should be addressed as follows: Marcus Ganley, Maori Affairs Committee Secretariat, Parliament House, WELLINGTON

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

The committee met three times again this week to make progress on the Dairy Industry Restructuring Bill and the Apple and Pear Industry Restructuring Act Repeal Bill.

On Tuesday, 14 August, the committee completed the main hearing of evidence on the dairy legislation. It then started considering the issues raised in the evidence and the bill on Wednesday and Thursday, 15 and 16 August. It also heard further evidence from the Livestock Improvement Corporation on Thursday afternoon, 16 August.

On Thursday, 16 August, the committee also considered the apple legislation and the Foreign Fishing Crew Wages and Repatriation Bond Bill. Next week, the committee will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday, 21 and 22 August.

Privileges (Fay Paterson, SC-Privileges@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee met this week to hear evidence on the question of privilege concerning an action filed in the District Court at Wellington, Stonehill v Mackey (No 0016/01).

On 14 August, by leave, the House referred to the committee a question of privilege relating to a report in The New Zealand Herald concerning a report of the Education and Science Committee.

Regulations Review (Andrew Fieldsend, SC-RR@parliament.govt.nz )

The committee met on Wednesday, 15 August. The committee considered regulation-making powers in two bills: the Telecommunications Bill and the State Sector Amendment Bill. In the afternoon, the committee heard evidence on two complaints relating to the Sharemilking Agreements Order 2001. The complainants argue that the order breaches Standing Order 382(2) on several grounds, including that it is retrospective without express authority from the empowering statute. Evidence was heard from one of the complainants and from other interested parties including representatives from the Sharemilkers and Sharemilkers’ Employers sections of Federated Farmers. The committee intends holding a further hearing of evidence on the complaint.

The committee will next meet on Wednesday 29 August.

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

The committee considered the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill this week and will continue this consideration at its next meeting on 29 August. The date on which the committee is required to report on the bill has been extended to 14 September 2001.

Closing dates for submissions

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

Commerce

Trade Marks Bill (21 September 2001)

Finance and Expenditure

Trustee Companies Amendment Bill (7 September 2001)

Health

Inquiry into the adverse effects on women as a result of treatment by Dr Graham Parry (10 September 2001)

Justice and Electoral

Court Fees (Waiver) Bill (27 August 2001)

Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill (5 October 2001)

Human Rights Amendment Bill (28 September 2001)

Law and Order

Police Amendment Bill (No 2) (29 August 2001)

Local Government and Environment

Rodney District Council (PENLINK Toll Road) Empowering Bill (20 September 2001)

Maori Affairs

Inquiry into the operations and performance of the Crown Forestry Rental Trust (21 September 2001)

Transport and Industrial Relations

Minimum Wage Amendment Bill (31 August 2001)


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