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Select Committee Business 15-22 February 2002

Select Committee Business

From 15 February to 22 February 2002

Committee meetings

There were 24 committee meetings this week. Three of these meetings were outside Wellington.

Reports presented

Justice and Electoral

- Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill (148-2)

- 2000/01 financial review of the Crown Law Office

- Petition 1999/148 of Debbie Mills

Local Government and Environment

- Petition 1999/168 of Ronald Keith Sloan and 536 others

- Petition 1999/2 of Robert Kilgour and 20 others

- Petition 1996/1627 of Gillian Pollock and 250 others

- Petition 1996/1522 of Karen McDonnell

Education and Science

- 2000/01 financial review of the New Zealand Institute for Crop and Food Research Limited

- 2000/01 financial review of the New Zealand Forest Research Institute Limited

- 2000/01 financial review of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Limited

- 2000/01 financial review of the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Limited

- 2000/01 financial review of the Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited

- 2000/01 financial review of Industrial Research Limited

- 2000/01 financial review of the Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Limited

- 2000/01 financial review of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

1. 2000/01 financial reviews of the Ministry of Defence and the New Zealand Defence Force

Transport and Industrial Relations

2. 2000/01 financial review of the Transport Accident Investigation Commission

Bills referred to select committees

No bills were referred

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 heard evidence from the chief executive and a director of Transpower New Zealand Limited, New Zealand’s second largest State enterprise, as part of its 2000/01 financial review of the performance and current operations of the company. A report from the committee is due by 17 April 2002. The committee also continued consideration of the Trade Marks Bill, due to be reported by 1 March 2002, and gave consideration to a number of petitions.

Next week the committee is scheduled to meet twice. On Tuesday it will commence hearings on the Television New Zealand Bill after receiving a briefing from Treasury and Ministry of Culture and Heritage officials. The bill proposes that TVNZ become a Crown-owned company, which will allow it to deliver both commercial and public broadcasting charter objectives. The closing date for submissions is 15 February 2002.

Reports are also due from the committee by 17 April on its financial reviews of the three State-owned electricity generators. The committee is meeting next Thursday from 9.30 am to 1.00 pm to examine and hear evidence from Meridian Energy Limited, Genesis Power Limited and Mighty River Power Limited. The chairman and chief executive of each company are scheduled to appear before the committee. In addition the committee will continue with its consideration of the Trade Marks Bill.

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

The committee held its first meeting of the year on Thursday, 14 February. In this meeting, the committee heard evidence on the 2000/01 financial reviews of AgResearch Limited (a Crown Research Institute) and the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology.

In the AgResearch hearing the committee was informed of AgResearch’s operations in the year under review, both in research and development and commercial areas. Issues surrounding intellectual property incentive schemes and the role of genetic modification and genome patenting were also discussed.

In the review of the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology, the challenges involved in measuring science outcomes and outputs, the ministry’s approach to Maori science, and ways to address New Zealand’s relatively low rates of investment in research and development were raised.

At the committee’s next meeting on Thursday, 21 February, it will conduct the final financial review hearing of Specialist Education Services ( www.ses.org.nz) before it is disestablished. The committee will also receive a briefing on the National Education Monitoring Project from the University of Otago ( http://nemp.otago.ac.nz). These will be open to the public in Room G.011 Parliament House, from 10.00 am to 11.00 am and from 11.00 am to 12.00 noon respectively.

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

The committee met on Wednesday, 13 February, and heard evidence on the 2000/01 financial review of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand from the Overseas Investment Commission. It also considered the Monetary Policy Statement, the 2000/01 financial review of New Zealand Post, and the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (Genetically Modified Organisms) Amendment Bill. The committee met again on Thursday, 14 February, to hear evidence on the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (Genetically Modified Organisms) Amendment Bill. The committee is meeting for a third time this week on Friday, 15 February, in Auckland to hear evidence on the same bill.

The committee will meet again on Tuesday, 19 February. It will hear evidence on the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (Genetically Modified Organisms) Amendment Bill. This will be open to the public from 3.30 pm to 6.00 pm and from 7.00 pm to 10.00 pm. The committee will meet on Wednesday, 20 February, in Room G.006, Parliament House. It will consider the Budget Policy Statement 2002 and the 2000/01 financial review of New Zealand Post. The Budget Policy Statement 2002 is open to the public from 10.05 am to 12.30 pm. In addition, the committee will meet on Wednesday, 20 February, in the Canterbury Room at the Russley Hotel, Roydale Avenue, Christchurch. It will hear evidence on the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (Genetically Modified Organisms) Amendment Bill. This hearing will be open to the public from 5.00 pm to 7.30 pm. The committee will further meet on Thursday, 21 February, in Room 11.03, Bowen House. It will hear evidence on the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (Genetically Modified Organisms) Amendment Bill. This hearing will be open to the public from 3.30 pm to 5.00 pm.

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

The committee met this week to conclude hearing submissions on the Terrorism (Bombings and Financing) Bill. The committee also presented a report on its financial reviews of the New Zealand Defence Force and the Ministry of Defence.

The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was referred to the committee this week. Both the national interest analysis and the treaty text can be viewed at www.climatechange.govt.nz. The closing date for submissions is 11 March 2002. Twenty copies of submissions are required.

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

This week the committee heard evidence from ECPAT New Zealand and the Film and Video Labelling Body on the inquiry into the operation of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 and related issues. Next week the committee will continue its consideration of this inquiry.

The committee will also hear evidence next week from the Chief Executive of the New Zealand Lotteries Commission on the operation and financial review of the Lotteries Commission for the 2001/02 reporting year and current operations.

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

The committee met this week and considered the financial review of the Ministry of Health.

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

The committee reported on several items of business this week. The most important of these was the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill. This legislation represents a comprehensive reform of the laws relating to sentencing and parole in this country. While it is anticipated the sentence of life imprisonment for murder will remain, the bill sets out a range of sentences for murder that take into account the seriousness of the circumstances involved.

The committee recommends that a court “must’ impose a minimum period of imprisonment of at least 17 years for the worst kind of murders unless it would be manifestly unjust to do so. The bill also acknowledges the role of restorative justice in the sentencing process. Restorative justice is an emerging concept in New Zealand’s criminal justice system and one that committee members see as having a real benefit for victims and in bringing offenders to account for their actions.

The committee proposes a number of amendments to add to the impact of restorative justice throughout the bill. The currently fragmented parole system has been simplified into one national Parole Board, which will consist of a number of part- and full-time members who will operate in panels of at least three members. Under the new parole structure the Board’s paramount consideration is the safety of the community when assessing an offender’s eligibility for parole. There is greater recognition for victims’ rights in terms of participation in the process and availability of information. In summary, the committee’s principal recommendations include the following:

- requiring that a court must, rather than should, consider all the principles of sentencing, including any information from the victim on the effect of the offending

- requiring that a court must, rather than may, consider all the aggravating/mitigating factors when sentencing

- including an additional aggravating factor of hate crimes

- requiring a court to impose the minimum non-parole period of 17 years for the worst types of murder, unless to do so would be manifestly unjust

- clarifying the phrase “or is particularly vulnerable’ in sentencing for murder

- including a new clause stating the priority of reparation over fines if an offender does not have the means to pay both

- providing a code for when facts are disputed at sentencing to set out the onus and standard of proof on the prosecution and defence

- extending the time payment arrangements and attachment orders for paying fines from 18 months to five years

- providing for reparations to be awarded on the basis of loss or damage consequential on any emotional or physical harm to the victim

- removing the suggestion of class bias in the provisions for discharge without conviction

- increasing emphasis on restorative justice principles throughout the bill

- providing greater transparency around decisions of the Parole Board

- improving participation in Parole Board hearings and access to information about Parole Board decisions for victims of offending.

The committee also reported on the 2000/01 financial review of the Crown Law Office and on the petition of Debbie Mills.

At its next meeting the committee will continue with its consideration of the Prostitution Reform Bill.

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

The committee considered financial reviews of the Ministry for the Environment and the Department of Conservation, and then looked at the Rodney District Council (PENLINK Toll Road) Empowering Bill and the Hawke’s Bay Endowment Land Empowering Bill.

Four short reports were presented on petitions. Petition 1996/1522 of Karen McDonnell relates to proposals for hazardous waste disposal facilities in the Seaview and Gracefield areas of the Hutt Valley. In the report, the committee recognises the need to balance the encouragement of investment in heavy industry at this locality with the need to keep the community informed of potentially hazardous developments. Petition 1996/1627 of Gillian Pollock and 250 others is about the remediation of a contaminated site at Mapua, near Nelson. The report on Petition 1999/2 of Robert Kilgour and 20 others notes funding allocated for flood protection in Alexandra. Finally, the report on Petition 1999/168 of Ronald Keith Sloan and 536 others notes that contributions from the Department of Conservation and other organisations, as well as community input, has led to the repair of the memorial to Sir John McKenzie at Palmerston, Otago.

Next week the committee will continue consideration of the Rodney District Council (PENLINK Toll Road) Empowering Bill, and will commence consideration of the Local Government Bill. Submissions on the latter close on 22 February 2002.

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

At its first meeting for the year on Thursday, 14 February, the committee considered its inquiry into the Crown Forestry Rental Trust, the Te Uri o Hau Claims Settlement Bill, Te Whanau-a-Taupara Trust Empowering Bill and the review of the Office of Treaty Settlements.

The committee’s next meeting will be on Thursday, 21 February, to further consider the Te Uri o Hau Claims Settlement Bill and petitions.

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

After the summer adjournment the committee had a busy first week back at work. On Monday, 11 February, the committee met at the School of Forestry, University of Canterbury, for a full day of consideration on the inquiry into sustainable forestry management.

On Wednesday, 13 February, the committee commenced consideration of the Resource Management (Aquaculture Moratorium) Amendment Bill, with hearing of evidence in the afternoon and evening.

On Thursday, 14 February, the committee met in the morning to hear all the oral evidence on the Land Transfer and Cadastral Survey Legislation Bill, followed by more hearing of evidence on the Resource Management (Aquaculture Moratorium) Amendment Bill in the afternoon and evening.

Next week the committee meets on three days: Tuesday to Thursday, 19 to 21 February, to hear further evidence on the Resource Management (Aquaculture Moratorium) Amendment Bill, including hearing evidence at the Gateway Hotel in Auckland all day on Wednesday, 20 February. On Thursday, 21 February, the committee will also give further consideration to the Land Transfer and Cadastral Survey Legislation Bill. On Friday, 22 February, the committee will visit the Marlborough Sounds to see some of the issues involved with the Resource Management (Aquaculture Moratorium) Amendment Bill.

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

On Wednesday afternoon the committee heard evidence on two complaints relating to civil court fees regulations. The New Zealand Law Society (represented by Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer) and the New Zealand Bar Association (represented by Robert Dobson QC) argued that some regulations increasing civil court fees are objectionable because they:

- contain matters of policy more appropriate for parliamentary enactment

- impose barriers to the right of access to justice

- impose charges in the nature of a tax without parliamentary approval

- are not authorised by the empowering legislation.

The Department for Courts followed with a submission defending the regulations and denying the grounds of complaint.

The regulations are also subject to four notices of motion to disallow the regulations, lodged in the House by Richard Worth MP. If the notices of motion are not dealt with before 21 sitting days pass, the regulations will automatically be disallowed under the Regulations (Disallowance) Act 1989. The notices of motion were lodged on two separate days. So far, 15 and 16 sitting days respectively have passed since the notices of motion were lodged.

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

The committee will meet on Wednesday, 20 February, at 10.30 am to hear evidence on the 2000/01 financial review of the Accident Compensation Corporation.

Closing dates for submissions

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

Commerce

Television New Zealand Bill (15 February 2002)

Finance and Expenditure

Taxation (Relief, Refunds and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill (15 February 2002)

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (11 March 2002)

Justice and Electoral

Inquiry into the 2001 local elections (15 February 2002)

Local Government and Environment

Local Government Bill (22 February 2002)

Maori Affairs

Inquiry into the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission (Te Ohu Kai Moana) (15 February 2002)

Maori Television Service Bill (1 March 2002)

Te Whanau-a-Taupara Trust Empowering Bill (28 March 2002)

Social Services

Social Security (Working Towards Employment) Amendment Bill (15 February 2002)

Transport and Industrial Relations

Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Bill (1 March 2002)

General

You can find further information about select committees on our website at www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz.

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