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Select Committee Business: 27 Aug to 3 Sep 2004

Select Committee Business From 27 August to 3 September 2004

Committee meetings Eighteen committee meetings were held this week, all in the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented (available at http://www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz/Publications/CommitteeReport)

Government Administration Petition 2002/0121 of Denise Allen Powell and 522 others UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970) and Organisation for the Unification of International Law Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects 1995 Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Amendment Bill (91-2)

Law and Order Protocol Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts, Components and Ammunition, Supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime

Primary Production Petition 2002/102 of Perry Spiller

Social Services Petition 2002/100 of Pearlie Reeves Social Security (Long-term Residential Care) Amendment Bill (103-2)

Bills referred to select committees The Ngati Awa Claims Settlement Bill was referred to the Maori Affairs Committee with a report due 1 December 2004.

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

Commerce (Michelle Malyon, SC-Commerce@parliament.govt.nz) The committee next meets on 9 September 2004 to hear evidence on TVNZ’s accountability to Parliament. This hearing will be open to the public.

Education and Science (Kirstin Lambert, SC-ES@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee met on 1 September when it heard evidence on Petition 2002/78 of Lance Cottam and 7509 others, and received a briefing on the tertiary funding system. There is no committee meeting next week. On 8 September committee members will undertake a site visit of Te Wânanaga o Aotearoa in Hamilton. This visit is in order to assist the committee with its consideration of its Inquiry into Te Wânanaga o Aotearoa.

Finance and Expenditure (Peter Hurndell, SC-FE@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee met this week to consider the Public Finance (State Sector Management) Bill and the allocation of financial reviews The committee is next scheduled to meet on 8 September to consider the Taxation (Annual Rates, Venture Capital and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill and to further consider the allocation of financial reviews. Additionally, the committee is scheduled to meet between 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm on 8 September to examine the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s September Monetary Policy Statement. Dr Allan Bollard, the Governor of the Reserve Bank, is expected to appear before the committee during the meeting.

Fisheries and Other Sea-related Legislation (Miles Reay SC-MA@parliament.govt.nz,)

The committee heard evidence on the Foreshore and Seabed Bill in Wellington on 30 and 31 August, and on 1 and 2 September.

The committee will hear further evidence on the bill in Auckland on 6, 8 and 9 September, and on 7 September in Wellington.

All meetings will be open to the public.

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

The committee met this week to hear further submissions on its inquiry into New Zealand’s relationship with Tonga and its other inquiry, New Zealand’s relationship with Latin America. Further consideration will be given to both inquiries next week. A further submission on the Tonga inquiry will also be heard.

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

The committee has reported to the House on the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Amendment Bill. The bill will amend the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 to address the impact of the Internet and similar technology on the nature and scale of offending relating to the production and distribution of objectionable material. Images containing nude, or partially nude, children or young persons that are reasonably capable of being regarded as sexual in nature are a particular focus of this bill.

The bill will also clarify aspects of existing classification criteria and seeks to improve the practical operation of the Act. The committee’s consideration of the bill was underpinned by its concern that the 1993 Act should state clearly that objectionable material include child sex abuse images — penalties should also adequately reflect the seriousness of offences relating to such images.

The committee did not consider that the scope of what publications may be classified as “objectionable” under the 1993 Act should be widened. Instead, the committee agreed with the bill’s intent to clarify the existing scope of censorship law given a Court of Appeal decision in 2000 (Living Word case).

The committee acknowledged, however, that while this Court of Appeal decision reaffirmed the gateway approach, it may have inadvertently restricted the perceived ability of the Office of Film and Literature Classification to deal with related matters of interest to the public good that were the intention of the 1993 Act. To address this, the committee has recommended amendments to the bill to enable the censors to impose age restrictions on certain publications that would be harmful to children or young people.

Some submitters asked that the scope of the 1993 Act be extended to include “hate speech”. The committee considered that the matter of hate speech raised wider legal issues, including the fundamental right in a democracy to freedom of expression, than what was contained in the bill. The committee was mindful of the need to be cautious in placing further limitations on freedom of expression, however well meaning, without very careful scrutiny to ensure that any limitation is reasonable and not open to exploitation.

This was the basis for the committee initiating its inquiry into hate speech. The committee also reported on its international treaty examination of the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property 1970 and the Organisation for the Unification of International Law Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects 1995. The committee visited the Department of Internal Affairs passports operational unit as part of its consideration of the Identity (Citizenship and Travel Documents) Bill. It meets next on 9 September to further consider this bill.

Health (Catherine Parkin, SC-Health@parliament.govt.nz)

This week the committee considered a number of items of business, including its inquiry into the health effects of Agent Orange. The committee will next meet on 8 September, when it will receive a briefing from the New Zealand Food Safety Authority and the Ministry of Health on food fortification. This will be open to the public from 10.00 am to 10.30 am, in room G.011, Parliament House.

The committee will also hear evidence from the Paediatric Society of New Zealand on the petition of Shirley Ann Winikerei and 478 others, which requests that the House legislate that the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder be recognised as a notifiable disability. This will be open to the public from 10.45 am to 11.15 am. The committee is currently receiving submissions on the Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Compensation Amendment Bill (No 3), with a closing date for submissions of 24 September 2004.

Justice and Electoral (Angela Van Dam, SC-JE@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee met on 1 September to hear evidence on the Civil Union Bill and the Relationships (Statutory References) Bill. The committee will meet in Christchurch, at the Millennium Hotel in Cathedral Square, on
6 September to continue hearing evidence on the Civil Union Bill and the Relationships (Statutory References) Bill.

The meeting will be open to the public from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm, 2.00 pm to 4.45 pm, and from 5.15 pm to 7.00 pm. The committee will meet in Wellington on 8 September to consider the Electoral Matters Bill and continue hearing evidence on the Civil Union Bill and the Relationships (Statutory References) Bill. The meeting will be held in Parliament House and will be open to the public for the hearing of evidence from 9.45 am to 1.00 pm.

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

This week the committee further considered the Crimes Amendment Bill (No 2), Crimes (Drug Rape) Amendment Bill and Criminal Procedure Bill. The committee will continue its consideration of these items on 8 September, and will start to hear oral evidence on the Criminal Procedure Bill from: Mr John Rowan QC, the New Zealand Law Society, Mr Ian Lang, Mr Roger Stratford, the Institute of Environmental Science and Research, and Mr Trevor Ansley.

The hearing of evidence will be open to the public, from 9.30 am to 12.10 pm in G.003, Parliament House. The committee also considered and reported to the House this week on its international treaty examination of the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts, Components and Ammunition, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime. The committee could not reach agreement on whether to recommend that the Protocol be ratified.

Local Government and Environment (Beth Watson, SC-LGE@parliament.govt.nz)

At its meeting on 2 September, the committee continued its consideration of its inquiry into the alleged accidental release of genetically engineered sweet corn plants in 2000 and subsequent actions taken. At its next meeting on 9 September, the committee will hear evidence on the Wellington Regional Council (Water Board Functions) Bill and consider several of the petitions that it has before it. Monday 20 September 2004 is the closing date for public submissions for the member’s bill on the Overseas Investment (Queen’s Chain Extension) Amendment Bill.

Maori Affairs (Miles Reay, SC-MA@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee met on 1 September to consider the Te Runanga o Ngati Awa Bill and the Ngati Awa Claims Settlement Bill.

The purpose of the Te Runanga o Ngati Awa Bill is to give effect to the agreements between the Crown and Ngâti Awa concerning the reconstitution of the structure and operations of Te Rûnanga, so as to enable Te Rûnanga to receive and administer the Ngâti Awa settlement redress for and on behalf of Ngâti Awa.

The Ngâti Awa Claims Settlement Bill aims to give effect to a Deed of Settlement Between the Crown and Ngâti Awa in respect of the latter’s historical claims under the Treaty of Waitangi. The Deed of Settlement also records the acknowledgments and the apology given by the Crown to Ngâti Awa.

Copies of the bills can be purchased from Bennetts Government Bookshops.

The committee is seeking submissions on both bills. The closing date for the Te Runanga o Ngati Awa Bill is Friday, 24 September 2004. The closing date for the Ngati Awa Claims Settlement Bill is Friday, 1 October 2004. The committee requires 20 copies of each submission. For further guidance, our publication Making a Submission to a Parliamentary Select Committee can be found on our web site at www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz. Submissions should be addressed to the Mâori Affairs Committee Secretariat, Parliament House, Wellington. For further details, contact Miles Reay on (04) 471 9043, or email the Secretariat at SC-MA@parliament.govt.nz.

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

The committee conducted a site visit to AgriQuality Limited’s Gracefield facilities on 26 August. On 2 September the committee considered and heard evidence on the Animal Products (Dairy Products and Other Matters) Bill. It reported back on the Petition of Perry Spiller regarding the egg commodity levy order. The Aquaculture Reform Bill has been referred with a report back deadline of 29 November 2004. The committee has set a submission deadline of Monday, 27 September 2004. Anyone interested in giving oral evidence on the bill should contact the committee secretariat at the earliest opportunity.

Regulations Review (Michael Wilkinson, SC-RR@parliament.govt.nz)

This week the committee considered departmental responses to requests for information on particular regulations, and also considered a complaint regarding civil court fees. The committee will next meet on 8 September to continue its scrutiny of new Government regulations.

Social Services (Graham Hill, SC-SS@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee met on 2 September to continue hearing evidence on the Charities Bill and consider the New Zealand Superannuation Amendment Bill. The committee will meet next on 9 September to hear evidence on this bill and hear further evidence from organisations on the Charities Bill. This meeting is open to the public and the committee encourages all those interested in the Charities Bill to attend this meeting to hear what the submitters are saying.

Many of the witnesses giving oral evidence on the Charities Bill will be using video conferencing facilities. The submitters on the New Zealand Superannuation Amendment Bill are Age Concern New Zealand Inc., the Association of Superannuation Funds of New Zealand Inc., the New Zealand Business Roundtable, the Investment Savings and Insurance Association of New Zealand Inc., the Retirement Commissioner, Susan St John and Planit Services Ltd. The submitters on the Charities Bill are Volunteering Canterbury, Community Watch Hornby, Community Solutions (Otautahi/Christchurch), Christian World Service Action Against Poverty, Work Peninsula (Banks Peninsula), the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch, Woodlands Centre Charitable Trust, the New Zealand Health Trust, The Vocational Education Foundation and the Wayne Francis Charitable Trust.

Transport and Industrial Relations (Kath Henderson, SC-TI@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee met on 2 September to consider the Employment Relations Law Reform Bill. The committee will resume consideration of the bill next week. The committee also received a briefing from the Labour Standing Committee from the Swedish Parliament. The committee is calling for submissions on the Transport Legislation Bill, closing on Wednesday, 15 September 2004.

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

Government Administration The Identity (Citizenship and Travel Documents) Bill (10 September 2004) Inquiry into hate speech (1 October 2004)

Health Petitions relating to caregivers’ wages (3 September 2004) Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Compensation Amendment Bill (No 3)
(24 September 2004)

Local Government and Environment Overseas Investment (Queen’s Chain Extension) (20 September 2004)

Maori Affairs Te Runanga o Ngati Awa Bill (24 September 2004) Ngati Awa Claims Settlement Bill (1 October 2004)

Primary Production Aquaculture Reform Bill (27 September 2004)

Social Services The Children, Young Persons, and their Families Amendment Bill (No 4) (6 September 2004)

Transport and Industrial Relations Transport Legislation Bill (15 September 2004)

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: Louise Sparrer
Senior Parliamentary Officer
ph: 471 9569, fax: 499 0486, or at louise.sparrer@parliament.govt.nz

Compiled in the Select Committee Office, Office of the Clerk, 3 September 2004

ENDS

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