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Select Committee Business: 15 March To 22 March

Select Committee Business

From 15 March To 22 March 2002

Committee meetings

There were 19 committee meetings, all in the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented

(available at http://www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz/cgi-bin/select-reports)

Officers of Parliament

- Alterations to the 2001/02 appropriations for Vote Audit, Vote Ombudsmen and Vote Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment and the 2002/03 draft budget for the Auditor-General, the Office of the Ombudsmen and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

Local Government and Environment

- Rodney District Council (PENLINK Toll Road) Empowering Bill (150-2)

Finance and Expenditure

- 2000/01 financial review of the Public Trust Office

Commerce

- Petition 1999/155 of Steve Chadwick

Government Administration

- 2000/01 financial review of the New Zealand Lotteries 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 commenced work on its 2000/01 financial review of the performance and current operations of Radio New Zealand Limited. The committee received briefings from the Audit Office and CCMAU and heard evidence from Radio New Zealand's Chairman, Chief Executive and Company Secretary. The committee also considered the financial review of Transpower New Zealand Limited. The report is due by 17 April 2002. The committee then heard further submissions on the Television New Zealand Bill and started consideration of that bill, which is due for report by 30 April 2002. Finally, the committee considered the petition of John Dickson and several items of general business.

Next week the committee will meet twice. On Tuesday it will hear a submission from the Green Party on the Television New Zealand Bill and then give the bill consideration in closed session. On Thursday the committee will consider the financial reviews of the State-owned electricity generators. The committee is required to report on Genesis Power Limited, Meridian Energy Limited and Mighty River Power Limited by 17 April 2002. The committee will also consider the TOWER Trust Limited Bill, a private bill, and the Consumer Protection (Definitions of Goods and Services) Bill.

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

The committee heard evidence this week on the Tertiary Education Reform Bill. Submissions were heard from several tertiary institutions, and staff and student unions. The committee will complete hearing evidence on the bill next Thursday.

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

The committee met on 19, 20 and 21 March, to consider the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (Genetically Modified Organisms) Amendment Bill, and to hear evidence on the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s Monetary Policy Statement and the Securities Markets and Institutions Bill. It considered the financial reviews of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, the Public Trust Office, and New Zealand Post Limited.

The committee will meet on Tuesday, 26 March, to consider the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (Genetically Modified Organisms) Amendment Bill. On Wednesday, 27 March, the committee will consider the financial reviews of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and the New Zealand Railways Corporation, the standard Estimates questionnaire for the 2002/03 Estimates of appropriations, and the petition of Glynmor Trevor Thomas.

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

The committee met on Thursday, 21 March, to consider the petition of Tony Swain and 3070 others, which requests the Government abandon plans to close fire stations in the Wellington area and to instead upgrade existing stations in Johnsonville, Khandallah and Newlands.

The committee also considered the 2000/01 financial review of the New Zealand Lotteries Commission and has presented its report.

The committee next meets on Thursday, 28 March, to hear evidence from Chief Executive of the Building Industry Authority on the 2000/01 financial review. This is the first time the Authority has appeared before the Government Administration Committee.

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

The committee met this week and further the inquiry into the adverse effects on women as a result of treatment by Dr Graham Parry. The committee also considered matters relating to financial reviews of District Health Boards and considered, in particular, the financial review of Auckland District Health Board.

Justice and Electoral (Louise Sparrer, SC-JE@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee met on 20 March to hear evidence on its inquiry into the 2001 local elections. Three submissions were made in person and five were heard by teleconference.

There was general agreement among submitters that extending the voting period for local elections from two to three weeks was not a success. The lack of urgency was thought to have contributed to low voter turnout.

A submission from Alan McRobie (a political analyst and independent electoral consultant) drew attention to a number of important issues, including:

Votes for someone in a council election who is also running for mayor effectively become wasted votes if that candidate is subsequently elected mayor. He suggested preferential voting would solve this long-standing problem; if a voter were to include a second choice for their vote in the council elections, that vote could be redistributed after the mayor was elected.

He also submitted that polls that are tantamount to exit polls have been published in the course of local elections, although such polls are banned in general elections. If exit polls are allowed to go ahead locally, the ban is called into question.

He said a common problem with public opinion polls is the lack of information provided on how the poll was conducted and the rules on the authorisation of campaign expenditure by electoral officers are unclear.

Next week the committee will meet on 27 March to consider its financial review of the Legal Services Agency and to continue consideration of the inquiry into the 2001 local elections.

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

The committee met on Thursday, 21 March, to discuss general business. The date of the next meeting is yet to be determined.

Local Government and Environment (Marie Alexander, SC-LGE@parliament.govt.nz)

On Wednesday the committee heard evidence from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority as part of its financial review for 2000/01.

The committee also reported on the Rodney District Council (PENLINK Toll Road) Empowering Bill, with the recommendation that it be passed with amendments. The bill enables the Rodney District Council to enter into a commercial agreement with a private company to design, finance, build, operate and maintain the Weiti Toll Road. The involvement of a private company makes this road unique from other toll projects in New Zealand.

On Wednesday, 27 March, the committee will hear evidence from the Environmental Risk Management Authority as part its financial review for 2000/01. The committee will also hear submissions from a number of councils on the Local Government Bill.

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

This week the committee received a briefing from New Zealand On Air on issues relating to recent funding decisions of Te Mangai Paho. This was followed by a site visit to the Office of Treaty Settlements. Next week the committee plans to further consider the Maori Television Service Bill.

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

At its meeting on Wednesday, the committee continued with its regular scrutiny of all new government regulations. It proceeded with its brief investigation into the Dairy Industry (Herd Testing and New Zealand Dairy Core Database) Regulations 2001. Then it heard evidence from the Department of Internal Affairs on two items:

- investigation into the Gaming and Lotteries (Licence Fees) Amendment Regulations 2001

- complaints relating to the Births, Deaths, and Marriages (Fees) Amendment Regulations 2001 and investigation into identity services fees regulations.

The department told the committee it was developing new schedules of fees that are intended to address concerns previously raised by the committee. The committee’s investigation into these items is ongoing.

Next week the committee will hear evidence from the Ministry of Transport on a complaint relating to the Land Transport (Driver Licensing and Driver Testing Fees) Amendment Regulations 2001. The complaint was made by the Bus and Coach Association and concerns recent bus driver licence fee increases. The hearing of evidence will be open to the public from 3.15 pm to 5.00 pm.

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

The committee continues hearing evidence on the Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Bill on Wednesday, 27 March, from 10.30 am until approximately 1.00 pm.

Closing dates for submissions

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

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

Customs and Excise Amendment Bill (No 4) (22 March 2002)

Transnational Organised Crime Bill (28 March 2002)

Government Administration

Statutes Amendment Bill (No 2) (22 March 2002)

Responsible Gambling Bill (2 April 2002)

Justice and Electoral

Retirement Villages Bill (26 April 2002)

Maori Affairs

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

Inquiry into the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commissions (Te Ohu Kai Moana) (5 April 2002)

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, 22 March 2002

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