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Select Committee Business

Select Committee Business

From 28 September to 5 October 2001

Committee meetings

There were 17 committee meetings. One was in Auckland. The others were in the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented (3)

Justice and Electoral

- Electoral Amendment Bill (No 2) (110-2)

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

- International treaty examination of the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER)

Law and Order

- Petition 1999/183 of Emmet Sharkey

Bills referred to select committees

No bills were referred to committees.

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)

This week the subcommittee on the inquiry into fees, loans, allowances and the overall resourcing of tertiary education met for the last time.

Next week, the committee will receive a follow-up briefing in public from the Ministry of Education’s Tertiary Advisory Monitoring Unit (TAMU), as part of the committee’s review of the performance of the tertiary education sector. The Office of the Controller and Auditor-General will also brief the committee on its report on school property. The TAMU briefing is scheduled from 10.00 am to 11.00 am, and the school property briefing is scheduled from 11.00 am to 11.30 am. Both will be in Room G.010, Parliament House.

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

The committee met on Wednesday, 3 October. It heard submissions on the Construction Contracts Bill. The committee received a briefing from the Inland Revenue Department on the rewriting of the Income Tax Act 1994.

The committee will continue hearing submissions on the Construction Contracts Bill on Wednesday, 10 October, in Wellington. The venue for these hearings is Room G.006, Parliament House. The meeting is open to the public and will commence at 10.00 am and finish at 1.00 pm.

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

The committee met this week to consider the Terrorism (Bombings and Financing) Bill. The committee also gave further consideration to the International Treaties Bill. The committee was briefed by a delegation of Kuwaiti parliamentarians. The committee was also further briefed by the Office of the Controller and Auditor General on its report into the Ministry of Defence's purchase of the LAV IIIs armoured personnel carriers.

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

This week the committee considered the Prostitution Reform Bill and the inquiry into the 1999 General Election. It also commenced hearing submissions on the Human Rights Amendment Bill. Next week the committee will continue to hear submissions on the bill at the Copthorne Anzac Avenue in Auckland from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm on Wednesday, 10 October.

Submissions on the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill close today, 5 October. No date has yet been set to commence hearing submissions.

The committee has presented its report on the Electoral Amendment Bill (No 2). Most of the provisions in this bill are designed to improve the administration of general elections by:

- replacing the prescriptive provisions of the Electoral Act 1993 with more flexible provisions

- reorganising the administration of polling places

- making it possible for people on the Maori roll to cast ordinary Maori votes at any polling place, thus doing away with the need for tangata whenua votes

- allowing party votes to be counted where the voter has voted in the wrong electorate

- providing for a system of continuous enrolment instead of complete roll revision every three years

- allowing votes cast before polling day to be counted before the close of the polls.

The National Party minority of the committee opposed the three latter provisions, saying: “The quality of our democracy will be eroded by this bill. The effect could well reduce the integrity of elections since the very basis of the election, the electoral roll, will be compromised.” The ACT member also opposed the latter two provisions.

The committee spent much time improving provisions that will help iwi organisations and other Maori organisations set up accurate registers of members. The bill will allow the Chief Registrar of Electors to seek permission from Maori voters to pass their electoral details on to an iwi affiliation service. This service will in turn be able to pass Maori voters’ details on to any iwi organisations or other Maori organisations that the voters have nominated. The organisations will use this information to keep track of their members so they can develop a democratic mandate for the governance of their assets.

The committee unanimously recommended striking out Part 4 of the bill, which would have banned the publication of political opinion poll results for 28 days prior to a general election. This part was copied from the Electoral (Public Opinion Polls) Amdendment Bill, a member’s bill in the name of the Rt Hon Winston Peters that was defeated on its first reading last year. The committee said: “We have not been convinced that the publication of political opinion polls before elections is a mischief that requires a remedy of the sort proposed in Part 4 of the bill. We received no persuasive evidence that opinion polls affect voter behaviour at elections to a significant extent.”

The committee has also introduced a number of its own amendments into the bill including the following:

- Negative advertising by candidates, aimed at other candidates and parties, will be made a form of election activity for which candidates will have to declare expenses.

- It will be a corrupt practice for a candidate knowingly to make a statement containing untruths in the two days before an election, for the purpose of influencing the vote.

- Websites of parties and candidates will be allowed to operate on election day.

- The distinction between electorate and national donations will be abolished.

Further discussion about these amendments is to be included in the committee’s report on the inquiry into the 1999 General Election.

The committee’s report on the Electoral Amendment Bill (No 2) is available from Bennett’s Government bookstores or via a link on the website: http://www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz/publications/index.html.

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 this week to consider the Crown Organisations (Criminal Liability) Bill, and two petitions. The committee presented its report on one of these petitions, of Mr Emmet Sharkey, on 5 October. The committee next meets on Thursday, 11 October, from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm, to further consider the Crown Organisations (Criminal Liability) Bill, and to consider the review of services provided to select committees.

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

The committee released information about submissions received on two bills. The committee has received 40 submissions on the Rodney District Council (PENLINK Toll Road) Empowering Bill (closing date 20 September), of which 27 are oral submissions. The committee has not yet released details about the schedule for hearings on that bill.

Submissions closed on the Local Government (Rating) Bill on 26 September and 144 submissions have been received, of which 92 are oral submissions. The committee started hearing evidence on this bill on 25 September. This week submissions were heard from the New Zealand School Trustees Association, Federated Farmers of New Zealand, the Local Government Forum, Business New Zealand and the New Zealand Kennel Club. Further submissions will be heard in Wellington on 10, 17 and 26 October, and the committee will travel to Auckland on 23 and 24 October.

On Wednesday the committee also considered the Taranaki Regional Council Empowering Bill. Next week further consideration will be given to 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)

This week the committee received a briefing from the Department of Corrections on the proposed new Auckland regional men’s prison. It was also briefed by the Labour Market Policy Group and the Community Employment Group of Department of Labour on Maori employment issues as part of the committee’s inquiry into the mainstreaming of services to Maori.

Next week the committee will receive a briefing from the Careers Service.

The committee has extended its closing date for submissions on its inquiry into the Crown Forestry Rental Trust until Friday 29 October. For more information see:

http://www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz/publications/mainquir.html

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

The committee began its consideration of the Biosecurity Amendment Bill. Hearing of evidence will be held next week. This is open to the public and is scheduled to begin at 10.00 am. The committee will also continue consideration of its inquiry into sustainable forest management.

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

On Wednesday the committee scrutinised 58 new regulations, including several regulations made under the Fisheries Act 1996, which came into force on 1 October 2001. The committee also advanced its work on two complaints relating to the Sharemilking Agreements Order 2001, and considered regulation-making powers in the Local Government (Rating) Bill, which is before the Local Government and Environment Committee.

Next week the committee will hear evidence from officials on the regulation-making powers in the Local Government (Rating) Bill and the Overseas Investment Amendment Regulations 2001. The hearing of evidence will be open to the public from 8.30 am to 9.15 am in G.010, Parliament House.

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

On 3 October the committee heard evidence from the Ministry of Transport, the Land Transport Safety Authority, Transit and Transfund on progress on recommendations made in a 1996 Transport Committee inquiry into truck crashes. The Transport Committee’s report had made approximately 60 recommendations and the committee heard about the progress made by various bodies in implementing these.

On 10 October the committee will hear evidence on the 2000/01 financial review of the Transport Accident Investigation Commission. This will be followed by hearing of evidence on a petition of Dr Muriel Newman MP, requesting that funding be provided to build passing lanes on the Ruakaka-Waipu highway.

Closing dates for submissions

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

Justice and Electoral

Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill (5 October 2001)

Maori Affairs

Inquiry into the operations and performance of the Crown Forestry Rental Trust (29 October 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, 5 October 2001


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