New Zealand Law Society - Select committees recommend passage of three Bills

Select committees recommend passage of three Bills

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Parliamentary committees have released reports on three Bills, recommending that each be passed after amendment.

Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill

The Justice and Electoral Committee has recommended that the bill be passed with amendments.

The biill is an omnibus bill that would significantly amend the Domestic Violence Act 1995, including changing its name to the Family and Whānau Violence Act 1995. The bill would also amend the Bail Act 2000, the Care of Children Act 2004, the Crimes Act 1961, the Criminal Procedure Act 2011, the Evidence Act 2006, and the Sentencing Act 2002.

The committee says the bill has three main features:

Establishing a framework to support a cross-government response to family violence, including increasing people’s ability to access risk and needs assessments and services, providing for codes of practice, and new information-sharing provisions.

Making changes to improve the accessibility and effectiveness of civil orders (including police safety orders (PSOs) and protection orders).

Improving the criminal justice response by creating three new criminal offences and providing for more accurate recording of family violence offending in the criminal justice system.

Subordinate Legislation Confirmation Bill (No 3)

The Regulations Review Committee has recommended that the bill be passed with amendments.

The purpose of the bill is to confirm certain subordinate legislation that is revoked at a specified date unless confirmed by an Act of Parliament. If not confirmed, certain confirmable instruments and annual confirmable instruments would be revoked, or taken to be invalid for their past operation. In passing the bill, the House of Representatives would approve the instruments in the bill, allowing them to continue in force.

The committee says it has found no reason why the orders and regulations in the bill should not be confirmed. It has also recommended addition of a further three items of subordinate legislation.

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

The Transport and Industrial Relations Committee has recommended by a majority that the bill be passed with amendments.

The Member's bill sponsored by Brett Hudson would amend the Employment Relations Act 2000 to allow employers and potential employees who are negotiating individual employment agreements involving an annual gross salary of more than $150,000 to contract out of the personal grievance provisions in the Act.

The committee report says the purpose of the bill is to allow employers and high-earning employees to negotiate terms and conditions about not taking a personal grievance when exiting employment.

"It aims to create a smoother transition for high-earning employees leaving a business, and to reduce compliance costs and minimise prolonged and expensive employment disputes."

The committee has proposed a number of amendments to narrow the contracting out provisions, to clarify the mechanisms employees can use to challenge dismissals if they have contracted out, and to provide some protection against dismissal for whistleblowing.

The Labour Party and New Zealand First members of the committee opposed the bill.

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