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Select Committee Weekly Report

SELECT COMMITTEE BUSINESS

3 September 1999 to 10 September 1999


Committee meetings

There were 12 committee meetings, all in the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented (33)

Justice and Law Reform

Petition 1996/913 of Janet Lorna Middlemiss

Petition 1996/732 of Douglas and Christine Sandra Banks and Lorraine Banks-Foster

Petition 1996/88 of Rae Frampton and 5470 others, Petition 1996/520 of Geoffrey Amos and 70 980 others, and Petition 1996/739 of Claire Stewart and others

Petition 1996/967 of Annette Reid and four others on behalf of the One New Zealand Foundation Inc.

Petition 1996/1963 of Daniella Sayers and others

Petition 1993/456 of AR and LM Randall

Petition 1996/2050 of Trevor Mallard

Petition 1996/2005 of Eric McLaughlin and 4802 others

Petition 1996/955 of Julie Grondin for the Judd Crescent Neighbourhood Watch Group and others

Social Services

Petition 1996/1620 of Graham Elliott

Petition 1993/626 of the British Child Migrant Society (NZ) Incorporated

International Treaty Examination into Amendment to Article 43(2) of the Convention of the Rights of the Child

Petitions 1996/1017, 1996/1553, 1996/1602, 1996/1604, 1996/1617, 1996/1642, 1996/1750, 1996/1751, 1996/1875, 1996/1833, 1996/1834, 1996/1835, 1996/1836, 1996/1837 and 1996/1877 of Sarah Ayre for Unconditional Universal Income Action New Zealand and others

Petitions 1996/1073 of Anna Mafua for Harding Systems, 1996/1568 of Janette Upston and others and 1996/1086 of Jacqueline Jill White



Petition 1996/1932 of Bruce Hardham Nicholls and 42 others

Petitions 1991/3251 of Robert Winters and others, 1993/28 of Robert Winters and 941 others, 1993/324 of Youth Law Project Incorporated and 4384 others and 1993/26 of Rebecca Frances Selby and Bernadette Kay Morgan and others

Petition 1996/977 of Leigh Brash

Petition 1996/1857 of Charles Richard Barr Stevenson and 4188 others


Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

Petition 1996/1898 of Thuten Kesang and 18 863 others

Petition 1996/1931 of GJ Struik and 223 others

Petition 1996/9 of Stephanie Mills and 43 others

Petition 1996/1945 of Pauline Norris and 909 others

Petition 1996/2051 of Right Honourable Helen Clark and 65 others

Health

Petition 1996/2018 of Brooke Howes

International Treaty Examination of the Amendments to Article 7, Article 74, Article 24 and Article 25 of the Constitution of the World Health Organization

Internal Affairs and Local Government

Petition 1996/1015 of Howard Cumberland and others

Petitions 1996/858 of Jeffrey Walton and 4871 others, 1996/1110 of Kevin Andrew Muir and 5199 others, 1996/1160 of Kevin Andrew Muir and 2512 others, 1996/1161 of Grant Gillon and 3713 others, 1996/1572 of Robyn Mary Gray and 14 others and 7 other petitions of a similar nature, 1996/1608 and 1996/1691 of Grant Gillon, 1996/1297 of Judith Tizard and 15 other petitions of a similar nature, 1996/1300 of Raewyn Phoebe Clark and 1042 others and 3 other petitions of a similar nature, 1996/1068 of Grant Gillon and 1867 others and 359 othe
r petitions of a similar nature, 1996/1047 of Ruth Dyson and 51 other petitions of a similar nature

South Taranaki District Council (Egmont Electricity Limited Sale Proceeds) Bill (206-1)

Local Government Law Reform Bill (No. 2) (307-2)

Museum of Transport and Technology Bill (123-2)

Finance and Expenditure

International Treaty Examination into the Convention on Combatting Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions

Primary Production

Farm Debt Mediation Bill (267-1)

Regulations Review

Special report in relation to an Investigation into the Land Transport (Driver Licensing and Driver Testing Fees) Regulations 1999 and the Land Transport (Driver Licensing ) Rule 1999


Bills referred to select committees

The Ngati Turangitukua Claims Settlement Bill was referred back to the Maori Affairs Committee. The bill had earlier been discharged from the committee and set down for its next stage in the House because the committee had not met its reporting deadline.


Committee notes

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

Commerce (Clare Sullivan, Louise Foley)

The committee is receiving submissions on Supplementary Order Paper No.203 relating to the Commerce Amendment Bill until Friday, 17 September. The committee did not meet this week and is unlikely to meet over the adjournment.

Education and Science (Graham Hill, Tim Cooper)

The committee will meet next on 7 October to consider further its inquiry into the Blueprint for Change and consider several petitions.

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (David Sanders, Malcolm McNamara)The committee considered the petition of the Right Honourable Helen Clark and 65 others outlining concerns about human rights abuses in East Timor. The committee noted that the people of East Timor have expressed through the process of a democratically conducted election their wish to be an independent nation; recalled that the United Nations promised the people of East Timor that it would remain in East Timor after the ballot to protect the people and ensure their will as expressed in the ballot would be upheld; noted this promise is being dishonoured by the actions of militia unhindered by the Indonesian Police or Army; agreed the full weight of international opinion should be brought to bear on the Government of Indonesia to meet its solemn undertaking under the agreement of 5 May 1999 with the United Nation
s to ensure peace and security in East Timor; and urged the Government,

The committee waited until the return of the parliamentary delegation to East Timor before reporting on the petition. Hon Phil Goff was a member of the delegation and reported on the visit and commented on the petition.

Mr Goff made the following key points, which are set out in the committee's report:

The failure of the Indonesian authorities to disarm and disband militia opposed to independence undoubtedly affected the result of the vote. Militia sought to intimidate and prevent people from voting, and attempted to bribe voters. Nonetheless, the pro-independence vote was decisive.

Any contingency planning for dealing with possible violence once the predicted result of the vote became known proved to be utterly inadequate.

The Indonesian Police, who have always been subservient to the Indonesian Army, would not restrain the militia because the militia were being supported by the Army.

It was naive of the United Nations to accept the assurances of the Indonesian authorities that they could and would maintain peace and security in East Timor.

Nonetheless, the United Nations had promised the people of East Timor before the ballot that the United Nations not only would supervise the ballot, but also would stay on afterwards. The danger, if the United Nations were to abandon East Timor, would be that the people who had supported independence, having been exposed, would systematically be eliminated - expelled or executed. Already the homes and livelihood of many pro-independence people have been destroyed.

Those in positions of authority in East Timor, whether within or supported by the Indonesian Army, have a vested interest in maintaining their positions. More generally, the Indonesian Army sees itself as the most potent force for maintaining national cohesion, and is reluctant to lose what it has striven to retain.

The committee considered the political situation in Indonesia and members expressed their concern over the abuse of human rights in East Timor, the failure of the Indonesian authorities to maintain law and order, the armed militia opposed to the outcome of the ballot terrorising the majority of t
he populace, and attacks on UNAMET staff and buildings. They agreed that pressure should be brought to bear on the Indonesian Government to ensure the outcome of the ballot would be sustained, and noted that the continuation of international financial support of that country should be dependent
on Indonesia honouring the outcome of the ballot.


Internal Affairs and Local Government (Kia Paranihi, Fiona McLean)

The committee this week dealt with a number of items including reporting on over 400 petitions on matters relating to the New Zealand Fire Service. Three bills have been reported back.

Maori Affairs (Jamesa Marino-Fritzsch)

The committee will inquiry into the closure of the Maori Law Service - Nga Kaiwhakmarama I Nga Ture on 16 September. Consideration of the Ngati Turangitukua Claims Settlement Bill has resumed now that it has been returned to the committee.

Primary Production (Bob Bunch)

The committee met on 7 September and heard evidence from the State Services Commission and the Treasury about the cost benefit analysis for the merger of the Ministries of Agriculture and Forestry. It also considered the 1996/959 Petition of DG Coles and has reporte
d back on the Farm Debt Mediation Bill. The committee has recommended, by majority, that the Farm Debt Mediation Bill not proceed. There is a minority report from the New Zealand First Party.


The committee will next meet on Thursday, 7 October 1999, to further consider the cost benefit analysis for the merger of the Ministries of Agriculture and Forestry and the 1996/959 Petition of DG Coles.

Regulations Review (Shelley Banks)

The committee presented a special report on Thursday, 9 September in relation to the report on an Investigation into the Land Transport (Driver Licensing and Driver Testing Fees) Regulations 1999 and the Land Transport (Driver Licensing) Rule 1999. The committee draws to the attention of the House factual errors in the report, which compare the cost of renewing a bus and taxi licence under the new and old regimes. The correct figures are provided.

The committee heard further evidence on complaints about Accident Insurance Regulations. The New Zealand Law Society and the Department of Labour provided evidence on the Accident Insurance (Review Costs and Appeals) Regulations 1999. The Council of Trade Unions and the Department of Labour presented further evidence on the Accident Insurance (Insurer's Liability to Pay Cost of Treatment) Regulations 1999. No further hearings of evidence are planned.


Social Services (Marie Alexander, Susan Goodwin)

The committee reported on a petition from the British Child Migrant Society. The society had requested a committee of inquiry to address the grievances of former child migrants sent to New Zealand between 1949 and 1954 under the Royal Overseas League Scheme. The committee recommended that the House refer an inquiry to the Social Services Committee so that the next committee can look at the situation of former child migrants and establish whether there are outstanding issues to be resolved by the Government.


Transport and Environment (David Bagnall, Karen Smyth)

The committee further considered the Forestry Amendment Bill. It meets again on 6 October.


Closing dates for submissions on bills

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

Justice and Law Reform

Arms Amendment (No. 2) (17 September 1999)

Maori Affairs

Maori Purposes (26 September 1999)

Transport and Environment

Resource Management Amendment (1 October 1999)


ENDS

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