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Questions Of The Day Transcript – Wed. 18th June

(uncorrected transcript—subject to correction and further editing)

WEDNESDAY, 18 JUNE 2003

Questions for Oral Answer


Questions to Ministers

Questions for Oral Answer
Te Puni Kôkiri—Chief Executive

1. Hon ROGER SOWRY (Deputy Leader—NZ National) to the Minister of Mâori Affairs: Does he have confidence in the chief executive of Te Puni Kôkiri; if not, why not?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA (Minister of Mâori Affairs): In general, yes, but there have been some areas of Te Puni Kôkiri’s performance that will be the subject of a State Services Commissioner’s review.

Hon Roger Sowry: What specific concerns about his chief executive or Te Puni Kôkiri has he expressed to the State Services Commissioner as part of the commissioner’s review of chief executive officers’ performance or at any other time, and when were these concerns expressed?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: That is between me and the State Services Commissioner, at this time.

Mahara Okeroa: What will the State Services Commissioner’s review cover?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: That is a matter for the State Services Commissioner, but I understand that the terms of reference for the review are currently being developed and will include ministerial support, the monitoring of Crown entities, including Te Mângai Pâho, and the general capability and performance of Te Puni Kôkiri.

Hon Ken Shirley: In light of the Minister’s answer to the substantive question, how many of his replies to questions in Parliament have been corrected, and who does he hold responsible for his answers being wrong?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: The person who wrote the question—who wrote the answer.

Mr SPEAKER: That was the second part of the question. There was a first part to the question about how many answers. Could you please repeat the question?

Hon Ken Shirley: My question was: in the light of his answers to the substantive question, how many of his replies to questions in Parliament have had to be corrected, and who does he hold responsible for his answers being wrong?

Mr SPEAKER: I asked the member to ask the first part of the question. That was all I asked and all he had to do.

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: As I said earlier on, I have tabled 13 answers to incorrect questions made.

Hon Roger Sowry: What specific concerns have been expressed to him or the chief executive of Te Puni Kôkiri by his Cabinet colleagues or other chief executives about the performance of Te Puni Kôkiri, and what specific action has been taken as a result?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: It is between my colleagues and myself and especially me and the State Services Commissioner at this stage.

Hon Roger Sowry: Perhaps the Minister could tell the House, then, what are the “systemic issues within Te Puni Kôkiri that need looking at” as indicated by the State Services Minister earlier this week?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: That is something that will be undertaken in the State Services Commissioner’s review.

Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. During his answer to the primary question the Minister of Mâori Affairs said that it was my fault for having written the questions that his answers were wrong. I took offence and I would ask him to withdraw.

Mr SPEAKER: The member corrected that.

Questions for Oral Answer
Nursing Graduates—Loans

2. NANDOR TANCZOS (Green) to the Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education): By what percentage has the number of nurses graduating from tertiary institutions fallen since 1996, and has the average student loan debt of nursing graduates increased by a similar figure since that time?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY (Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education)): Between 1996 and 2001 the number of people graduating from tertiary providers with a bachelor’s degree in nursing increased by 15.5 percent. Analysing student loan debt by qualification has been possible only since the student loan data integration project was implemented at the end of last year. It was not possible to obtain information on changes in average student debt of nursing graduates in the time available, but I am willing to give that information to the member if he sends me a note.

Nandor Tanczos: Given the expected increase in the number of nurses graduating this year, is he concerned that participation in nursing studies is significantly less than other areas, such as law and commerce, which have grown significantly over the past decade, and is he concerned that 60 percent of nurses are considering going overseas because of student loan debt, and what concrete and specific steps is he taking to address these student debt problems?

Mr SPEAKER: That was three questions. The Minister may answer two.

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: On the first question, no. On the second question, the Ministry of Education estimates that 7 percent of Bachelor of Nursing graduates were overseas in 2000. That compares with 8 percent amongst holders of bachelor’s degrees in general. The corresponding figure for doctors, however, was 17.5 percent. In other words, nurses have a slightly lower propensity to leave New Zealand following graduation than holders of other first degrees.

Mark Gosche40Mark Gosche: Have recent education initiatives addressed health workforce issues?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: Noting the Minister of Health has a health workforce planning process under way, there are two other initiatives in this Budget that are worth mentioning. First, the cap on funded medical students will increase from 285 full-time students to 325 per year, coming into effect next year. Secondly, bonded scholarships will attract students into areas to meet pressing workforce needs. The Ministry of Health advises that its top priority is doctors, and further announcements will be made about that in the near future.

Barbara Stewart: Is the Minister concerned about the implications for the future of New Zealand, when it has been reported that student loan debt has been cited as having influence over graduates’ decisions to have children—if they decide to stay in the country at all; and is the impact on community welfare given any weight in policy decisions in respect of the student loan scheme?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: The answer is yes, it does concern the Government that there may be an impact on student choices around things like buying a business or having a family, and so on. That is why we have moved so swiftly on the issue of student debt, in the last 3 years.

Paul Adams: In the light of the critical shortage of nurses in New Zealand and worldwide, would the Minister consider measures to migrate the financial impediments to studying as a nurse, such as extending the interest-free period on student loans when a nurse agrees to a fixed-term position in New Zealand?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: Issues like that will probably be considered within the context of the work being undertaken by the Minister of Health. Of course we want to retain the nursing workforce, but I point out the figures I have mentioned today in answer to other questions—that is, in respect of the tertiary education system, we do not have a problem in relation to nurses that is any different from a general degree.

Sue Kedgley: Is nursing one of the professions the Government considers critical to the future success of New Zealand; if so, why will nurses not be included in the recently announced $23 million package of bonded scholarships and research fellowships that have been developed to attract students into study and professions that are considered critical to the future success of New Zealand?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: Yes, nurses are regarded, of course, as critical to the future of the country. But in the discussion around what is a relatively small amount of money for scholarships and bonding, as we work out how that policy will work, the top priority identified by health was doctors, and that is where the money will most likely go.

Sue Kedgley: Is the gender pay gap and gender loan gap that result in nurses struggling to repay average student debt of $20,000 on a medium wage of $32,000 being considered as part of the student support review, and when can we expect to see this review, which was due in May?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: I should point out that the time taken for nurses to pay back the loan as suggested by what is called the Iverson model—the one that was used for the nurses information released yesterday—differs greatly from the one that the Government uses, which is the Tesler model. We would regard the Tesler model as much more accurate, and it shows a much faster payback time for nurses. However, those issues do concern the Government in terms of how long it takes to pay back debt, and that is why we will continue to look at issues of allowances and the issues that the member has just raised around a student loan.

Nandor Tanczos: In reviewing the student allowances, as the Minister just referred to, has the Minister considered the particular issues faced by nursing students such as work placements and the hours and nature of study, which make it difficult to maintain part-time or holiday work for those students, and will he reconsider the Green proposal from back in 1999 of introducing a universal student allowance?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: The Government is committed in its policy to extending access to allowances so that more students get a full allowance, and the abatement period for that money allows more students to get more money before the abatement fully takes place, and nurses will, of course, benefit from that.

Questions for Oral Answer
Employment—Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment Programme

3. RUSSELL FAIRBROTHER (NZ Labour—Napier) to the Minister for Social Development and Employment: What employment outcomes have been achieved by those participating in the Ministry of Social Development Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment (PACE) programme?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY (Minister for Social Development and Employment): The Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment programme is an employment programme designed to help job seekers who have skills for employment in creative industries. One thousand, two hundred and thirty employment placements have been made since the Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment programme began in November 2001. This demonstrates the success of the programme helping people find work in the creative sector or more general employment area. I congratulate the Work and Income staff, clients, and employers who have involved themselves in this innovative programme.

Russell Fairbrother: What employment opportunities exist in the creative sector and how is the Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment programme assisting job seekers to take up those opportunities?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: Industry New Zealand reports estimate that the economic contribution of creative industries is around 3.1 percent of total gross domestic product (GDP), with some $7 to $7.5 billion in domestic consumption of creative sector outputs. A figure of 3.6 percent of total employment, which is over 50,000 jobs, is directly in creative industries. Job growth in the sector was strong at an estimated 3.5 percent a year, and the Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment programme ensures that job seekers are able to take up employment opportunities in what is a growing area of our economy.

Katherine Rich: Does the Minister agree with his Associate Minister Rick Barker that “PACE is not a separate unemployment scheme, it is a resource pack”, and when one of New Zealand’s most successful artists told me today that “the only true way of supporting creative people is by buying the work they have done”, why does he think that handing out a bunch of Government pamphlets is going to do anything to create the next Michael Highet, Stanley Palmer, or Graham Sydney?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: My Associate Minister and I always agree on everything. The Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment programme is essentially built around the notion that we recognise creative industries as a proper area of work. For example I would point out to the member that the most often taken up jobs as a result of the programme are that of artist, craftsperson, musician, film and television production staff, actor, sculptor, painter and related artist, or graphic designer—all very good jobs in the creative industries.

Dail Jones: How many works of art—that is, paintings, poetry, literature, or sculpture—of even a modest significance have resulted from this resource pack entitled Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment scheme, referred to in the press statement made by Rick Barker on 3 December 2002, when 2,149 people were registered on it?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: I do not have a list of the artworks produced here, but I repeat to the member that 1,230 people have found jobs through this programme. They are in mainstream areas of work within a burgeoning creative sector in our economy. If the member’s party does not want to support the creative industry, that is fine. We will do it for his party.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER: The member will please be seated. That last sentence was unnecessary.

Sue Bradford: In the review of the benefit system that is currently being carried out, is the Minister considering options such as annualising income for benefit purposes in relation to arts and cultural employment as well as self-employment in the broader sense?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: Yes.

Judy Turner: Is the Minister aware that of the placements into paid employment of those on the Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment scheme between November 2001 and March 2003, only 36 percent went into jobs that related to the arts, and that this constitutes a 15 percent success rate if the total numbers of those on the scheme are considered?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: Yes, I am. I have to remind the member that what happens with the Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment scheme is that the person is registering their interest in being in one of the categories of jobs within the creative industries. If they find a job elsewhere, then that is fine. They may do that. However, many artists like to find themselves a job and earn an income. That helps them to support the kind of creative industry that they wish to go into.

Marc Alexander: With regard to the list of those registered on the Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment scheme released by his office in October last year, can the Minister tell the House whether the eight acrobats, 13 fashion models, 20 television announcers, and one stuffed-toy maker listed have found a job, because I am sure we are all dying to know?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: I am sure the member is exploring some job options for himself with that list.

Gerry Brownlee: Know your friends!

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: Friends can always chip each other.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I objected to an answer that Mr Maharey recently gave. Surely, there should not be a discriminatory rule that states that those who oppose this Government have a different rule to those who lie down as a doormat, like Mr Dunne does.

Mr SPEAKER: That is not a point of order. I took the Minister’s remark as humorous. Occasionally we have humorous remarks in this House, although rare, I might agree.

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: People can of course list their preferred options when they apply for work with Work and Income. It may well be that they move off into other jobs rather than stuffing toys.

Questions for Oral Answer
Question No. 4 to Minister

RODNEY HIDE (ACT NZ): I seek the leave of the House to shift my question to Mr Rick Barker, who is sitting beside the Minister and whispering the answers in his ear.

Mr SPEAKER: The member cannot do that, but the member can seek leave. Leave is sought. Is there any objection? There is objection. That was a frivolous point of order. Would the member please ask the question.

Questions for Oral Answer
Te Mângai Pâho—Performance

4. RODNEY HIDE (ACT NZ) to the Minister of Mâori Affairs: How many performance reviews did Te Mângai Pâho Chairman, Toby Curtis, undertake of Te Mângai Pâho Chief Executive, Trevor Moeke, and did the Te Mângai Pâho board agree to roll over Trevor Moeke’s contract for another 3 years?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA (Minister of Maori Affairs): My response to that member is this: because the chair has changed, Te Mângai Pâho has not been able to provide the information concerning performance reviews in the time available. I undertake to provide that information as soon as I have it. I understand that the chair and the board agreed to roll over Mr Moeke’s contract at a board meeting in October 2002.

Rodney Hide: When the Minister provides his answer, will he also check to confirm that Mr Toby Curtis, in every performance review, undertaken every quarter, checked every box “excellent” for Mr Moeke, and that this is the reason that Mr Moeke is still on the taxpayers’ payroll; and how come this Minister does not understand what the problem is?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: I want to ensure that there is validity in my responses, and I am waiting for Mr Gardiner’s response at the end of the review.

Janet Mackey: In the light of the external review report into allegations concerning Slightly Off Beat Productions, what action has the interim chair taken concerning the performance of the chief executive?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: Mr Gardiner is currently reviewing the performance of the chief executive officer.

Katherine Rich: Further to his answer that the board considered the rollover of Mr Moeke’s contract in December 2002, why did he not ask for a copy of the board’s minutes to be faxed over this morning, and why would it take 4 hours to confirm one way or the other whether that decision had been made?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: I have been a bit busy this morning, and I have asked for more information to be provided, and I look forward to getting that this afternoon.

Hon Roger Sowry: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Questions put down on notice for Ministers to answer surely require the attention of the Ministers and their staff. [Interruption] Well, Mr Barker and Mr Cullen might interject and think differently, but they clearly—Mr Horomia might think differently too, judging by the way he is face-pulling—

Mr SPEAKER: Carry on.

Hon Roger Sowry: —but clearly they are a priority for Ministers before 2 o’clock. It is surely not acceptable, and surely you are not going to let Ministers come to the House and say: “Well, I know the question was put down but I just haven’t had time to get it.” It takes only a phone call and a fax.

Hon Dr Michael Cullen: It certainly did not. I can assure the member that in fact the Minister’s office has made every effort to obtain that information, partly because there has been a change in the chairmanship and partly because much of the other membership of Te Mângai Pâho has changed. Information has simply not been available to be produced in time. The member’s office is making every effort to get that information, and it will be made available as soon as it is here.

Gerry Brownlee: Mr Speaker—

Mr SPEAKER: No, I do not need any assistance.

Gerry Brownlee: Well, it’s rubbish.

Mr SPEAKER: Please be seated. The member will not interject when I am speaking. As far as I am concerned, the comment made by the Minister about being busy is not something that I think was useful to have been made. However, I took it from the Minister’s reply that he had been trying to ascertain the information, that he would get it as soon as possible, and then make it available. That is what I took from the first answer and that is in order.

Hon Roger Sowry: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Can you give us a ruling on how this information will be made available. This is a matter of public interest. The press galley is full, watching the Minister and recording his answers. Is the Minister going to come down to the House and read the answer into Hansard, or is he going to table the reports, or is he going to just stick it in the mail?

Mr SPEAKER: It is up to the Minister. Usually, when a Minister has said that he will give further information to a member, he does so to him personally. Once that information is given, it can become public immediately it is given. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member does not know how lucky he is.

Rodney Hide: On what date did the Minister learn that the Te Mângai Pâho board had rolled over Mr Trevor Moeke’s contract—which expired on 23 January this year—and why did he not share that information with the public of New Zealand to explain that this whole review process was a farce?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: I do not have that information at the moment. However, I assure the member that I will put it in writing and send it directly to him.

Katherine Rich: Noting the Minister’s mention of Wira Gardiner once again, does he stand by his statement yesterday that: “Most certainly Mâoris should consider voting National.”; if not, why not?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: Most certainly not.

Hon Dover SamuelsHon Dover Samuels95: I seek leave of the House to read and table a copy of a sworn affidavit I have just received from Hemana Waaka of Mâori Sportscasting International Ltd.

Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to read and table a document. Is there any objection? There is.

Rodney Hide: Can the Minister explain why he does not know on what date he learnt that the board had agreed to roll over Mr Moeke’s contract for 3 years, or does he have to run off and check with Wira Gardiner?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: If that member puts down the specific information that he requires, I will respond specifically to that member.

Rodney Hide: In the light of the Minister’s failure to answer my questions in Parliament, will he front up on marae around the East Coast with me, as he challenged yesterday, to answer those questions, with him providing a translation in English, so that we can get the answers in a form that he says he is most comfortable with?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: I am more than certain that I can assure that member that I will be more than welcome on those marae. I am not too sure about him, though.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Given the party allocation for questions, I wonder whether you would reconsider today’s one. I have listened to the answer to question No. 4 and I have yet to find out anything at all or get any information at all in respect of that question. After 4½ hours of preparation the Minister has said that he intends to refer the matter to Wira Gardiner for an answer at some other time. That being the case, I think that we should be allowed extra questions above our allocation.

Mr SPEAKER: No. I listened to the Minister answer the first question and he did give out some information. He then indicated that he would get extra information. The point of order does not stand.

Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I hope that this is a new point of order from your ruling. I believe it to be so. The original question I asked was how many performance reviews were undertaken. Those would have been set out in Mr Moeke’s contract and are quite serious. I did not ask what the contents or the results were. I asked how many. The Minister has come to the House and said: “Well, look, I haven’t had time to find out how many reviews there were, because I’ve been very busy.” You have accepted that as an answer. I find that we are now in a difficult position whereby a member can ask a simple question such as how many, what happened, and on what date, and the Minister can say “Look, I’ve been very busy this morning. I’ll get back to you.” Mr Speaker, you should give a direction, not just for today but for the future, that you will be adjudging answers and if it is fair and reasonable that a Minister could have got that information in the 4 hours available to them, then you would expect him or her to have done so. I also think that in this particular case, because it is such a blatant attempt not to answer a simple question, you should suggest to the Minister of Mâori Affairs that he get that information and share it with the House, as any capable Minister would.

Hon Dr Michael Cullen: That is a blatant misuse of the point of order procedure simply for the television cameras. First of all, let us have some facts. Ministers’ offices do not get questions at 10 o’clock; it is far closer to 11 o’clock by the time questions arrive. I know, because I get them first of all—the entire set. Second, as we have been over this point already, Te Mângai Pâho is not able to give the information requested in time for question time. The Minister’s office does not have the information, which has to be obtained from Te Mângai Pâho, and it was unable to provide that information. That information is provided to the member asking the question as soon as it arrives. I repeat that the chair has changed, and most of the membership of the body has changed, over recent months. Therefore, there is not the institutional memory for somebody to remember all those performance reviews, however many there were. Those are the facts, and to question those facts, or the answer given, for the sake of appearing on the 6 o’clock news again—with false information as happened yesterday, which he will not repeat outside the House—is a misuse of the point of order procedure.

Mr SPEAKER: The Minister answered the second part of the question regarding the rolling over of the contract, and I heard the answer given as a very specific answer. He did not answer the first part of the question because he said that he had to get some more facts, and that he would proceed to get them. That is a perfectly acceptable way of answering a question.

Gerry Brownlee: Point of order—

Mr SPEAKER: This had better be a new point of order.

Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am pointing out to you that you have just taken a point of order from Dr Cullen suggesting—

Mr SPEAKER: No, I did not take a point of order. He spoke to it. The point of order was raised by Mr Hide.

Gerry Brownlee: Yes, and you allowed Dr Cullen to go on at some length, criticising Mr Hide and setting out a case that effectively was to excuse the Minister, Parekura Horomia, for his inability to answer a question today. We now have a situation when, through a reply to a point of order, the Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the House has effectively said that although Mr Moeke has been suspended, the Minister apparently had no idea of what his employment conditions were. That is simply not believable.

Mr SPEAKER: That is not a point of order.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Mr Hide asked about how many performance reviews Toby Curtis undertook. Strictly, that could mean as mentioned in the contract of employment of Mr Trevor Moeke. I cannot believe that that document is not obtainable, and that that information could not be read simply from one clause in that document. He has had 3½ hours, and to slide over this matter is to treat this House with contempt for facts.

Mr SPEAKER: No, the member is putting his own construction on the question, and that is not a point of order. I call question No. 5.

Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. It may assist matters enormously if the Minister, through the Chair, could explain to this House at what time he expects to be able to provide this information, and that he will come before the House and give it.

Mr SPEAKER: No. The member knows, when he reads his Standing Orders, that that is up to the Minister. It has to be in a reasonable amount of time, and I am sure that it will be. I call the Hon Peter Dunne—

Rodney Hide: There’s no point in coming here and asking questions.

Mr SPEAKER: I warn members to be quiet.

Hon Dr Michael Cullen: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I raise it on the grounds that there is no point in him coming here. I think the rest of us would agree with the second point; you might care to take up the offer in the first.

Mr SPEAKER: No, on this occasion I had not called. Mr Dunne had not started. I think on reflection I will now move to question No. 5. I call the Hon Mr Peter Dunne.

Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I notice that twice now the Leader of the House has made Points of Order
that were not Points of Order
. Not once have you pulled him up. You have pulled up members from this side of the House every time they have made a point of order, and I stand by my query: what is the point of asking questions in this House?

Mr SPEAKER: I think, on reflection, that part of the comments of the Deputy Prime Minister were not in order. That is why I ask him to withdraw those points.

Hon Dr Michael Cullen: I withdraw. I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I assume that you will now be very tough on the continuous numbers of Points of Order
from members opposite that are ruled not to be Points of Order
. There were two just before that one, when no member was required to withdraw.

Mr SPEAKER: I take this question very seriously, because we have too many Points of Order
in this House. From correspondence I have received from all over New Zealand, I must say that that is something that is constantly referred to. The Standing Orders are quite specific: every member has a right to raise a point of order. That is the Standing Order. I have to abide by that. It is not even a Speaker’s ruling; it is a full Standing Order. Because I have always believed that every member should have that right, I would not like it to be curtailed. But I think it is in members’ interests that they regard this issue very seriously.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Having taken very careful consideration of what you have just said, I think it is still not appropriate for Mr Hide to criticise your ruling from his chair and get away with it. That is a clear breach of the Standing Orders, and I ask you to correct that.

Mr SPEAKER: No, I am going to move on at this stage.

Questions for Oral Answer
Sexual Offences—Women

5. Hon PETER DUNNE (Leader—United Future) to the Minister of Justice: Will the Government introduce legislation to fix the legal anomaly whereby women cannot be prosecuted for having a sexual relationship with a minor but men can; if so, when?

Hon LIANNE DALZIEL (Acting Minister of Justice): Yes, the Government has been working on a comprehensive review of those sections of the Crimes Act that deal with sexual offences, including the gender neutrality anomaly that the member refers to. Cabinet approval for the changes involved was granted on Monday, so the question is very timely. I expect a bill to be drafted and introduced in the very near future.

Hon Peter Dunne: When the Minister of Justice said in April that he had been working on this for some months and the legislation would be introduced imminently, can the Minister now explain why a further two-and-a-bit months down the track we still have no definite date for the introduction of this legislation, which is a comparatively simple amendment?

Hon LIANNE DALZIEL: As the Minister wrote to the member concerned in April this year, Cabinet will be making decisions on a revised sexual offence regime in June. That is exactly what has occurred. Cabinet made the decision on Monday. I appreciate the member’s concern about the need for legislative change. However, it was important to address a whole range of other anomalies. The review deals with a significant number of other issues, including, for example, time limits on prosecutions for certain offences against 12 to 16-year-olds. I think the House would agree they are important amendments to make.

Dianne Yates: Has the Government’s review of sexual offences considered the issue of drug rape; if so, what has the Government decided?

Hon LIANNE DALZIEL: Yes. As I said before, this was a comprehensive review of sexual offences. The Government has agreed to include amongst the matters that do not constitute consent to sexual connection, that the person is asleep, unconscious, or too affected by alcohol or drugs to have the capacity to consent to sexual activity.

Richard Worth: What issues, if any, are more pressing in the Minister’s portfolio than the resolution of the issue referred to in the primary question?

Hon LIANNE DALZIEL: A number of issues have been of concern in respect of the justice portfolio. The fact that we have taken this opportunity to undertake a comprehensive review of sexual offences, when the Government that that member was a part of took 9 years to do nothing in this area, is a good indication of our priorities.

Hon Peter Dunne: In view of the announcement by the Minister in April that some form of change was imminent, does the Minister think it right in the interim that in the case of the swimming coach and the 13-year-old boy, it has now been left entirely to Swimming New Zealand to deal with the issue?

Hon LIANNE DALZIEL: No, I do not find the current situation satisfactory. That is why the Government has made the decision to change the law in this area. It would have made no difference, even if the law had been introduced earlier or we were introducing the bill today, because its application will not be retrospective.

Questions for Oral Answer
Mâori Affairs, Associate Minister—Confidence

6. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First) to the Prime Minister: Does she have confidence in her Associate Minister of Mâori Affairs, Hon John Tamihere?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK (Prime Minister): Yes.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: How does she arrive at that conclusion, after his attack in the last 24 hours on the elderly leadership of Mâoridom, questioning their skill sets and their competence to take us into the next generation, when we have a Minister who was guilty of forgery, of uttering, of numerous drink-driving offences, of having the books changed at the Waipareira Trust to disguise an $800,000-plus deficit by declaring an unrealised profit—all of which is grossly illegal—and, worse than that; how can she have confidence in such a person’s criticism of people like Api Mahuika of Ngâti Porou?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: I understand that the matters referred to have been covered by a personal statement made in this House before. Nothing the Minister said was as offensive as Mr Peters’ reference to Sir Graham in this House 18 months ago as New Zealand’s leading teat-sucker.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Is the Prime Minister aware that Sir Graham is about to be the subject of a report from the Mâori Affairs Committee—a draft of which she has no doubt seen—and is she not also aware of the fact that Mr Tamihere’s record in business is not what he claims it to be, and that other circumstances would have seen him behind bars, as with Fortex?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: If the member is making allegations of wrongdoing, I suggest he make them to the appropriate authorities, and show his good faith in repeating them outside the House.

Hon Roger Sowry: Will the Prime Minister be apologising to kaumâtua and kuia for her Associate Minister of Mâori Affairs’ accusations that those leaders are “strangling their young successors”, or will she just give her usual apology for any offence that may have been taken?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: I expect that most of the leaders referred to will agree with Sir Graham, who said today that, “Throughout history, young people want to take over from their elders.”; Mr Peters may experience that some time.

Stephen Franks: Does the Prime Minister share her Associate Minister’s view that it is time for detribalised young urban Mâori to take control of the sums now expected by iwi in treaty claims settlements; if so, how will she make sure that iwi are not wronged again, as claim damages are taken by descendants of kaupapa Mâori, many of whom have never lost so much as a fish or a tree in breach of the treaty?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: It is hard to know where to begin with such a question. The Crown settles with iwi on historic claims. Iwi have decision-making structures on how they deal with the proceeds of those claims.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Noting that I stand by my comments about Sir Graham being a crook—and I have stood by those comments for decades—and noting that the Inland Revenue Department convicted him of nine offences for straight-out non-payment of tax, how can the Prime Minister say she is unaware of Mr Tamihere’s offence in respect of the Waipareira Trust business, when it was part of an auditor’s report, and when, under any other circumstance, a public report would have seen that person convicted and put behind bars, as in the Fortex case; how can she plead ignorance on that matter?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: My understanding is that those matters have been dealt with by way of personal explanation in another debate in this House.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Will the Prime Minister tell us on what day Mr Tamihere got up and made the issue of the falsifying of the Waipareira Trust books a matter of personal explanation in this House; if not, will she stop misleading this House?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: I do not have knowledge of Mr Tamihere falsifying books. The member should step outside the House and make that allegation.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Prime Minister has given that answer twice. The second time, I gave here a clear steer in saying that the audited account is a matter of public record. I do not have to step outside this House to say what is in those records—it is a matter of public documentation, which has been referred to by newspapers. I am entitled to an honest answer on this question. We have a Minister challenging the senior figures of Mâoridom—like Api Mahuika, whose involvement with Ngâti Porou goes back centuries—and I am asking the Prime Minister about the information she has in respect of that simple matter. She first told us that it was a matter of personal explanation. That is not true, and Mr Tamihere is not denying that either. Secondly, she said I should disclose information regarding a matter of public information outside this House. This is a serious matter. The Prime Minister has covered up for someone who has committed numerous crimes and who been convicted. She slides past those crimes as though we should all accept it, when he insults Mâori—

Mr SPEAKER: I think the member has gone too far. I would like him to come to his point of order—

Rt Hon Winston Peters: When he insults the leadership of Mâoridom, some of whom have worked decades for their people, and in many cases unblemished, then he has to be questioned in this House. All I am asking is for the Prime Minister to give an answer.

Mr SPEAKER: The member can ask that, and he can debate that in the House. We have freedom of speech in the House. That is not necessarily a point of order in relation to the question that is being asked at question time.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. It would be expected that a Prime Minister, more than any other Minister, would have the talent and the ability to give honest, open, direct answers, not slide behind “you say it outside the House”—

Mr SPEAKER: The Prime Minister did give an answer that perfectly addressed the question in her terms. That does not mean to say the member cannot debate the answer, but that is not the point of order procedure.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER: I am getting tired of these Points of Order
.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I am aware of what the requirements are in this House, but it is not a debatable matter when the Prime Minister says: “This matter has been disclosed by way of personal explanation.” True or false, it is not. The second issue is whether I should disclose the matter outside the House in public. That has already been disclosed in the audit report. Mr Tamihere knows that. What is your defence of the Prime Minister’s standard answer to these questions?

Mr SPEAKER: There is absolutely nothing for me to rule on.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: It is a cover-up.

Questions for Oral Answer
Schools—Leadership

7. LYNNE PILLAY (NZ Labour—Waitakere) to the Minister of Education: What reports has he received of schools showing leadership and excellence in education?

Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Minister of Education): Mountain View Primary School in Mangere was today named the 2002 Goodman Fielder School of the Year, in recognition of the school’s leadership in seeking academic excellence and a quality learning environment for its pupils. This decile 1 school is an excellent example of a school making real progress in literacy and numeracy under real pressure.

Lynne Pillay: What can other schools learn from the 2002 Goodman Fielder School of the Year?

Hon TREVOR MALLARD: This school has achieved academic progress through a number of initiatives, including research-based programmes and assessment tools focusing on literacy. It is focusing on programmes in both Mâori and English to maximise learning for its students. This school has displayed excellent financial management, which has freed up resources for computers and other learning materials, and specialist teaching. In short, Mountain View Primary is a model of what this Government is striving for in the education of our children.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: In stark contrast to that school’s achievement, why, in response to the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study released in April this year—which showed that New Zealand was 13th in literacy and the second lowest of English-speaking countries—did he say that those results were: “very pleasing”, and would he also say, if our All Blacks, later in the year, come 13th in the world cup, that that was very pleasing; by describing those results as “very pleasing”, what sort of leadership in excellence is he showing?

Mr SPEAKER: The member does not have responsibility for the second part of the question, but he can answer the first part.

Hon TREVOR MALLARD: The first part shows some confusion on the part of the member. What we do know is that this school would have its funding cut by about a total of $150,000 if the National Party leader had his way.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I asked a question about New Zealand’s 13th ranking in an international literacy study and the Minister’s comment that: “these are very pleasing results”. I get an answer from the Minister that has absolutely no relation to that, or any fact as a matter of National Party policy, and I cannot see how that can be deemed as an appropriate answer to the question.

Mr SPEAKER: I thought the Minister said he did not agree with the member. That is a perfectly reasonable response. That is a debatable matter.

Craig McNair: Can the Minister deny that there is emerging a core of schools and students who are underachieving, such as two out of four colleges in the Rodney area in which I am based, which has some of the highest suspension and stand-down rates in the country?

Hon TREVOR MALLARD: I think the word “emerging” is not the right word. We have had for some time a core of schools—some in low-decile areas and some in high-decile areas—where there has been systemic underachievement. For the last 4 years this Government has been working on that. We have made enormous progress in the suspension area. We have also made enormous progress in literacy in low-decile schools.

Hon Peter Dunne: Has the Minister received any reports about schools that have been successfully introducing and promoting character education programmes; if he has received such reports, what steps will he take to ensure that those programmes can be expanded—particularly since character education has been part of the curriculum since 1993?

Hon TREVOR MALLARD: It is fair to say that the vast majority of successful schools have, as their basis, especially in the social studies and health areas, values in character education, courses, and approaches. Some schools do it as stand-alone, using outside agencies to lead it; others have integrated it into the curriculum in a positive way. The latter is probably the best way of doing it.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I seek leave of the House to table the statement from the Minister that these are very pleasing results.

Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that statement. Is there any objection? There is.

Questions for Oral Answer
Hernia Operations—Elective Surgery

8. Dr LYNDA SCOTT (NZ National—Kaikoura) to the Minister of Health: Have district health boards, such as Lakes and Waikato, ceased performing elective hernia operations in their public hospitals without public consultation on this rationing; if so, why?

Hon ANNETTE KING (Minister of Health): I am advised that no district health boards have ceased performing elective hernia surgery.

Dr Lynda Scott: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. In the past you have always asked that we raise a point of order at the end to table documents. But I have documents here that show quite clearly that these two district health boards have sent out letters saying that they do not.

Mr SPEAKER: Ask for leave now—but that is unusual.

Dr Lynda Scott: I seek leave to table documents from the Lakes District Health Board and the Waikato District Health Board saying: “We have decided that at present we will not offer consultation or in-patient lists for inguinal hernias, umbilical hernias”—

Documents, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.

Dr Lynda Scott: Does the Minister believe that when a general practitioner is immensely concerned about the impact of having a patient rejected from the waiting list, and has asked the hospital to reconsider that decision, the patient should, at least, be seen for a first specialist assessment; if not, what are general practitioners supposed to do to care for a patient they clearly know needs surgery and needs it now?

Hon ANNETTE KING: I agree with the member that a doctor has the right to refer a patient to a specialist when he or she believes a person has reached a condition where they require the attention of that specialist. I would expect that doctor to make that referral.

Steve Chadwick: What are some of the reasons that have influenced a drop in the need for hernia surgery?

Hon ANNETTE KING: There has been a drop in the need for hernia surgery, and some of it comes from the use of improved surgical technologies, such as laparoscopic surgery. In the past, where large incisions were necessary during surgery, it often led to hernias, and with the changes in the way that operations are carried out, patients are less likely to herniate following surgery today.

Pita Paraone: Given the Government’s pledge to reduce the numbers on hospital waiting-lists, and the present practice of rationing some elective surgery, can the Minister give an assurance that this practice will not compromise the health and safety of people on waiting lists who are requiring such surgery?

Hon ANNETTE KING: The purpose of a booking system is to ensure that those who need surgery first get it first, and that is why they are prioritised to get surgery within 6 months. The way we rationed in the past was to leave people on waiting lists for 6 or 7 years, waiting for hernia operations—an operation they would never get.

Sue Kedgley: Does the Minister agree that removing a patient from a waiting list, when a patient has given his or her consent for surgery and there is an implied understanding that surgery will happen, is ethically unacceptable and a breach of the health and disability code; if not, why not?

Hon ANNETTE KING: No, I do not believe it is a breach. If a person has been taken from the waiting list because he or she cannot receive the surgery within 6 months, and sent back to the doctor for active review, that does not mean the person will not get surgery; it means the surgery cannot be provided within the 6 months required.

Heather Roy: In relation to the funding available for operations, does the Minister deny that the ministry’s view, in December 2001—at the time of the Minister’s big package announcement—was that the package would produce a total deficit of $79 million in 2002-03; and how is it that this morning at the select committee she confirmed an explosion in the size of this deficit to $192 million?

Mr SPEAKER: That is very wide of the original question, but the Minister may comment.

Hon ANNETTE KING: That was the predicted deficit at the time. The deficit did become larger than that, but I am pleased to tell the member, as I told her this morning, that the predicted deficit for this next financial year is considerably less, and I believe it will be one of the lowest we have had in many years in this House.

Dr Lynda Scott: What is her response to Dr Falconer, a general practitioner of Te Awamutu, who has a 42-year-old patient who has had to be put on a sickness benefit because he cannot work, due to an inguinal hernia—that Waikato Hospital has twice refused to even consider repairing—and who states: “I consider this grossly unreasonable and a total waste of welfare resources to condemn this man to unnecessary disability.”?

Hon ANNETTE KING: I suggest that the doctor take this up with the Waikato District Health Board, because, as of today, both Lakes and Waikato district health boards inform me that hernias that cause major pain and discomfort, or are disabling, are being operated on.

Dr Lynda Scott: Why did the Minister not know that the Lakes and Waikato district health boards are not offering hernia operations, and why does the patient have to wait until a hernia strangulates—that is, necessitating urgent and life-threatening surgery—before a patient can get public health-care, and is her advice that all New Zealanders should try to take out private health insurance because that is the only way they will get elective surgery?

Mr SPEAKER: That was three questions. The Minister may reply to two.

Hon ANNETTE KING: According to the Waikato District Health Board, as of today, it does not require a strangulated hernia for a person to receive surgery. In fact, the board has said to us that hernias that cause major pain, or discomfort, or are disabling, are being operated on.

Dr Lynda Scott: I seek leave to table the letters that were sent out from Waikato in respect of patients with inguinal hernias.

Documents, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.

Dr Lynda Scott: I seek leave to table the letter from Dr Falconer expressing his immense concern.

Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.

Questions for Oral Answer
Shipping Industry—Review

9. PETER BROWN (Deputy Leader—NZ First)PETER BROWN (Deputy Leader—NZ First)13BROWN, PETER to the Minister of TransportTransport: Having ruled out the taxation issue for the New Zealand shipping industry, will he be reintroducing cabotage when he announces the assessment of the Shipping Industry Review?

Hon HARRY DUYNHOVEN (Associate Minister of Transport)28DUYNHOVEN, Hon HARRY15:05:41Hon HARRY DUYNHOVEN (Associate Minister of Transport), on behalf of the Minister of Transport: The Government is still considering the proposals from the shipping industry review. As the member is aware, the review members were not able to agree on the cabotage option.

Peter Brown: Has the Government definitely ruled out a favourable taxation regime, noting very recently that the Hon Jim Anderton announced the Government was considering such a regime for the film industry?

Hon HARRY DUYNHOVEN: The review’s key proposal was “special tax arrangements” for New Zealand coastal shipping. Ministers did consider the proposal carefully. They did not support special tax breaks for New Zealand shipping, because it did not fit the Government’s general tax policy and it could cause problems for other transport modes.

Dave Hereora: What were the different views on cabotage within the shipping industry review?

Hon HARRY DUYNHOVEN: There were different views on cabotage within the shipping industry review. Some members considered that New Zealand’s domestic cargo should be treated as part of the domestic economy—carried on New Zealand vessels, employing New Zealand seafarers, and subject to New Zealand employment conditions. They also considered that cabotage was sustainable and would give support to domestic shipping, and road and rail services. Other members of the review doubted that cabotage would do much to increase New Zealand’s participation in coastal shipping, and also considered that it could lead to increases in freight rates. So the review was quite undecided on that issue.

Jeanette Fitzsimons: Does the Minister agree that the abolition of cabotage has led to predatory pricing and that the restoration of cabotage has widespread support from the shipping industry and shipping unions, as a key measure to ensure that New Zealand retains a coastal shipping industry; if so, what is he doing to advance this issue?

Hon HARRY DUYNHOVEN: Certainly, I do understand the member’s point of view, and it is widespread within the industry and obviously supported. As I said earlier, the review members were split on the cabotage issue. I can confirm that the Greens are involved in ongoing discussions regarding the final decisions to be taken in respect of the review, and I hope those decisions will be made within the next month or two.

Peter Brown: Is the Minister aware that the shipping industry and seafarers are the only people in this country competing against cheap foreign people and companies, and that the Labour Party, when in Opposition, and through the member himself, made many speeches outlining that the Government would do something about this practice; when will it happen, and what is the thrust of it?

Hon HARRY DUYNHOVEN: Yes certainly I am aware of the heavy competition in the international shipping industry and the removal of cabotage, which brought that to our shores. The member himself had the opportunity between 1996 and 1999 as part of a Government then to change the issue. It is a complex issue—

Hon Dr Nick Smith: It is complex now!

Hon HARRY DUYNHOVEN: Certainly, and it always was, I tell the member opposite. It is a complex issue and if it was so simple to fix it would have been fixed long ago. The Government is working on it. The review stated that extensively, and a report has been given to the Government. As I said earlier I hope that the results of that review, and the Government’s decisions on it, will be announced in the next month or two.

Peter Brown: I seek leave to table the shipping industry review report in case the Minister has forgotten about it.

Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that report. Is there any objection? There is objection.

Questions for Oral Answer
Television New Zealand Act—Broadcasting and Transmission Companies

10. KATHERINE RICH (NZ National) to the Minister of Broadcasting: Does he stand by his statement of 27 March 2003 that “Following the passage of the Television New Zealand Act two separate broadcasting and transmission companies will come into effect on 1 July 2003”; if not, why not?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY (Minister of Broadcasting): The Government made the decision to separate the television and transmission arms of TVNZ in December 2002. In February officials advised that there was a possible Australian tax issue related to TVNZ (Australia), but expected this to be resolved in time for separation to occur by 1 July 2003. In case this issue did take longer to resolve the Act was drafted to allow until 31 December 2003 for separation to occur. When I released my 27 March statement it was still expected that separation would occur by the 1 July date. In May officials advised that resolution would take longer, and we are allowing them to discuss the matter.

Katherine Rich: When the Government was told in March 2001 that shifting TVNZ (Australia) into the new State-owned enterprise would trigger a multimillion dollar capital gains tax payment to the Australian Government, why was this issue not addressed much sooner given the Government has been aware of this risk since March 2001?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: I think the member is mistaken. The arrangements to separate the transmission and broadcasting arms of TVNZ are a new arrangement as decided in December last year—that is, the Australian part of TVNZ is to be handled differently from what was originally decided. So the first date that officials were able to advise the Government on this issue was around February and, as I said, we anticipate that those issues will be talked through by officials and a suitable solution found without any costs.

Mark Peck: Why did the Government revive the separation option for broadcasting and transmission businesses of TVNZ?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: The separation of the transmission business of TVNZ enables each company to focus on its core role given their different nature and their objectives. TVNZ is a Crown-owned company and it gives effect to the charter while maintaining its commercial process. The Transmission Holdings Ltd part of the business, of course, is in transmission and is a State-owned enterprise. I can report to the House that the separation is going well. Both companies are now operationally separate and trading profitably.

Gerrard Eckhoff: Why did the Minister ignore the advice in the Arthur Andersen report that stated that the potential risks of the transfer of TVNZ (Australia) into a new State-owned enterprise are not counterbalanced by the new expected revenue arising from any transfer to BCL?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: The advice was not ignored and the arrangements that were anticipated by that report to cause a problem, of course, are not being entered into.

Sue Kedgley: If the issues are not satisfactorily resolved by the end of the year, as the Minister is hoping, what will happen to TVNZ (Australia) on 1 January 2004?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: We are not anticipating there being any difficulty, as we will be arriving at a solution by that time.

Marc Alexander: Is the Minister confident that the separation of the transmission and broadcasting arms of TVNZ will produce an efficiently operating and more transparent structure as opposed to the clumsy three-board hydra that was previously proposed despite the present short-term implementation issues that have surfaced?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: Yes.

Katherine Rich: When the Minister said that he did not ignore the 2001 report from Arthur Andersen, has he overlooked comments made in that report that putting its Australian subsidiary into a new State-owned enterprise could have a severe impact on TVNZ’s Australian arm, creating “a risk of loss of key personnel”, and “would put at risk the international business strategy of TVNZ”, and that TVNZ (Australia)’s ability to make money would also be under threat if it was separated from TVNZ?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: No. We did not ignore that advice.

Questions for Oral Answer
Search and Rescue—Boating Accident, Oamaru

11. DAVID PARKER (NZ Labour—Otago) to the Minister of Transport: Why has the Government decided to initiate a review into the circumstances surrounding the search and rescue response to the boating accident off the Oamaru coast on 11 May 2003?

Hon HARRY DUYNHOVEN (Associate Minister of Transport), on behalf of the Minister of Transport: The Government asked the Search and Rescue Council to review the circumstances surrounding the search and rescue response to the Oamaru boating incident because of concerns about the timeliness and adequacy of that response.

David Parker: What is the purpose of the review?

Hon HARRY DUYNHOVEN: The purpose of the review is to establish what occurred following the incident, whether any improvements in current search and rescue arrangements and procedures are necessary, and to make any changes if required. The purpose is to learn from the incident, not to allocate any blame.

Questions for Oral Answer
Racing Industry—Gaming Machine Trusts

12. LINDSAY TISCH (NZ National—Piako) to the Minister for Racing: Will the racing industry continue to have access to grants from gaming machine trusts, and what advice has he received about the effect on racing clubs throughout New Zealand of ending access to these grants?

Hon DAMIEN O'CONNOR (Minister for Racing): A number of racing groups have advised me that there could be a negative impact on racing clubs if they were no longer allowed to apply for grants from gaming machines. The Government is aware of these concerns. This House will decide whether the racing industry can continue to apply for gaming-machine grants when it considers the Responsible Gambling Bill.

Lindsay Tisch180Lindsay Tisch: Is the Minister prepared to accept an estimated $6 million loss of funding to the racing industry if clubs cannot access grants from off-site gaming machines and charitable trusts, with the result that many racing clubs may go bankrupt; if so, why, and how will racing clubs replace the $6 million?

Hon DAMIEN O'CONNOR: Our officials are seeking to verify the statements that have been made in the media concerning the potential loss from the benefits that clubs have. Early estimates are that those figures are somewhat over inflated.

Tim Barnett: What has the Government done to promote the long-term viability of New Zealand racing?

Hon Annette King: Heaps!

Hon DAMIEN O'CONNOR: As my colleague says, heaps. On 1 August 2003 the new Racing Act will come into force. The Act simplifies racing administration by establishing a single statutory body, the New Zealand Racing Board, to take over the combined functions of both the Racing Industry Board and the TAB. The industry has been waiting a long time for this, and we are very pleased as a Government to carry out its wishes in progressing the racing industry into the future.

Lindsay Tisch180Lindsay Tisch: How does the Minister reconcile his statement in the Sunday Star-Times of 18 June that he was working hard to ensure that any provisions in the new Responsible Gambling Bill were beneficial to racing, when further in the article he stated that he could give no assurances to the industry that it would continue to have access to grants from gaming machines?

Hon DAMIEN O'CONNOR: I am always working hard on behalf of the racing industry. The industry itself is aware that it cannot guarantee into the future that it will always have access to the money from casino gaming machines.

End of Questions for Oral Answer


(uncorrected transcript—subject to correction and further editing)

ENDS


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