Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


SCP HOUSE: Questions Of The Day –16 April

Today’s questions concerned: GE Moratorium & Free Trade Agreements – Alliance Break-Up (1) – PM’s Trip To US - Alliance Break-Up (2) – Changes On Tax Rates - Sentencing And Parole Reform Bill – Access To IT - Alliance Break-Up (3) – Sovereign Yacht Development –Art Controversry (1) - Gaps In Provision Of Early Childhood Education - Art Controversry (2)

Questions Of The Day - Tuesday, 16 April 2002

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.


Question 1.

JEANETTE FITZSIMONS (Greens) to the Prime Minister Helen Clark:

Q: Has President George W Bush or any United States Government official suggested to her or to any of her officials that New Zealand's moratorium on the release of genetically engineered organisms or its rules on labelling of genetically engineered food are a barrier to a free trade agreement; if so, what was her response?

A: Neither the President nor his officials expressed concern over our two year constraint period on the release of GMOs or our rules on labelling GM food were a barrier to a free trade agreement. However I am advised that the US government has raised an objection to our moratorium.

Nick Smith: Will she give an assurance that labour if in coalition with the Greens will not agree to extend the moratorium on GMO releases beyond October 2003 and if not is labour’s commitment to innovation in New Zealand about as genuine as one of her paintings.

A: Much more genuine than the Leader of the Opposition.

Jeanette Fitzsimons: Are US policies on conditions for a free trade agreement the reason for her insistence on lifting the moratorium next year regardless of what current research programmes say about safety or economic benefit.

A: The US administration on the constraint period played no part.

Question 2.

Hon BILL ENGLISH (National) to the Prime Minister Helen Clark:

Q: Will she be asking for the Deputy Prime Minister's resignation, given her statement before the 1999 election "To MPs, the message is simple. You will stay with the party whose voters put you in Parliament - or you will get out."; if not, why not?

A: No, because he hasn’t left it.

Q. Bill English: Why does she fully support Jim Anderton as Deputy Prime Minister when just four months after passing anti-party hopping legislation he has announced his intention to leave the party whose voters put him in Parliament?

The Deputy Prime Minister has advised he will sit as an Alliance MP until the election. The National has been harping on about the Alliance difficulties and succeeded only in increasing support for the Labour Party to record levels.

Jim Anderton: Has the Prime Minister seen reports that Alliance MPs will stay with the party whose voters put them in Parliament?

A: That is exactly my understanding.

Richard Prebble: Does she recall giving a speech to the Labour Party congress in May 1999 when she said everyone standing for parliament in 1999 should be warned - if you defect you will be required to resign - and further saying “I want honesty back in politics, I want politicians to say what the y mean and mean what the say” and surely the only description that means this claim would be for Jim Anderton to resign.

A: I repeat my first answer

Rod Donald: Is it her understating MPs are not subject to the provision of the Electoral Integrity Act if expelled from their party.

A: I have not brushed up on that aspect of the Act, but my understanding is that expulsion from outside would not invoke the Act

Bill English: Is the PM aware of statements made by her personally appointed Deputy that he intends to set up a rival to the Alliance outside parliament and why does this not contravene the electoral integrity act.

A: It is clear the member has no understanding of the Act at all.

Question 3.

GRAHAM KELLY (Labour) to the Prime Minister Helen Clark:

Q: What was the significance of her recent trip to the United States?

A: The significance was that it enabled me, as Prime Minister, to represent NZ interest at the highest level of the US government.

Supplementary: Does the Prime Minister consider she has made any headway on the issue of trade with the United States

Yes I do, I was able to respond directly to matters raised by the US trade representative and lay the ground work for Jim Sutton’s meeting with him next month.

Lockwood Smith: Did she give any advice about any possible moves by the US into Iraq and New Zealand’s possible involvement?

A: The New Zealand govt made it clear that it sees Iraq has a different issue involved with September 11 and there is not evidence they was connected in any way with that.

Question 4.

Hon BILL ENGLISH (National) to the Prime Minister Helen Clark:

Q: In what ways, if any, have the recent actions of Hon Jim Anderton, Hon Matt Robson, Hon Laila Harré and Hon Sandra Lee contributed to the Labour-Alliance Coalition Agreement objective "to restore public confidence in the political integrity of Parliament and the electoral process"?

A: Immeasurably because they are observing the provision of the Electoral Integrity Act.

Richard Prebble: Does the Prime Minister recall her speech to the Labour Party congress May 1999 “I want to rebuild faith in our political systems there is another very important step we will take in that regard, we will banish defectors from parliament’ How does having the Hon Jim Anderton, Hon Matt Robson, Hon Laila Harré and Hon Sandra Lee in her cabinet contribute to her rebuilding faith in our political system.

A: The Alliance ministers he is talking about have not defected.

Bill English: Does the PM regard Jim Anderton’s current position that he will stay in Parliament as leader of Alliance while forming a rival party outside of parliament, does she regard this as a position of integrity?

A: I do regard the Deputy Prime Minister as a person of integrity much more than the last government which deliberately spelt the coalition partner and then kept the waka jumpers to prop it up.

Question 5.

MARK PECK (Labour) to the Minister of Finance Michael Cullen:

Q: What proposals has he received for changes on tax rates?

A: I have received a report that the National would reduce the corporate rate to its current poll rating of 28 per cent, in four stages over four years. It would also cut the top personal tax rate by seven cents.

Mark Peck: What would be the impact of reducing the top income rate?

A: More money for the 7percent on more than $60,000, but even by 2006 not a single extra dollar for the majority of taxpayers who earn less than $38,000 a year.

John Wright: Will the minister tell the house were the money would come form?

A: It has been proposed to finance those by demolishing the superannuation fund, this is the same party that accused us of borrowing for the fund, so he is planning to fund tax cuts with borrowing.

RP: Would he advise the house he received a communication from me of a survey of 30,000 small business which found a 28 cent top tax rate would give us an immediate advantage over Australia

A: In 1987 I received a communication from that member saying Labour would not sell State Assets and ever since then have ignored every communication from that member.

Question 6.

STEPHEN FRANKS (ACT) to the Minister of Justice Phil Goff:

Q: Has he received a communication from the Sensible Sentencing Trust urging the Government to amend the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill to reflect the wishes of the 92 percent of voters who supported the referendum calling for tougher sentencing for violent offenders; if so, will he accede to the request and amend the bill?

A: The bill makes changes to the law which will result in the worst offenders getting tougher sentences. A new minimum sentence before parole for the worst 17 years, abolishing the practice of automatic release after two thirds and it establishes a sentencing principal that judges must impose the maximum sentence for the worst offenders.

Question 7.

STEVE CHADWICK (Labour) to the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector Steve Maharey:

Q: What reports has he received on access to information and communications technology?

A: Reports I have received suggest there is a major digital divide with the lowest income families less than half as likely to have access to the internet in any location including a library. Therefore this Government has committed itself to a information-communications strategy which will ensure we overcome all of those digital problems

Q: What initiatives are already in place?

A: We are contributing $10m to pilot schemes to give young New Zealanders a chance to develop their skills, govt projects to bring broad based access to isolated rural areas and partnerships with schools and community providers to build IT skills

Question 8.

Hon BILL ENGLISH (National) to the Prime Minister Helen Clark:

Q: How does she reconcile her reported statement that she now heads a three-way coalition with Hon Jim Anderton's statement to the House on her behalf that "all the Alliance caucus intend to remain as Alliance MPs until the election"?

A: Easily

Bill English: What did she mean when she said Labour would also directly consult with the three MPs intending to stay with the Alliance?

A: The coalition agreement is between the Alliance and Labour, all ministers have advised they intend to stay with the Alliance. All Alliance ministers are united in wanting to stay in this popular government

Bill English:: Who will she regard as leader when Laila Harre is elected leader of the Alliance party while Jim Anderton remains leader of the Parliamentary party?

A: While there might be some confusion over whether Michelle Boag leads the national party I have no confusion over who leads mine.

Question 9.

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

Q: Has he any concerns over the Sovereign Yacht development at Hobsonville, supported by his ministry, given that only 40 staff are employed on site; if not, why not?

A: The member was told last month that in additional to 40 staff there are ten contractors on site and a further seven off site, in a few weeks there will be a further 30 jobs added on site and more off site. The reason work hasn’t started is because the order has been increased to a larger yacht.

Rodney Hide: Does he agree with the Prime Minister that she was delighted that Mr Bill Lloyd had returned to do business in New Zealand when at that time he was a debarred director for insider trading, had six law suits against him and still had not paid for the design of the boat he bought down to New Zealand?

A: The Sovereign Yachts is a private company if Mr Hide thinks it should be investigated then he should give that information to the Commerce Commission or to me but what he should not do is, by way of innuendo, discredit good private enterprise.

Question 10.

Hon BILL ENGLISH (National) to the Prime Minister Helen Clark:

Q: Has she considered the appropriateness of the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage continuing to hold that warrant in light of that Minister's admission today that on approximately six occasions she has provided artworks for sale, which have been signed by that Minister but which have been produced by some other person; if so, what conclusions has she reached?

A: Yes, and determined there will be no change.

Bill English Does the PM believe the individuals who purchased them have every right to feel deceived?

A: Anyone who feels they want there money back should write at once, I have offered a full apology.

Bill English: Is the PM aware that a man by the way who also deceived the public with forged art had as part of his punishment to paint a mural on the Foxton toilets and will she promise to do the same?

A: I’m tempted to offer a big sign saying Labour with two ticks.

WP: No I but I have every reason for what I say.

This is a matter of fraud, and she has accused every member of this parliament of potential criminals but yet is not prepared to

Rodney Hide: When the PM said on radio that I was the source of the story of her forging the painting, did she have any evidence or was she making it up

A: I said I would be surprised if the usual suspects weren’t involved.

David Carter denied leave to make a personal explanation saying that he has not put his signature on painting, sparking an extended period of points of order over whether or not the Prime Minister has impugned every member of parliament or not.

Question 11.

HELEN DUNCAN (Labour) to the Minister of Education Trevor Mallard:

Q: What action has the Government taken to identify gaps in the provision of early childhood education services?

A: From next month the Ministry of Education will begin working with, families, communities in areas where participation is low and to id gaps in provisions and find solutions to increase access. This is the first time the government is taking a lead in planning services. In the past Government’s have had a hands off approach which has left some areas without adequate provision.

Nick Smith: How does the Minister justify paying one group of early childhood workers parity with primary teachers but exclude other teachers with identical qualifications doing identical work?

A: The Government is not responsible for those people it doesn’t employ.

Question 12.

Hon BILL ENGLISH (National) to the Prime Minister Helen Clark:

Q: What evidence does she have to support her reported statements yesterday that to her "certain knowledge" other politicians have signed paintings which they have not painted and then donated those paintings to charity auctions, and is she prepared to name those politicians?

A: I have been advised that this is so. I have declined to name.

Bill English: Why does she believe that anyone will see this as anything other than a smear campaign to get out of her own dirty little puddle?

A: That member knows all about smear tactics.

Rodney Hide: What evidence did she have when she said this morning that I was behind the story or was it just another case of her making it up?

A: I suspected the usual suspects. I completely take Rodney’s word.

Winston Peters: When the Prime Minister says she has been advised does that mean she has seen the forgeries? If not why did she not ensure she had evidence on this matter before implicating every other member in this house as a possible forger?

A: The matter I was advised on did not concern an existing member of this Parliament.

Bill English: Why does she think that accusing every other MP of art forgery will make her own less deceitful than it was?

A: I am making no such allegation but I do front up to my mistakes, I made a mistake and I let the matter rest there.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Veronika Meduna on The Dig: Kaitiakitanga - Seeing Nature As Your Elder

The intricate interconnections between climate change and biodiversity loss, and how this disruption impacts Māori in particular. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On China And Hong Kong (And Boris)

In the circumstances, yesterday’s move by Lam to scrap – rather than merely suspend – the hated extradition law that first triggered the protests three months ago, seems like the least she can do. It may also be too little, too late. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Ensuring Boris Gets Blamed For Brexit

Everyone needs to step back and let Johnson have his ‘no deal’ Brexit, since that’s the only way of making sure that the current Tory leadership gets to wear the consequent turmoil. More>>


Dave Hansford on The Dig: Whose Biodiversity Is It Anyway?

The DOC-led draft Biodiversity Strategy seeks a “shared vision.” But there are more values and views around wildlife than there are species. How can we hope to agree on the shape of Aotearoa’s future biota? More>>


There Is A Field: Reimagining Biodiversity In Aotearoa

We are in a moment of existential peril, with interconnected climate and biodiversity crises converging on a global scale to drive most life on Earth to the brink of extinction… These massive challenges can, however, be reframed as a once in a lifetime opportunity to fundamentally change how humanity relates to nature and to each other. Read on The Dig>>