Three parliamentary select committees have released reports and recommendations on legislation.
Committee recommends prohibition on smoking in cars bill
The Health Committee has reported on the Smoke-free Environments (Prohibiting Smoking in Motor Vehicles Carrying Children) Amendment Bill and recommends that it be passed without amendment.
The bill amends the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 to prohibit smoking in motor vehicles carrying anyone under 18 years of age, in order to protect that person from the harm associated with second-hand smoke.
The committee considered 147 submissions and heard oral evidence from 19 submitters. The Ministry of Health and the New Zealand Police provided advice to the Committee. A number of submitters were children and young people or were from submitters who incorporated the views of children and young people.
Most submitters favoured the bill, but many thought that the bill should also cover vaping, should have a shorter lead in time than the 18 months proposed and that the exemption for smoking in a stationary vehicle being used as a dwelling should be removed.
The committee was unable to recommend the suggested amendments because of the relatively narrow focus of the bill, which is specifically focused on protecting young people from second-hand smoke in cars.
The Ministry of Health advised that a bill would be introduced shortly to incorporate vaping into the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 ensure that vaping was prohibited in all legislated smoke-free areas, including cars.
The Smoke-free Environments Act already makes a distinction between what is permissible in dwellings and what is permissible everywhere else. The Committee does not wish to infringe on people’s right to smoke in their own homes.
The committee did not recommend any change to the commencement timing proposed in the bill. This was based in part on support for the work the ministry is planning, and also on advice from the Police that they would need at least 12 months, to incorporate this new offence into their system upgrades and training programme.
Justice Committee cannot agree on the Electoral Amendment Bill
The Justice Committee has reported on the Electoral Amendment Bill and is unable to reach an agreement on whether it should be passed. The bill amends the Electoral Act 1993 and the Electoral Regulations 1996.
The committee considered 131 submissions and heard oral evidence from 11 submitters. The Committee determined that 70 of the 131 submissions contained unique material and the remaining 51 were form submissions.
The committee unanimously agrees on the following amendments:
- Inserting a new section 174(1B) in clause 16 to make it clear that ballot boxes should be accompanied at all times by polling place officials. Scrutineers should be enabled to accompany ballot boxes that are being moved from a voting are to a counting area.
- During unforeseen disruptions to voting section 195A provides for the use of alternative voting processes. The committee considers that new section 195A should be aligned with new section 195 so that alternative voting processes could only be used if the disruption was likely to prevent voters voting at the polling places or poses a risk to the proper conduct of the election. To achieve this the committee recommends inserting new section 195AAA to define unforeseen and unavoidable disruptions for the purposes of new sections 195, 195A, and 195C. Paragraphs (a) and (b) should be removed from new section 195(1) and new section 195(6) should be deleted (clause 17).
- Terrorism should be specifically included in the list that would be considered as a situation that would be an unforeseen or unavoidable disruption (clause 17).
- The Commission should inform the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition about initial adjournments made under section 194(2)(a) as soon as possible (insert new section 195(4A)).
- Proposed new section 195C would require the release of preliminary results to be deferred if the close of a poll was delayed at any polling place. The committee considers that this situation requires a balancing of two competing interests: the public’s in knowing the election results and the interest of not unduly influencing people who have yet to vote. The committee considers it more practical to focus instead on whether releasing the preliminary result could unduly influence the overall electorate or national result (section 195C).
The committee also heard submissions on matters outside the scope of the bill, including prisoner voting, foreign donations, and reducing the voting age.
Committee recommends passing bill to create a unified vocational education and training system
The Education and Workforce Committee has reported on the Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill and recommends (by majority) that it be passed with amendments.
Currently, industry training organisations are recognised under the ITAA to develop arrangements for the delivery of work-based training. Sixteen polytechnics, 3 wānanga and a large number of private training establishments (providers) deliver vocational education outside of the workplace under the Education Act.
The consequence of this complex dual system is that it does not always meet the needs of learners, employers or regions. Some polytechnics are facing challenges to their sustainability, putting access to their delivery at risk, and employers find the lack of industry input into education delivered outside of workplaces frustrating.
The bill will establish a single regulatory framework for vocational education and training by bringing the provisions of the ITAA into the Education Act.
The committee considered 236 submissions and heard oral evidence from 71 submitters.
The committee proposes:
New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (Part 15A)
- amending section 222B (a) to make it clear that NZIST would provide a wider range of education and training, including vocational, foundation, and degree-level
- amending paragraph (a) to expand the reference to research by replacing “applied research” with “research, with a focus on applied and technological research”
- amending paragraph (d) to include a requirement for NZIST to promote and support life-long learning
- amending paragraph (e) to require collaboration with Māori hapū and other stakeholders (in addition to Māori and iwi partners)
- inserting paragraph (f) to include carrying out any other functions consistent with NZIST’s role as a tertiary education institution
- clarifying the meaning of academic freedom and amending section 222E to make it clear that the carrying out of WDC functions does not limit the academic freedoms as set out in paragraphs (a), (b), or (e) of subsection (2). Those academic freedoms relate to the freedom of academic staff and students to comment and engage in research, and the freedom of NZIST to appoint its own staff
Functions of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority
- adding a power for NZQA to make rules that prescribe matters about training packages. Training packages are a new concept for New Zealand’s tertiary education system (clause 57)
Vocational education and training
- amending the definition of “provider”, and changing “training contract” to “training agreement” in relation to clause 7
- expanding the definition of “training package” as the existing definition is not broad enough
- amending the definition of “work-based training” to include reference to “assessment”
Workforce development councils (WDC) New section 479 would enable the Governor-General to establish a WDC
- ensuring representation in recommendations about WDC governance arrangements by amending new subsection3 (a) to refer to employees as well
- inserting subsection (4) into proposed section 479 to provide for consultation by the Minister before recommending an order to establish a WDC
- amending new section 480 which enables the Minister to recommend the disestablishment of a WDC. First, in subsection 2 paragraph (a), the Minister should also be able to receive a request from the WDC itself, if it seeks to be disestablished. Second, amending paragraph (b) to expand the alternative reasons why the Minister could be satisfied it was necessary to disestablish a WDC
- clarifying some of the functions of WDCs under new section 482 such as expanding the ‘skills leadership’ function to be ‘skills and workforce’
- amending proposed section 490(2)(b)(ii) to clarify that, when a provider is identifying employers able to offer apprenticeship training, it must show that the employer is able to satisfy all of the work-based requirements of the approved programme of the provider
- amending new section 491(2) to expand the obligations of the provider to give written notice to the apprentice when the provider of the training programme needs to assist the apprentice to find a new employer
- amending new section 501(3) so that training levy funds could be used to meet the costs of the relevant WDC performing its functions under new section 482. As introduced, new section 501 has a slightly narrower purpose, as it refers expressly to meeting the costs associated with developing and maintaining skill standards.