Questions Of The Day (7-12)
Mental Health - Bright Future Scholarships - Fishing Cost Recovery - Hot Spot Policing - Tax Simplification - Home Detention
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.
Hon. Annette King to the Minister of Social Services, Work and Income Roger Sowry:
Q: Does he accept the Mental Health Commission's conclusion that current Government policies do not address the housing needs of people with mental illness; if not, why not?
A: The government has welcomed the report on housing matters. A fundamental recommendation is to work on housing and the government will work to coordinate services better. The Mental Health Commission have recently been generous in their compliments concerning what has been achieved in Mental Health. The track record of the government is a good one. Community Housing Limited is a significant provide or housing for the mentally ill, the provision of beds by the company has increased from 786 beds in 1994 to 1345 beds in 1999 an increase of 90%. Part of the limitation at present is not just money but also appropriate people to do the jobs. The government remains committed to improving outcomes. Mr Creech later said deinstitutionalisation was a policy carried out with great care.
Tony Steel to the Minister for Tertiary Education Max Bradford:
Q: Who will benefit from the enterprise scholarships that are part of the Bright Futures package released last week?
A: Students at all levels of training will be entitled provided they have industry backing. The grant will be up to $8000 a year and it will eliminate the need to take out a loan for some students. The enterprise scholarships are being phased in with 500 next year increasing to 1500 in 2002. 80 doctoral scholarships will also be available from next year. The cost is $31 million over three years.
Q: (Grant Gillon - Alliance) Why doesn't he just remove the $3500 fee for science undergraduates?
A: That too would be picking winners. That's not up to us it is up to the universities.
Murray McLean to the Minister for Food, Fibre, Biosecurity and Border Control John Luxton:
Q: Is the Government committed to a fair and sustainable cost recovery system for the fishing industry?
A: Yes on Monday cabinet approved a review of the Cost Recovery scheme. The fishing industry have called it tough but fair. Seafic says the road has been rocky but we now have a platform to build a better industry. In this industry we have done a huge range of things to reduce costs.
Q: (Sandra Lee - Alliance) Does the new system recognise the fact that flat fees are not very fair.
A: The government's approach is user pays. The policy is vastly better than under the Alliance which would likely put large parts of the coastline into reserve.
(Michael Cullen - sought leave to change the ministers name to the minister of Food Etcetera… Speaker - "I was thinking maybe F 2 B 2"- mirth)
George Hawkins to the Minister of Police Clem Simich:
Q: Why is the Bay of Plenty "hot spot" tactical policing squad reportedly operating with only three of its original ten members, and how many other tactical policing squads are under strength?
A: The member should not believe everything he reads in the media. Of the eight police squads two are established three are partially established and three in Auckland will be established after APEC. The requirement was for them to be established this year. I do not agree with the comments attributed to a member of the Police from Rotorua . I might add that George Hawkins often fuels such comments through his ill informed criticisms. Crime is reducing in New Zealand and has been since 1992. These new teams will target active burglars, violent offenders and car thieves.
Pansy Wong to the Minister of Revenue Bill Birch:
Q: What progress has been made towards tax simplification following the Commerce Committee's inquiry into compliance costs?
A: The government has noticed the work of the Commerce Select Committee which the member chaired. We will be soon announcing further measures for the self-employed. We will clarify the law relating to serious hardship and installment arrangements and enable the IRD and taxpayers to enter installment arrangements quickly. The changes will require legislation and will be included in the next tax bill. They will be subject to extensive consultation before legislation is drafted. I expect a discussion paper next month. The National Government has had a continuous programme of tax simplification. We have been actively engaged with officials on compliance costs issues as well. The IRD has established a new call center and has set performance standards and there has been substantial progress towards achieving those standards.
Jill Pettis to the Minister of Corrections Clem Simich:
Q: Was the decision to proceed with a nationwide home detention scheme based on the success of the Wanganui pilot; if not, what was it based on?
A: The decision to proceed with a home office detention scheme was passed on a pilot in Auckland. The pilot led to a decision to switch to active monitoring. It was the view of Corrections that Chubb were the most appropriate suppliers. The department and I are confident Chubb can carry out the work it has contracted to do.