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Select Committee Business 12 April to 19 April

Select Committee Business

From 12 April to 19 April 2002

Committee meetings

There were 21 committee meetings, two of which were outside Wellington. All others were in the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented

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

Commerce

- 2000/01 financial reviews of Genesis Power Limited, Meridian Energy Limited and Mighty River Power Limited

Education and Science

- 2000/01 financial review of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority

- 2000/01 financial review of Skill New Zealand

- 2000/01 financial review of Learning Media Limited

Transport and Industrial Relations

- 2000/01 financial review of the Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited

Primary Production

- Land Transfer and Cadastral Survey Legislation Bill (169-2)

Health

- 2000/01 financial review of Hutt Valley District Health Board

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

- 2000/01 financial review of the New Zealand Antarctic Institute

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 met twice. On Tuesday it further considered the Television New Zealand Bill, due to be reported back by 30 April. On Thursday the committee further considered its 2000/01 financial review of the Broadcasting Standards Authority, Radio New Zealand Limited and Industry New Zealand. The Broadcasting Standards Authority review report is due by 1 May. The committee then turned its attention to the Motor Vehicle Sales Bill. The committee is not meeting next week.

On 2 May the committee will hear evidence on the New Zealand Tourism Board 2000/01 financial review. The committee will further consider its reviews of Radio New Zealand Limited and Industry New Zealand. Time remaining will be used to hear one submission each on the Motor Vehicle Sales Bill and Crown Minerals Amendment Bill.

The committee has presented a number of reports recently. In its report on the State-owned electricity generators the committee commented as follows in summary:

- Genesis’s financial performance exceeded its statement of corporate intent targets in 2000/01 reporting a net profit after tax of $59.9 million.

- Meridian performed strongly over 2000/01 reporting a net profit after tax of $125.1 million.

- Mighty River’s financial returns in 2000/01 compare more favourably on most measures with the other State-owned generators despite its poor hydrology.

- The committee found it unacceptable that Meridian did not offer certain large industrial customers fixed price contracts and it was dissatisfied with the way the company abruptly communicated changes to its customers.

- The committee considers Genesis and Meridian should disclose the same level and type of hydro spill information as Mighty River. It is important for accurate data to be made available to ensure adequate monitoring and efficiency. However, the committee also noted that on the advice of the Minister of Energy all generators very recently began full disclosure of more accurate hydro spill data.

- The committee is not satisfied with the information provided in relation to industry self-governance establishment costs by the State-owned generators. The committee is concerned that they have not kept detailed records of costs incurred to date and with the apparent lack of any precise costing for future commitments.

- The committee encourages generators to manage resources in an appropriate way during power shortages and noted the Market Surveillance Committee found no evidence of the opportunistic use of market power during last winter’s power crisis.

- The committee has concerns about the effect on competition of customer consolidation and regional concentrations in the retail market.

- The committee is surprised that each State-owned generator has developed different and often non-complementary retail customer service measures. The committee considers the retail customer service information reported by the companies must be standardised to improve accountability and urge progress in the development of common measures. The committee expects to see uniform measures included in the next round of statements of corporate intent and expects CCMAU (the Crown Company Monitoring Unit) to advise Ministers accordingly.

- The committee is concerned about the poor rating Genesis achieved in the Consumers’ Institute PowerSwitch survey.

- The committee is disappointed at Meridian’s performance in relation to certain customer satisfaction measures and considers further improvements desirable with regard to retail controls and operating procedures.

- The committee considers there is still room for improvement in relation to the way power companies interact with their customers and resolve complaints, and expects to see substantial improvement over the next 12 months.

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

The committee met on Thursday, 18 April, and heard the final two submissions on the Tertiary Education Reform Bill. The first (the Governance, Trustee and Financial Management Training Charitable Trust) discussed the training requirements affecting Maori Trusts and recommended that the Industry Training Act 1992 be amended to ensure Industry Training Organisations address the training needs of Maori in accordance with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. The second (Wellington Institute of Technology) called for particular care and attention to be paid to the consultation, collaborative decision-making, and accountability functions of the new Tertiary Advisory Commission, and outlined a series of proposed amendments to the bill’s provisions. The committee spent the remainder of the meeting considering the bill further.

Next week the committee will meet on Wednesday, 24 April, to continue its consideration of the Tertiary Education Reform Bill. The bill can be viewed at: www.minedu.govt.nz/web/document/document_page.cfm?id=6554&p=1028.1216.

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

The committee met on Wednesday, 17 April. It heard evidence on the financial review of New Zealand Post Limited and the Securities Markets and Institutions Bill. It also considered the Annual Plan (discretionary work programme) of the Auditor-General.

The committee will next meet on 24 April from 10 am to 1 pm in Room G.006. It will consider the Taxation (Relief, Refunds and Miscellaneous Provision) Bill and the financial review of New Zealand Post Limited. It will receive a briefing on the results of the CAPS pilot. The meeting will be closed to the public.

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

The committee had two meetings this week. On Wednesday, 17 April, it completed hearing submissions on the international treaty examination of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. On Thursday, 18 April, the committee completed hearing submissions on the amendments to the Australia New Zealand Joint Food Standards Treaty. The committee also completed its financial review of the New Zealand Antarctic Institute, which was reported today. The committee also further considered its inquiry into New Zealand’s economic and trade relationship with Australia.

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

The committee met this week to conduct hearings on the financial reviews of West Coast and Whanganui district health boards. Next week the committee will conduct financial review hearings of Lakes and Bay of Plenty district health boards.

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

This week the committee met on 17 April. It continued consideration of the financial review of the Legal Services Agency and the inquiry into the 2001 local elections.

The committee heard from representatives of Mayor John Terris’s City Vision team in response to allegations made in an earlier hearing of evidence on the inquiry into the 2001 local elections. The discussion also covered aspects of local electoral law and practice and how these might be improved. There was interest in local elections being more consistent with general elections. Issues of particular concern included:

- rules governing the activity of incumbents, who should not have unfair advantage in election campaigns

- the use of council logos and colour schemes

- mechanisms for candidates to defend themselves against allegations.

Next week the committee will meet on 24 April to continue consideration of the Prostitution Reform Bill and the financial review of the Legal Services Agency. It will also begin considering the Retirement Villages Bill.

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

This week the committee met on Thursday to consider the Maori Television Service Bill and heard submissions on its inquiry into the Crown Forestry Rental Trust from:

- Ngati Tama Manawhenua ki te Tau Ihu Trust

- Professional Historians Association of New Zealand/Aotearoa

- Ngati Toa Rangatira

- Maniapoto Maori Trust Board

- Dr Barry Rigby.

On Friday (19 April) the committee met in Rotorua to hear further submissions on this inquiry.

The committee will not meet next week due to Anzac Day. Its next scheduled meeting is on Thursday, 2 May, when it will hear further submissions on the inquiry into the Crown Forestry Rental Trust and further consider the Maori Television Service Bill. The following day, 3 May, the committee intends to travel to Gisborne to hear further submissions on the inquiry and to hear evidence on the Te Whanau-a-Taupara Trust Empowering Bill.

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

On Tuesday, 16 April, the committee reported on the Land Transfer and Cadastral Survey Legislation Bill with a number of recommendations, including that the Surveyor-General and Registrar-General hold relevant qualifications and fee-charging provisions be subject to scrutiny by the Regulations Review Committee.

The committee met on Thursday, 18 April, and gave further consideration to its inquiry into sustainable forestry management. It will not meet next Thursday as this is Anzac Day.

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

On Wednesday afternoon the committee heard complaints about Land Transport Rule 32006/1: Frontal Impact. The complainants were the Independent Motor Vehicle Dealers Association, the Motor Vehicle Dealers Institute, and Save Our Businesses Association. The principal arguments of the complainants were that the rule is unworkable, that it was made without proper consultation, and that it is not in accordance with the objects and intentions of the Land Transport Act 1998 because it will not promote safety at a reasonable cost. The Minister of Transport is expected to respond to the complaints at a later hearing.

The committee also continued its regular scrutiny of new government regulations, examined a draft land transport rule, and considered regulation-making powers in two bills before other committees: the Customs and Excise Amendment Bill (No 4) and the Responsible Gambling Bill.

Next week the committee will meet on Wednesday morning to further its regular business.

Standing Orders (David Bagnall)

At this week’s meeting the committee heard evidence by videoconference. This was the first occasion a select committee has heard evidence by videoconference in Parliament House, and marked the start of a three-month trial of this technology by select committees.

The submission heard by videoconference was that of Professor Jane Kelsey, who spoke about parliamentary procedures for the consideration of international treaties. The Office of the Controller and Auditor-General then discussed the services provided by that office to select committees. Finally, Eric Roy MP presented some ideas for changing the procedures of the House and the committee of the whole House.

The committee is not scheduled to meet next week.

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

The committee is continuing hearing evidence on the Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Bill when it meets on Wednesday, 24 April, from 9.45 am to 12.15 pm.

Closing dates for submissions

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

Justice and Electoral

Retirement Villages Bill (26 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:

Compiled in the Select Committee Office, Office of the Clerk, 19 April 2002


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