Select committee meets to discuss bills Wednesday January 23, 2019

Parliamentarians and select committee members, from right, Selina Napa, Tereapii Maki-Kavana and Tai Tura during the orientation programme yesterday.

The members of the special select committee for bills met yesterday at the Parliament Chamber for an orientation programme that ends today.

Only five of seven members who are part of the committee were present.

Committee chairperson Tingika Elikana was unable to attend the orientation due to illness and Toka Hagai, the other member, is no longer part of the committee after he lost the Rakahanga seat to a petition appeal.

A replacement for Hagai will be made when the Parliament sits, most likely early next month.

Matavera MP Vaitoti Tupa chaired the orientation programme, which was attended by Tai Tura, Tereapii Maki-Kavana, Selina Napa and Terepai Maoate.

The feature event of the programme was a presentation on the Seabed Minerals Bill 2019 from Seabed Minerals commissioner Paul Lynch.

Lynch explained to the members the important elements of the bill.

“Don’t jump too far ahead but imagine Saudi Arabia before oil was discovered there. That’s almost like our situation (with the seabed minerals). Saudi Arabia from their own resources have become one of the world’s richest countries,” Lynch told the committee members.

“We have the opportunity now with the blessing that is in our waters. As a lawyer, I cannot even understand why there is abundance (of this resources) only in our waters, and nowhere else in the world.

“We take that as a blessing from our Lord and we have the responsibility to be good stewards to use and also protect our environment and these resources.”

Clerk of Parliament Tangata Vainerere said the orientation programme was held to inform the members the essentials of the bills and to prepare them for future select committee sittings.

Today, the committee will discuss the Crimes Bill 2018.