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Select Committee Business

Select Committee Business

25 June 1999 to 2 July 1999

Committee meetings

There were 18 committee meetings, all in the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented (13)

Government Administration

Veterans' Affairs Bill (286-2)

Social Services

Paid Parental Leave Bill (102-1)

Internal Affairs and Local Government

Marlborough County Council Empowering Act Repeal Bill (16-2)

Commerce

Motor Vehicle Dealers Amendment Bill (293-2)

Transport and Environment

International Treaty Examination of the 1996 Protocol to the Convention on the

Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping Wastes and Other Matter, 1972 (London Convention)

Health

Estimates for 1999/2000 for Vote Health

Estimates for 1999/2000 for Vote Health Service Providers

Petition 1996/1830 of Rick Barker MP

Petition 1996/1946 of Jonathan Mosen and 8687 others

Petition 1996/920 of Graeme Lindsay Tapper and 16 others

Petition 1996/1949 of Hon Annette King and 60 371 others

Petition 1996/975 of Mies Oomen and 3321 others and Petition 1996/1020 of Mrs Mary McIntyre

Education and Science

Petition 1996/1933 of Honourable Bill English

Bills referred to select committees (4)

The Hawke's Bay Regional Council (Surplus Funds Distribution) Empowering Bill was referred to the Internal Affairs and Local Government Committee. This is a local bill.

The Alcohol Advisory Council Amendment Bill was referred to the Health Committee. This is a member's bill in the name of Belinda Vernon.

The Children's Health Camps Board Dissolution Bill was referred to the Health Committee. This is a member's bill in the name of Joy Quigley.

The Educational Establishments (Exemption from Certain Rates) Bill was referred to the Education and Science Committee. This is a member's bill in the name of Hon Brian Donnelly.

Committee notes

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

Education and Science (Graham Hill, Tim Cooper)

The committee met on 1 July to hear evidence on the Estimates from the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology on Vote Research, Science and Technology and the National Library on Vote National Library. At the next meeting on 15 July the committee will further consider all its votes and hear further from the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology on Vote Research, Science and Technology as well as hearing from the New Zealand Qualifications Authority on alleged organisational and operational pro Government Administration (Alan Witcombe, Tracey Rayner) The committee is examining the Estimates for Vote States Services next week at 10 am for approximately one hour. The State Services Commissioner is the main witness; the Minister has not been called.

The report date for the Constitution Amendment Bill has been extended to on or before 22 July 1999.

Health (David Wilson, Sharon Woollaston)

This week the committee reported on the 1999/00 Estimates on Vote Health and Vote Health Service Providers.

In its report on Vote Health Service Providers, the committee discussed the funding available for capital investment for new Hospital and Health Service (HHS) developments. The committee had previously been advised that 'generally, only those HHSs that were performing satisfactorily would receive funding for capital investment'. In light of this, the committee was interested in the fact that funding was to be provided for a new hospital in Wellington despite Capital Coast Health's (CCH) poor financial pe In its report on Vote Health, the committee discussed progress with the Waiting Times Fund and booking system. The Minister had stated that as a result of the increased baseline of funded elective surgery, he expects that after 31 December 2000, there will no longer be waiting lists for elective surgery. The committee said it will continue to monitor progress on this target with interest. The committee also commented on mental health funding and Health Funding Authority accountability, amongst other iss The Alcohol Advisory Council Amendment Bill was referred to the committee, which has set the closing date for submissions at 13 August 1999. Also referred to the committee was the Children's Health Camps Board Dissolution Bill. The closing date for submissions on this bill is 30 July 1999.

On Wednesday next week the committee will continue hearing submissions on the Health and Disabiliy Services (Safety) Bill. Hearings will be open to the public.

Justice and Law Reform (Jayne Wallis, Tracey Conlon)

The committee met on Wednesday, 30 June to consider and hear evidence on the Estimates for Vote Corrections and Vote Justice/Vote Treaty Negotiations. The committee heard evidence from the Ministers responsible for each of these votes in addition to departmental officials from the relevant departments. The committee is required to make its reports to the House on all Estimates by 19 July. The reporting date for the Sale of Liquor Amendment Bill (No. 2) was extended to 13 July.

Social Services (Marie Alexander, Susan Goodwin)

The committee met on Wednesday, 30 June to hear evidence on the 1999/2000 Estimates for Vote Accident Insurance and Vote Immigration. The Minister for Accident Rehabilitation and Compensation Insurance, Hon Murray McCully, answered questions from the committee relating to the reform of ACC, due to take effect on 1 July 1999. The Minister of Immigration, Hon Tuariki John Delamere, also appeared before the committee.

The committee presented its report on the Paid Parental Leave Bill on Friday, 25 June, recommending by majority that the bill not proceed. Each of the parties represented on the committee outlined its views in the report.

The National members did not support the bill. They considered 'the bill in its current form discriminates against a number of groups of women, such as those who work part-time (less than 10 hours per week), the self employed, and those who choose to stay at home on a more permanent basis to care for children.' They consider the parental tax credit, introduced in the 1999 Budget is a fairer policy and does not discriminate against women who choose to stay at home on a more full-time basis.

The ACT member stated 'ACT believes that social policy should discourage dependency and encourage personal responsibility. The payment of a benefit for the birth of a baby is inconsistent with that philosophy. Furthermore, it is clear that whatever form a paid parental leave benefit takes, the cost will fall on taxpayers at a time when middle New Zealand is already burdened down by high taxes. ACT believes that the best way for Government to help young families is by lowering taxes so they can keep more The Alliance member stated her disappointment that the Tax Credit Policy the Government has introduced in this area does not significantly help women in their careers. She stated 'The point is, that those who are not in the paid work force and having babies do not face the wage losses of those who are. While they may well face other serious barriers to paid work, and while there might be arguments for valuing the unpaid contribution they make, they do not have a need for paid parental leave. This is not a 'Unfortunately, the Government's parental tax credit, which was put forward as a replacement for paid parental leave, commits just this error. The limited income band to which it applies (parents with a family income of under $37,000 when their first child is born), suggests that the Government does not have a concern (or a concern in this context) with the labour market position of women as individuals. Targeting on family income is inherently discriminatory, because it does not treat women as individual Labour supported the Alliance member's view on the bill and congratulated her for initiating and promoting this bill.

Independent Ann Batten abstained from voting on the bill. She stated that she does not support ACT's view on this issue, nor does she fully accept the National Party's views. She joins the Alliance and Labour in supporting some form of paid parental leave. She stated 'while the employer-funded option is not her preferred option, [I prefer] a taxpayer-funded paid parental leave, rather than a tax credit which [I believe] will have the effect of moving women back into the workforce if reliant on a wage to

Transport and Environment (David Bagnall, Karen Smyth)

The Minister of Conservation, Hon Nick Smith, attended on Wednesday 30 June, to give evidence on the Government's spending plans for Vote Conservation in the Estimates. Members were particularly interested in the development of ways to measure conservation progress, the extra emphasis now being placed on research into methods of stoat control, steps taken to keep pests off Kapiti Island, the maintenance of visitor structures, the formalisation of concessions for Temple Basin ski field and the Department o The committee will meet all day on Wednesday 7 July to consider five bills, three of which are due to be reported to the House in the following week.

Closing dates for submissions on bills

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

Commerce

Commerce Amendment (2 July 1999)

Education and Science

Education Amendment (8 July 1999)

Educational Establishments (Exemption from Certain Rules) (2 August 1999)

Finance and Expenditure

Taxation (Annual Rates and Remedial Matters) (9 July 1999)

Government Administration

Acts and Regulations Publication Amendment (9 July 1999)

Courts Security (9 July 1999)

Health

Alcohol Advisory Council Amendment (13 August 1999)

Children's Health Camps Board Dissolution (30 July 1999)

Justice and Law Reform

Bail (2 July 1999)

Shop Trading Hours (2 July 1999)

Truth in Sentencing (9 July 1999)

Social Services

Children, Young Persons, and Their Families (Trans-Tasman Transfer of Protection Orders and Proceedings) Amendment (2 July 1999)

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