Hansard and Journals
Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill — First Reading, Second Reading, In Committee, Third Reading
[Sitting date: 22 June 2010. Volume:664;Page:12009. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]
Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill
- Debate resumed.
Hon NATHAN GUY (Associate Minister of Transport) : As I was saying before the lunch break, the bill also amends several other Acts to ensure that the special insolvency regime provided for in the Aircraft Protocol prevails over any inconsistent domestic processes.
The bill also makes changes to the Civil Aviation Act to streamline the civil aviation rule-making process. Transport legislation, including the Act, contains provisions authorising the Minister of Transport to make ordinary transport rules. These include requirements relating to public notification of, and consultation on, intended rules, and a mandatory 28-day rule between the gazetting of a rule and when it comes into force. These, together with the subsequent addition of a Cabinet process, have resulted in a complex and lengthier rule-making process.
In 2008 the previous Government decided that the rules system should remain, but should be more flexible. This Government agrees with that approach and has moved more aggressively to streamline the rule-making process and reduce overall costs. This bill therefore amends the Civil Aviation Act of 1990 to enable civil aviation rules to be made by Order in Council, to repeal mandatory notification requirements and replace them with a requirement for notification as considered appropriate by the Minister of Transport, and to repeal the mandatory 28-day rule. It will also align the Act with the Land Transport Act of 1998 in relation to incorporation by reference of standards into rules, and the power of the director to determine—
Hon Steve Chadwick: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. With respect to the Minister—oh, the microphones have come on. We could not hear the Minister because of the noise in the House.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Hon Rick Barker): The member is quite right. There was noise on both sides of the House, and I was waving and gesticulating to people for them to calm down, rather than interrupt the Minister’s speech—and now we have interrupted it. Could I just make the point that there is a lot of extraneous noise in the Chamber, and could people give the appropriate courtesy to Nathan Guy.
Hon NATHAN GUY: I thank the member for that. As I was saying, it will also align the Act with the Land Transport Act of 1998 in relation to incorporation by reference of standards into rules, and the power of the director to determine technical matters under these rules.
The Government would like the potential financial savings to our aviation industry to become quickly available this year. A 3-month time lag before accession to the convention and protocols is effective means that for accession to be in force by 1 October this year the bill would need to progress through all stages by 24 June. Subject to Royal assent occurring by 29 June, the instruments of accession could then be lodged by 30 June, and accession be in force for New Zealand 3 months later. I commend this bill to the House.
Hon DARREN HUGHES (Labour) : I rise to speak in support of the Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill. I congratulate my local MP, Nathan Guy, on how well his reading is coming on. He read that speech beautifully. Maybe the national standards will help some people, after all. In that respect, he brought energy to legislation that the House finds itself in urgency to consider today.
Hon Member: Where did you get your suit?
Hon DARREN HUGHES: The question is where he got his suit from. I bet it is a foreign suit. I bet it is an import. I can guarantee that it will not have been made locally.
This bill, as the Associate Minister of Transport explained, is highly technical in nature; I think his speech made that pretty clear. It brings New Zealand into line with one convention that presumably, we hope, will have quite a practical impact for a number of countries, including New Zealand, in respect of the way in which international financing is handled for assets such as aircraft and aircraft engines.
Labour will be supporting this bill. It is unusual for Labour to support legislation that is introduced under urgency, not referred to a select committee for public consideration, and not given the chance for reflection, but I am aware that the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee has conducted quite an extensive and, I am advised, exciting inquiry into the Cape Town convention. The committee has left no stone unturned when it comes to the various clauses that make up that convention. Therefore, the legislation that flows from the inquiry that the committee has undertaken will probably on this occasion suffice as enough for the ratification of that convention by Parliament, through the legislation.
I want to speak about only a couple of issues at the first reading. I know that my colleagues who have sat through the inquiry will want to make more fulsome comments on some of the other matters. I know that my colleague Darien Fenton will have some issues around civil aviation safety, which I know she is keen to explore with the House as this bill goes through.
It seems to me that one of the best things about this convention is that it takes an activity that is, by definition, multinational, although there are strong domestic aviation markets. When we think of long-distance air travel, it occurs between countries. Therefore, it involves many, many Governments in many, many jurisdictions and different environments where alternative legal operations take place. In an industry where the capital costs of these assets, like aircraft and aircraft engines, are so significant and, therefore, the leasing of them is not a cheap action, the way these arrangements are arrived at becomes critical for a competitive aviation market, for the ability of air travel to take place without the steep costs of compliance because of the concern of creditors for the location of their assets.
One of the things the convention is doing that is very good is it is recognising the whole point of air travel, which is contact. We have economic contact through trade. New Zealand is a small country that exports significantly some our freshest products, which need to arrive at market in a fresh condition, and of course air freight is very important. There is also people to people contact, as people travel as passengers in civil aviation.
The convention will allow creditors to file directly with an international registry by computer. They will be able to do that electronically, thereby cutting enormously the amount of time it would take if this had to be done by another form of civil aviation, such as pigeon post or carrier mail. They will be able to do that from wherever they are in the world. Wherever there may be a dispute or a concern about an asset, that action will be able to take place.
I notice that the Irish Government has volunteered to host matters where there is litigation or where there is the requirement of the intervention of a court. From what I have read, that seems to have been welcomed by most of the players who take an interest in this area as a way of Ireland’s efficient legal system effectively exporting its skills, and the location of Dublin is where any disputes will take place. This will reduce risk and uncertainty, and of course that has to be good for New Zealand.
But this is an international convention, and we should not focus only on the benefits for this country. By signing this convention, it is hoped that developing countries will be able to take advantage of the lower costs to them by having such a regime take place. Often in those countries, where there are fledging markets, those costs can be very high barriers for people wanting to enter into international aviation. So our hope would be that not only is this measure good for New Zealand, because of our geography, isolation, and strong dependence on exporting, but also it will bring some assistance to other countries around the world—particularly the developing countries, where achieving these sorts of arrangements in civil aviation could make quite a difference to those countries.
Despite its complexity, I do not think that the bill will find itself the subject of huge attention this afternoon. Its moment in the spotlight might be more brief than the work that has been done to bring it to this point, but that should in no way take away from the fact that it is quite a practical resolution of an issue that every year different companies and countries find themselves dealing with. The Labour Opposition is very pleased to support the first reading of the Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill, and we will be supporting it as it passes through the House this afternoon. Thank you for the opportunity.
DAVID BENNETT (National—Hamilton East) : In following on from previous speakers in respect of the Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill, I say that everybody will be pretty much in unanimous agreement that when it comes to our transport sector—especially aviation, which is such an international part of the transport sector—we want to have uniform rules that are consistent with other countries, so that those who provide those services know they have some security. This bill will give security to those who hold financial security interests in the cross-border transactions involving planes and suchlike. It is an important thing for our international competitiveness, for our international connections, and for our international transport linkages.
The fine Transport and Industrial Relations Committee, with members from both sides of the House, will take an active interest in this bill and make sure that everything is well advanced through this House. We want this process to be successful for all parties involved and for the country so we get those transport issues sorted in order to give security to everybody who will be needing it in the future for their investments. Thank you.
DARIEN FENTON (Labour) : It is an absolute privilege to take a call on the Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2010. I have been waiting with bated breath and great anticipation to take a call on this bill, because it is such a riveting and exciting bill! But, you know, I do not want to belittle the bill, because I know it is important. As other members have said, the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee examined the treaty and reported back to the House 4 or 5 weeks ago. I want to thank very much the officials who took us through this convention. It was a very interesting experience, and I think the officials did their very, very best to try to make it interesting for the members of the committee, and I genuinely thank them for that.
The national interest analysis that is attached to the report from the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee on the treaty examination is very, very thorough, and perhaps, if I have the chance later on in the Committee stage, I may talk about some of the advantages. But there are also some disadvantages, as explained to us by the officials, that I think are worth considering.
Labour is supporting the bill, because it is pretty uncontroversial. It amends domestic legislation so that New Zealand can be party to an international convention on aircraft ownership. I cannot help myself with this legislation, because here we are with a convention. I am aware that New Zealand tries to be a good global citizen by participating in global agreements and playing a leadership role in that. So the question comes up again for me as to why we support this convention but not one on fundamental rights for domestic workers, which our Government voted against at the International Labour Organization 2 weeks ago. It voted alongside countries like Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Kuwait, to prevent an international standard that would provide protection to domestic workers throughout the world but also in New Zealand. We have not received an explanation for why our country voted in opposition to countries like the USA, Australia, the UK, and the Philippines, and I think it is very damaging to our reputation.
As I said, although I am pleased that we are supporting this bill across the House, I am still very, very concerned about our position, especially as a former National Party MP, Marilyn Waring, has offered an apology to the women of the Commonwealth for New Zealand’s vote against the proposed ILO convention. She said that New Zealanders are “ashamed, saddened and outraged that the principles which we hold dear, and try to live by, have been abrogated by the government of New Zealand.” Despite what the Minister says, this is a convention that would have affected New Zealand workers. There are around 20,000 home-based care workers in New Zealand, and thousands more throughout the world. So we talk in this debate about developing countries and how this convention will help them, but we do not care about the thousands of domestic workers throughout the world who have no rights. The overwhelming majority of New Zealand domestic workers are very poorly paid, and they are excluded from the discrimination provisions of the Human Rights Act.
Although we support this convention, the following question came to my attention when I was thinking about this: how can we agree on this across the House, when we have this situation at the ILO? New Zealand has had a good reputation, particularly under the previous Government, and that is slowly being eroded.
As other members have mentioned, this bill also contains amendments to the Civil Aviation Act. The amendments are designed to introduce more flexibility into civil aviation rule-making. I want to make a couple of comments about air safety. The Minister is not here, but perhaps later I can ask him some questions. The Civil Aviation Authority does a good job, given its paucity of funding and the challenges of regulating aircraft operation in New Zealand, commercial and recreational, which is a very wide-ranging operation. An issue that came up recently concerned Queenstown Airport. We wrote to the Civil Aviation Authority asking about safety issues at Queenstown Airport. It is a difficult airport and there have been media reports about a lack of experience in the control tower and an increasing number of safety incidents. The Associate Minister of Transport, Nathan Guy, will be pleased to know that Airways Corporation of New Zealand wrote back to us on behalf of the Civil Aviation Authority with assurances that staffing and training levels are more than adequate for this particular airport.
That is all well and good, but what happened last week? Two pilots apparently used their airside security passes to sneak on to the Queenstown Airport runway in the middle of the night to race a car. The boy-racer legislation did not apply to them, obviously. Needless to say, those pilots put the lives of others at risk, and they ended up being banned from all airport land for 2 years. OK, that is the right outcome. So the authority that Mr Guy is responsible for has provided us with perfectly reasonable answers to our valid concerns, but I have to say that these perfectly reasonable answers have not prevented a couple of cowboy pilots from drag racing on the airstrip at Queenstown. I encourage the Minister to be more vigilant about these sorts of things. We cannot have these sorts of security concerns happening at our airports.
I want to raise another issue in respect of civil aviation. The Associate Minister recently made an announcement about the monitoring of commercial pilots for drug and alcohol issues. There are two things. The Civil Aviation Authority will work with the Ministry of Justice to introduce random checks on commercial pilots for any criminal convictions that have not been declared, and, secondly, it will introduce an electronic database that will enable them to more effectively gather information and monitor any trends. Labour supports these initiatives, and I really want to say that Labour members do not believe there is any room for drug and alcohol use among pilots. I do have to reflect, though, that Air New Zealand has had monitoring systems in place for many years, and it was quite aggrieved at the suggestion that it had not. In actual fact, the problem is with small aircraft and small commercial airlines.
It seemed as though Mr Guy was being pretty proactive in terms of his press release of 1 April. But what it did not say was that the Civil Aviation Authority had repeatedly been asking for more powers to identify pilots with drinking problems, but unfortunately the Minister had been sitting on his hands. The Christchurch Press obtained a briefing to the Minister under the Official Information Act. It was written just a month earlier and states that the existing system is heavily dependent on individuals acting responsibly and self disclosing information relating to their drug and alcohol use. But it also shows that the Civil Aviation Authority had proposed a series of measures, including limits for drug and alcohol use, but that nothing had been done.
As members will see, although Labour supports this convention there are some concerns. If I had more time I would mention many more, but perhaps I will get to those during the second and the third readings. We have many concerns around civil aviation, the things we need to be doing in New Zealand to ensure the safety of people who fly in New Zealand, and, of course, meeting our international obligations, thereby making it easier for our airline industry to operate internationally and to meet our obligations to other countries. Thank you.
GARETH HUGHES (Green) : Kia ora, Mr Assistant Speaker. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou. Kia ora. It is a great honour to be here today to talk about the Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill. We could hear the passion in the Minister’s voice when he was talking before. As I have been tweeting over the last couple of days about the House being in urgency, I have been asked by lots of people in tweets, blogs, and Facebook messages why the House is in urgency. They are asking about the most important thing that we will be debating and which regional council we are sacking this time. I have been telling them what I will be debating, which is the Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill. This is an important bill. The Green Party will be supporting it, given that we have 4,431 aircraft, including microlights and balloons, in New Zealand, and they flew 214 million kilometres in the last year. It is an important bill, and the Green Party will be supporting it. But I want to outline a few parts of the bill and a few of our concerns as we go into this debate.
The bill, the convention, and the protocol are private legal agreements that will significantly improve the financial security for investors in cross-border trades of things like aircraft, railway rolling stock, and other large and expensive equipment. The convention enables creditors to access a registry. I wonder whether the status quo actually works all right. We have a register in New Zealand for our aircraft companies. It will be considerably more expensive to register through the new Irish registry under this bill. But I guess the airline companies and other parties who will be using the provisions of this legislation will point to the fact that it will help them with finance when they are purchasing new heavy equipment such as aircraft, and that some of the financial benefits could be in the order of $18 million to $325 million.
We have to question whether we even need this treaty. It is interesting that the House is in urgency to look at this bill. Perhaps we needed urgency to get this done, when we consider that the treaty was signed in Cape Town in 2001 and came into force in 2006, that the Ministry of Transport began looking at it in 2004, and that the previous Government agreed in principle to support it in 2005. We are 9 years on from the signing of the treaty, so I guess we needed urgency in order to give it a push along.
My final point, and something that I look forward to picking up in my second reading speech, is that on the one hand this bill is not controversial. It is logical to establish an international rule-based framework to look at the issue of default. We support having greater international cooperation and reducing the risks for Kiwi and foreign corporates. But on the other hand do we actually want to see a growth in airline emissions? In my second reading speech I will look at some of the environmental and climatic impacts of the worldwide aviation industry, and I think an important question is whether we in New Zealand want to support and subsidise the pollution from our aircraft industry, when we know that the world is burning and we do not have a “Planet B”. I look forward to addressing that issue in my second reading speech, but I say the Green Party will be supporting this bill.
Firstly, I welcome the support that the Opposition parties are giving to this bill in the House, and I express my regret that the Opposition does not find its way clear to support other significant bills that this Government has brought to the House. In particular, the significant tax cuts that this Government is to deliver to New Zealanders on 1 October this year come to mind.
The second observation I make is that the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee was well briefed by officials on the significance of this bill. If memory serves me right, I think that I was—
Hon Darren Hughes: It doesn’t.
ALLAN PEACHEY: My memory serves me very, very well—I am sorry, I have forgotten the member’s name.
Chris Tremain: It’s Hughes.
ALLAN PEACHEY: I apologise to Mr Hughes. My memory serves me very, very well sometimes. However, I am not very good on the names of Labour Party politicians. As I was saying, from my recollection I was the only member of the select committee who asked the officials for explanations. I was particularly interested—[Interruption] I ask the chair of the committee whether I am wrong.
David Bennett: No, I don’t think so.
ALLAN PEACHEY: Indeed, I think I am right. I was particularly interested in knowing whether this bill, when it becomes law, will reduce the need for lawyers to become involved in this sort of thing and for litigation to occur. I am pleased to report to the House that I was assured that there would be considerably less need for lawyers and less need for litigation. That was a good enough reason for me to support this bill.
Charles Chauvel: You don’t hear me bashing teachers!
ALLAN PEACHEY: From listening to the interjections that are coming from a corner opposite, I am almost inclined to take the view that we could do with having fewer lawyers in this House, as well. After all, our job is to make the law, not pontificate about it, and there is a big difference between the two in relation to the member.
This convention is about the financing of mobile equipment, and by “mobile equipment” we mean things like aircraft, railway rolling stock, and even space assets. That is what the bill is all about. The bill is designed to make raising and repaying the finance needed in order to purchase mobile equipment like aircraft much easier. At the moment, if there is a dispute over, for example, payment for release, it can involve more than one jurisdiction, a whole pile of other laws, and far too many lawyers. This bill is designed to simplify the process and to give much greater certainty around it, not just to those who lend the money but also to those who borrow it. There will be greater certainty. The ultimate objective, of course, is to ensure that those who lend the money no longer require a premium charge, to account for the risk that they have to take. By reducing the risk, the raising of funding to finance the purchase of mobile equipment like aircraft should become simpler, and it should be cheaper. Of course, for a country like New Zealand, which depends on aircraft more than many other countries do, anything that makes that dependence cheaper is to be applauded. I commend the bill to the House.
CAROL BEAUMONT (Labour) : It is with great pleasure that I too rise to discuss the Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill. I too am a member of the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee and have been briefed on this convention. Labour supports this bill, as others have said. It is uncontroversial. It has a couple of purposes, one of which is to amend the domestic legislation, including both the Civil Aviation Act 1990 and the Personal Property Securities Act 1999, so that New Zealand can become a party to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment, which Mr Peachey just described to us. I will not go into a lot of detail about that, but I will reinforce the key points. This convention will standardise transactions involving movable property, particularly aircraft and aircraft engines, and will set down international standards for the registration of ownership. The second part, which I will come back to, clarifies some rather convoluted legalese in the Civil Aviation Act relating to the making of rules and who can apply them.
The Cape Town Convention and its associated Aircraft Protocol were originally negotiated under the auspices of a United Nations agency. I concur with the comments made by my colleague Darien Fenton about the importance of international conventions and of New Zealand playing a lead role in them and making sure that we are at the forefront of compliance with international best practice in every regard, including in employment-related matters and transport-related matters, which we are currently discussing. Essentially, this convention aims to establish a balance between enhancing creditor rights, which will, as Mr Peachey said, help to reduce aircraft financing costs, while also improving debtor protections. It is designed to be flexible, and it can be applied to any type of high-value mobile equipment.
The Aircraft Protocol that I mentioned earlier, the Protocol to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment on Matters Specific to Aircraft Equipment, applies to aircraft, airframes, aircraft engines, and helicopters above a minimum size or threshold. I thought that the House might be interested in getting a little more detail on that, because it is fascinating. Let me tell members that it applies to aircraft that can carry at least eight people or 2,750 kilograms of cargo, aircraft engines with a thrust exceeding 1,750 pounds of force or 550 horsepower, and helicopters that can carry five or more passengers.
As the name of the treaty probably gives away, the treaty resulted from a diplomatic conference held in Cape Town, South Africa in 2001. I am sure that members really want to know about the mechanics of the convention! The mechanics of the convention centre on the recognition of international interests in mobile equipment and the creation of an international registry in which creditors will file these interests. As has already been mentioned, that registry will be maintained in Ireland. The international interests are secured interests in a uniquely identifiable object. Once those international interests have been filed by a creditor, they become searchable in the international registry held in Ireland. The creditor’s interest will have priority over all subsequent registered interests and unregistered interests. The underlying premise is simple: if we can reduce some of the risk to financiers in extending credit, we can reduce the financing costs for the debtor and to the industry as a whole.
Currently the problem is that financiers have to rely on differing national laws to protect their interests. Clearly, those laws would be quite variable around the globe. In many countries the risk factors are significant, because the local laws are not very useful in protecting lenders in the event of default or bankruptcy, or because they are highly unpredictable. Of course, as we would expect with regard to aircraft, this uncertainty is compounded by the fact that aircraft can move readily between countries. It can be very difficult for a financier to know where an aircraft will be on the date of default or bankruptcy. That uncertainty drives up the cost of aircraft financing, which is then reflected in the interest rates that the financier charges the debtor. As I have said, the convention will reduce that uncertainty and will provide financiers with a number of key rights in respect of any aircraft. Those rights are, should there be a default, to deregister the aircraft and procure its export, to take possession or control of the aircraft, to sell or grant a lease for the aircraft, and to collect or receive income or profits arising from the management or use of the aircraft.
The extent to which the rights that I have just outlined will be a function of the declaration that we in New Zealand make will be seen at the time that we formally ratify this convention. Obviously the international registry based in Ireland, as we can expect in the modern age, will be able to be directly accessed by computer from anywhere in the world. That will be very useful.
I will go on to talk about a couple of other matters. The first of these concerns the flexibility of civil aviation rule-making, which is the other major part of this bill. The present provisions relating to the making of ordinary rules are not very straightforwardly expressed. The bill specifies that an ordinary rule allows a matter to be determined by the authority, the director, or other persons. It empowers the authority, the director, or any other person to impose requirements or conditions. There are consultation requirements there, which I am very pleased to see; I am a great believer in consultation. During my short time in Parliament so far I have been disappointed by a number of the consultation provisions that we have seen, and particularly the consultation regarding the Auckland super-city. That has been a sham. The legislation that has reduced local democracy and corporatised local government in Auckland has been rammed through by the Government with a mere nod in the general direction of consultation. So I can only hope that in relation to the important matter of the civil aviation rules, the consultation requirement will be more robust.
The second issue that I will also talk to members about relates to helicopters, because helicopters are covered by this convention. Those that are certified to transport at least five persons, including the crew, are included in the Cape Town Convention. A situation has arisen in New Zealand regarding helicopters, and it is important to talk about it. A requirement by the Civil Aviation Authority is causing some concern in relation to the work of rescue helicopters. They now apparently have to be twin engined, because we cannot afford to take the risk of a machine crashing into a hospital. I note that no rescue helicopter has yet crashed into a hospital in New Zealand. But just to be certain that it will not happen, that requirement is apparently now being put in place. The effect of that requirement can be quite troublesome for all of the fine people involved in operating rescue helicopters in New Zealand—something that we are all proud of, and reliant upon.
The upshot is that in quite a few instances single-engine machines now have to operate away from their dedicated helipads. That will require patients to be potentially carried by stretchers, for example, or ferried by an ambulance at a critical time. We all know about the golden hour—I hope we all do. I hope we have all had our first-aid training and that we understand the importance of the first critical hour after an accident, and the need to get medical attention. Any barriers to helicopters getting patients to hospitals are very worrying given that golden hour, which is essential in saving the lives of critically injured people. So we are concerned about the directive relating to helicopters, helipads, and hospitals. We do not think that it is a necessary requirement in terms of safety. We are certainly worried about the implications for a patient’s health. There are, of course, also implications for all of the good people who raise funds from the community to get the machines that the rescue trusts operate, which are so important to us in a country that is not highly populated and where people can be a long way from the nearest hospital. So we question why the Minister, Steven Joyce, or his Associate Minister, Nathan Guy, did not step in to show some leadership over this issue of helicopters. These are our rescue helicopters, as I have been saying. Perhaps somebody would like to deal with that question in the course of this debate.
I will leave the bill at this point for now. I do have a couple more speeches, members will be pleased to know, to give on this matter.
HONE HARAWIRA (Māori Party—Te Tai Tokerau) : Tēnā koe, Mr Assistant Speaker. Kia ora tātou katoa e te Whare. Apparently, this bill, the Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill, is about establishing procedures to protect investments in aviation and to cover the financing, purchasing, and leasing of aircraft, but it also gives the Minister of Transport extra powers in the making of civil aviation rules. That raises a couple of points that I would like to speak to.
The first is the Manukau claim. When the Waitangi Tribunal first heard this claim in the 1980s, it brought to the table the Auckland Regional Authority and the civil aviation division of the Ministry of Transport in order to question them about the site that they had chosen and the site that they used. It was noted back then that when Cabinet made the land available in 1955, there had been no acknowledgment of either Māori land title or the need to protect Māori land interests. Auckland Airport sits on 1,300 hectares, including reclaimed land that had once been a local iwi fishing bank and that was the basis of the Manukau claim. Expanding airport operations have led to even greater restrictions on other fishing banks and creeks traditionally fished by local Māori, and they have also led to the release of excessive levels of pollution from stormwater discharge, aviation fuel spills, and industrial chemicals and fluids.
In summing up the Manukau claim, the Waitangi Tribunal had some harsh words for the Crown regarding the pollution of the harbour and the loss of tangata whenua lands: “… underlying this claim is an enormous sense of grievance, injustice and outrage that continues to haunt the Manukau Maori and bedevil the prospect of harmony in greater Auckland.” Yet for all the laying down of rules of engagement between Māori and the Crown in that case, the exact same problem occurred when a local marae raised its own longstanding claim to land and airspace around Rotorua airport. Back in the 1960s, local authorities in Rotorua had decided to bulldoze the whare tūpuna of the Ngāti Uenukukōpako people, because it was in the flight path. The iwi, of course, refused. Fifty years on, the airport authority builds a new $24 million extension to the runway, and, again, nobody is surprised that there is no regard whatsoever for the impact on the marae, the kōhanga reo, or the iwi itself.
The Māori Party will be supporting all stages of this bill, but the examples I have cited here raise the question again as to when it is appropriate to amend legislation to take into account the circumstances of iwi. It gives us the opportunity to remind the House again of the importance of recognising Māori interests in policy planning and legislation. Kia ora tātou.
- Bill read a first time.
Hon KATE WILKINSON (Minister of Labour) on behalf of the Minister of Transport: I move, That the Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill be now read a second time. I understand that Supplementary Order Paper 145, which makes technical amendments to the bill, has been lodged following consultation between officials and aviation, finance, and legal stakeholders. This bill’s amendments simplify or clarify the relationship between the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment, the Protocol to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment, and domestic legislation. The rule-making provisions are also clarified. In the first reading debate, the Minister advised that accession to the Cape Town Convention and the Aircraft Protocol would bring economic benefits to our aviation industry. Clauses 12 to 14 of the bill come into force on a date to be appointed by the Governor-General by Order in Council, and will implement the Cape Town Convention and the Aircraft Protocol when New Zealand’s accession comes into force. It is proposed that that date be 1 October 2010. The rest of the clauses come into force on 1 August 2010 and will implement changes to streamline the civil aviation rule-making process.
Turning to the provisions of the bill, clause 4 amends section 2, which relates to interpretation. The amendment reflects the new section 34A inserted by clause 8 and adds the Governor-General as someone who may make civil aviation rules. Clauses 5 to 11 amend the rule-making parts of the Act, including clarifying powers of the Minister to make ordinary rules, matters to take into account when making rules, and revoking of prescriptive procedural requirements. In addition, the Governor-General will be able to make ordinary rules.
We now come to the parts of the bill that when enacted will enable New Zealand to conform with the provisions of the Cape Town Convention and the Aircraft Protocol. Clause 12 inserts new Part 12, which implements the Cape Town Convention and the Aircraft Protocol. Members should note the principal proposed amendments in this part of the bill. The amendment gives the convention and the protocol legal status in New Zealand and ensures they will prevail over inconsistent New Zealand law. It also clarifies that law that is consistent with, but additional to, the convention and protocol still has effect. The amendment enables the Governor-General to issue copies of any declarations made by New Zealand. Contracting States are to exclude or modify provisions considered to be incompatible with their legal culture or tradition. The amendment also adds circumstances in which the removal of an aircraft from the New Zealand aircraft register can occur. Under the protocol, a creditor can require the deregistration and export of an aircraft in the event of a default.
Clause 13, via schedule 1, adds a new schedule 7, which sets out the text of the Cape Town Convention, and new schedule 8 sets out the text of the Aircraft Protocol. In Part 2 of the bill, clause 14, via schedule 2, sets out consequential amendments to other enactments. The key area here is the Personal Property Securities Act 1999. The security interests in aircraft objects, covered by the Cape Town Convention and the Aircraft Protocol, are one form of security interest in personal property. Therefore, there will be situations where both regimes will apply to the same security interest. To avoid the potential for conflict from the existence of two registries, the bill amends the Personal Property Securities Act so that it is clear that in relation to aircraft objects the Cape Town Convention and the Aircraft Protocol will have primacy. The effect of that will be that the parties to a transaction will determine for themselves whether they will use the international register, the Personal Property Securities Act, or both. Finally, clause 15 relates to transitional provisions for material incorporated into rules via reference.
In conclusion, it is necessary to pass this bill to enable the aviation industry to access the financial advantages of the Cape Town Convention and the Aircraft Protocol, and to streamline the aviation rule-making process so that our rules do not lag behind developments in the aviation sector. I commend this bill to the House.
Hon Trevor Mallard: You had to be woken up to do it.
Hon DARREN HUGHES: Not at all, I say to Mr Mallard. In fact, I have been very impressed by the way the Government has deployed its most charismatic Ministers to the shepherding of this legislation through the House this afternoon. I realised that they are taking it very seriously. When even an old warhorse like Allan Peachey can find it within himself to muster a bit of praise for a political opponent, we know that maybe this is something that we can come together on. Maybe we can unite this lovely land around the Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill. So it has been quite an afternoon already.
The Hon Kate Wilkinson has set out her very clear views on this area. I noticed she touched on some of those issues in her maiden speech, so it must be quite a thing to come here today and speak more in favour of it. There are only two issues that I want to touch on in the second reading of the bill, but before I do I will pick up on a reference that was made in the first reading by the member for Tāmaki, Mr Allan Peachey.
Mr Peachey spent a lot of his contribution saying that if the bill results in fewer lawyers being involved, then he was in favour of it. That was the central premise of his contribution to the debate. I thought it was very unusual for the member of Parliament for Tāmaki in Auckland to be campaigning so openly against lawyers, given what a high proportion of the legal profession reside in his constituency.
Allan Peachey: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I explain to the member that three of my four children are lawyers. The message was for them.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Hon Rick Barker): Mr Peachey, that is interesting. I am sure there are other family details you would like to share with us, but this is not the place and that was not a point of order.
Hon DARREN HUGHES: I am absolutely aware of the fact, and I know what those three children say about him! He wants to criticise them on the floor of the House, but they have a good old go about him as well. I am sure they will charge him extra when it comes to matters such as his last will and testament, which none of his colleagues would be in, I suspect, going on the terrible way he was been treated. After the 2005 election they all would have got something from the Peachey estate; now, I suspect, none of them will. He would have asked all three children for different iterations of that particular legal document.
Mr Peachey said he forgets some things, and I will not criticise him for that because that can happen. When he criticised the Opposition for not supporting Government tax reductions, I was immediately reminded that, as a new member of Parliament, he voted against a cut in the corporate tax rate in this country. When the Labour Government reduced it from 33c to 30c, he voted against it. He voted against the cut in taxes for savers. He voted against a cut in taxes for working families in our country. So I can understand his difficulty when he spoke in the first reading of this bill and raised those points, and I wanted the opportunity to rebut that. The great benefit of Hansard is that those things can be checked very, very quickly. Despite that, in this bipartisan way, we do want to focus on that for too long.
I come to the two points that I wanted to speak about in respect of the convention. The first is that the premise for this bill is quite simple, as other speakers have said. This is a high-risk industry. If we can reduce the risk, then that should reduce the costs—particularly, the financing costs—across the industry as a whole. Those costs are often enhanced even further because so many different local laws operate and they do not protect lenders in a way that is consistent, and that multiplies the risk factor and results in higher prices. We are in absolute support of the premise, and we are very grateful to those who have negotiated on behalf of New Zealand in order for us to accede to this convention.
The second point I want to make at the second reading is about the changes to the civil aviation law. Although we are all transfixed by the Cape Town Convention at the moment—
Hon Dr Wayne Mapp: Absolutely transfixed!
Hon DARREN HUGHES: I see that even the former Auckland polytech law lecturer Dr Mapp is transfixed on this point.
Hon Trevor Mallard: No, he was an assistant lecturer.
Hon DARREN HUGHES: An assistant lecturer? I thought he was a full lecturer in his own right. He was an assistant lecturer, and there is no shame in that, I say to Mr Mallard. I want to be accurate for the sake of the Hansard in that respect.
This may have been one of his areas of expertise. I recall once visiting Ōhākea air base, and Dr Mapp arrived by aeroplane, which was quite good. In fact, I think he flew himself down to Ōhākea on that occasion.
Hon Dr Wayne Mapp: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I know that the member is having a little bit of fun in this instance, but I think he should at least try to make some reference to the facts. I was an associate professor at the University of Auckland.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Hon Rick Barker): Well, Mr Mapp, that was not a point of order. But as member has made the point to Mr Hughes, I am sure Mr Hughes will feel very grateful that his knowledge on these matters has now been improved.
Hon DARREN HUGHES: Thank you, Mr Assistant Speaker. I am sure that the member will be rushing off now to correct his Wikipedia entry, because I suspect that we are not all as familiar with his CV as he might have assumed.
I was in the middle of referring to the fact that he flew himself into an air base I was visiting on one occasion. I know he is a very distinguished pilot. When he is buying his next Learjet, he can use the Cape Town Convention. He was in Opposition in those days. That was before he became a Minister of the Crown and took to rushing to the scenes of accidents, flourishing his business card around, and making sure that all the emergency workers knew he had just driven by. Quite how he copes when he flies over accidents, I am not too sure. Maybe the copilot has to bungy out with Wayne Mapp’s business card and say: “Did you know that the Minister of Defence just flew by?”, because no one else would know.
I do not want to be distracted in any way from the important changes to the Civil Aviation Act 1990 that this bill takes into account. I see that we have been focusing on the convention, but the bill addresses other matters, and we should make reference to them in the second reading. There is a fair amount of legalese, I guess we would call it, with regard to the civil aviation rule-making in our current law.
In the Committee of the whole House we will consider the clauses that seek to rectify the language to make sure that the rules are expressed in a way that is slightly easier to follow, and we will consider the clauses that set out which persons are able to determine, particularly, those ordinary rules. The legislation sets out what the Minister must take into account when that is happening and also what consultation requirements need to be followed. I think that is quite a good thing to do, as well. The less complex that laws like this can be, the better I think it is for, obviously, the industry players—those who have a very detailed technical knowledge—but also for those who have only a passing interest. From the average member of the public’s point of view, having legislation that is easier to understand gives more confidence in our civil aviation system.
So the first reading is down, the second reading is still going, and Labour members are still in support of the bill. We are walking in lock step with the National Government on this particular item, and we look forward to asking the Minister of Transport, Steven Joyce, some questions in the Committee of the whole House. We will expect those questions to be answered.
I serve notice of that to the Hon Kate Wilkinson now, too. I know that she has been reading through the bill quite a lot, so she will have the opportunity to answer our questions then. I am sure that when the third reading comes and people look to see what is happening in the House, she will know that if she wants those 43 Labour votes, there is a lot riding on her ability to answer these questions during the Committee of the whole House. Thank you.
DAVID BENNETT (National—Hamilton East) : In the second reading of this Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill, I think we have strayed a little way off the track of what the bill is about, but I think that shows the context—that everybody is fairly much in agreement and that there is not a great deal of debate about it. It is something that needs to be done and needs to be done quickly, so that New Zealanders and the industry have the Cape Town Convention as a reality in the way that they do business in this area.
The nature of this bill has been pretty well exposed by members, as have some of the policy drivers behind it. We have also heard about some of the bill’s background, such as the naming of the type of aircraft involved and what advantages this legislation hold. Some of those advantages are basically so that the security interests can be registered. We can have security as an investor in those kinds of instruments, and we know that it will be internationally competitive. They will apply when one’s plane is travelling from country to country and when it is based in New Zealand.
I think that it is important when we look at this bill to note that we rely heavily on the aviation industry as a trading country and a tourism destination but also as a manufacturing exporter. In Hamilton we have some very big manufacturing exporters of aviation products, especially Pacific Aerospace Corporation, which manufactures a lot of planes that are sold around the world. I am sure that those in the New Zealand aviation industry will be very comforted to know that the Government is working hard for them by delivering rules and regulations that will assist them in their work, rather than having the rules and regulations that they have had in the past that have been detrimental to them carrying out their business. We look forward to this bill going through its further stages in the House, and we thank the other parties for their support so far.
DARIEN FENTON (Labour) : It is great to take a call in the second reading of the Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill. As my colleague Darren Hughes said, we continue to support this bill. We are supporting it at its second reading. We will see how it goes in the Committee stage, but so far so good. One of the things that I forgot to do when I was talking earlier on about the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee was to send my best wishes to the Hon Tau Henare. We wish him a speedy recovery. He plays an important if somewhat belligerent role in the select committee—
Hon Trevor Mallard: Nothing to what he plays in the lobbies.
DARIEN FENTON: —no—and he also played a very key part in the examination of this treaty. I know that he asked some very insightful questions, and he will be deeply, deeply disappointed that he is unable to be here today to see this bill pass through its stages and go through to its third reading. But, as I said, we all wish him well.
As we have all outlined, this is not a controversial bill. We are supporting it. It amends domestic legislation so that New Zealand can be a party to an international convention on aircraft ownership. That will be beneficial for developing countries as well as our own country because of the high interest rates that airlines often have to pay. New Zealand, by the nature of our geography and isolation, has a long and proud aviation history. We have long been part of the international aviation community, so it is very sensible for us to be part of this convention.
I take the opportunity to congratulate Air New Zealand, our national airline, on its very high standards and on its many awards, including the prestigious Air Transport World Airline of the Year award for 2010, which is apparently widely regarded as being the Oscars of the airline industry. To the men and women, the workers and the management, of Air New Zealand, I offer my congratulations on that award. I think it is great. I am sure that all members in this Parliament support our national airline. I hope that we all support it by flying with Air New Zealand whenever we can.
It would also be remiss of me not to remind the House that a Labour Government had to rescue our national airline after the previous National Government wrecked it. I have been a bit concerned over the last couple of weeks that this Government is heading into a whole new era of privatisation of our precious assets. Its half-hearted support of rail speaks volumes about its commitment to the strategic transport assets that are owned by New Zealanders—and proudly owned by New Zealanders. After all, if the Government is prepared to flog off Kiwibank, who knows whether the national airline will be next?
Going back to matters of civil aviation, I cannot resist the urge to talk about one of the ridiculous situations that has arisen in our own country because of interference by the Civil Aviation Authority. I am talking about the rest and meal breaks dispute between the air traffic controllers and the airports. They reached a sensible agreement about sole air traffic controllers; let us understand that there are only a small number of these. We are not talking about every airport in the country; there are only a small number of them. They have peaks and troughs so there are times when aircraft are coming in and there are times when they are not. The agreement they came to was that they could take their breaks when there was no air traffic. That would work out perfectly well and would fit in with the very flexible and sensible legislation. In fact, the current Minister of Labour called it in 2008 common-sense legislation when it was passed by the National Government. However, the Civil Aviation Authority said that this was nonsense and that we could not have a flexible agreement where workers who worked 9½-hour shifts with no breaks could have a break when the aircraft were not coming in. It said that they had to have their breaks all at the same time across the country—quite ridiculous.
Unfortunately, the Government used that dispute as an excuse to rush in some very poorly drafted legislation that will essentially allow employers to require workers to work for nothing during unpaid break time, including air traffic controllers and, I assume, pilots. I think that is called slavery; I am deeply concerned about that. What is more, the proposed legislation is so crazy that it will enable an employer to take away all breaks and compensate employees with a muffin, a cracker, or a glass of wine. It is quite ridiculous.
Carol Beaumont: Or a muffin.
DARIEN FENTON: I said a muffin.
Carol Beaumont: Muffin break.
DARIEN FENTON: That is right.
Returning to the bill, the airline industry is an important part of our economy. We have a fantastic national airline. We have good support from the Civil Aviation Authority even though it makes some mistakes from time to time and is desperately underfunded. There are real advantages to us signing up to this convention, and that is why Labour continues to support this bill at its second reading.
GARETH HUGHES (Green) : Kia ora. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou, kia ora. It is a great honour to speak in the second reading debate of the Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill. Today we are seeing why it is so important to have the Greens in Parliament. I have not heard a single member talk about the consequences of this bill on the environment or on our communities. We have talked about how this bill will make it cheaper for aircraft to finance aircraft and other heavy arms, but no one has talked about the impacts. The fact is that aircraft emissions have grown by 73 percent in the last 40 years. That is vitally important because climate change is the greatest threat facing the planet. [Interruption] I will let the honourable Minister Mapp repeat what he said; I do not know what he actually said.
Hon Dr Wayne Mapp: It’s a relatively small percentage of the global total.
GARETH HUGHES: I would like to touch on that. It is around 3 percent, as the Minister will be aware. But the Minister will also be aware that there are significant debates globally about what the actual aircraft emissions are and what the global warming potential of those emissions are for the planet. The emissions are not just carbon dioxide but also nitrous oxide, which has a greenhouse potential nearly 300 times worse than carbon dioxide over a 100-year time frame. The Minister may also be aware of the radiative forcing effects from the contrails, which are condensation clouds at high levels, and the impacts of water vapour. It is estimated that sometimes those could be up to 10 percent of global emissions. I hear what the Minister is saying, but I think what we are hearing is—
Hon Darren Hughes: The Minister is slapped down by the youngest member of the House—fantastic.
GARETH HUGHES: I thank my colleague Mr Hughes. But I will get back to the issue of climate change. Today we are discussing how this legislation will make it cheaper for aircraft when aircraft emissions continue to grow. It is a big issue because greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand and around the world are rising. Ladies and gentlemen, it is not just a problem for the polar bears any more; climate change is a problem facing the planet right now. Last year Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary-General, published a report saying that 300,000 people die every year as a result of climate change, not in 10 years and not in 20 years. We are not just talking about the polar bears; we are talking about right now.
In 2007 Sir Nicholas Stern said in the Stern report that it is cheaper to take action now. It is expensive to tackle climate change, and we hear about that almost daily from Mr Boscawen. The cost of tackling climate change is in the order of 2 percent of global GDP, which is not an insignificant number. But when we look at the estimates of the costs of climate change in our lifetimes, we are looking at potentially 20 percent of global gross domestic product being affected by climate change. The time to act is now, and if we keep increasing our emissions from aircraft in New Zealand and around the world, I ask where else we will make needed cuts to stay within the safe climatic band, which is 350 parts per million.
The bill makes it cheaper to own and operate an aircraft, which, I guess, we all agree with, and which is what we are talking about today. But we are not asking the important questions of whether we want to increase air travel in New Zealand or whether we want to make an essentially unsustainable sector continue to grow when we know the impacts of climate change. We know oil will not get any cheaper. In Louisiana over the last couple of months oil drillers have had to go further and deeper into more extreme environments, because the easy sources of oil have already been tapped. We are reaching what is described as peak oil, which is the end of cheap oil. The members of the Finance and Expenditure Committee heard about that in a letter from Dr Russel Norman, and I hope that the committee will make an inquiry into it. It is an important issue because in New Zealand, nearly 10 years ago, we sunk over $800 million into saving our national airline. It is an important issue, but, as the price of fuel continues to increase, we will see lessening usage internationally and lessening returns on our considerable investment.
Climate change is a major issue for the New Zealand brand. The Green Party talks about it a lot because this Parliament is seeing a stark contrast in vision at the moment. On one side, we can mine our treasured places, try to squeeze more dairy production—4 percent a year of continual growth—and keep investing in mad motorways, which do not make economic sense. On the other side, we can focus on our “clean, green” brand, making that a reality, and focusing on premium products. Those are the kinds of questions being asked considerably more and more by hundreds of thousands of tourists who are flying here every year. We have, potentially, 80,000 people coming to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup next year. We will have maybe a billion people watching. But with the Rugby World Cup, New Zealand could become like China at the time of the Beijing Olympics, with questions being raised on human rights. New Zealand could become like South Africa at the time of the Football World Cup, with questions being raised on racism and housing issues. Will the Rugby World Cup highlight our hypocrisy on our green issues? Will it be around the fact that we are not facing up to the growth in our airline emissions, and that we are not facing up to any sector growth of emissions in New Zealand?
I wish that we were debating a bill that would see aircraft become more sustainable. I am not a doom and gloom merchant. There are options available for aircraft industries worldwide. I wish we were discussing the “Wellington Convention”. There is an option going around the world pushing for more stringent aircraft sustainability standards. I wish we were pushing for regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from the aircraft and shipping industries, which, so far, are not counted under the Kyoto Protocol. I wish we were including those gases in our Kyoto register and in our emissions trading scheme. I know it will happen one day, but the sooner we face up to the fact that our considerable 3.4 million tonnes of emissions that come from our international aircraft sector is massive and will be counted one day, the better. We may as well start facing up to the truth.
So in summary I am disappointed that no one else in the House has raised these sustainability issues and has asked the core question. Sure, we want to make it cheaper for aircrafts to operate in New Zealand and globally, but do we want to support and keep subsidising the aircraft industry in New Zealand through our emissions trading scheme? It is being subsidised for its pollution when we know that we do not have a second planet. Kia ora.
CAROL BEAUMONT (Labour) : I will go back to the issues around the civil aviation Cape Town Convention and the Aircraft Protocol that goes with that, and I will talk a bit more about that in the second reading debate on the Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill. The protocol, as I said, relates to aircraft that carry at least eight people, and helicopters that carry five or more. The treaty resulted from a diplomatic conference held in Cape Town in South Africa in 2001, as the name suggests. I thought people would be interested to know more about the conference. It was attended by 68 countries and 14 international organisations. Fifty-three countries have signed the resolution proposing the treaty. The convention portion of the treaty came into force on 1 April—gee, that is a bad date for conventions to come into force—2004 and has been signed by 28 countries. The protocol, which is the bit that specifically applies to aircraft and aircraft engines, took effect on 1 March 2006 when it was ratified by eight countries—Ethiopia, Ireland, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Panama, Pakistan, and the United States. In the US the treaty was approved by the Senate in 2003 and implemented by the full Congress in the Cape Town Treaty Implementation Act 2004.
The other dimension is the registry of mobile assets. It has been set up under this convention to establish the record of international property interests in the equipment covered by the treaty, which is located in Ireland. Mediation cases for leasing disputes are to be heard in the High Court of Ireland. That is just a bit of background.
When we look at the bill itself, we see that the overwhelming portion of it is the convention and protocol, which are appended to it in the schedule. We have the full text of the civil aviation Cape Town Convention and the Aircraft Protocol I have just referred to appended to this bill.
There are a couple of things I would like to cover off. The first is the Civil Aviation Authority itself. It operates in an international system, hence the need for conventions like this. The Civil Aviation Authority, as it says in its annual report, is an international system and it works within frameworks set by the International Civil Aviation Organization. As a contracting State within the International Civil Aviation Organization, New Zealand has responsibility to comply with the standards set by that organisation. It has a number of effects. Interestingly, in relation to the points just made by the Green member, the other strategic objectives—it has a series of objectives for 2010, focused on enhancing global aviation safety and security—include minimising the adverse effects of aviation on the environment, in particular aircraft noise and aircraft engine emissions. I think there is an awareness of the problem. It is an issue for a country like New Zealand, where we are reliant on aviation. We are a country a long way from markets that we trade with, and, indeed, we are a country of destination for tourists from all around the world, so we are highly reliant on aviation to bring people to this country and to get our products to market.
Mr Bennett, the chair of the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee, noted that there is another important role in that we export in the aviation area. I was interested to hear him talk about that matter, because my late father, Ron, worked at Hamilton Airport. He was a mechanic, but he went on to get his trade certificate in aircraft engineering. He worked there producing top-dressing aircraft, and they were world-leading aircraft. I thought it was interesting that Mr Bennett noted that as a small but important part of our manufacturing exports.
Talking of that select committee, I would like to join with my colleague Darien Fenton. She took the words right out of my mouth in that I too wish a speedy recovery to our fellow select committee member Mr Tau Henare, who is, as we all know, unwell at the moment. While I am talking about that fellow member, I note that he is in the interesting position of having his own member’s bill before the select committee. That bill is an interesting one. It is in relation to employment rights. We talked in the first reading about the fact that New Zealand is a country that takes international obligations very seriously. We think it is important to sign up to relevant conventions and to play a good role in the international community in regard to many areas. We have often been in a world-leading role, and certainly that is the case in terms of international labour standards. New Zealand played a founding role in the International Labour Organization. We have a proud history in that organisation, and in any given international labour conference, which is an annual process and is in fact going on at the moment, often New Zealand will have people who end up chairing committees or who are involved in drafting committees, and we are seen as a country that takes these matters seriously. So it is a bit of a shame that Employment Relations (Workers’ Secret Ballot For Strikes) Amendment Bill is one that I think will see us going in the reverse direction from what we would want to in terms of workers’ rights. Whether that will have the effect of our coming up against what would be seen as international best practice remains to be seen.
Getting back to the this bill, as I was saying before, the full text of the convention is appended to the schedule of this bill. Members will be pleased to know that I do not want to go through this bill, article by article—
Hone Harawira: Oh.
CAROL BEAUMONT: Well, OK, because there is a desire for that, I will just tell members what the respective articles are. I will not read them out to members given they run to many, many pages. In due deference to my colleague from the Māori Party, let me say that—
Paul Quinn: Just the flavour.
CAROL BEAUMONT: Yes. Article 1 is “Definitions”, and that goes to several pages, as members can imagine. Article 2, “The international interest”, provides for the constitution and effects of an international interest in certain categories of mobile equipment and associated rights. Article 3 is “Sphere of application”, article 4 is “Where debtor is situated”, article 5 is “Interpretation and applicable law”, article 6 is “Relationship between the Convention and the Protocol”, article 7 is “Formal requirements”, and article 8 is “Remedies of chargee”. As members can see, this goes through a range of articles, right through to article 39, 40, 54—perhaps I will not go through the rest of them for members in the House. Seriously, these are important matters that will streamline and standardise processes internationally and that hopefully will have an effect that means there is greater certainty for those who are financing aircraft. We are making sure that instead of a wide range of different domestic legislation applying, we will have standards. It will be simpler to use the registry located in Ireland to identify what the status of ownership or whatever of a particular aircraft is, and I am sure we are all pleased to know that any disputes will be dealt with in the court system in Ireland, which I am sure is a very robust one. I will leave my contribution to this second reading there, and I look forward to further comment in the third reading.
- Bill read a second time.
The CHAIRPERSON (Eric Roy): Leave is sought for that purpose. Is there anyone opposed to that course of action? There is not. Leave is granted.
Parts 1 and 2, schedules 1 and 2, and clauses 1 to 3
Hon DARREN HUGHES (Labour) : The Committee of the whole House is now considering the Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill, and as signalled to the Minister during the second reading, the Opposition has some questions on which we are seeking clarification. I have three or four questions, and I know my colleagues have some as well. I should say that we are now considering every clause, both parts, plus the title and commencement as one question, so the comments and observations we are making range across the 15 clauses and the various schedules that are set out in the bill.
My first question to the Minister in the chair, Kate Wilkinson, is to note that Part 1, as she will be aware, inserts a new Part 12 into the principal legislation. I want the Minister to comment on which of those parts will take precedence if New Zealand domestic law goes down a different path from what may be in a clause within new Part 12. Once it is inserted into the principal legislation, presumably Part 12 will not be in a position to be amended by the New Zealand Parliament, because it will need to reflect the requirements of the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment, which have been carefully negotiated by our negotiators and those who participated in the agreement. If Parliament is to consider other matters to do with civil aviation that amend the principal legislation, I ask how new Part 12, which we are inserting in Part 1, will make a difference in our law for this country. I think that goes to the heart of economic sovereignty for New Zealand. If the Minister can give us an answer on that matter, it will answer some questions we have about how these conventions fit in when they are not stand-alone and end up fitting in with existing New Zealand legislation. I would be very interested in her comments on that.
Clause 6 sets out matters that are to be taken into account by the Minister when making rules. It is an amendment to section 33(2) of the Civil Aviation Act. I wonder whether the Minister could set out the kinds of matters the Government thinks the Minister will have to take into account when he or she is making any rules, or recommending the making of any rules, as part of clause 6. I am also interested in clause 7, which is the procedure for making ordinary rules, which the Minister must take into account, and the question of consultation. I wonder how that was arrived at. Clause 7(1)(b)(i) mentions “the persons, representative groups within the aviation industry or elsewhere, government departments, and Crown agencies;”, and it would be helpful if the Minister gave us a flavour of the kinds of organisations we are talking about there. When the Government uses language like that in legislation that, of course, we are supporting, to what extent is it making that consultation as broad or as narrow as possible? Given that we are talking about simplifying civil aviation rules in other parts of this bill, it would help if she could clarify for us who will be affected by the consultation provisions set out in clause 7 for the procedure for making these ordinary rules. Those are just some questions I have, and if we could get some answers or clarification on them from the Minister, I would be most interested.
I make the observation that new section 34A, inserted by clause 8, gives the Governor-General new powers to make ordinary rules in respect of civil aviation, and ask whether the Government gave any consideration to the Governor-General’s other role as Commander-in-Chief of New Zealand, and whether that vests just far too much power in the hands of one person. Oh, my luck has turned: the Minister of Transport has arrived, just to take those questions. I hope the Minister of Labour, who has been the Minister in the chair, will give him the notes she took of my questions. It would be a shame if I was to be seated, and he was not in a position to answer my questions. I am not getting an indication from either of them that that is the case. I will update Mr Joyce, who was no doubt behind the Cape Town Convention, and the suggestion for it, because we know from the feature articles that he has arranged to be written about himself what a quite high opinion he has on the world stage. New Zealand would be quite a small market for him, so probably in Cape Town he was the guy who sealed the deal.
I will recap, now that the Minister who is sponsoring this legislation is in the chair. I have a question concerning clause 6, which covers the matters that are taken into account when making ordinary rules. I have another question about clause 5, on the power of the Minister to make ordinary rules, and a further question on the insertion of new Part 12, which sits in Part 1, into the principal legislation. If there are changes in other civil aviation law that are not consistent with the convention, and if the convention is now being codified as the new Part 12 of the law, I ask which one takes precedence. I presume the Government is not in a position to make any amendments to new Part 12, which is presumably the text of the convention that we have signed up to at another level. If the Minister could answer those very simple and very few questions that we have put to him—
Hon Pete Hodgson: They are searching questions, not simple.
Hon DARREN HUGHES: It is very generous of my colleague to say so. As this Minister is constantly telling his colleagues, nothing is beyond his purview, remit, or ability, so we look forward to elucidation by him of the questions I have asked, and those of my colleagues Darien Fenton and Carol Beaumont. Thank you.
DARIEN FENTON (Labour) : While the Minister is consulting, I ask that he take note of my questions as well, because they are serious questions. I will refer to new Part 12 and the interpretation clause. I note that the national interest analysis states that although reservations are not permitted, declarations are. It states: “Article 56 of the convention and Article XXX of the Aircraft Protocol provide that States may make up to 20 declarations, ‘opting in’ or ‘opting out’ of various articles in the Convention and the Aircraft Protocol. Declarations are intended to allow some tailoring of the Convention and Aircraft Protocol to domestic circumstances.” It goes on to state that some declarations must be made at the time of accession.
I am very, very interested to get information from the Minister about declarations. In new section 104(1), declaration means “a declaration made by New Zealand under the Cape Town Convention and the Aircraft Protocol”. I am very interested to know whether the Government intends to make any declarations on accession in relation to the convention, and whether it has any intention to make future declarations. It is a very, very important question. I know that the Minister is occupied at the moment, but I would like an answer to that, because the answer may well make a difference in terms of whether we continue to vote for the bill. A declaration can completely change the nature of a convention, so it is very, very important that we get an answer to that.
The other part of my question relating to new Part 12 is that there is a definition of a “Contracting State”, which means “a State that is a party to the Cape Town Convention and the Aircraft Protocol”. In the national interest analysis it talks about the “Obligations which would be imposed on New Zealand by the treaty action, the position for reservations to the convention, and an outline of any dispute settlement mechanisms.” I have read this several times, and I appreciate the efforts to which people have gone to try to make this clear to us, but I really cannot understand much of what it means. I suppose my question is what it means in terms of the obligations of New Zealand. What will we have to do as a country? Will there have to be Budget appropriations for the implementation of this convention? Will it require more resources for the Civil Aviation Authority? Will the Governor-General need to have more resources? I would like some clarification of what the obligations are for New Zealand, and what the implications are in terms of resourcing. Now that the Minister has returned from his distraction, I draw his attention—
Hon Darren Hughes: China’s not a distraction.
DARIEN FENTON: I know he is working; I am not being critical. I know he is just trying to get an answer to our questions. My question earlier, I say to the Minister, was about declarations, and whether we intend to make any declarations on accession to the convention, because they must be made at the time of the treaty, according to the national interest analysis. I would like to know, if that is the case, what they are, and what difference it will make in terms of the international obligations we have as a country under this convention.
CAROL BEAUMONT (Labour) : It is with great pleasure I rise again to speak on the Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2010. I have focused primarily to date on the actual Cape Town Convention and its associated protocol. I will talk now about the provisions in the bill that provide more flexibility in civil aviation rule-making. Like my colleagues Darren Hughes and Darien Fenton, I will also ask the Minister some questions.
The reason for the changes in Part 1 are to do with making sure that ordinary rules, and the making of ordinary rules, are expressed in a more straightforward way. New section 28(5), substituted by clause 5, rules that an ordinary rule may allow “a matter to be determined … by the Authority, the Director, or any other person; or … empower the Authority, the Director, or any other person to impose requirements or conditions …”. Amendments are also made, in clause 6, to provisions relating to “Matters to be taken into account in making rules”.
The consultation requirements in section 34(1), which must be observed before ordinary rules are made, are amended by clause 7(1) to require the Minister to “(a) publish a notice of his or her intention to make the rule;” and to consult certain persons. I will talk a little more about that provision. It is primarily outlined in clause 5, which amends section 28, the “Power of Minister to make ordinary rules”. I am very interested to know, in relation to the consultation requirements—and I know that the Hon Darren Hughes has already asked some questions on this—what the Minister of Transport’s view is on what “consultation” really means, and how robust, I suppose, he believes the consultation process needs to be in the civil aviation area.
When I look at the annual report of the Civil Aviation Authority, I see that the authority needs to deal with some very important matters. As I noted earlier, the authority is part of an international system. Civil aviation, by its very nature, is an international system. The role of the Civil Aviation Authority is to provide policy advice and civil aviation rules development; to certify and license aviation participants; to monitor the compliance to civil aviation and security standards by participants; to educate about and promote aviation rules, advisory circulars, and other safety and security-related information; to investigate aviation incidents and analyse safety trends; to enforce civil aviation legislation and rules; to publish aeronautical information; and to oversee the administration of the Health and Safety in Employment Act and the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 in the aviation sector. That is a fairly significant range of responsibilities that the Civil Aviation Authority has. They are quite critical: the safety of people who are flying, the safety of people who work in civil aviation, and making sure that we comply with important legislation.
I am interested in how the new consultation requirements outlined in clause 5 of this bill, the Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill, will work, and in how robust the consultation processes are that the Minister is envisaging in relation to the development of rules in civil aviation. We all know that consultation can mean different things to different people. Unfortunately, I have had the experience in my working life where consultation has meant that an employer, for example, might tell a group of workers something and put it in a notice, and that was seen as consultation. I am hoping that consultation in this regard will be more robust, and I look forward to hearing the Minister’s response to that question. Thank you.
Hon STEVEN JOYCE (Minister of Transport) : I thank Opposition members for their fulsome analysis of this Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Bill. I think it is very important that it be analysed fully. I will offer a couple of matters in response. Firstly, the declarations that were the subject of one of Darien Fenton’s requests are contained in the national interest analysis. They are all laid out there for the member, and I refer her to them.
In regard to—working alphabetically is, I think, the best way—clause 6—
Hon Darren Hughes: That’s not alphabetically; that’s numerically.
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: No, clause 6 begins with “c”. The clauses are all alphabetical and they all begin with “c”. Therefore, I can put them in whatever order I wish for that member.
Hon Darren Hughes: He’s the Government’s numbers man!
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: Clause 6—alphabetically and, subsequently, numerically—amends section 33, “Matters to be taken into account in making rules”, of the Civil Aviation Act. It aligns section 33(2) with new section 34A, and it states that the Minister is to consider those matters when recommending rule-making action to the Governor-General.
Clause 7 concerns the procedures for making rules, and the whole point of this exercise is to streamline and simplify the rule-making process. It provides some flexibility in terms of the notification requirements. Obviously, that still has to be appropriate to the rule-making procedure.
One of the issues we have in civil aviation is the very long time that it takes to make rules, and we are trying to simplify the process and speed it up. In fact, civil aviation is unlike other industries. The civil aviation industry, in the general rules, is looking to make civil aviation rules faster to match the International Civil Aviation Organization requirements.
Clause 8—which Darren Hughes was concerned about with regard to the Governor-General and his unfettered and outrageous powers; I am paraphrasing the member a little bit—refers to the Governor-General making rules on the recommendation of the Minister. The Governor-General does not wander out and make rules on a daily basis to suit the Governor-General.
Finally, clause 12 does give the convention primacy over the relevant New Zealand law. The convention is consistent with, and additional to, the relevant New Zealand law. That is the point of clause 12. I think that covers most, if not all, of the matters raised by members opposite.
- The question was put that the amendments set out on Supplementary Order Paper 145 in the name of the Hon Steven Joyce be agreed to.
- Amendments agreed to.
- Parts 1 and 2, schedules 1 and 2, and clauses 1 to 3, as amended, agreed to.
- Bill reported with amendment.
- Report adopted.
Hon STEVEN JOYCE (Minister of Transport) : I move, That the Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill be now read a third time. In the first reading of this bill I advised that by accession to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and the Protocol to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment, New Zealand will become part of an international system to protect commercial security interests in mobile aircraft equipment. Some 34 States and the European Union have already ratified or acceded to the convention, and 31 States and the European Union to the protocol, so it is clear there is global support for the regime. Likewise, the New Zealand aviation sector and the financial sector have supported accession. It is worth repeating that the estimated financial savings over the next 6 years to the aviation industry, including to Air New Zealand, could range from $18 million for savings in export credit guarantees to a figure as high as $325 million in reduced financial charges. The benefits will continue into the foreseeable future.
The Government is pleased to be able finally to bring these opportunities to the aviation industry. I appreciate the support given to this bill across the House, and therefore to the Government’s intention to accede to the Cape Town Convention and the Aircraft Protocol, by members on both sides of the House. Similarly, members’ support of the amendments the bill makes to streamline the rule-making process will ensure that our rules do not lag behind developments in the aviation sector. I commend this bill to the House.
Hon DARREN HUGHES (Labour) : The Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill has made good progress through the House this afternoon. It has met with support from right across the political spectrum in a way that we do not often see in the House. Obviously members have reflected on it and believe it will be of practical application to New Zealand, to people who travel, and to people who export. As I said in my first reading speech, I hope it will also, critically, enable those in developing countries—be they State-run airlines or private enterprise airlines—that face significant barriers to entry into this market to offer airline services for passenger and freight flights around the world. That has to be seen as a good thing; it cuts the cost of business. This bill does not necessarily, of itself, change the quantity of flights that are taken, but it acts as a way of providing security for those who lease out these very expensive types of equipment and for those who seek to operate them, to ensure that they are able to offer people all around the world, in some of the most impoverished parts of the world, access to these sorts of services for their economic and social development.
I acknowledge the points that the Green Party made in respect of the environment. It is a matter of enormous regret that we hardly ever hear Government legislation explained in any context of sustainability. That seems to be very much out of vogue with the present Government, but I hope that with continued activism on these issues by parties on this side of the House, we can make sure that those issues are taken into account as legislation is developed. When we are incorporating an international treaty, it somewhat limits the ability of the New Zealand Government to make changes, but it would have been nice if at least we had heard some reference to sustainability from Ministers as they spoke. That did not happen today. There was more of a limited view on the dollars and cents aspect, and not looking at the opportunities this might provide for people in some of the poorest parts of the world.
During the Committee of the whole House a number of questions were asked of the Minister of Transport. He took the last speech in that part of the bill’s consideration. His answer to some of the questions was to simply reread the clauses that were already published, which was not entirely helpful, because we already had them. But he did answer questions in a couple of areas. He was silent on the aspects of obligations, which my colleague Darien Fenton mentioned. I was interested that he did not pick up the issue of consultation, because that is what one of the clauses we debated in the Committee stage was about. As we sum up the bill and sum up what it does, one of the reasons we questioned that issue is that we know this Minister has a unique definition of “consultation”. Some of the processes he follows for consultation are not the standard ones that we would see in many other places.
Hon Steven Joyce: That’s unfair.
Hon DARREN HUGHES: Let me give him one example. This is the Minister who rolled up to the Kapiti coast one day and said that, despite what his party campaigned for in Opposition, he was going to build a four-lane, 100-kilometre expressway through the community. He asked them to let him know what they thought about it in 4 weeks’ time, as he was not very busy for the next month, so he said they could kick the tyres. He asked them to let him know what they thought about it. I suspect as that plan goes through more and more tyres will be kicked, and some of them will be on the Minister’s Crown car.
Hon Clayton Cosgrove: What about the optics?
Hon DARREN HUGHES: The optics get worse and worse on some of these things when we do not consult, which is why we are pleased that this civil aviation bill is an example of consultation. Parliament has come together, united on it.
The Minister’s other definition of “consultation” is that if he lived in an area 35 years ago, and if he heard of something when he was growing up there as a teenage boy, he can come back years later and say that they all knew about it, because he remembers it from when he was a teenager on roller skates. This is the definition of something that everyone should expect!
Putting aside what everyone had thought for the previous 20 years would be the case, the expressway proposal for Kapiti that he is advancing is a disaster. I am pleased that he has at least one bill on which he is able to bring Parliament together. What we wanted in Kapiti was Transmission Gully; a local western link road; improvements to State Highway 1; a commitment to our rail services to push electrification further north, up to Levin, Ōtaki, and Shannon; and the electrification and double tracking that would have ensured quality, reliable, and affordable public transport services.
I guess what I am saying, as we sum up the bill, is that there are two ways of operating. The Minister gets a big tick for this bill—10 out of 10. We will all vote for it. But some of the unusual approaches he has taken to other areas of the transport portfolio are, I think, worthy of mention at this point.
Labour has offered its support for the bill. The reasons are obvious and manifest, so I will not take any more time now other than to say that I hope the kinds of arrangements that should flow from this convention actually do flow. I am sure that the officials, who have worked very hard on making this legislation acceptable in the New Zealand context, will be monitoring it and will be in a position to offer advice as time goes on, on whether it has had the ability to meet its objectives, particularly the objectives that members have drawn to the attention of the House and the Committee today, which are the things that we see as being most important to the passage of this bill. The Labour Opposition offers its support for the third reading of the bill.
DAVID BENNETT (National—Hamilton East) : I am speaking in respect of the Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill. Most members of the House have exercised the debate on this bill very fully today, and it looks as though there is full support across the House, and that is good to see.
The bill amends domestic legislation and some company insolvency and statutory management legislation to enable New Zealand to take part in the convention, known as the Cape Town Convention, and associated protocols in respect of basic aircraft equipment—basically, the Aircraft Protocol and the Cape Town Convention. Those two important documents then become part of our legislative framework in New Zealand.
The bill amends the powers in the Civil Aviation Act in relation to the making of civil aviation rules. New Zealand’s use of the Cape Town Convention and the Aircraft Protocol will support an international legal regime regarding security interests in aircraft, and potentially enable most aircraft operators to secure savings in funding and transaction costs in future aircraft acquisitions.
This bill is important. It gives us some consistency with other countries and with international obligations. It enables some flexibility in terms of civil aviation rule-making, to strike a balance between our international and domestic requirements so that we are more responsive to changes that may occur in the aviation sector. All parties look as though they are supporting the legislation, so we thank them for their support and for the way that this bill has gone through the House today. I commend this bill to the House.
DARIEN FENTON (Labour) : I am delighted to take a call in the third reading of the Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2010. I think it has been a very, very interesting debate this afternoon. One never knows what topics will come to the House that will take us into all sorts of interesting territories, and I think we have had some very good discussions on this bill. I am pleased that the Labour Opposition is supporting the third reading. I want to go back and reinforce the work of the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee and the officials. Obviously a lot of work has gone into this bill; there is no doubt about that. Negotiations have been involved, and the officials have been involved in them. I thank the officials who work in our Public Service, who work for the people of New Zealand, for all of their work that goes on behind the scenes. I also thank them again for their efforts to try to help us understand what is indeed a very technical bill, but we all seem to understand that it is a very, very good thing, and that is why we are supporting it.
I wanted to pick up my colleague Carol Beaumont’s point about consultation. I think this is a good model of consultation that the Government could consider for future bills. I was looking at the national interest analysis, which talks about the consultation that took place. Obviously this was started under the previous Labour-led Government, so there was consultation with the aviation sector, the Financial Services Federation, and Toll NZ in 2005-06, and then in May 2009 further consultation was conducted with a range of parts of the aviation sector and aviation stakeholders.
It is interesting to go through them. There was a variety of views to start with on this bill. Air New Zealand, of course, first proposed consideration of accession, and as a group of companies continues to support accession. I am pleased, just speaking about Air New Zealand, that I have had the opportunity again today to commend our national airline, to say how proud we are, and to say how thankful we are that a Labour-led Government rescued it—
Hon Member: Bought it.
DARIEN FENTON: —bought it, for the people of New Zealand, and it is a very high-quality, high-standard airline. The 8,000 workers who work for Air New Zealand do a fantastic job.
Airwork (NZ) Ltd supports accession to the convention. The Qantas Group is no longer here, but its subsidiary, Jetconnect, was neutral, but it has now decided to support accession. Pacific Blue was originally supportive, but it did not respond on the subject of internal transactions, so I do not know what happened with it. The Aviation Industry Association of New Zealand can see benefits to industry from accession, and remains supportive. The Flight Safety Foundation was originally supportive, provided that internal transactions were excluded from coverage, but it has since agreed to internal transactions being covered. The Royal New Zealand Aero Club, which is a general aviation interest group, supports accession. Toll NZ supports accession to the convention, and it wants to be consulted in the future regarding accession to the protocol on railway rolling stock, and KiwiRail has now confirmed that position. Vincent Aviation Ltd supports accession. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association was consulted but did not respond, and then a range of ministries were also consulted.
As I have said, the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee then examined this treaty. With the assistance of officials, we were given a very good explanation. As I said, it is a highly technical convention, so we really appreciated the fact that there was a briefing to the committee, because sometimes select committees can decide that these things are just a little bit too boring and that there should be just a standard report back to the House. We did not do that; we asked for a briefing. As I said, we appreciate the efforts that the officials went to in order to help us to understand the convention.
So I am pleased that Labour is supporting this bill. As I said, we have had an opportunity to traverse many areas in this debate. There are some issues that I would like to repeat very briefly on the matters of conventions. We are disappointed that we seem to be able to support some conventions but not others. Other conventions would do something about the fundamental rights and protections for workers, in particular, and other members have talked about other conventions. There are some civil aviation authority issues, there are some air transport issues, and there are some safety issues. I am interested in those, and, again, I think the Civil Aviation Authority does a fantastic job with the scarce amount of resources it has. I had a bit of a concern that it would be expected to implement this convention with no extra resources. We asked the Minister about that, but we received no response.
In closing, I thank everybody again—the officials in particular. It is good to be part of a bill that the whole of Parliament is supporting, and we are pleased to support it.
GARETH HUGHES (Green) : I was not going to take a call on the third reading of the Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill, but given that Minister Joyce is here I thought I would take the opportunity to do so.
First of all, I would like to send my best wishes to Tau Henare, who is a member of the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee. I thank the officials who have worked on this bill for all the hard work that has gone into it. I would also like to thank Darien Fenton for her contribution to this debate. There are other conventions that we probably should be discussing, and it would probably be more fitting to be discussing them under urgency rather than this bill.
I am glad I am supporting this bill, and I am glad that the Greens are in this House and are able to raise the environmental issues. It is a pity the Minister of Transport was not here for my second reading speech, but I am sure he will eagerly look it up in Hansard to find out about the climatic and environmental impacts of our airline industry.
I heard the Minister pick up on the figure that we could be saving—up to $325 million. That is not a figure to sneeze at, but I guess it is in the context of other wasteful spending by this Government, including the “Pūhoi to Wellsford Holiday Highway”, which has a benefit-cost ratio of 0.8, meaning we will not see any extra benefit economically from this one project. I would like to see more prioritising from this Government on where it is putting its transport focus and where it is spending its scarce transport dollars.
I talked a little bit about the environmental cost, but what I would like to touch on now is the opportunity cost of this bill. I would have preferred it if we were discussing the sustainability issues around the aircraft industry, because there are things—and I addressed them in my second reading speech—that we could be doing right now to lessen the greenhouse gas emissions and the environmental impacts of aircraft industries on the planet, on the climate, and also on the communities that are impacted by both noise pollution and particulate soup pollution.
I think we could have been debating the Sustainable Biofuel Bill, which is still on the Order Paper. It was introduced by my colleague and predecessor Jeanette Fitzsimons. Air New Zealand has been using atrophy in its air fleets as a biofuel alternative to kerosene. I think this is something that needs more investigation to make sure, for people and the planet, that the sustainability of the fuel is ensured.
I would have liked to be speaking about our rail lines in New Zealand. I would have liked to be talking about a Hamilton to Auckland rail link, for example, which could help to reduce the demand for air services and be more efficient, more cost-efficient, and more economically sane than what we are seeing. This is what we are seeing overseas. Governments and private companies are putting more focus on fast and more efficient rail links than on expanding a greenhouse gas - causing aircraft industry. Once again, I lament the use of urgency. I feel it is pointless, especially in relation to this bill. It did not need to go through under urgency.
Lastly, I challenge other members of this House to be like the Green Party and maybe consider offsetting their flights. It is a privilege as a member to use domestic air travel in New Zealand. We all know that the impact of one flight to the UK is more than a Swedish citizen will emit in an entire year—just one flight. We are spending hundreds of tonnes of carbon on our budgets. I challenge all members to take up the Landcare challenge and think about offsetting their own flights from their own personal budgets, and pressuring the Speaker to see whether the House can do it for us. Kia ora.
CAROL BEAUMONT (Labour) : It is with great pleasure that I rise to speak on the third reading of the Civil Aviation (Cape Town Convention and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2010. I thank the previous speaker, Gareth Hughes, for his challenge; I will certainly think seriously about it. It has been a very interesting debate. Perhaps, if I am honest, I would say that it has been more interesting than I expected it to be.
Grant Robertson: But you had low expectations.
CAROL BEAUMONT: Ha, ha!
I am a member of the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee, which received a presentation on the matters around the Cape Town Convention. Again, I join with colleagues in thanking officials for the work they did on that convention. It is important that New Zealand signs up to relevant international conventions. The convention and the associated Aircraft Protocol deals with a serious matter, and that, of course, is about items that are by their nature very mobile—that is, aircraft—and about the fact that those who are financing those aircraft need to know the status of those aircraft. It provides for a simply accessed registry based in Ireland, and that is positive.
The full wording of the convention and the associated protocol are part of this bill, and will be included in schedules to the Civil Aviation Act. It standardises transactions involving movable property and sets down international standards for registration of ownership and for securing the interests of all parties. As was said earlier, that is important, particularly in relation to the fact that, otherwise, rules are based on domestic legislation in different countries, and that is not really very helpful with something like a plane, which moves all around the world.
The other matter the bill contains is, of course, the ordinary rule, which tries to clarify—let us be straightforward about this—how civil aviation rule-making is done. It provides for ordinary rules to be determined by the authority, the director, or other persons, and it imposes requirements and conditions on those rules. As I outlined in some detail, consultation requirements must be observed before ordinary rules are amended. Those include the requirement on the Minister to publish a notice of his or her intention to make the rule, and to consult.
I reinforce the point that has been made by a number of speakers, including myself, that consultation requirements are important. We need to have confidence that consultation is not just window dressing or something done in an ad hoc manner, but is taken very, very seriously. I hope that the Minister of Transport has taken that on board in this discussion. Certainly, in relation to many other matters, consultation has been a sham. I use the Auckland super-city as an example of very poor consultation and of disenfranchising the people of Auckland, of whom I am one.
Also I touched on the work of the Civil Aviation Authority, and I acknowledge that agency. It is doing a very important job. It is a very serious area, with a lot of security issues and safety issues for the travelling public and for the people who work in that industry. They have a wide range of responsibilities, which I outlined.
A number of us have commented on the fact that signing up to international conventions is important in terms of playing our role globally. New Zealand has always taken those responsibilities seriously. The Transport and Industrial Relations Committee, of course, covers both transport matters and what are called industrial relations matters but are broadly employment issues. I have raised, as my colleague Darien Fenton did, our concern in relation to employment matters that perhaps New Zealand, through various actions of this Government, is at risk of getting into difficulty with international best practice in the employment relations area.
Interestingly enough, the Civil Aviation Authority, in its annual report, covers matters relating to employment issues. I thought it was worth noting that and congratulating the authority on the fact that it has a good-employer programme. The programme covers seven main areas: leadership, accountability, and culture; recruitment, selection, and induction; employee development, promotion, and exit; flexibility in work design; remuneration, recognition, and conditions; harassment and bullying prevention; and safe and healthy environment matters. So both the transport and employment relations matters are together in one annual report, and I acknowledge and thank the Civil Aviation Authority for its efforts in terms of being a good employer.
It is a pleasure to join with my colleagues and stand to speak on this bill. We are, of course, continuing to support it.
- Bill read a third time.