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Select Committee Business 14 June to 18 June 2002

Select Committee Business

From 14 June to 18 June 2002

Committee meetings

There were no committee meetings

Reports presented

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

Primary Production

- A sustainable future for our indigenous forests: inquiry into sustainable forest management (I. 11B)

Regulations Review

- Investigation into the Local Electoral Act Commencement Order 2001 and the commencement of legislation by Order in Council (I. 16L)

- Investigation and complaints relating to civil court fees regulations (I.16M)

Bills referred to select committees

No bills were referred.

Committee notes

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

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

The committee has presented its report, A Sustainable Future for Our Indigenous Forests - The Report of the Primary Production Committee’s Inquiry into Sustainable Forest Management.

Mr Damien O’Connor, Chairperson, said, “This report represents what we believe to be a way forward for the indigenous forest sector of our community. It is our expectation that if adopted by Government, our recommendations will provide greater certainty and confidence for both owners and users of indigenous forests.”

The report promotes a greater emphasis on ecological principles, rather than just timber production, as the basis of sustainable management of indigenous forests. The committee proposed that sustainable forest management applications should be a “one-stop shop’ by ensuring that application requirements under the Forests Act 1949 more than meet the standards and requirements for the resource consent process under the Resource Management Act 1991. The committee did not suggest a “rubber stamp’ by councils under the Resource Management Act 1991. Instead, it proposed that better harmonising between the Acts coupled with more specific standards under the sustainable forest management process will minimise the expense and time often required at the Resource Management Act 1991 stage. The committee believed this will remove the cost of duplication and time delays that currently occur.

The committee also recommended that the export ban be lifted other than for the export of logs and chips from indigenous forests on the basis that it is the “front-end’ of the process, sustainable harvesting based on ecological principles, that is important.

“We have considered sustainable forest management as a total package,” Mr O’Connor said. “This report reflects a broad consensus of the committee. The members of our committee are representative of the many different viewpoints within the community. Our views are diverse and vary from concern about the protection of very high value areas of native flora and fauna, to concern about the compliance costs involved for landowners that are required to comply with legislation that we recommend.”

“As a committee we have had the benefit of visiting sustainably managed forests and hearing submissions from groups and individuals. This has allowed all of us to gain a broader understanding of the issues than we had at the beginning of the inquiry. It is because of this increased understanding and acknowledgement of the need to find a way forward for the sustainable management of forests in New Zealand that we have written this report, with its consensual recommendations.”

Mr O’Connor said, “We believe this broad consensus is essential in order to make progress on these matters, for all New Zealanders.”

The report is available from the following website and can be downloaded.

http://www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz/cgi-bin/search-select?cat=33.

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

On Monday the committee presented two reports to the House.

Investigation into the Local Electoral Act Commencement Order 2001 and the commencement of legislation by Order in Council

This report finds that the Local Electoral Act Commencement Order 2001 made an unexpected use of a power conferred by statute, and was not in accordance with the general objects and intentions of the statute under which it was made. The report discusses the committee’s investigation into the order and the background of legal principles against which commencement orders are made. The committee recommended further processes to ensure that where commencement orders are made, they are in accordance with appropriate principles. The report also discusses the obligation of the Executive to bring statutory provisions into force within a reasonable time.

Investigation and complaints relating to civil court fees regulations

This report concerns a number of regulations increasing fees payable in respect of civil court proceedings. The committee’s investigations focused on whether the fee increases affected the right of access to the courts. The committee considers that it is too soon after the making of the regulations to determine conclusively what the effect of the fees will be. However, it finds that there is anecdotal evidence of an issue relating to access to the courts, which leads on to concerns that people may be barred from accessing justice.

The committee considered that the issues raised in the course of the investigation and complaints need to be kept under review, and made four recommendations to the Government that it:

- take account of the matters raised in the report in the course of the second stage of the review of court fees

- review the operation of the waiver provisions to take into account the issues raised in the complaints and investigation

- examine the issues relating to the costs of court processes in any wider review of court services

- revise the Treasury Guidelines for Setting Charges in the Public Sector to provide guidance for setting fees that are below full cost recovery and that include a public good element.

The committee has also recommended that a future Regulations Review Committee review the matters raised in this investigation and the complaints after the Minister has reported on the impact of the increased fees.

Receipt of submissions

All committees ceased to exist with the dissolution of Parliament on 18 June. The Office of the Clerk is receiving submissions on the following items and will place them before the new committees when they are established:

Fair Trading Amendment Bill (No 3)

National Library of New Zealand (Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa) Bill

Taxation (Annual Rates, Maori Organisations, Taxpayers Compliance and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill

Climate Change Response Bill

Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Bill

Clean Slate Bill

Masterton Trust Lands Bill

Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill

General

This is the last press release covering select committees of the 46th Parliament. Releases will resume with the establishment of committees for the 47th Parliament.

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

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


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