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Digest No. 1958

Crown Entities Reform Bill 2011

Date of Introduction: 29 September 2011
Portfolio: Health
Select Committee: Government Administration
Published: 15 March 2012by John McSoriley BA LL.B, BarristerLegislative AnalystP: (04) 471-9626 (Ext. 9626)F: (04) 471-1250 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 Bill is an omnibus Bill introduced to amalgamate the functions of a number of existing Government agencies. As follows:

  • It creates the Health Promotion Agency to replace the Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand (ALAC) and the Health Sponsorship Council (HSC) which it abolishes.

  • The Bill disestablishes the Crown Health Financing Agency (CHFA) and transfers some functions to the Ministry of Health, while other functions continue to be provided by the Treasury’s New Zealand Debt Management Office.

  • The Bill also transfers the functions of the Mental Health Commission (MHC) to the Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC) (including establishing a new Mental Health Commissioner within HDC to carry out advocacy and monitoring functions).

  • The Bill disestablishes the Charities Commission, and transfers its functions to the Department of Internal Affairs, with registration and deregistration of charities being carried out by an independent decision-making board of three persons.

Background

It is intended that, at the Committee of the Whole House stage, this omnibus Bill will be divided into the following Bills:

  • a New Zealand Public Health and Disability Amendment Bill;

  • a Mental Health Commission Amendment Bill; and

  • a Charities Amendment Bill.

Main Provisions

New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000

Health Promotion Agency

The Bill establishes the Health Promotion Agency (HPA) and disestablishes the Alcohol Advisory Council, the Health Sponsorship Council, and the Crown Health Financing Agency (CHFA). The Bill provides that the Board of HPA will have at least five but not more than seven members all appointed by the responsible Minister under Section 28(1)(a) of the Crown Entities Act 2004.

The functions of HPA will include leading and supporting the following purposes:

  • promoting health and encouraging healthy lifestyles;

  • preventing disease, illness, and injury;

  • enabling environments that support health and healthy lifestyles;

  • giving advice and making recommendations on the misuse and harm of alcohol .

Provisions in Sections 9 and 24-34 of the Alcohol Advisory Council Act 1976 relating to the making of grants, advances, powers to set levies to recover operating costs, and the recovery of publishing costs and in Sections 42 and 60 of the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 relating to sponsorship and unspent funds are carried over for the benefit of HPA (Part 1, Clauses 3-7, amending Section 5 and 6 and substituting Sections 57-59 and inserting New Section 59AA into the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000; cf Clause 10 and Schedules 1 and 2 of this Bill, inserting Schedules 4A and 4B into that Act).

Abolition and transfers

The Bill repeals the Alcohol Advisory Council Act 1976 (continuing in force delegated legislation relating to alcohol levies) and amends the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 by repealing provisions that relate to the Health Sponsorship Council. The Bill also provides for the transfer of the property and liabilities of ALAC and HSC to HPA. Provision, in standard terms, is made for the transfer of staff of ALAC, HSC or of the Ministry of Health without entitlement to compensation for the technical redundancy. Similar provision is made for the Crown Health Financing Agency and any transferring staff (Part 1, Clauses 7-34; cf Sections 30E and 30G of the State Sector Act 1988).

Mental Health Commission Act 1998

The Bill provides for the expiry of the Mental Health Commission Act 1998 on the close of 30 June 2012 (rather than as currently provided for, at 5 pm on 31 August 2015) and for the appointment of a Mental Health Commissioner under the Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994. Consequential amendments are made to other legislation (Part 2, Clauses 36-40).

Charities Act 2005

The Bill disestablishes the Charities Commission and reassigns functions and duties under the Charities Act 2005 to a new Board (which will be composed of three persons appointed by the Minister and which will be responsible for deciding matters involving the registration or deregistration of charitable entities) and the chief executive of the Department of Internal Affairs (who will be responsible for functions formerly performed by the Charities Commission other than deciding whether an entity should be registered or deregistered). The Board and chief executive are given powers (carried over from Section 10(2) of the Charities Act 2005) to perform certain functions in relation to a charity regardless of whether the charity is registered as a charitable entity. The Charities Act 2005 is also amended to provide that its purpose corresponds to:

  • the promotion of public trust and confidence in the charitable sector;

  • the encouragement and promotion of the effective use of charitable resources;

  • the recognition of the role of the chief executive of the Department of Internal Affairs.

The Bill provides for the disestablishment of the Charities Commission and the transfer of its property and liabilities to the Crown. Standard provision is made for the transfer of staff (Part 3, Clauses 41-54; cf Sections 30E and 30G of the State Sector Act 1988).

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