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Questions Of The Day Transcript - Wed. 25 June

(uncorrected transcript—subject to correction and further editing)

WEDNESDAY, 25 JUNE 2003

Questions for Oral Answer


Questions to Ministers:

1. Myanmar—Aung San Suu Kyi
2. Seabed and Foreshore—Crown Ownership
3. Immigration—Cost to Taxpayers
4. Justice, Associate Minister—Confidence
5. Hazardous Substances—Regulation
6. Genetic Modification—Sheep, PPL Therapeutics, Waikato
7. Seabed and Foreshore—Crown Ownership
8. Whaling—International Whaling Commission
9. Defence Force—Attrition
10. Painted Apple Moth—Aerial Spray Campaign
11. Mâori Affairs, Minister—Media Coaching
12. Agriculture—Agricultural Emissions Research Funding

Questions for Oral Answer
Myanmar—Aung San Suu Kyi

1. GRAHAM KELLY (NZ Labour) to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade: What actions has he taken to protest at the arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi by Myanmar’s military Government?

Hon PHIL GOFF (Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade): Last week I joined with Ministers from other countries at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Phnom Penh in condemning the actions of the military Government in Myanmar and demanding the release of Aung San Suu Kyi. I also met directly with Myanmar Foreign Minister, Win Aung. I rejected his explanation that Aung San Suu Kyi was being held for her own safety, especially since the attack launched on her convoy on 30 May appears to have been orchestrated by the regime itself. I called not only for her immediate release but also for the release of an estimated 1,200 other political prisoners held by the military regime.

Graham Kelly: Does New Zealand provide development assistance aid to Myanmar, and would that be withheld to place pressure on the regime?

Hon PHIL GOFF: New Zealand has not developed a bilateral aid programme with Myanmar despite extensive poverty in that country because of the nature of the military regime. Some assistance, however, is provided multilaterally through ASEAN programmes and also directly to non-governmental organisations. But I indicated to Myanmar’s Foreign Minister that New Zealand would not engage more extensively with development assistance without clear progress towards the restoration of democracy, of which at present there is no evidence.

Hon Brian Donnelly: What actions has he taken to protest the genocide of the Korean people by Myanmar’s military Government?

Hon PHIL GOFF: The Government has consistently opposed all human rights abuses by the military regime, both against particular minority groups but also, of course, against the suspension of the democratic process and then the refusal over 13 years to recognise the democratic election result, which would have seen Aung San Suu Kyi Prime Minister.

Keith Locke: Will the Government be backing the strong United States’ actions against the Burmese regime and join it in implementing strong sanctions, including denying visas to members of the regime, freezing their financial assets, opposing loans to the regime, banning investments in Burma and remittances to leaders of the Burmese regime, and limiting trade with Burma?

Hon PHIL GOFF: Normally, before New Zealand institutes sanctions it must have a UN mandate for doing so. That does not, however, stop us from informally implementing smart sanctions against the regime, and I can assure the member, given that visas are required for people to come here, no member of that military regime will be given a visa to come to New Zealand. In terms of the UN sanctions, they are more wide ranging in the sanctions against trade than New Zealand would normally impose against other countries. What we want to do is to hurt the people responsible for the oppression of individuals in Myanmar, not hurt the general population itself.

Hon Peter Dunne: Where is the consistency between the position he has outlined to the House this afternoon of not favouring an extension of multilateral assistance to Myanmar while an anti-democratic Government remains in power, while on the other hand, with regard to the Tongan Government’s moves to repress free speech in that country, he has in this House consistently ruled out using the aid weapon he now appears to favour in respect of Myanmar?

Hon PHIL GOFF: Firstly, the member has got it wrong. I said we were providing some multilateral programmes, but not a bilateral programme. I do not think there is any comparison with Tonga, which does things that we do not approve of and has a system that is not fully democratic. In Myanmar, where 1,200 people are political prisoners, people have been murdered and denied basic human rights. I think one targets one’s sanctions, and one’s level of sanctions, towards the nature of the regime one is trying to deal with.

Questions for Oral Answer
Seabed and Foreshore—Crown Ownership

2. Hon KEN SHIRLEY (Deputy Leader—ACT NZ) to the Minister of Mâori Affairs: At what time on what date did he learn that the Government proposed to introduce legislation extinguishing any customary title Mâori might have over New Zealand’s foreshore and seabed?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA (Minister of Mâori Affairs): No such decision was made.

Hon Ken Shirley: Did he advise the Prime Minister and the Hon Margaret Wilson of the consequences of legislation overriding Mâori customary title, and if he did, on what date did he offer that advice?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: No decision has been made to extinguish anything, so there was not a need for any advice at that time.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Noting that all our main daily newspapers have reported both the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General saying that the Government has decided to advance legislation to make it plain that title in the foreshore and seabed rests with the Crown, how can the Minister say credibly in this House that that has not happened?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: It does not exclude customary title.

Mita Ririnui: What is the Government doing to address Mâori concerns?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: We have formed a high-level committee—[Interruption]—led by the eloquent Deputy Prime Minister of this country, and the goal is to ensure that on the way to nationhood we get a positive result.

Mr SPEAKER: From this moment I am not warning any members again about interjections during question time.

Dail Jones: Will the Minister support any move to ensure that the Crown has legal title to the foreshore and the seabed, as opposed to any Mâori claim to the foreshore and the seabed?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: The Government is working out how to reconcile customary rights with all New Zealanders’ ability to access the foreshore and seabed.

Nandor Tanczos: Is the Minister aware that there is widespread concern, both inside and outside Parliament, about the intended legislation, and what steps is he taking to ensure that the Government engages directly with Mâori before it makes any moves to legislate?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: Yes, and I have been able to assure Mâori through the Mâori media and the several contacts we have that there is a process to deal with their concerns.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Did he inform the Prime Minister of his view, released publicly last night: “The consent of tangata whenua is required before customary title can be extinguished, otherwise it is confiscation.”; if so, what was her response, and does that statement amount to Government policy?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: The Prime Minister is well informed of my views.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: What does that mean?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: That is what I said.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. On a very serious matter the Minister was asked what his advice—as Minister of Mâori Affairs and, indeed, Mâori administrator in that Cabinet—was to the Prime Minister. He said: “The Prime Minister is well informed of my views.” That is not advice to the House on any matter that we are seeking information on. I ask you to ask him to answer the question—as one would expect in any Western democracy.

Mr SPEAKER: I do not need the last comment being made.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I do.

Mr SPEAKER: I do not—and the member is warned. I will not warn him again, or he will be going. I want to say to the Hon Parekura Horomia that perhaps he might like to expand on his answer just a little bit further. If the question is required to be asked again, it can be. [Interruption] Please ask the question again.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Did the Minister inform the Prime Minister of his view, released last night publicly: “The consent of tangata whenua is required before customary title can be extinguished, otherwise it is confiscation.”, and does that statement represent Government policy?

Hon Dr Michael Cullen: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. That was not the question he asked. The last part is different.

Mr SPEAKER: That is not the question that was originally asked. I listened to the question. It followed very closely the question that was asked before, but the very last part was slightly different. I will let the Hon Dr Nick Smith re-ask the question now.

Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. It would be helpful to Dr Smith—given that some of us think that he did ask that question as it was asked the first time—if it was pointed out which bit differed.

Mr SPEAKER: I do not need any assistance. I will make that decision. I will have Dr Smith asking the question.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I did try to brief it, to save the time of the House, but I will read the question exactly as I originally stated.

Mr SPEAKER: That is right. That is what I asked the member to do.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Did the Minister inform the Prime Minister of his view, released last night publicly: “The consent of tangata whenua is required before customary title can be extinguished, otherwise it is confiscation.”; if so, what was her response and does this statement represent Government policy?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: The Prime Minister saw the statement before it was released, and it is not Government policy. It was a collective decision come to with the Mâori caucus getting together.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: If, as Judge Hingston said in 1993, customary title is not extinguished, and the Prime Minister says that she intends to have that overturned by legislation, then what will the Mâori caucus be negotiating—a decision having already been made by the Prime Minister’s announcement?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: No one has said that, and most certainly in 1993, not too much was done about this issue, and we are trying to do something about it as collective Mâori members in this Government.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Minister’s answer was “No one has said that.” Well, I have, it was in the question, and it is a recitation of what the Prime Minister said when she came out and announced that she intended to have this law overturned. So for the Minister to begin his answer with “No one has said that.”, when the Prime Minister has, and I have repeated her, is simply not answering the question in any way at all.

Hon Dr Michael Cullen: I think member may have missed the early part of question time, and therefore perhaps missed the earlier answers that no such decision, as referred to in the principal question, has been made. The Prime Minister did not make that statement. The fact that it has been reported as such is neither here nor there.

Mr SPEAKER: That is perfectly correct. The member’s point of order is invalid.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Given that chapter 3 of the Cabinet Office Manual requires that all statements of Ministers be consistent with Government policy, and further states: “Ministers whose opposition to a Cabinet decision is such that they wish to publicly disassociate themselves from it, must resign from the Cabinet”, how can his statement last night be anything other than a statement of Government policy, or a resignation?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: No decision has been made to extinguish anything—and I do not intend to resign.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Why did the Associate Minister of Justice and Minister in charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Margaret Wilson, tell the Holmes show yesterday morning that the Government intended to overturn this law if that is not the Government’s intention; and, that being the case, where does he stand on the issue of Cabinet collective responsibility? [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: The member is about to be expelled from the Chamber. A question has been asked, and the Minister is entitled to give an answer.

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: I was distracted. Could the member ask the question again, please?

Mr SPEAKER: Yes.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Why did his colleague Margaret Wilson, the Minister in charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations and the Associate Minister of Justice, tell the Paul Holmes show yesterday morning on ZB radio that the Government intended to overturn this law—and the issue then about what the Mâori members would be negotiating was the real point of that debate—when he claims now that no such decision has been made; and where does that leave him on the issue of collective Cabinet responsibility?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: No decision has been made to extinguish anything. Furthermore, for the first time for a long time the Mâori caucus is in clear negotiation with the committee set up by this Government, which takes this issue very, very seriously, on the way to better nationhood.

Rodney Hide: Could the Minister tell this House, and tell Mâori people in particular, what Government policy is—is it what the Prime Minister announced at 3 o’clock after Cabinet on Monday, or what he signed and put out to the media last night?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: Customary rights are a public issue, and policy can be determined and defined in a whole lot of ways, planned, and progressed forward. That member should learn about that.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Minister put his finger on it at the end of that answer when he said that members should learn about it—and that is what we are trying to do. We are trying to learn what the Government’s policy is, and that is what he was asked. He has not answered that question. Frankly, if we go to other democracies we will find Ministers who have been asked questions answering them. We can watch channel 13 on Aussie television after 4 30 p.m. and see questions answered in the House, but here—

Mr SPEAKER: Please be seated! The member has come to the point of order; I understand what it is. He is now using extraneous matter, which has nothing to do with the particular point he is raising. The Minister did address the question. The last sentence was unnecessary.

Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I realise that I am treading on dangerous ground raising this point of order, but the question was a simple one: what is Government policy? The Minister, while he said words, did not address that question. I honestly ask you, in the interests of maintaining some respect and order in this Parliament, that Ministers be expected at least to address a question. I say to you that there is no way that the Minister’s answers on that point could ever be taken to be addressing the question of what Government policy is, or what the Prime Minister said.

Mr SPEAKER: I judge the question and I listen to the answer. I am not here to judge the quality of the answer or the question. I am here to see that the question is properly asked, and that the answer is addressing the question. In this case, it did.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I ask the Minister this question because his constituents would want to know, and so does the country: who does he believe—

Mr SPEAKER: Please ask the question.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Yes, I will do that, and I will get an answer from it, too.

Mr SPEAKER: No. Please be seated. Now the member is in grave danger—he is abusing the question procedure. The question has to be a question. Please ask that question.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Who does Mr Horomia believe owns the customary title to the foreshore and seabed?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: Being one of the tangata whenua, I have some inherited rights. The Government is working out how to reconcile customary rights with all New Zealanders’ ability to access the foreshore and seabed—end of story.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. When I raised the previous point of order you said I was raising extraneous matters. That was as direct a question as one could get anywhere. I asked him who he believed owned the title, and I do not have an answer. I want you to have the same specificity affecting answers as you demand in questions.

Hon Dr Michael Cullen: The member has had a number of answers, as have other members, that have clearly been towards the point. The Government is involved in a process around reconciling Mâori customary rights with the traditional rights of all New Zealanders of access to the foreshore and the seabed. There is a process under way.

Gerry Brownlee: I take on board the comments you made right at the start of today’s question time. However, I think Mr Peters does raise an interesting point when he says he was asking the Minister a specific question. You are not, as you have said, expected to judge that answer, but when it comes to replies, the Standing Orders are pretty clear that arguments, inferences, imputations, etc. are not acceptable from a Minister. Given the specific nature of the question to Parekura Horomia today, asking his personal view—accepting that as a Minister of the Crown he has told us already that he is entitled to have those views outside his collective Cabinet responsibility—surely any answer he gives about a process being in place is simply an argument, and part of the political argument that we are trying to further in this question time.

Mr SPEAKER: The Minister is able to be questioned in only his ministerial capacity, not his personal capacity. He was entitled to give a Government view, and he did.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Is it the case that the Minister does not know who owns the foreshore and seabed?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: I understand

taumaha tuku iho left behind by my tûpuna. It has been my understanding that Mâori have customary rights. I need a bit of a hand with this. I will ask that member who he believes owns it.

Mr SPEAKER: That last sentence was out of order, but the rest of it was in order.

Rodney Hide: We have a question directed to a right honourable member who was a former Minister of Mâori Affairs. I seek leave of the House that that question be put and answered.

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

Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. In his answer to Mr Peters, Mr Horomia referred to his understanding, and then he used a number of Mâori words. Can we have a translation?

Mr SPEAKER: Would the Minister like to translate the words?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: Mr Speaker—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: I have asked the Minister to translate, as the member has requested. He can give his own translation. He is perfectly entitled to.

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: It is not too different from the Catholic inheritance of culture passed on by generations, over several centuries, that there is tuku iho left to us by our tûpuna, which is related in our waiata and songs, and the markings that are still there.

Hon Ken Shirley: Can he tell this House in simple terms, when push comes to shove on this issue, will he be lining up with the collective responsibility of Cabinet, or will he be backing the Mâori caucus?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: It is a role that Ministers of Mâori Affairs understand at times. I am here to defend and support what Mâori people want done, and at the same time I have a collective responsibility as a member of Cabinet, as a whole lot of Opposition members were over 9 years.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I seek leave to table the vote on the Te Ture Whenua Bill of 1993, which demonstrates that I did not support the legislation. The rest of the House did. That is the first one.

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

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I also seek leave to table the Marlborough Sounds decision by Judge Hingston, which points out that the issue was one of access, something that an ignorant person yesterday tried to deny was a fact.

Mr SPEAKER: The question is that that document be tabled. Is there any objection? There is.

Rodney Hide: I seek leave to table the document on customary rights, signed by the Hon Parekura Horomia and released last night.

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

Questions for Oral Answer
Immigration—Cost to Taxpayers

3. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First), on behalf of DAIL JONES (NZ First) to the Minister of Immigration: Has she requested for any reports to be undertaken detailing costs posed to the taxpayer by immigrants; if not, why not?

Hon LIANNE DALZIEL (Minister of Immigration): Yes, I received a report on the fiscal impacts of immigration on 16 April 2003. I am pleased to able to say that this report noted that migrants are fiscally positive to New Zealand. Although $4.1 billion was detailed as costs with regard to Government expenditure, this was offset by the $5.8 billion government revenue migrants contribute, a net benefit of $1.7 billion.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Not wishing to offend any sub judice rule, and not referring to the merits of the case, can the Minister tell me how much the Chinese nationals Qie Dong, unemployed, Shangbin He, unemployed, Jia Liang Hong, unemployed, and Jie Ou have contributed to New Zealand whilst they have been here; can she tell me just how much in legal aid will this immigrant-hugging Government spend on defending imported fraudsters?

Hon LIANNE DALZIEL: That comment was very unnecessary. To refer to immigrant-hugging by way of a desire on this side of the House to try to address some of the—

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. It is for you to determine whether the question is out of order, not the Minister. Last night, one of her colleagues—namely, Mr Carter—was on the television saying that he was going to hug immigrants. What I said was correct.

Mr SPEAKER: The member asked a question and the Minister is giving a reply. Up to that point the Minister had given a reply. I will judge whether a question is out of order, but she is entitled to say what she wishes.

Hon LIANNE DALZIEL: Obviously I cannot give details of the actual benefit listed by three migrants, of whom I have no information. I have absolutely no idea how long they have been in the country. I have no idea what they have done while they have been here. I have no information on them other than a report from that member that they have been charged with an offence. I find it interesting that he has chosen migrants of Asian descent when we had a recent case of an individual who was a migrant from the UK convicted—not just charged—of attempted kidnapping.

Georgina Beyer: Has the Minister seen any other reports on the beneficial effects migrants have on New Zealand?

Hon LIANNE DALZIEL: Yes, I have recently received a report from Venture Southland on the progress being made in the implementation of the regional immigration initiative in the Clutha-Southland region. In the past 15 months that the pilot has been operating, 29 new migrants and their families have been attracted to the Clutha-Southland area. A further 15 migrants and their families are expected to arrive over the next few months. Most of these are filling vacancies in industries facing acute skills shortages. The regional immigration initiative is a great success.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. When I submitted this question, it was in reference to the four people I named in my supplementary question, which does not offend any sub judice rule, because I was not referring to the merits of the case but to the facts of the case as published by the Dominion Post on 6 June 2003. I was told by the Clerk’s Office that I could not refer to those people in any way, shape, or form because of sub judice. That is not the sub judice rule. The sub judice rule relates to any reflection, conversation, or discussion on the question of merit, mens rea, or any other issue. As to the fact that there is a case and that people are involved in it, that is, surely, far too narrow an interpretation, and that was proven by the fact that I was able to ask the supplementary question in the form in which I had sought to ask it in writing 4 hours ago. After a long discussion with the Clerk’s Office, I was told that the sub judice rule prevented any reference to any case, whatsoever. Frankly, I think it is nonsense.

Mr SPEAKER: I have taken some advice on this matter. The member did not submit the question as he was not able to this morning. This morning Dail Jones sought to lodge the question that made reference to a case currently before the courts. Standing Order 112 is quite clear. It states that matters awaiting or under adjudication in any court of record may not be referred to in any question, including a supplementary question. This goes back 100 years of rulings. The question as originally submitted was not in order. It made reference to a particular case and asked about matters related to that case. The sub judice rule is not intended to inhibit members discussing the law in general, but a particular case before the court may not be referred to. This is what Mr Jones sought to do in his question as originally submitted. The application of the law to a particular case may not be discussed because argument about it could prejudice the conduct of the case or its outcome. The House is not in the same position as the media reporting cases. Standing Order 112 seeks to ensure on the one hand that a judge or jury are not influenced by parliamentary discussion, and on the other hand it enshrines the special relationship between the courts and Parliament. It reflects a comity between Parliament and the courts, what is before one ought not to be discussed in the other. There can be no overriding public interest in allowing reference to a particular case currently before the court when the House is not prevented from pursuing the general policy matters that question No. 3 as amended sought to address.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Are you saying that the media has greater rights than members of Parliament? I understood the rule to be “matters awaiting adjudication”. The fact that people are unemployed is not a matter awaiting adjudication. The fact that they may get legal aid is not a matter awaiting adjudication. The issue awaiting adjudication is whether they are guilty and knowingly committed a crime. That is what the sub judice rule is about. We now have a situation where the rule is so narrow that the whole press gallery can refer to the case, but we in Parliament cannot.

Mr SPEAKER: I am saying that members of Parliament have special responsibilities in this case. That is an established ruling that has been made for over 100 years.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I seek leave to table my suit in the hope that one day—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: The member seeks leave to table his suit—after the House has risen. Is there any objection? There is objection.

Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. At the back of the Chamber there is a need for some clarification from the right honourable member. When he says that he is going to table his suit, he means that he is going to return in a different one, and table it, does he not? That might affect whether the ladies down the back of the Chamber grant leave.

Mr SPEAKER: No, the member is being facetious.

Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Through you, given the answer of the Minister of Mâori Affairs, I ask whether he is now saying that he will be fronting up on the marae at Tolaga—

Mr SPEAKER: That is an abuse of the question procedure, and the member was nearly asked to leave. He will not do that again. I will be listening to him for the rest of this month and for next month, too.

Questions for Oral Answer
Justice, Associate Minister—Confidence

4. Hon BILL ENGLISH (Leader of the Opposition) to the Prime Minister: Does she have confidence in her Associate Minister of Justice (Hon Margaret Wilson); if so, why?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK (Prime Minister): Yes, because she is a hard-working and conscientious Minister.

Hon Bill English: Following answers given by the Associate Minister yesterday and in public statements she has made, what matters does the Prime Minister believe the Government will negotiate with Mâori over seabed and foreshore claims, given the Government’s position that it, and it alone, has title to the seabed and foreshore?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: The Government will act to uphold rights of public access to and use of the foreshore and seabed. It will also act to ensure that the customary rights of Mâori are upheld. We are looking for a win-win solution where both sides feel that justice has been done.

Hon Bill English: What does the Prime Minister believe are the customary rights of Mâori in respect of the seabed and the foreshore?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: It is not an issue of what the Prime Minister believes, it is an issue that the concept of customary land up until the Court of Appeal decision was held to apply only to what we understand is land. The Court of Appeal has extended that understanding through its five decisions.

Hon Bill English: Answer the question!

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: If the member would listen he would know he is getting a detailed and proper answer. The Court of Appeal has extended that understanding of land to encompass foreshore and seabed. When the Mâori Land Court determines that land is customary land, a process may then ensue that can see customary land transferred to title of Mâori freehold land and then to general title, at which point an exclusive property right has been created. That is the situation the Government now wishes to work through.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Has the Prime Minister read Judge Hingston’s decision, which is a Mâori Land Court decision, and does she not understand what he means when he says that customary title was never extinguished, and will she therefore now affirm her position as to whether the Crown owns the seabed and foreshore?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: I have not read Judge Hingston’s 1993 decision. I have been focusing on the implications of the Court of Appeal decision in respect of what is land and what is not. That is what makes unclear exactly what the status of foreshore and seabed is.

Stephen Franks: Does she now resile from the Attorney-General’s guarantee to this House yesterday that all New Zealanders are to enjoy equal access to beaches and seabeds without privilege or discrimination on the basis of ethnic inheritance; if not, what exactly is the Attorney-General authorised to trade away to Mâori by way of customary rights?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: The Attorney-General expressed the Government’s desire to uphold the traditional rights of access and use in the foreshore and seabed area. She also expressed the Government’s strong desire to uphold Mâori customary rights. What we are working on is how to reconcile the two, and the law, frankly, is not clear in this area. I might say that in principle—and I am sure the member would agree with me—it is better to have Parliament-made law than judge-made law.

Hon Peter Dunne: With regard to the answer the Prime Minister has just given, is she confident that what she referred to as the twin desires can in fact be accommodated in the legislation that is being foreshadowed in such a way that for most New Zealanders there will be an unequivocal expression of the fact that they will continue to enjoy the rights of access and usage that they have traditionally felt were theirs to enjoy?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: With goodwill between what are two treaty partners, I believe we can achieve that.

Hon Bill English: Is it still the Government’s position that it is going to bring in legislation to prevent Mâori from pursuing claims for customary title, thereby extinguishing any customary title; and if that is still the Government’s position, why does the Minister of Mâori Affairs believe otherwise?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: The Government has not said it is bringing in law to extinguish customary title. What the Government is talking about is reconciling the right to public access to and use of the foreshore with Mâori customary rights.

Hon Bill English: Does the Prime Minister stand by her statement that Mâori would still be able to pursue claims about customary use though not customary title, and is she now saying that that does not amount to legislation extinguishing customary title? What a ridiculous position!

Mr SPEAKER: The last comment is out of order.

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: What is in the province of the Mâori Land Court is to determine customary use, then to designate land as customary land. It is not clear what customary title is, and that is one of the things to be explored.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I seek leave—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: The member will be heard in silence. The member who interjected with withdraw and apologise for the comment he made while a member was speaking.

Hon Bill English: I withdraw and apologise.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I seek leave of the House to table the Morning Report interview with the Attorney-General, in which she said it was the intention to advance legislation that would clarify that the Crown had title to the seabed and foreshore.

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

Questions for Oral Answer
Hazardous Substances—Regulation

5. RUSSELL FAIRBROTHER (NZ Labour—Napier) to the Minister for the Environment: What actions has the Government taken to streamline the regulation of hazardous substances?

Hon MARIAN HOBBS (Minister for the Environment): Today I released a strategy to improve the operation of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act. The proposals will simplify the transfer of existing substances to the new hazardous substances and new organisms regime, reduce application costs for new substances, and improve compliance and enforcement.

Russell Fairbrother: How does the hazardous substances strategy contribute to the Government’s goals of innovation and growth?

Hon MARIAN HOBBS: Overly complex regulation that is difficult to understand and comply with, is a barrier to innovation. Under the strategy, the Environmental Risk Management Authority will be able to assess low-risk applications more quickly and efficiently, thus substantially reducing applicants’ costs.

Larry Baldock: Will the hazardous substances strategy help to reduce compliance costs for businesses in respect of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act; if so, how?

Hon MARIAN HOBBS: The strategy will directly address the concerns that were raised in a survey of businesses and research groups, and in reply to a number of letters written to me as Minister and to groups, such as the Environmental Risk Management Authority. By giving the authority more flexibility to assess low-risk applications, costs to applicants will be reduced substantially.

Questions for Oral Answer
Genetic Modification—Sheep, PPL Therapeutics, Waikato

6. SUE KEDGLEY (Green) to the Minister for the Environment: How many sheep containing copies of human genes are currently in containment at the PPL Therapeutics’ Waikato facility, and what will happen to these sheep if the company withdraws from the project?

Hon MARIAN HOBBS (Minister for the Environment): I am advised there are just over 3,000 sheep containing copies of human genes, currently in the containment facility. The Environmental Risk Management Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry are in daily contact with the company, and the trial will continue to be operated in full compliance with the set conditions.

Sue Kedgley: When does the approval for the PPL Therapeutics transgenic sheep trial end, and is there any limit on the time the company can keep its project on hold before it must decide what to do with it?

Hon MARIAN HOBBS: As long as transgenic sheep are being held and under the responsibility of that company, it must meet the conditions set for the containment and management of those sheep.

Dr Ashraf Choudhary: What assurances can the Minister give that sheep from the programme will not enter the human food chain?

Hon MARIAN HOBBS: The controls contain a strict prohibition against the entry of genetic material into the food chain, and the Environmental Risk Management Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry will ensure that the conditions are complied with.

Sue Kedgley: Why did the Environmental Risk Management Authority approve the PPL Therapeutics trial of up to 5,000 transgenic sheep, before clinical trials had even been completed that would demonstrate that the human protein the sheep were intended to produce was a valid, effective, and safe treatment for various diseases?

Hon MARIAN HOBBS: It is the job of the Environmental Risk Management Authority to assess the benefits and risks of any application that comes before it, and, in this case, I am satisfied it assessed that application appropriately, in allowing it to go ahead.

Ian Ewen-Street: Why is it that, despite the large number of amendments to the Hazardous Substances and New Organisations Act, the Government has still not introduced requirements for a clean-up bond—a bond that would cover a situation where a company is unable to meet its obligations to carry out controls imposed on it at approval, as required for, say, a mining operation?

Hon MARIAN HOBBS: There are controls for managing the situation when those sheep die, or when the experiment is ended. The controls deal with the management of the sheep, and the sheep will continue to be managed in accordance with those controls.

Sue Kedgley: Who is responsible for implementing the controls set by the Environmental Risk Management Authority, which, in this case, might involve the disposal, killing, and incineration of up to 4,000 sheep, if a company goes bankrupt or does a runner, and who would meet the costs of doing so?

Hon MARIAN HOBBS: When we are talking about that particular company going bankrupt we are talking about a hypothetical situation. I will repeat that the controls are to do with the management of the sheep. Someone will manage those sheep, be they the receiver, the owner, or the new owner. The controls are about the management of the sheep.

Questions for Oral Answer
Seabed and Foreshore—Crown Ownership

7. Hon Dr NICK SMITH (NZ National—Nelson) to the Minister of Mâori Affairs: What advice has he sought from his officials on Government legislation to extinguish any right Mâori may have had to claim customary title to the seabed and foreshore following last week’s Court of Appeal decision, and when did he receive that advice?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA (Minister of Mâori Affairs): None, because this was not the decision that was taken.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. For me to be able to lodge question No 7, I had to provide verification to the Clerk’s Office that that was exactly what had been publicly stated by the Government.

Hon Dr Michael Cullen: The member has to provide authentication, which usually comes in the form of a newspaper report. I think all members of this House know that newspaper reports are not always accurate.

Mr SPEAKER: The question was asked and the Minister gave what I thought was the most direct answer of the lot. He actually said no. I heard the question very clearly. The answer did address the question.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Does the Minister of Mâori Affairs agree with the statement by the “Eternal-General” on National Radio announcing the decision: “The legislation will be clarified so that the parties know that title to the seabeds and foreshore will be held by the Crown in the interests of all New Zealanders?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: As defined, the Government is working out how to reconcile customary rights with all New Zealanders’ ability to access the foreshore and seabed.

Darren Hughes: What advice have the Minister’s officials provided on the Court of Appeal decision regarding the Marlborough foreshore and seabed?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: My officials provided me with a briefing paper on Tuesday, 24 June 2003. The paper sets out the history of the Marlborough foreshore and seabed case and outlines the Court of Appeal decision.

Stephen Franks: What does the Minister think that Mâori customary access and use rights mean if Pâkehâ have been guaranteed by the Attorney-General to have exactly the same rights of access and use of New Zealand beaches and inshore seabeds?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: That is what this Government is working on at this moment. We take this issue very seriously.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Can he clarify whether he stands by the statement issued and signed by him yesterday that: “The Mâori caucus is clear that customary use flows from customary title, and if the title is lost, the rights of tangata whenua become privileges granted by the Crown.”, or by the statement made by the “Eternal-General” that this Government would pass legislation—

Mr SPEAKER: The phrase is the “Attorney-General”; the member has twice said the “Eternal”—

Hon Dr Nick Smith: —Attorney-General—

Mr SPEAKER: I do not think that even the Attorney-General thinks that she will be eternal. I took no notice the first time, but the member should reword the question. Could I suggest he starts again.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Does the Minister stand by the statement issued and signed last night that: “The Mâori caucus is clear that customary use flows from customary title, and if the title is lost, the rights of tangata whenua become privileges granted by the Crown.”, or by the statement made by Margaret Wilson, the Attorney-General, that the legislation will be clarified so that the title to the seabed and foreshore will be held by the Crown—which is the correct statement?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: The issue around customary rights is something that needs to be defined, and that is what this committee has been set up for—and I want to say that with eternal earnest.

Mr SPEAKER: I think bringing the Almighty into questions is always difficult.

Dr Muriel Newman: In what precise way on this issue have Mâori been advantaged by having him as Minister of Mâori Affairs?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: I am a member of Tai_________

sub-hapu. I am a very important Mâori, from where I come from. I am recognised as such—and more Mâori people in this country know me than know you.[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: This is members’ day. Members are in their own time.

Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I do not think it brings this House into order for the Minister of Mâori Affairs to pretend he is more well-known in New Zealand than the Speaker of this great House.

Hon Dr Michael Cullen: He’s the Eternal Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER: I am not the Eternal Speaker, either. I have just passed the mid-point in my career, I have to say. Will the Minister please address his remarks not to me but to other members of the House by speaking in the third person. We will now carry on.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Will the Minister of Mâori Affairs support legislation that, as announced by Margaret Wilson, would clarify that ownership title of the foreshore and seabed would rest with the Crown?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: That legislation will reconcile the discussions that we are about to have as a joint group, between the Mâori caucus and the committee set up by this very strong Government.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. We have had a disturbing trend here today. The Attorney-General has been on the radio and in the newspapers quoting one line of action, and so has the Prime Minister; yet when we come to the House to ask for an affirmation in this House of that very position, all we get is obfuscation and any old answer, to the extent that we have wasted a whole lot of questions—and no one in the House knows today what the Minister’s position is or what the Government’s position is. But they are out there in the public, of course, with a different spin. Frankly, that should not be allowed, and if that is the—[Interruption] The Prime Minister can laugh. She will laugh on the other side of her face in 2 years’ time. The reality is that she said one thing out in the public—the evidence has come before this House and the Clerk’s Office—and in this House she will not confirm or deny anything.

Mr SPEAKER: At the end of question time we have a general debate. That is when that issue can be raised.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. With respect, question time is when questions are asked, and one would expect them to be answered. Frankly, this House has been treated with utter contempt by Ministers refusing to answer simple, direct questions, and they are being allowed to get away with it. For my part and my party’s part, we do not like and we will not accept it.

Mr SPEAKER: Please be seated. That is not correct, and the member knows it. As far as I am concerned, over many, many years, in this Government, and, indeed, in previous Governments—and I have been here a long time, as has the member—there has been little change to questions and answers. I am not responsible for the quality of answers or the quality of questions. That is up to the members of this House.

Questions for Oral Answer
Whaling—International Whaling Commission

8. DAVID PARKER (NZ Labour—Otago) to the Minister of Conservation: What were the key developments relevant to New Zealand’s interests at the recent meeting of the International Whaling Commission?

Hon CHRIS CARTER (Minister of Conservation): An attempt to overturn the moratorium on commercial whaling was defeated. The proposed South Pacific whale sanctuary was co-sponsored by a record number of countries and received 58 percent majority support. Sadly, it fell short of the 75 percent required for its establishment, and a Conservation Committee of the International Whaling Commission was established.

David Parker: How will the Conservation Committee assist the preservation of whale species?

Hon CHRIS CARTER: The Conservation Committee will be proactive in addressing the many threats faced by whales that have not been adequately tackled by the International Whaling Commission to date. Those include pollution, boat strikes, entanglement in fishing gear, and developments that impact on whale breeding grounds, feeding grounds, and migration routes.

Rod Donald: What is the New Zealand Government doing to protect whales in New Zealand waters threatened by activities such as crayfishing and marine farming, given our strong advocacy for cessation of whaling and our support for the establishment of a South Pacific whale sanctuary?

Hon CHRIS CARTER: My department is working with the fishing industry and the Ministry of Fisheries to develop fishing practices that will not imperil marine mammals The impacts on marine mammals are key issues to be addressed when areas suitable for marine farming, for example, are identified.

Questions for Oral Answer
Defence Force—Attrition

9. RON MARK (NZ First) to the Minister of Defence: Did it concern him to be told by his advisers that the current attrition and personnel levels within the New Zealand Defence Force are such that it “may be put in the situation where it can either deploy on operations or train the next generation, rather than do both as it currently does”?

Hon MARGARET WILSON (Acting Minister of Defence): Since taking office in 1999, this Government has been concerned about recruitment and retention in the Defence Force. That is why it has embarked upon a programme of improvements in pay and conditions, including three funded pay rises in the last three Budgets. We have also instigated modernisation and upgrades of defence capabilities across the entire Defence Force.

Ron Mark: How can the good people of the New Zealand Defence Force possibly be expected to achieve their primary mission—that being “to secure New Zealand against external threat, to protect our sovereign interests, including the exclusive economic zone, take action to meet likely contingencies in our strategic area of interest”—or their duties and responsibilities as defined in the Defence Act, given the appalling staffing decisions that were brought to this Government’s attention by its very own officials?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: This Government values those members of the defence forces. That is precisely why in the last three Budgets we have funded pay rises and have been addressing issues relating to recruitment and retention.

Luamanuvao Winnie Laban: Has the Minister seen any other reports relating to recruitment and retention in the New Zealand Defence Force?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: Yes, numerous reports have been published on the subject. Previous Governments have been aware that issues of recruitment and retention have been present within the New Zealand Defence Force for many years. The point is that this Government has consistently been addressing those concerns through improvements in pay, conditions of service, and the re-equipping of our defence forces after what has been quoted by a member of the Opposition Mr Worth as 9 years of neglect.

Simon Power: Can the Minister confirm that the real reason for staff attrition levels in the New Zealand Defence Force is that this Government does not value its defence forces and has severely reduced capability in the New Zealand Defence Force by scrapping the strike wing of the Air Force, reducing the Navy to vessels of civilian specification, criticising our traditional allies, and continuing to refer to the current environment as a benign strategic environment; if not, why not?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: No, we do not agree with that assessment.

Hon Peter Dunne: In view of the concern she expressed in her first answer about current recruitment levels, does the Government consider that the territorial force has a role to play here; if so, what steps are being taken to boost recruitment for the territorial force?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: Yes, this Government does believe that the territorial force does have a role to play. Unfortunately, I am not in a position to give the member specific answers as to how we are addressing any questions there. I am not aware there are any recruitment questions as such. However, I am happy to provide further information as it becomes available.

Ron Mark: If the Government does value those highly experienced Defence Force personnel—whom we now do not have—as highly as it says it does, why did it take 4 years to find the $46 million that was necessary to redress the pay deficiencies, whilst in contrast, it took about 6 minutes to find $50 million for a yacht race?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: In fact, what the member said is not correct. We have been addressing the pay issues in particular over the past three Budget rounds. They are not being funded out of baseline, but out of increases. I further note that I am a little surprised at the member’s concerns, since New Zealand First, when it was in Government, had no published defence policy.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Why on earth would you allow the Minister to say that?

Mr SPEAKER: The Minister was out of order in doing so.

Questions for Oral Answer
Painted Apple Moth—Aerial Spray Campaign

10. LARRY BALDOCK (United Future) to the Minister of Health: What progress has been made on the Ministry of Health inquiry into the human health consequences of the painted apple moth aerial spray campaign and how much funding will this inquiry receive?

Hon ANNETTE KING (Minister of Health): A contract with the Wellington school of medicine will be signed within 2 weeks for a study into the health effects of the painted apple moth spray programme. It has taken longer than anticipated to get the study under way because of delays by the Wellington school of medicine. The cost of the study is estimated to be about $160,000.

Larry Baldock: Can she confirm that the inquiry intends to look only at the health concerns of those claiming to be affected by spraying, rather than the actual health effects of the spray; if so, does she agree that these concerns are already well known, and what is needed is some sort of clinical assessment of the actual effects of spraying, since this was surely the reason that her ministry became involved in the first place?

Hon ANNETTE KING: The first part of this project to be undertaken is to collect the health concerns of people, but then the school of medicine that is looking at them will review existing scientific knowledge relevant to these health concerns, and recommend scientifically robust methods of further study.

Sue Kedgley: Given the previous questions, why will not the Minister direct that study to look at the clinical effects on the residents of Auckland, instead of looking at just simply theoretical researches of literature, and so forth? Why will they not talk with, meet with, and undertake clinical studies of the residents involved?

Hon ANNETTE KING: Because they have not been asked to look at theoretical issues, they have been asked to look at the health issues that are raised, and then review them in the light of existing scientific knowledge, not theoretical theories.

Larry Baldock: Is she aware that the delay in getting this inquiry under way is already the subject of a complaint to the Ombudsman, and that the community is still being denied the opportunity to voice its concerns for a widespread and well-publicised submission process?

Hon ANNETTE KING: There is concern at the delay. As I said to the member, I am pleased that the contract will be commencing in 2 weeks. However, I am informed it is expected that the completion date of September will remain the same. Submissions from the public and through meetings of other mechanisms will enable a wide range of people to have an input.

Larry Baldock: If the inquiry finds that the concerns of those claiming to be affected by the spraying have some validity, what actions will she recommend to the Minister for Biosecurity be taken to assist or compensate those people who have suffered in the national interest?

Hon ANNETTE KING: I could not answer that question at this stage.

Questions for Oral Answer
Mâori Affairs, Minister—Media Coaching

11. RODNEY HIDE (ACT NZ) to the Minister of Mâori Affairs: On what dates and at what cost was he coached by Labour’s media trainer, Dr Brian Edwards?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA (Minister of Mâori Affairs): I attended training on 15 and 16 June. As there was no ministerial funding involved, there is no ministerial responsibility.

Rodney Hide: Can the Minister also confirm that last week, before each question time, Dr Brian Edwards was helping him?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: That member needs some training in the truth.

Mr SPEAKER: No, no, no. The answer is to be given, and can be given, quite specifically. Please give it.

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: No.

Gerry Brownlee: Is the Minister telling the House that the only times he has had any media training or advice from Dr Brian Edwards have been on 15 and 16—

Mr SPEAKER: June.

GERRY BROWNLEE: —I am just wondering whether I should direct the question to the Prime Minister; she appears to be answering it—on 15 or 16 June?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: No, I cannot recollect exactly, but I have been there two or three times before this year.

Rodney Hide: Does the Minister now think that he has had enough training to go on Dr Brian Edwards’ show and answer the tough, probing questions on Television One on Saturday night, or does he think he needs a bit more training from the host—or help from the Prime Minister, who is whispering the answers to him?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: He who does not get skilled does not progress. Can I tell the member that he needs some training in the Mâori reo, and, most certainly, I will go anywhere if I have as much time as he has to roam around in this country.

Gerry Brownlee: Can the Minister tell the House, subsequent to the training he has received from Dr Brian Edwards, does he now believe that he is skilled at answering parliamentary questions?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: My attire has to improve, but is it not obvious to Mr Gerry Brownlee that I have improved in the House?

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Does he think it is appropriate and proper for him to get training from the Prime Minister’s personal trainer and coach, as well—which shows a serious lack of learning ability on her part? Does he think it is appropriate for him to get training from someone who will now front taxpayer-owned television, purporting to be independent of political bias?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: Perhaps the Minister of Broadcasting should answer those questions. But I really would look to my elder statesman Mâori in this House to help me with my attire.

Questions for Oral Answer
Question No. 12 to Convenor

Hon DAVID CARTER (NZ National)17CARTER, Hon DAVID15:17:21Hon DAVID CARTER (NZ National): I was very keen to ask this question of Mr Hodgson, the Convenor, and I wonder whether I can seek leave to hold it over until I can do that.

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

Questions for Oral Answer
Agriculture—Agricultural Emissions Research Funding

12. Hon DAVID CARTER (NZ National) to the Convenor, Ministerial Group on Climate ChangeClimate Change: Does he expect any theoretical improvements to farmers’ productivity, made through research funded by a tax on livestock emissions, to benefit every farmer and the environment by 2008; if so, why?

Hon JIM SUTTON (Minister of Agriculture), on behalf of the Convenor, Ministerial Group on Climate Change: The research programme on agricultural greenhouse-gas emissions will give priority to measures that will bring the greatest production efficiency gain to farmers in the short to medium term. That approach could well bring benefits by 2008. We will find out by doing the research.

Hon David Carter: Is the Convenor conscious of his remarks on 16 November 2001, when he said: “I can offer you a personal viewpoint, which is: to tax cattle and sheep is a remarkably stupid thing to do. It is precisely the wrong policy approach.”; and what changed between 16 November 2001 and today?

Hon JIM SUTTON: I am not familiar with the quote the member mentioned, so I take it that the member is advocating instead that farmers pay an emissions tax on their ruminant animals, which, if applied in the normal way, would cost them about $925 million a year. I think that the Convenor of the Ministerial Group on Climate Change has done farmers an enormous favour by offering them an opportunity instead to fund research to the value of $8.5 million a year.

Hon David Carter: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I want you to reflect on that answer. It shows the difficulty we get into when we put a question on the Order Paper, whereby we want to question the Minister about remarks that he has personally made. As you know, I sought leave for the question to be moved to another day when Mr Hodgson could be present, and then we had an answer from Mr Sutton when he said that he was not aware of the comments that Mr Hodgson had made and that had been printed in the media.

Mr SPEAKER: Yes, but then he went on to address the question and give quite a full answer to it.

Nanaia Mahuta: What expert advice does the Government have on the potential for improving farm productivity through this research?

Hon JIM SUTTON: An expert assessment on the current science identified a range of research projects with the potential to deliver productivity benefits, both in the short and long term. I quote just one remark from that assessment, which is publicly available: “A successful technology will deliver a win-win result with regard to methane reduction and increased animal production.”

Hon David Carter: In question time yesterday why did the Minister say that: “farmers do not have greenhouse-gas credits”; and does he not realise that many farmers have forestry on their land—the credits of which his Government has nationalised?

Hon JIM SUTTON: I had nothing to say about that yesterday, whatsoever. I was on my way back from Sharm el Sheikh.

Mr SPEAKER: The Minister now will give an answer to the question, please.

Hon JIM SUTTON: On behalf of my colleague, Pete Hodgson, I inform the member that the proposed plan of research is one designed with the best scientific advice available, and the quality of that advice has been endorsed by, amongst others, the chairman of Meat New Zealand, a former chief whip of the National Party.

End of Questions for Oral Answer


(uncorrected transcript—subject to correction and further editing)


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