Questions & Answers for Oral Answer 16 September
Thursday, 16 September
Questions for Oral Answer
1. Schools—Career Guidance
2. Iraq—Defence Force Deployment
3. Genetically Modified Sweetcorn—Monsanto Contract
4. Employment Relations Law Reform Bill—Non-union Members
5. Climate Change—Resolutions
6. Police, Minister—Confidence
7. Foreign Charter Vessels—Domestic Crew
8. Human Rights Review Tribunal—Chairperson
9. Unemployment—Youth Statistics
10. Resource Management Act—Rights
11. Algerian Refugee—Immigration, Minister
12. Tertiary Students—Mâori Participation
Questions for Oral
Questions to Ministers
Questions for Oral
1. H V ROSS ROBERTSON (Labour—Manukau East) to the Minister of Education: What steps is he taking to improve career information and guidance in schools?
Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Minister of Education): Seventy-five schools throughout New Zealand will take part in a new pilot programme aimed at helping young people plan their move from school to further education or work. The $5.5 million Designing Careers pilot will reach more than 15,000 students in those schools. It will arm them with the information and skills necessary to make good choices about where to go next.
H V Ross Robertson: Can the Minister tell the House why providing career-planning advice is important?
Hon TREVOR MALLARD: Ensuring that we get the right people with the right skills into the right jobs is very important for New Zealand. All people have their strengths, and we want to match them with the right careers. For example, some people are really good at presenting information, some people are good leaders, and some people follow through on what they say. Getting those people into the right roles is important, and it has not always been done well in the past.
Hon Bill English: Given that parents and communities are raising almost half a billion dollars a year to keep schools operating, when will the Minister stop putting small amounts of money into tiny, contestable pools and start funding properly the operations of schools?
Hon TREVOR MALLARD: I think it is important, in addressing that question, that the member makes it clear that a significant proportion of the half-billion dollars that he describes as coming from communities comes from Chinese communities. He includes overseas student funding as local fund-raising, which is just nonsense. [Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: I am not to be involved in this. The member knows that.
Iraq—Defence Force Deployment
2. RODNEY HIDE (Leader—ACT) to the Minister of Defence: Is New Zealand ending the involvement of our troops in Iraq; if so, why?
Hon MARK BURTON (Minister of Defence): Our engineer deployment will return to New Zealand this month having concluded the two planned 6-month deployments.
Rodney Hide: On what date was a decision made by our Government not to replace our detachment in Iraq, and was Australian Prime Minister John Howard consulted?
Hon MARK BURTON: The Government made a series of decisions that go back to 2003. The original announcement was made—I do not have the precise date in front of me—in about, I think, August 2003. The first deployment of 6 months took place in late September 2003, at which time both the Prime Minister and I made it clear that a second 6-month deployment may happen, and it did. Cabinet made that decision and announcement quite early on, and in March this year that second deployment took place. So the full 12 months has come to a conclusion, and our deployment will come home this month.
Mr SPEAKER: There was another part to the question about Mr Howard.
Hon MARK BURTON: We are not part of the occupying force. There was absolutely no way in which we would consult Mr Howard. We are there under a UN resolution in support of the aid and reconstruction effort, not as part of the occupying force.
Luamanuvao Winnie Laban: What have our engineers been doing in Iraq over the last year?
Hon MARK BURTON: Our New Zealand Defence Force personnel have undertaken the vital task of helping to restore core infrastructure. That has included the New Zealand - aid funded refurbishment of St Mary’s School in Basra, the construction of reverse osmosis plants, and refurbishment work on the Basra teaching hospital. There have been a large number of other projects, including the construction of water tanks and hardstand water pipes at several small schools, ongoing maintenance on two Bailey bridges, and school refurbishment. All in all, more than 40 projects have been completed.
John Carter: Can the Minister advise whether one of the reasons there is to be a removal of personnel from Iraq is due to the serious shortage of troops and the gaping holes in current training regimes, as identified in the New Zealand Defence Force annual report?
Hon MARK BURTON: No. I can confirm that the second 6-month deployment, which the Government flagged may take place and did, is coming to a conclusion. That is why this deployment is coming to its natural conclusion.
Keith Locke: Does the Minister agree with the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, that the invasion of Iraq was illegal; and will the Government breathe a sigh of relief that, with the withdrawal of our army people from Iraq, there will not be a claim by the United States that we are part of the coalition force, as shown by the official US website that includes us as a coalition force and as part of the occupying coalition?
Hon MARK BURTON: I have not had the opportunity to read the announcement from the Secretary-General, but it is clear to everyone in this House—and I am sure to everyone in New Zealand—that New Zealand went, following a UN resolution and in response to it, to help with the aid and reconstruction work in Iraq. We have not been there as part of the occupying force.
Hon Peter Dunne: Does the decision to end the current engagement, in line with the original agreement, mean that New Zealand is ruling out any potential future involvements, subject to a UN request or a request from the Government of Iraq; if not, can the Minister indicate what the processes would be for considering any further request?
Hon MARK BURTON: The member asks a hypothetical question. There has not been, to the best of my knowledge, any request from the UN. Obviously, any request from the UN this Government would always consider and take seriously. I would anticipate—and other colleagues have commented on—other possible future assistance through NZAID, for instance, as part of the ongoing work in support of the reconstruction of Iraq.
Rodney Hide: Has the position of our engineers in Iraq changed in any way, especially since Prime Minister, Helen Clark, repeated her commitment to Iraq just in April this year, when she said: “Our position hasn’t changed. As long as our engineers can get out and do good work with the local communities we’ll be staying there.”?
Hon MARK BURTON: Our position has not changed. As the member knows, during the course of the 12 months there have been periods during which the engineers have been able to move freely, and other periods that have been more restrictive, including the last few weeks. I can tell the member, because I know he is interested, that during that time they have been able to conclude some of the project work. They have had a series of meetings with local people who will be continuing on some of the projects, such as the work on the hospital that they have been involved in. And, of course, because it is nearing the end of the planned period anyway, there is the preparation for exiting.
Rodney Hide: What is his response that in the past week we have seen that Australia stands up to terrorists and refuses to be intimated, but our Government does exactly what they want, by withdrawing our troops?
Hon MARK BURTON: I regard that as an affront to the courageous men and women of the New Zealand Defence Force. They have worked for 12 months in a very dangerous situation. They are coming home because it is time for them to come home. I think that member insults the men and women of the New Zealand Defence Force. He should be ashamed.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Minister was not asked whether it was a decision of the Defence Force or any member of it; he was asked a question to do with his political responsibility—and he knows it. Nothing in that answer remotely addressed the question. Whether or not we have sympathy with what he is saying, is a different matter. But in terms of parliamentary accountability he failed to answer the question in any way, shape, or form.
Hon MARK BURTON: Speaking to the point of order, I did address the question. The member asked, by implication, whether New Zealand was withdrawing, and the answer is no. We are not withdrawing in an inappropriate way. Our personnel are coming home at the end of a planned deployment.
Rodney Hide: The question was: what is the response of this Government? Here we have a pinko pacifist, standing up—
Mr SPEAKER: The member will withdraw and apologise.
Rodney Hide: I withdraw and apologise. Speaking to the point of order—
Mr SPEAKER: No, there is no point of order on this issue.
Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.
Mr SPEAKER: This had better be a new one.
Rodney Hide: Well, I am quite happy to stand up and apologise to that member, but I think that he should be apologising to me, to this House, and, indeed, to all New Zealanders. To suggest that my question in any way insulted the men and women who serve in our defence forces is an affront, and you, Mr Speaker, allowed it. That was a legitimate question to this Government. It in no way implied an insult to our defence personnel. In fact, if anyone should be apologising to our defence personnel, it is that Minister who is in charge. That was not the point of the question, Mr Speaker, and if you allow that to stand, I am afraid I will be joining Mr Peters.
Mr SPEAKER: The member may well be doing that. I say to the member that, as far as I am concerned, the Minister gave a strong reply. It is a debatable matter. I am not here to judge whether it is good or bad; I am here to judge whether it addressed the question. I thought he started out by saying virtually “No” to the member, then he made some political comments afterwards. That is not unknown in this House. This is no reflection on the member of course, as a strong ACT member. The member made his point, and I think he made his point very well in the point of order.
Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I have to say that I seriously disagree with you. For the Minister to suggest that I am not patriotic or supportive of our servicemen and servicewomen, is very deeply offensive to me. I would have thought he would take the label that I put to him as a badge of honour, because it was true. But to stand up and say an untruth and somehow imply that I am denigrating our defence forces, I find deeply offensive. I suggest, Mr Speaker, that you ask him to withdraw and apologise. Otherwise, what are we here for? There are two standards.
Mr SPEAKER: As far as I am concerned, the member has now raised the point that he himself has taken personal offence to a comment made. That is a slightly different point from the original point of order. In that regard, I ask that the Minister withdraw that part of his comments.
Hon MARK BURTON: I withdraw that part of my comments.
Hon Dr Michael Cullen: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. During the member’s last statement he repeated the allegation that he previously had to withdraw, and said it was true. He also accused the Minister of stating an untruth. Both of those are contrary to the Standing Orders. I ask that you now require him to withdraw and apologise again.
Mr SPEAKER: The member will now stand and withdraw the comment about an untruth, because that, of course, is out of order in this House. The member will withdraw that comment.
Rodney Hide: I withdraw.
Ron Mark: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I seek your guidance here because I am reflecting on the comments that were made to the Minister that were considered unparliamentary. We have a member of this House, namely the Minister himself, who has proudly told the country, in many press releases, that he was a founding member of a Taupô peace and disarmament movement. Many people in the country would naturally refer to that as a “peacenik” organisation. The Minister has also been proud to be associated with the left side of the Labour Party.
Mr SPEAKER: What is the member’s point of order?
Ron Mark: The point is this, Mr Speaker. My question to you is whether it is right to censure the member for using the term that aptly describes the Minister and bears out what he himself has put out in his own press releases as being a normal statement in referring to him in this way, as a “leftie pinko peacenik”.
14:20:57Mr SPEAKER: The member has now repeated the comment. He will leave the Chamber. I am not having my ruling questioned. I say to members that as far as I am concerned, I dealt with the subject. When comments are made that are quite clearly unparliamentary, they have to be withdrawn.
Ron Mark withdrew from the Chamber.Withdrawal from ChamberMARK, RON
Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. What happened here today happens so frequently in this House. A very clear question was put by Mr Hide that asked what the Government’s position was. Everyone heard the question. No reference was made whatsoever to any decision being made by the military, or any member of it. Instead the Minister launched into a tirade, an attack, an accusation of blatant disloyalty on the part of Mr Hide, and at no time did you raise a mutter, a murmur, or a finger. Now you have kicked one of my colleagues out of the House because he, like Mr Hide, was validly raising a point of order that should have been dealt with, and an apology should have come from the Minister. It should have been asked for from the moment he said it. Now we have a member out of the House, and if you think that is fair treatment, I do not.
Mr SPEAKER: Well, I do, and I am not having any further comments from the member. I will not have my judgment questioned in that way. The member will now stand, withdraw, and apologise for those comments.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: I withdraw and apologise.
Keith Locke: I seek leave to table the front page of the coalition joint task force Operation Iraqi Freedom website listing New Zealand as one of the coalition partners.
Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that document. Is there any objection? There is.
Hon Murray McCully: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. You have dealt, as you are entitled to do, very firmly with two members in the course of this exchange. However, having ruled that a member had taken offence, you asked the Minister to withdraw the comments that had caused the offence but did not ask him to apologise for the offence. I put it to you that in the spirit of the exchange, that would be called for.
Mr SPEAKER: That is fair enough. I ask the Minister also to apologise.
Hon Mark BurtonHon Mark Burton16: And apologise.
Genetically Modified Sweetcorn—Monsanto Contract
3. SUE KEDGLEY (Green) to the Minister for Food Safety: Did Monsanto sign a statutory declaration, as part of its application to Food Standards Australia New Zealand for approval of GM corn MON 863, declaring that it had not withheld any information that might prejudice its application; if not, why not?
Hon JIM SUTTON (Minister of Agriculture), on behalf of the Minister for Food Safety: I am advised that Monsanto both provided, and honoured the terms of, the statutory declaration.
Sue Kedgley: In its application to Food Standards Australia New Zealand, did Monsanto withhold a study that suggested that genetically modified corn MON 863 had caused abnormalities in rats?
Hon JIM SUTTON: The study to which the member refers was a 90-day feeding study considering nutritional aspects. It was not a toxicity study, and therefore was not a food safety concern.
Sue Kedgley: Does the Minister agree that a study showing that a genetically engineered corn had caused abnormalities in rats is exactly the sort of prejudicial evidence that signing the Food Standards Australia New Zealand statutory declaration makes it illegal to withhold?
Hon JIM SUTTON: As I have previously advised the House, when the study to which the member refers was published, the whole matter was examined by the country of jurisdiction—France. The French food safety authority found that the corn was perfectly safe to consume.
Sue Kedgley: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Minister did not answer my question. My question was whether that was the sort of study that it would be prejudicial to withhold, given that it was information that might prejudice Monsanto’s application. The Minister did not answer the question.
Mr SPEAKER: If the Minister wishes to comment, he can.
Hon JIM SUTTON: In my reply to the first supplementary question I pointed out that the study to which the member refers was a nutritional study, and was nothing to do with food safety.
Sue Kedgley: Is the Minister saying that the Government considers it acceptable for a corporation to withhold a study that showed abnormalities in rats when seeking approval for that food for human consumption?
Hon JIM SUTTON: The study was obviously not conducted by Monsanto, and it has been discredited by the proper food safety authority of the country in which it was conducted.
Sue Kedgley: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I asked the Minister whether he thought it was acceptable for Monsanto to withhold a nutritional feeding study as part of an application for approval into the food supply. The Minister has not answered my question.
Mr SPEAKER: I think the Minister did address that question.
Sue Kedgley: Has Food Standards Australia New Zealand received the original study and the original data from Monsanto that it sought more than 10 days ago, after the Green Party had informed it that the study had been withheld?
Hon JIM SUTTON: I have no advice on that.
Sue Kedgley: How can the Minister say he has had no advice on that when I spoke to the head of our office of Food Safety Australia New Zealand on The Terrace and it said it had not received the study; how can it possibly be the case that the Minister did not? And why should New Zealanders have any confidence in the Food Safety Australia New Zealand approval process for genetically modified food if corporations are allowed to make fraudulent statutory declarations and withhold studies that may prejudice their applications, and Food Safety Australia New Zealand fails to act on those serious matters of concern?
Hon JIM SUTTON: Obviously, in relation to first part of the member’s question, she has already obtained a response directly from the department, so she has no need for elaboration by me. But I must say in respect of the rest of her question that it is notable that sometimes when people want to ignore the results of a study, they find a way. For example, I am advised that there are high concentrations of carcinogens in the tar content that comes from cannabis, and lots of people still campaign to legalise the stuff.
Jeanette Fitzsimons: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I fail to see the relevance of that response to the question that was asked.
Mr SPEAKER: I am
just a little disturbed about these Points of Order
. I will judge whether a question has been addressed. That reply certainly did address that question.
Sue Kedgley: Will Food Safety Australia New Zealand be seeking a formal review of MON 863 now that it has come to light that Monsanto withheld a study showing abnormalities in rats; in the light of that new information will it be undertaking a formal review of that application?
Hon JIM SUTTON: It certainly is the practice of Food Safety Australia New Zealand to review its decisions and its data when credible new data are received. In this case, however, I am bound to point out that I am advised that so far not a single case has been discovered of anyone coming to harm from eating food that contained an ingredient derived from a genetically modified organism.
Employment Relations Law Reform Bill—Non-union Members
4. GERRY BROWNLEE (Deputy Leader—National) to the Minister of Labour: What consultation was carried out with the nearly 1.7 million non-union workers in New Zealand during the development of the Employment Relations Law Reform Bill?
Hon PAUL SWAIN (Minister of Labour): There was extensive opportunity for non-union employees to have input into the development of the bill. For example, during the 9 months that the bill was being considered by the select committee, which advertised for submissions, it received 354 substantive submissions, over 7,000 form submissions, and heard 202 submissions over some 62 hours of sitting.
Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I did not ask any questions about the select committee process. Frankly, the Minister has no responsibility for it. I asked him what consultation was undertaken by his department in the formation of the bill known as the Employment Relations Law Reform Bill. If the answer is no, then he should just say so.
Mr SPEAKER: That is not the question that the member asked. If the member reads the question he will see that it stated: “What consultation was carried out with the nearly 1.7 million non-union workers in New Zealand during the development of the Employment Relations Law Reform Bill?”. Part of that is obviously part of the select committee process in terms of the question asked.
Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. We would not have asked this question in this way if we were uncertain about what the Minister’s responsibilities were. The Minister is not responsible for a select committee process. He is not responsible for bus timetables, either, but it would seem that if he wants to stand up and give us some information off a bus timetable, then that would stand as an answer in this House. This is a specific question about what consultation his department took with non-union workers—1.7 million of them—prior to that bill coming into the House.
Hon Dr Michael Cullen: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. One thing the Minister is not responsible for is whether the question is poorly framed. The question asked: “… during the development of the Employment Relations Law Reform Bill?”. The fact is that a bill develops at all stages up to its third reading passage. The Minister is perfectly entitled to refer to the consultation process by a select committee, which is a process this Parliament ought to be proud of.
Mr SPEAKER: I will say again—and my word will be accepted on this—that I have judged this question and the answer. The answer did address the actual question asked.
Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Are you ruling that from this point on, Ministers have some responsibility for the select committee process?
Mr SPEAKER: No, I am not. The Minister is not responsible for select committees, but he is the Minister in charge of the bill and can be asked about its process through the House. That is one of the points he was answering when the question was asked. The question did not ask what the member thought it asked.
Gerry Brownlee: Has the Minister’s department any figures on how much extra revenue will be raised by the union movement from the imposition of a bargaining fee arrangement of 1.7 million New Zealanders who will be forced to pay union dues, and, as a consequence, fund the Labour Party?
Hon PAUL SWAIN: It is enormously difficult to answer that question, given that it is so ridiculous. The reality is that the member has implied that somehow 1.7 million people will pay union fees. He knows that to be not true. The fact of the matter is that bargaining-fee arrangements, which will be tabled shortly, have to meet three tests—firstly, agreement between union and employer; secondly, there has to be a ballot of all the workforce; and, thirdly, anyone who does not want to pay a bargaining fee does not have to.
John Carter: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I listened very carefully to the question asked by Mr Gerry Brownlee. It asked what information the Minister’s department had given him. He has not addressed that question. He was specifically asked whether his department had done any work, etc. The Minister did not address that question. That was a very specific question.
Mr SPEAKER: The Minister can briefly answer that particular specific question.
Hon PAUL SWAIN: No, because the question was not correct.
Hon Murray McCully: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. In the course of responding to the supplementary question asked by Mr Brownlee, the Minister’s first statement was to describe the supplementary question as “ridiculous”. I ask you whether that is an acceptable way of a Minister commencing an answer to a question.
Mr SPEAKER: If that was all that was said, it would not be, and I would have stepped in. Comments like that are quite often made by way of interjection and by way of comment about questions. Certainly, if that was the only thing that was said, it would have been completely out of order. I have told the Minister to get on and address the question.
Hon Mark Gosche40Hon Mark Gosche: What reports has he seen about the ability of employers to pay union and non-union staff the same rates of pay?
Hon PAUL SWAIN: I have seen a report that states that the Employment Relations Law Reform Bill means that non-union staff cannot be paid the same amount as union staff. I have seen another report that dismisses such a claim. The first report is from Don Brash, Leader of the Opposition, and the second report is from associate professor Gordon Anderson, an employment law expert. I know whom I would believe.
Peter Brown: Noting the Minister’s earlier answer about a payment and a bargaining fee, will he give this House an assurance that it will be a breach of good faith and treated very, very severely if any non-union person, or employer, is compelled in any way, shape, or form to pay a bargaining fee against his or her will?
Hon PAUL SWAIN: Absolutely.
Paul Adams: What consultation was carried out with the vast majority of employees who work in the private sector, who are five times less likely to belong to a union than those in the public sector, yet make a bigger contribution to the national economy, when they are the very workers who will be disadvantaged by the bill because they will be discriminated against for not belonging to a union?
Hon PAUL SWAIN: As I said, there is quite a lot of opportunity for consultation. However, I say to the member that 90 percent of workers in the private sector are not covered by collective agreements and are not union members. The impact of that bill will be very, very small, indeed.
Gerry Brownlee: Will the Minister confirm to the House that associate professor Gordon Anderson, whom he has just quoted, is a left-wing activist who drafted part of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions submission and has a considerable vested interest in not letting people know the full effect of the legislation?
Hon PAUL SWAIN: I cannot comment on his pedigree, but I can say that he speaks real sense on this bill, compared with the Leader of the National Opposition, Don Brash, who speaks absolute nonsense. I recommend that the member read the bill.
Mr SPEAKER: The first part of the member’s question was in order and then started to stray. He certainly addressed it at that point.
Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I ask you to ask the Minister to give an answer to the question that was asked of him. How can he stand up here and so elo—so fulsomely—[Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: I saw the Hon Chris Carter start that set of interjections. I will ask him to leave the Chamber, and he will do it quietly.
Hon Chris Carter withdrew from the Chamber.Withdrawal from ChamberCARTER, Hon CHRIS
Mr SPEAKER: That was quite uncalled for during a point of order. I have made mistakes in diction, and so has just about every other person in this House. As far as I am concerned, Mr Brownlee did on this occasion, but he corrected it. I cannot see what is wrong with that.
Gerry Brownlee: That is very true. I meant to say “elegantly”, and of course, I was referring to his tie! He talked so glowingly about associate professor Gordon Anderson, who is touted to be an expert of some note, and then told us that he did not know what his qualifications were. That is not congruous with that answer. He should correct himself, or add more.
Hon Dr Michael Cullen: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. He was asked whether he was a left-wing activist. He could have well been asked whether he was a right-wing inactivist, but that was the point at which the Minister did not have an answer.
Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.
Mr SPEAKER: No, please be seated. The question was addressed, but there were comments at the end of the answer that were unnecessary. The Minister should have been more terse.
Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. What he did not tell us was—and given that it would seem that he is an expert on the select committee process and he was relying on that process to advise him so much—did associate professor Anderson write the Council of Trade Unions submission, or part of it?
Mr SPEAKER: The Minister is not responsible for that.
Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.
Mr SPEAKER: This had better be an actual point of order.
Gerry Brownlee: It certainly is, because it could lead to disorder if we do not get the matter sorted out. The Minister has said that this gentleman is an expert of some note. I would like to know—and this is the nub of my question—whether he knows that by virtue of the fact that this professor wrote a substantial part of the Council of Trade Unions submission and has quite a vested interest in making sure that people do not fully understand the effects of this law?
Mr SPEAKER: As far as I am concerned, the question was asked about this particular gentleman. The Minister is not responsible for this gentleman’s submission—he can give an opinion on it, but he is not responsible for the actual submission itself.
Gerry Brownlee: Can the Minister give the House some estimate of how many non-union members will be forced to pay a bargaining fee under this legislation?
Hon PAUL SWAIN: No. Very few.
5. DAVID PARKER (Labour—Otago) to the Convenor, Ministerial Group on Climate Change: What reports has he received on the need to take action on climate change?
Hon PETE HODGSON (Convenor, Ministerial Group on Climate Change): I have seen a number of reports. Both the Opposition leader and the Prime Minister of the UK say that climate change will have catastrophic consequences. Both of them back the science and both realise that tackling climate change is good for business. However, another report doubts the science and states that taking action would be bad for business. Who is out of step with prevailing world opinion, yet again? The National Party of New Zealand.
David Parker: What reports has the Minister seen on the validity of climate change science and the impacts on business of addressing climate change?
Hon PETE HODGSON: I have seen two reports on that. One states that the problem is enormous and eventually will “stuff life on Earth”. The other states that there is huge uncertainty about this. Whose statements are as erratic as the climate? Why, those of Nick Smith and the National Party.
Jeanette Fitzsimons: Why is the Government’s proposal to levy a carbon charge on fossil fuels in order to incorporate the costs of the climate change they cause dependent on President Putin’s decision to ratify the Kyoto Protocol; and does he think that if Putin does not ratify, the problem of climate change will go away?
Hon PETE HODGSON: The answer to the first question is so that the Government can approximate the likely international cost of carbon. The second answer is, no, I do not think it will go away—I am sure it will not.
6. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First) to the Prime Minister: Does she still have confidence in the Minister of Police; if so, why?
Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN (Deputy Prime Minister), on behalf of the Prime Minister: Yes, because he remains a hard-working and conscientious Minister.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Can I ask the Prime Minister why the jury was not told that Edwards knew McNee well before the night in question that led to the loss of McNee’s life; and why is the Minister not interested in that information?
Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: Because the decision about the introduction of that evidence was taken solely by prosecuting counsel, as it should have been.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: If that is true, could I ask the Prime Minister why the police are holding a press conference at 3.30 today to explain the position, when last week they said there was no need to have any review with regard to McNee’s killing?
Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: I am advised that, I think, an undertaking was given some time before, as to the police’s release of the file subsequent to sentencing. Sentencing, I understand, occurred this morning. That is a matter for the police.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Why did every member of that jury agree that there was something missing in this trial in respect of the charge of murder, and believe that the police were holding something back?
Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: I am not responsible for what the jury have concluded. As I say, the decision about what evidence was attempted to be introduced was a matter for Crown counsel, but I have been advised that, in fact, the judgment was that the evidence would not have been allowed to be introduced.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Why was the jury not told that McNee had taken a mixture of Viagra and amyl nitrite, which is a cocktail known to be a shared drug; and why was the jury not told that it was shared by Edwards on the night in question, and that experts know that it leads to psychotic behaviour—a critical piece of evidence that the jury never heard?
Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: I repeat that the nature of the evidence that is introduced is a matter for prosecuting counsel. I would deplore any attempt to suggest that a politician should be responsible for the conduct, one way or the other, of trials.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Given that a man will be out of prison within 4½ years for what was clearly a murder—if the evidence had been produced—why did the judge tell the jury that nothing in Edwards’ prior criminal record suggested he would commit murder?
Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: The Government is not responsible for the instructions that judges give to jurors. Once judges are appointed, they are independent. I would deplore any attempt to suggest that politicians should influence what judges say to jurors. As to when the person involved will be released from jail, that is a matter for the Parole Board, which might well take into account 56 previous convictions.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Why would the Parole Board take into account 56 previous convictions, when Edwards’ serious criminal activity did not come out during the trial, a trial in which the police alleged murder but failed to produce the evidence to sustain it; is the Minister not interested in justice, for someone who is a murderer will be out on our streets within 4½ years?
Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: I am certainly interested in justice. Part of justice, in a democratic system, is that Governments do not instruct judges, Governments do not instruct prosecuting counsel, and Governments do not instruct jurors.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: I ask the Prime Minister whether there is a different standard of law when a homosexual is involved, to the extent that were this case in any way a “normal” case, there would surely have been a reaction, particularly from her Government, given its social policy stance; why is McNee’s case different?
Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: It is not. It is the member who is asking for the case to be different by asking the Government to take action that it would not take in any other case.
Foreign Charter Vessels—Domestic Crew
7. LARRY BALDOCK (United Future) to the Minister of Fisheries: How many foreign charter vessels have been operating in New Zealand waters during the past 12 months, and how many of these vessels had a majority of New Zealand citizens on their fishing crews?
Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE (Minister of Fisheries): I am advised by the Ministry of Fisheries that since 1 October 2003 New Zealand companies have chartered a total of 51 foreign vessels at various times to operate in New Zealand waters. I am also advised that the ministry does not hold information on the citizenship of the crews of any vessels.
Larry Baldock: Is the Government committed to putting New Zealand fishermen and New Zealand quota holders first, or at least on a level playing field, in the harvesting of our resources in our exclusive economic zone; if so, what plans does the Minister have to deal with the imbalance being created by the overuse of foreign charter vessels with foreign crews?
Hon Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE: I would be reluctant to see measures taken that required a company to invest millions of dollars in buying fishing vessels when capital could be more efficiently spent on other parts of a business. I understand that charter vessels are considered by many involved in the fishing industry to be a cost-effective means of obtaining the necessary catch capacity and dealing with the very seasonal nature of some fisheries.
Phil Heatley: Is the Minister aware that of all the New Zealand fishing crews employed in New Zealand waters, none have their lodging, food, or board deducted from their wages; if so, why do foreign fishing crews, apparently under the same New Zealand laws, have their lodging, food, and board deducted—therefore undercutting New Zealand crews?
Hon Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE: I think that question is properly one for my colleague the Minister of Labour, but I am aware of the undertaking that Mr Swain gave to a questioner, Mr Adams, in the House on that matter yesterday.
Larry Baldock: Do all those foreign charter vessels have Ministry of Fisheries observers on board; if not, is that because it is difficult to find people willing to live in the poor conditions that prevail on many of those boats, such as having to eat half-boiled squid for 6 weeks on end?
Hon Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE: The conditions on fishing vessels do vary. However, I am advised that, generally, the quality of accommodation on vessels does not preclude the placement of observers on board. I am further advised that the availability of accommodation can be a problem on both New Zealand and foreign charter vessels. In fact, it tends to be more of an issue with New Zealand vessels, which are on average smaller.
Larry Baldock: In the absence of observers, how can the New Zealand public be reassured that foreign charter vessels are operating under New Zealand rules, and that their catches are being correctly recorded?
Hon Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE: Observers are not always absent, and the ministry has the capacity, when necessary, to ensure they are on board.
Human Rights Review Tribunal—Chairperson
8. Hon TONY RYALL (National—Bay Of Plenty) to the Minister for Courts: Who approved the “special arrangement” with the chairperson of the Human Rights Review Tribunal, which saw him get paid almost $300,000 last year, and what knowledge did Ministers have of this “special arrangement”?
Hon RICK BARKER (Minister for Courts): The chairperson was appointed on a part-time basis. It later became clear that the caseload required a full-time position. Cabinet approved the establishment of a full-time position in the 2004-05 Budget. Until this position is established and an appropriate remuneration set, the existing chairperson has been working greatly increased hours at a rate that covers his time and also the costs of servicing his office. That arrangement was recommended by the Department for Courts, and the Minister at the time was aware of it.
Hon Tony Ryall: How does the Government justify paying the part-time head of a peripheral tribunal more cash than, say, the Prime Minister of New Zealand—a tribunal that thinks one of the worst killers in our country’s prisons should be paid $1,200 in compensation for hurt feelings?
Hon RICK BARKER: The rate that was agreed to with the head of the tribunal was slightly more than what the Crown engages Crown solicitors for. The rate is not only for the hours worked but also covers the maintenance of an office. That includes costs for staff, holiday pay, accident compensation, office rental, insurance, information technology and software systems—all of those elements have to be paid by that chairperson out of the hourly rate he has. The Prime Minister’s salary and judges’ salaries are separate. In addition to their salaries, all the extra support services are paid for either by the Ministry of Justice in the case of judges or by Ministerial Services in the case of the Prime Minister.
Martin Gallagher: What caused the department to increase the hours of work for the Human Rights Review Tribunal chairperson?
Hon RICK BARKER: There was concern about the build-up of cases and the need to provide a timely service to claimants. In October 2003 there was a backlog of 57 cases at the tribunal. Today, there is no backlog. I am sure the Opposition would join with me in saying that that is an excellent result.
Hon Tony Ryall: Knowing the Prime Minister’s pledge to end the culture of extravagance, why did no Cabinet Minister express any concern about paying a part-time chairman a salary that puts him above a Court of Appeal judge and makes him one of the State’s top earners, and why did this Minister not express any concern at all about that?
Hon RICK BARKER: That member continues to misrepresent the situation, but firstly, no Cabinet Minister expressed concern because we have taken action. The position will be a full-time, permanent position, and the remuneration for that individual will be set by the remuneration authority. The misrepresentation is that this payment is not just a salary; it is also a rate that incorporates the maintenance of chambers, the payment of staff, information technology systems, etc., which the basic salary for a High Court judge does not incorporate.
Hon Tony Ryall: Is the Minister seriously telling the House that when the Minister approved this special arrangement, it was always his intention to make the position a full-time one?
Hon RICK BARKER: It is certainly the Government’s intention to make this a full-time position, and I want to make sure—and I am confident—that that will be concluded in November this year. But at the time that the decision was made, I was not the Minister, and I cannot say what was in the former Minister’s mind. [Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: The Minister is responsible, but the Minister can say that it was a decision of the former Minister. He can answer, or say that he does not know.
Hon RICK BARKER: I do not know what was in the mind of the former Minister, but I can tell the House that the Government’s intention is to regularise this position, and it will be fixed.
Hon Tony Ryall: If this Minister is so keen to justify that extraordinary level of payment, which is beyond what a Court of Appeal judge receives, why were the details of that special arrangement suppressed when the papers were released under the Official Information Act?
Hon RICK BARKER: The fact is that this is not an arrangement that sees the individual paid more in a salary than a High Court judge, because a High Court judge is paid a salary for a justice, and the costs of running the office are met separately by the Ministry of Justice. The member is not comparing apples with apples.
Mr SPEAKER: Now the Minister will come to the member’s question: why was the information blacked out?
Hon RICK BARKER: I presume that it was because those details were relevant to the particular individual, and were of a confidential nature. If the member does not like the fact that they were blacked out though, he has a right of appeal in terms of that decision.
Hon Tony Ryall: I seek leave to table a number of documents. The first is the Budget proposal for the Human Rights Review Tribunal restructuring, in which the information was blacked out.
Hon Tony Ryall: The second set of documents is the answers to written questions where the Minister provided the full information that had been blacked out in the original document.
Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table those documents. Is there any objection? There is.
9. NANAIA MAHUTA (Labour—Tainui) to the Minister of Youth Affairs: What recent reports has he received on trends in youth unemployment in New Zealand and how do they compare internationally?
Hon JOHN TAMIHERE (Minister of Youth Affairs): According to a recent ILO report, youth unemployment has skyrocketed worldwide over the past decade. At the same time, youth unemployment in New Zealand has fallen dramatically. Since this Government took office, nearly 30,000 jobs have been created for young people. Key initiatives, as announced by the Hon Steve Maharey, to continue to reduce youth unemployment include the Youth Transitions Service, which brings together central and local government; improved career guidance through schools; and the Modern Apprenticeships scheme, which are all gainfully being used to help our youth sector.
Nanaia Mahuta: What other data has he seen about trends in youth unemployment?
Hon JOHN TAMIHERE: I am advised that youth unemployment has fallen nearly 50 percent since 1998. The 1990s was one of the worst periods of youth unemployment that this country has ever seen, with the added health difficulties that this creates. What is even more galling is the party that oversaw that is the only party in this House that does not have a youth affairs spokesperson.
Judy Turner: Does the Minister agree that industry training is a vital factor to reduce youth unemployment; if so, what resources will he commit to the goal of one-quarter of a million people participating in industry training by the year 2007, given the current paltry number of slightly over 12,000?
Hon JOHN TAMIHERE: That matter falls under the responsibility of the Hon Steve Maharey. Notwithstanding that, I can indicate that significant resources have been poured into the area.
I seek leave to table a document that clearly expresses that the National Party has no concern for a youth spokesperson.
Resource Management Act—Rights
10. JOHN KEY (National—Helensville) to the Associate Minister for the Environment: Will his proposed changes to the Resource Management Act 1991 ensure that Mâori New Zealanders have no extra rights than non-Mâori New Zealanders with respect to the application of that Act; if not, why not?
Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE (Associate Minister for the Environment): The comprehensive package of improvements to the Resource Management Act has sought to clarify the rights established by the National Party Government in the 1991 Act.
John Key: Does the Minister agree that by creating a direct reference to iwi co-management in legislation he is explicitly asserting that Mâori do have special rights and privileges; if not, why not?
Hon Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE: The Act is silent as to how decision makers should give effect to the principles of the treaty, but the proposed changes are to improve the quality of engagement with iwi authorities at the front end of the planning process. In terms of resource consents, iwi will have the same opportunities to participate in the consent process as any other person affected by an activity.
Dr Ashraf Choudhary: How has the Government proposed to improve clarity on consultation obligations of local authorities, iwi, and applicants?
Hon Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE: Local authorities will be required to keep a register of iwi authorities prepared by Te Puni Kôkiri. In terms of resource consents, iwi will have the same opportunities to participate as any other person affected by an activity. Local authorities will be required only to undertake reasonable endeavours to consult with iwi authorities or other parties.
Jeanette Fitzsimons: Has the Minister seen research by the International Global Change Institute, which found: “Most district plans had very limited reference to, or content associated with, issues of importance to Mâori or iwi.”, and can he confirm that nothing in his proposals will improve that situation?
Hon Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE: No, I have not seen that document, and I would be grateful if the questioner would provide me with a copy. I can say that I am very heartened by the development, as shown in the recent report from Local Government New Zealand, of much more extensive relationships with iwi in their localities.
Gordon Copeland: Is the Minister aware that I have written a letter to him pointing out it is impossible for our courts to interpret the metaphysical, as evidenced by the Tongariro power decision, and suggesting that the Resource Management Act clarify that physical, rather than metaphysical, matters should be taken into account; and will he give that idea his consideration?
Hon Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE: No, I am not aware of that letter; I have not received it to date. I can say that I think most New Zealanders would never consider building a motorway, for example, through a cemetery without consulting affected people, nor would we allow a development to run through an ancient archaeological site. I think most New Zealanders would agree that it is appropriate to consider spiritual and metaphysical matters as part of a consent process.
John Key: If Mâori are not getting extra rights as a result of his proposed amendments, what did he mean yesterday when he said: “Councils will involve iwi in developing policy.”; and rather than solving any issues in this area, has he not just perpetuated them by putting them in statute?
Hon Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE: No, anyone can be involved in policy development.
John Key: Has Te Puni Kôkiri compiled the theoretical list of Mâori with tangata whenua status, along with the relevant people whom councils will need to consult; if so, when will councils around New Zealand get to see that list?
Hon Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE: I have no idea.
Stephen Franks: Has Minister Mallard reviewed this policy to ascertain whether the Mâori privileges relate to a need or are simply a race privilege; if not, why not?
Mr SPEAKER: That is a question for the Hon Trevor Mallard. I would like the member to bring his question into the responsibility of the Hon David Benson-Pope. The way that the member has asked the question is not in order.
Stephen Franks: Has the Minister obtained advice from the Hon Trevor Mallard in terms of his performing his duty to review all Government programmes to ascertain whether they represent a response to a need or are simply a race privilege; if so, what is the nature of that advice?
Hon Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE: No. I do not believe such advice is necessary on this matter.
John Key: I seek leave to table yesterday’s document about improving the Resource Management Act, which quite clearly states that the difficulties in solving these issues require the identification of local Mâori with tangata whenua status, and that this job will be completed by Te Puni Kôkiri and given to councils in New Zealand.
Algerian Refugee—Immigration, Minister
11. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First) to the Prime Minister: Does she have confidence in the inquiries, if any, made by the Minister of Immigration into the alleged part played by Wahib Zaza and Rabir, alias Roberto, in Ahmed Zaoui’s arrival in New Zealand; if so, why?
Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN (Deputy Prime Minister), on behalf of the Prime Minister: Yes. I am advised that the New Zealand Immigration Service has carried out inquiries, but those have not substantiated claims the member has made.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Has the Prime Minister referred to the decision of the Refugee Status Appeals Authority, which states: “The appellant went into hiding. He discussed the situation with X, who counselled against going to Australia, where he would be held in detention, and recommended that he come to New Zealand. The appellant had read of the New Zealand Prime Minister’s humanitarian response to the Tampa crisis, and felt encouraged to approach the New Zealand authorities.”; and is X Wahib Zaza?
Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: I am not familiar with that document, so I cannot say who X is.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Can I read further in that document from the Refugee Status Appeal Authority, at paragraph 286, which states: “The appellant no longer had his Burkino Faso passport, it having been through the wash accidentally. Accordingly, he purchased a South African passport on the black market, and after making arrangements for his family he travelled via Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Korea to New Zealand, arriving here on 4 December 2002.”; and is it not a fact that a man called Rabir, alias Roberto—alerted to the Prime Minister last week—got that passport organised for Ahmed Zaoui, falsely so, too?
Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: It is certainly clear that the passport was falsely obtained. Indeed, I might say that it is a forged passport not a falsely obtained passport; there are differences between those two things. But no evidence has been found of a “Rabir, alias Roberto” being involved in this matter.
Hon Matt Robson: Is the Prime Minister aware that the advice given to Mr Ahmed Zaoui to come to New Zealand rather than Australia was one by Mr Samir Bennegadi, who is a nuclear physicist and Algerian citizen, and an Australian citizen as well, and who is employed at Lucas Heights, and by the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) leadership, who are lawfully in Paris, because they believed that New Zealand would provide natural justice and not detain him and treat him as unfairly as they thought Australia would?
Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: I am sure that it is correct that New Zealand will provide natural justice, but this one has been drawn out for so long it is becoming somewhat unnatural.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Can the Prime Minister not deny the fact that Ahmed Zaoui came here because, as the Refugee Status Appeal Authority says in its document, he believed we would be a soft option, and now we have passed over $1 million of wasted expenditure on a man adjudged by three First World OECD countries to be a terrorist; and how is that fair to the New Zealand taxpayer?
Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: It is certainly true that New Zealand takes a humanitarian approach, but the Government’s position for a very considerable time now is that it would be better for the legal dancing to end and for the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security to be able to get on and complete his work, and then the process can be taken through to conclusion. The Government can then review the legislation passed by the National Party to work out why it has proved to be so incompetent in practice.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Why has legislation to do with terrorism been invoked in the Irving case, but in the case of Ahmed Zaoui all we get is the hard-working taxpayer being screwed on a monthly basis, now to the tune of over $1 million?
Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: The Government has every sympathy with the member’s view, that the current Act is proving inadequate in its first implementation. This is the first time the current legislation has been used, and it clearly needs to be reviewed. Of course, in the case of Mr Irving, he has stated that if manages to get on a plane and get off in New Zealand, he may consider claiming refugee status. It would be hard to see how he could be a refugee from the United Kingdom.
Tertiary Students—Mâori Participation
12. DONNA AWATERE HUATA (Independent) to the Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education): Is he confident that Mâori participation in tertiary education will continue to rise, as in the past 5 years; if not, why not?
Hon STEVE MAHAREY (Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education)): I doubt whether it will be possible for participation to grow at such a phenomenal rate in the future. In the past 5 years the number of Mâori involved in formal tertiary education rose by more than 175 percent, to reach 20 percent of the adult Mâori population—higher than for the population as a whole, for which the figure is 13.4 percent. For participation to carry on rising like that would clearly not be a possibility. I note, however, that some other encouraging trends are coming through from Mâori study—that is, more people are doing degree and post-graduate study—and we are encouraged by the fact that the number of Mâori enrolled at the degree level rose by 30 percent in the past 5 years, compared with 16 percent for the population as a whole.
Donna Awatere Huata4Donna Awatere Huata: Can the Minister confirm that in the past 5 years the number of Mâori participating in tertiary education doubled in the courses delivered by whare wânanga; if so, how long will he continue to cap their growth, when they have achieved an outcome in 5 years that it took New Zealand schools 120 years to achieve, especially since wânanga can demonstrate that a much higher level of Mâori students who begin on community or level 1 and 2 courses has gone to diploma and degree courses than any other kind of tertiary institution can?
Hon STEVE MAHAREY: I can confirm that a good deal of that growth has come from the extraordinary efforts of the wânanga, but in negotiating a limit to the enrolments with them the point was made that that kind of extraordinary growth needs to be measured with quality. That is what they agreed with, and that is what they are doing.
Dave Hereora: Why do Mâori students have to achieve the same standards of achievement as their fellow students in order to gain a qualification?
Hon STEVE MAHAREY: Of course, Mâori students have to achieve the same standards in order to pass the same courses. It is, therefore, unfortunate that earlier this year in, I think, an effort to gain political points, the point was made by the Leader of the Opposition, Dr Don Brash, that Mâori did not have to achieve the same standards. That was utterly wrong, and I am yet to hear him apologise to those students.
Hon Bill English: Why do tertiary institutions such as the wânanga seem to be able to engage many Mâori in learning, when our secondary schools fail so miserably to do so?
Hon STEVE MAHAREY: That is an excellent question. It is one that I think is answered by the way that wânanga have gone about reaching into communities that other institutions were not prepared to reach into. For example, I remember visiting the Huntly area prior to the wânanga gearing up, and finding about 75 students were involved in tertiary education. When I returned once they were in full swing, I found that about 700 students had been engaged, and that was simply because of the way that the wânanga had reach into communities that had otherwise not been attended to.
Deborah Coddington: Can the Minister confirm that he gave $500,000 for Dr Pita Sharples to develop a curriculum for a Mâori university, in partnership with the Waipareira Trust, but that the curriculum has not been developed; if so, what steps is the Government taking to get the money back?
Hon STEVE MAHAREY: I can confirm that a small grant was given to a group of people in the west Auckland area to have a look at a university. We have been unhappy with the progress of that, and a long, long time ago that money was stopped.
Deborah Coddington: Now that the land purchased by the Waipareira Trust for that Mâori university is being used for housing development, and may be sold by mortgagee sale by the Waitakere City Council, will he move to recover the $500,000 given to Dr Pita Sharples, the co-leader of the Mâori Party, for the university; if not, why not?
Hon STEVE MAHAREY: The amount of money mentioned by the member, from my memory, was never given to Dr Sharples. A smaller amount of money than that was made available for work that has been accounted for, but, as I said, we have stopped providing that funding.
Hon Trevor Mallard: Can the Minister confirm that the money made available for curriculum development for the proposed tertiary institution is held in trust and requires the signature of a group, including a judge, before it can be released?
Hon STEVE MAHAREY: That was an excellent question, and I can confirm that.
Hon Bill English: Given that the Minister was able to explain to us why he believes the wânanga have succeeded in engaging many Mâori in learning, can he now explain to us why he believes our secondary schools still consistently fail to engage Mâori students in learning?
Hon STEVE MAHAREY: I am afraid that as that falls outside my delegation I will have to rely on my professional background, and I say so. I think, if I can do a short treatise on that for the benefit of the member, the argument, broadly speaking, is that the learning styles of Mâori have not been well suited to mainstream education. The changes that are being made now in terms of Mâori teachers in the classroom, the use of Mâori language, the wânanga coming on stream, and different approaches to learning styles are the way to go in the future.
Hon Richard Prebble: I wonder whether the Minister could clarify what the situation is, as from my understanding of his answers, yes, Dr Pita Sharples has received some money, and, yes, the money has been stopped. But, in fact, as a result of an excellent question, we now know that there is some money in a trust, so therefore how about telling the House exactly how much money is in the trust and why the Government stopped the funding; and can he remove any suggestion that in fact this Government is indirectly funding the Mâori Party?
Hon STEVE MAHAREY: I can tell the member, to begin at the back of his question, that there is no way that this Government is indirectly funding the Mâori Party. I am afraid I have to say to the member that there have been times during this year when I have not been in the House, for reasons that he knows about. This is one of them. I will have to get the facts and get back to him.
Deborah Coddington: I seek leave to table three documents. The first is the submission from Dr Pita Sharples, supported by John Tamihere, Dover Samuels, and David Cunliffe, for a Mâori university—
Deborah Coddington: The second document is a 50-page business plan, for which Dr Pita Sharples was paid $100,000, for a Mâori university—
Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that document. Is there any objection? There is.
Deborah Coddington: The third document is the advice from the ministry to the Minister, confirming that he should supply $500,000 for curriculum development and $100,000 for the business plan.