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

 

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>

ALSO:

More Justice & Corrections

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news