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Questions Of The Day (1-6)

Questions For Oral Answer Thursday, 1 July 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 1.

Rt Hon. Helen Clark to the Prime Minister Jenny Shipley:

Q: Does her statement, with respect to producer board reform, that "It is up to each industry to decide how it will look forward." mean that her Government will accept the recommendations of the 93 percent in the game industry poll who want a collective industry organisation and the 80 percent who want a compulsory levy; if not, why not?

A: Government is delighted with the way in which the producer boards are working on their plans for the future. I have no doubt that when the final plans are completed the appropriate announcements will be made.

Q: Why then did the Minister of Food and Fibre attack the Game Industry Board?

A: You have to decide whether you are for this or against this. Progress is being made. Jim Sutton has been very supportive of reform, talking of the Dairy Board's plans he described them as "bold thinking". Each sector is consulting in different ways. The ministers will make a judgment on the kind of consultation undertaken by each sector when considering what weight to give to the consultation processes.

Q: (Helen Clark - Labour) Will the PM concede that the failure to understand what rural communities want is the cause of the failure of the "Heartland" rural tour by National (refers to low attendance at a meeting).

A: I know it upsets the Opposition for the Government to be talking to people out there. Farmers know that repealing the ECA would result in higher killing charges. So they are very keen to hear from us.

Question 2.

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

Q: What reports has he received on the success of recent accident insurance policy developments?

A: This morning I received an update that 120,000 employers have now signed up under the new scheme - representing 80% of paid premium. I also see the Labour Party has released an ACC policy. I also note that buying out private ACC insurance would cost $1 billion. I am still having some difficulty working out why the Labour Party is so upset that New Zealand employers are so much better off. I really can't make them out.

Question 3.

Jim Anderton to the Prime Minister Jenny Shipley:

Q: Why were employment effects not included in the terms of reference of the inquiry into the effects of tariff reductions, the results of which were released by her last Thursday?

A: The employment effects of tariff reduction are will understood. As we reduce tariffs New Zealanders benefit through cheaper prices. During the period of tariff reduction real wages have risen by 8% and there have been 250,000 new jobs added. The number of unemployed have been falling. You cannot argue that tariff reform causes unemployment when the facts do not support the view. The Labour Party policy on tariffs would hurt not only poor countries but also developed countries like ours.

Q: (Maharey - Labour) Why are more NZers spending longer in the dole queue?

A: You can't promise jobs for New Zealanders and be against trade liberalisation. You can't have it both ways.

Q: (Winston - NZFirst) Does the PM recall who was in power when the trade reform agenda began?

A: There are a number of Members in this house who voted to strip agricultural protections in a previous government.

Question 4.

Ron Mark to the Prime Minister Jenny Shipley:

Q: Does she believe that the high regard with which New Zealand is generally held throughout the world is as much a consequence of the efforts of the New Zealand Defence personnel as it is of the efforts of the State sector chief executive officers and their staff; if not, why not?

A: Every NZer can be proud of our defence forces.

Q: Why is she content to see the defence force staff to be paid so poorly?

A: I am sure the Minister of Defence would answer a question on this subject if asked. Often when a person in the armed forces is employed there are matters other than wages that are funded and so comparisons with police wages may not be accurate

(Tabled papers showing soldiers paid $13,000 and $19,000 a year.)

The Government's commitment to defence spending is clear. We plan to spend $650 million in the near future on new capabilities and replacement equipment for the armed forces.

Question 5.

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

Q: Has he received any recent reports on the activities of missing persons and what are the details?

A: The answer is no. When related to the normally accepted definition of a missing person.

Q: Has he been advised that David Downer a sometime prison inmate has been regularly leaving prison to commit crimes?

A: The member is asking me if I have looked in the mirror. I have some information about this. A prison inspector has been appointed to inquire into whether the Wanganui Prison has been used as a base to commit burglaries. The investigation began this morning. The Department is extremely concerned about the suggestion that they knew about this. A third inquiry is proceeding into the escape of Aaron White and David Downer. I treat this matter seriously as does my Department. The Corrections Department are looking into this matter and we will know more later.

Q: (Anderton - Alliance) Following last night's report on TV3 was there any reward offered by the police yesterday for the location of the PM?

(Speaker - ruled out question.)

Question 6.

Warren Kyd to the Minister for International Trade Lockwood Smith:

Q: What was the main outcome from this week's meeting of APEC ministers responsible for trade?

A: (Don McKinnon) It was of course a very successful meeting. The communiqué contained 17 agreements including several things of particular interest to New Zealand. The most significant agreement was to launch discussions into liberalisation of industrial items. As I suggested the support for the liberalisation of these products means NZ can look forward to liberalisation particularly in the fisheries and forestry sectors. The likelihood of getting interim agreements at the WTO is very high. There is a strong lesson for New Zealand in all of this. Retaliating against others trade barriers would hurt NZ consumers more than anyone else.

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