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Questions Of The Day (1-6)

Questions For Oral Answer Thursday, 2 September
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.

Rod Donald to the Minister of Internal Affairs Jack Elder:

Q: Will he be seeking the resignation of the National Party members
on the Lotteries Commission in the light of the Prime Minister's
criticism of the salary package they approved for their chief
executive against the advice of the State Services Commissioner; if
not, why not?

A: (Wyatt Creech on behalf) The government's investigation is still
underway. It would be premature to move hastily. However the member
can rest assured that we will move quickly once we know where the
responsibility lies.

Q: (Rod Donald - Greens) When will Mr Thompson be sacked?

A: I am unaware of any advice that Geoff Thompson will be sacked.
While a considerable amount is already known about this issue more
information is still required.

Q: (Annette King - Labour) Do the National Party appointees have
special protection?

A: People are appointed to boards because of their quality. If you
look at boards overall most board members are not. Secondly
membership of the National Party is not protecting this board - it is
being investigated properly.

Question 2.

Warren Kyd to the Minister for Enterprise and Commerce Max Bradford:

Q: Has he received any reports on the growth of labour productivity,
jobs and real incomes since 1991; if so, what do those reports say?

A: A recent study found a significant productivity surge after 1993
was likely to be partly due to the ECA. Since June 1991 employment has
grown by 277,000 jobs. This represents average employment growth of
2.3%. And average earnings have increased. Statistics show there has
been a 5% real increase in wages, add on top of this the tax cuts and
employees are clearly better off. A recent survey found three out of
four employees are happy with their employment relationships. The
Labour Party line would result in disharmony. Why mess with success?

Q: (Pete Hodgson - Labour) Can he confirm that the use of OECD data
in this study is not standard practice and that the report contains a
disclaimer from Treasury?

A: As hard as the Labour Party will try to demolish an authoritative
report of labour productivity they can't. They know they are on the
wrong side of the argument on the ECA. The simple fact is that since
the ECA we have had far fewer strikes. Strikes cause reductions in
productivity and that is what Labour Party policy would achieve.

Question 3.

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

Q: Does she agree with Hon Chris Fletcher's statement that she did
not make any specific requests in return for her vote for the tax cut
legislation; if so, which of her own members did make unacceptable
demands?

A: (Wyatt Creech on behalf) Senior ministers and the caucus
considered issues of timing. The government is under no pressure to
proceed with this bill and so it has decided not to proceed with it.

Q: (Helen Clark - Labour) Asked question again. Why can't she answer
or did she make it up again?

A: Helen Clark is making up her questions top try and give legs to an
issue which has no legs. The government is committed to tax cuts.
When we are returned to office we will cut taxes. The government's
commitment to social spending is clear. We will match tax cuts with
increases to social spending. It will not be done at the expense of
social spending.

(Helen Clark - Labour - leave to table a letter from Christine
Fletcher to Bill English making no unacceptable demands - granted)

Question 4.

Hon. Brian Donnelly to the Minister of Corrections Clem Simich:

Q: When is he going to announce where and in what location a prison
in Northland is to be built?

A: I appreciate that this issue is of considerable interest. However
it is my intention that the decision be the right one based on the
full facts. I have been briefed on this and have requested further
information. There has been no duck-shoving around we are following
proper process. When a decision is made I will make an announcement. I
have had representations from all Northland members particularly from
John Carter on this issue. They are concerned for their constituents
in the area. As soon as a decision is made everybody will be notified.

Q: (Tau Henare - Mauri Pacific) Is the minister aware of a resolution
by Nga Puhi that they do not want a prison in their area unless they
own and operate it.

A: Resolutions passed by Nga Puhi have been presented to me by Tau
Henare and I will take them into consideration.

Question 5.

Hon. Annette King to the Prime Minister Jenny Shipley:

Q: Is National Party membership a consideration for appointment by
the Government to the New Zealand Lotteries Commission; if not, which
of the current members is not or has not been a National Party member
or office holder?

A: (Wyatt Creech on behalf) Party political membership is not a
consideration. The government has a policy of appointing capable
people to government bodies. Like for example David Caygill to the ACC
was that a party political appointment?

Q: (Jerry Brownlee - National) Can we have a few more examples?

A: We endeavour to appoint on a non-partisan basis. Stan Roger was
appointed to a health position. Other examples include Margaret
Shileds, Ann Hercus and Mike Moore have all had their appointments to
high office supported by the government

Q: (Grant Gillon - Alliance) What qualifications does Jim Bolger's
former electorate secretary have for her position on the Lotteries
Commission.

A: I do not know the details but I understand that she is a good
capable person capable of doing a good job. I note also that we
appointed Gilbert Myles an NZ First member to the TAB.

Question 6.

Rev. Ann Batten to the Minister for the Environment Simon Upton:

Q: When will the Government announce its plans to make local
authorities culpable for historically contaminated sites?

A: (Nick Smith on behalf) The government is not considering making
local authorities responsible for contamination. We are considering
issues of responsibility and the minister will address the matter on
his return.

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