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Select Committees This Week

SELECT COMMITTEE BUSINESS

2 July 1999 to 9 July 1999

Committee meetings
There were 8 committee meetings, all in the parliamentary complex.


Reports presented (7)

Regulations Review
· Complaint relating to the New Zealand Food Standard 1996, Amendment No. 11 (I. 16Q)
· Inquiry into instruments deemed to be regulations: An examination of delegated legislation (I.16R)

Justice and Law Reform
· Sale of Liquor Amendment Bill (No. 2) (211-2)

Health
· Petition 1996/1402 of Chantel Louise Hewitt and 16 497 others
· Petition 1996/1567 of Veronica Butler and others

Intelligence and Security
(established pursuant to the Intelligence and Security Committee Act 1996)
· Estimates for 1999/2000 for Vote Security Intelligence
· Estimates for 1999/2000 for Vote Communications Security and Intelligence


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 (Clare Sullivan, Louise Foley)
The committee met twice this week to consider the Commerce (Controlled Goods or Services) Amendment Bill. Next week it will consider the Personal Property Securities Bill.

Education and Science (Graham Hill, Tim Cooper)
At the next meeting of the committee on 15 July, it will consider all its votes and hear further from the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology on Vote Research, Science and Technology, and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority on alleged organisational and operational problems.

Finance and Expenditure (Nick Aldous, Ainslie Rayner)
The committee will next meet on Wednesday, 14 July. It will continue to hear evidence from the Minister of Revenue on the 1999/2000 Estimate for Vote Revenue. It will also commence hearing submissions on the Taxation (Annual Rates and Remedial Matters) Bill.

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (David Sanders, Lyn Main)
The committee will hear evidence from three witnesses on its Inquiry into the appointment process for the position of director of the Centre for Strategic Studies. The Clerk of the House will also appear on the committee's review of the process adopted in May 1998 for the examination of international treaties.

Government Administration (Alan Witcombe, Tracey Rayner)
Two items of note are on the committee's agenda for Thursday, 15 July. It will be giving further consideration to the Constitution Amendment Bill. A report from the committee on the bill is due on or before 22 July.

At 11.40 am the committee will commence its examination of Vote State Services. The State Services Commission is scheduled to give evidence on a wide range of issues relating to the Public Service and comment on matters affecting the wider State sector.

Health (David Wilson, Sharon Woollaston)
On Wednesday the committee heard twelve submissions on the Health and Disability Services (Safety) Bill. A concern raised by a number of submissioners was the exclusion of day care providers and home health providers from the bill. Age Concern stated that it was extremely concerned about the absence of accountability for services such as home support services and day care services where the provider does not hold contracts with the Health Funding Authority.

Next week the committee will complete its hearing of evidence on the Health and Disability Services (Safety) Bill; hearings will be open to the public from 10.30 am to 1.00 pm.

Internal Affairs and Local Government (Kia Paranihi, Fiona McLean)
The committee expects to deal with the Inquiry into the early processing of voting papers at the 1998 local body elections again immediately after it completes its examination of 1999/2000 Estimates.

Next week the committee will hear from the South Taranaki District Council on its bill, the South Taranaki District Council (Egmont Electricity Limited Sale Proceeds) Bill and the New Plymouth District Council on its bill, the New Plymouth Recreation and Racecourse Reserve Bill.

The Napier Borough Endowments Amendment Bill will also be considered by the committee next week.

Submissions are being invited on the Hawke's Bay Regional Council (Surplus Funds Distribution) Empowering Bill, with a closing date of 13 August 1999.

Justice and Law Reform (Jayne Wallis, Tracey Conlon)
The committee presented its final report on the Sale of Liquor Amendment Bill (No.2) on Monday. In its report the committee set out options in relation to the major 'conscience type' issues for the House to consider. The options are ranked from the least restrictive to the most restrictive. The committee recommends that the House consider and vote on these options during the committee of the whole House prior to the usual clause by clause consideration.

The committee also makes recommendations on three issues and sets out its consideration of two other issues. In addition there are a number of issues that were not considered. It is explained in the committee's report that consideration of the bill was complicated by a large number of linkages that exist between issues. As a result consideration of a number of issues was not feasible because, without knowing how the House would vote on the major issues, 'an unrealistic number of permutations would need to be taken into account'. Furthermore the committee is aware that 'conscience type' issues are never dealt with easily in the committee of the whole House. 'The complex nature of the bill serves to augment [the committee's] concern that consideration at a later stage will be confusing unless an innovative approach is taken.'

M_ori Affairs (Jamesa Marino-Fritzsch, Denise Te Karu)
On Thursday, the committee will consider Vote M_ori Affairs.

Primary Production (Bob Bunch)
On Thursday, the committee heard evidence on the Farm Debt Mediation Bill, a Member's bill in the name of R Doug Woolerton. Three submissions were heard, with two of them being one organisation with opposing views. The Northland Branch of Federated Farmers supported the bill, while the National Office of Federated Farmers opposed the bill, as did the New Zealand Bankers Association. The committee will further consider the bill at a later date.

The committee also considered further the Animal Products Bill and the Fisheries Amendment Bill in the afternoon and evening. These two bills are also on the agenda for this Friday's meeting of the committee. The committee has until 20 July to report to the House on the Animal Products Bill and 21 August on the Fisheries Amendment Bill.


Regulations Review (Shelley Banks)

Regulations Review Committee Inquiry reported back
"Parliament needs to be more pro-active in the management of the law-making powers it delegates", Rt Hon Jonathan Hunt MP, Chairperson of the Regulations Review Committee, announced following the presentation of the committee's report on its Inquiry into instruments deemed to be regulations, on Tuesday, 6 July 1999.

The inquiry examines a wide range of delegated legislation, with particular emphasis on a class referred to by the committee as "deemed regulations" - instruments "deemed" by the statute under which they are made to be regulations. Many of these instruments are exempt from the regulation-making processes that apply to traditional regulations. They are not usually drafted by the Government's professional drafters, are not approved by the Cabinet, and can have more limited public accessibility than traditional regulations.

"We took a general principles approach", Mr Hunt stated. "We listened to submitters' views and then considered what standards should be applied to deemed regulations. Our conclusion is that wherever possible, the same processes should be applied to deemed regulations as traditional regulations."

The report makes sixteen recommendations to the Government, including: that the Cabinet Office Manual be amended, requiring departments to address the principles in the report when suggesting that deemed regulations be created; that all deemed regulations be approved by the Cabinet; and that the Government improve access by publishing a central list of deemed regulations on the Internet. The Government is required to respond to the committee's recommendations by 4 October 1999.

"This is an important inquiry - particularly in the current political environment" Mr Hunt commented. "The Regulations Review Committee is one of the few parliamentary safeguards against the unfettered rule of a minority government by delegated legislation."

Bee product complaint upheld
In a report issued on Friday, 2 July, the Regulations Review Committee upheld a complaint relating to amendment 11 to the New Zealand Food Standard 1996. The amendment, which came into force on 17 April, requires that products containing royal jelly, bee pollen and propolis carry mandatory warning labels referring to the possibility that the products can cause severe allergic reactions, especially in asthma and allergy sufferers. The bee industry subsequently complained to the Regulations Review Committee about the amendment.

Committee chairperson Rt Hon Jonathan Hunt MP said "The committee was concerned that the Minister of Health did not have sufficient evidence to justify the decision that mandatory warnings be put on bee products."

"As a result of the lack of scientific evidence presented to the Minister, we determined that the amendment was contrary to Standing Orders, in that the amendment is not in accordance with the general objects and intentions of the Food Act 1981, the Act under which the amendment was issued.

"The regulation appears to make an unexpected or unusual use of the regulation-making powers in the Food Act 1981.

"A majority of the committee recommended in its report to the House that the Government revoke amendment 11 to the New Zealand Food Standard 1996." The Government's response is due to be tabled in the House by 30 September 1999.

Associate Minister of Health Tuariki Delamere has advised the Regulations Review Committee that a working group will be established to review the amendment.

"We are pleased the group is being set up and will include scientists acceptable to the bee industry. We were informed, however, that the group will not meet until the end of July", Mr Hunt said.

"We hope the group conducts the review with some urgency and reports to the Minister as soon as possible.

"Because the amendment remains in force, I consider it is appropriate to move that the regulation be disallowed. I intend to give notice of a motion for the disallowance of the amendment when the House resumes on 13 July", Mr Hunt said.

Social Services (Marie Alexander, Susan Goodwin)
At a full day meeting on Wednesday 7 July, the committee heard evidence on the Estimates for Votes Labour and Housing. It also heard evidence on the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Amendment Bill (No.2). This bill seeks to give non-kin based M_ori groups equal status with kin-based groups in relation to the provision of social services. John Tamihere, former Chief Executive of the Waipareira Trust (which is involved in the provision of social services in South Auckland) appeared before the committee and stated his opposition to the bill on the grounds that it makes a distinction between iwi and non-kin based M_ori groups.

Next week the committee will hear evidence from the Minister of Labour as part of its examination of the Estimate for Vote Labour.

Transport and Environment (David Bagnall, Karen Smyth)
The committee considered five bills on Wednesday. Two of these (the Energy Efficiency Bill and the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Bill) will be considered again on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

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

Education and Science
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)

Internal Affairs and Local Government
Hawke's Bay Regional Council (Surplus Funds Distribution) Empowering (13 August 1999)

Justice and Law Reform
Truth in Sentencing (9 July 1999)

General

This release will now be issued regularly at around midday on Fridays instead of the earlier time of 10.00 am.

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

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