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Date:
8 December 2005
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Statutes Amendment Bill (No 5) — In Committee

[Volume:628;Page:719]

Statutes Amendment Bill (No 5)

In Committee

Part 1 Animal Welfare Act 1999

ANNE TOLLEY (National—East Coast) : We are here today considering the Statutes Amendment Bill (No 5) and two Supplementary Order Papers. One of those Supplementary Order Papers splits the bill. I do not really have too much of a problem with that. The other, Supplementary Order Paper 3, addresses the Child Support Act 1991. When we look at the Bills Digest explanation of what this Supplementary Order Paper is all about—

The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Clem Simich): I am sorry to interrupt the member, but in this debate we must confine ourselves to the part we are dealing with and only to that part. Part 1 deals with animal welfare.

ANNE TOLLEY: I will continue, talking about animal welfare. Part 1 amends the Animal Welfare Act by substituting a new section that extends the time for the laying of an information in relation to offences against the Act from 1 year to 2 years, if the offence was committed on or after the date on which the new section, section 167, comes into force. We here on the National Party benches do not actually have a great deal of problem with that. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has said it has difficulties in prosecuting under the Act because it is unable to lay the relevant information within the 1-year time period. Representing the East Coast, which is, of course, a rural area, I have had representations from people telling me of those difficulties and asking us to support this part of bill, and I do so on behalf of the National Party.

  • Part 1 agreed to.

Part 2 Biosecurity Act 1993

CHRIS AUCHINVOLE (National) : I stand to support the Statutes Amendment Bill (No 5), which provides for—as I read in the commentary on the bill—a number of non-controversial amendments to a number of existing Acts. The majority of the statutes that are amended will have only minor changes or drafting amendments made to them, but some statutes included in the main provisions of the bill will have significant amendments made to them. It is pleasing to be able to use this opportunity to address the Committee on a non-controversial issue. I am grateful to the whip for having such an opportunity. I have read Supplementary Order Papers 3 and 4 and the Bills Digest, and I have read the bill. I have no concerns about the changes proposed, from my study of them.

The fact that none of the items is controversial, however, does not mean they are of no significance. I am acutely conscious that the drafting and making of laws, statutes, and regulations are of great significance, particularly to those who have to live by them, live within them, or impose or enforce them. Many would say, and do say, that we already live in an over-regulated society, and that is a view I share.

Shane Jones: Oh!

CHRIS AUCHINVOLE: It is; it is. But from that point of view, I have searched the bill and have come away feeling comfortable that, as far as I can assess, it is a worthy bill that seeks to make sensible provision—for example, to change such things as the Animal Welfare Act, which the previous speaker mentioned, by allowing for an extension of time for the proper investigation of cases.

However, the fact that the bill does not contain controversy nevertheless leaves me with the very clear impression, having been a member since September, that controversy is often used in debate to cover what should be a clear explanation in answer to questions. I have often been surprised at the extent to which that has been carried out, particularly in question time, and I am delighted to be a member of a party that does not engage in such deceptive and desperate techniques.

I support the bill, and I am happy to support the changes it brings to the various Acts that it affects.

  • Part 2 agreed to.

Part 3 agreed to.

New Part 3AA Child Support Act 1991

ANNE TOLLEY (National—East Coast) : I wish to speak on Supplementary Order Paper 3, which addresses the Child Support Act and the changes proposed. When I look at the proposed Supplementary Order Paper, I have to ask the Minister, the Hon Clayton Cosgrove, why we are dealing with this issue at this stage in a Supplementary Order Paper when an amendment to the Child Support Act was sent to a select committee just last week, with no time limit given, so we have the usual 6 months in which to deal with it. If these issues were so urgent, why were they not included in the bill sent to the select committee, with a time limit, in order for the normal processes to be observed?

When we look at the proposed changes, we see that the Minister is talking about clarifying and correcting. So on the one hand we have an incompetent Government not able to put through legislation that does not require clarifying or correcting, but also we have a lazy Government that is determined to avoid the normal democratic processes by bringing in a Supplementary Order Paper to make changes to a bill that is already going through the democratic process at the select committee, thereby avoiding public scrutiny and public input into those changes. The public expected more from this Government despite the fact that its members spent the whole election campaign debating National Party policies. They have been back-pedalling ever since, and we have had Minister after Minister, obviously not on top of his or her portfolio, answering questions about incompetence in those portfolios and blaming staff when things go wrong. Here we have the classic example of a lazy and incompetent Minister trying to shove through alterations that could have been dealt with, if he had just got his organisation in order, by putting in place a sensible alteration through the existing processes.

  • New Part 3AA agreed to.

Part 3A agreed to.

Part 4 agreed to.

Part 5 agreed to.

Part 5A agreed to.

Part 6 agreed to.

Part 7 Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001

DAVID BENNETT (National—Hamilton East) : I thank my esteemed colleague the list MP from the West Coast for his very good introduction to this session this afternoon. He showed an articulate grasp of this legislation, and it is very good to follow in his great footsteps. We are looking at Part 7, and specifically at the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act, which is a very important piece of work for the Waikato and the major industry in New Zealand, the dairy industry.

Although Chris Auchinvole mentioned that we are in an environment where we are talking about legislation that does not have a major procedural impact, as a new member who has come into this Parliament I have seen that sometimes the most obvious parts of the session, such as question time, do not relate to major procedural elements. It is often a matter of being able to get one’s way out of questions and answers. That approach by the Government has been very disappointing when valid questions have been asked. We hope the Government will take a better interest in this country, its people, and the legislation that it can use to govern us, and we hope that it will respond to the questions that are asked in such a valid and conciliatory way by the Opposition. [Interruption]

Chris Auchinvole: Keep going, David. Don’t take any notice of them.

DAVID BENNETT: No, we will not take any notice of that. It was interesting, in the last debate, to hear Labour members talk about student loans. Labour actually destroyed the Green vote by taking on that policy.

Talking about green issues, I say the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry officials actually initiated the amendment to the legislation that is in this part. Although the amendment is very technical in nature, it was designed to clear up a potential interpretation issue. Fonterra has no real concerns about the amendment, which should provide greater certainty as to whether Fonterra is able to issue redeemable preference shares. But there was the potential that section 104 of the Act, as initially worded, did not reflect the legislative intention and would require Fonterra to pay out for surrendered shares in cash, unless a single shareholding that was sought be surrendered exceeded 5 percent. So Fonterra, in dealing with the possibility that it could be incurring a payout of that extent, is quite happy with the proposed amendment.

The restructuring that resulted in the emergence of Fonterra was undertaken in response to the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act, and that was one of the major things that the Government did in relation to the dairy industry. Although in many cases the Act provided what farmers actually wanted, it did so in a very regulatory fashion. It is an example of how Governments, if they try to regulate too much, can over-regulate or miss certain opportunities. With regard to Fonterra one sees that in other ways, such as its requirement to sell off certain parts of production. Companies such as Open Country Cheese have taken advantage of those opportunities. Those examples show that a Government that makes too much legislation, or that gets it incorrect, can cause problems later on. It is important to have legislation that is flexible and not too difficult for companies to be able to interpret and use in a market economy.

We look forward to this amendment bill being passed, so that the company, the shareholders, and the hard-working people of New Zealand who pay so much tax to this Government will actually get representation and receive a dividend for their hard work and the money they pay to this Parliament.

  • Part 7 agreed to.

Part 8 Defence Act 1990

RON MARK (NZ First) : I rise to support this part of the Statutes Amendment Bill (No 5), and draw the Committee’s attention specifically to clause 27, which includes new section 96A. This section relates to the Nelson Rifle Prize Fund, which is being abolished, with the Public Trust ceasing to administer the fund, and with all money being handed over to the cadet forces. The terms and conditions around which the cadet forces are permitted to administer those funds are clearly stated in new section 96A, and they relate to the promotion of firearm safety in the Nelson region, the provision of firearm training, and the provision of monetary or other prizes for national shooting competitions held in the Nelson region.

I take this opportunity to focus on why this is good and what it will do. I have never heard anyone in the House stand up and laud or applaud the work done by the parents and the community support teams that sit behind the New Zealand cadet forces. We go back to days that you will probably remember, Mr Chairperson, when the cadet forces were an integral part of our schools; indeed, many military people gained their first exposure to military service in the cadet forces at schools. Of course, that became politically incorrect, and I think it took a National Government to abolish them, to wind them down, and to see the cadet forces become a nonentity. But they still survive. In my area of Christchurch and Canterbury I have attended many parades as a member of Parliament. In fact, I attended one just last week; it was the end-of-year parade and prize-giving at which prizes were given out to the Christchurch unit of the cadet forces for, among other things, shooting competitions.

I take this opportunity to say that the cadet forces are valuable. From the cadet forces come potential recruits into our mainstream military; it does not matter whether they are Army, Navy, or Air Force—they go there. Many young people who experience the cadet forces go on to serve in the police force. We as a Parliament should note that we need to do more for the cadet forces. This section is good because it will help the Nelson cadet unit. I have already had discussions with the Minister of Defence, Phil Goff, who has also expressed his view that the cadet forces are valuable, and I have also had discussions with the Secretary of Defence and the Chief of Defence Force. I look forward to progressing over the next 3 years more support, through the Government, for the cadet forces.

I think it is good that young men and women are exposed, in a controlled manner, to firearms and firearms training. The more people who are exposed to good firearms training, the less we build up fears and unjust views of what firearms are and are not capable of. Enabling people to learn mountain safety and to hunt safely, in their private lives, and to compete both locally and nationally in military shooting events is all good stuff. It helps to promote greater self-discipline, and it helps to promote greater awareness. From that, those young men and women go out and teach those skills to other New Zealanders who are of the same age—some of them are simply family members, and others are members of the cadet forces themselves.

At the cadet prize-giving in Christchurch at the weekend a young lady, Staff Sergeant Nation, took away a whole bunch of prizes. She is a fine example. She is going forward, I think, into the Navy of all things. Much of what she has learnt—the discipline and the skills that she has been able to pass on to other cadet NCOs and other cadets—has been specifically focused around firearms safety and firearms use.

The cadet forces are a very good starting point for our young people. I just wish more young people had the opportunity to serve in the cadet forces. One thing I lament—and hope it will change—is that down in the South Island there are very few brown faces involved; not many Māori are participating. On the contrary, in the North Island there is a very large contingent of young Māori entering the cadet forces, as seen at a parade attended by Brigadier Whiting and shown on Te Karere last week. The cadet forces are a good place to acquire discipline, to acquire focus, to learn about goal setting, and to be exposed to good role models.

I must say again that I take my hat off to parents who sit behind their young people and do the fund-raising and the organising, arrange the transport, help organise the equipment and the resources, and work very closely with the military to ensure that these cadet forces continue to operate and that these young people get this exposure. This small change will help those cadet forces in the Nelson-Marlborough area and it is a good thing. It should be applauded. We should do more.

  • Part 8 agreed to.

Part 9 agreed to.

Part 10 Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981

CHRIS AUCHINVOLE (National) : I would like to speak on Part 10, which refers largely to the amendment of the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association under the Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981. There are few organisations where I have found a warmer reception from people around Anzac Day than the RSA.

Simon Power: Point well made!

CHRIS AUCHINVOLE: I thank the member. However, like so many organisations associated with a particular time in history, it does need to increase its membership. Therefore I notice its change of name from just Returned Services Association to Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association. I know that the organisation is including additional people who have not necessarily had any association with the armed forces at all. It is all about community—community and belonging. The National Party is particularly proud to subscribe to those aspects. Small communities have their own beliefs and practices, and they can get on and celebrate what they represent.

One of the things I find fascinating, having been a member since September, is the total preoccupation of the present Government—and I include the utterances from members of the Government’s attendant parties—with the National Party. We seem to be all they ever talk about, and I wonder why. They clearly have a deep-seated anxiety problem about their own precarious political platform. I understand—and have been told—that this precarious political platform is something they have arrived at after a panic pandemic over not being able to quickly form a Government as easily as they thought they could. It has been suggested to me that this panic pandemic sweeping through their ranks is what led to the baubles, bangles, and beads being buckled together to try to buy beneficence from others.

It goes to show, though, that you get what you pay for. That is all you are going to get, but the rest of us have to live with it, too. In the case of the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association, it is seeking to amend its membership, it is seeking to increase its membership, and it is seeking to continue its role in the community—and I wish to support that.

  • Part 10 agreed to.

Part 11 agreed to.

Part 12 Gambling Act 2003

DAVID BENNETT (National—Hamilton East) : I was not actually going to stand to speak on this part but, since Dr Michael Cullen is here, I think it is appropriate when we look at—[Interruption] The Bills Digest states that the definition of “housie” has changed and is now: “ ‘the numbers are selected randomly and announced to participants’, and ‘the participants mark or cover the numbers announced on their own cards’ ”. Now does that not sound like Labour Party policy when it is trying to work out student loans policy? That definition of Labour Party policy has now been incorporated through all legislation.

  • Part 12 agreed to.

Part 12A Government Superannuation Fund Act 1956

NATHAN GUY (National) : I rise to speak to Part 12A, “Government Superannuation Fund Act 1956”. Many in the Chamber will be aware that I reside in the electorate that has the highest population of elderly constituents in the whole of the country—that is, the Otaki electorate, which covers Kapiti and Horowhenua. It was once a Labour stronghold and now is the most marginal seat in the country. I rise to speak about superannuation and how it affects those hard-working New Zealanders in the Otaki electorate and right across the country—those who have paid taxes, and those who in the past may not have been fairly getting their correct married entitlement. It is great to see that a gentleman presented a petition to New Zealand First people who happened to be in my electorate prior to the campaign to try to sort out that anomaly. [Interruption] Exactly. It is great to see that being sorted out.

It is very, very important that members acknowledge the Superannuation Fund, particularly in times of hardship. The carbon tax is due to come in in 2007, which will actually see an increase in power prices and fuel prices, and will make it even tougher for our elderly people to survive in this country. So I support Part 12A, “Government Superannuation Fund Act 1956”.

  • Part 12A agreed to.

Part 13 agreed to.

Part 14 agreed to.

Part 15 agreed to.

Part 16 agreed to.

Part 17 agreed to.

Part 18 agreed to.

Part 19 agreed to.

Part 19A agreed to.

Part 20 agreed to.

Part 21 agreed to.

Part 22 agreed to.

Part 23 agreed to.

Part 24 agreed to.

Part 25 agreed to.

Schedule agreed to.

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2 agreed to.

  • The Committee divided the bill into the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill, the Biosecurity Amendment Bill, the Cadastral Survey Amendment Bill, the Child Support Amendment Bill, the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill, the Commerce Amendment Bill, the Continental Shelf Amendment Bill, the Corrections Amendment Bill, the Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Amendment Bill, the Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment Bill, the Defence Amendment Bill, the District Courts Amendment Bill, the Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Amendment Bill, the Forests Amendment Bill, the Gambling Amendment Bill, the Government Superannuation Fund Amendment Bill, the Incorporated Societies Amendment Bill, the Judicature Amendment Bill, the Maritime Transport Amendment Bill, the Ombudsmen Amendment Bill, the Personal Property Securities Amendment Bill, the Radiocommunications Amendment Bill, the Receiverships Amendment Bill, the Retirement Villages Amendment Bill, the Ship Registration Amendment Bill, the Territorial Sea, Contiguous Zone, and Exclusive Economic Zone Amendment Bill, the Trade Marks Amendment Bill, the Valuers Amendment Bill, the Weights and Measures Amendment Bill, and the Wine Amendment Bill, divided into Animal Welfare Amendment Bill, Biosecurity Amendment Bill, Cadastral Survey Amendment Bill, Child Support Amendment Bill), Civil Aviation Amendment Bill, Commerce Amendment Bill, Continental Shelf Amendment Bill, Corrections Amendment Bill, Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Amendment Bill, Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment Bill, Defence Amendment Bill, District Courts Amendment Bill, Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Amendment Bill, Forests Amendment Bill, Gambling Amendment Bill, Government Superannuation Fund Amendment Bill, Incorporated Societies Amendment Bill, Judicature Amendment Bill, Maritime Transport Amendment Bill, Ombudsmen Amendment Bill, Personal Property Securities Amendment Bill, Radiocommunications Amendment Bill, Receiverships Amendment Bill, Retirement Villages Amendment Bill, Ship Registration Amendment Bill, Territorial Sea, Contiguous Zone, and Exclusive Economic Zone Amendment Bill, Trade Marks Amendment Bill, Valuers Amendment Bill, Weights and Measures Amendment Bill, Wine Amendment Billpursuant to Supplementary Order Paper4.
  • Bill reported with amendment.
  • Report adopted.