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Questions & Answers For Oral Answer 12 April 2005

( Uncorrected transcript—subject to correction and further editing. For corrected transcripts, please visit: http://www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz/hansard )

Tuesday, 12 April 2005
Questions for Oral Answer
Questions to Ministers

1. Prime Minister—“Banishment” Comment
2. Foreign Investment—Approvals
3. New Zealand Superannuation—Rates
4. Prime Minister—“Popular and Competent” Comment
5. Crime—Voyeuristic Filming
6. Te Wânanga o Aotearoa—Ministerial Briefings
7. Early Childhood Education—Information Communications Technology
8. Labour Party Candidate—Justice of the Peace
9. Environment—Decision Making
10. Police—Resources, Counties-Manukau
Question No. 11 to Minister
11. Marine Reserves—Public Consultation
Question No. 1 to Minister
Question No. 10 to Minister
12. Zimbabwe—Cricket Tour


Questions for Oral Answer

Questions to Ministers

Prime Minister—“Banishment” Comment

1. GERRY BROWNLEE (Deputy Leader—National) to the Prime Minister: Does she stand by her statement “Banishment under this Government is not necessarily a permanent thing.”?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK (Prime Minister): Yes.

Gerry Brownlee: Does the Prime Minister accept that today John Tamihere stared her down and she blinked first?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: Obviously not. Leadership is about judgment, and I have exercised mine in the interests of the Labour Party.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Given that the Prime Minister did not really act with a severe censure motion until the publication of the second series of allegations by the editor of Investigate magazine, should we reach the conclusion that the first series of allegations was indubitably true and accurate; and, that being the case, why did she not show some leadership today instead of taking the easy way out, as Mr Tamihere said she always does?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: The Labour Party caucus acted to the member’s face at the first opportunity when he appeared.

Rodney Hide: Does the Prime Minister not accept that she has been humiliated by John Tamihere, and could she please tell the public of New Zealand: what exactly does one have to do to get turfed out of the Labour Party?

Madam SPEAKER: That question has no ministerial responsibility.

Gerry Brownlee: Does the Prime Minister accept that her Government’s so-called “new standards of behaviour and performance” have been completely abandoned in light of her tacit acceptance of Mr Tamihere’s behaviour?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: The member clearly has not read the motion of censure from the Labour Party caucus.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Is it a fact that Mr Tamihere defied her direction to take leave and not to attend caucus, as the media universally printed, and is that not another example of extraordinarily weak leadership?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: No such instruction was given by me.

Dr the Hon Lockwood Smith: Is she concerned that her visit to Auschwitz later this month, to pay New Zealand’s respects to those who died there, will be compromised by her failure to act decisively with regard to Mr Tamihere, and is she concerned that her failure to act decisively risks being seen as tacit endorsement of his comment that he is “sick and tired of hearing how many Jews got gassed.”?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: I issued an unequivocal condemnation of those comments.

John Carter: How does she reconcile her statement of censure of John Tamihere with his statement on Television One news today that he does not resile from or apologise for anything he said?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: He most certainly did.

Judith Collins: Is she confident that John Tamihere can change his appalling attitude towards New Zealand women, given his description of them as “front bums”?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: That was one of a number of statements for which he has been severely censured by the New Zealand Labour Party.

Gerry Brownlee: Why should New Zealanders have any confidence in her as Prime Minister, given that she has made it clear that she and her Government are prepared to tolerate offensive and objectionable comments from one of her high-profile MPs because it is politically expedient to do so?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: Taking to people with a piece of four-by-two is not the only form of leadership available.

Gerry Brownlee: If, as she claims, Mr Tamihere has apologised and does resile from the comments he made, why was he not prepared to say so on the One News interview played at 12 o’clock today?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: Mr Tamihere humbled himself in front of the Labour Party caucus today. The Labour Party takes the view that people who have been under considerable stress need to be treated humanely.

Foreign Investment—Approvals

2. CLAYTON COSGROVE (Labour—Waimakariri) to the Minister of Finance: Has he received any further information about foreign investment in New Zealand, following the Prime Minister’s answer to question for oral answer No. 5 on 30 March 2005?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN (Minister of Finance): Yes. The Overseas Investment Commission advises me that the figures tabled by Mr Peters to dispute the fact that net land sales peaked in 1997 when he was Treasurer and have declined steadily under this Government were out of date and therefore wrong.

Clayton Cosgrove: Has the Minister received any further advice in relation to information given to the House that day, on declining rates under the overseas investment screening regime?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: During the period from 10 December 1996 to 14 August 1998, 416 applications were approved involving 204,200 hectares of freehold land. There were 12 refusals involving 565 hectares of land. Since 10 December 1999 there have been 38 refusals on land and six refusals on fisheries.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: How will foreign investor confidence be affected by having as chair of the Finance and Expenditure Committee a person who ran a campaign of nasty, naughty, crank calls against Helen Clark and her husband, and why would John Tamihere say those things about his closest friend in Labour if they were not true?

Madam SPEAKER: The member’s question, as I read it, is phrased in such a way that the Minister is not responsible for the answer. The Minister is not responsible for John Tamihere.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. The main question was about foreign investment. My question was how foreign investor confidence will be affected by having as chair of the Finance and Expenditure Committee a person who ran a campaign of nasty, naughty, crank calls against Helen Clark and her husband.

Madam SPEAKER: It is a long bow.

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: I would have thought that particular member should be careful that he does not shoot himself in the foot with that long bow.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Why is the Minister of Finance saying that I used false figures, when the figures I tabled from Hansard are those tabled by the Prime Minister; and why is he leaving out of this equation the Kâingaroa Forest sale, which was agreed to by the National Government in October 1996 before I even got to be Treasurer and which appears in the 1997 figures, and why is he allowing the Overseas Investment Commission to lie to him, to the Prime Minister, and to the House?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: On the first point, the member tabled an additional table to the one tabled by the Prime Minister, which had a graph. Those figures were out of date, as the commission has since advised me. It is equally true that one of the largest sales approved under this Government involved forest land. It is nearly always the case that the big sales are forest land.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I would not ordinarily raise this point, but it is pretty relevant for this series of questions. I therefore seek leave to table the Hansard that sets out what was tabled and in which there is the quote: “This is the chart now properly interpreted.”—an allegation I made at the very time that Helen Clark made the statement in this House.

Leave granted.

Rod Donald: Will the Government support my petition, which was tabled today and has been signed by 7,984 New Zealanders, calling for land sales to foreign investors to be stopped and for tighter restrictions on the sales of businesses to foreign corporations; if not, why not?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: No. It would be impossible and absolutely stupid for New Zealand to stop all land sales to foreigners. That would include, for example, matters involving urban subdivisions, it would involve some petrol stations, and goodness knows what else would be involved in such a move. The Government supports tightening up restrictions on land sales that involve sensitive land.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Where on those figures for 1996 appears the Kâingaroa Forest sale—the very figure that puts into question those calculations in the Prime Minister’s answer, and the accuracy thereof; and why is the Overseas Investment Commission being allowed to lie to Parliament when, if we look at the charts, the figure simply does not appear in 1996?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: The figures relate to approvals given between the period from December 1996 to August 1998, when the member was Treasurer. That may be why, on the New Zealand First parliamentary website, that period does not appear under the member’s own section.

Gordon Copeland: Can the Minister advise the House, in relation to the reference to business investment contained in Rod Donald’s question, that, indeed, the Government welcomes business investment in this country as being one means by which we can significantly grow our economy and lead to its success?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: It is clear that overseas business investment can contribute to economic growth in a number of ways—by producing new businesses, by creating additional market opportunities, by technology transfer, and in a number of other ways. If we are not prepared to see that kind of investment, then we will have to lift our savings rates in New Zealand very, very substantially indeed if we are to provide sufficient capital for investment in our own economy.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Is it a fact that in October 1996, a full month before the election, the transaction of a sale between a foreign interest and a New Zealand - owned operation in respect of 170,000 hectares—which is the net figure the Prime Minister sought to use—in fact was settled up and completed, duly subject to Overseas Investment Commission approval, the interim approval having already been given; is that not, therefore, a figure to be set against the National Party’s record and not mine?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: No, because it was subject to Overseas Investment Commission approval, and the member was the Minister responsible for that approval. I repeat, however, that the point he made in his original claims was incorrect. He did not have a higher rate of declines in applications than has been the case under this Government.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Why, when the Minister had the benefit of New Zealand First legislation on the question of a change regime for the Overseas Investment Commission, did he take all the way to January 2002 to send it down to the Governor-General for assent; why did he do that?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: Some consideration was given around that issue, but, in fact, whereas under the previous Government it was not brought into operation—including the period when the member was Treasurer—it was brought into operation under this Government.

New Zealand Superannuation—Rates

3. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First) to the Minister of Finance: What reports, if any, has he received regarding the level of superannuation payments, and does he agree with them?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN (Minister of Finance): At present New Zealand superannuation payments are $393.56 per week for a married couple who both qualify, $236.14 for a single person, and $255.81 for a single person living alone. I agree with those reports.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: If that is the case, why did the Minister put out a statement yesterday on the question of the affordability of New Zealand First’s proposal knowing full well that the equation was calculated on a 68 percent figure, not 72.5, and get Treasury again to start lying to the public of this country?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: Treasury had already costed for me the proposal that the member actually outlined to the Grey Power annual general meeting—of an aim of arriving at 72.5 percent. But even the more modest attempt to move to 68 percent would have costs of many hundreds of millions of dollars per year, including, of course, the increased contributions that would be required to be made to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund. I think it is absolutely disastrous that in this area the consensus around the level of payment of New Zealand superannuation is now being broken, and that we are re-entering some kind of bidding war that New Zealand cannot afford in the long term.

Hon Peter Dunne: Has the Minister seen any reports suggesting that superannuitants are currently being underpaid by as much as $30 per week; if so, can he comment on the veracity of those reports?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: Those reports I have seen, and they are completely untrue. The method of fixing New Zealand superannuation in terms of a wage band was first introduced in 1990 and was reintroduced in a number of different forms in the 1990s, although the base was lowered in the National Government’s last year in office. The percentage set has always been set as at 1 April, based on the previous annual numbers. That has been the case since 1976, when it was set on an 80 percent gross-gross basis, as opposed to, now, the 65 to 72.5 percent set on a net-net basis.

Luamanuvao Winnie Laban: Has the Minister received any other reports from Treasury on the cost of increasing the level of New Zealand superannuation to 72.5 percent of the net average wage?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: Yes. The cost of increasing New Zealand superannuation to 72.5 percent is estimated to be $630 million in the first year, rising to $1.68 million a year after 10 years, taking account of financing costs. That does not include the cost of additional payments into the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, which adds something over another 10 percent to the $2.1 billion at present going in.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Is the Minister of Finance prepared to admit that New Zealand First proposals talk about a 68 percent regime as at April next year, and then for a long-range incremental rise to 72.5 percent; and was not 72.5 percent the figure that he and his colleagues signed up to in September of 1993 under the superannuation accord, which we in New Zealand First did not sign up to? Why was it good enough then, but not now?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: No. What was signed up to in September 1993—as a number of members on both sides of the House will remember—was a wage band of 65 to 72.5 percent. Of course, as long as real wages are increasing, then the tendency will be to drift to the bottom of that wage band. When real wages decline over an extended period, then the movement will be towards the top of the wage band, which is why next year we anticipate that New Zealand superannuation will increase by the movement in wages, which is higher than the movement in the consumer price index.

Hon Peter Dunne: Notwithstanding the Minister’s answer to my earlier supplementary question, will he not concede that the way in which the formula is applied at the moment means that by the end of each financial year, superannuitants are approximately $10 per week worse off simply because of the way in which movements have occurred during the year, and is he prepared to consider ways in which that loss of income might be alleviated?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: The formula in this sense has actually remained basically unchanged since 1976 when it was first introduced—that is, the wage reference is based at 1 April. Clearly, changes may occur over the subsequent year. These changes are very small now compared with the situation in the late 1970s and early to mid-1980s, with inflation rates in excess of 10 percent and, even over a 6-month period, therefore movements of more than 5 percent in real terms could occur in a downwards direction. These days, of course, the movement annually is more like in the range of 2 to 2.5 percent.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Can I ask the Minister of Finance whether he can confirm—yes or no—that he could survive on $255 a week, as many of our senior citizens are forced to do; if so, can he explain to the thousands of senior citizens living on that amount just how they should pay for the exorbitant power, petrol, and rate prices, which have risen astronomically under this Labour Government and are rising much faster that any consumer price index adjustment this Government has increased superannuation by? How would he do it?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: I find it difficult to imagine living on my own without my wife, but I can certainly confirm that my 90-year-old mother has been surviving on the single rate of New Zealand superannuation very adequately since my father died in September 1987.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. It will occur to you that we are not aware of the circumstances of the Minister’s mother, but we would like to be appraised of his circumstances—as to whether he could live on $255 per week. That was the question, and that was the one I want an answer to.

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: I am happy to confirm that I am sure my 90-year-old mother would be ashamed of me if I said I could not manage on the income that she has been managing on adequately for many, many years.

Prime Minister—“Popular and Competent” Comment

4. RODNEY HIDE (Leader—ACT) to the Prime Minister: Does she stand by her statement that “I sometimes wonder whether I’m a victim of my own success as a popular and competent Prime Minister.”; if so, why?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK (Prime Minister): No. I no longer have time to wonder. Nor is it something that the member personally will ever have to contemplate.

Rodney Hide: Has she seen the reports that, in allowing John Tamihere to trample all over her, she has gone from being “popular and competent” to being “spineless and impotent”; and what is her response to her appearing to prove exactly what John Tamihere claimed—that she emotionally folds when there is conflict?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: The only such reports I have seen come from the National Party and ACT, and I am treating them with the usual derision they deserve.

Gerry Brownlee: Does the decision to give John Tamihere 2 weeks’ paid holiday and a slap over the wrist with a wet bus ticket demonstrate that today the Prime Minister is simply a victim of Mr Tamihere’s success?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: As I advised the member earlier, there are other forms of leadership apart from taking bits of four-by-two to people.

Gerrard Eckhoff: Does she stand by her statement: “I have a lot of faith in John. I went out on a limb to get him into Parliament.”; and just how far out on this limb is she prepared to go to keep John Tamihere in Parliament, this being election year?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: Yes, I stand by that statement, and, as I have advised the media today, John is seen by me and his colleagues as being someone who has an enormous amount of potential but who is also known to stumble very badly.

Rodney Hide: Has she seen any media comments, or heard any public statements, by John Tamihere that he retracts all that he said in the Investigate magazine; if so, are there any bits that he has not retracted?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: I can advise that the member told the Labour Party caucus today that there were no excuses he could offer for what he had said. He humbled himself to our caucus, and on that basis we have decided to give him space to reflect.

Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. The Prime Minister earlier said that John Tamihere had retracted the statements. My advice is that he has not. He certainly has not retracted them publicly. My direct question was whether in fact she had heard or seen any media reports that John Tamihere had retracted his statements. That is very much different from an apology.

Madam SPEAKER: The Prime Minister addressed the question.

Crime—Voyeuristic Filming

5. LIANNE DALZIEL (Labour—Christchurch East) to the Minister of Justice: What new criminal offences will be created to deal with the problem of voyeuristic filming?

Hon PHIL GOFF (Minister of Justice): The Crimes (Intimate Covert Filming) Amendment Bill, introduced today, makes it a criminal offence to make, publish, or possess voyeuristic material of intimate situations, such as those in changing sheds or toilets, where people would reasonably expect to be private, and to do so without their knowledge or consent. That is intended to protect people’s privacy in an age when technology such as cellphone cameras and the Internet make it all too easy to record and widely distribute voyeuristic images.

Lianne Dalziel: How will this legislation help to protect people against the growing trend and increased ability by voyeurs to invade people’s privacy in that way?

Hon PHIL GOFF: Criminalising such behaviour enables the police to use their powers, including those of search and seizure, to take action against voyeurs and seek convictions against them. The penalties, including imprisonment and reparations, are designed to have a deterrent effect as well as to provide compensation to the victims for the harm done to them.

Te Wânanga o Aotearoa—Ministerial Briefings

6. Hon BILL ENGLISH (National—Clutha-Southland) to the Minister of Education: Can he confirm that between March 2002 and December 2004 Ministers received 37 briefings from the Ministry of Education regarding Te Wânanga o Aotearoa; if not, why not?

Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Minister of Education): No. If one counts written briefings specifically and solely relating to the wânanga, the figure may be accurate, but if one counts mentions of the wânanga in other reports, oral briefings, and other communications, then it is certainly a lot more.

Hon Bill English: Can the Minister tell the House why he is now spending $6,000 per working-day on a new team of consultants, plus $2,600 per day on an individual daily rate, when he has already paid a Mr Graeme McNally $2,100 per day, as development adviser to the wânanga, since June 2002?

Hon TREVOR MALLARD: On the question of the rate, the rates were set as a result of the competitive tender process for people who are capable of doing the work. My understanding is that the rate is very much the same rate that the individual was paid by Murray McCully to work in the housing area during the time of the previous Government. We have taken a number of steps over the past few years to address concerns, but it is fair to say that Ministers had not considered the impact of a group of individuals treating the wânanga as though it were a personal family business, run for personal gain, until about August last year, when these matters, to do with a close friend of Mr English, were referred to the Auditor-General.

Hon Ken Shirley: Does the Minister deny that the many reports he received last year included concerns over the integrity of enrolments at Te Wânanga o Aotearoa, and what steps is he taking to investigate this issue in view of the fact that enrolments are specifically excluded from the Auditor-General’s terms of reference?

Hon TREVOR MALLARD: That is one of the things the Tertiary Education Commission is doing.

Hon Ken Shirley: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. The Minister spoke very quietly. I did not hear his response. Could I ask him to repeat his answer, please.

Hon TREVOR MALLARD: That is one of the things the Tertiary Education Commission is doing.

H V Ross Robertson: Can the Minister tell the House whether, in fact, he is satisfied that the wânanga meets the academic performance standards expected of tertiary education institutions?

Hon TREVOR MALLARD: No.

Hon Bill English: Can the Minister tell the House whether he has seen a report from one official of the Ministry of Education that states: “I am tired of going to large meetings which are drawn out and everyone agrees, but no action comes of it at all.”, in respect of the wânanga, and can he confirm that the real reason for 5 years of his sitting on his hands over the wânanga is further official advice: “The wânanga has relationships with quite a number of iwi around the country. Cutting back the enrolments could affect relations with iwi, both for the wânanga and the Crown.”—is that the real reason he did nothing until election year?

Hon TREVOR MALLARD: I have seen the first report. In my view it is inaccurate. I have seen the second report, and it will be proven to be inaccurate.

Hon Ken Shirley: What advice does he give to the scores of concerned people who receive certificates from Te Wânanga o Aotearoa in the mail, and invitations to graduation ceremonies for courses that they never attended or, in some instances, never even realised they were enrolled in; and will he be seeking to recover the taxpayers’ money?

Hon TREVOR MALLARD: I would invite people to refer those certificates and those letters to the Tertiary Education Commission. Quite a large amount of recovery is going on.

Hon Bill English: I seek leave to table an internal memo from a Ministry of Education official that states he is tired of going to long meetings where everyone agrees and no action is taken.

Leave granted.

Hon Bill English: I seek leave to table a report from a Ministry of Education official that refers to relationships between iwi and the Crown, and how cutting back on enrolments would affect those relationships.

Leave granted.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I seek leave to table a document, and I need to explain what I am requesting by this. I have spoken to the Clerk of the House. Disclosure of this document will be limited to MPs, and MPs alone; otherwise, it would offend a court ruling—

Hon Ken Shirley: Why are you tabling it?

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I thought the 119 other members of this Parliament might be interested in a grave injustice. That is why I am tabling it. I can see why it would not concern that member. I seek leave—

Madam SPEAKER: Would the member please sit down. There was an interjection while the member was speaking on his point of order. Members know that there are to be no interjections when there is a point of order. Would the member who interjected please leave the Chamber.

Hon Ken Shirley: Before leaving I seek leave of the House to table documents showing fraudulent enrolments at Te Wânanga o Aotearoa.

Leave granted.

Madam SPEAKER: The member can now leave.

Hon Ken Shirley withdrew from the Chamber.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Before I was so rudely interrupted I was pointing out that I had spoken to the Clerk, who had advised me that this document would have limited distribution to members of Parliament only. I therefore seek to table the Te Rata station suspension bridge report of G W Butcher.

Madam SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that document under those conditions. Any objection? Yes, there is objection. The document will not be tabled.

Early Childhood Education—Information Communications Technology

7. HELEN DUNCAN (Labour), on behalf of LYNNE PILLAY (Labour—Waitakere), to the Minister of Education: What steps is he taking to improve the use of information communications technology in early childhood education?

Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Minister of Education): This morning I launched Foundations for Discovery, a new framework to promote the use of information and communications technology in early childhood education. The Government is investing $16 million over 4 years in that resource, which will help the sector to improve its use of information and communications technology through initiatives such as regional professional development, research projects, and the creation of information and communications technology - based resources. Those resources include computers, phones, and digital cameras.

Helen Duncan: What are the benefits of promoting the increased use of information and communications technology in early childhood education?

Hon TREVOR MALLARD: Research shows that children’s learning can be enhanced by the effective use of information and communications technology. Children can use it to observe, explain, record, and review their world in different ways. It can be used to assist with the development of early literacy and maths and in the development of communications skills. Information and communications technology can also be a better way to involve parents and communities in children’s education.

Labour Party Candidate—Justice of the Peace

8. LINDSAY TISCH (National—Piako) to the Associate Minister of Justice: Does he intend to carry out an investigation into whether it is appropriate for Mr Steven Ching to continue serving as a justice of the peace; if not, why not?

Hon RICK BARKER (Associate Minister of Justice): I am aware of the public comments made about Mr Ching, and I have since received a letter from that member on the issue. All matters will be considered and any decision to investigate will be, in the first instance, notified to Mr Ching. That is the only appropriate course of action.

Lindsay Tisch: Is the Minister aware of the reported statement of Allan Spence of the Royal Federation of New Zealand Justices of the Peace Associations that: “Mr Ching’s application should not have got through the vetting process.”, and can he explain what is being done to fix that mistake, in light of the new information about Mr Ching’s advertising?

Hon RICK BARKER: I am aware of the comment. I am not at this stage convinced that it is a mistake, as claimed by the member, because there has been no investigation.

Deborah Coddington: Does the Minister believe that Steven Ching’s behaviour—pleading guilty to obstructing a fisheries officer in an illegal squid-catch operation—is of a standard that the Minister would expect for someone to remain a justice of the peace; if so, how much lower would standards have to go before he thought it was not acceptable behaviour?

Hon RICK BARKER: As the matter is under consideration, I am not prepared to make any comments.

Lindsay Tisch: Why was Steven Ching allowed to become a justice of the peace after admitting a charge of obstructing justice, and allowed to remain one after illegally advertising his services and failing to account for a $7,000 taxpayer grant, and is the reason the Government is stalling on tightening up the Justices of the Peace Act that the Labour Party’s great “Asian hope” candidate would be the first in line to be disciplined?

Hon RICK BARKER: Many of those assertions made by that member are not proven to be true, necessarily. [Interruption]

Madam SPEAKER: Please allow the member to complete his answer in silence.

Hon RICK BARKER: Allegations have been made, and I think it is entirely appropriate for any citizen of this country to be entitled to due process. I assure the House that, as we go through this matter, Mr Ching will be treated without fear or favour, just as we should treat any other citizen. I am not prepared to see a person subjected to trial by this House.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Is it true that Mr Steven Ching is on the Labour Party list—a list that he is obviously eminently qualified to be on, but not the JP list—and is it a fact, as my Chinese informants tell me, that he has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Labour Party, and that that is why the Minister is not prepared to answer today?

Hon RICK BARKER: I have no responsibility for the Labour Party list, but I have already assured the House that the matter will be investigated thoroughly. Mr Steven Ching, like every other citizen in this country, deserves to be treated without fear or favour and to be subject to due process.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. I asked the Minister a very simple question: was this Mr Steven Ching the same Steven Ching who is on the Labour Party list? Surely he can answer that, or does that incriminate him as well?

Madam SPEAKER: There were many points raised in the question, but the Minister did address it. That was probably because there were so many aspects to the question.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. That is true and I do not wish to dispute your ruling, other than to ask whether or not he is on the list.

Madam SPEAKER: I have ruled on that point of order. The Minister did address the question.

Lindsay Tisch: I seek leave of the House to table two advertisements from the Mandarin Times promoting and advertising Mr Ching as a JP, and the English translations of them.

Leave granted.

Environment—Decision Making

9. DAVID PARKER (Labour—Otago) to the Minister for the Environment: What recent progress has been made to improve environmental decision-making?

Hon MARIAN HOBBS (Minister for the Environment): A series of training workshops have attracted over 500 people involved in resource management decision-making from almost every council in New Zealand. The workshops provide the skills practitioners need to run fair and effective resource consent and planning hearings.

David Parker: What has the response been to these workshops?

Hon MARIAN HOBBS: There has been overwhelmingly positive feedback. One attendee said: “This is possibly the best training work course I have attended in 40 years in business.” These workshops form the basis for the Government’s proposals to require mandatory certification and training of Resource Management Act decision makers.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Does the Minister stand by her Government’s statements about the most significant change proposed in the Resource Management Act reform bill, being the removal of de novo hearings at the appeal stage, and its claims that it will reduce costs and delays, when legal experts, environmental organisations, business groups, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, and even the Principal Environment Court Judge all say that the Government is wrong and that this change will significantly increase costs and delays; and will she now drop these foolish changes to that Act?

Hon MARIAN HOBBS: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. The member made a reference to something that was said in a private session by a judge to the select committee. I see that the chair is nodding.

Madam SPEAKER: Would the member be seated so I can clarify. A point of order was raised that a matter had been raised that was before the select committee, and the bill has yet to be reported to the House. As the member knows, that is not acceptable. Does he wish to talk to that point of order?

Hon Dr Nick Smith: My statement in the question was that the Principal Environment Court Judge had said that the Government’s claims that its bill would reduce costs and delays was wrong. There was no reference at all to a meeting of the select committee. I am surprised that the Minister, who is not a member of the select committee, is aware of the statement made by the Principal Environment Court Judge at that time. The reason for that is very simple. The Minister and the Associate Minister both had a briefing from the judge, which was not held in privilege in any way, and at that meeting they were advised that their amendments are a nonsense and will not work.

Madam SPEAKER: I want to clarify with the Hon Dr Nick Smith whether he was referring to proceedings in the select committee.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: No.

Madam SPEAKER: The member was not referring to those proceedings in the select committee. Would the Minister therefore answer the question.

Hon MARIAN HOBBS: The answer to the question is that those are issues that I understand have been raised in submission. I am sure the committee will have some comments on them.

Jeanette Fitzsimons: As the training of councillors on hearings panels has been so successful—and was supported, may I say, by all the submitters, whose submissions are on the public record—will the Minister now consider delaying the massive changes to council procedures envisaged in the Resource Management and Electricity Legislation Amendment Bill so that people will have a chance to put their training to good use?

Hon MARIAN HOBBS: No, there will be no consideration to delay.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. We have quite a serious situation here. The Minister for the Environment, as is clear by her disclosure in the House in first raising this point, knows what occurred during a private briefing of the Local Government and Environment Committee. Now, that can have occurred only as a consequence of a Labour colleague informing her of something that occurred in private, and the very crime she accuses me of she has committed herself by being aware of that fact.

Hon Dr Michael Cullen: I want to make two points on what the member has just said. Firstly, of course, he has just contradicted what he had assured the House—that there was no private briefing on the matter he referred to in his question.

Hon Bill English: That is not what he said.

Hon Dr Michael Cullen: It is exactly what he said. Secondly, the rules of this House have for a long time been quite clear that members of Parliament are allowed to brief other members about what goes on in a select committee. Otherwise, no member of this House would ever report back to his or her caucus before a select committee had deliberated.

Jeanette Fitzsimons: The select committee did issue a brief press statement saying that it had heard from the Principal Environment Court Judge in private and that his evidence would be referred to publicly at the time of the committee’s report back to the House.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker.

Madam SPEAKER: Is this a different point of order?

Hon Dr Nick Smith: No, it is an important point with respect to the very issue that has been raised by the Leader of the House.

Madam SPEAKER: It would appear that a public statement was made about the attendance. As we know, any member of this House can attend a select committee hearing. I am not, therefore, sure that any breach of any order has occurred in the interchange that has taken place. I have ruled on this matter. I do not wish to have it relitigated.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: The Leader of the House has raised a point that I think needs clarification. I have always understood that information about a private briefing of a select committee cannot be distributed to other members of the House who are not on that committee. I think it would be helpful if the Speaker were to give a considered ruling, because I know that on other occasions when such private briefings have been held, the practice has not been what Dr Cullen has pointed out. I simply seek a considered ruling from you on that point so that members can be clear when there is a private briefing.

Madam SPEAKER: It is not a breach of privilege for one MP to communicate proceedings of a select committee with another member.

Jeanette Fitzsimons: Does the Minister for the Environment believe that the draconian ministerial powers in the proposed amendments to the Resource Management Act, whereby she could declare any controversial activity to be a permitted use in all districts and therefore require no Resource Management Act consent at all, will improve environmental decision-making; if so, why?

Hon MARIAN HOBBS: Again, I understand that these are issues that have been raised in submissions. I am sure that the committee will have some comments on them, and I look forward to its report.

Hon Bill English: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. You have ruled on the matter that was being discussed, but I suggest that the ruling, while correct, is partial. You referred to the fact that it is within the Standing Orders for one member to brief another member about the proceedings of a private hearing. You also referred to the fact that the co-leader of the Greens and chairperson of the committee said that a public statement had been made that a hearing had occurred. But, of course, neither of those matters deal with the substance of the issue, which is that the material that was the substance of the briefing was brought into the public arena by the Minister for the Environment. That is a breach of order. She is not allowed to get up in this House and refer directly to material that was the substance of a private meeting. We are allowed to know that a select committee held a private hearing. We are allowed to be told by other MPs that there was a private hearing and about what was discussed, but we are not allowed to raise the matter in the House ahead of the select committee report back. That is a breach of order.

Madam SPEAKER: If the member believes that a breach of privilege has been committed, then I suggest he follow the correct procedure, which is to write to the Speaker.

Hon Bill English: On the point of order—

Madam SPEAKER: I have ruled on that. If the member believes, as was the substance of his point, that there has been a breach by the Minister, then I ask him to follow the correct procedure. He should write to the Speaker, and then the matter can be dealt with in the appropriate way.

Hon Bill English: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. It is a new point of order. We now have confusion about how these matters will be handled, because in the previous point of order you made a ruling on the matter without referring to people taking a privilege claim. You came to your own decision that whatever had happened was not out of order. As soon as I raised another point, which is just another aspect of the same debate—but one you had not dealt with—you then decided that you would not rule, and that the issue had to be taken to the Privileges Committee. I am now asking you why you have treated the serious matter of order in the first point of order differently from the way you have treated it in the second. Either this matter should go to the Privileges Committee from the start, or you are capable of ruling on both points of order that have been raised—not just on one of them.

Madam SPEAKER: If members feel there has been a breach of privilege, then I suggest they follow the procedure and write to the Speaker.

Dr the Hon Lockwood Smith: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. I seek that you give clarification to a ruling you made today, because Speakers’ rulings, of course, can become precedents for the House. It was established in previous exchanges that evidence heard in private at select committees could be communicated to any members of Parliament, but that ruling does not appear to be consistent with the Standing Orders. Now, by searching through Speakers’ Rulings and finding that there has in fact been a Speaker’s ruling that deviates from the Standing Order, you may be able to advise Parliament, but if I quote you Standing Order 218(3) you will see that it is quite clear that: “Evidence heard or received in private is confidential to the committee”—not to members of Parliament—“until it reports to the House.” I would hate for a Speaker’s ruling, perhaps given reasonably in haste, to be contradictory to the Standing Orders, unless previous Speakers’ rulings have already done so.

Madam SPEAKER: I refer the member to Standing Order 239(2) for the ruling I made. This is not a breach; it is just disclosure to another. I repeat that if members are concerned there has been a breach, I ask them please to follow the correct procedure. I will take no further comment on this ruling.

Police—Resources, Counties-Manukau

10. Hon TONY RYALL (National—Bay Of Plenty) to the Minister of Police: How many staff will, or are, being brought in to help clear the backlog of cases at Counties-Manukau Police District, and for how long?

Hon PHIL GOFF (Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade), on behalf of the Minister of Police: I am advised that eight investigators have been allocated to the Counties-Manukau Police District to assist with the backlog of cases. Four began work yesterday, and another four start next Monday, 18 April. It is expected that those staff members will initially work in the district for up to 6 weeks, and will significantly reduce the backlog.

Hon Tony Ryall: How on earth will eight officers clear a backlog of 1,100 cases in around about 6 weeks, and why does the Minister not reveal in the House today how many extra staff the Counties-Manukau police actually said they needed to do the job?

Hon PHIL GOFF: I am sure the member will be delighted to know that the backlog he has mentioned had already been reduced by 200 cases before the additional staff were assigned. It is the decision of the commissioner as to how many staff may be needed, and for how long. He has made his judgment. Unlike members on the other side who attack our top civil servants, I am prepared to take his judgment.

Martin Gallagher: Further to the Minister’s previous answer, is it unusual for police resources to be moved around in order to meet changing operational needs?

Hon PHIL GOFF: No. The commissioner has the ability to allocate his resources to meet operational demands, and he regularly does that, either across districts or across tasks. Within the Greater Auckland region there is also a board of management, comprising the district commanders, that regularly cooperates in sharing resources in order to meet the operational requirements of the region as a whole. That is just straight common sense.

Ron Mark: Is the Minister not aware that the Counties-Manukau Police District has consistently been reported as having the highest turnover of staff, that the average length of service of its uniformed staff gives it less experience than other districts, and that when measured against the national average for officer to citizen ratio as at 17 July 2004 it was short of the national average by 183 officers; and how can the Minister believe that by the Counties-Manukau Police District being given 12 officers over a 2-week period it will seriously get on top of crime there?

Hon PHIL GOFF: I will answer some of those questions. I cannot give a breakdown district by district, but I can tell the member that the turnover of police staffing is much less than it was when that member was part of a National-led Government. Secondly, staffing in the Auckland region is very good at the moment, and the Commissioner of Police believes that by the end of the financial year the region will be staffed at levels above the numbers set out for the region. Thirdly, let me say this: instead of bashing the Counties-Manukau police force, the member should understand that the Counties-Manukau police force saw crime rates there come down by an astounding 11.3 percent over the last year, and consistently improved its resolution of crime rate from 33 percent to 37 percent over the last 2 years—a better track record than when that member was associated with the National Government.

Dr Muriel Newman: With regard to the issue of police resourcing, why is it that under the Minister’s watch the Northern Communications Centre is so short-staffed that last week one inspector in charge of life-threatening situations in the North Island was forced to breach safe workplace practice by having only a 6-hour break between shifts?

Hon PHIL GOFF: I am afraid that I cannot confirm what the member has said. Too often in this House we have the experience of members—and Mr Mark is one of them—standing up and making such claims, and our finding consistently that there is no reality associated with the claims made. However, if the member wants me to check it out, she should please provide me with the information and I will do so.

Hon Tony Ryall: What is the Minister of Police’s explanation for the provision of only eight extra investigators instead of three times that number as recommended by the Counties-Manukau police?

Hon PHIL GOFF: The decision about how many people should be allocated to help clear the backlog was made by the commissioner in consultation with the district commanders involved. The judgment was made that those eight additional investigators will significantly reduce the backlog. The facts are that already that backlog is down by more than 200 on the figures the member just quoted. That was a good record, even before the additional staff were assigned.

Martin Gallagher: For the historical record, what additional resources have been invested in the police since the year 1999?

Hon PHIL GOFF: The annual police budget since 1999 has risen by $160 million.

I compare that figure with the $50 million that the Martin report was going to reduce police numbers by, at the time that Tony Ryall was Minister of Justice. Police numbers have increased by over 1,000, to 9,815. We have the highest ever budget and the highest ever number of police officers serving in this country. The Minister of Police can be proud of that record compared with Tony Ryall’s deplorable record when he was Minister of Justice—[Interruption]

I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. Mr Mark interjected across the floor of the House that that was a lie. That is outside the Standing Orders and his statement is not correct.

Madam SPEAKER: Could the member withdraw and apologise.

Ron Mark: Perhaps the Minister could tell us by exactly how many the number of police have been increased. He said over 1,000. The House requires some justification of that.

Madam SPEAKER: Did the member shout across the House: “It’s a lie.”?

Ron Mark: Yes, I did, Madam Speaker.

Madam SPEAKER: Then will the member please withdraw and apologise.

Ron Mark: I withdraw and apologise.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. About three times in the sequence of answers that Mr Goff gave he criticised members of the Opposition for actions dating back even as far as the administration of 6 years ago. Frankly, he was highly provocative. Then he said something that was demonstrably not true. That is my colleague’s point. With respect, the Minister should get up now and tell us what the truth is, or apologise himself for misleading this House.

Madam SPEAKER: That is not a point of order.

Question No. 11 to Minister

LARRY BALDOCK (United Future): I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. I note that the Minister whom my question is directed at is not present in the House. This is the third occasion on which I have asked questions about the Aotea Marine Reserve. In the interests of the public not getting the impression that the Minister is avoiding answering my question, I seek leave for this question to be held over to when the Minister is present.

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

Marine Reserves—Public Consultation

11. LARRY BALDOCK (United Future) to the Minister of Conservation: Is he satisfied that the Department of Conservation engages in adequate public consultation when considering new marine reserve proposals; if so, why?

Hon RICK BARKER (Minister for Courts), on behalf of the Minister of Conservation: Yes, because independent audits of the last two formal marine reserve applications received by the Minister have confirmed that thorough consultation was undertaken. The significant number of submissions received on marine reserve applications also suggest that the department is doing a good job in ensuring that the community is aware of the proposals and their implications.

Larry Baldock: What is the current status of the promised independent review, which is being carried out by Mr Simon Berry, of the Department of Conservation’s consultation processes with regard to the Aotea Marine Reserve, and when will the Minister publish findings of that inquiry?

Hon RICK BARKER: The review is almost complete. I do not have a precise date with me, but I would certainly like to forward that to the member after I take some advice on it.

Dave Hereora: What improvements have been sought by marine interest groups to the way that marine reserve proposals have been identified and advanced?

Hon RICK BARKER: All the sectors say that they want a strategic approach to the establishment of marine reserves and other marine protected areas. Recreational fishers, commercial fishers, conservation groups, and iwi all want a structured regional approach and to be involved in the early stages of planning. The Ministry of Fisheries and the Department of Conservation have just finished consultation on a marine protected area policy and an implementation plan that will do exactly that.

Larry Baldock: How does the Minister reconcile the statement by Mr Warwick Murray, the Department of Conservation’s communications relationship manager, in a letter to Scott McIndoe concerning Mr Berry’s findings: “Mr Berry’s report states that the Director-General of Conservation has substantially complied with the procedural requirements of the Act and fairly and appropriately carried out his responsibilities.”, with the statements made by Mr Merv McGee, chairperson of the Ngâti Rehua trust board, who told me today that the whole process of consultation was a farce and that the Department of Conservation had no regard for tangata whenua rights; and who did Mr Berry consult when he was carrying out that independent review?

Hon RICK BARKER: I cannot confirm the comments made to that member today, but I can confirm that the Department of Conservation takes tangata whenua rights seriously and does seriously consult tangata whenua.

Larry Baldock: Can the Minister confirm, after his visit to Great Barrier Island last Friday, that residents and Ngâti Rehua, hapû of Ngâti Wai, remain opposed to the Aotea Marine Reserve, and that they still consider they will suffer undue adverse effects, and that just one of those objections, according to the Minister’s reply to my questions in the House several weeks ago, is sufficient for the marine reserve proposal to stop in its tracks; and, therefore, when will the Minister call a halt to that proposal and abandon it?

Hon RICK BARKER: That marine reserve application is going through a process, and yes, it is correct that if it can be demonstrated that there is undue effect on any one of a number of categories, then the proposal will not proceed. This process is still under way, and we should await the outcome.

Larry Baldock: What consultation has the Minister’s department engaged in with the Catlins community regarding the proposed marine reserve at Nugget Point, and will he consider the local community’s proposal for a marine management model similar to theFiordland Marine Guardians model as an alternative to a full marine reserve; if not, why not, or will they experience the same appalling treatment from his department as the residents of Great Barrier Island have experienced?

Hon RICK BARKER: The department and the Minister will take seriously all submissions from the Nugget Point people.

Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. How is it possible for the Minister to stand up to answer a question as the Minister, and to say that he cannot speak for the Minister of Conservation? That is his job; that is why he is here answering the questions. What sort of answer was that?

Madam SPEAKER: The Minister addressed the question.

Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker—

Madam SPEAKER: I say to Mr Hide that I have ruled on that. I listened carefully to the question and to the answer.

Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. I ask you to give some thought and advice to this House about what the breadth of a Minister’s responsibility is when he or she is standing in for another Minister, because we see Ministers sort of ducking away. Can they just say that they do not know anything about that and that they cannot speak on behalf of a Minister, because if that is the case, question time will become an even bigger farce.

Madam SPEAKER: I considered the Minister’s answer, as I considered the question. The Minister addressed the question.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. You may have considered the Minister to have addressed the question, but he surely cannot begin his answer with “I cannot speak for another Minister …”—

Hon Rick Barker: I never said that.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Oh yes, the Minister did. With respect, the Minister is required to do just that—that is why he is standing in. All we are asking him to do is to tell a tosser to go home and leave our reserves alone.

Madam SPEAKER: That is not a point of order.

Jeanette Fitzsimons: Can the Minister confirm that if Labour and the Greens are working together after the election, the new Marine Reserves Bill will be passed with appropriate amendments based on the submissions we have heard, ending 3 years of stalling on this issue and enabling marine reserves to proceed with better provisions for consultation than exist under the present outdated Act?

Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. I ask you to consider how that question could possibly be in order. I know that if a National or an ACT member had asked it, it certainly would not have been.

Jeanette Fitzsimons: The question asks the Minister whether it is the Government’s policy intention to proceed with the bill after the election if it has sufficient support. It seems to me that that is within the Minister’s power to answer.

Madam SPEAKER: Members are perfectly entitled to ask hypothetical questions, and have done on previous occasions.

Hon RICK BARKER: It is the Government’s intention to pursue passing that bill through Parliament and, of course, as always we welcome the support of the Greens for our legislation.

Larry Baldock: Does the Minister consider that the previous question asked by Jeanette Fitzsimons is one of the best reasons New Zealanders should vote for United Future, so that there will not be that outcome she predicted?

Madam SPEAKER: The Minister has no responsibility for that.

Question No. 1 to Minister

GERRY BROWNLEE (Deputy Leader—National): I just want, if I can, to table a document that has come into my possession this afternoon. It is dated with today’s date. It has a time on it of 12.45. It is a statement from the Prime Minister in which she describes John Tamihere as wonderful colleague who puts in 150 percent.

Madam SPEAKER: I ask the member whether he has sought leave to table that document.

GERRY BROWNLEE: Yes, I have.

Leave granted.

Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. I like your direction about ruling out, I think it was Mr Baldock’s question, because you ruled in that hypothetical questions could be asked. The idea of people voting for United Future—I mean, how hypothetical does that get for that poodle party?

Madam SPEAKER: That is not a point of order.

Question No. 10 to Minister

Hon PHIL GOFF (Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade): I seek leave to table a document showing that on 25 February 2005 there were 9,847 police staff, compared with 8,767 when Labour came into Government—thus verifying the statement I made to the House.

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

RON MARK (NZ First): I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. Before I can consider giving leave—

Madam SPEAKER: I am on a point of order; would you please be seated until I have completed this point of order. The point of order is that leave be sought to table that document. [Interruption] Is a point of clarification sought on the document?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First): Yes. My colleague seeks to know whether the figures the Minister is using are for sworn officers—yes or no.

Hon PHIL GOFF (Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade): The verification is of my answer. The figures are of total police staff. I could give the member other figures showing that sworn staff are up by 500.

Madam SPEAKER: With that clarification, leave is sought to table the document. Is there any objection?

Ron Mark: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker.

Madam SPEAKER: I am sorry, but I want to complete this point of order. The clarification has been given. Is there any objection to tabling that document? Yes, there is. The document will not be tabled.

RON MARK (NZ First): I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. I stood to get a point of clarification, which would enable me to make a decision as to whether I would object to the leave that was being sought. You promptly sat me down. Then, within split seconds, my leader, the Rt Hon Winston Peters, took a point of order on precisely the same point, and you heard him. What is it? Do we have a discriminatory policy running in the House?

Madam SPEAKER: Would the member please be seated. When the Rt Hon Winston Peters rose, you sat down. He said he was talking to the same point of order. You received the point of clarification; therefore, you had an opportunity to decide whether to object.

Ron Mark: No, I did not.

Madam SPEAKER: You did.

Zimbabwe—Cricket Tour

12. ROD DONALD (Co-Leader—Green) to the Prime Minister: When she said yesterday “personally I wouldn’t be seen dead there”, was she hoping that individual New Zealand cricket players would follow her lead and withdraw from the proposed Black Caps tour of Zimbabwe; if not, why not?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN (Deputy Prime Minister), on behalf of the Prime Minister: The Prime Minister was expressing her personal view. The decision as to whether the New Zealand cricket team tours Zimbabwe is one for the players and New Zealand Cricket to make.

Rod Donald: Is the Prime Minister concerned that a tour by an official New Zealand cricket team to Zimbabwe could be seen as giving tacit approval to Robert Mugabe’s pariah State and therefore could undermine the Government’s condemnation of the rigged election recently held in Zimbabwe; if not, why not?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: No, because both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade have made clear on many occasions New Zealand’s abhorrence of the Mugabe regime.

Rod Donald: Will the Government consider advising New Zealand Cricket that if it withdraws from the Zimbabwe tour on moral or political grounds, the Government would underwrite any fine imposed by the International Cricket Council; if not, why not?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: No. That would create an unfortunate precedent for the future in many similar kinds of cases, I would have thought.

Rod Donald: Does the Prime Minister consider that there is value in New Zealand pursuing sporting boycotts against Zimbabwe, given their effectiveness in helping to overturn South Africa’s apartheid regime in the 1980s; if not, why not?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: Yes. Certainly, sporting boycotts have worked in the past, but no New Zealand Government has ever attempted to prevent a New Zealand team going overseas, as opposed to preventing a team coming to New Zealand.

Rod Donald: Will the Prime Minister encourage the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Phil Goff, to follow the example of the British Government and meet with New Zealand’s representative on the International Cricket Council with a view to requesting an international sporting boycott of Zimbabwe; if not, why not?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: That is a matter for Mr Goff. I think it is fair to say that the current policy of the International Cricket Council makes these decisions very difficult for sporting teams, and the policy could well be revisited, but that, again, is a matter for cricketers and cricketing organisations throughout the world.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I seek leave to table two documents. One is a press statement that sets out that Sir Robert Muldoon was right and the Labour Party was diametrically wrong on the question of Robert Mugabe.

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

Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. I seek clarification. Before I grant leave, can the honourable Winston Peters assure us that he will in fact table the document?

Madam SPEAKER: That is not a point of order. Would the member please sit down

Leave granted.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: The second document is a statement from the Labour Party bitterly criticising the then National Government for not stopping the Cavalier’s tour of South Africa.

Leave granted.

( Uncorrected transcript—subject to correction and further editing. For corrected transcripts, please visit: http://www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz/hansard )

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