Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Process for handling submissions on Bills vulnerable

Process for handling submissions on Bills vulnerable to commercial influence


New research from the University of Otago shows that the process used by select committees for handling submissions on Bills can favour commercial interests over the public good.

This case study of written submissions to the Law and Order Select Committee examined arguments made for or against a proposal to increase the alcohol minimum purchasing age. Researchers independently coded submissions, identifying the types of argument employed according to who made them.

The research, published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, showed that some submissions from government and non-government organisations (NGOs) were poorly argued. In contrast, the alcohol industry presented a united view.

The study examined 178 submissions made on the 2006 Sale of Liquor Amendment Bill. The most common supporters of increasing the minimum purchasing age were NGOs and members of the public and their arguments concerned evidence that the proposed change would improve public health, and reduce disorder and property damage.

The most common sources of opposition to the Bill were the alcohol industry and the public. These submissions claimed that the proposed law change would not reduce harm, that other strategies should be used instead, and that licensed premises are safe environments for young people, despite evidence to the contrary.

Lead author Professor Kypros Kypri says in New Zealand, which has only a single house of parliament, select committees are especially important because they perform some of the functions of legislative review performed by upper houses in other democracies.

“It is therefore critical that they are effective and especially in their consideration of Members’ Bills, which have historically led to some poor legislation.”

The study also examined how commercial interests were handled and the results are concerning, says Professor Kypri.

“The alcohol industry maximised its impact via multiple submissions appealing to individual rights while neglecting to report or accurately characterise the scientific evidence. The Hospitality Association, whose members stood to lose profits if 18-19 year-olds could no longer drink in licensed premises, made 12 similar submissions from its regional offices, while the big alcohol producers and distributors chimed in with supportive submissions. In contrast, the response of the public health community was fragmented, with some NGOs and government agencies opposing the law change, presenting confused logic and citing the scientific evidence selectively.”

The Select Committee’s advice to Parliament included a simple tally of submissions for and against the proposal, and provided no formal consideration of commercial interest.

“There are well developed procedures for systematically identifying and reviewing the scientific literature. These should be used to evaluate evidence bearing on legislative debate and there should be formal consideration of submissions in terms of the pecuniary interests of those making them. Without this we will continue to see commercial interests dominating public affairs in New Zealand,” says Professor Kypri.

Source: Kypri K, Wolfenden L, Hutchesson M, Langley J, Voas R. Public, official, and industry submissions on a Bill to increase the alcohol minimum purchasing age: A critical analysis. International Journal of Drug Policy 2014 doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2014.05.001.

Professor Kypri is funded with a National Health & Medical Research Council Senior Fellowship.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

PM's Press Conference: Crime And Diplomacy

The Prime Minister's press conference today was dominated by foreign affairs and an open letter from the PM to the Chinese community on crime. More>>

ACC: Govt Caught In Unethical Cluster Bomb Investments

The ACC Fund admitted that it had $1.4 million invested in cluster munitions and nuclear weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin. Before responding to the Green Party’s request for information,however, ACC sold its Lockheed investment and updated its ethical investment policy. More>>

ALSO:

Local Governments To Decide: Easter Trading Bill Passes

The union representing working people in the retail industry is condemning the Government for whipping its MPs to pass the controversial Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill. More>>c

ALSO:

Departure Speech: Governor-General’s State Farewell Luncheon

"...Unfortunately I was unable to get to the Antarctic, the Chatham Islands and the Kermadecs. A dicky heart thwarted our travel to the Antarctic; and even though I volunteered to parachute into the Kermadecs to join the Young Blake expedition, time, commitments and officials frustrated my plans to visit the Kermadecs and Chathams." More>>

ALSO:

New Research: Most Homeless People Working Or Studying

“The cost of housing has been rising without corresponding increases in income, whilst the number of state houses per capita has been in decline. Many low-income people are missing out on housing, whether we recognise them as ‘homeless’ or not. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Traynor: New Offender Info Sharing Plan

“This Bill delivers on that step-change by moving away from name-based records held by individual agencies to a shared, anchor identity based on unalterable information, such as fingerprints and facial recognition. It also gives agencies access to the drivers’ licence photo database and birth, death and marriages information." More>>

  • NZ Law Foundation - New $2M fund for research on information challenges
  • Littoral: New Ship To Deliver Enhanced Naval Capability

    Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says the Government has approved a Ministry of Defence and New Zealand Defence Force recommendation to request tenders for a new naval ship to support littoral operations. More>>

    July:

    After King's Labour Snub: Māori Party And Kiingitanga To Work Together

    Māori Party Co-leaders Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox met with Kiingitanga representatives in Wellington yesterday to discuss working together on key issues for the betterment of Māori. More>>

    ALSO:

    Waitangi Claim On Rehabilitation: The 'Justus' System For Māori Not Good Enough

    Closing statements at the Waitangi Tribunal case against Corrections called for immediate steps and a comprehensive review to address the high rate of Māori reoffending. More>>

    ALSO:

    Advice: PM Sets Rules For Ministers' Treatment Of Public Servants

    Prime Minister John Key has laid down the law about the way ministers and public servants should interact, saying ministers may not always like the advice they receive, but they must listen to it carefully, respectfully and professionally. More>>

    Get More From Scoop

     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Politics
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news