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SCP HOUSE: Questions Of The Day – 30 April

Today’s questions concerned: Maori Television Service (1) - Mental Health System - Maori Television Service (2) - Kyoto Protocol (1) – Kyoto Protocol (2) Economic Management – Alliance Break-Up (1)- Paid Parental Leave – Air New Zealand - Treaty Of Waitangi - Alliance Break-Up (2) - Immigration

Questions Of The Day - Tuesday, 30 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.

KATHERINE RICH (National) to the Minister of Maori Affairs Parekura Horomia:

Q: In light of the dismissal of the chief executive of the Maori Television Service and widespread media reports of impropriety, does he accept that there were serious flaws in the Board's appointment process or does he continue to believe, as reported, that the media is just "Maori-bashing"?

A: Yes there were flaws, the Human Resources company which was subcontracted to make the appointment could have been more rigorous . I did not allude to Maori bashing what I did allude to was the expanse of the indifference between happens in Moaridom and what happens elsewhere.

John Tamihere: What is he doing to satisfy himself that the services financial affairs are intact and nothing untoward has happened in the last six weeks?

A: I am waiting for a report from Enerst and Young which the board has commissioned which will provide and understanding of matters done during the period.

Rodney Hide: Why hasn’t he or Derek Fox laid a complaint of fraud against Mr Davy?

A: I am waiting for a report from Enerst and Young into the finances of the board.

Winston Peters: Does he remember the song and dance he made about Aotearoa Television and how is he going to compare that reaction to this clear case of fraud?

A: On being informed of this misdemeanor we acted quickly. We are waiting for the investigation to take place.

Katherine Rich: When he has confirmed the board is accountable will they ask Derek Fox to step down?

A: The board to date has done an outstanding job.

Question 2.

SUE BRADFORD (Greens) to the Minister of Health Annette King:

Q: What deficiencies in the mental health system led to a seriously ill patient left in the care of the Waitemata Health crisis team not being visited for five days, culminating in his suicide?

A: (Tariana Turia answering) Waitemata Health is treating this suicide as a critical incident and is reviewing the incident and will report its findings to the Ministry of Health.

Sue Bradford: Is she concerned it could be repeated?

A: Problems in mental health are complex and solutions are about more than funding beds for people they are also about recruiting the right people and getting the right treatment at the right time.

Sue Bradford: In the light of insufficient community mental health services to support patients when released will the Minister reconsider the policy which seems to be of getting people out in the community as soon as possible?

A: It is not government policy to be putting people out of mental health care when in institutions when it is required.

Question 3.

Hon BILL ENGLISH (National) to the Minister of Finance Michael Cullen:

Q: Does the Government retain full confidence in Mr Derek Fox as chair of the Maori Television Service in light of the events surrounding the appointment and subsequent dismissal of Mr John Davy as chief executive of that service?

A: Yes

Bill English: Can the Minister confirm that Mr Fox’s job is safe because of a deal which he did with the Prime Minister that he would give up forming new Maori political party in return for the chair of Maori TV?

A: That question is total nonsense in ever respect.

Richard Prebble: Why has he confidence in Mr Fox when according to a media report he asked Treasury to check Mr Davy’s qualification and will he now ask Treasury to lay Serious Fraud Office complaint?

A: I think it would be quite inappropriate for me to instruct Treasury to do so and it is not Mr Fox but Mr Davy who has done something wrong.

Bill English: Why does the Government continue to have confidence in Mr Fox?

A: The board appointed someone after an independent HR company said that person was the best for the job.

Question 4.

DAVID BENSON-POPE (Labour) to the Convenor, Ministerial Group on Climate Change Pete Hodgson:

Q: What progress has the Government made in developing domestic policy responses to the Kyoto Protocol?

A: The Government has released its preferred policy package for the domestic implementation of the Kyoto protocol. It provides for a carefully staged transition towards our obligations and is consistent with a growing and sustainable economy. Policies vary from nation to nation, some nations have applied a climate change levy to industry for some time, no country is putting the emphasis on primary production research as we are because none has more to gain than we do. In general NZ is much more advanced than most countries.

David Carter: In what way imposing a carbon tax will achieve a growth rate sufficient to lift New Zealand back in to top half of the OECD?

A: The member might not be aware that New Zealand will be a net seller in the first commitment period of Kyoto and almost certainly beyond and that means that coupled with today’s decision to ensure that all gains form Kyoto are recycled back into the economy the on average gain for New Zealand will exceed any loss.

Jeanette Fitzsimmons: What are the fiscal implications for the next 5 years of taxpayer funded pollution reduction projects compared with a real polluters pay implement like a carbon tax?

A: New Zealand is expending about $20million on research and that will increase but it is entirely possible that when the protocol comes into force a futures market will allow some pre-sale of sink credits in order to assist funding.

B>Question 5.

Hon KEN SHIRLEY (ACT) to the Convenor, Ministerial Group on Climate Change Pete Hodgson:

Q: Is the Government determined to ratify the Kyoto Protocol by September this year even if the United States, Japan, Australia and Canada do not?

A: The Cabinet took and announced a decision to ratify in principle, a final decision will be made in July. The New Zealand economy will be benefited albeit modestly by a decision to ratify we are one of the few nations who are going to be net sellers. Our credits earned from our forest sinks are greater than our emissions. The New Zealand economy is more dependent on a stable and equitable climate that almost all other countries so the costs of complying do not bear comparison with not getting action on climate change.

Question 6.

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

Q: Has he evaluated any proposals to change the way in which the economy is managed?

A: I have evaluated two proposals, one from the National party which suggest stimulating the economy with tax cuts to the better off. The other was from the outgoing Governor of the Reserve Bank who says the economy is very buoyant and there needs to be higher interest rates. I have a hard time working out which the National party wants.

Rodney Hide: Has the Minister read and evaluated Dr Don Brash’s speech to the knowledge Wave conference and doesn’t he consider that a very thoughtful piece?

A: When I heard that speech I was surprised he did join the ACT party instead of National. Mr Brash has, I feel, committed a serious breach of protocol today by making a forecast on an interest rates on the next rise when he has been involved in the decision making process over the last five of the seven week period. It is very close to tipping the markets.

Question 7.

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

Q: In light of media reports stating that the Deputy Prime Minister's faction of the Alliance party will this week seek registration of a new political party for the purposes of contesting the next election, what action does she propose to take to ensure coalition stability in light of her statement in 1999 that "To MPs, the message is simple. You will stay with the party whose voters put you in Parliament or you will get out."?

A: None on the basis that the Government is more stable than the National party.

Bill English: When Jim Anderton registers his new party outside Parliament will he remain Deputy Prime Minister?

A: I am not dealing on the hypothetical. I have no advice that Jim Anderton has changed party.

Richard Prebble: If the Government is so stable why are Government press secretaries going around the press gallery saying that the Alliance is so unpopular that Labour will have to a call an early election?

A: The members only evidence of that is the members usual fictional account in the ACT newsletter yesterday. The proportionality of Parliament has not changed. All those elected to support the Government still do so.

Question 8.

LIZ GORDON (Alliance) to the Associate Minister of Labour Laila Harre:

Q: How is the introduction of paid parental leave contributing to the Government's commitment to e-government?

A: To ensure that as many families as possible benefit we have launched a new online eligibility calculator on the Department of Labour website and has been accessed some 9,500 times since its launch last week

Liz Gordon: How will this increase accessed to information improve the likely success of the scheme?

A: In ensuring the maximum possible uptake of paid parental leave will allow new Zealand to benefit from it included increased breastfeeding rates and increased return to work rates of mothers.

Anne Tolley: Is she concerned that in the 2001 census only about one in five low income families have access to the internet?

A: An important part of the e-government strategy is recognition of the important intermediary role of people accessing government information on behalf of other people, in this case midwives, trade unions etc. It can be accessed quickly and passed on.

Sue Bradford: what use will the online calculator be to self employed parents who are not eligible?

A: Paid parental leave is and always has been a first step towards a more comprehensive scheme and the government will entering into discussion with self-employed women as to whether and how the scheme could be applied to them.

Question 9.

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

Q: Does she agree with the opinion of the Securities Commission that her public comments on Air New Zealand between 23-25 September 2001 were inappropriate, given the status of the people involved; if so, will she apologise for them?

A: I accept the at the commission believes the comments were inappropriate from a securities market perspective and accept that I was motivated by the national interest.

Bill English: Given her comments that she supported the actions of Kathy Irwin whose actions were regarded as inappropriate but not election why doesn’t the same sanctions apply to her

A: I suggest the leader the of the opposition work out whether his own members comments are disgraceful or inappropriate before he starts down that track

Rick Barker: Why was the Prime Minister commenting on the Air New Zealand

A: At the time there was considerable spec about the airline and I had repeatedly expressed my belief the airline had a viable future.

Bill English: Why is that when ministers agreed on confidentiality around these matters she went and made media comments?

A: It did not occur to me that I was saying anything of substance different form what I had always been saying

Question 10.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS to the Minister in charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Margaret Wilson:

Q: Following my previous attempts to have the Government identify the principles it is committed to implementing in pursuit of its intentions to honour the Treaty of Waitangi, can she now state precisely how many sets of principles there are and describe precisely what they mean?

A: There is one set of principles, these were published by the fourth Labour government in 1989 wt assist the Government when making decisions relating to the Treaty.
They are:
The principle of government, the government has the right to govern and make laws
The principle of self management, Iwi have the right to organise as Iwi and under the law manage their resources as their own.
The principle of equality, all New Zealanders are equal before the law
The principal of reasonable co-operation, both the government and Iwi are obliged to accord each other reasonable cooperation on major issues of common concern
The principal of redress, the government is responsible for providing effective processes for resolution of grievances in the expectation that reconciliation can occur.

Question 11.

GERRY BROWNLEE (National) to the Prime Minister Helen Clark:

Q: Does the recent behaviour of her Deputy Prime Minister, Hon Jim Anderton, meet the criteria she set when she called for "a professional standard of performance" from her Government?

A: The Deputy Prime Minister continues to fulfill his Ministerial duties very effectively.

Gerry Brownlee: Does the explanation from Deputy Prime Minister that he didn’t sign someone else’s artwork and pass it off as his but just autographed meet with her stated objectives of putting honesty back in politics?

A: I accept that Deputy Prime Minister’s word that he had no intention to deceive.

Richard Prebble: If the Deputy Prime Minister met her standard for professional performance when he sat silent in the house for two weeks while she was asked if there were any other MPs who had signed artwork that were not their own?

A: I repeat, I accept that Deputy Prime Minister’s word that he had no intention to deceive.

Gerry Brownlee: How can the Prime Minister say she accepts the Deputy Prime Minister did not attempt to deceive anyone when he sits there claiming to be the leader of the Alliance when everyone he knows he has been expelled from it.

A: Let me adapt an old saying and say let any member who is without sin cast the first stone.

Leave granted for a personal statement from Jim Anderton:
Last year some time I was asked to autograph a cartoon of a cricket match. There was never any suggestion made by me that I had made the drawing and I never said to anyone that I had. I have previously autographed ties and bottles of wine and there has never been any suggestion that I made these, I simply saw it as the same thing.

Question 12.

ANN HARTLEY to the Minister of Immigration Lianne Dalziel:

Q: What progress has the Government made on linking work permit policy to residence?

A: Details of the work to residence programme was announced yesterday which will allow skilled migrants a more streamlined opportunity to work in New Zealand and gain easier access to residence in New Zealand. This is a direct response to Government business forum where access to the global labour market was raised as an issue.

Ann Hartley: Why do employers have to be accredited before the potential employers can access the talent visa option?

A: To protect our international reputation and to ensure that those who wish to tap into the global labour market are good employers and are committed to training.

© Scoop Media

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