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Tuesday's Questions & Answer For Oral Answer


Questions & Answer For Oral Answer - Tuesday, 7 October 2003

(uncorrected transcript—subject to correction and further editing)

Questions to Ministers:

1. Zimbabwe—Commonwealth Membership

2. Foreshore and Seabed—Legislation

3. Methamphetamine—Ministerial Committee on Drug Policy

4. Greenhouse Gas Emissions—Agricultural Levy

5. Parole Board—Principles

6. State Housing and Elective Surgery—Waiting Lists

7. Medicines—Subsidies

8. Supreme Court—Appointment of Judges

9. Genetically Modified Crops—Canadian Experience

10. Foreshore and Seabed—Appeal to Privy Council

11. Business Compliance Costs—Australia / New Zealand

12. Proceeds of Crime Act—Effectiveness

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Zimbabwe—Commonwealth Membership

1. LUAMANUVAO WINNIE LABAN (NZ Labour—Mana) to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade: What view has New Zealand expressed on the attendance of Zimbabwe at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Abuja in December, and on the continuing suspension of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth?

Hon PHIL GOFF (Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade): New Zealand strongly opposes the presence of Mr Mugabe at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Abuja. I have registered that view with the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and, indeed, informally and individually with every member country in the Commonwealth. New Zealand supports the continued suspension of Zimbabwe for as long as it continues to abuse human rights, undermine the rule of law, the freedom of the media, and the democratic process, in breach of the values of the Harare Commonwealth Declaration, agreed to collectively by the Commonwealth in 1991.

Luamanuvao Winnie Laban: What information does he have on the likelihood of Mr Mugabe attending the Commonwealth meeting in Abuja?

Hon PHIL GOFF: The information I have is that President Obasanjo of Nigeria has not and will not be issuing an invitation to Mr Mugabe to go to Abuja. President Obasanjo will be aware that the leaders of a number of countries, including New Zealand, would likely not attend CHOGM if Mr Mugabe were present. The question of Zimbabwe’s suspension will almost certainly arise at Abuja. Our position is that we must treat Zimbabwe consistently with the other countries that have been suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth. Those countries must stay suspended until they come back within the values agreed to and endorsed in the Harare Commonwealth Declaration.

Keith Locke: Does the Minister agree that we can best promote strong Commonwealth action against the Mugabe regime if we do not imitate Mr Mugabe and detain politicians for months at a time in poor conditions without specific charges, as we are currently doing with Ahmed Zaoui, and we do not subject them to secret trials based on secret evidence from intelligence agencies, as we are also doing with Mr Zaoui?

Hon PHIL GOFF: The difference between New Zealand and Zimbabwe is that the New Zealand Government operates within the rule of law. Zimbabwe operates outside the rule of law.

Hon Peter Dunne: What is the Government’s reaction to reported claims from Zimbabwe that the opposition to its continued membership of the Commonwealth and its pariah status has been inspired by the current Secretary-General, thus leading to its call for his replacement, and will New Zealand not only be supporting Mr McKinnon’s reappointment but also lobbying actively with other countries to ensure that he is reappointed?

Hon PHIL GOFF: The decision to suspend Zimbabwe was made by the troika consisting of the President of Nigeria, the Prime Minister of Australia, and the President of South Africa. I think that the Secretary-General has carried out his responsibilities appropriately. Certainly, New Zealand supports the re-election of Don McKinnon as Secretary-General of the Commonwealth. I put that to the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Auckland and it was endorsed unanimously by the leaders at the forum. That same forum also unanimously endorsed the need for Zimbabwe to remain suspended while it continues to suppress human rights and work outside the rule of law.

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Foreshore and Seabed—Legislation

2. Hon ROGER SOWRY (Deputy Leader—NZ National) to the Prime Minister: Does she stand by her statement regarding legislation on the foreshore and seabed, “I don’t think it would be possible to pass legislation this year.”; if so, what date does she expect legislation to be introduced?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK (Prime Minister): Yes, and when it is ready.

Hon Roger Sowry: In light of the fact that no law is currently stopping the Mâori Land Court from issuing freehold title to Mâori, what guarantees can she give the public that while she stalls by delaying the legislation, we will not see title to the seabed or foreshore granted?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: As I understand, there is still an appeal on the books to the Privy Council on the matter by another organisation. Even if claims were to be held, it is expected that it would take some time to get anywhere near the end point the member is talking about.

Nanaia Mahuta: How extensively has the Government’s consultation been on the foreshore and seabed issue?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: It has been exceptionally extensive. Over 2,000 written submissions have now been received from a wide range of individuals and organisations. I know that Government MPs have attended more than 45 public meetings in communities around the country. Ten formal hui have been held with Mâori. Ministers have met with more than a dozen recreational and other user groups and are due to meet with Local Government New Zealand this week. We have distributed 15,000 copies of the document for consultation and have received over 650 other requests for information.

Dail Jones: Which current legislation does the Prime Minister expect will be amended—for example, will the Te Ture Whenua Mâori Act or the Territorial Sea, Contiguous Zone, and Exclusive Economic Zone Act be amended to give effect to the Government’s intentions?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: The legislation to be amended will be that that requires change arising out of the refined proposal.

Hon Richard Prebble: As it has been indicated that 38 cases will be brought by various Mâori, iwi, and hapû for the foreshore, and apparently the Government’s approach is that because the Marlborough Harbour Board has brought a case to the Privy Council those cases will not proceed, and can the Prime Minister explain why the Government itself has not either joined the Marlborough Harbour Board’s case or itself appealed to the Privy Council?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: The Government judged that this was an issue better sorted out at home. It is worth noting that since 1927 no Mâori case that has gone to the Privy Council has succeeded from the Mâori point of view, and that the trend has been to send cases back to New Zealand. I might also say that the Marlborough Harbour Board went out of existence, I think, when the member was in the Government party.

Metiria Turei: Why is there any need for any legislation, other than a simple amendment to the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act to ensure that customary titles not be converted as a fee simple title and sold, given that that is the Government’s stated bottom line, and no tangata whenua have sought a fee simple title over the foreshore and seabed?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: I am not sure that I followed that question entirely, but the member will know that the way the Court of Appeal decision came out it would be possible to go all the way to fee simple title—something ACT seems to approve of.

Hon Roger Sowry: Why is the Prime Minister hiding behind the appeal pending to the Privy Council by another party—to use her own words—rather than keeping her original promise to New Zealanders that she would legislate to ensure Crown ownership?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: As I have said on many occasions, that was not an original promise from me.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Why does the Prime Minister persist in denying that she—on day one of this issue, after the Court of Appeal decision—said that the Government would clarify the position to ensure that the ownership of the foreshore and seabed lay with the Crown, and let it go for months, and now, somehow, has every journalist lying and her telling the truth?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: I have been very clear in this House, over a number of months, as to what I did say.

Hon Roger Sowry: Did her attendance at the hui that discussed this matter inform her of the reasons that this legislation should not be introduced this year?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: Just as the member could not attend a caucus today, nor did I attend hui. [Interruption]

Hon Roger Sowry: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER: I am just waiting. There will be people leaving if I cannot hear a point of order in silence.

Hon Roger Sowry: That in no way answered the question. In fact, the National Party caucus is tomorrow, which I will be attending. I want to know whether her attendance at the hui helped inform her of her decision to delay the legislation. If she did not attend the hui, then she can tell us. I am sure she was not hiding.

Mr SPEAKER: I thought the Prime Minister did that in the second part of her answer.

Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. You cannot possibly believe that there was a reasonable answer in the second part of the Prime Minister’s statement. I want to take you further to the question before, asked by Mr Peters, which is a very simple question that asked the Prime Minister why she was not prepared to stick by her original statements when this issue first came to light for the public. Her answer simply was that she has been very clear about her statements. If the Prime Minister gives us answers like this, and you accept them, we might as well not turn up.

Hon Dr Michael Cullen: On many occasions the Prime Minister has pointed out that she did not make the statement that members opposite claim she made. Eventually that will get through to the Opposition. As for the other point made by the member, the Prime Minister made it clear that she did not attend any hui, and therefore—[Interruption] I am sitting next to the Prime Minister and I heard her very clearly state that, and as there was no hui she attended she is in the same position of ignorance as we all are about the National Party caucus today—what happened there. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: I will not warn people about interjecting during points of order again. Mr Peters has a perfect right to be heard in silence.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Mr Speaker, you will recall that the evidence for questions on this issue provided to you as Speaker, or to the Clerk, recited both the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General, Margaret Wilson, who is the Minister in charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations. It was repeated by every journalist the next day, but now, when we provide you with evidence that this is the authority for us saying that she said it, she gets up in the House today and says that she has been very clear about her statements, but that she is not very clear as to whether she is a liar or the media are. That was my question. Did she tell the truth and are they lying, or are they lying and is she telling the truth; or was it obvious to everybody?

Mr SPEAKER: The first part of the answer was arguably unnecessary, but the Prime Minister did address the question in the second part of her answer.

Hon Roger Sowry: Does the Prime Minister regret not being able to fit her attendance at any of the hui into her diary; if so, what is she going to do about it now?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: I have no regrets at all.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I ask the Prime Minister why, when she and the Attorney-General were quoted the next day as having said that they would introduce legislation clarifying that the ownership of the seabed and foreshore lay with the Crown; and when every journalist reported that in her name and in Margaret Wilson’s name, has she got the audacity to come to the House and now deny that she said it in the first place; or was it just spin for the first 2 weeks to get the lie of the land?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: I am very clear about what I said, which was that clarifying legislation would be required.

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Methamphetamine—Ministerial Committee on Drug Policy

3. Hon MATT ROBSON (Deputy Leader—Progressive) to the Associate Minister of Health: What action has the coalition Government’s Ministerial Committee on Drug Policy taken to date to combat the methamphetamine drug problem in this country?

Hon JIM ANDERTON (Associate Minister of Health): Since becoming chair of the ministerial committee, I have overseen the implementation of the methamphetamine action plan, which has been allocated $8.6 million in this year’s Budget for police and customs initiatives, as well as $2.55 million for the development of community action programmes; the reclassification of methamphetamine to a class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act, so that anyone convicted of importing, manufacturing or supplying the drug now faces up to life imprisonment; and work to put in place successful protocols by the police and pharmacies to limit the domestic supply of precursor chemicals, such as ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.

Hon Matt Robson: What are the next steps the coalition Government proposes to take in its fight against this dangerous drug?

Hon JIM ANDERTON: Cabinet has agreed to lower the presumption of supply in relation to methamphetamine from the current 56 grams to 5 grams. This will allow police the ability to prosecute more suppliers of this dangerous drug. This measure will help police and customs in their fight against methamphetamine, and it is expected to begin its process through Cabinet by the end of this month. Pseudoephedrine is an ingredient for the manufacture of methamphetamine and has been recommended by the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs to be classified as a class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act. I have accepted that recommendation, and the Ministry of Health is in the process of consulting the industry on that measure.

Dr Lynda Scott: In light of the fact that families cannot get their P-addicted children into drug rehabilitation facilities, which are bursting at the seams, or into acute mental health beds, because there simply are not enough, when will the Government put its money where its mouth is and start saving these young people’s lives?

Hon JIM ANDERTON: The issue of inadequacy of facilities for health, mental health, and drug issues is not a new one, and I can say that the Government has, over the last 3 years, had an average of six Ministers attending each meeting of the ministerial group. The last time that the National Party had such a meeting one Minister turned up, so members opposite should not accuse this Government of inaction when the last Government, led by the National Party, did nothing whatever about this issue.

Craig McNair: Can the Minister confirm that police previously dedicated to seeking out methamphetamine laboratories, where the drugs are made, have been pulled back from those duties to assist with the outbreak of homicides that have occurred in various parts of the country over recent weeks; if so, what is the likely impact of this action on methamphetamine supply and availability on the streets?

Hon JIM ANDERTON: I cannot comment on the operational arrangements that the police make on a daily basis, but I can say that this Government has taken measures to strengthen police action against methamphetamine use, and those actions are being implemented by the police.

Nandor Tanczos: What action is the Government taking to separate the market for hard drugs from the market for cannabis; a policy that, according to the Health Committee, was a stated aim of the Dutch Government, and which resulted in Holland having one of the lowest rates of hard drug addiction in the Western World and no methamphetamine problem?

Hon JIM ANDERTON: Contrary to what the member believes, at the recent Vienna conference on drugs, I met with the Minister of Health from the Netherlands, who advised me that although his country had had a relatively benign attitude to cannabis, it is now facing an explosion in the production of hard drugs, and the Netherlands now has a very bad reputation around the world for exporting hard drugs. I would recommend that the Green Party review its whole policy on being soft on any drugs whatsoever, because it does not work.

Judy Turner: Does the Minister intend to continue allowing not-for-profit community organisations such as the Foundation for Alcohol and Drug Education to bear the financial burden of immediate community education on methamphetamines while we wait for the implementation of the community action programmes early next year; if not, why not?

Hon JIM ANDERTON: There are dozens, if not hundreds, of organisations that do very effective and valuable community work in drugs, rehabilitation, and so on. The Government cannot fund all of them, of course. It is at the present time engaging in a programme to develop a residential treatment unit for those young people associated with the drug court in Christchurch. It is funding a number of organisations assisting with drugs, but every organisation in New Zealand that does good work cannot expect to be funded by the Government.

Dr Muriel Newman: Has the Minister seen the United Nations statement that New Zealand has the third-worst drug problem in the world; and since the problem with methamphetamines has occurred almost entirely while Labour has been in power, how does he explain his continual support for this “soft on drugs” Government?

Hon JIM ANDERTON: I did not hear the last bit—

Hon Richard Prebble: “Soft on drugs” Government.

Hon JIM ANDERTON: I would recommend that the member who asked that question listens or gets a transcript from the interview on National Radio where a reputed researcher on drug matters in New Zealand said that that report from the United Nations has no validity whatsoever in any scientific analysis of a country’s reputation in terms of drugs. The second point is that if this Government is soft on drugs, I suggest the member ask those people out in the community who now know that anyone dealing in drugs like methamphetamine faces life imprisonment under class C reclassification, which the previous National Government, supported by ACT, never got around to even doing.

Peter Brown: What has Cabinet agreed to with regard to people who drive under the influence of drugs, as shown on that television programme on Sunday, where some people are apparently killing people and getting off relatively scot-free?

Hon JIM ANDERTON: It may come as a surprise to the member, but this Parliament and the Cabinet of the Government on this side of the House make the laws; the police and the judiciary apply them. That is the way it will stay as long as there is a rule of law in New Zealand.

Dr Lynda Scott: I seek leave to table a press release from last year showing that young adults will lose a valuable lifeline when the Hanmer youth clinic—

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

Hon Jim Anderton: I seek leave to table a document that shows that the last time the ministerial group on drugs met under the National Party, one Minister attended.

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

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Greenhouse Gas Emissions—Agricultural Levy

4. Hon DAVID CARTER (NZ National) to the Convenor, Ministerial Group on Climate Change: When will an announcement be made on the future of the agricultural greenhouse gas emissions levy?

Hon PETE HODGSON (Convenor, Ministerial Group on Climate Change): Any announcement will follow the outcome of discussions with the agriculture sector.

Hon David Carter: Does the Minister share the optimism of his office spokesperson, who was quoted in the Otago Daily Times on Saturday as saying that it looked as if the Government would end up “avoiding the need to bring the levy in”?

Hon PETE HODGSON: Time will tell, but if that does happen, that will be the Government’s first preference.

Nanaia Mahuta: Does the Minister see any advantages in a statutory levy, rather than in voluntary funding from the agricultural sector, for that research?

Hon PETE HODGSON: The Government’s preference has always been for voluntary funding, and we are pleased that the sector is reconsidering its position on that.

R Doug Woolerton: Why will the Minister not admit that the proposed methane emission research levy on farmers was a mistake and would do nothing for world greenhouse gas emissions?

Hon PETE HODGSON: Should the research into methane emissions prove a little, moderately, or even very successful, it will have small, medium, or large effects on greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, it is worth doing, because it puts more money on our farmers’ bottom lines.

Gerrard Eckhoff: Why will the Government not withdraw the proposed methane research tax immediately, in light of the Ravensdown Fertiliser Cooperative - Lincoln University announcement that a new, jointly developed product, started 10 years ago, could achieve the Government’s Kyoto target, even if it were half as efficient as the first research results show; and is this not an example of just how far the Government is behind the 9-ball in terms of its relationship with the rural sector?

Hon PETE HODGSON: That research is very encouraging, although it is yet to be tested in the field. I understand it is approaching that phase now. It has, of course, been funded by the taxpayer and by industry in the past. In other words, it is a very good example of how research can make a difference.

Hon David Carter: Could the Minister explain to the House what is the difference between a back-down on the flatulence tax and a “back-up”, a term the Minister used in the House on 4 September?

Hon PETE HODGSON: It seems that it is within the bounds of possibility that the agricultural sector and the Government may be able to move back up to the first priority of us all.

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Parole Board—Principles

5. MARC ALEXANDER (United Future) to the Minister of Justice: Is he satisfied with the provisions of the Parole Act 2002, which state that, as a guiding principle for the Parole Board, “the paramount consideration for the Board in every case is the safety of the community.”, yet the rights of victims are simply “upheld” and victims’ submissions “given due weight”?

Hon PHIL GOFF (Minister of Justice): Yes, I am satisfied that the safety of the community is, and should be, the paramount consideration of the Parole Board. It is also very important that victims’ rights are upheld, and their views heard and given due weight. Under the Victims’ Rights Act and the Parole Act, all victims—for the first time—have the right to make submissions to a parole hearing, either orally at an attended hearing or in writing. That is a real advance in victims’ rights over what went previously.

Marc Alexander: Can the Minister explain in what way he is satisfied that the rights of victims are upheld, when Morgan Fahey, for example, was released after serving only 3 years and 4 months of a pitiful 6-year sentence for sex crimes against 11 women patients—including the rape of a pregnant woman—yet one of Fahey’s victims was unaware of his eligibility for parole, and others stated that: “I would like to see him die in there.”, “I don’t ever want to see him again.”, and “How could they let him out when he’s spent 30 years having a field day with women?”

Hon PHIL GOFF: Victims of Morgan Fahey did take up the right to be present at the parole board hearing and to make submissions to the board. If any victim was not notified, it may have been because she did not put herself on the victim notification register. The member might like to check that out with the person concerned. In respect of the sentence of Morgan Fahey, he was sentenced 3 years ago and it is not for a politician in this House but for the court to determine what sentence is given. In this case, he committed 13 offences—11 for sexual assault, one for rape, and one for sexual violation. The judge at the time thought that a sentence of 6 years was appropriate, but, of course, the sentencing laws have changed since then, including the requirement that the maximum sentence be given for the worst type of offence.

Tim Barnett: What are the rights of victims in respect of parole hearings?

Hon PHIL GOFF: Under the Victims’ Rights Act and the Parole Act, both passed last year, all victims have the right to make submissions to parole hearings. Those on the victim notification register will be automatically notified in advance of the hearing date. A victim may make an oral submission to a hearing. If it is an unattended hearing, written submissions may be made. In fact, the Parole Board will go to the extent of visiting the victim in his or her home so that it can hear those submissions.

Deborah Coddington: Can the Minister explain how the Parole Act protects community safety, when New Zealand’s youngest-ever murderer, Bailey Kurariki—after serving only 1 year of a 7-year sentence he has had 12 incident reports in Kingslea in the last 2 months, and he has shown no remorse—is today being considered for home detention, and could soon be returned to a home where even the Minister’s own officials reported there is no control over him and from which he never went to school; and where is the community safety in that “soft on criminals” attitude?

Hon PHIL GOFF: The member is asking me to make a comment on a hypothetical situation, because, to the best of my knowledge, the Parole Board has not yet made a decision. Therefore, it would be wrong for me to guess what decision it might make. As the member knows well, the Parole Board is an independent statutory body. It works under the legislation passed in this House, but its decisions are its own and may not be interfered with by that member or by me.

Marc Alexander: Can the Minister explain to the House why the Parole Act allows someone like Morgan Fahey to be paroled last month, when his application for home detention was turned down just 3 months earlier?

Hon PHIL GOFF: The comments I made to the previous question are appropriate to that. I am not privy to the information the Parole Board has or hears; nor may I interfere with its decision.

Marc Alexander: Is the Minister satisfied that the rights of victims are upheld when offenders are paroled showing no signs of remorse—as in the case of Morgan Fahey, who, while giving an interview in prison said: “Whatever I did at the time I was doing it, I did not know that what I was doing was wrong.”, and who was found with pornography and old patient notes in his cell—if the Minister is satisfied, why; if he is not, what does he intend to do about it?

Hon PHIL GOFF: The Parole Board, while it has as its paramount consideration the safety of the community, and obviously has judged that this man is not a threat to the community, may also take other factors into account. However, I did read with interest the member’s own comments, describing Fahey as a sad and pathetic shadow of the status he once enjoyed; that he has paid the price for his offences, over and above his prison term, including the loss of his honour, his city councillor role, his luxury home, and his right to practise medicine.

Government Members: Who said that?

Hon PHIL GOFF: That is what the member said.

Marc Alexander: Does the Minister agree that in upholding the rights of victims, the parole law should be dictated by the bad deeds committed by criminals like Fahey before their conviction, rather than the good behaviour they may ostensibly demonstrate after the fact, by making offenders fulfil their entire sentence, so as to restore the intrinsic value of punishment, so that victims can feel that justice has actually been done?

Hon PHIL GOFF: As the member is aware, the Parole Board now has the discretion, if it decides it is appropriate, to keep an offender in prison for the full term of the sentence. This particular offender was sentenced under the old legislation, so automatically had to be released at two-thirds of his sentence, in any case.

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State Housing and Elective Surgery—Waiting Lists

6. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First) to the Prime Minister: Is she concerned about the number of New Zealanders on waiting lists for elective surgery and State housing, and how many New Zealanders are on each list?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK (Prime Minister): I am satisfied that good progress is being made in both areas—that is, 82 percent of newly referred patients are now seen by a specialist within 6 months, compared with 66 percent in the 1998-99 year. In respect of State housing, the 12,379 applicants on the waiting list represent a smaller number than the number of State houses sold off under the previous National Government, of which Mr Peters was, for a time, part.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I asked the Prime Minister as to how many people were on the elective surgery list. She made no attempt to answer, although it is all there in the question. The last few words say: “and how many New Zealanders are on each list?”. That member, who is meant to be the Prime Minister, comes down to this House after a long rest, and cannot even answer a simple question as to what the number is, in two categories. She gave us the second category, and with a very diverse answer to do with a Government with which I was associated, but on the question—

Mr SPEAKER: Please be seated.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I have not finished, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER: The member will sit down now. The member will come to his point tersely. He has not yet raised a point of order.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I have raised a point of order, Mr Speaker. I asked you why you have allowed the Prime Minister to get away with not answering the first part of the question, which is: “and how many New Zealanders are on each list?”. In this case, it had to be, firstly, elective surgery, which is implicit in the question; and, secondly, State housing. When she got to State housing, having ignored the first part of the question, she then started to blame me for the past, which is not any matter she is responsible for. So she has erred on three grounds, and why have you not got up and stopped her?

Mr SPEAKER: Because she actually addressed the question. She gave the figures that were required. She added comments in as well—[Interruption] Order! I heard her mention the number of people on waiting lists for State housing, and the member acknowledged that. When she came to the question of waiting lists for elective surgery, I heard a figure given there. The Prime Minister certainly addressed the question.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Well, then, you tell the country what the number is that I am seeking, in respect of elective surgery. Tell us all, now.

Hon Richard Prebble: I most certainly am prepared to support you, in that you cannot make the Prime Minister give an answer, but I really think you should rethink the reply you gave to the Rt Hon. Winston Peters, because you suggested that the Prime Minister actually had given the number of people waiting for elective surgery. If you were involved in active politics you would know that the number of people who are waiting for elective surgery is the country’s best-kept secret. Nobody knows that number. The Government makes sure it does not keep the numbers. Hospitals are told they are not allowed to keep the numbers. That is a complete secret.

Mr SPEAKER: That might well be, but that was not the issue that was raised. Two figures were given. I am not here to judge whether the figures are accurate; that is for the Prime Minister giving the figures and for members who are asking supplementary questions.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. With respect, we have come back from a break from the House. We have all been led by the media to believe that we are going to get some sort of new transparency from the House in this term. I want to ask you as to how it is avoidable, on this question, to say how many New Zealanders are on each list. The first list being required, of course, is the elective surgery list. How could she possibly have answered that by putting up some sort of 6-month waiting list percentage? As the Hon Mr Prebble rightly points out, it is the figure that we want to know; so does the whole country. For the Prime Minister, of all people—not some junior Minister, but the Prime Minister—to come down here and get away with that, and be allowed by you to get away with it, is a democratic disgrace. I want a bit of accountability in this House, from her and you.

Mr SPEAKER: The member will not be making comments about me, at all.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Well, I have.

Mr SPEAKER: Well, if the member makes any further comments he will be leaving the Chamber. I am warning him of that right now. As far as I am concerned, I heard an answer given. Perhaps the Prime Minister might like to restate the answer.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. If you heard an answer, then the Prime Minister has answered the question, but you did not hear any answer to do with the subject matter, and now you are asking her to expand upon it. My point is this: why do we always have to waste the time of this House by asking for questions to be answered the way they are in every First World democracy, and particularly the ones that we share the English language with. This is a disgrace. I am making my protest on behalf of myself and my colleagues, and I believe it is generally shared by every informed observer of this process.

Mr SPEAKER: The member might believe that, but that is not my point of view, and that is not the point of view that I want to adhere to here. Ministers are asked questions, and Ministers reply. I invited the Prime Minister to restate the answer that she gave. If she wishes to do that I would like her to do so.

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: I am happy to advise, supplementary to what I advised in a rather full answer earlier, that elective surgery waiting lists amount to 31,785, of which a very small number are the refugees and new migrants Mr Peters despises.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Now, there you go! She had the figure. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Point of order—

Mr SPEAKER: I will hear the member in a minute. I am going to be sending somebody out—somebody who makes a comment. I am very close indeed to doing so. Only one person speaks to the point of order.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Mr Speaker, there you go; she had the figure. If you wish to send anybody out, send her out and make an example of her for this Government—and her Ministers. It is not a laughing matter to threaten to throw out members of this side of the House, when she is clearly in breach of the spirit of question time in this House. In my view, that is a disgrace. Send her out and make it a lesson for the first time, for a long, long time.

Mr SPEAKER: All I want to say is this—

Hon Roger Sowry: Point of order—

Mr SPEAKER: I do not need any further assistance on this matter. I will make that decision, and I will make it alone. As far as I was concerned, I invited the Minister to make, if she wanted to, any further comments. She did. She made an extra comment. That does not cut off anyone’s question time.

Hon Roger Sowry: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I want to make two points. The fact that it does not come off anyone’s question time is because members of Parliament, and in this case, Mr Peters, had to take extreme action—which included a huge amount of provocation, I have to say, of yourself—to get the Prime Minister to give an answer to a question that she had on notice. She can sit there and shake her head, but she did not give the 31,000 figure. She hid that until, under extreme provocation, she then stood up and gave the number. At the end of the day, unless there are some guidelines for times where Ministers have answers and choose not to give them but then give them under duress a bit later on during points of order, you can expect nothing else other than lots of points of order, because if anyone takes up extra questions that is just a way of those questions being used up. Mr Speaker, I do not know whether the next time you attend the Labour caucus you lay the rules out to the Minister, or whether you send a memo to Ministers on the way they answer questions—spell it out more. But at the end of the day, for this House’s transparency, we need to ensure that when Ministers have got answers, they give them rather than have to have them wheedled out through points of order.

Hon Dr Michael Cullen: Mr Speaker, perhaps the next time a National Party caucus is held, you might attend it to tell them that the requirement is for Ministers to address questions, and the member needs to understand what that actually means.

Hon Richard Prebble: There is a Speaker’s ruling that states that if an answer to a question can be given, then it should be given. While I do not want to associate myself with the tone in which some of the points of order have been raised with you, I have to associate myself with the point that is being made, and I think you should make it to the Prime Minister. In this particular case a question was given under notice, it asked for a particular number, and it now turns out that the Prime Minister always had that number. No one in this House could misinterpret this question as not asking for the number of people on waiting lists for elective surgery. For the Prime Minister to have that figure, then to choose not to give it to the House when asked, is holding Parliament in contempt. It would be very helpful—and I have invited you to do this before, and perhaps you could have a think about it rather than doing it today—to have a formal ruling by you stating that if a Minister has the answer to the question, then it is unparliamentary for the Minister to fail to provide that information to the House.

Mr SPEAKER: The Speaker does not write answers for Ministers or judge the quality of answers. The guidelines are that questions must be addressed, and in that regard Dr Cullen was right. On reflection, perhaps the point that the Hon Richard Prebble made is also a point that is worth considering.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: When the Prime Minister was asked as to what the number was on the elective surgery list why did she not get up and just tell the House the straight, direct, and honest answer that was provided to her by her staff when she came down to the House; why is she in full-scale evasion mode most of the time?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: Answers should not be over lengthy and a lot of information was in the first one.

Dr Lynda Scott: Is the Prime Minister concerned about the 25,000 patients who were dumped from the waiting list because under this Government people have to be sicker to get service, and how many New Zealanders does she think thought her credit card pledge to reduce waiting lists would be achieved by having patients simply dumped from the list?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: The residual waiting list process has been around for quite a while. The numbers removed at this time are considerably fewer than the 58,000 dumped when that member’s party was in Government. I am satisfied that more surgery than ever is being performed, a lot more money has been put in, and that we are getting very good results in terms of the numbers being seen by specialists within the first 6 months and then being referred for treatment.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Why is the Prime Minister so little concerned about what an effect it will have if one adds to the 31,000 the number of people who are tipped off the list, then adds the number who are on State housing lists, which comes to 68,000 all up; why is she so contemptuously unconcerned about those people who are living in anguish and agony, awaiting breast, heart, eye, joint, orthopaedic, and hip operations, to name but a few, and who are living in squalor and in overcrowded conditions, while she spends tens and tens of millions of dollars on a whole lot of illegal immigrants and reconciling some Afghans who, when the situation has been stabilised in their country, are not to be reconciled there but, of all things, here?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: I am sure the member is not really interested in knowing that out of over 63,000 State tenancies, 154 went to refugees last year. It has been the practice of Governments for many years to make sure that refugees are appropriately housed in the community. I, for one, would want to see that practice continue.

Jill Pettis: Have policies in respect of the health and housing needs of refugees changed in recent years?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: No. I understand that essentially the same approach has been taken to the housing of refugees in the community, including State housing, and to meeting their health needs, which are often quite considerable. It is a good thing about New Zealand that the practice has been the same under a range of Governments, including when Mr Peters was Deputy Prime Minister.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I would like to table the comments made by the Prime Minister when I was Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister, when she blatantly complained about New Zealand First being far too influential in driving down the number of immigrants and refugees.

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

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Medicines—Subsidies

7. DAVE HEREORA (NZ Labour) to the Minister of Health: What steps has the Government taken to improve access to subsidised medicines?

Hon ANNETTE KING (Minister of Health): The Government has increased Pharmac’s budget for community pharmaceuticals to $566.6 million. This represents a 10 percent increase over last year, and recognises the growth and demand for medicines, particularly for improved access for people in primary health organisations.

Dave Hereora: What other initiatives has Pharmac taken to ensure that getting the medicines that doctors prescribe is easier for patients?

Hon ANNETTE KING: Pharmac has reintroduced all-at-once dispensing as from 1 October. For most patients, especially those with chronic conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, it will be easier for them to get their medicines. Overall, all-at-once dispensing will mean that 71 percent of prescriptions will be dispensed in one go, and this will be more convenient for many people.

Dr Lynda Scott: What is the Minister doing to address the rest home, dementia, and geriatric hospital patient issue, knowing that every one of those patients have their medications changed frequently, and 3-monthly dispensing will cause huge wastage of medications, increased costs for the rest homes and their clients, and major storage compliance and safety issues?

Hon ANNETTE KING: The changes that were made to the stat dispensing proposal enables individual patients to have medicines dispensed either 3-monthly or monthly. I welcome that member’s support of the changes that were made to the proposal when she wrote to Pharmac and congratulated it.

Dr Lynda Scott: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I asked specifically about rest homes, geriatric hospitals, and dementia units. The Minister did not address that issue in any way.

Hon ANNETTE KING: Speaking to the point of order, Mr Speaker, I point out that people who live in rest homes and other institutions mentioned by that member are individuals.

Mr SPEAKER: The point was made. The Minister addressed the question.

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Supreme Court—Appointment of Judges

8. RICHARD WORTH (NZ National—Epsom) to the Attorney-General: Will she have the final recommendation on who the judges appointed to the Supreme Court will be and is it her intention to follow the recommendations of the panel?

Hon MARGARET WILSON (Attorney-General):Yes and yes.

Richard Worth: Why has she created a Clayton’s panel to advise her on appointments to the Supreme Court, when she has already said, and had reported in the media, that she is likely to make appointments exclusively from the Court of Appeal; what is it that each member of the panel will contribute to the process?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: I am following the same process that the previous Attorney-General has followed, with the exception that I have supplemented that panel with an additional member. The reason this process is being followed is that there are seven members on the Court of Appeal. There will be four recommendations made—five if one includes the Chief Justice who is included—so it is not known automatically who will be there. That is why I need advice from the panel, and I do not believe it is a Clayton’s panel.

Dail Jones: How can the Attorney-General say she is following a process that has been followed before, when the Privy Council has never been abolished before, and this is an entirely new process for the establishment of a Supreme Court, and will she consider the judges’ names that are to be forwarded being notified to, say, the Justice and Electoral Committee, so that the committee can give some consideration to the appointments that are to be made, and its meetings to be held in camera?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: All judges who are appointed are High Court judges. In that sense, as I have said, I am following the process that has been set down, but supplementing it in recognition of the fact that this is for the Supreme Court. Why the matter has not been referred, of course, to the select committee, is that that would be contrary to what I understood the select committee did not want, and that is blatant political appointments.

Hon KEN SHIRLEY (Deputy Leader—ACT NZ): Why is the Minister apparently not prepared to follow constitutional conventions and avoid any suggestion of political bias or interference by simply appointing the most senior judges from the Court of Appeal?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: That is why I am following the constitutional convention that has evolved in this country—that is, by having recommendations from a panel. In this instance there seems to be no reason to change that practice.

Nandor Tanczos: Does the Minister agree that the issue of judicial appointments goes well beyond the Supreme Court, and following her discussions with the Green Party, what consideration does the Government intend to give the issue of a judicial appointments commission to make judicial appointments in general less political?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: I understand that during submissions on the bill the Green Party raised that we should follow the UK example of setting up a discussion paper and inquiry into whether we should establish a commission to recommend judicial appointments. I have already indicated that I am very comfortable with proceeding with that, and hopefully a discussion paper will be available in the new year.

Richard Worth: Did the Minister not deal with judicial appointments in the Judicial Matters Bill because she wanted to be able to appoint the Supreme Court, effectively by herself, in a triumph of social engineering; if not, why does the Judicial Matters Bill not deal with judicial appointments, as the Justice and Electoral Committee was led to believe that it would?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: I am following the normal practice in making judicial appointments. I am following the process that was established prior to this Government by the Attorney-General in the previous National-led Government. I see no reason to change that practice at this time. The Judicial Matters Bill came long after the Supreme Court legislation.

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Genetically Modified Crops—Canadian Experience

9. SUE KEDGLEY (Green) to the Minister for the Environment: Will she agree to visit Canada before the Government lifts the moratorium on the growing of GE crops, so that she can see at first hand the problems Canada is experiencing as a result of growing GE crops, as outlined in the recently released report by Canada’s Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food; if not, why not?

Hon MARIAN HOBBS (Minister for the Environment): No. There are much more cost-effective ways to gather information in this age of telecommunication.

Sue Kedgley: Why on earth would she not want to visit a country that has been growing GE for 7 years to see for herself at first hand the consequences, or does she not want to face up to the fact that growing GE in Canada has resulted in widespread contamination, a loss of premium markets in Europe and Asia, damage to the international perceptions of Canadian produce, and loss of confidence amongst consumers in the integrity of the Canadian food supply?

Hon MARIAN HOBBS: I have no need. I can get information on most of that huge list in the question by ringing the Canadian High Commission, going on the Internet, and talking to a number of people. I do not have to visit a country and cost the taxpayer much-needed money.

Hon Brian Donnelly: How can she be confident that the Environmental Risk Management Authority will be able to make adequate economic risk analysis on a GE food application when her own Government has demanded that the methodology be improved, and that work does not have to be reported until October 2004?

Hon MARIAN HOBBS: The member has confused two different work streams. The methodology used by Environmental Risk Management Authority will be completed by the time that the moratorium lifts. The further work being done by Treasury on economic effects is certainly not due until the end of 2004. But we have much information, including this wee gem that the Canadians have not suffered any loss in their overall export markets because of what they grow in genetically modified products.

Lynne Pillay: Has the Minister seen any information to support her view that a cautious case-by-case consideration of applications to release GM technology will not harm the economy following the expiry of the moratorium at the end of the month?

Hon MARIAN HOBBS: Yes, I have. A recent Otago University study interviewed key people in the European food markets and found that negative sentiments about genetically modified food does not transfer to general perceptions of country image in relation to food quality and food safety. Nor does a negative sentiment transfer to unrelated non-GM products. In other words, the expiry of the moratorium on applications to release genetically modified organisms will not harm New Zealand’s clean, green image, as some in this House claim, and the cautious application of GM technology is the appropriate way to proceed, which the Canadians are about to adapt, which they have stated in that same programme that the member quoted from.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: If the Minister is so confident of her position—unusual as it is—why will she not ask the Prime Minister to allow a conscience vote on this issue so that the Labour Party can express, without the whip being applied, its real view on this issue?

Hon MARIAN HOBBS: I am absolutely confident that even if there were a conscience vote Labour colleagues would vote sensibly on a case-by-case decision.

Sue Kedgley: What is her response to the Canadian farmer who said in an interview published last week: “They told us GM food would help farming, but it has brought nothing but trouble, and now we are trapped in a giant experiment over which we have no control. Once you open the door to GM you may never be able to close it again. We were also assured cross-contamination would not happen but the fact is that GM is out there, nobody can control it, the stuff is spreading, no one can stop it, that is what is so scary.”?

Mr SPEAKER: The Minister may respond very briefly.

Hon MARIAN HOBBS: The difference between Canada and New Zealand is that Canada has no form of conditional release. The only way it could make an assessment was on some environmental contextual assessment. It cannot assess for economic benefits. One of the things that is different between Canada and New Zealand is that we are setting up a process under the legislation before the House for case-by-case, for modifications, for conditional release, for the setting of conditions, that will prevent us from going down the way that Canada experienced with GM canola.

Jeanette Fitzsimons: If the price farmers receive for non-GE canola is damaged by the nearby growing of GE canola—as that Canadian report shows—why does she support a field test of GE onions, in preparation for a release of those onions in New Zealand, which could damage our $100 million onion exports, which are mainly to countries very resistant to GE food?

Hon MARIAN HOBBS: The only price loss was for a period of time when the Canadians were denied a market entry into the European Union. When they change their market across to Japan, Saudi Arabia, and I have forgotten the two other countries, their market price recovered.

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Foreshore and Seabed—Appeal to Privy Council

10. Hon RICHARD PREBBLE (Leader—ACT NZ) to the Attorney-General: Why did the Government decide not to appeal the Court of Appeal decision in relation to the Marlborough foreshore case to the Privy Council?

Hon MARGARET WILSON (Attorney-General): The Government considered that the questions raised by the Court of Appeal as a result of its decision can best be addressed by working through the issues, which is what we are doing in the present consultation process.

Hon Richard Prebble: Has the Attorney-General seen the press reports of distinguished lawyers such as Paul Cavanagh QC, and former Land Court Mâori lawyer, Marcus Poole, at ACT’s foreshore conference on the weekend, stating that the Court of Appeal decision was wrong in law; given this, is it not irresponsible for the present Government not to appeal the decision to the Privy Council?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: Yes, I have seen the opinions of those two lawyers. I have heard the opinions of many other lawyers. All lawyers give opinions.

Russell Fairbrother: What is the Crown’s role in the appeal?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: The Crown is no longer a party to the appeal and, therefore, will not be participating in the hearing of the appeal. We played a neutral role in the appeal so far; for instance, we did not oppose the granting of leave to appeal, which I understand is yet to be heard and determined.

Richard Worth: When the Attorney-General said that the Crown is not a party to the appeal, why is she misleading the House when the Crown is a party to the appeal, albeit that it has decided to abide the decision of the court on the appeal; why is it that there has been a history by the Crown in the Mâori Land Court, the High Court, and the Court of Appeal to argue that the foreshore and seabed are the exclusive property of the Crown, and now the Crown is wimping out on that argument?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: It is true we were certainly a party to the Court of Appeal decision. We are not a party in the sense that we are pursuing an active role, as far as the Privy Council is concerned.

Gordon Copeland: Can the Attorney-General give a categorical assurance to existing owners of private title to the foreshore that, following the chain of events arising from the Marlborough decision, title to the foreshore that is now privately owned will not be taken away or removed without full and just compensation?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: Yes. On previous occasions we have given that reassurance and there seems to be no reason to depart from it.

Hon Richard Prebble: Is the Attorney-General prepared to repeat in the House the statement she made to me—when briefing me on the Court of Appeal decision—that Crown Law advised the Government that the decision was wrong and the foreshore did belong to the Crown; given that, is the real reason that the Government will not appeal to the Privy Council because to do so would admit that the Government’s decision to repeal appeals to the Privy Council is a dangerous mistake?

Hon MARGARET WILSON: No. It is not surprising that Crown Law, which argued and lost, would think that its argument would be better heard yet again in another forum. I think that is quite normal for any party in such proceedings. The reason we are not proceeding is in terms of the answer that I have already given the member.

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Business Compliance Costs—Australia / New Zealand

11. H V ROSS ROBERTSON (NZ Labour—Manukau East), on behalf of MARK PECK (NZ Labour—Invercargill), to the Associate Minister of Commerce: What reports has he received comparing business compliance costs in New Zealand with Australia?

Hon JOHN TAMIHERE (Associate Minister of Commerce): Recent reports from the Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the New South Wales State Chamber of Commerce highlight the higher compliance costs faced by businesses in Australia, our largest trading partner. This is most notable in areas such as GST compliance, superannuation and payroll tax, accident compensation, and occupational health and safety. These figures highlight why New Zealand is a great place to do business, and why the idea of packing up and moving to Australia is not that clever.

H V Ross Robertson: How do the figures in the report compare with other international evidence?

Hon JOHN TAMIHERE: The 2003 Index of Economic Freedom, published by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal, ranks New Zealand third in the world for economic freedom, compared with Australia which ranked ninth. The report, which noted an increase in economic freedom since 1998, goes on to describe New Zealand’s regulatory regime as relatively light and transparent, and commented that it is easy to establish a business in New Zealand. In its 2002 economic survey, the OECD commented that the quality of Government regulations and their administration in New Zealand is generally of a high international standard.

John Key: Why have the Small Business Advisory Group appointments not yet been announced, when the Minister said that they would be announced by the end of June; and can he confirm that the delays are because the Government cannot find business leaders who will not challenge the policies it has said are not open for debate or review—such as an overhaul of the Resource Management Act?

Hon JOHN TAMIHERE: I am delighted to advise the member that, quite contrary to his views, we had hundreds and hundreds—in fact, 640—high-calibre applicants. They took a hugely long time to vet, and the Government is about ready to announce some very capable and superb applicants in the very near future.

Sue Kedgley: Is the Minister aware that New Zealand producers of dietary supplements will face dramatically higher compliance costs if they are forced into a trans-Tasman therapeutic goods administration—with no gain in safety when compared to a strengthened New Zealand regulatory model—and this may force many of them to relocate to Australia; if so, why will he not step in to protect these businesses from such a fate?

Hon JOHN TAMIHERE: No.

Dr Muriel Newman: Does the Government have a modest goal to ensure business compliance costs are not quite as bad as in Australia, or does it have an ambitious goal to eliminate red tape as far as practicable, in order to give New Zealanders a true competitive advantage in the global marketplace?

Hon JOHN TAMIHERE: We prefer the ambitious one.

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Proceeds of Crime Act—Effectiveness

12. Hon TONY RYALL (NZ National—Bay of Plenty) to the Minister of Police: Has he received any reports from the New Zealand Police on the effectiveness of the Proceeds of Crime Act 1991; if so, what do those reports say?

Hon GEORGE HAWKINS (Minister of Police): Yes. The Police has advised me that in the year to date eight restraining orders have been obtained, to the value of $1.468 million.

Hon Tony Ryall: Noting that cash is the lifeblood of criminal gangs, can the Minister explain why drug-dealing gangs are escaping unscathed from the Proceeds of Crime Act, when official documents from the Government show that so far this year not one dollar has been confiscated from a convicted drug dealer—not one dollar?

Hon GEORGE HAWKINS: I think that the member should have listened to the original answer. Can I say that since 2000 about $3 million has been obtained asa a result of restraining orders. That will probably be the case this year as well.

Hon Tony Ryall: Noting the Minister’s boast about collecting $3 million since 2000, and noting that $3 million was collected in 1999 alone, is the Government’s support for decriminalising cannabis interfering with its decision making in dealing with drug-dealing gangs, considering that the Government promised to do this within its first 6 months of office?

Hon GEORGE HAWKINS: Marijuana is not getting in the way of the police doing their job.

Mr SPEAKER: I want the Minister to give a little bit of a further answer to that.

Hon GEORGE HAWKINS: The police do concentrate on serious crime. They take a very tough line on drugs of all sorts. In fact, the police have just finished a major methamphetamine bust called Operation Tracker, where they have made approximately 30 arrests.

Hon Tony Ryall: If the Government is seriously reviewing the Proceeds of Crime Act, will it consider the features of the highly successful Western Australian Proceeds of Crime Act, where the police and the Parliament have got serious on dealing with the criminal underworld who are responsible for the P scourge infesting our country?

Hon GEORGE HAWKINS: I hope to have a report in 2 or 3 months on options that the police have. We are looking at all sorts of options—

Hon Tony Ryall: Four years.

Hon GEORGE HAWKINS: Well, Tony Ryall can wave, but it is not much good. I can tell the House that we are looking at all options. What we are doing is looking at all options. Western Australia is not the only one—we are looking at Europe, and we will come up with a law that is tougher than the 1991 Act that that member’s party introduced.

Hon Tony Ryall: I seek leave to table the statement of Mr Goff in 1999 that: “The Proceeds of Crimes Act has not worked effectively against organised crime, and the public will not be impressed at the belated recognition of this.”

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

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Question No 5 to Minister

MARC ALEXANDER (United Future): During the course of my supplementary questions, the Minister of Justice—deliberately, I think—misled the House on some of the words that I used in one of my documents. He did not quote some of the other aspects of my document, which included such comments as—

Mr SPEAKER: There is a proper way to do this.

MARC ALEXANDER: I do seek leave to table the document.

Mr SPEAKER: If the member wants just to seek leave to table the document, he may do that.

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

Hon PHIL GOFF (Minister of Justice): I seek leave to table the document that I quoted from, and I have highlighted the areas that I have quoted to show that I have done so accurately.

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

End of Questions for Oral Answer

(uncorrected transcript—subject to correction and further editing)


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