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SCP HOUSE: Questions Of The Day – 11 December

Today's questions of the day concerned: BERL Developments Ltd. & Innovation And Systems Ltd. – Low Skilled Workers – Aquaculture Moratorium – Clean Slate Bill – End Of Skyhawks – Clean Slate Bill – Budget Spending Cap – Te Reo Maori – Auckland Police Recruitment – Lord Of The Rings – NZIER Kyoto Report – Marine Reserves

Questions Of The Day - Tuesday, 11 December 2001

The following are paraphrases of today's questions for oral answer. They are not complete or official, the official record of Parliamentary proceedings is Hansard, which is not finalised till some days after the event.

SCOOP COVERAGE BEGINS

Question 1.

RODNEY HIDE (ACT) to the Minister for Economic Development Jim Anderton:

Q: What contracts have BERL Developments Ltd and Innovation and Systems Ltd received through the Regional Partnerships Programme and what is their total value?

A: Industry NZ does not have contracts directly with these organisations under this programme. Under the programme Industry NZ funds groups which employ subcontractors. Industry NZ has no role in appointing the sub-contractors.

Q: Rodney Hide (ACT): Is he concerned that these companies, that are partly owned by Paul Frater who works for Industry NZ, have received 10s of thousands of dollars from Industry NZ?

A: Paul Frater took up his position at Industry NZ in August and has renounced his directorships within BERL and Innovation and Systems Ltd. After taking up his position he completed some work for those companies while on annual leave for no pay.

Q: Tony Ryall (National): Is it a good look that a senior official retains partial ownership of companies which are doing contract work under his supervision?

A: Industry NZ has previously contracted with these companies although not under the Regional Developments programme. All of these contracts were entered into prior to Paul Frater taking up his job. If there is any evidence of wrong-doing it should be presented.

(Rodney Hide – leave sought to table documents showing Paul Frater is a major shareholder in the two companies – granted.)

Question 2.

LUAMANUVAO WINNIE LABAN (Labour) to the Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education) Steve Maharey:

Q: What reports has he received on programmes targeted at individuals in the labour market with low or no qualifications?

A: Last year just under 20,000 NZers participated in training programmes for disadvantaged job seekers. We have invested around $186 million in those programmes. Yesterday I launched a review, from first principles, of these programmes. At present around 9600 NZers leave school with low or no qualifications. 37% are Maori. 27% are Pacific people. This programme needs to be reviewed to be sure it links in with the overhaul of the tertiary sector.

Q: Will he be putting extra money in?

A: Extra money went in last year.

Q: Muriel Newman (ACT): How is the moratorium on PTEs helping these people?

A: In order to assist the member I will say this slowly. The PTE moratorium does not apply to Training Opportunities and Youth Training programmes.

Q: Sue Bradford (Greens): What about inadequate monitoring?

A: Monitoring isn’t inadequate in TOPs it is good. The problems are more in the EFTs area.

Question 3.

Hon GEORGINA TE HEUHEU (National) to the Minister of Fisheries Pete Hodgson:

Q: What reports has he received on the impact that the Resource Management (Aquaculture Moratorium) Amendment Bill will have on Maori economic development?

A: The moratorium has been widely welcomed by the sector. The moratorium could have been avoided had the National Party finished its work and not lost its nerve.

Q: Is he concerned that the moratorium is going to catch lots of applications already underway?

A: One cannot put controls on a moratorium otherwise it won’t work. It is true that there are some exciting developments involving Maori planned. However it is important for the member to consider whether these applications would have succeeded. We did have a public policy failure in this area and vast amounts of money being spent on legal bills.

Q: What benefits for Maori aquaculture can be expected from the reforms?

A: At present Maori projects, like all projects, have to go through a two hooped process that doesn’t work. Maori need certainty as much as anyone does. As far as Northland is concerned it is important to consider what would happen without adequate planning.

Q: What role will Tangata Whenua have in the new process?

A: Maori will sit on both sides of the table. If aquaculture has an undue impact on customary fishing rights then it will not proceed. On the other side Maori will no doubt contribute to the industry as they do to the fishing industry.

Question 4.

NANDOR TANCZOS (Green) to the Minister of Justice Phil Goff:

Q: Why does the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Bill not apply to custodial sentences, when he has previously indicated that clean slate legislation could apply to custodial sentences of less than three months?

A: Any line drawn to differentiate what should be clean-slated will be arbitrary. This is a nice clear place to draw that line.

Q: Is the minister aware that from 1989 to 1998 the following numbers of people were given custodial sentences (list of minor offences ), and does he think they should be excluded?

A: I am aware that the majority of offences in these areas were non-custodial. And that many of these people mentioned will be habitual offenders, offenders that we do not wish to catch within this bill.

Q: Why shouldn’t prospective employers know the criminal record of a person?

A: Research on that matter is relevant. Most research shows that after 10 years of non-reoffending the prospect of reoffending is negligible. The second is that research shows there is discrimination against people on the basis of minor offences committed more than 10 years ago.

Q: Richard Prebble (ACT) How appropriate is it to introduce this bill in a week in which there have been several horrendous murders?

A: Clearly those offences would not be covered. I note that the member appears to have changed his views on this since 1983.

Question 5.

Hon BILL ENGLISH (National) to the Minister of Defence Mark Burton:

Q: With disbanding of the Skyhawk and Aermacchi air combat squadrons this week, what arrangements have been concluded to provide combat air training support for the New Zealand Army and the New Zealand Navy, following his assurance in May 2001 that the Government was "already progressing towards appropriate purchase arrangements"?

A: The RNZN will contract training as it has done in the past. With regards to the army, discussions are well underway towards providing forward air control training for forces.

Q: Can he confirm that the Government was not progressing towards training arrangements when he said they were?

A: I can confirm that the statement I made was appropriate. Disbanding the Air Combat force is forecast to save $874 million over ten years. That money will be retained in defence.

Q: Has consideration been given to seconding pilots to other air forces and contracting those airforces to provide air cover support?

A: No because more appropriate arrangements are being considered. Arrangements for an operation are made for that operation. It is not possible to say what they will be until a coalition of forces is assembled for a particular task.

Q: When have NZ troops last been subject to air attack?

A: I don’t know.

Q: When will the army start training with an airforce again?

A: I have already answered that.

(Max Bradford – leave to table a document showing no provision for air support training – granted.

Mark Burton – leave to table a document quoting Max Bradford – granted.)

Question 6.

JANET MACKEY (Labour) to the Minister of Justice Phil Goff:

Q: What are the proposed effects of the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Bill he has introduced to Parliament?

A: The intention is to remove the potential trauma and embarrassment from people who have moved on in their lives.

Q: What precedents are there for this?

A: This was first proposed 20 years ago in a report. In 1983 Richard Prebble bought in a members bill on this. In 1988 Geoffrey Palmer produced a bill on this, and more recently Tony Ryall prepared a paper on this which was not approved by his cabinet.

Q: Wayne Mapp (National): Why is the bill proposing to allow burglars with multiple convictions but no jail sentence to get a clean slate even though burglary has only a 15% clearance rate.

A: The line that is drawn is whether there has been a custodial sentence. From my reading that is what the member asked for in his speech on Nandor Tanczos’s bill.

Q: What about other countries?

A: There has been long standing legislation in Canada and the UK since the 1970s. Several Australian States and US States also have such legislation. NZ has lagged behind on this.

Q: Nandor Tanczos (Green): Why was my bill not simply amended at the Select Committee?

A: Because, as I have advised the member privately, the member’s bill was so flawed it was advised by the MOJ that we should start again.

Question 7.

Hon DAVID CARTER (National) to the Minister of Finance Michael Cullen:

Q: Can he guarantee that he will remain within his $815 million new spending cap in next year's Budget; if not, why not?

A: As the BPS will confirm the spending cap has not been changed.

Q: Given that in December 2000 he lifted the cap without telling his colleagues, how can his colleagues be sure he won’t do it again?

A: My colleagues are well aware that the upcoming budget process will be a difficult one.

Q: Is Annette King’s statement on health full of fiction then?

A: No, it is fully supported by me.

Q: Will he today give an assurance to the markets that the total extra spending by this government will not exceed $7.6 billion stated in the last budget?

A: Everyone will have to wait for the BPS for those figures. And when those numbers come out it will be clear that this government has managed the global downturn far better than most other nations.

Question 8.

MITA RIRINUI (Labour) to the Minister of Maori Affairs Parekura Horomia:

Q: He aha nga take i piki ake ai te tokomaha o te hunga rangatahi e korero Maori ana?

Translation:

Q: What are the factors that have led to the increasing numbers of young people speaking Maori?

A: The increasing number can be ascribed to the greater use of Maori by Maori parents with their children, and by the impact of Kohanga Reo and Kura Kaupapa Maori schools. Maori parents who can speak Maori tend to use it with their children if they can. In addition there are lots of volunteers who support Kohanga and Kura.

Q: What is the uptake of Maori broadcasting?

A: Surveys show that over 50% of Maori listen to Maori radio. They are satisfied with the amount of Maori language on radio. Maori are not satisfied however with the amount of Maori TV.

Q: Winston Peters (NZ First): What survey is he talking about?

A: I am more than happy to make the survey available.

Question 9.

Hon TONY RYALL (National) to the Minister of Police George Hawkins:

Q: Following his statement to the House that the Police recruitment campaign has received "hundreds of calls ... from the Auckland area", how many new cops will actually be from the Auckland area?

A: The government approved $1 million for a recruitment programme. Police advise wing 200 commenced on 12 November. This wing had 29 recruits from Auckland.

Q: Considering there are 20 vacancies in Auckland CIB and 40 in Auckland uniform branch, what will he do about it?

A: I can advise the member that the Auckland police district has a target of 620 officers as at 30th November and at that date it had 624.

Q: How many new officers are expected to be posted to districts in the greater Auckland region?

A: In the last two months of this year approximately 59 new officers will have been posted in the Auckland region.

Q: What is his response to criticisms in the latest Police newsletter of the situation in Auckland?

A: This government has recently come to a wage settlement with the Police Association. We have also provided more money the CIB in Auckland.

Q: Does he really believe that abolishing 58 vacant jobs is an appropriate way to solve the Auckland staffing problem?

A: He is trying to use future staffing figures. I don’t think that member knows whether he is Arthur or Martha we do.

Question 10.

DAMIEN O'CONNOR (Labour) to the Minister of Tourism Mark Gosche:

Q: What are the anticipated benefits to the New Zealand tourism industry of the upcoming release of The Lord of the Rings movies?

A: Members may be aware that the premiere today in London has been accompanied by rave reviews and lots of press coverage. The NZ Government has been working hard to use the film to promote NZ as much as possible.

Q: As the access agreement to National Parks was approved by National, and Sandra Lee’s latest proposals would prohibit Hobbits from our parks, what is he doing to stop eco-fundamentalism?

A: It is the case that this government has provided leverage to achieve maximum benefits from this movie. The rest of the member’s question is based on an erroneous assumption.

Question 11.

Hon KEN SHIRLEY (ACT) to the Minister of Energy Pete Hodgson:

Q: What response does he have to the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research report on The Economic Effects of Greenhouse Gas Emission Policies which concludes that unless the protocol becomes a global regime it will adversely affect New Zealanders' livelihoods and living standards?

A: I said this report should be taken with a large pinch of salt. Infometrics has recently been critical of the report saying it is not at all clear that the report presents a realistic scenario.

Q: Will ratification lead to the closure of cement and steel works in NZ?

A: By the member’s own logic industry should already be leaving Europe and Japan – where energy prices are high - for NZ. It isn’t. We are keeping an eye on whether it is.

Q: What else has the NZIER done?

A: It has also done a report for the forestry industry saying that they will be badly affected by Kyoto. This is in marked contrast to their latest report, for energy users, which says forestry will benefit. I leave it to the public to conclude whether the tune played reflects who pays the piper.

Question 12.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH (National) to the Minister of Conservation Sandra Lee:

Q: How many new marine reserves have been created since she became Minister of Conservation, and how does this compare with the 13 new reserves created by the previous Government?

A: While no new reserves have been established I can inform the house that decisions on 12 new reserves are expected in the next 12 to 18 months.

Q: Does she agree with Forest and Bird that her government has a poor track record with reserves?

A: I can advise that member that it is my aspiration as Minister to increase the level of protection. But that member should not be too precious, as 10 of the reserves established under National were established on the basis of work agreed to by the previous Labour Government. The government’s Biodiversity Strategy has provided $11.5 million over five years towards protecting 10% of the marine environment by 2010.

Q: How many reserves are waiting approval from the Ministry of Fisheries?

A: There are many reserves waiting approval from the Minister of Fisheries which have been approved by the Ministry of Conservation. To the best of my knowledge there are two examples I can name. But there are others too. To the best of my knowledge the previous minister of Conservation had not in fact signed off nine marine reserves, rather he had signed off just two. One of the problems with this legislation is that consultations often have to be revisited due to the slowness of the process.

SCOOP COVERAGE ENDS

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