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Digest No. 1902

Housing Corporation Amendment Bill 2011 (2011 No 282-1)

Date of Introduction: 04 April 2011
Portfolio: Housing
First reading: 12 April 2011
Select Committee: Social Services
Date report presented: 12 May 2011
Published: 14 July 2011byJohn McSoriley BA LL.B, Barrister,Legislative AnalystP: (04) 817-9626 (Ext. 9626)F: (04) 817-1250Public enquiries:Parliamentary Information Service: (04 817-9647) Caution: This Digest was prepared to assist consideration of the Bill by members of Parliament. It has no official status.Although every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, it should not be taken as a complete or authoritative guide to the Bill. Other sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.

Purpose

“The intention of this bill [which amends the Housing Corporation Act 1974 (the Act)] is to consolidate housing policy and related research and monitoring functions within the Department of Building and Housing. It would remove the Housing New Zealand Corporation’s (the Corporation) responsibility for delivering policy advice to the Minister of Housing, and it would clarify that the Corporation’s internal research and monitoring functions are not for the purposes of advising the Minister. Current housing policy staff in the Corporation, who focus primarily on providing policy advice to the Minister, would be transferred to the Department. The bill would allow this transfer to take place without the positions being advertised publicly, and without the staff being entitled to technical redundancy for loss of their position at the Housing New Zealand Corporation” [1]   .

Main Provisions

Objectives of Corporation

The Bill removes the objective relating to the provision of advice to the Minister of Housing is dropped from the Bill (Part 1, Clause 4 of the Bill substituting Section 3B of the Act; Clause 5, amending Section 3C(1) of the Act).

Functions of the Corporation

The Bill provides that the Housing Corporation's research and monitoring function does not include research and monitoring for the purpose of advising the Minister of Housing on those matters (Part 1, Clause 6, amending Section 18(2)(j) and repealing Section 18(2)(k)).

Technical redundancy

The Bill provides for the exclusion of entitlement to benefits for a technical redundancy for employees of the Housing Corporation who accept comparable positions in the Department of Building and Housing as a result of the removal from the Housing Corporation of its policy function in relation to housing. In particular, “comparable employment in the Department” means employment in the Department that is-

  • “in a suitable alternative position; and

  • “in the same general locality; and

  • “on terms and conditions of employment that are no less favourable than those that apply to the employee immediately before the offer of employment (including any service-related, redundancy, and superannuation conditions); and

  • “on terms that treat the period of service with the Corporation (and any other period of service recognised by the Corporation as continuous service) as if it were continuous service with the Department”.

The Bill provides that Sections 60, 61 and 65 of the State Sector Act 1988 do not apply to the appointment of an employee of the Corporation to a position in the Department under the Bill (Section 60 is headed “Appointments on merit”. Section 61 is headed “Obligation to notify vacancies”. Section 65 is headed “Review of appointments”) (Part 2, Clause 7(1) and (2)).

Comment

The Explanatory note to the Bill states that this provision provides “the standard exclusion of entitlements to benefits for a technical redundancy” [2]   .

The State Sector Act 1988 makes similar general provision for transfers between public service organisations, with however some different words used. Instead of the phrase “comparable employment in the department” the State Sector Act 1988 used term “equivalent” employment. That term is defined (in Section 30E(2)) as follows:

“Equivalent employment to the employee's employment in Department A is employment in Department B-

  • “(a) in substantially the same position [“suitable alternative position” in the Bill]; and

  • “(b) in the same general locality; and

  • “(c) on terms and conditions of employment that are no less favourable than those that apply to the employee immediately before the offer of equivalent [the word “equivalent” is omitted from the Bill] employment (including any service-related, redundancy, and superannuation conditions); and

  • “(d) on terms that treat the period of service with Department A (and any other period of service recognised by Department A as continuous service) as if it were continuous service with Department B”.

Copyright: © NZ Parliamentary Library, 2011
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand licence. In essence, you are free to copy, distribute and adapt the work, as long as you attribute the work to the Parliamentary Library and abide by the other licence terms. To view a copy of this licence, visit : http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/nz/.

  1. Housing Corporation Amendment Bill, 282-1, Report of the Social Services Committee, 12 May 2011, p. 2.   [back]
  2. Ibid. p. 2.   [back]