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Questions Of The Day (7-12)

Questions For Oral Answer Wednesday, 23 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.

Hon. Neil Kirton to the Minister of Health Wyatt Creech:

Q: Following his reported statement that "It's no secret I'm concerned about the state of Capital Coast Health. It hasn't performed well in many years.", will he be seeking a refund of the nearly $2 million paid to consultants who were hired to develop a financial rescue package for Capital Coast Health?

A: No. I am advised that in spite of investigations CCMAU are unable to identify $2 million for this purpose. Consultants were employed at one stage and the deficit was reduced from $69 million to $22 million. While there have been some improvements it is not in the interests of anyone to have less than an optimal performance from Capital Coast Health. I working closely with my colleagues on a consultation document on a new hospital for Wellington. Announcements will be made when details are finalised.

The minister said supplementary questions concerning the involvement of Jack Jenkins and Doug Martin with Capital Coast Health could not be answered due to a lack of detail available to him in the House.

Question 8.

Annabel Young to the Prime Minister Jenny Shipley:

Q: What reports has she recently received on the impact of APEC on women?

A: The communiqué of the meeting just concluded shows real value to women in APEC. The meeting has strongly supported APEC's desire to improve trade. I have been proud to have been part of this process on behalf of New Zealand women. On Friday, I will be releasing the results of a study on tariff reduction. It will show among other things how the costs of clothes and transport have fallen for ordinary households. Labour will have to say whether they are keen on reducing costs on households or increasing them. The Members opposite are aware that while some jobs have been lost the number of women in work has increased overall. While it is not good enough that the gender age gap remains we can be pleased that at 81% it is among the highest in the world.

Question 9.

Hon. Robyn McDonald to the Minister of Consumer Affairs :

Q: What does he intend to do about the continued sale of non-child resistant cigarette lighters?

A: (Tony Ryall on behalf) The regulations require all lighters supplied after 15th of May to the child resistant. The Commerce Commission enforces this under the Fair Trading Act. The Commission is running an information campaign. It will also be making inspections and acting on complaints.

Question 10.

Hon. Phil Goff to the Minister of Justice Tony Ryall:

Q: What protection, if any, does the justice system offer to families driven from their homes by intimidation and threatening behaviour by gang members?

A: There are a number of ways the justice system copes with gangs. We have a witness protection scheme and a criminal justice reimbursement scheme for witnesses and their families. Police take complaints of victim intimidation very seriously and will prosecute. On conviction offenders can be ordered to compensate their victims. We have several more provisions designed to deal with gangs in the pipeline.

Concerning the Naughton family of Invercargill raised by Phil Goff of Labour: I know that the Police Commissioner is of the view that police should provide support to people being intimidated. I can also advise that the Police Commissioner has undertaken, following his appearance before a select committee this morning, to investigate compensation for a victim of intimidation in Invercargill. I do not wish to comment on this case further than this.

Question 11.

Belinda Vernon to the Minister responsible for Housing New Zealand Ltd Tony Ryall:

Q: What progress has been made in acquiring 1,000 new homes in Auckland?

A: We announced a plan in February to purchase. With a week to go Housing NZ has already signed contracts for a third of these homes.

Q: Why are they buying houses and selling at the same time?

A: Housing New Zealand sells some.(Mr Speaker I seek your protection from the member - mild disorder - This is so good I need silence)..state houses to enable people to own their own homes. It also does so to be able to provide houses where they are needed.

Q: (Grant Gillon - Alliance) How can he be so smug when he has sold 3000 homes and 8000 people are on the waiting list? (Following a point of order told off for question by Speaker - responded "Aren't they tetchy today" - after which question ruled out of order.)

Question 12.

Hon. Annette King to the Minister of Health Wyatt Creech:

Q: Was the Health Funding Authority's contract with Ascot Hospital for joint replacement surgery negotiated and finalised in just eight days and signed before the hospital had opened; if so, what safety and quality checks were completed before the signing of the contract?

A: There are two issues here. The time spent finalising the contract and the time spent negotiating the contract . The time in negotiation was entirely adequate given the number of operations involved. The contract was signed before the hospital was opened but after quality control systems were in place. I regard the mistake concerning the hip replacement as unacceptable and I have asked for a report on it. I am advised that the HFA took appropriate action when it was advised of the incident. There have been 13 claims for surgical errors in recent time concerning the wrong side of the body. Some of these mistakes have occurred in public institutions.

(Leave granted to table HFA contract document concerning Ascot Hospital.)

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