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Select Committee Business 8 September to 15 Sep

Select Committee Business
From 8 September to 15 September 2000
Committee meetings
There were 20 committee meetings, with all but the Education and Science subcommittee meeting in the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented (6)
Finance and Expenditure
 Taxation (Annual Rates, GST and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill (27-2)
 Income Tax Amendment Bill (formerly clauses 76, 88 to 90 and 92 of the Taxation Reform (Companies and other Matters) Bill (18-1))

Primary Production
 Petition 1999/33 of Barry Nicolle and others

Transport and Industrial Relations
 Petition 1996/2062 of Dr Otto Bauer
 Petition 1996/1652 of Gwynneth Ann Andrews and 71 others

Law and Order
 Undercover Agents Exemption Bill (176-1)

Bills referred to select committees
The Social Security Amendment Bill was referred to the Social Services Committee.
The Pouakani Claims Settlement Bill was referred to the Maori Affairs Committee with a report due by 6 November 2000.

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

Commerce (Alan Witcombe, SC-Commerce@parliament.govt.nz)
This week the committee considered advice from officials on the Commerce Amendment Bill and SOP No 37 in advance of its first round of hearings, which commence on 21 September. As well as hearing evidence on that bill the committee will continue with consideration of the Business Law Reform Bill.

Education and Science (Clare Sullivan, SC-ES@parliament.govt.nz)
The subcommittee met in Hamilton to hear submissions on the inquiry into reading in New Zealand. Submissions were heard from primary and secondary schools, lecturers from tertiary institutions and other educators. The subcommittee will begin consideration of the issues associated with the inquiry shortly.

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Finance and Expenditure (Graham Hill, SC-FE@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met on 13 September to hear evidence on the Public Audit Bill. At its next meeting on 20 September the committee will continue to hear more evidence on the bill, consider the bill further and hear evidence on a petition.

This week the committee referred the 1999/2000 financial reviews to the 13 subject committees. These include government departments, Offices of Parliament, State enterprises, Crown entities and public organisations. This involves about 100 reviews over the coming months. Reviews of government departments and Offices of Parliament are due to be reported by the first sitting day in 2001. The reviews of State enterprises, Crown entities and public organisations are due to be reported back within six months of the organisation’s annual report being presented.

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (David Sanders, SC-FD@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee was briefed by Hon Jim Sutton, Minister for Trade Negotiations on the Agreement between New Zealand and Singapore on a Closer Economic Partnership (CEP). This treaty has been referred to the committee for examination and report back. The closing date for submissions is Monday, 25 September 2000.

The treaty is a bilateral agreement between New Zealand and Singapore. The agreement is comprehensive, covering goods, services, investment and technical barriers to trade in goods. It complies fully with WTO requirements for establishment of a free trade area and goes significantly beyond WTO provisions by, inter alia, eliminating all tariffs, prohibiting export subsidies for all goods, including agricultural products, and expanding services commitments.

The committee requires 20 copies of each submission. The treaty text is available on the New Zealand Government website (www.exec.govt.nz) or the Singaporean Government website (www.mti.gov.sg). The text and national interest analysis are also available from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (www.mfat.govt.nz). Those requiring additional time for submissions should make a pro forma submission by 25 September and provide the substantive part of their submission no later than 2 October 2000.

The Minister and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade also presented their submission on the committee's inquiry into New Zealand's economic and trade relationship with Australia.

Government Administration (Fiona McLean, SC-GA@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met to consider the Gaming Law Reform Bill and the 1999/2000 financial reviews of Government departments, Offices of Parliament, Crown entities and State enterprises referred by the Finance and Expenditure Committee.

Next week the committee will meet to continue its consideration of the Films, Videos and Publications Classification (Prohibition of Child Pornography) Amendment Bill. The committee has not yet resolved to call for submissions on this bill.

Health (Nick Aldous, SC-Health@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee has initiated an inquiry into health strategies relating to cannabis use. The terms of reference for the inquiry are: to inquire into the most effective public health and health promotion strategies to minimise the use of and the harm associated with cannabis and consequently the most appropriate legal status of cannabis.
The committee has set a closing date for public submissions of 7 February
2001 and will be placing advertisements for submissions shortly.

The committee is currently considering the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Bill. The bill makes major changes to the public health and disability sector. Copies of the bill are available from Bennetts Government Bookshops. The closing date for submissions to the committee on the bill is 22 September. It is expected that the committee will commence hearing oral submissions from late September.
An electronic copy of the bill is publicly available at:

Justice and Electoral (Tracey Conlon, SC-JE@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met on Wednesday and considered the Legal Services Bill and the Matrimonial Property Amendment Bill and SOP No 25.

The subcommittee also met on Wednesday to consider its inquiry into matters relating to the visit of the President of China to New Zealand in 1999.

Law and Order (Wendy Proffitt, SC-LO@parliament.govt.nz)
This week the committee considered the Arms Amendment Bill (No 2) and the Crimes Amendment Bill (No 6). The committee presented its report on the Undercover Agents Exemption Bill recommending that the bill not proceed. It also considered a number of related petitions.

Next week the committee will further consider the Crimes Amendment Bill (No 6) and initially consider the 1999/2000 financial reviews referred to it.

Local Government and Environment (David Bagnall, SC-LGE@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met on Wednesday to consider the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Amendment Bill (No 2). The deadline for the committee's report is Monday 18 September.

Next week, the committee will receive a public briefing from the Audit Office on the results of the 1998/99 audit of local authorities and other matters set out in the Second Report for 2000 of the Controller and Auditor-General. The committee will also consider the Resource Management (Costs) Amendment Bill and the Resource Management Amendment Bill.

The committee has received 25 submissions on the Tauranga District Council (Route K Toll) Empowering Bill, and 19 submitters have asked to be heard. The committee has resolved to hear evidence on the bill in Tauranga, but a date for the hearing has not yet been released.

Maori Affairs (Kia Paranihi, SC-MA@parliament.govt.nz)
Submissions on the Pouakani Claims Settlement Bill are now being called for, with a closing date of 6 October, and the committee will hold a hearing in the general area of the land concerned next month.

The committee will give further consideration to Te Ture Whenua Maori Amendment Bill at its meeting next week.

MMP Review (Louise Sparrer, SC-MMP@parliament.govt.nz)
This week the committee heard from the main political parties that made submissions to it. United, Labour, the Greens, the Alliance and ACT New Zealand all support MMP, – in ACT’s case for at least another two parliamentary terms before a review of the electoral system is undertaken. Labour noted that MMP should be given a fair trial over several terms and agreed with United that MMP has provided electors with the best means to choose a more representative Parliament. National supports a thorough review of MMP so that an effective electoral system can be ensured. National also supports a reduction in the number of members but notes that any such reduction must result in an electoral system that ensures maximum opportunities for representation. ACT supports a reduction but only if the Executive is similarly reduced. Labour, the Alliance and the Greens all support the current number of members. Both United and National note a public expectation that a further referendum will be held on the electoral system. There was considerable discussion about political party representatives on the Representation Commission and whether this should continue. The Alliance, Greens and ACT support removal of political party representatives and replacing them with a process enabling all parties represented in Parliament to make submissions to this Commission. With the exception of ACT, parties support the status quo with regard to Maori representation.

Hearings will continue next Wednesday with the New Zealand Political Change Group, Business Round Table, Peter Shirtcliffe, Electoral Reform Coalition, and Graeme Hunt. Hearings will be in the Legislative Council Chamber from 8.00am.

Primary Production (Bob Bunch, SC-PP@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee met on Thursday, 14 September, to consider its inquiry into the sale of Property Services Division of Terralink New Zealand Limited to its former employees and the petition of Barry Nicolle about sustainable forestry management on the West Coast.

Next week, on 21 September, the committee will continue to consider its Terralink inquiry. The following week (28 September 2000) the committee will be traveling to Lincoln University to hear evidence on its inquiry into organic agriculture in New Zealand.

Social Services (Tim Cooper, SC-SS@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee has set a closing date of 13 October 2000 for submissions on the Social Security Amendment Bill. This bill re-establishes the unemployment benefit and a separate non-work-tested sickness benefit. It provides for work-test obligations to be incorporated in individual Job Seeker Agreements, changes the status of activity in the community and voluntary work, and resets the sanction regime to target serious non-compliance.

The committee is still receiving submissions on the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Amendment Bill (No 3). The closing date for submissions is 20 October 2000.

This week the committee heard evidence on the Student Loans Scheme Amendment Bill from the New Zealand University Students Association and the Aotearoa Tertiary Students Association.

The committee's next meeting is in Auckland at the Garden Inn Hotel and Conference Centre on Wednesday 20 September from 8.30 am. The committee will hear evidence on the petition of Warren Desmond Heap requesting that the House of Representatives review family law legislation so that the rights of fathers and children are given greater emphasis. It will also hear evidence on the Social Welfare (Transitional Provisions) Amendment Bill and the Student Loans Scheme Amendment Bill. The meeting is due to finish at 11.15 am.

Transport and Industrial Relations (Lyn Main, SC-TI@parliament.govt.nz)
The committee presented its report on 1996/1652 Petition of Gwynneth Ann Andrews and 71 others on 14 September. The petition requested that the House of Representatives instigate an inquiry into the actions and coordination of emergency and ancillary services involved in the rescue of survivors of Southern Air Flight 168 on Wednesday 19 August 1998. The committee concluded that:

“The inquiries into the accident by Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) and the Invercargill coroner were thorough. We are satisfied that the relevant organisations have considered and implemented, where appropriate, the recommendations made by TAIC and the coroner. We do not consider that further inquiries into the accident are necessary.

“However, we believe that the coroner’s recommendation ‘that there be an explicit allocation of main responsibilities in a search and rescue event’ should be considered further. As noted in this report, we maintain there are still some unresolved issues concerning the transfer of command between the National Rescue Coordination Centre and the Police.

“We recommend that the Government review the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual and report on any aspects where New Zealand's search and rescue practices could be improved.”

The committee has also reported on the Petition of Dr Otto Bauer concerning older drivers. The committee is concerned that no licences with specified conditions for older drivers have been granted since the new re-licensing regime was introduced in May 1999.

The committee recommended that the Government:

 ensure that the Land Transport Safety Authority widely publicises the process for gaining a conditional licence in order that older drivers are aware of this option

 ensure all older drivers when sitting the older driver test are given information about applying for an exemption and obtaining a conditional licence verbally and in a clear written format

 review the manner in which the provisions of the Land Transport (Driver Licensing) Rule 1999 relating to the granting of conditional licences to older drivers are being applied.

“We acknowledge that for older people renewal of their driving licence is a costly exercise. We do not want to pre-empt the Driver Licensing Review announced by the Minister of Transport and have left this issue to the Review.”

At its next meeting on Wednesday 20 September, the committee is hearing submissions from the Wellington Regional Council and Hon Peter Dunne on petitions concerning Transmission Gully. It is also hearing evidence from the Ministry of Education on petitions concerning students standing on school buses.

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

Chartered Professional Engineers of New Zealand Bill (27 October 2000)
Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) No 37 relating to the Commerce Amendment Bill (15 September 2000)

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone Extension Bill (2 October 2000)
Agreement between New Zealand and Singapore on a Closer Economic Partnership (CEP) (25 September 2000)

Government Administration
Casino Control (Poll Demand) Amendment Bill (23 September 2000)

New Zealand Public Health and Disability Bill (22 September 2000)
Inquiry into health strategies relating to cannabis use (7 February 2001)

Maori Affairs
Pouakani Claims Settlement Bill (6 October)

Social Services
Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Amendment Bill (No 3) (20 October 2000)
Social Security Amendment Bill (20 October 2000)

A compendium of 1999 select committee reports, not otherwise published separately but including commentaries on bills, is now available for purchase at Bennetts Government Bookshops. The shoulder number is I. 24.

You can find further information about select committees on our website at www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz. If you require additional information or have any feedback on the contents, please contact:

Carol Rankin
Senior Parliamentary Officer
ph: 471 9534, fax: 499 0486, or at carol.rankin@parliament.govt.nz

Compiled in the Select Committee Office, Office of the Clerk, 15 September 2000

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