Six bills have been introduced to Parliament.
The Education Amendment Bill was introduced on 8 February by Education Minister Chris Hipkins.
The bill amends the Education Act 1989 and the related Education (Update) Amendment Act 2017. It removes the ability of the Minister and sponsors to contract to establish partnership schools kura hourua (also known as charter schools). The bill provides transitional arrangements to allow time for negotiations about the future of those schools that are already operating.
The bill also amends the Education Act so that national standards for student achievement cannot be reinstated in future. The Act has permitted setting of these through a Gazette notice. The relevant Gazette notices have been revoked.
The bill provides guaranteed staff and student representation on the councils of all tertiary education institutions. It also increases the maximum number of council members at institutes of technology and polytechnics from 8 to 10.
The State Sector and Crown Entities Reform Bill was introduced on 12 February by State Services Minister Chris Hipkins.
The bill amends section 117 of the Crown Entities Act to require the board of a statutory entity to obtain the written consent of the State Services Commissioner before finalising the terms and conditions of employment of a chief executive, or subsequent amendments to them.
It also also amends section 117 to introduce a fixed term of appointment of not more than five years, renewable, for the chief executive of a statutory entity.
The bill makes explicit provision to enable the Commissioner to apply a code of conduct to an agency’s board and board members. It also amends the State Sector Act 1988 to put in place a single investigation package aligned with the regime in the Inquiries Act 2013.
The bill has a commencement date of 31 October 2018. The State Services Commission has released a departmental disclosure statement on the bill.
The Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Renewal of Licences) Amendment Bill (No 2) was introduced on 14 February by Labour MP Louisa Wall.
The member's bill provides that where a local alcohol policy is in place under the provisions of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 any renewal of a licence under the Act must not be inconsistent with the provisions of that local alcohol policy.
The bill replaces a previous bill (the Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Renewal of Licences) Amendment Bill also introduced by Ms Wall) that contained a drafting error, referring to section 71 instead of section 77, in the replaced section 133 of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act.
The Commerce (Criminalisation of Cartels) Amendment Bill was introduced on 15 February by Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi.
The bill amends the Commerce Act 1986 to introduce a criminal offence for cartel conduct.
The policy to be given effect in the bill was informed by a review initiated in January 2010, which looked at whether to introduce a criminal cartel offence. The review arose from a concern that the existing civil regime might not provide optimal disincentives for cartel conduct. It also reflected a concern that New Zealand’s competition regime might be out of step with overseas jurisdictions that were increasingly imposing criminal sanctions for cartel conduct and this could reduce the Commerce Commission’s ability to co-operate with those jurisdictions in investigating international cartels.
The bill has a commencement date of the second anniversary of the date of Royal Assent. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has released a departmental disclosure statement, and a regulatory impact assessment.
The Families Commission Act Repeal Bill was introduced on 15 February by Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni.
The bill repeals the Families Commission Act 2003 and disestablishes the Families Commission. The stated reason is to achieve greater effectiveness and efficiencies in the provision of social science research and advocacy for the interests of families generally.
The Commission, operating as Superu, is an autonomous Crown entity within the meaning of the State Sector Act 1988. Some of the Commission’s functions have already been transferred, through non-legislative measures, to the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Social Development, and the Social Investment Agency. On the commencement of this legislation, the Commission’s residual responsibilities, liabilities, and assets will be transferred to the Ministry of Social Development.
The bill has a commencement date of the later of 30 June 2018 or the day after the date of Royal Assent. The Ministry of Social Development has released a departmental disclosure statement.
The Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Amendment Bill was introduced on 15 February by Health Minister David Clark.
The objective of the bill is to amend the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 to clarify its interpretation and improve its operation. The bill implements recommendations arising from both the 2009 and 2012 reviews of the principal Act by the Director-General of Health.