Watching Brief – July 2017

Home Insights Watching Brief – July 2017

In politics

Experts' Report more fuel for Minister’s cause

Energy and Resources Minister Hon Judith Collins has released the Experts’ Report (Report) commissioned by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment as part of the Fuel Market Performance Study, and the findings leave the door open for further industry scrutiny by government officials.

The Report found that retail fuel margins have increased significantly over the last five years, while fuel margins for aviation and commercial road users have been flat or falling. The Report also found that higher petrol prices in the South Island and Wellington cannot be explained by higher capital expenditure in those areas.

However, the experts had difficulty comparing information received from the companies, and the Minister has pointed out that some information required to make definitive findings could not be obtained. As a result, the Report concluded that, “we cannot definitively say that fuel prices in New Zealand are reasonable, but we have reason to believe that they might not be”.

The Minister's response to the Report indicates that while she appears to be avoiding making any bold calls before the election, she will continue to pursue the industry further. 

In a telling timeline of events, the Ministry received the Report on 29 May but did not release the Report to the public until 4 July. In the interim, the Government developed changes to the Commerce Commission’s powers, including empowering the Commission to undertake market studies. Since releasing the Report, and in her press release, Minister Collins has drawn a link between its conclusions and the Commission's new powers – including the new power the Commission will have when conducting a market study to require comparable data across companies.

It is not a given that the Government will use these new powers to make inquiries into the fuel market. The Minister has provided the fuel companies with an opportunity to respond to the Report, and it is possible that the threat of utilising those new powers may generate responses to the Report that are politically palatable to the Minister.

Even if the Commission does use its new powers, it is difficult to predict what conclusions it might make. However, after reviewing overseas examples and regulatory mechanisms contained in the Gas Act 1992, the Commerce Act 1986, and the Electricity Industry Act 2010, the Fuel Market Study did note that, “even the most well-intentioned regulations can lead to perverse outcomes and unintended consequences”.

It is also notable that a precedent-setting market study into the fuel market would be expensive and time-consuming for all involved. The Commission’s new powers will be extensive and extend to executing search warrants, cloning computers, and summoning witnesses, meaning the experience of the first market study may act as something of a red flag for other industries on the radar of the Commission’s new powers. Time will tell if the Minister’s current crusade on the fuel industry will lead to an information-gathering norm for the Commission when carrying out market studies.

In the news

Reserve Bank opens consultation on the capital adequacy framework for registered banks

On 14 July, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) began a public consultation process for its review of the capital adequacy framework for registered banks. The framework regulates both the amount of capital that banks must hold, as well as the kinds of financial instruments that qualify as capital. The review looks into what kinds of financial instruments qualify as capital – it does not consider what amount of capital banks must hold.

The paper proposes that the RBNZ implements one of five options, ranked from the most complex to simplest. These proposals come in light of concerns that banks have been favouring contingent debt instruments over ordinary shares. The RBNZ notes that “the loss absorbing quality of ordinary shares is far greater than that provided by contingent debt” and so this behaviour has arguably harmed the quality of capital in the regime as a result.

The five proposed options are:

  • Option 1 (most complex): Retaining the status quo. Banks would be able to continue using contingent debt as Tier 1 capital.
  • Option 2: Status quo “plus”. Contingent debt accepted as Tier 1 capital with a non-viability trigger leading to write-off.
  • Option 3: Limited trigger. Contingent debt would be accepted as Tier 2 capital, but will have a non-viability trigger leading to write off.
  • Option 4: (RBNZ’s preferred option): No trigger. Only common equity and preference shares would be accepted as Tier 1 capital.
  • Option 5: (simplest): Equity only. Subordinated debt not accepted as capital.

The review is not expected to be completed until 2018, and once it is complete there will be a five-year transition period for any changes implemented as a result.

Submissions close on 8 September 2017. The consultation paper can be found here.

Inspector General reports on GCSB’s assistance with Minister’s WTO bid

On 20 June, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS), Cheryl Gywn, released her report into the activities of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) in relation to former Cabinet minister Hon Tim Groser’s bid to become the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation in 2012/2013. The investigation was triggered in 2015 when documents attained by the New Zealand Herald and the Intercept suggested that the GSCB had assisted in Mr Groser’s bid for the role.

Andrew Little, Leader of the Opposition, wrote a letter of complaint to the IGIS in March 2015, which prompted Ms Gwyn to conclude that there was sufficient public interest to investigate the GSCB’s role in the matter. The IGIS did not seek to prove or disprove the authenticity of any of the leaked documents in the investigation.

Ultimately, Mr Groser was not selected for the role, and the GCSB’s role in his campaign ceased in early 2013. Mr Groser retired from his parliamentary position in 2015, and is now the current New Zealand ambassador to the United States.

The results of Ms Gwyn’s investigation were published and made accessible to the public in the Report into Government Communications Security Bureau’s process for determining its foreign intelligence activity. Ultimately, Ms Gwyn concluded that the actions of the GCSB were both lawful and not outside government requirements. She reached this conclusion on the basis that the statutory powers of the GCSB (as they were at the time, and as they are now) are sufficiently broad in that they encompass the collection of foreign intelligence to support the nomination of a minister to a multi-national organisation. This is because of the economic benefit the campaign would have brought to New Zealand, if it were successful. New Zealand’s ‘economic well-being’ was an objective of the GCSB Act and the GCSB was therefore entitled to assist in Mr Groser’s campaign.  

While Ms Gwyn concluded that there was no breach of political neutrality by the GSCB, and the provision of intelligence for such a purpose was within the government’s foreign intelligence requirements, she noted broader concerns. The Report found deficiencies in the GCSB’s practice of managing and evaluating new requests from customers for foreign intelligence information and that those practices were not “rigorously” followed in the circumstances. The recommendations that Ms Gwyn makes in the Report reflect these deficiencies, and the Report also notes that the GCSB has taken steps since 2013 to implement more consistent procedures to deal with new requests for intelligence.

The press release for the Report is available here. The Report can be accessed here.

McClay meets with Lord Price to pave the way for trade deal

On 7 July, Hon Todd McClay, New Zealand’s Trade Minster, met with Lord Price, the United Kingdom’s Trade Minister for Brexit, in Auckland to discuss the future of New Zealand’s trade relationship with the UK following the latter’s decision to exit the European Union.

The pair last met in March, where they opened a dialogue about both strengthening the nations’ trade relationship with one another, and fostering a global trade environment that facilitates liberalisation.  Lord Price stated that while the UK would remain committed to its existing trade agreements with the European Union until its departure comes into effect, he was willing to continue ongoing discussions with New Zealand about its trade future with the UK. Hon McClay and Lord Price are set to meet annually.

Hon McClay sought to assuage any fears UK-based farmers might have about a fair trade agreement  between New Zealand and the UK, stating that the livestock in the UK is “as good” as that found in New Zealand. He further noted the importance of New Zealand constantly “reminding” its larger trade partners of its relevance to trade agreements, and stated his hopes that a fair trade agreement could be agreed between New Zealand and the UK within two to three years.

Hansard celebrates 150 years

This year marks 150 years since the beginning of Hansard. Produced by a team of reporters, editors and publishers, Hansard records a near-verbatim transcript of who said what in Parliament. This allows the public to read exactly what politicians have said as bills are being considered; it assists the court to clarify Parliament’s intention when interpreting legislation; and ensures Members of Parliament are accountable to the public.

The staff who produce Hansard work for the politically neutral Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Over the past 150 years, over 500 million words have been transcribed in Hansard, and there is likely a reference to every significant event in New Zealand history, forming an important part of our historical record.

The name Hansard derives from Thomas Curson Hansard, the first publisher of Parliamentary debates at Westminster. The United Kingdom Parliament kept the Hansard name when it started its own official publication of Parliamentary debates and New Zealand, among other Commonwealth countries, followed suit. New Zealand first officially published transcripts of Parliamentary debates on 9 July 1867 as a trial. The Colonial Secretary appointed five reporters to record the debates, and that being a success, the reporting continued and 150 years on, there is now a valuable historical record of political discussions that have shaped New Zealand, as we know it today.

To celebrate 150 years of Hansard, the entire collection is now available online as a result of a joint project between the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, the University of California, the Google Books Library Project, and the Hathitrust Digital Library. There is also an exhibition ‘For the record: an exhibition of 150 years of Hansard’ from July 11 to July 24 at Bowen House Gallery in Wellington and some of the works can also be viewed online. A debate night ‘Hansard in an era of alternative facts’ will also be hosted at the Beehive in Wellington on 26 July.

More information on Hansard and events around the 150 years celebrations can be found here.

House unanimously apologises to men convicted for homosexual activity

On 6 June, the House unanimously agreed to a motion apologising to homosexual New Zealanders who were convicted of a homosexual offence on or after 4 August 1908 and before 8 August 1986. Justice Minister Hon Amy Adams moved the motion, and at the same time, moved that the Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Bill be given its first reading.

Although Parliament decriminalised consensual sexual conduct between men aged 16 and over in 1986, convictions for offences before that time have remained on record and could appear in criminal history checks. The Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Bill introduces the first ever expungement scheme in New Zealand. Men convicted of offences relating to sexual conduct between consenting men 16 years and over, offences that were decriminalised in 1986, will be able to apply to have these convictions expunged from their criminal record.

The Bill is modelled on a number of different schemes in Australia, England and Wales. Decisions as to expungement will be made on a case-by-case basis by the Secretary for Justice, without the need for a formal court hearing or for applicants to appear in person. The process will be entirely free for applicants.

Acknowledging that no action could ever erase the injustice suffered by homosexual men and their families caused by these convictions, Ms Adams described the House’s formal apology as, “a symbolic but an important act that we hope will help to address the harm and right this historic wrong.”

The Bill passed its first reading unanimously, and has been referred to the Justice and Electoral Committee.

The transcript of the apology and the first reading of the Bill can be found here. The Government’s press release can be found here.

Auditor-General releases report on managing assets that distribute electricity

In June 2017, the Auditor-General released a report titled Managing the assets that distribute electricity. This report follows a 2016 report based on the 2014/2015 energy sector audits.

Electricity distribution businesses own networks that distribute electricity to consumers throughout New Zealand and the Report considers how electricity distribution businesses manage, maintain and invest in their networks to ensure they provide services to consumers in the long-term that are safe and continuous. The report considers this in two ways.

Firstly, the Report analyses publicly available financial information of all electricity distribution businesses. The analysis shows that electricity businesses, as a whole, generate a commercial return, maintain low levels of debt and return dividends to their shareholders.

Secondly, the Report reviews the asset management practices of three electricity distribution businesses: Alpine Energy Limited, Unison Networks Limited and Waipa Networks Limited. The analysis reveals effective practices by the three companies, including ensuring that management has an adequate base asset knowledge; that appropriate asset management teams are in place; and that initiatives improve network resilience and ensure continuity of supply. These are applicable to all electricity distribution companies and are linked to the areas of improvement below.

The Report also identifies areas for improvement to ensure that management makes informed decisions for the long-term use of their assets, including:

  • Integrating risk management strategies and reporting the risks and their treatment to management and the board of directors, where appropriate.
  • Ensuring companies have a comprehensive knowledge of critical asset components and the condition and performance of network assets.
  • Implementing clear and defined maintenance and replacement strategies and applying consistent asset life policies.
  • Adopting plans to manage network resilience and ensuring systems are in place to manage demand now and in the future.

The Auditor-General’s Report can be found here.

United Nations Association of New Zealand Conference 2017

On 29 and 30 June, the National Conference of the United Nations Association of New Zealand (UNANZ) was held in Wellington. The Conference serves as a platform for provoking dialogue and discussion to galvanise efforts to achieve the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) both in Aotearoa New Zealand and globally. The theme of the 2017 conference was ‘sustainable Development for All? NZ and the SDGs: committed to sustainable peace and development’.

The Sustainable Development Goals are a set of 17 goals adopted by countries that seek to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. Each goal has specific targets to achieve by 2030.

The Conference sought to address New Zealand’s engagement with the UN system and the SDGs, with a particular focus on:

  • Environmental health
  • Population health
  • Education and equality
  • Eliminating poverty

The Rt Hon Helen Clark was the keynote speaker of the Conference. Ms Clark discussed the role of the UN and described the UN as a minor but critical player in achieving development goals. Ms Clark argued that while the UN provides the platform for the agenda of the SDGs, effective change depends on outcomes that are embraced in strategy, policy or budgets at the national level.

One of the key themes that emerged from Ms Clark’s speech was that long-term investment is the solution to securing peace and stability. She stressed that investing in development (eg alternative livelihoods, equality, empowerment, climate resilience, agricultural infrastructure) rather than in superficial projects (eg mediation) is crucial to attain long-lasting stability. Ms Clark noted the failure of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals in the Asia Pacific region, despite the provision of billions of dollars of aid. Ms Clark accentuated the essential role of developed countries in ensuring that this phenomenon was not repeated with the SDGs. Specifically, she argued that developed countries are well placed to share local intellectual infrastructure to secure the outcome of the SDGs in countries that lack capacity or resources. For example, developed countries can develop and enhance the capacity of developing countries to build institutions and design good projects that comply with the rule of law.

A challenge identified by multiple speakers and panels was the need for broader participation of civil society to secure the advancement of the SDGs. The shortcomings of the UN and its increasingly complex institutional role were also acknowledged. However, the overall attitude of the conference was that it continues to perform a function that cannot be achieved by international donors due to its inclusive global membership.

The Conference Report can be accessed here. More information about the UNANZ conference can be accessed here.

Chief Ombudsman releases Strategic Intentions for 2017–2021

Each year, the Chief Ombudsman releases a Strategic Intentions document that sets out the goals of the Office for the subsequent five-year period. Ombudsmen are Officers of Parliament and are responsible for holding the Government, and 4000 other public entities, to account.

On 30 June, the Chief Ombudsman released the Strategic Intentions for 2017–2021. The Strategic Intentions identify maintaining a high level of public trust in government as an overarching objective for the Office.

The Strategic Intentions set out four key focus, or ‘impact’, areas for the Office that are intended to achieve the overarching objective. Each of the impact areas consist of positive obligations put on the Ombudsman to review, inspect and report on public bodies. The impact areas are assessed against an objective and independently administered study of public perception, such as the Kiwis Count survey and the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index.

The impact areas in the Strategic Intentions are:

  • Administration and decision making within public sector agencies – to provide better services to the public. A target is set for all complaints to be resolved within 12 months by 2019/20.
  • The availability and access to official information as a means to promote greater transparency and accountability.
  • The awareness and investigation of wrongdoing by public bodies. This includes educating ‘whistle-blowers’ of their legislative protections to encourage them to speak out.
  • The treatment of people in detention, to ensure they are treated humanely and New Zealand meets its obligations as a ‘good global citizen’.

On top of these impact areas, the Strategic Intentions identify two broader ‘outputs’:

  • to improve public sector capability in areas relevant to the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction; and
  • to improve public awareness and accessibility of the Ombudsman’s services.

These outputs relate to the general functions of the Office, and all of the impact areas above.

Finally, the Strategic Intentions identify two key ways in which the Office is evolving. The first is that the Ombudsman’s scope has expanded since 2000 into areas relating to places of detention, the Ministry of Transport, Disabilities services, official information, and earthquake complaints. The second is that the Ombudsman is increasingly operating in an international environment and must meet responsibilities under international conventions, in order to maintain New Zealand’s international credibility and reputation.

The Strategic Intentions are available here.

Reserve Bank releases 2017–2020 statement of intent

On 16 June, the RBNZ released its statement of intent for the next three years (1 July 2017 – 30 June 2020). The RBNZ described a broadly positive environmental setting for the statement, including higher than average economic growth in New Zealand of 3% in 2016, but cited major challenges such as ongoing surplus capacity in the global economy and extensive geopolitical uncertainty. On the domestic front, the RBNZ noted that the performance of the housing market continues to be a key risk.

The RBNZ has nine strategic priorities for 2017–2020, which are grouped into three themes:

  • Enhancing the bank’s policy framework.
  • Continuing to strengthen the RBNZ’s internal and external engagement.
  • Improving infrastructure and reducing enterprise risk.

To that end, the Statement outlines several initiatives and strategies, covering areas such as monetary policy formulation, financial market operations, macro-financial stability, and prudential supervision. In its press release, the RBNZ drew attention to initiatives addressing the International Monetary Fund’s Financial Sector Assessment Programme review, and a commitment to the business community and cyber-security.

Alongside these initiatives and strategies, the RBNZ will also continue to keep the Minister of Finance informed about market and policy developments, especially where Cabinet decisions, legislation, or regulation may be required. The RBNZ intends to inform the Minister on matters relating to:

  • Macro-economic relationships.
  • The practical application of the Policy Targets Agreement.
  • Financial system stability risks.
  • The effectiveness of macro-prudential tools.
  • Progress with key policy developments and reviews.

Under the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act 1989, the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the RBNZ are required to enter into a five-year funding agreement as to how much of the RBNZ’s income may be used for achieving the activities described in the Statement of Intent. The current agreement provides $69.5 million for 2016–2017 and $66.3 million for 2017–2018.

The press release relating to the statement can be found here. The statement itself can be found here.

Progress of legislation

New Bills

Brokering (Weapons and Related Items) Controls Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Gerry Brownlee

This Bill would establish a regime to regulate the brokering of weapons and related items by New Zealanders and New Zealand entities. The Bill defines brokering in clause 5 as 'arranging, facilitating, or negotiating' the international movement of arms and military equipment from one foreign country to another foreign country. It does not include the import, export, or internal movement of arms and military equipment within New Zealand, which are already regulated by the Arms Act 1983, and the Customs and Excise Act 1996.

The Bill would require all New Zealanders and New Zealand entities wishing to engage in brokering to register with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade and to obtain a permit for each brokering activity. The regime would also apply to New Zealanders and New Zealand entities operating abroad. The Bill would create offences for conduct that contravenes its requirements, including engaging in brokering without being registered as a broker and having a permit, breaching the conditions of the registration or permit, failing to keep or produce records or to answer questions, and providing false or misleading information in connection with a registration or permit.

Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Amy Adams

This Bill seeks to provide an expungement scheme for convictions of historical homosexual offences. Under the Bill, a person would be eligible for an expungement of their conviction if their conduct does not constitute an offence under the current law. An expungement would need to be made by an application to the Secretary for Justice and where a convicted person is deceased. The Bill would allow for any of the following to make an application for expungement on the deceased’s behalf:

  • The executor, administrator, or trustee of, acting on behalf of, the estate of the convicted person.
  • A spouse, civil union partner, or de facto partner, of the convicted person.
  • A parent, sibling, or child, of the convicted person.
  • A person who makes a request under particular provisions in the Bill.

If an application is approved, the convicted person’s criminal record will be amended to ensure the conviction does not appear on a criminal history check for any purpose in New Zealand and the person will be entitled to declare that they have no conviction. An official record of the expunged conviction will be retained but an expunged person would be treated if the person had not been convicted. This Bill excludes any potential entitlement to compensation for the effects of conviction.

Education (Teaching Council of Aotearoa) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Member’s
Member in charge: Chris Hipkins

This Bill proposes to amend the Education Act 1989 by making changes to the make-up of the Teaching Council. The Bill would replace section 380 of the Education Act with a section that provides new requirements for the constitution of the Council. That section would increase the membership of the Teaching Council from nine to 13, and require the inclusion of a senior Early Childhood Education leader, a teacher educator, and five other qualified and registered teachers/teacher leaders. Those positions would be elected by a specific group from the relevant sector. For example, the teacher representing the early childhood sector would be elected by teachers from the early childhood education sector. Ministerial appointments would fill the six other member positions, making teachers a majority on the Teaching Council. Currently, the Council comprises nine members who are all Ministerial appointees.

Heretaunga Tamatea Claims Settlement Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Christopher Finlayson

This Bill seeks to give effect to a deed of settlement signed between the Crown and Heretaunga Tamata that records the Crown’s apology and agrees to a final settlement of all historical Treaty of Waitangi claims by Heretaunga Tamatea. The Bill facilitates a redress package contained in the deed of settlement that includes:

  • An agreed historical account, Crown acknowledgments, and an apology.
  • Cultural redress, including amending geographical names of significance to Heretaunga Tamatea.
  • Financial and commercial redress which in total amounts to $105,000,000.

Legislation Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Christopher Finlayson

This Bill seeks to update the Legislation Act 2012 and replace the Interpretation Act 1999. The Bill intends to make four primary changes to:

  • Introduce a requirement for all secondary legislation to be published on the New Zealand legislation website to improve ease of access. Currently, only Acts of Parliament drafted by the Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO), Inland Revenue Department, and the Office of the Clerk, as well as secondary legislation drafted by the PCO, are published on the New Zealand Legislation website.
  • Clarify interpretation principles in the Interpretation Act 1999 through minor technical amendment. This completes the implementation of the Law Commission’s recommendation in its 2008 report entitled Presentation of New Zealand Statute Law.
  • Require departments that develop government-initiated legislation to disclose specific information such as background material and policy information; quality assurance assessments; departures from usual legislative standards; and any other significant features of the legislation.  Update and make small technical changes to some of the provisions in the Legislation Act 2012. For example, amending the purpose of the PCO and amending the revision powers programme.

Ngāti Tamaoho Claims Settlement Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Christopher Finlayson

This Bill seeks to give effect to the deed of settlement signed on 30 April 2017 between the Crown and Ngāti Tamaoho that settles the historical Treaty of Waitangi claims of Ngāti Tamaoho. The Bill facilitates a redress package contained in the deed of settlement that includes:

  • An agreed historical account, Crown acknowledgments, and an apology.
  • Cultural redress, including amending geographical names of significance to Ngāti Tamaoho.
  • Financial and commercial redress including transferring of land of significance to Ngāti Tamaoho.

Sentencing (Domestic Violence) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Member’s
Member in charge: Hon Nanaia Mahuta

This Bill seeks to make domestic violence an aggravating factor at the time of sentencing by amending the Sentencing Act 2002. Currently, all Judges of criminal cases are required to weigh up the mitigating and aggravating features of a case before deciding on an appropriate sentence. Those factors are listed in section 9 of the Sentencing Act. This Bill would add domestic violence to that list of aggravating factors. Currently, it is not included although 'actual or threatened' violence is. The Bill would define domestic violence to align with the definition in the Domestic Violence Act 1995.

Thames-Coromandel District Council and Hauraki District Council Mangrove Management Bill
Type of Bill: Member’s
Member in charge: Scott Simpson

This Bill seeks to allow both the Thames-Coromandel District Council and Hauraki District Council to prepare a draft mangrove management plan with the purpose of controlling levels of mangrove vegetation. It is intended that the plans protect either the amenity values or ecosystems of coastal areas. The Bill provides that both Councils, if they agree, may prepare a mangrove management plan collaboratively, including by adopting a single integrated plan for both districts.

Bills awaiting first reading

Autonomous Sanctions Bill
Brokering (Weapons and Related Items) Controls Bill
Conservation (Infringement System) Bill
Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment Bill
Education (Public Good not Profit from Charter Schools) Amendment Bill
Education (Teaching Council of Aotearoa) Amendment Bill
Employment Relations (Restoring Kiwis’ Right to a Break at Work) Amendment Bill
End of Life Choice Bill
Heretaunga Tamatea Claims Settlement Bill
Legislation Amendment Bill
Local Government (Freedom of Access) Amendment Bill
Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis and Other Matters) Amendment Bill
Newborn Enrolment with General Practice Bill
Ngā Rohe Moana o Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Porou Bill
Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill (No 2)
Sentencing (Domestic Violence) Amendment Bill
Sentencing (Livestock Rustling) Amendment Bill
Statutes Amendment Bill (No 2)
Thames-Coromandel District Council and Hauraki District Council Mangrove Management Bill

Bills defeated

Local Electoral (Equitable Process for Establishing Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Bill
Member in charge: Marama Davidson
Ayes 48: New Zealand Labour 31; Green Party 14; Māori Party 2; United Future 1.
Noes 71: New Zealand National 58; New Zealand First 12; ACT New Zealand 1.

Bills before Select Committee

Submissions open


Select Committee

Closing date for Submissions (2017)

Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Bill

Justice and Electoral

18 August

Friendly Societies and Credit Unions (Regulatory Improvements) Amendment Bill

Finance and Expenditure

20 July

Marriage (Court Consent to Marriage of Minors) Amendment Bill

Justice and Electoral

21 July

Ngāti Tamaoho Claims Settlement Bill

Māori Affairs

22 August

Submissions closed


Select Committee

Report due (2017)

Arbitration Amendment Bill

Justice and Electoral

10 November

Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Bill

Primary Production

12 October

Crimes (Increased Penalty for Providing Explosive to Commit Crime) Amendment Bill

Law and Order

8 November

Domestic Violence — Victims' Protection Bill

Justice and Electoral

8 September

Education (Tertiary Education and Other Matters) Amendment Bill

Education and Science

11 November   

Employment Relations (Allowing Higher Earners to Contract Out of Personal Grievance Provisions) Amendment Bill

Transport and Industrial Relations

22 September

Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill

Justice and Electoral

11 October

Iwi and Hapū of Te Rohe o Te Wairoa Claims Settlement Bill

Māori Affairs

14 September

Land Transport (Vehicle User Safety) Amendment Bill

Transport and Industrial Relations

12 October

New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill

Māori Affairs

28 July

Subordinate Legislation Confirmation Bill (No 3)

Regulations Review

30 November

Social Security (Stopping Benefit Payments for Offenders who Repeatedly Fail to Comply with Community Sentences) Amendment Bill

Social Services

22 August

Taxation (Annual Rates for 2017-18, Employment and Investment Income, and Remedial Matters) Bill

Finance and Expenditure

24 November

Bills awaiting second reading

Bills that have recently been reported back to the House from a Select Committee are in bold and the Select Committee reports on these Bills are linked.

Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Amendment Bill as reported by the Law and Order Committee
Customs and Excise Bill
Electronic Interactions Reform Bill
Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water) Amendment Bill
Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2) as reported by the Government Administration Committee
Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill
Maritime Transport Amendment Bill
Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngā Pōtiki Claims Settlement Bill
Rates Rebate (Retirement Village Residents) Amendment Bill as reported by the Local Government and Environment Committee
Social Security Legislation Rewrite Bill
Tauranga Moana Iwi Collective Redress and Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Ranginui Claims Settlement Bill

Bills awaiting third reading

Appropriation (2017/18 Estimates) Bill
Commerce (Cartels and Other Matters) Amendment Bill
Enhancing Identity Verification and Border Processes Legislation Bill
Films, Videos, and Publications Classification (Interim Restriction Orders) Amendment Bill (formerly the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification (Interim Restriction Order Classification) Amendment Bill)
Food Safety Law Reform Bill
Insolvency Practitioners Bill
Land Transport Amendment Bill (No 2)
Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2)
Māori Purposes Bill
Maritime Crimes Amendment Bill
Natural Health and Supplementary Products Bill (formerly the Natural Health Products Bill)
Ngāti Pūkenga Claims Settlement Bill
Ngatikahu ki Whangaroa Claims Settlement Bill
Private International Law (Choice of Law in Tort) Bill
Rangitāne Tū Mai Rā (Wairarapa Tamaki nui-ā-Rua) Claims Settlement Bill
Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill

Acts assented

Appropriation (2015/16 Confirmation and Validation) Act 2017
This Act confirms and validates matters relating to Government spending in the 2015/16 financial year. The Act confirms the order in council that directs the transfer of amounts between output expense appropriations and the expenses incurred in excess of existing appropriations. The Act further validates unappropriated expenses and capital expenditure incurred.

Appropriation (2016/17 Supplementary Estimates) Act 2017
This Act grants parliamentary authorisation of the individual appropriations and changes contained in the Supplementary Estimates of Appropriations for the Government for the year ending 30 June 2017. The appropriations and capital injections are contained in Schedules 1 – 3 of the Act.

Care and Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlement Act 2017
This Act gives effect to elements of the Care and Support Worker (Pay Equity) Settlement Agreement, a settlement that was agreed to between the Crown, Crown agencies, and relevant unions in April 2017 to increase pay for care and support workers. The settlement was made on the basis that the wages of care and support workers were not as high as they should be because of the gender make-up of the industry. The settlement covers 55,000 workers in aged and disability residential care and home and community support services. The agreement establishes a matrix of pay rates, linked to qualifications, to be phased in over the 5-year term of the agreement. The Act prescribes minimum pay rates to ensure providers pass on the new wages to employees. The Act also extinguishes any existing claims and bars any new claims on behalf of care and support workers under the Equal Pay Act 1972.

Children, Young Persons, and Their Families (Oranga Tamariki) Legislation Act 2017
This Act amends the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989 and renames it the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, with an accompanying title of the Children’s and Young People’s Well-being Act 1989. This Act makes five key changes to the current regime:

  • Amending the purposes and principles of the Act to include the affirmation of mana tamaiti (tamariki) and placing children and young people at the centre of decision-making, while considering them within the context of their family, whānau, hapū, iwi, and communities.
  • Allowing young people in care to remain or return to living with a caregiver until the age of 21, with transition support available up to age 25.
  • Increasing information sharing requirements between agencies.
  • Extending the youth justice system to include most 17 year olds (excluding those charged with specified serious offences).
  • Providing for the establishment of a complaints process in consultation with the State Services Commissioner for acts and omissions carried out under the Act.

Energy Innovation (Electric Vehicles and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2017
This Act amends the Electricity Industry Act 2010, the Energy (Fuels, Levies, and References) Act 1989, the Land Transport Act 1998, and the Road User Charges Act 2012. The broad policy of this Act is to encourage energy innovation. It makes three central changes:

  • Implementing parts of the Government’s Electric Vehicles Programme by allowing electric vehicles to use special vehicle lanes where a road controlling authority uses its bylaw-making powers to do so, as well as exempting heavy electric vehicles from road user charges.
  • Changing the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s levy funding by allowing a levy on retailers of piped gas.
  • Clarifying the Electricity Industry Act by applying certain electricity industry legislation to secondary network providers on the same basis as if they were electricity distributors.

Imprest Supply (First for 2017/18) Act 2017
This Act provides the sole financial authority to incur expenses and capital expenditure and make capital injections from the start of the 2017/18 financial year until the Appropriation (2017/18 Estimates) Bill is passed. The amounts of imprest for expenses, capital expenditure, and capital injections are calculated on the basis of one-sixth (2 months’ worth) of the relevant annual appropriations and authorisations for capital injections sought in the Appropriation (2017/18 Estimates) Bill, and a general contingency provision to cover risks that may eventuate.

Land Transfer Act 2017
This Act implements recommendations from the Law Commission’s Report A New Land Transfer Act. The Report resulted from a review of the Land Transfer Act 1952 carried out by the Commission in conjunction with Land Information New Zealand. The Act aims to simplify and modernise the law to make it more accessible improve certainty of property rights. Specific reforms include:

  • Giving the court limited discretion, in the event of fraud or other illegality, to restore a landowner’s registered title in rare cases where it is warranted to avoid a manifestly unjust result.
  • Clarifying the scope of the Registrar-General of Land’s powers of correction.
  • Providing new mechanisms for noting land covenants where the benefit attaches to a person rather than other land.

Outer Space and High-altitude Activities Act 2017
This Act establishes a regulatory regime to govern space launches, including both launch vehicles and payloads (eg satellites), from New Zealand and by New Zealand nationals operating overseas. The Act also provides a legal framework for high-altitude activities that originate in New Zealand. The Act establishes a licensing scheme for any launches, payloads, overseas vehicle launch, facility, or high altitude launches. Part 3 pf the Act provides a range of enforcement measures and offences for breaches of the licensing requirements established by the Act.

Point England Development Enabling Act 2017
This Act enables housing development on 11.69 hectares of land on the Point England Recreation Reserve in Tāmaki in east Auckland. Previously, this land was Crown-owned but vested in Auckland Council as a recreation reserve under the Reserves Act 1977. Under the Act, the land is deemed to be rezoned from Reserve Land to Residential – Mixed Housing Urban, with the intention that development on the land increases housing supply. Section 6 of the Act implements this by subdividing Point England Reserve into the land intended for development, and the remaining reserve land. The same clause then revokes the reserve status of the land intended for development.

Vulnerable Children Amendment Act 2017 (Formerly part of Children, Young Persons, and Their Families (Oranga Tamariki) Legislation Bill)
This Act amends the Vulnerable Children Act 2014. Most notably, it inserts two new subsections under section 9 that require the Government to give effect to the following when formulating a vulnerable children’s plan:

  • Any outcomes aligned with the Government’s priorities in relation to children and young persons who have early risk factors for future involvement in the statutory care, protection, youth justice systems, or eligible for support under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989.
  • Specify steps that the Chief Executives of the relevant agency must take to achieve outcomes, including assessment, planning, decision making, and the provision of services in relation to those children and young persons.
Legislative instruments

Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016 Commencement Order 2017
Coroners (Salaries and Superannuation) Determination 2017
Energy (Petrol, Engine Fuel, and Gas) Levy Regulations 2017
Financial Markets Conduct (Superannuation Schemes and Workplace Savings Schemes Being Wound up—Securities Allotted under Securities Act 1978) Exemption Notice 2017
Financial Markets Conduct (Unit Trusts and Group Investment Funds Being Wound up—Securities Allotted under Securities Act 1978) Exemption Notice 2017
Fisheries (Electronic Monitoring on Vessels) Regulations 2017
Fisheries (Geospatial Position Reporting) Regulations 2017
Fisheries (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Raukawa, and Te Arawa River Iwi) Regulations 2017
Fisheries (Notification of Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupō Mātaitai Reserve and Tāngata Tiaki/Kaitiaki) Notice 2017 Fisheries (Declaration of Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupō Mātaitai Reserve) Notice 2017
Fisheries (Notification of Tāngata Kaitiaki/Tiaki for Area/Rohe Moana of Ngāti Hine) Notice 2017
Fisheries (Notification of Tāngata Kaitiaki/Tiaki for Area/Rohe Moana of Ngā Kaitiaki o Te Puaha—Te Awamaarahi Marae) Notice 2017
Fisheries (Notification of Tangata Tiaki/Kaitiaki for Area/Rohe Moana of Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio) Notice 2017
Fisheries (Notification of Tāngata Tiaki/Kaitiaki for Ōkārito Lagoon Mātaitai Reserve) Notice 2017
Fisheries (Notification of Tāngata Tiaki/Kaitiaki for Waihao Mātaitai Reserve) Notice 2017
Fisheries (Reporting) Regulations 2017
Fisheries (Trawling) Amendment Regulations 2017 
Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act Commencement Order 2017
Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Regulations 2017
Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017
Health and Safety at Work (Infringement Offences and Fees) Amendment Regulations 2017
Hurunui/Kaikōura Earthquakes Recovery (Rating Valuations Act—Kaikoura District Council) Order 2017
Kiwifruit Export Amendment Regulations 2017
Maritime Transport (Infringement Fees for Offences—Bay of Plenty Regional Navigation Safety Bylaw 2017) Regulations 2017
Maritime Transport (Infringement Fees for Offences—Lake Taupō Navigation Safety Bylaw 2017) Regulations 2017
Public Finance (Transfers Between Outputs) Order 2017 
Social Security (Budget 2017—Rates of, and Areas for, Accommodation Supplement) Order 2017
Student Allowances (Budget 2017—Accommodation Benefit) Amendment Regulations 2017 LI 2017
WorkSafe New Zealand Amendment Act 2015 Commencement Order 2017

In the week ahead

What’s coming up in the House

When the House resumes on Tuesday the 25th of July, the Government will look to make progress on the Appropriation (2017/18 Supplementary Estimates) Bill, the Commerce (Cartels and Other Matters) Amendment Bill, and a number of other bills on the Order Paper. Wednesday the 26th of July will be a Members’ Day.

In consultation




By when (2017)

Commerce Commission

Draft decision for technical updates to information disclosure requirements applicable to airport services relating to items identified as part of price setting event disclosures.

1 August to 31 August

Environmental Protection Authority

Proposed changes to manage hazardous substances on board New Zealand and foreign-flagged vessels and aircrafts that are in transit through New Zealand to another destination.

20 July

Application from Bayer New Zealand Ltd to reassess Luna Privilege and Luna Sensation.

28 July

Seeking information to develop an application for reassessment of the approvals of paraquat and paraquat-containing substances.

4 September

Electricity Authority

Proposals to amend Installation Control Points status reasons and register content codes.

21 July

Proposed amendments to the Authority’s policy statement.

22 August

Inland Revenue Department

Discussion document related to “Making tax simpler” for individuals as part of the business transformation project.

28 July

Draft Standard Practice Statement ED0197: Six-monthly GST return filing.

18 August

Draft Standard Practice Statement ED0198: Loss offset elections between group companies.

18 August

Proposed criteria for considering applications to change a balance date from a non-standard balance date to a 31 March balance date.

25 August

Financial Markets Authority

Proposed exemption in the Financial Advisers Act 2008 to facilitate personalised robo-advice.

19 July

Food Standards Australia New Zealand

To consider varying certain maximum residue limits for residues of agricultural and veterinary chemicals that may occur in food - M1014.

25 July

To develop an alternative framework for the regulation of nutritive substances and novel foods in the Code - P1024.

28 July

To vary the Code to permit the use of triacylglycerol lipase from Candida cylindracea as a processing aid in baking, dairy foods processing and fats and oils processing - A1130.

18 August

Ministry for Primary Industries

Review of minimum annual catch entitlement holding requirements for South Island eel stocks.

28 July

Feedback sought on new chapter 'Further processing and manufacturing of pet food' in the Operational code pet food processing.

2 August

Feedback sought on the national fisheries' plans for highly migratory species and deepwater fisheries.

4 August

Feedback sought on the proposed national environmental standard for aquaculture.

8 August

Ministry of Health

Draft reference set for rheumatology to support more consistent reporting in its National Patient Flow collection.

31 July

Ministry of Transport

Invitation to comment - Rule amendments to give effect to changes to the financial security regime in Marine Protection Rules Part 102: Certificates of Insurance.

2 August

New Zealand Transport Agency

Proposals to reduce legal speed limits approaching Kaukapakapa Village.

30 July

Proposals to reduce legal speed limits approaching the Puhoi Valley.

30 July

Proposal to allow electric vehicles access to specified special vehicles lanes on state highways in Auckland.

3 August

New Zealand Qualifications Authority

A review of Pacific Island Early Childhood Education unit standards.

4 August


Request for proposals to supply negative pressure wound therapy equipment and consumables.

21 July

Productivity Commission

Inquiry into a low emissions economy for New Zealand.

June 2018

Inquiry into improving state sector productivity in New Zealand.

August 2018

Reserve Bank of New Zealand

Consultation paper on the Serviceability Restrictions as a Potential Macroprudential tool in New Zealand.

18 August

Consultation paper on the implications for New Zealand of foreign margin requirements for over-the-counter derivatives.

24 August

Standards Australia New Zealand

To establish the method for calculating the mean, unbiased standard deviation, coefficient of variation and characteristic values of a set of test results. AS/NZS 2891.14.15:2017.

11 August

To update existing standards for the safety of battery systems for use with power conversion equipment. AS/NZS 5139:2017.

15 August




By when (2017)

Department of Conservation

Minister of Conservation’s intention to grant a concession to Maruia Hot Springs Property Ltd to create and maintain a campervan park at Maruia Springs.

19 July

Minister of Conservation’s intention to grant a concession to Te Ha O Tongariro Charitable Trust to carry out guided walks on Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

25 July

Notice of Minister’s intention to grant a 30-year concession to Milford Sound Tourism Limited to construct, own, repair and maintain, and operate a storage facility in Milford Sound.

11 August

Submissions sought on changes in the status of New Zealand freshwater fish to inform a revision of the assessments for this group in the New Zealand Threat Classification System.

31 August

Submissions sought on changes in the status of New Zealand marine mammals to inform a revision of the assessments in the New Zealand Threat Classification System.

31 September

Ministry of Justice

Māori Land Court customer survey.

30 June 2018

Submissions sought regarding changes in the status of New Zealand marine mammals.

30 September

New Zealand Transport Agency

Consultation on multi criteria analysis for transport business cases guidance.

30 September

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