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Select Committee Business From Sept 12 - 19

Select Committee Business

From 12 September to 19 September 2003

Committee meetings

There were 16 committee meetings, all in the parliamentary complex.

Reports presented

(available at http://www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz/Publications/CommitteeReport)

Finance and Expenditure

Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s Monetary Policy Statement, September 2003

Justice and Electoral

Supreme Court Bill (16-2)

Committee notes

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

Commerce (Michelle Malyon, SC-Commerce@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee met on Thursday to hear evidence on the Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal Act (Abolition of Restrictions) Amendment Bill.

The committee will next meet during the second week of the adjournment on Thursday, 2 October to hear evidence on the inquiry into the New Zealand electricity industry. This will be open to the public. A venue is yet to be confirmed, if you would like further information please contact the Clerk of Committee.

Education and Science (Angela Van Dam, SC-ES@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee met on Wednesday to continue consideration of the review inquiry into Northland Polytechnic and the petitions on targeted funding for isolation. The committee is currently calling for submissions on the Education (Disestablishment of Early Childhood Development Board) Amendment Bill by Friday, 31 October.

The sub-committee also met on Wednesday to continue consideration of the inquiry into decile funding in New Zealand State and integrated schools.

Finance and Expenditure (Peter Hurndell, SC-FE@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee met this week to consider the recently released Monetary Policy Statement. It does not intend to meet next week.

Government Administration (Lesley Ferguson, SC-GA@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee met on Thursday to hear more evidence on the Border Security Bill. It also considered the 2002/03 financial reviews.

The committee is calling for submissions on two bills. The Maritime Bill seeks to establish a maritime security framework to reduce the risk of security incidents involving New Zealand ports and ships, thereby fulfilling New Zealand’s obligations under a new international treaty for maritime security. The bill sets out the roles and responsibilities of the Government, shipping and port industries. The closing date for submissions is 17 October 2003. Copies can be purchased from Bennetts Government Bookshops or viewed on-line at www.tranpsort.govt.nz. The committee requires 20 copies of each submission.

The Building Bill provides a new regulatory framework for building work, building practitioners, and product certification and accreditation. It aims to ensure high quality inputs into buildings and to protect consumers. It will repeal the Building Act 1991. The closing date for submissions is 31 October 2003. Copies can be purchased from Bennetts Government Bookshops or downloaded from www.med.govt.nz. The committee requires 25 copies of each submission.

Health (Catherine Parkin, SC-Health@parliament.govt.nz)

This week the committee completed hearing evidence on the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill. The committee also heard evidence on the petition of Andy Tookey and 1169 others, which requests that the House take action to address the organ donation shortage in New Zealand, and considered other items of business. The committee is not likely to meet in the next two weeks.

Justice and Electoral (Louise Sparrer, SC-JE@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee met this week to progress a number of items of business. It has made a number of decisions in relation to the petition of Lynley Hood and Dr Donald Brash and 807 others. These are as follows:

It is neither the committee’s role nor intention to inquire into Peter Ellis’ guilt or innocence. The committee’s function is not judicial.

The committee considers that the key issue for it to determine is whether or not the Christchurch Civic crèche case raises concerns of sufficient significance to justify a Royal Commission, with its concomitant resources, independence, and expertise.

The committee will initially hear from the chief petitioners and the Ministry of Justice, and will seek comments from both parties on each other’s submissions.

The committee has determined further that it will not rehear the case. The petition simply requests ‘the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry to inquire into the investigation and legal processes relating to the Christchurch Civic crèche case’. To establish if this has merit the committee will consider whether:

there is a need for any changes to police and other investigative procedures, the law or to criminal justice processes that could justify setting up a Royal Commission, and

whether any such need has been adequately addressed by the previous investigations, or could be adequately served now by normal governmental processes or advisers.

The committee also addressed the issue of the participation in the committee process of members of Parliament who are signatories to the petition. There are no procedural grounds upon which the committee can require any members to disqualify themselves. Individual members must decide for themselves whether their participation might affect the committee’s work.

The committee is calling for submissions on the Judicial Matters Bill by 21 November. This bill addresses existing risks arising from the lack of statutory procedures in relation to the removal of judges and the judicial complaints process. It takes the precautionary step of setting out these procedures in law so the rules are clear if the situation ever arises where a judge must be removed. The complaints process will be managed by a new office (the Judicial Conduct Commissioner) and complaints that raise a question of removal will be handled by an ad hoc panel (the Judicial Conduct Panel).

The bill also addresses a range of judicial administrative issues such as absolute immunity from suit for all judges, the introduction of part-time judges in appropriate circumstances, a mechanism to increase the numbers of District Court and High Court judges, and provides fixed term non-renewable terms of appointment for the Principal Family Court and Youth Court judges to ensure regular turnover in the administrative leadership of these courts. The Attorney-General, as the Government’s senior law officer, will be responsible for recommending the appointment of all judges except the Chief Justice and judges of the Maori Land Court. Copies of the bill can be purchased from Bennetts Government Bookshops. The report of Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer ‘Judicial Administration Issues’ is the foundation for the majority of proposals in the bill, particularly those relating to complaints and removal. This can be found at www.beehive.govt.nz/wilson/judicial/judicial_administration_issues_report_pdf.

Next week the committee will continue consideration of its various electoral inquiries and hold a hearing of evidence on the petition of Gray Eatwell. The hearing of evidence takes place from 2.00 pm to 2.45 pm and will be open to the public.

The committee is calling for submissions on two other bills: Care of Children Bill and Lawyers and Conveyancers Bill.

Law and Order (Tracey Rayner, SC-LO@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee met on Wednesday and continued consideration of the Secondhand Dealers and Pawnbrokers Bill and the Corrections Bill. The committee has received an extension to the report due date for the Corrections Bill, with it now being due on 12 December 2003.

The committee is not meeting during the two-week adjournment. Its next meeting will be on Wednesday, 8 October.

Local Government and Environment (Marie Alexander, SC-LGE@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee met on Thursday to hear evidence from Syngenta Seeds by videoconference on the inquiry into the alleged accidental release of genetically engineered sweet corn plants in 2000 and subsequent actions taken. The committee is meeting today to consider the Masterton District Council (Montfort Trimble Foundation) Bill and the Local Government Law Reform Bill (No 2). This is not open to the public. The committee will not meet for the next two weeks while the House is adjourned.

Primary Production (Bob Bunch, SC-PP@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee met this week to give further consideration to its inquiry into the administration and management of the scampi fishery. It also gave initial consideration to two petitions concerning a research levy about livestock flatulence. It will meet again on 6 October to further consider the inquiry.

Regulations Review (Michael Wilkinson, SC-RR@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee will next meet on Wednesday, 8 October to continue its regular scrutiny of new Government regulations. This week the committee heard evidence from Ministry for the Environment on the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (Low-Risk Genetic Modification) Regulations 2003 (SR 2003/152).

Social Services (Graham Hill, SC-SS@parliament.govt.nz)

The committee met on 18 September to consider the Families Commission Bill. The committee will meet next on 9 October to consider further the bill.

Closing dates for submissions

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

Education and Science

Education (Disestablishment of Early Childhood Development Board) Amendment Bill (31 October 2003)

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Amendment Bill (31 October 2003)

Government Administration

Building Bill (31 October 2003)

Maritime Security Bill (17 October 2003)

Justice and Electoral

Care of Children Bill (25 September 2003)

Lawyers and Conveyancers Bill (3 October 2003)

Judicial Matters Bill (21 November 2003)

Local Government and Environment

Resource Management (Energy and Climate Change) Amendment Bill (29 September 2003)

Regulations Review

Subordinate Legislation (Confirmation and Validation) Bill (No 2) (26 September 2003)

Transport and Industrial Relations

Railways Bill (1 October 2003)

General

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
carol.rankin@parliament.govt.nz

Compiled in the Select Committee Office, Office of the Clerk, 19 September 2003

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