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Questions Of The Day (7-12)

Questions For Oral Answer Thursday, 29 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 7.

Gavan Herlihy to the Minister for Food, Fibre, Biosecurity and Border Control John Luxton:

Q: Has the Government abandoned agriculture as New Zealand's economic backbone, as alleged by the National Business Review on 23 July 1999?

A: Absolutely not. This Government acknowledges that Food and Fibre industries will remain New Zealand's main export earners well into the next millennium. We also note that we need as a nation to continue to reduce costs to business. Changes we have made - all opposed by the Labour Party - are all about reducing costs to export businesses. We already have the lambs in the paddock - the key issue is now is to add value.

Q: (Jim Anderton - Alliance) Can he confirm that in a poll in his own electorate he lost and that why he has become a list member?

A: What absolute rubbish. I got 100% validation to be the candidate. I decided voluntarily to allow someone else to step up to assist representation the Heartland.

(Leave sought to table picture of the PM backwards - refused.)

Question 8.

Judith Tizard to the Minister for Culture and Heritage Marie Hasler:

Q: What additional resources has the Government allocated to the newly-announced Ministry for Culture and Heritage and what priority projects is such money to be used for?

A: Once the new ministry is established I will be in a position to assess what resources are required. My expectation is that new money will be allocated to this portfolio. When I have been briefed I will be in a position to assess priorities. Up till now there has been no overview in this area. Government now has a coherent overview of this sector and its future decisions can be made in the context of that overview. The new Ministry reflects the government's positive view of the future of culture, and my own view that culture is all that we are. Looking as the sector as a whole this improves the ability to lobby for support. The fragmented approach in the past has meant that culture has not in the past been a priority in many cases.

Question 9.

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

Q: Does he agree with the director of the Public Health Association that New Zealand's mortality statistic showing increased avoidable deaths between 1990 and 1995 is "appalling", "quite extraordinary" and "We are actually the basket case of healthy populations in terms of the OECD."?

A: No I do not agree with the comments. In fact I am advised that New Zealand men and women had a lower rate of premature mortality than many OECD nations in the period referred to and a faster improvement.

Q: (Neil Kirton - Independent) Does he agree with another statement from an expert who says we patch things up but ignore the fundamentals?

A: No I don't. I am a supporter of improved population health. I have read the comments from this individual and believe his definition of public health is possibly something different from what many people understand it to mean. On Hepititis B - the programme is underway - but screening programmes are very complicated as the Member knows.

Question 10.

Gilbert Myles to the Minister of Health Wyatt Creech:

Q: What reports has he received of the efforts made by Canterbury Health to comply with the recommendations of the Stent report?

A: Over the month since the report was published there have been several progress reports. The Ministry, HFA, CCMAU and hospital and others have all addressed matters raised in the report. The Medical Specialists Association - which has traditionally been highly critical - has also accepted that changes have been made. Canterbury Health are implementing the recommendations of the Stent Report.

Question 11.

Lianne Dalziel to the Minister of Social Services, Work and Income Roger Sowry:

Q: What changes in the administration of Work and Income New Zealand have resulted from the attendance of senior managers at the World Masters in Business event?

A: The majority of attendees from WINZ were chartered accountants. As part of their professional commitments they have to undertake 40 hours of ongoing professional development each year - the Saturday seminar was part of this and WINZ is required to offer such events to its staff. Other attendees went in their own capacity as it assisted them with observations on change implementation in other environments and about the qualities of leadership.

Q: (Rob Donald - Green/Alliance) What did they get in their $100 a head lunchboxes?

A: I haven't got a clue and I don't really care.

Question 12.

Annabel Young to the Minister for Culture and Heritage Marie Hasler:

Q: How has the Government recognised the value of the culture and heritage sector?

A: The changes represent a significant upgrading of the government's capacities in the cultural sector. Government expenditure in vote Cultural Affairs has increased from $18 million to $34 million between 1992 and 1998 - this represents an 84% increase over seven years. In addition a further $266 million has been spent on museums. Once the ministry has been established I will be in a position to further make decisions in this area. This is not pandering to anyone. It has nothing to do with election year. I will be talking to the Lotteries Board.

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