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Questions Of The Day (7-12)

Questions For Oral Answer Thursday, 17 June 1999

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 some days after the event.

Question 7.

Dr Wayne Mapp to the Minister for Accident Rehabilitation and Compensation Insurance:

Q: What evidence does he have to support the Government's claims that New Zealanders will benefit from the reforms being introduced on 1 July with the new Accident Insurance Act?

A: I have received reports of lots of lower premiums for accident premiums. These are just the tip of the ice-berg. The new environment can capture a lot more intangible benefits in relation to a better relationship with their workforce.

Question 8.

Marian Hobbs to the Minister responsible for Radio New Zealand Ltd Maree Hasler.:

Q: Does she agree with the views expressed by staff of Radio New Zealand in their vote of no confidence in the board of Radio New Zealand; if not, why not?

A: No, Radio New Zealand is wonderful. The board has advised the minister and the minister has advised this house that there are no plans to contract out news aside from those at present in place including Mana News, RNZ International and This Week In Parliament with Mr Tom Frewen.

Q: Corkery: For all the Ministers reassurances. If this debate reached the point of a board member resigning, would there be an ex-gratia payment?

A: As with SOE appointed directors serve at the pleasure of the Minister. Therefore there would be no payout.

Question 9.

Manu Alamein Kopu to the Minister of Corrections:

Q: He aha te utu i noho ke ai ki runga i te whanau o nga mauhere e tono ana kia tukua ratou ki tetahi tangihanga i raro i te aroha?

Translation:

Q: Why is there a cost to whanau of inmates who apply for compassionate leave to attend tangihanga?

A: There are no costs except some external . There is a cost to the department of an escorted prisoners travel and the wages including overtime for the escort. The family are quoted for the cost of the escort. The prison service have to roster staff back to work when others are on escort duty and it is considered inappropriate that this cost be born by the taxpayer. The cost of ceremonies with compassionate significance is not considered appropriate for the government to carry.

Q: Considering this cost is beyond most Whanau. Would the Minister consider reconsidering this directive?

A: There is no correlation between suicide and the ability to attend compassionate outings. Where this happens the inmates are counselled and then observed. The rates in NZ for suicide in prison compare favourably in relation to international rates.

Question 10.

Phillida Bunkle to the Associate Minister of Health Tuariki Delamere:

Q: What service will amputees in Auckland and Northland have after 30 June 1999?

A: There are currently two providers in the Auckland region. The contract of one expires on 30 June 1999.

Q: Does the Minister now consider he has made a mistake? And what is he going to do to insure patients are not disadvantaged?

A: An audit found that RML was served by highly qualified and experienced people. Perhaps with the benefit of hindsight it would have been better to fund both services from the beginning. The Member is correct that the report from the Health and Disability Commissioner has not been released. I suggest she approach the Commissioner on that.

(Phillida Bunkle tabled letter )

Question 11.

Hon. Phil Goff to the Minister of Corrections Clem Simich:

Q: Why did he describe as "a great idea" the Minister of Maori Affairs' suggestion of a Maori-only prison, owned and staffed by Maori, in place of the proposed Northland regional prison?

A: Any idea which promotes informed debate on reducing offending is worth listening to. There was no question of ownership simply of involvement with.

Q: Is it still a great idea?

A: Rehabilitation is one of the prime purposes in any corrections institution. And if someone is promoting an idea it may well be a great idea. And it deserves consideration. There are many programmes that are successful. One new programme is being opened in Rimutaka prison soon. The idea is still worth discussing and I commend the member who raised it. In respect of management of prisons they are put out to tender - any party with the ability to tender can do so. Any marae based group associated with a group experienced in prison management will have an equal chance of winning the tender. I have had no consultations with Iwi. But the fact that the member raises the question demonstrates that the very good idea raised by the Minister of Maori Affairs has been successful in promoting debate.

(Objection to the tabling of an Checkpoint transcript of a Henare interview.)

- they hate public radio (mumbling from Opposition)

Question 12

. Gerry Brownlee to the Minister of Immigration Tuariki Delamere:

Q: Is he confident that the passing of immigration legislation this week will assist in the management of any unlawful arrival of what are commonly referred to as boat people?

A: Yes. A report tabled today shows it is a $13 billion industry. Conferences throughout the region are concerned about the growth of the industry in trafficking in humans.

Q: (Gerry Brownlee - National) Will the minister open the doors to the boat people as suggested by Labour and the Alliance?

Cullen Point of Order: That was most certainly not suggested.

Judy Keall made unparliamentary suggestion about Mr Brownlee and forced to withdraw.

Should illegal immigrants arrive they will be treated firmly but with compassion. However we will not allow criminal behaviour to run over our laws This Government will defend its borders. People who arrive in such places as Honiara declaring their intention to settle in New Zealand. We will certainly defend our borders against people such as those.

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