Great government roundup


Key developments in public law, regulation and government for the week ending 21 October 2016.

Public law

The Court of Appeal has ruled that the 'Planet Key' song and video that was released prior to the 2014 general election is not an "election programme' for the purposes of the Broadcasting Act 1989. The decision overturns the view of the Electoral Commission, which originally treated the song and video as election programmes.

In related news, Justice and Broadcasting Minister, Amy Adams, has announced proposed amendments to the rules relating to election broadcasts. In particular, it is proposed that the requirement for political parties’ opening and closing election broadcasts to be aired on television and radio will be removed.

Crown Law has tabled its annual report in Parliament. The report sets out a new strategy of focusing on 'core' Crown work and establishing a larger Auckland presence.

The Chief Ombudsman, Peter Boshier, has announced that he is initiated an investigation into the use of seclusion rooms by schools, following reports that such rooms have been used to restrain and punish children with autism.

The Treasury has tabled its annual report in Parliament. In other Treasury news, Cathy Quinn and Mark Verbiest have been appointed to Treasury's board.

The Environment Canterbury (Democracy Restoration) Amendment Bill has been drawn from the Members' Bills ballot. The bill would require the commissioner of Environment Canterbury to immediately call a special general election.

Regulation

The Commerce Commission has received an application from the Nelson City Council and the Tasman City Council for authorisation to form a joint business unit to operate the two landfills in the region.

The Commerce Commission has successfully prosecuted Bestdeals 4 You Limited, the ninth mobile trader pursued by the Commission.

The Commerce Commission is consulting on its draft report on Fonterra’s 2016/17 Milk Price Manual, which it has determined is “largely consistent” with the statutory requirements. Submissions are due Tuesday 15 November 2016.

The Commerce Commission has published submissions on its draft decision on cost allocation input methodologies for electricity distribution businesses and gas pipeline businesses. Cross-submissions are due Tuesday 25 October 2016.

The Electricity Authority is re-consulting on aspects of its proposed amendments to the Electricity Industry Participation Code 2010 to introduce a default distributor agreement. Submissions are due Tuesday 25 October 2016.

The Electricity Authority has signaled that it will undertake supplementary consultation on transmission pricing during December.

Government

Education Minister, Hekia Parata, has announced that she will be leaving politics at the next election.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has released a report on New Zealand's agricultural emissions.

New Zealand is entering the space age with the Outer Space and High Altitude Activities Bill passing its first reading in Parliament.

The Prime Minister of Fiji, Josaia Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama, is currently visiting New Zealand. This is Mr Bainimarama's first official visit to New Zealand.


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