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Questions of the Day Transcript - Tuesday June 24

(uncorrected transcript—subject to correction and further editing)

TUESDAY, 24 JUNE 2003

Questions for Oral Answer


Questions to Ministers:

1. Seabed and Foreshore—Crown Ownership
2. Literacy—Home Environment
3. Treaty Settlements—Government Policy
4.Agriculture—Greenhouse Gas Emissions
5. Parole—Preventive Detention
6. Home Buy-back Schemes—Statutory Management
7. Mental Health—Patients in Police Cells
8. Furniture Industry—Development
9. Mental Health—Patient Care, Waitemata
10. Tertiary Education—Teacher Standards
11. Agriculture—Greenhouse Gas Emissions
12. Agriculture—Agricultural Emissions Research Funding

Questions for Oral Answer
Question No. 1 to Minister

Hon BILL ENGLISH (Leader of the Opposition): The question was originally put down to the Prime Minister, and I seek leave that it be held over until the Prime Minister is here.

Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought. Is there any objection? There is.

Questions for Oral Answer
Seabed and Foreshore—Crown Ownership

1. Hon BILL ENGLISH (Leader of the Opposition) to the Associate Minister of Justice: Does the Government’s announcement, that it will introduce legislation to provide for Crown ownership of the seabed and foreshore, prevent anyone from making an application to the Mâori Land Court for title to the seabed and foreshore?

Hon MARGARET WILSON (Associate Minister of Justice): The intention of proposed legislation is to give clear expression to the Crown’s ownership of foreshore and seabed for the benefit of all New Zealanders. It is also the Government’s intention to preserve the ability of Mâori claimants to pursue claims to the foreshore and seabed, compatible with the Crown’s ownership rights.

Hon Bill English: Why did the Prime Minister make statements giving the impression that the Mâori claims were blocked, when, in fact, it is Government policy that those claims can continue before the Mâori Land Court, and the Mâori Land Court will have the capacity today, tomorrow—even when the legislation is introduced—to decide whether there is customary ownership?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: It is the Government’s intention to balance the interests of all parties in this matter. It is also the Government’s intention, as it is stated, to look now at the detail to ensure how those interests can be reconciled in the interests of all New Zealanders.

Tim Barnett: If the Government did not legislate, is it possible that the court processes could result in someone being given exclusive title to part of the ocean?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: Yes.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: When the Associate Minister said on the Holmes programme this morning: “What the Government should do under those circumstances, when the law has not been clarified, is that we are announcing that in principle we are going to clarify it”, could she tell us what legal principle this is, and why does she and others in this House who for years have been passing separatist legislation not fly a white flag and admit it?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: The principle is that of parliamentary sovereignty.

Hon Richard Prebble: Is not the real situation that the Court of Appeal found that customary use rights—customary access—to the foreshore was the equivalent of customary ownership, so when the Minister says that the Government rejects Mâori ownership of the foreshore but it accepts Mâori claim to customary use and access, that is a piece of sophistry, and, in fact, what the Government is doing is agreeing to hand over our foreshore to a select number of New Zealanders?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: No, and no.

Metiria Turei: Does the Minister agree that the Court of Appeal decision reflects the common law principles of Aboriginal title applicable in New Zealand. and as was applied in Australia in the Mabo case, and does she agree that te tiriti creates even stronger obligations on the Crown to consult with Mâori rather than legislating as she proposes?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: No, I do not accept that the Court of Appeal decision does what the member says, but I do accept that the Australian recent decisions have, in fact, decided that there is no exclusionary use of waterways in Aboriginal title; and, yes, there will be consultation with Mâori in terms of working through the detail as to what legislation will be ensuring that everyone’s rights are protected.

Hon Peter Dunne: In the legislation that the Minister is foreshadowing, how will the rights of recreational users and fishers other than customary users be protected?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: That is precisely what has to be made clear. It is the interests of all parties. One starts from the fundamental principle that if there is ownership in the Crown, then it is for the Crown to ensure those interests are protected—Mâori interests, recreational interests, and commercial interests. It is a balancing of interests.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Has the Associate Minister seen the comments of her colleague Tariana Turia, which go as follows: “They want the Government to overrule a unanimous decision by the Court of Appeal.”, and her similar comments made on the issue of oil and gas in Taranaki, and could she please tell us what legal principles she has been informing her colleague about when she rises in this House and says that nothing has been done in respect of challenging a Court of Appeal decision?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: If I understand the questions, no I have not seen the comment of my colleague. The Court of Appeal decision was one relating to jurisdiction and to access, and that is not what has been challenged. In that process, however, the end point of that application to the Mâori Land Court would lead to a private title in land, and that is what was the concern of the Government.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. With respect, I am asking for a very clear answer to a legal question. The reality is that Judge Hingston made that an issue when he said—

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

Rt Hon Winston Peters: No, no, let me finish.

Mr SPEAKER: The member will please be seated. That is not a point of order.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: It is.

Mr SPEAKER: The member has not yet come to one. The Minister is giving an answer. The member has an opportunity to ask her in a supplementary—

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Mr Speaker, she has given a long, extended answer, none of which relates to my question.

Mr SPEAKER: The member will please be seated while I am on my feet or I will not call the member again.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Well, wait until I have finished my point of order.

Mr SPEAKER: The member will leave the Chamber.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Well you can run a protection racket if you like, but the reality is that I want some answers in this House and so does everybody else. We have put up with this rubbish for years.

Mr SPEAKER: If the member does not leave he will be named, as well.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I don’t mind if you name me, Mr Speaker. I know what my name is.

Question time interrupted.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I don’t mind if you name me, Mr Speaker. I know what my name is.

Question time interrupted.

Naming and Suspension of Member

14:10:54

Mr SPEAKER: I name the member. The question is that that be agreed to.

A party vote3.1 was called for on the question, That the Rt Hon Winston Peters be suspended from the service of the House.

Ayes 106

Labour 52; New Zealand National 27; ACT New Zealand 8; Green Party 9; United Future 8; Progressive 2.

Noes 13

New Zealand First 13.

Question agreed to.

Rt Hon Winston Peters withdrew from the Chamber.

Withdrawal from Chamber

Question time resumed.

Questions for Oral Answer


Questions to Ministers

Questions for Oral Answer
Question No. 1 to Minister

Hon Bill English: Has the Associate Minister seen the following comments: “This is a due process of law; there is no need for anxiety. If the claims of the tangata whenua are upheld there will no doubt be negotiations with the Crown.”, which are statements made by Tariana Turia on Saturday; and did the Government consult her and the members of the Mâori caucus before making its statements that appeared in public yesterday?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: No, I had not seen those specific comments, and, no, there was no formal negotiation with the Mâori caucus on the point of principle. However, there will be extensive negotiation with the Mâori caucus and with other members of the caucus in working out the detail of the policy.

Hon Ken Shirley: In view of the Minister’s statement that there is no exclusive use to waterways in aboriginal title, will the Government reconfirm the 1922 legislation vesting in the Crown the foreshore and beds of 14 Rotorua lakes, thereby dismissing the current Mâori claim over the foreshore and bed of those 14 lakes; if not, why not?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: No, the Crown has made an offer to Arawa on those lakes, and that offer is subject to conditions for public access and for use.

Metiria Turei: Can the Minister then confirm that Tûwharetoa have legal title over the beds of Lake Taupo, its associated rivers and streams, with joint management of the beds with local and central government, but that that legal title does not give the owners the right to exclude the public from those waters?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: Yes.

Hon Bill English: If it is the Government’s view that the title to the foreshore and the seabed has always been with the Crown, just what is it that she is going to be negotiating with Mâori on, and why has she already suggested compensation for a right that she says the Crown has always had?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: Those are all matters that will be subject to negotiation.

Hon Bill English: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I did ask a specific question about what it is the Government is going out to negotiate on. The Minister has talked about negotiation many times in question time. She has mentioned compensation in her public statements. She made absolutely no attempt to answer that specific question.

Mr SPEAKER: Perhaps the Minister might like to continue her answer.

Hon MARGARET WILSON: As I said, they are all matters that will be subject to discussion and negotiation. They have not been predetermined. If we had already predetermined it, there would be no point in having the discussion and the negotiation, and we would be criticised for that also.

Questions for Oral Answer
Literacy—Home Environment

2. JILL PETTIS (NZ Labour—Whanganui) to the Minister of Education: What steps is he taking to help spread literacy gains from the classroom into the home?

Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Minister of Education): This week more than 80,000 students from 426 low-decile schools will get to choose a book they can take home and keep, thanks to funding from this House. Government Book Week forms part of the highly successful Books in Homes programme that helps to get books into homes where reading material is otherwise scarce.

Jill Pettis: What other initiatives has the Government in place to help to improve students’ literacy skills?

Hon TREVOR MALLARD: Spending on recent literacy initiatives is set to rise to $25 million over 4 years, as a result of the $15 million injection in the May Budget. As a result, literacy development officers will be supporting schools, where necessary, to deliver effective literacy programmes for their students. Other projects already in place include the Literacy Leadership Programme, the highly successful Assessment Tools for Teaching and Learning, and a lot more classroom and home resource materials than was previously available.

Hon Brian Donnelly: What policy or programmes have been developed to mitigate the negative effects of what the Education and Science Committee report on literacy identified as the most seriously detrimental home-school relationship breakdown, which was the issue of transiency, on which this Government in 2001 pledged to commence policy work?

Hon TREVOR MALLARD: We have certainly fulfilled that commitment.

Questions for Oral Answer
Treaty Settlements—Government Policy

3. Hon Dr NICK SMITH (NZ National—Nelson) to the Minister in charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations: Is it Government policy that treaty settlements are full and final?

Hon MARGARET WILSON (Minister in charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations): Yes.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Noting that the 1992 fisheries settlement was “full and final settlement of all claims to commercial fishing rights” and that the definition of “commercial fishing rights” clearly includes marine farming, why does she state in the Christchurch Press this morning that claims by iwi for a cut from the profits by aquaculture farmers in the Marlborough Sounds were still being considered?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: I do not have responsibility for that settlement. That is the responsibility of the Minister of Fisheries. I do apologise if I do not have all the detail that is required to answer this question. However, my understanding is that those matters on aquaculture are under discussion at the moment and decisions will be made in the near future.

Hon Brian Donnelly: Can the Minister confirm that both the Tainui and Ngâi Tahusettlements concluded by the previous National Government have ratchet clauses, meaning that they can have another bite at the cherry, and, therefore, those settlements cannot be considered to be full and final?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: Yes. Certainly, the previous Government did include clauses in those settlements. They have not been included in any settlements under this Government.

Mahara Okeroa: Do historical treaty settlements extinguish Mâori customary rights?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: No, the treaty settlements only settle historical claims. They do not extinguish any aboriginal title or customary rights that may exist, or have effect on them. Indeed, treaty settlements contain explicit provisions to that effect. However, under the settlements the Crown retains the right to challenge the nature and extent of any aboriginal right or customary right Mâori may assert.

Stephen Franks: Given the exclusion of customary use rights under the treaty from settlements, will she guarantee that access to beaches and seabed in so-called Crown ownership will be available equally for all New Zealanders, without distinction or privilege on the basis of race or ethnic inheritance; yes or no?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: Yes, that is the Government’s intention.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: What does she think her statement “claims by iwi for a cut from the profits by aquaculture farms in the Marlborough Sounds are still being considered” does for investment confidence for the hundreds of marine farmers who have invested their life savings, and what is she doing to try to create clarity for those important contributors to the New Zealand economy?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: I am at a disadvantage here because I do not have the actual quotes of that statement. I have no recollection of making that statement, so I would appreciate it if the member would give me a copy of it.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I seek leave to table the article in the Christchurch Press this morning in which the Minister said those words—that is, that she was open to Mâori receiving a cut from aquaculture farmers.

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

Dail Jones: Taking into account Mr Smith’s reference to aquaculture and, obviously, the Marlborough area as well, in the recent Court of Appeal case—going back to Judge Hingston’s decision, did he not make only a provisional determination that customary title may still exist, but then he granted leave for the parties to appeal his decision, to see whether they wished to contest his findings of law; and did he not say that further hearings were required to establish whether any customary title did, in fact, exist?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: I understand there were several appeals from the result of the original decision. That is why it took 5 years to get to the Court of Appeal.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Noting that over the last 3 days she has seen fit to comment on issues of legal rights in the marine environment, does she accept that the 1992 fisheries settlement amounted to a full and final settlement for commercial fishing, including marine farming?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: I repeat, I do not recall the details, because it is not within my ministerial responsibility. However, my understanding was that aquaculture was, in fact, separate, but I suggest the member lay a question down for the Minister of Fisheries.

Questions for Oral Answer
Agriculture—Greenhouse Gas Emissions

4. LARRY BALDOCK (United Future) to the Convenor, Ministerial Group on Climate Change: How can he justify placing a levy on sheep, cattle, goats, and deer to fund research into agricultural greenhouse gas emissions?

Hon PETE HODGSON (Convenor, Ministerial Group on Climate Change): Agricultural greenhouse gases make up more than half of New Zealand’s total emissions. To meet our international obligations on climate change we need to find a way to reduce these emissions, and research is the way to do that.

Larry Baldock: Will the Minister also recommend that the Government levy the Department of Conservation for the deer, goats, chamois, thar, and vegetarians that live on the conservation estate; if not, why not?

Hon PETE HODGSON: The way in which the country reports its emissions is done pretty much by proxy. We have to estimate total animal numbers. No doubt, we will make an estimate for feral animals, as well.

David Parker: What benefits can farmers expect if this research is successful?

Hon PETE HODGSON: Research in this area has good potential for increasing farm productivity, or reducing production costs, which would be to the direct financial benefit of farmers.

Hon David Carter: Why has the Government put out a discussion document when it is clearly not interested in discussing this tax, and will simply “require” farmers to pay for research, as admitted by the Minister during question time last Thursday?

Hon PETE HODGSON: The Government’s preferred policy position in this matter was released in April last year, and confirmed several months later. This discussion document asks for stakeholder involvement in decisions about: what the holding company structure might look like, what happens to the intellectual property, how the levy might best be collected, and matters of that ilk.

Gerrard Eckhoff: When, on 21 May 2001, the Minister said that the Government “has ruled out introducing a flatulence tax on every sheep and cow”, is not his recent announcement of an $8.4 million-tax just a marvellous example of this Government “keeping our word”?

Hon PETE HODGSON: It is indeed a marvellous example. Let me explain. Should the Government impose a tax on primary-production methane and nitrous oxide—even at a marginal level; even if it were just on the increase, and even if it were $10 per tonne of carbon dioxide—that would cost $50 million. If we were to do that on all of the emissions of the primary sector it would cost $370 million. In fact, we are asking the primary production community to invest, with the Government, about $8 million of its money in order that we can improve productivity of our primary production industry further.

Dail Jones: How can the Minister say that New Zealand has an international obligation to the Kyoto Protocol, if we bear in mind that it does not come into effect internationally until 55 percent of the parties that are party to the protocol have signed and accepted it, and if we take into account that the United States, which has a 36.1 percent share, still has not signed and nor has the Russian federation, which has a 17.4 percent share—thus making over 53 percent—and therefore the Kyoto Protocol is not in effect today and there is no international obligation; will the Minister refund the money that this Government is illegally claiming from farmers?

Hon PETE HODGSON: It is true that the Kyoto Protocol has not come into force, and, therefore, has not come into effect. Indeed it will not come into effect until 1 January 2008. However, the research improves farm productivity. If the member could think of methane as waste and ask whether reducing waste is a good idea, that improves farm productivity and that productivity goes straight to a farmer’s bottom line.

Jeanette Fitzsimons: Can the Minister confirm that if agricultural emissions are not reduced then carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector will have to bear more than their fair share of meeting the Kyoto Protocol, and that will be a difficult transition for the energy sector to make, that fast?

Hon PETE HODGSON: Yes, that is one of the options. Another option is that the country pays. A third option is that we plant more trees. But none of those are quite the point. The point is that we can improve our primary production industries with this research, and reduce methane. It is called “win-win”.

Larry Baldock: Why is an agricultural research levy necessary when the new biotechnology that could emerge from this research effort would be easy to commercialise, and, therefore, would fall within the existing purview of Crown research institutes and the multitude of Government research, science, and technology grants currently available?

Hon PETE HODGSON: The Government already invests just a little short of $5 million in the area, and the private sector invests about $0.8 million. In the last several months we have scoped what the research needs are, and that is where the figure of an additional $8 million has arisen.

Gerrard Eckhoff: When the Minister stated just moments ago in this House—and, indeed, has stated in the past—that research is the way to go, why is he not aware that at least $30 million a year is being spent by private sector research companies into better pasture and fodder-crop conversion rates, thereby reducing methane emissions; and that they are doing it right now?

Hon PETE HODGSON: Our assessment of the amount of money that is going directly into methane mitigation is nowhere near that high. We put the private sector investment at $0.8 million.

Larry Baldock: Is the Minister concerned that the Government’s proposed agricultural emissions research levy is already seen by many as being inherently unfair and contradictory, and is this not just the beginning of the difficulties the Government will face as it attempts to meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol?

Hon PETE HODGSON: I repeat for the member that agricultural emissions in this country account for more than half our total emissions. The Government is saying that it will meet all those emissions, in return for which we invite the primary production sector to pay up $8 million to reduce those emissions by way of research. We cannot see what is unfair about that.

Questions for Oral Answer
Parole—Preventive Detention

5. Hon RICHARD PREBBLE (Leader—ACT NZ) to the Minister of Justice: Does he accept that the release of Michael John Carroll, a five time rapist of whom a judge said there was no alternative to preventive detention because he could not avoid the conclusion that Carroll was likely to offend again, is evidence that the Parole Act 2002 is releasing violent predators back into the community; if not, what evidence does this Government need?

Hon PHIL GOFF (Minister of Justice): Offenders who have served the minimum period of time required under law may be considered for parole under the Parole Act, as was the case under the previous law. Decisions as to whether to release an offender are made by a properly constituted, independent Parole Board, which has been given by this House the safety of the community as its paramount consideration. In this case, the judge who originally sentenced the offender to preventive detention, whom the member quoted in his question, also happens to be the chair of the Parole Board that decided the offender was safe to release.

Hon Richard Prebble: Can the House take it that the Minister is saying that Michael John Carroll, a five-time rapist, is now free solely because of section 7 of the Minister’s Parole Act, which states that offenders must not be detained any longer than is consistent with the safety of the community; if that is so, and if Mr Carroll reoffends, will the Minister take responsibility and resign; if not, why not?

Hon PHIL GOFF: No. The member did not quote the key clause of section 7, which I will quote, in case the member has not read it: “The paramount consideration for the board in every case is the safety of the community.” That is the guiding principle under which the Parole Board operates. It declined on five occasions to release the offender on parole; it decided on the sixth, having regard to the evidence put in front of it, that it was safe to release the offender. That is the board’s decision, and I have no ability under the law passed by this House to in any way influence that decision.

Russell Fairbrother: Can an offender sentenced to preventive detention, who is subsequently released, be recalled to prison; if so, on what grounds?

Hon PHIL GOFF: The answer to that is yes. Any offender sentenced to preventive detention, if released, is subject to conditions for the rest of his life, and can be recalled to prison at any point, not simply for reoffending or for breach of parole, but even on the grounds that the Parole Board, on advice, believes that that offender constitutes an undue risk.

Richard Worth: Does the Minister regard it as a satisfactory outcome under his much-vaunted Parole Act that this five-times rapist, Carroll, has been freed, when even his lawyer describes him as “perhaps New Zealand’s most dangerous predator”?

Hon PHIL GOFF: I repeat for the member that the decision to release was taken by an independent and properly constituted Parole Board. It made that decision on the advice that was available to it, and, interestingly, the judge who sentenced this man to preventive detention is the same judge who chairs the Parole Board, who could be assumed to have a good understanding of this man’s character.

Ron Mark: Whom does the Minister believe the greatest consideration should have been given to when assessing five-time rapist Michael Carroll’s suitability for release—the victims of Carroll’s previous rapes and their families; the families in the community into which he was to be secretly released; the Department of Corrections staff who said he was beyond redemption; or his politically correct Labour Party appointees and stooges on the Parole Board, who, like this Government, appear hell-bent on social experimentation at everyone else’s expense?

Hon PHIL GOFF: The member has just gratuitously insulted the Parole Board, the membership of which I doubt he even knows. It is led by a former High Court judge—

Hon MemberHon Member: Who appointed him?

Hon PHIL GOFF: The National Party appointed him. The board contained a District Court judge, who had been on the bench since 1987; New Zealand’s foremost forensic psychologist; a former prison manager; and another person who is eminent in the public service. I do not accept his insult to the members of that board. However, the answer to the first question is that the paramount consideration must be for the safety of the public, and the Parole Board made its decision with that principle in mind.

Marc Alexander: Does the Minister consider that media exposure might undermine the evidently successful rehabilitation of Michael Carroll, who, after 20 years of imprisonment, now lives a warped fantasy life, masquerading as a soldier or sailor, and spending inordinate time at local brothels, and would it not be a prudent time to remove the possibility of parole for serious violent and sexual offenders?

Hon PHIL GOFF: Firstly, the behaviour of the released offender is a factor that will be taken into account by the Parole Board if it sees fit to recall that individual on the evidence that it has. In regard to the effect of media exposure, I quote the Parole Board chairman Justice Ellis’ comments on this. He said that media exposure “may well completely negate the considerable effort that the police, the Department of Corrections, and Mr Carroll himself had put into his rehabilitation”, and that “that could never be in the public interest.”

Ron Mark: Has the Minister read the report on the front page of the Dominion Post this morning that states that Michael Carroll has been frequenting massage parlours on a very regular basis, that he has spent vast amounts of money at those parlours, and that he is delusional, living in a fantasy world; if the Minister has read that report, can he tell the House who will be held accountable if this man rapes again—will it be himself, the Prime Minister, or the Parole Board?

Hon PHIL GOFF: To answer the first question, yes, I have read that article. If any of the information in that article is relevant to the Parole Board, it will no doubt take it into account, but, as far as I am concerned, wearing a military uniform, for example, is not an offence—as the member well knows—nor is being in a massage parlour, though that matter is to be considered later. Who would be held responsible if this man offended again? First and foremost, the individual himself would be, but, naturally, there would be huge concern if he were to reoffend, given a judgment by the Parole Board that he no longer presented any undue risk.

Hon Roger Sowry: Can the Minister assure the House that his officials and Department of Corrections officials did not have anything to do with the finding of accommodation for this individual, which is surrounded by bush, secluded, and very close to a commuter railway station?

Hon PHIL GOFF: I can assure the member that the Ministry of Justice had nothing to do with that, because it is not an operational department. Generally, when a person is released from prison, and in particular when a person is released on parole, the Department of Corrections will take some responsibility, working with other groups in the community both to find accommodation and necessary support mechanisms designed to minimise the chance of that person reoffending.

Ron Mark: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Could I invite the Minister to recheck his statement. My understanding of the law is that it is illegal to wear a military uniform and to impersonate a member of the armed forces. The Minister might well have inadvertently misled the House.

Mr SPEAKER: That is a debating point.

Hon Richard Prebble: Will the Minister confirm that Michael John Carroll is a five-time convicted rapist, has fooled experts before, is one of the recipients of the taxpayer Lake Alice payout, and that he has been spending that money at a massage parlour—it is said that he spent a five-figure sum—and once he has spent that money and is again penniless does the Minister not confirm that every woman is not safe; if that is the case, why has he not applied to the Parole Board for Michael John Carroll to be recalled?

Hon PHIL GOFF: In relation to the member’s first question, all of that information is published on the front page of today’s paper, so the member can take that as being the case, although that is not always so with the Dominion Post. In relation to the second question, I do not have the role, in fact I am statutorily forbidden from interfering in the role of the Parole Board, and that is properly so.

Marc Alexander: Will the Minister assure us that the victims of Michael Carroll have been notified of his release; if not, will the Minister be prepared to contact them to ask them whether they wish to be placed on the victim notification register, despite his crimes predating the register; if not, why do the needs of innocent victims continue to take second place?

Hon PHIL GOFF: I can confirm that there was a victim on the notification list and that victim was properly notified and invited to make a submission. If any victim wishes to make a submission in that case he or she has the automatic right to do so. Under the law victims’ submissions must be taken into account by the Parole Board.

Questions for Oral Answer
Home Buy-back Schemes—Statutory Management

6. DAVE HEREORA (NZ Labour) to the Minister of Commerce: Why did she recommend that eight companies be placed in statutory management last Friday?

Hon LIANNE DALZIEL (Minister of Commerce): The eight companies were placed in statutory management following the advice and recommendation of the Securities Commission that the companies may have been acting fraudulently or recklessly and it was necessary to protect the interest of creditors, including the families who entered into the so-called buy-back schemes. These schemes are fundamentally flawed because they involve the transfer of title to the property to one of the companies involved in the scheme. It would appear that lawyers provided advice on both sides of the transaction without informed consent. This is a recipe for disaster, and the Government had to act.

Dave Hereora: Are the problems associated with housing buy-back schemes limited to those companies placed into statutory management on Friday; if not, what steps should consumers take if they have concerns?

Hon LIANNE DALZIEL: No. It appears that a number of other companies have been operating these housing buy-back schemes, or a variation on them. Both I and the Minister of Consumer Affairs are warning people not to enter into any scheme that involves the transfer of the title of their property to anyone else. A toll-free number has been established today—0508 Housing Buy Back, 0508 468 732.

Murray Smith: What does the Government hope to achieve by putting these eight companies into statutory management?

Hon LIANNE DALZIEL: Statutory management may help to identify what has happened to moneys raised by the companies involved and provide some breathing space for the families who, sadly, still remain at risk of losing their homes. The advantage of statutory management in this case is that certain companies were put into voluntary liquidation earlier last week, and therefore also the costs associated with the receivership would have reduced the funds available for distribution. Under statutory management, the costs are met by the Government.

Questions for Oral Answer
Question No. 7 to Minister

Mr SPEAKER: Before Dr Scott asks the question, I point out that I have consulted her, and the question that she originally submitted has had a slight change in the wording. I have allowed the change, and I have advised the Minister.

Questions for Oral Answer
Mental Health—Patients in Police Cells

7. Dr LYNDA SCOTT (NZ National—Kaikoura) to the Minister of Health: Why, until last week, were mentally ill patients still being held in police cells for more than 6 hours and treated like prisoners, not patients, when her department issued a directive that patients must not be detained in police cells for longer than 6 hours, 6 months ago?

Hon ANNETTE KING (Minister of Health): It is permissible to hold people in police cells for up to 6 hours to allow assessment. What is unacceptable is people being held longer. I am advised that the Waitemata District Health Board has reduced considerably the number being held longer that that. The police decision has seen this practice stopped all together.

Dr Lynda Scott: Why has nothing been done to avert this crisis, caused by a bed shortage that mental health nurses believe will see potentially dangerous patients discharged too soon due to lack of beds, staff, and resources; and will she take responsibility if any member of the public is harmed; if not, why not?

Hon ANNETTE KING: The member is incorrect to say that nothing has been done. This House will recall that in December last year I brought forward $2.8 million of funding to be spent to ensure there were packages of care in Auckland. I also brought forward $10 million of extra funding for Auckland to increase the number of facilities it has for the whole of the Auckland area.

Pita Paraone: Given that mental health patients are being held in prison cells, contrary to the directive of her ministry, are the actions of the district health boards symptomatic of a lack of beds, an insufficient number of trained staff, or a lack of an adequate monitoring process by the ministry?

Hon ANNETTE KING: It is a fact of history, particularly in Waitemata; that it has held mental health patients in police cells. In fact, it is the only district health board in New Zealand to do that. It is due to a combination of factors, including staff and including resources—something I have been trying very hard to put in place to overcome this problem.

Sue Bradford: Is it true that, as reported in a memo to staff of 19 June, that the Waitemata District Health Board is actually continuing to rely on the use of police cells for sections 8 and 9 of the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act, transporting patients and holding people where there is a risk of violence; and does the Minister think this is going to be either viable, satisfactory, or legal in the long term given the police desire not to hold mental health patients?

Hon ANNETTE KING: No. I do not find it acceptable or desirable, and in fact this practice has stopped because the police will not hold them any longer. The Waitemata District Health Board needs to get in line with every other district health board in New Zealand.

Steve Chadwick: What resources have been allocated to Waitemata District Health Board for the delivery of mental health services?

Hon ANNETTE KING: Considerable resources, and I am proud to say that it has been this Government that has taken mental health seriously—in 2001-02, there was $85 million; 2002-03 $97 million; 2003-04 $107 million. That is just for Waitemata District Health Board alone.

Dr Lynda Scott: As Inspector Abbott has said that about six patients per month have been held in Henderson cells, and today it was acknowledged that two patients had been in cells for 3 days each, is that not a clear indication of Third World mental health service; and if this illegal action has now stopped, what is going to happen to those acute patients when there are not acute beds for them?

Hon ANNETTE KING: Part of the packages of care that Waitemata has put in place is additional acute beds, including new ones it has just agreed to. If this is a Third World mental health system, it must have been a “Fourth or Fifth World” system under the previous Government.

Question No. 2 to Minister, 19 June

Hon Dr NICK SMITH (NZ National—Nelson)102SMITH, Hon Dr NICK14:50:41Hon Dr NICK SMITH (NZ National—Nelson): Last Thursday, I made an error in responding to health Minister, Annette King, taking offence at my colleague Lynda Scott raising individual cases. I sought, and obtained, leave to table 19 cases in which she, as Opposition spokesperson, had raised individual cases in the House. That was an error; it is 21 cases. I now seek leave for those 21 cases to be tabled.

Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought. Is there any objection? There is.

Hon ROGER SOWRY (Deputy Leader—NZ National)103SOWRY, Hon ROGER14:51:14Hon ROGER SOWRY (Deputy Leader—NZ National): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Leave was given to table 19 cases. In assembling and counting them, it was found to be 21 cases. I notice when the member sought leave to table, effectively the extra cases, the Minister herself did not object. I am wondering whether we should put the leave again, because the problem is that Nick Smith may not know which 19 of the 21 cases he should table.

Mr SPEAKER: The House agreed to give the Hon Nick Smith leave to table. He did not table the documents in the time required—by 6 p.m. that evening. But I am happy—[Interruption] I am stating a fact, as relayed to me. I, however, take the member’s point. I will seek leave again. Is there any objection? There is.

Questions for Oral Answer
Furniture Industry—Development

8. Hon MATT ROBSON (Deputy Leader—Progressive) to the Minister for Industry and Regional Development: What initiatives are under way to enhance the development of a design-based furniture industry in New Zealand?

Hon JIM ANDERTON (Minister for Industry and Regional Development)3ANDERTON, Hon JIM14:52:28Hon JIM ANDERTON (Minister for Industry and Regional Development): Following my visit to Europe and discussions with the Danish furniture industry, Industry New Zealand is now engaged with the Danish furniture industry, the Furniture Association of New Zealand, local New Zealand manufacturers, and New Zealand designers. The aim is to accelerate the use of world-class design within the New Zealand furniture industry, with products made here under licence and exported directly to overseas markets. Already we have begun a programme to audit the quality of nine leading furniture manufacturers in New Zealand to improve their capability to form partnerships with Danish companies.

Hon Matt Robson: How will the formation of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise assist in accelerating these initiatives for the design-led furniture industry?

Hon JIM ANDERTON: New Zealand Trade and Enterprise is the one-stop shop providing advice for businesses, industries, and regions, and for integrating trade, industry, and investment support. New Zealand Trade and Enterprise will support individual businesses—in this case, high-quality furniture manufacturing—to grow and develop, so they can take on new high-added-value opportunities, such as working with Danish designers and manufacturers. It will also assist them to identify investment capital and export opportunities. What is wrong with that?

Darren Hughes: How did the Minister’s recent visit to Scandinavia assist in developing linkages with designer-led industries and companies, and what regions will benefit from these linkages?

Hon JIM ANDERTON: The visit created strong interest among designer-led furniture manufacturers, particularly in Denmark, who had no idea—despite many years of the wood-processing industry under previous New Zealand Governments—of the quality of New Zealand pine. The coalition Government’s leadership in both the design and wood-processing task forces has clearly demonstrated our design-led and added-value commitment to manufacturing—

Mr SPEAKER: Come to the answer, please.

Hon JIM ANDERTON: These discussions are leading to a great improvement in job opportunities and high-quality, added-value manufacturing in New Zealand.

Questions for Oral Answer
Mental Health—Patient Care, Waitemata

9. SUE BRADFORD (Green) to the Minister of Health: What steps is she taking to ensure people with mental illness are adequately cared for in the Waitemata District Health Board district?

Hon ANNETTE KING (Minister of Health): Considerable steps have been taken. One of the issues constantly raised in this House, however, is the lack of resources in terms of funding. I have made available an extra $12.4 million of mental health funding for the Waitemata District Health Board in this financial year alone, and a further increase of $10 million is planned for 2003-04.

Sue Bradford: Is the Minister confident that the 2 percent pay offer currently on the table for psychiatric nurses and counsellors employed at Waitemata Health is sufficient to attract enough quality staff to fill the many vacancies currently existing in the Waitemata area?

Hon ANNETTE KING: The issue of salary negotiations is a matter for the district health board. However, I have been informed today that agreement has been reached with the Public Service Association on the pay increase, and it now goes out for ratification.

Dianne Yates: Has she been advised of any further staff increases for Waitemata mental health services?

Hon ANNETTE KING: Yes, I have been advised that 20 fulltime-equivalent extra nurses and therapists will be recruited as from 1 July.

Dr Lynda Scott: Why has Waitemata Health, which has the forensic psychiatric contract for all of Auckland, had crisis after mental health crisis, which has forced the police to act in an illegal manner of detaining patients as prisoners, and when will she, as Minister of Health, stop passing the buck and adequately resource Auckland’s crumbling mental-health system, and make sure that outcomes are delivered?

Hon ANNETTE KING: I agree with the member. I do want outcomes delivered. That is why we have committed the resources to ensure that the district health board can get on with the job. I am expecting it to do just that—get on with the job.

Sue Bradford: Why were the 20 extra packages of care allocated to the Waitemata District Health Board as a result of the Auckland review given to community care rather than to acute units, when the review itself pointed to the ongoing crisis in availability of acute beds in the region?

Hon ANNETTE KING: The member is, in fact, incorrect. The packages of care in the Waitemata District Health Board are as follows: three additional intensive care beds; five respite care beds, as of yesterday; and a suitable house for six step-down beds in the community, and the board has agreed to an additional two intensive care beds for North Shore.

Sue Bradford: Given that the situation in the Waitemata area continues to deteriorate despite the additional funding in beds that the Minister has referred to, will the Government consider increasing funding and taking steps alongside that to ensure that what funds there are are managed in a way that ensures adequate health and accommodation for all acutely mentally ill people in the region and those recovering from mental illness?

Hon ANNETTE KING: My first interest is that all the money I provide is spent. What I think does help the Auckland region are the recommendations from the Mental Health Commission to have one regional organisation to coordinate and fund our mental health services in that area, and, as of this week, Derek Wright, the new director, starts work.

Questions for Oral Answer
Tertiary Education—Teacher Standards

10. Dr ASHRAF CHOUDHARY (NZ Labour) to the Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education): What is the Government doing to recognise and promote excellent teaching in the tertiary education sector?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY (Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education))65MAHAREY, Hon STEVE14:59:33Hon STEVE MAHAREY (Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education)): Last night the Prime Minister, Marian Hobbs, and I, participated in the second annual tertiary teacher excellence awards presentations. Awards went to eight individuals, along with two teaching teams who won in the “Excellence in Collaboration” category. The Prime Minister’s Supreme Award went to Dr Peter Schwartz of the University of Otago, who is well known for pioneering a style of teaching based upon self-directed small groups. I should also note for the Houses’s interest that Dr Peter Schwartz is also well known for the fact that every year he memorises the name of every student in his class and meets them at the door for their first lecture by naming them.

Dr Ashraf Choudhary: Does the Government intend to introduce further measures to support teaching quality in the tertiary education sector?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: Yes, we do. The tertiary education reforms place a great emphasis on teacher quality. Funding for tuition of students is going to include a performance element. We will continue and expand the teacher excellence awards. We are setting in place the tertiary workforce review and a review of quality. All of this will be maintained next year through next year’s Budget.

Nandor Tanczos: What does the Minister think will be the effects on the quality of teaching in the tertiary sector of the decision to exclude postgraduate courses from the fees maxima when university academic positions generally require a PhD, and doctoral graduates are having to go into the private sector to repay their student debt because salaries in New Zealand institutions are uncompetitive?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: I do not anticipate a negative impact on teaching. In fact, the performance-based research fund places a high priority on postgraduate and other research students in the postgraduate area, which will ensure that they are well looked after by their institutions.

Questions for Oral Answer
Question No. 11 to Minister

Hon DAVID CARTER (NZ National): As this question is pertinent to the Minister himself and as he is not here, I seek leave for the question to be held over to—

Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to hold the question over. Is there any objection? There is. Please ask the question.

Questions for Oral Answer
Agriculture—Greenhouse Gas Emissions

11. Hon DAVID CARTER (NZ National) to the Minister of AgricultureAgriculture: Why did he reportedly assure farmers at last year’s Meat New Zealand annual meeting that the Government would not impose a tax on greenhouse gases emitted by farm stock, yet has now proposed to introduce such a tax?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN (Acting Minister of Agriculture): Because he has not.

Hon David Carter: Why then did the Minister say at the opening of the Federated Farmers office in Christchurch on 31 October 2002, in my presence, that farmers had nothing to fear and would not incur extra cost by the Government ratifying Kyoto?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: The Government’s decision was announced at the time that there would be the probability of a levy to fund research—

Hon David Carter: Oh, no, no.

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: If the member believes that that is a tax on emissions he has become confused between—

Opposition members: That’s what he said.

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: No, it is not on emissions. It is per sheep, per cow. The member is confused between the sausage and the sizzle. I assure him that his income tax is not on any emissions he may be making.

Janet Mackey: What contribution is the Government making to agricultural greenhouse gas emissions research?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: In 2003 the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology and the Minister of Agriculture and of Forestry will spend approximately $4.7 million on agricultural greenhouse gas emissions research. The Government intends to continue that investment.

Hon David Carter: Why does his Government continue to call farmers “whingers” and “silly”, and is that the attitude farmers can expect from this Government every time they seek accountability from Ministers to simply keep their promises?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: Indeed, I believe that farmers are part of the backbone of this country, and it is good to see that usually they do not take their behavioural habits from the National Party.

Gerrard Eckhoff: What is the Minister’s reaction to Taranaki Dairy Farmers of New Zealand Chairman, Don Harvey, describing the tax as disgusting, to large-herd owner John Washer’s comment that Pete Hodgson had been reading too many comics, and to Meat New Zealand Chairman, Jeff Grant, stating that the tax is overkill?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: I note that Mr Grant is a former National Party senior whip. I am sure that had absolutely nothing to do with the comments he made on this matter.

Hon David Carter: If the Minister does believe that farmers are the backbone of this economy, why does he refer to them as “whingers” and “silly”?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: I am sure that farmers have some whingers and some who are silly. Almost every organisation I know of has a few people who fall into that category. Only National Party members are 100 percent whingers and silly.

Questions for Oral Answer
Agriculture—Agricultural Emissions Research Funding

12. R DOUG WOOLERTON (NZ First) to the Convenor, Ministerial Group on Climate ChangeClimate Change: What feedback has he received from stakeholders within the agricultural sector on the planned levy mechanism outlined in the Agricultural Emissions Research Funding discussion document released last week?

Hon PETE HODGSON (Convenor, Ministerial Group on Climate Change): The discussion document seeks comment by 1 August. No formal comment on the proposed levy mechanism has yet been received.

R Doug Woolerton117R Doug Woolerton: When will the Minister stop labelling and insulting farmers and listen to their concerns rather than pushing forth regardless with a commitment to an international agreement that many of our major trading partners have chosen not to ratify?

Hon PETE HODGSON: I have been listening to farmers’ concerns for many years, and chief amongst them is how to improve productivity.

Mark Peck: What level of funding has the agriculture sector voluntarily committed to research and to reducing its emissions?

Hon PETE HODGSON: Private sector investment by the pastoral greenhouse gas research consortium amounts to $0.8 million a year.

Hon David Carter: How does the Minister equate the fairness of confiscating farmers’ greenhouse gas credits, yet levelling a tax on their greenhouse gas emissions?

Hon PETE HODGSON: Farmers do not have greenhouse gas credits.

End of Questions for Oral Answer


(uncorrected transcript—subject to correction and further editing)


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