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Select Committee Business17-24 August

SELECT COMMITTEE BUSINESS

From 17 August to 24 August 2001

Committee meetings

There were four committee meetings this week. One was in Christchurch and the remainder in the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented

Commerce

- Sydenham Money Club Bill (114-2)

- Chartered Professional Engineers of New Zealand Bill (25-2)

Local Government and Environment

- Local Government (Elected Member Remuneration and Trading Enterprises) Amendment Bill (87-2)

Justice and Electoral

- Victims’ Rights Bill (331-2)

Social Services

- Child Support Amendment Bill (136-2)

Primary Production

- Foreign Fishing Crew Wages and Repatriation Bond Bill (42-2)

Bills referred to select committees

No bills were referrred.

Committee notes

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

Commerce (Alan Witcombe, SC-Commerce@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee did not meet over the adjournment. Next week the committee will meet on Tuesday to consider the Telecommunications Bill. On Thursday it will spend most of its time hearing evidence on the Imported Used Cars (Commission of Inquiry) Bill.

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

The committee met on Wednesday, 22 August. It considered the New Zealand Stock Exchange Restructuring Bill, the Taxation (Annual Rates, Taxpayer Assessment and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, and its inquiry on the briefing from the Minister for State-Owned Enterprises on the Crown Company Monitoring Advisory Unit. The committee will meet again on Wednesday, 29 August.

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

Next week the committee meets to hear evidence on the Recreation and Sport Agency Bill. This bill seeks to create a new Crown entity called the Recreation and Sport Agency, which will promote, encourage, and support physical recreation and sport as a means of achieving a healthier and more active nation.

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

The committee did not meet during the adjournment, but will meet again on Wednesday, 29 August. At this meeting it will continue consideration of the inquiry into the adverse effects on women as a result of treatment by Dr Parry. It will also continue consideration of petitions currently before the committee.

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

This week the committee met all day in Christchurch to consider and hear evidence on the Prostitution Reform Bill and to consider the Victims’ Rights Bill and Supplementary Order Paper No 112. Next week the committee will complete hearing submissions on the Prostitution Reform Bill. It will also hear submissions on the Court Fees (Waiver) Bill, which has a closing date for submissions of 27 August. Next week the committee will also consider the Crimes (Criminal Appeals) Amendment Bill, the Electoral Amendment Bill (No 2) and the inquiry into the 1999 General Election.

The committee is also calling for submissions on the Human Rights Amendment Bill by 28 September. The bill has been placed on the Ministry of Justice website www.justice.govt.nz. The due date for submissions on the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill is 5 October.

The committee reported on the Victims’ Rights Bill this week. The bill was referred to the Justice and Law Reform Committee of the previous Parliament in 1999. At the start of the current Parliament in December 1999 the bill was referred to the Justice and Electoral Committee. The bill will replace the Victims of Offences Act 1987 (the Act).

Supplementary Order Paper No 112 (the SOP) was released on 12 December 2000. The SOP proposes to amend most of the bill. It recasts most of the “principles’ in the Act (and the bill) as duties that particular agencies must perform. Two are retained as principles: those guiding the treatment of victims and those guiding their access to services. The new rights relate to:

- information about services and remedies, and about proceedings

- nondisclosure of a victim’s address

- victim impact statements in sentencing of an offender

- victim’s views on application for name suppression by an accused or offender

- victim’s views about release on bail (for victims of certain offences)

- victim notification registers for victims of certain offences who ask for notice (the notice is to inform victims about matters such as the offender’s release on bail, release or escape from custody, parole hearing, or discharge from a mental health system hospital)

- victims making submissions on parole, home detention, and conditions on final release (for victims of certain offences)

- the return of property held as evidence.

The SOP also contains provisions on avenues of complaint for victims who consider they have not been accorded their rights.

Main recommendations

The committee supports the main feature of the SOP, which is to restate many of the “principles’ in the bill and the Act as rights to which victims are entitled. Also it supports the proposal to retain as “principles’ only, rather than mandatory rights, provisions relating to treatment and access to services. For the removal of doubt, it recommended making clear that victims may not enforce the “principle’ provisions in court.

Some members supported the addition of a third “principle’ clause, to encourage the use of meetings between the victim and offender if:

- both the victim and the offender wish to meet

- resources are available to facilitate and hold the meeting

- the meeting is otherwise practicable, and is in all the circumstances appropriate.

The committee was unable to agree on this.

The committee recommended the following changes to the definition of “victim’:

- The definition is primarily focussed on the complainant in a case, and those who suffer physical harm or property loss or damage.

- For the purposes of the principles guiding treatment and access to services, the definition includes a person who, through an offence committed by another person, suffers any form of emotional harm.

- The provision relating to family members in cases involving death was expanded to include the immediate family of people who are in a coma. A definition of “immediate family’ was inserted. The committee also recommended allowing a court the discretion to include any person in, or exclude any person from, the definition of “immediate family’ as appropriate.

In relation to Victim Impact Statements (VISs) the following recommendations were made:

- The committee referred to offences for giving false and misleading information in a VIS, and recommended giving warnings before information is ascertained from a victim.

- VISs should be verified by victims, or when this is not practicable, they should include a statement by the prosecutor that the information has been approved by the victim. It may sometimes be inconvenient for anyone to sign the statement, in which case unverified statements should be permitted to be used.

- Offenders must not be given a copy of the VIS to keep, and all copies must be returned to the court at the end of the proceedings.

- Part of a statement may be withheld from the offender if necessary to protect the victim’s physical safety or security, but judges may not take any withheld information into account in sentencing.

In relation to victim notification, recommendations included the following:

- Victims of certain offences should be entitled to notification of an accused’s or offender’s release on bail.

- Their views on bail should be taken into account.

- They should be notified of an offender’s release or escape from a penal institution or mental health hospital.

- They should be informed of conditions of release that relate to their physical safety or security or that of members of their immediate family.

- They should be notified of prosecutions for breach of release conditions, of applications for recall to prison, and of the outcomes of all such prosecutions and applications.

The committee did not support the proposal to change current provisions on making submissions at parole hearings. It has just been referred the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill, which addresses these issues. A new clause was inserted allowing victims’ views on deportation of the offender to be taken into account.

The committee also recommended that, in the year 2003, a select committee inquire into the success of this legislation in introducing and sustaining better services to victims.

Copies of the amended bill and commentary will be available at bookshops and on the internet site of the Office of the Clerk (www.clerk.parliament.government.nz) in the publications section early next week.

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 did not meet this week. It meets next week on Thursday, 30 August, to consider the Police Amendment Bill (No 2), which is required to be reported to the House by 2 October 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.

The closing date for submissions is Wednesday, 29 August 2001. 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 day-time 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.

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

The committee did not meet this week. However, the committee’s report on the Local Government (Elected Member Remuneration and Trading Enterprises) Amendment Bill was presented. The committee, by majority, recommended the bill be passed with amendments. The following are among the committee’s recommended amendments:

- The Higher Salaries Commission will have discretion to prescribe rules for reimbursing expenses incurred by local authority elected members.

- The Commission will have discretion to prescribe circumstances in which local authority elected members may receive an ex gratia payment on leaving office. While the committee recommends the Commission be given this discretion, there is no expectation that the Commission should or will provide for an ex gratia payment.

- Any interested persons or organisations will be able to make written submissions to the Commission on determinations, and the Commission will have discretion to invite oral submissions.

- Further details are added relating to the imposition of a levy to pay the costs of the Commission in making determinations.

- By majority, the meaning of “operating as a successful business’ is extended to include a requirement to exhibit a sense of environmental responsibility.

Next week, the committee meets on Tuesday to receive a briefing in public from Hon Pete Hodgson on the Forests Amendment Bill. On Wednesday, the committee will receive a public briefing from the Audit Office on the results of the most recent audit of local authorities. The committee will then consider the Taranaki Regional Council Empowering Bill and the inquiry into the role of local government in meeting New Zealand’s climate change target.

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

Next week the committee will receive a public briefing from Hon Steve Maharey and staff from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet on changes to reporting on reducing inequalities programmes.

The committee is still seeking submissions on its inquiry into the Crown Forestry Rental Trust. Submissions close on 21 September 2001. For more information see: www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz/publications/mainquir.html.

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

The committee met twice this week to progress two bills, the Dairy Industry Restructuring Bill and the Apple and Pear Industry Restructuring Act Repeal Bill. Next week the committee reverts back to three meetings (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) to consider the two bills. It has to report back by 6 September 2001 on the Apple and Pear Industry Restructuring Act Repeal Bill and 11 September 2001 on the Dairy Industry Restructuring Bill.

On Friday, 24 August, the committee reported on the Foreign Fishing Crew Wages and Repatriation Bond Bill, a member’s bill in the name of Graham Kelly. The committee recommends the bill proceed with some amendments.

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

The committee will consider the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill at its meeting on 29 August. The committee is required to report on this bill by 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)

Local Government (Rating) (26 September)

Maori Affairs

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

Primary Production

Biosecurity Amendment Bill (24 September 2001)

Transport and Industrial Relations

Minimum Wage Amendment Bill (31 August 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, 24 August 2001


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