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PM's Presser: A Cup, Mental Health, Hide & Babies

Prime Minister's Press Conference 14 June 2004


By Kevin List

In this edition:
1. Taxpayer Funding Of The Latest Americas Cup Challenge
2. Historical claims of patient abuse in NZ mental health institutions
3. Sunday Star-Times Story About ACT MP Stephen Franks and His Unemployed Farm Manager
4. The New ACT Leader
5. Amendments to Citizenship and Passport Legislation

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Taxpayer Funding Of The Latest Americas Cup Challenge


Emirates Team New Zealand Launch

PM's answers relate to questions regarding a proposed package of funding to the New Zealand challenge for the Americas Cup. The latest challenge is now backed by a Gulf State airline, with a veritable United Nation's crew, one of the practise yachts is built in Germany, and the races will be fought out in Europe.

"I don't have the press statement in front of me but from recollection in the vicinity of $33 million dollars. We are obviously now looking at the enormous opportunities for trade, tourism and brand benefit for New Zealand. For example having Emirates involved is a window for New Zealand in the Middle East. We already have very encouraging developments with the Gulf States, education services for example, and also in a successful information communications technology business mission led by Paul Swain through the Middle East in the last couple of weeks. We had the Embassy opening in Cairo so we can extend our accreditation. We are seeing it as a vehicle for promoting New Zealand in the Gulf as well as in Europe…

"Having said that a lot of the money that will be spent will actually be spent in New Zealand. I understand that salaries are paid here, taxes are paid here, work on boats is done here and most of the training is done here. "

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Historical claims of patient abuse in NZ mental health institutions

PM's answers relating to the possibility of Government liability stemming from claims of abuse from former inmates of New Zealand institutions.

See also… Remarks at previous presser

"We haven't discussed that today. Margaret Wilson has had officials looking at it in recent weeks. I've just checked today to see whether there's any direct comparison with the course we followed on Lake Alice, where you will recall the Government negotiated settlements with a range of people. It's actually a lot more complex than Lake Alice because Lake Alice involved in essence one medical practitioner and one institution. These [the latest] complaints are arising over at least six institutions and obviously over a number of people involved in the health workforce.

"Until we have more information it really isn't possible to say whether there should be an inquiry or whether it should be dealt with in the way the Lake Alice complaints were dealt with, which was in essence through mediation."

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Sunday Star-Times Story About ACT MP Stephen Franks and His Unemployed Farm Manager

PM's answer relates to allegations from ACT MP Stephen Franks that the weekend story regarding his unemployed farm manager had been improperly leaked through official channels.

"That would be news to me. The first I'd heard of any allegations around that were when I saw the Sunday Star-Times yesterday. I think it's wishful thinking for him to be pointing the finger at the Government's direction.

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The New ACT Leader

"I congratulate Rodney on being elected. It's always an honour to be elected leader of ones party. Having said that I think he's got a big challenge ahead of him to pull back some of the vote which ACT has lost to National in the last few months. But knowing Rodney, he'll be full at it and relishing the task. "

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Amendments to Citizenship and Passport Legislation

PM's answers relate to the proposal to deny children born in New Zealand citizenship. Also who will support the legislation given the Progressives cold feet regarding certain aspects of the proposed legislation.

See also… Remarks at previous presser

"Firstly it's not in the Bill [the proposal to deny children born in new Zealand citizenship] as it stands at the moment. But it is something that has been looked at, and it's something that should be considered. I say that without prejudicing the outcome. There has been a tendency in recent years not only in New Zealand but also in other developed countries for people to come under another pretext and then have children in our country and in others - the United States has the same issue, Ireland is acting on it – for the purposes of gaining citizenship. We need to consider whether there need to be a response to that. "

Question: Will the Progressives support the legislation?

"I really don't have a briefing on that. I'm sure Mr Hawkins is speaking to other parties. One of the modus operandi of being a minority Government is you always look around to see who will support a piece of legislation. Not much point in introducing if you haven't got a majority for introduction. "

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