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Questions And Answers - Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Questions And Answers - Wednesday, 18 June 2008

1. Sovereign Credit Rating—Reports

1. CHARLES CHAUVEL (Labour) to the Minister of Finance: What recent reports has he received on New Zealand’s sovereign credit rating?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN (Minister of Finance) : I am pleased to report that Moody’s Investors Service reaffirmed New Zealand’s AAA credit rating and highlighted its view that the New Zealand Government’s management of the finances of the Crown is a significant factor underpinning that assessment.

Charles Chauvel: Did Moody’s offer any investors any other advice on possible changes to New Zealand’s investment climate?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: Yes, the report goes on to note that the National Party is likely to be more favourable to selling off State assets. I think National needs to front up on whether it is telling the public one thing and international credit-rating agencies another, when it comes to asset sales.

Hon Bill English: Can the Minister confirm that the conclusions he has just quoted from the rating agency directly contradict one of his main arguments against tax cuts, where he has repeatedly said in the past that multibillion dollar tax cuts would increase debt and jeopardise our credit rating; if that was the case, why did he go ahead with multibillion dollar tax cuts that increased debt but apparently did not jeopardise our credit rating?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: That is because Moody’s has consistently praised the Government, during very strong growth years, for running large surpluses and knows that we are running down some of the cash surpluses we acquired during periods of good times. Had we in fact spent the money in the good years, we would not have the money left to carry us through the bad years—like this year.

Rodney Hide: Can the Minister explain to the House and to the people of New Zealand how it was for 9 long years that economic conditions were such that we could not have decent tax cuts, only tax hikes, and then, suddenly, 2 weeks out from a desperate election that Labour faces, economic conditions align and we can have a tax cut?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: My understanding is that the tax cuts were passed on 23 May. The 2 weeks has long since passed, at this point in time.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Is it possible to effect tax cuts by way of State asset sales, and how long would such a policy last?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: Yes, indeed, and of course in 1998-99 the then Government engaged in a major asset sale programme around Auckland airport and Contact Energy. As a result, of course, we also had tax cuts at that time. The trouble is that by selling State assets one also reduces one’s long-term revenue, and when the proceeds of the sale run out, we have something of a problem.

Charles Chauvel: Has the Minister received any reports on the direct costs incurred in selling State assets?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: Yes. One of the main reasons to oppose State asset sales is strategic. It is important to realise just how expensive the process can be. I was able to reveal at the Finance and Expenditure Committee this morning that, when last in Government, Mr English spent over $47 million in 1 year on consultants to help him sell State assets.

/NR/rdonlyres/26A298EE-E99E-49BB-AC0E-0F30547ED386/85391/48HansQ_20080618_00000038_.pdfFull transcript of Questions for Oral Answer for Wednesday, 18 June 2008 [PDF 226k]

2. Corrections, Justice, and Police, Ministers—Confidence

[Uncorrected transcript—subject to correction and further editing.]

2. JOHN KEY (Leader of the Opposition) to the Prime Minister: Does she have confidence in the Ministers of Corrections, Justice and Police; if so, why?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK (Prime Minister) : Yes; because they are hard-working and conscientious Ministers.

John Key: How can New Zealanders have confidence in this Government’s law and order policies when Graeme Burton, a paroled killer, was allowed to go on a murderous rampage, resulting in the death of Karl Kuchenbecker and when the coroner has stated that Mr Kuchenbecker’s death might have been prevented if the actions, procedures, and processes of the Parole Board, the Department of Corrections, and the police had been different?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: The coroner’s report identified factors that the Government had already identified and addressed, and on that basis the coroner made no further recommendations for change. I also note that back in 1998 Graeme Burton escaped from Pāremoremo, under Nick Smith’s watch.

John Key: How can New Zealanders trust the Government’s parole policies when, on its watch, William Bell was able to kill three people at the Panmure RSA while out on parole, when Graeme Burton was able to kill Karl Kuchenbecker while out on parole, and when—despite the comments the Prime Minister just made about having made changes—in the last few months a convicted paedophile and a convicted rapist have been able to commit vicious sex crimes while out on parole?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: The sentencing legislation, the parole legislation, and the bail legislation have all been tightened by the Labour Government. I note that under the parole legislation we have passed, people now serve, on average, 72 percent of their prison sentence. Under the last National Government they served 52 percent.

John Key: Does the Prime Minister agree with the head of the Department of Corrections who said, after the incident with Graeme Burton and the death of Karl Kuchenbecker: “There is no blood on my hands.”, despite the fact that the report by the chief coroner actually gives quite a different outlook?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: As I said, all the issues the coroner identified were identified by the Government, changes were made, and that is why the coroner said he has no extra recommendations to make—because the Government has dealt with the shortcomings of the system.

John Key: Does the Prime Minister support National’s policy where we are proposing to put $35 million into army-style correction camps for young people?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: We have many initiatives dealing with youth offending, and I am pleased to say that as a result of the very strong focus on youth gang activity in Counties-Manukau—

Hon Dr Nick Smith: It’s getting worse.

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: Far from getting worse, as Mr Smith asserts, actually the police say there is less criminal activity and fewer serious offences now from those with youth gang affiliations. [Interruption] I know that the National Party does not like the facts, but those they are.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Can the Prime Minister confirm that there has been substantial success in both Rotorua and Hamilton as a result of the upgraded services of the Māori wardens, an organisation that New Zealand First found the funds for in the last Budget?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: I am pleased to say that there was significantly more support—with support from support parties—for the Māori wardens in the last Budget. Māori wardens are now receiving training at the Police College in Porirua. They are doing a fantastic job, and we are now trialling whether we can extend that sort of work to Pacific communities with Pacific wardens.

John Key: Does the Prime Minister stand by her statement a few moments ago that she seriously believes the issue of youth gangs is improving in South Auckland, not getting worse?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: I am advised by the police that there is less criminal activity and fewer serious offences in Counties-Manukau now from those with youth gang affiliations. The Leader of the Opposition might not like it—he may like to run around with his slogans, but that does not make them true; they patently are not.

Hon Phil Goff: Can the Prime Minister confirm that the last time that National trialled boot camps in New Zealand the reoffending rate was 95 percent—the highest rate of reoffending for any form of dealing with young criminals—and that the police complained that the only thing they achieved out of them was fitter criminals?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: I am sure that is correct. Of course, the Leader of the Opposition wants to think that he is doing something when, in fact, he comes up with failed solutions time and time again.

John Key: Did the Prime Minister read the New Zealand Herald on Monday, 9 June, the day after Navtej Singh was killed, and if she did not would she like me to read for her where it stated: “Last night, neighbours of the store were reluctant to speak for fear of retribution from gangs, which they say are rife in the area. Teenagers hanging around the shop told the Herald they weren’t surprised when they heard about the shooting. ‘It was just another day,’ said one. ‘There’s always street gangs hanging around here. There’s always fights in this street.’ ”; and does the Prime Minister know that those youth gangs went back and actually tagged Navtej Singh’s store? So if she thinks the situation is improving maybe she needs to get down to South Auckland and have a look.

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: There is an old saying that one swallow does not make a spring. I invite the Leader of the Opposition to respond to me today on the letter that has gone to the Opposition today, where the Government seeks the support of the National Party for increasing the maximum penalty from 5 to 10 years for participation in an organised criminal group. That will also make it possible for the police to get the interception warrants they need for investigations under section 98. The Government is also asking for National’s support relating to aggravating and mitigating factors like gang membership being taken into account in sentencing. If the National Party is going to be more than just talk, I look to its response today to the Minister of Justice confirming its support for that bill.

/NR/rdonlyres/A3E66927-D3BF-4DBA-9F9E-B4919F1651B6/85393/48HansQ_20080618_00000098_.pdfFull transcript of Questions for Oral Answer for Wednesday, 18 June 2008 [PDF 226k]

3. Gangs—Police Progress

[Uncorrected transcript—subject to correction and further editing.]

3. RON MARK (NZ First) to the Minister of Police: Does she believe that police are winning the battle against criminal gangs; if so, why?

Hon ANNETTE KING (Minister of Police) : I am advised that the police are taking ongoing and consistent action with criminal gangs. There have been some recent significant achievements, but there is certainly no room for complacency.

Ron Mark: Has she read the report in this morning’s Dominion Post entitled “Gang wrecks Treaty vote”, and does she find it acceptable that gang intimidation has spread from the streets of our towns and cities to our marae, with gangs now intimidating tribal members into voting against Treaty settlements?

Hon ANNETTE KING: I do not find it acceptable to have gang influence in any part of our lives when gangs are involved in criminal activity—whether it is on a marae, on the street, or in the home. I do not believe that many New Zealanders would find it acceptable.

Chester Borrows: If the Minister has her head around the gang situation in New Zealand, why can she not tell us how many gang fortifications the police have removed in the past few years, or is it the truth that the police have not removed any, and that is why they have removed that reference from their statement of intent?

Hon ANNETTE KING: I do not have those figures with me, but I certainly have my head around crime and gangs in New Zealand, and it is not a lot of hot air, which we often hear, and which we have just heard from the Leader of the Opposition. He is all crocodile tears but no action, and we look forward to seeing him putting his vote where his mouth is.

Ron Mark: Is the Minister concerned about recent reports on Radio New Zealand National that claim large-scale infiltration of gang influence in most Government departments, from Immigration New Zealand down to the Ministry of Social Development; and will investigations into Government agencies be part of the Minister’s organised crime strategy?

Hon ANNETTE KING: The New Zealand Police and the organised crime unit will investigate criminal activity and gang activity wherever it happens, but I have no evidence that the gangs have infiltrated all departments, or many departments, in New Zealand. But I can assure the member that the police will investigate, and have the ability to investigate, gangs wherever they are.

Ron Mark: Is the Minister concerned that a UK-produced TV documentary showcasing the disgusting criminal behaviour of New Zealand gangs is being shown throughout the world but not in New Zealand, whose treasured international reputation as a safe and free society is being tarnished by the actions of these lawless thugs?

Hon ANNETTE KING: I can have no control over where a company that makes a documentary shows that documentary. What I can say to the member is that we should be congratulating the New Zealand Police and celebrating the work it is doing with gangs in New Zealand. I will give just one example—the “Killer Bees” operation in South Auckland. As the member knows, after a 6-month investigation the police had made almost 60 arrests of those gang members, and they have taken them off to court for the punishment they will receive. So I say to the member that we should look at the good things the police are doing. A documentary made by some company that is shown overseas does not portray New Zealand as it is.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Is the Minister confident that the police have the resources and the capacity to get on top of the use and spread of the drug P, which has become the significant province of Chinese triads working alongside Māori gangs in Auckland in particular?

Hon ANNETTE KING: That is a very good question in that one of the problems the police face is the international nature of the precursors for making the drug P. Having good international contacts and relationships is part of stemming the tide of those precursors. As the member will probably know, we already have police officers in countries like China working alongside their agencies in an effort to reduce the flow of those precursors for this dreadful drug. I also say to the member that the police have put a lot of emphasis on catching those who distribute and manufacture P. He will notice that in 1999 around nine clan-labs were busted by the police. If the member looks at the situation today, he will find that that figure is now 200, so a lot of effort and work has gone in.

Gordon Copeland: Is the Minister aware that the police believe they would have another tool against P labs if property managers were registered; and having missed the opportunity presented by the Real Estate Agents Bill, is that an issue the Government will address?

Hon ANNETTE KING: I think that that is a little wide of the topic. I think the member might want to direct that question to the Minister who has charge of that bill.

Gordon Copeland: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. That question was addressed to the Minister of Police, and it began with “Is she aware that the police are asking for this to be done?”. It does fall within her ministerial responsibility, surely.

Hon ANNETTE KING: The police have never raised that issue with me as Minister of Police. I do not know whether they have raised the issue with the select committee, but they certainly have not raised it with me. If they did I would obviously look at it, but it has not been raised with me by the police.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: When the Minister referred to gang fortresses, what was she talking about, given that in 1990 a former Minister of Police promised to bulldoze them down the day after the election—that, of course, was John Banks in the National Party?

Hon ANNETTE KING: The person who mentioned fortification was actually the National Opposition spokesperson on police. I think he was trying to make some sort of political point, but I think the member has put it into perspective.

John Key: I seek to table, from the Statistics New Zealand website, the police statistics showing that for youth crime among 14 to 16-year-olds, the apprehensions from 1999 to 2007, despite what the Prime Minister has been saying—

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

/NR/rdonlyres/D2304702-41B8-412A-926D-41D923BFB16E/85395/48HansQ_20080618_00000185_.pdfFull transcript of Questions for Oral Answer for Wednesday, 18 June 2008 [PDF 226k]

4. Election Spending—We’re making a difference for everyone

[Uncorrected transcript—subject to correction and further editing.]

4. Hon BILL ENGLISH (Deputy Leader—National) to the Minister of Justice: Does she stand by her statement, in relation to the We’re making a difference for everyone pamphlet that “The secretary of the Labour Party has decided that this particular booklet … will be apportioned against Labour party expenses.”; if so, why?

Hon ANNETTE KING (Minister of Justice) : Yes.

Hon Bill English: Why did the Minister make that statement in the House, when in fact the secretary of the Labour Party had written to the Electoral Commission only 2 days earlier to deny that the pamphlet was even an election advertisement, let alone that it would count as a Labour Party expense?

Hon ANNETTE KING: I am not responsible for what the secretary of the Labour Party says, but I repeated in this House the comments he had made.

Hon Bill English: Can the Minister tell us who was right, then: was it she, when she stood up in this House and said that, OK, fair cop, the Labour Party will count the booklet as a Labour Party election expense, or was it the Labour Party’s financial agent, who wrote to the Electoral Commission to say that Labour had done nothing wrong, and, in fact, to demand that a correction be made on the commission’s website?

Hon ANNETTE KING: The premise of the question is wrong. It was not me who said it.

Hon Bill English: Is the Minister aware that this situation does seem oddly familiar, given that before the last election the Labour Party secretary—the same one—said he would count the cost of the pledge card as an election expense, but then, once the election was over, he told the Electoral Commission that it would not be counted as an election expense?

Hon ANNETTE KING: What is vaguely familiar is the whining and whingeing from the National Party because it cannot spend the millions of dollars that it had planned to spend on its election campaign, right up to 3 months before the election, pretending that it did not count as election advertising. Its billboards would have been right around New Zealand. National is not able to do that. What we get now is its whingeing and snivelling about it.

Hon Bill English: How can the House believe anything this Minister says about the Labour Government’s attitude to the Electoral Finance Act, when the House is being told one thing in public, but behind closed doors the Labour Party’s agents are doing exactly the opposite?

Hon ANNETTE KING: I have no responsibility in this Parliament for the Labour Party.

Hon Bill English: If the Minister has no responsibility in this Parliament for the Labour Party, why did she get up and say that the particular booklet in question will be apportioned against Labour Party expenses—on what basis did she say that?

Hon ANNETTE KING: In response to a question.

Hon Dr Michael Cullen: Has the Minister read the pamphlet We’re making a difference for everyone; if so, can she confirm that it highlights the fact that the Government is increasing spending on health and education, cutting taxes, boosting New Zealand superannuation, and increasing Working for Families payments, and can she also confirm that it can be interpreted as an election platform for Labour only if it is assumed that National will cut those precise elements of spending?

Hon ANNETTE KING: Yes, I have read the pamphlet, and I absolutely concur with the Minister of Finance’s assessment.

Hon Bill English: Can the Minister confirm that her statements about whether something will be counted as a Labour Party expense are just as credible as the statement she made that “The public of New Zealand can be assured that the Labour Party … will abide by the Electoral Finance Act.”; and is she aware of the evidence to the opposite: that Labour shows the least understanding of the Electoral Finance Act, that it is the first party to be found to have breached the Act, that it has not correctly authorised a number of publications, and that now she is saying one thing in public about its compliance, while the Labour Party is saying the total opposite behind closed doors?

Hon ANNETTE KING: I do not agree with a single comment the member has just made.

/NR/rdonlyres/240FD830-A5A8-45EF-A34B-60CAD129CA02/85397/48HansQ_20080618_00000268_.pdfFull transcript of Questions for Oral Answer for Wednesday, 18 June 2008 [PDF 226k]

5. Volunteers—Contribution

[Uncorrected transcript—subject to correction and further editing.]

5. RUSSELL FAIRBROTHER (Labour) to the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector: What reports has she received on the contribution to New Zealand made by volunteers?

Hon RUTH DYSON (Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector) : This week is Volunteer Awareness Week, a time to acknowledge the vital contribution made by volunteers towards the well-being of fellow New Zealanders. A report published yesterday estimated that 1.2 million people volunteered in the previous 12 months. That is around a third of all New Zealanders over the age of 10. Almost 80 percent of those people who volunteered also donated money or goods. I would like to commend all those New Zealanders for their dedication and their generosity.

Russell Fairbrother: What progress has been made in the implementing of the Government’s volunteering policy?

Hon RUTH DYSON: Since we launched our volunteering policy in 2002 we have seen the profile of volunteering within Government grow and produce positive results. That includes announcing changes that will make volunteer expense reimbursements tax exempt, with no limits; $6.5 million over 4 years to assist sport and recreational organisations with recruitment, training, and retaining volunteers; and information resources to encourage good volunteer management. I seek the leave of the House to table Government Support for Volunteering 2002-2008.

 Leave granted.

/NR/rdonlyres/35434315-F973-4512-B58D-67C5D498C002/85399/48HansQ_20080618_00000345_.pdfFull transcript of Questions for Oral Answer for Wednesday, 18 June 2008 [PDF 226k]

6. Climate Change (Emissions Trading and Renewable Preference) Bill—Changes

[Uncorrected transcript—subject to correction and further editing.]

6. Hon Dr NICK SMITH (National—Nelson) to the Minister responsible for Climate Change Issues: What changes, if any, are being considered to the Climate Change (Emissions Trading and Renewable Preference) Bill to gain the support of other parties in the Parliament?

Hon DAVID PARKER (Minister responsible for Climate Change Issues) : The bill has been reported back to the House in very good shape, and talks with other parties are continuing.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Why did the Minister tell Parliament yesterday that the Government was discussing the emissions trading scheme’s effect on households with support parties, when the Minister of Revenue, Peter Dunne, subsequently said in a press release: “As a confidence and supply partner of Labour, UnitedFuture is disappointed the Government has failed to talk to us about this important issue”?

Hon DAVID PARKER: Because, as I said yesterday, we are having conversations with support parties on these very issues.

Hon Peter Dunne: Will the Minister confirm that I raised on 11 December 2007 the issue of compensation to households for the impact of the emissions trading regime, and that since that date neither his office nor his representatives have initiated discussions with United Future on that point?

Hon DAVID PARKER: Regarding the issue as to compensation and efficiency, I would say that good ideas like that have many parents.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Did the Minister, or did he not, have discussions with United Future about affordability issues for households, as he told Parliament yesterday?

Hon DAVID PARKER: I did not specifically mention Mr Dunne yesterday. In respect of the issues that need to be addressed in the House, I say the list is far shorter than it would have otherwise been, because support parties have achieved much of what they wanted to achieve in the legislation. For example, coal-seam methane is now included because of the Greens, and the prospect of offset planting being allowed in respect of deforestation is in there, which was very important for New Zealand First.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Does the Minister agree with the Green Party’s minority report that the bill as reported back from the select committee has “major flaws”; if so, is he prepared to make the considerable changes to the bill advocated in the Green Party’s minority report?

Hon DAVID PARKER: I do not agree with everything the Greens say in respect of the bill, and I do not think they realistically expect I would. I think in terms of positioning it is true that whatever we do, the Greens will say it is not enough. None the less, I believe that the bill is in good shape and the fundamentals of it are sound.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Has the Minister read the report from the select committee, and in particular the minority report from the National Party; and does he have any idea now what those proposals might be in respect of an emissions trading scheme that the National Party says it supports—does he have any idea now what the policy contains as an alternative?

Hon DAVID PARKER: My opinion is the same as that of a business commentator I heard on the radio yesterday, who said that, in respect of the six so-called principles that National had previously articulated, four of them are actually dealt with in the report back and the other two did not seem insurmountable, other than the call for delay. That seems to be the only policy that National has here—one of delay. There is no principle behind it.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Does the Minister agree with the Māori Party that the bill is “fundamentally flawed”, “delivers little for the environment”, “rips off taxpayers”, and will “[hit] poor families hardest”?

Hon DAVID PARKER: I am aware that some parties think we have the balance wrong in terms of sharing the burden of costs between taxpayer and emitters, and although I disagree with their conclusion I can see why they could argue that proposition. I remain, though, absolutely clear that in terms of the efficacy of the scheme, the fundamentals are right. It includes all sectors and all gases, and creates a marginal price signal that encourages a reduction in emissions.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: How can the Minister expect New Zealand First to support this legislation, when the party stated in its 2005 policy “We should not be proceeding faster than our”—

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. The Minister has no responsibility for the enlightened policies of New Zealand First—that is the first thing. Second, the Minister has no responsibility to answer a question that is being put by Nick Smith as to New Zealand First’s policy. That is outside the Standing Orders.

Gerry Brownlee: Dr Smith was very cautious about the way in which he asked his question. He has actually taken his lead in formulating this question from your response to Winston Peters’ points of order yesterday about these very issues. He was simply asking the Minister responsible for a bill how he is going to surmount some of the clearly stated and publicly proposed positions from New Zealand First in order to get support for this bill.

Madam SPEAKER: Yes, it is quite clear that Ministers are not responsible for parties’ policies; that is quite clear in the House. In terms of the way in which the question is framed, I am sure the Minister will ensure that his answer is within ministerial responsibility. I call the Hon David Parker.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. I was interrupted by Winston Peters in the middle of my question.

Madam SPEAKER: I am sorry. Your question was going on? I thought you had completed it. Please continue. [Interruption]

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I am sure the House will enjoy it. How can the Minister expect New Zealand First to support this legislation when that party’s policy in 2005 stated: “We should not be proceeding faster than our major trading partners.” and “This Government keeps rushing on Kyoto when caution is called for.”, and when the key plank of its environment policy was “an extra 10 million trees per year will be planted”, yet the bill’s forestry provisions have contributed to the loss of 10 million trees over the past 3 years and the bill creates perverse incentives to get rid of and clear young trees?

Hon DAVID PARKER: I would not purport to reply for other parties, but I would observe that things have moved on in the last 3 years, including an emissions trading scheme being in place throughout the whole of Europe and also Scandinavia, an emissions trading scheme being proposed in Australia, an emissions trading scheme being proposed in various states in the United States including California, and the United States’ agreement to a comparable effort with that of other developed countries under a UN instrument after 2012. In respect of the forestry point, perhaps the parties that are making these assessments are aware of the Government’s ambition to increase forestry by 250,000 hectares by 2020.

/NR/rdonlyres/A91E16EB-E18F-4DDE-9B5C-53A289345BC2/85401/48HansQ_20080618_00000373_.pdfFull transcript of Questions for Oral Answer for Wednesday, 18 June 2008 [PDF 226k]

7. Agriculture Industry—Memorandum of Understanding

[Uncorrected transcript—subject to correction and further editing.]

7. JEANETTE FITZSIMONS (Co-Leader—Green) to the Minister of Agriculture: Was the 2003 memorandum of understanding between the Crown and the agriculture industry, which the Government has stated prevents it from bringing agriculture into the emissions trading scheme until 2013, formally reviewed in June last year as required by clause 12.2; if not, when will it be reviewed?

Hon JIM ANDERTON (Minister of Agriculture) : In May of last year I instructed my Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry officials to canvass a range of future options available for renewing the memorandum of understanding with the agricultural sector. However, I have asked that these discussions are set within the wider framework of the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change Plan of Action. The consortium partners have reaffirmed their commitment to further research and have received matched funding through the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology to support a $25 million research programme through to 2012. It has been agreed with industry that it is appropriate that the formal review of the memorandum of understanding will be completed once the Climate Change (Emissions Trading and Renewable Preference) Bill has been considered by Parliament and it is clear what the wider regulatory framework will be within which any future agreement will operate.

Jeanette Fitzsimons: When the agriculture sector last year reported a change to the memorandum of understanding target from a 20 percent reduction to just 10 percent, was that change agreed in writing by all parties as required under clause 12.3 or is it that the consortium sets its own targets, as his spokesperson told the media last week?

Hon JIM ANDERTON: The 2003 agreement with the pastoral industry, that the Government would not impose a price measure on the sector before 2013 if an agreed investment programme on greenhouse gas research was carried out, was never conditional on any level of emissions reduction being achieved. The 20 percent target was originally nominated by the agricultural sector itself as an aspirational and ambitious target in the contextual and background section of the memorandum of understanding. The 20 percent was always something to aim for, not a binding condition of the agreement, and the memorandum of understanding makes that clear. The recent revision of the industry’s target has been largely driven by the fact that the Australian vaccine for reducing methane gas emissions, which was looking promising, has created animal welfare issues and, therefore, the scientists have gone back to the drawing board. This is a complex and complicated area and the agricultural sector is participating and cooperating in trying to solve it.

Jeanette Fitzsimons: Can the Minister confirm that, as with the target, the memorandum of understanding does not actually contain a clause agreeing to exempt agriculture from the emissions trading scheme prior to 2013, as the Government has claimed in official reports, but that that was a political decision that is no longer based on evidence, and that even the National Party now accepts that some agricultural emissions should be in the emissions trading scheme earlier?

Hon JIM ANDERTON: I have to remind the member that the agricultural sector is not getting let off lightly under this regime, because the clock is ticking. The agricultural sector is actually required to meet obligations in excess of 90 percent of the 2005 emissions, so it is in its interests that action is taken before 2013. The Government is working with the agricultural sector to see what can be done in that regard, and I have to say that not only is it putting its money where its mouth is but it is being cooperative in working through solutions.

Jeanette Fitzsimons: Does he agree that article 1.2 of the memorandum of understanding, which states “there are currently no proven, practical and cost-effective farm practices and technologies to reduce agricultural emissions”, is no longer accurate, given advances in nitrogen inhibitors, stand-off pads, herd homes, better soil management, reduced fertiliser use, natural soil conditioners, high-sugar grasses, and bio-digesters for stock effluent—some of which have other benefits as well, including cleaner waterways and lower costs for farmers?

Hon JIM ANDERTON: Yes, there are mitigating technologies that the industry is aware of, as is the Government, and these issues are being worked through. But I have to remind the member that the agricultural sector is a major user of liquid fuels on farms, it is a major user of energy on farms, and it will be exposed to all of those extra costs as well as the 90-plus percent of the 2005 benchmark emissions that it will have to meet by 2013, and it will be in its interests to do so sooner rather than later.

Jeanette Fitzsimons: Does the Minister agree with his colleague the Minister responsible for Climate Change Issues that the agricultural sector is not on target to meet its part of the deal under that agreement, which I think referred to the targets; if so, can the Minister give any reason whatsoever not to terminate the agreement under article 12.5 and require the agricultural sector to meet some obligation for at least its readily reducible nitrous oxide emissions earlier than 2013, given that such a price signal will continue to drive research into emissions reduction anyway?

Hon JIM ANDERTON: As I have said, the industry is being cooperative, and meetings are being held as we speak with the agricultural ministry on steps that can be taken. But I think everyone who knows anything about this issue, including my colleague the Minister for Climate Change Issues, recognises that these are complex areas. I have to remind the member who is asking the question that at the same time as she is seeking to impose extra costs on the agricultural sector, she herself and other members of her party are talking about reducing food costs for the rest of the world as well as for New Zealand, and I find that somewhat ironic.

Hon David Carter: What does the Minister think he will achieve with an emissions trading scheme that crudely imposes average costs on farmers, regardless of individual farm management practices, and that will potentially see production moving offshore to less carbon-efficient farming systems?

Hon JIM ANDERTON: Under the proposals being put forward, the area of responsibility for emissions is up for discussion and negotiation with the industry—that is the reality of it. The only thing that I find crude is the lack of responsibility of the National Party to front up and support a proper emissions trading scheme, and its failure to give support to the responsible members of this House who are prepared to do that. I lay a guarantee that after we have taken the hard decisions, the National Party—at any time in the future—will not change one single thing, and that will actually make it harder, rather than lighter, on the agriculture sector.

Hon David Parker: Further to the previous question, can the Minister confirm that the legislation has been amended at select committee to enable individual farmers who think they can do better than average to opt in, in order to encourage emission reductions?

Hon JIM ANDERTON: Yes, I am aware of that. I have been aware all along that it has been the intention for these matters to be negotiable with the industry as we go forward. I think the National Party has spent more time grandstanding on this issue rather than on trying to understand it.

/NR/rdonlyres/06DFE007-383D-4008-B71C-08BC403046E9/85403/48HansQ_20080618_00000459_.pdfFull transcript of Questions for Oral Answer for Wednesday, 18 June 2008 [PDF 226k]

8. Electricity—Carbon Dioxide Emissions

[Uncorrected transcript—subject to correction and further editing.]

8. GERRY BROWNLEE (National—Ilam) to the Minister of Energy: Does he stand by his reported statement in the Press on 11 June 2008 that “CO2 emissions from the electricity sector had fallen since about 2000.”?

Hon DAVID PARKER (Minister of Energy) : Data released just yesterday shows that the Government has New Zealand’s greenhouse emissions from electricity production going down. As I have often said, we need to build 175 megawatts of additional renewable generation each year to achieve our 90 percent target by 2025. This year we are completing 300 megawatts, with another 130 megawatts under construction. Of course, this year’s drought will produce a blip in emissions, as I have said previously.

Gerry Brownlee: Why does the Minister of Energy continue to stand by his statement when figures produced by his own ministry show that emissions from electricity generation have risen from 4,900 kilotonnes of carbon in the year 2000, to 6,600 kilotonnes in 2007, which is a 34 percent increase; and why is he saying that the Ministry of Economic Development has got it wrong?

Hon DAVID PARKER: In fact, the highest figure for emissions was actually in 2005, when it was 8,415 kilotonnes. The reality is that emissions are tracking sustainably down. I quote from the New Zealand Energy Quarterly, which was released yesterday for the March quarter; it shows emissions dropping from 2.3 million tonnes in the quarter to June 2006, to 1.8 million tonnes in the quarter to March 2008—that is total figures. Per unit of electricity generation, it dropped from 0.22 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide per gigawatt hour to 0.18 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide per gigawatt hour.

Su’a William Sio: How will the Labour-led Government’s target of reaching 90 percent renewable energy be achieved?

Hon DAVID PARKER: This target will be achieved through the incentives for renewable energy put in place by the emissions trading scheme, which National opposes, and by the 10-year restriction on thermal baseload generation, which National also opposes. I understand that National believes that a 90 percent renewable target is desirable; the problem is that it does not support the measures needed to achieve that.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Has the Minister ever spoken to Simon Upton on this matter, or to anybody who was in the National Party at the time it signed up to the Kyoto Protocol; and does he have any idea what National had in its mind when it signed up?

Dr the Hon Lockwood Smith: We didn’t ratify it!

Hon DAVID PARKER: I just heard Dr Lockwood Smith say that they did not ratify it. I thought there was National Party support for the Government’s having ratified it. I thought that was clear policy, but if that is to be relitigated, National members are showing their true colours. The reality is that it was the National Government that signed the Kyoto Protocol. It was right to do so. We were right to ratify it, as were other developed countries. It is the best hope the world has of reducing emissions currently. The member makes a very good point, because the reality is that now that it is settled across Parliament that we should be in Kyoto, what we as a Parliament are doing is trying to reduce emissions at the lowest possible cost. The cost does not arise from the emissions trading scheme, it arises from the obligation to reduce emissions.

Gerry Brownlee: Can he confirm the Ministry of Economic Development figures that carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation in 2000 were 4,900 kilotonnes and in 2007 were 6,600 kilotonnes—an increase of 34 percent; and is he now asking the House to accept his argument that the increases are starting to decrease?

Hon DAVID PARKER: Yes, I can confirm that—

Hon Members: Aw!

Hon DAVID PARKER: Well, I have not hidden it. In my answer to the primary question I said they were even higher in 2005, when it was 8.4 million tonnes or 8,415 kilotonnes. Since then they have been on a sustainable downward path, although we will have a blip this year because of the drought but that should not be a surprise to Mr Brownlee. The key to getting them down sustainably even further is by building more renewables. That is why the Government has a 90 percent renewable target and that is why we are building renewables.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Has the Minister had a conversation with Dr Nick Smith who, as a former Minister for the Environment, spent his time going around the country shutting everything down—

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Rubbish!

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Yes, he did; and Rawhiti 2B is a good example but he was stopped in his tracks that day, was he not; and he spent all his time as a Minister shutting everything down and arguing environmentalism, and now all of a sudden has changed his mind; and has the Minister spoken to him about that?

Hon DAVID PARKER: What I can confirm is that the only National Party policy in respect of electricity seems to be this call to reform the Resource Management Act. That Act, which was passed by the National Government, has not been an impediment to the renewables that we are building. We are completing 300 megawatts this year. That was all consented to under the Resource Management Act. We have another 130 megawatts under construction. That was consented to under the Act; in fact, I do not even think that one was notified. In addition, we have increased transmission expenditure to over $300 million per annum, climbing to $500 million, and all of that has been consented to under the Act. So the Resource Management Act is just being used as an excuse.

Gerry Brownlee: Does the Minister agree that the Government’s claims about sustainability and carbon neutrality are just spin, in the face of its record—given that 75 percent of all new electricity generation commissioned since 2000 has been 75 percent thermal?

Hon DAVID PARKER: No, I do not think the Government can be accused of being all spin on these issues. It is true the United Nations chose to focus on New Zealand, because it does see us as a source of hope in the world on these issues, rather than a source of despair—

Hon Members: Ha, ha!

Hon DAVID PARKER: They may laugh, but we have our electricity emissions under control, we have our transport emissions projected to be stable, and we will get a decline in them. That is a significant achievement, given increases in GDP and population. Of course, we have deforestation emissions under control through, and only because of, the emissions trading scheme.

Gerry Brownlee: Why does the Minister continue to claim that the Resource Management Act is not a problem for those wanting to build renewable generation, when his own Government’s record is that 75 percent of new generation built in the last 8 years has been thermal and that the 500-odd megawatts of new renewables he talks about, which is just a faceplate measurement, will be less than 40 percent efficient?

Hon DAVID PARKER: As to the last point, again the member is just wrong. Geothermal has the highest load factor of all, and that is our major contribution to new generation: both this year, and the 130 megawatts I mentioned we have already started for next year, is all geothermal. That operates at close to 100 percent operating factors. In terms of the Resource Management Act, I note that all of the generation, as I previously said, that is being built has been consented under the Resource Management Act. Further, the only one I am aware of that was turned down was Dobson, and that was not turned down under the Resource Management Act. It was turned down under the Conservation Act and has been replaced by the Arnold River scheme, which has lower environmental impact and it looks very likely that that will be consented under the Resource Management Act, albeit note that I am not trying to put pressure on the decision maker.

Gerry Brownlee: Can the Minister confirm that it took 6 years to re-consent the Waitaki scheme, and it took 7 years to re-consent Contact Energy’s Wairakei geothermal scheme, and if those two points can be confirmed, does he still want to say that the Resource Management Act is not a problem?

Hon DAVID PARKER: What I can confirm is that I am actually a lawyer and I used to do quite a bit of Resource Management Act work. If I were the client, I would be concerned if it took 6 or 7 years and it was adverse to my interests. But, of course, the reason why we do not hear great complaints about it is, as the member ought to know, when we are re-consenting a Resource Management Act consent, during the period of that process the consent continues.

/NR/rdonlyres/5DD25B78-688D-4F00-ACEE-2A1C1FB7243C/85405/48HansQ_20080618_00000528_.pdfFull transcript of Questions for Oral Answer for Wednesday, 18 June 2008 [PDF 226k]

9. Kaikōura Ranges—Protection

[Uncorrected transcript—subject to correction and further editing.]

9. MOANA MACKEY (Labour) to the Minister of Conservation: What new measures have been taken to improve the protection of the Kaikōura Ranges?

Hon STEVE CHADWICK (Minister of Conservation) : Recently I had the pleasure of opening the breathtaking Ka Whata Tu o Rakihouia Conservation Park in the Kaikōura Ranges. The park covers 88,000 hectares and has the wide support of iwi, the community, and interest groups. This park forms part of the Labour Government’s plan for the future, which aims to protect New Zealand’s unique biodiversity, while increasing public opportunities for getting out and enjoying our heritage.

Moana Mackey: What are the biodiversity gains associated with this park?

Hon STEVE CHADWICK: The natural treasures protected in the park include the rare Hutton’s shearwater, the New Zealand falcon, the black-eyed gecko, and plants that occur only in the South Marlborough region, including rock daisies and various broom species. This is now one of the very few places in New Zealand where ecosystems are protected, from the mountain tops to the sea.

/NR/rdonlyres/AEC1584A-816F-44AC-AAF7-B962B52CC9EA/85407/48HansQ_20080618_00000637_.pdfFull transcript of Questions for Oral Answer for Wednesday, 18 June 2008 [PDF 226k]

10. Immigration Service—Policy Compliance

[Uncorrected transcript—subject to correction and further editing.]

10. Dr the Hon LOCKWOOD SMITH (National—Rodney) to the Minister of Immigration: Has he read the letter tabled in the House yesterday from an unnamed immigration officer, which states that “New Zealand’s immigration policies are just being flouted to the detriment of the integrity, security and fabric of New Zealand.”; if so, what other evidence has he seen that immigration policy is not being followed?

Hon CLAYTON COSGROVE (Minister of Immigration) : Yes, I have read the anonymous letter tabled in the House yesterday, which is not evidence, as the member characterises it; rather, it is a series of anonymous allegations that are being looked into seriously. As the member knows, I also saw the Oughton report after it was released publicly, and it raised wider issues. That is why, after I saw it, I went to the Minister of State Services and asked for the State Services Commission to widen its inquiries.

Dr the Hon Lockwood Smith: How much evidence do we need of serious problems within the Immigration Service, when an unnamed immigration officer has made such damning claims, the Public Service Association is aware of at least two other immigration officers who have said the same thing, and a former senior official in the Manukau office has gone on record about pressure from senior management to process claims contrary to policy?

Hon CLAYTON COSGROVE: That is as it should be, and it is being addressed through a State Services Commission inquiry, through an Auditor-General’s inquiry, through a review of the Pacific branch, and through a police inquiry.

Dr the Hon Lockwood Smith: Can the Minister confirm the claim made by a current immigration officer that managers send threatening emails to staff, pressuring them to cut corners in order to meet higher work targets, and can the Minister assure the House that his department will conduct an immediate, thorough search of emails to investigate that allegation?

Hon CLAYTON COSGROVE: No, I cannot confirm that. I note that yesterday, when Dr Smith tabled the letter in the House—and I have read the letter—he referred to the immigration officer as “he”, which leads me to believe that perhaps Dr Smith has other information that he could provide to the Auditor-General, to the police inquiry, and to the State Services Commission, and I invite him to do so. If he has other information in respect of emails or other sources, I invite him to actually do the appropriate thing, the honourable thing, and his duty as a member of Parliament, and provide those to the relevant authorities.

Dr the Hon Lockwood Smith: How can the public have confidence in the Immigration Service, when an immigration officer claims that “numerous applicants who have presented blatantly false information or applicants from high risk countries … have all been issued with permits. These are people who should have been investigated, declined and removed from New Zealand.”; and given that those actions cannot be taken by the Auditor-General, what is the Minister going to do about it?

Hon CLAYTON COSGROVE: I make two points to the member. I am advised that approximately 7 percent, at least, of temporary permits are declined each year, and that is in contradiction to the anonymous claims that he promotes. And I take issue with his point in respect of the Auditor-General. My advice is that the Auditor-General can make any inquiries he so wishes—unfettered. It is normally appropriate to have an inquiry to establish the veracity of claims before one takes action—one does that once the veracity or otherwise of claims is established. That might be something that Dr Smith and the blunderbuss sitting beside him would like to reflect on.

Dr the Hon Lockwood Smith: Why is the Immigration Service processing some applications for temporary work permits and for permanent residence in New Zealand without asking the applicants for any supporting evidence whatsoever to prove who they are, their qualifications, and whether they have a job offer, or even to show that they come from the country they claim to come from?

Hon CLAYTON COSGROVE: That is not the advice I have. If the member has such advice and such information, he should refer it to the appropriate authorities.

Dr the Hon Lockwood Smith: Madam Speaker, I am going to seek leave to table a document. I wish to point out, if you would allow me, that the original of this document included a handwritten note. In the document that I am going to seek leave to table, that note has been replaced by those words being retyped, in order to protect the identity of the person—the immigration official—who wrote them. I seek leave to table a computer printout from the Immigration Service application management system computer record that confirms the approval of a work permit for someone for whom no supporting evidence at all was provided, and, in fact, a residence application—

 Leave granted.

/NR/rdonlyres/C3DF8227-6BB3-42B6-9B85-7F39EDAA5020/85409/48HansQ_20080618_00000665_.pdfFull transcript of Questions for Oral Answer for Wednesday, 18 June 2008 [PDF 226k]

11. Treaty Settlements—Ratchet Clauses

[Uncorrected transcript—subject to correction and further editing.]

11. Dr PITA SHARPLES (Co-Leader—Māori Party) to the Minister in charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations: What are the implications for Ngāi Tahu and Tainui of their ratchet clause relativity mechanism being expressed in 1994 dollar terms?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN (Minister in charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations) : The expression of the clause in 1994 dollar terms provides the basis for establishing the level of Crown expenditure on the settlement of historical Treaty claims at which the relativity clauses will be triggered. It means that adding up the nominal or current dollar figures of new settlements until they reach $1 billion cannot be used to calculate when the mechanism is triggered.

Dr Pita Sharples: So what would the $700 million allocated towards Treaty settlements to date be converted to when expressed in the 1994 dollar terms?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: I do not have that number in front of me. One would, of course, have to start off with each successive settlement being deflated by the CPI to that point and then adding up the total to arrive at the 1994 dollar terms.

Dr Pita Sharples: Was the process of converting settlements back to the 1994 dollar terms explained to iwi when negotiating settlements; if not, why not?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: The settlements with both Ngāi Tahu and Waikato-Tainui are absolutely explicit in that fashion. I do not believe that any group that subsequently engaged in negotiation with the Crown under either the previous or the current Government would have been unaware of those clauses. They were completely within the public arena, and the attempt now by some to be arguing that all historic settlements already achieved should now be reopened rests upon no basis in fact, at all.

Dr Pita Sharples: Was the process explained to all other iwi since the Tainui and Ngāi Tahu claims?

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: I do not believe the people who have been negotiating on behalf of iwi, who often include quite highly paid lawyers, have been ignorant of the basis of Treaty settlements since the mid-1990s and the inclusion of the ratchet clause. Indeed, there are still people who believe there is a thing called a billion-dollar fiscal cap, which was actually abolished in the mid-1990s. The billion dollar figure is now only relevant as the point at which, in 1994 dollars, the ratchet clauses with Tainui and with Ngāi Tahu are triggered. That can be expected to occur probably within the next 2 or 3 years given the current pace of settlements.

Dr Pita Sharples: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. I am aware that what Dr Cullen said was quite correct, but my last question was really referring to the settlements relating back to the 1994 dollar terms. I asked whether the other iwi knew about that, and that question was not answered.

Madam SPEAKER: I thought it was addressed, but the Minister may like to go over it again.

Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: My view, very strongly, would be that if any iwi, for some extraordinary reason, were not aware, their complaint would be with the lawyers who represented them, and I suggest they approach the Law Society on that behalf and lay complaints.

/NR/rdonlyres/D20168C1-99FF-4437-A9C1-8674031A99A3/85411/48HansQ_20080618_00000718_.pdfFull transcript of Questions for Oral Answer for Wednesday, 18 June 2008 [PDF 226k]

12. Early Childhood Education Regulations—Release

[Uncorrected transcript—subject to correction and further editing.]

12. PAULA BENNETT (National) to the Minister of Education: When will the new regulations making up the early childhood education regulatory system be released?

Hon CHRIS CARTER (Minister of Education) : It is my intention to announce the new criteria for all early childhood education services, including limited attendance services, in July, and for the criteria to come into force in December this year.

Paula Bennett: Why is the Minister setting rules for gym creches, or “limited attendance centres” as he calls them, that mean that mothers can put their children in them only for up to 2 hours a day and 6 hours a week, which will effectively limit the amount of exercise that a mum can do?

Hon CHRIS CARTER: I am putting those rules in place, and the Government is putting those rules in place, because we want kids to be safe. The member surely must know that any young child who is being supervised by an adult needs to be in a safe situation, especially where heavy equipment is nearby and where water is nearby, in the case of a pool. Does the member not believe in the safety of children?

Paula Bennett: But why is it 6 hours a week, when by the time a parent gets to the centre, drops his or her child off, gets changed, does an hour’s exercise, has a shower, and gets changed again, that is effectively about 2 hours; why is the Minister saying that parents can go only three times a week and making unnecessary red tape for parents, who know what is best for their children?

Hon CHRIS CARTER: I do not know how familiar—

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. I could not hear the end of that question. I think the member referred to being last in the gym, and I wanted to hear that intensely, but I did not hear it because there was too much noise going on in the back here.

Madam SPEAKER: I think most people got the sense of the question that was being asked.

Hon CHRIS CARTER: I am not sure how familiar the member is with gyms, but I am a very regular gym-goer myself, and I think that it very unusual for people to do more than 6 hours a week in the gym.

Louisa Wall: Kia ora, Madam Speaker. Tēnā koutou katoa. How many early childhood education centres in gyms and fitness facilities have met the current requirements and become licensed?

Hon CHRIS CARTER: The member Paula Bennett, who asked the original question, has made all sorts of hysterical claims in the media about early childhood education regulations, and then she accused me of trying to close down Sunday schools. Actually, 29 existing centres in gyms and creches have chosen to become fully licensed, because those centres saw it as a new opportunity. If those centres were prepared to become fully licensed, I am sure that those that will be affected by the lighter regulatory impact will have no difficulty at all in complying with it.

Hon Dr Michael Cullen: Has the Minister undertaken any surveys of how many people take 1 hour to drop their child at a creche in a gym, then take the hour to have a shower—and possibly to have a shave as well, in some people’s cases—get dressed, and pick the child up; if people are taking 1 hour to do that, what will the Minister do about increasing productivity in this country, given that appalling record, which apparently is common amongst National Party - voting parents?

Hon CHRIS CARTER: I guess the Deputy Prime Minister was trying to use humour to make a point. The bottom line is that I have put a lighter regulatory impact on centres in gyms, and on creches where children are there for a shorter time. We want children who are in a centre for a longer time to be safe, we want them to have correct facilities there, and we want them to have a learning experience. Surely every member of this House would want that.

Paula Bennett: Why over-regulate at all, when parents actually know what is best for their children and are able to make those sorts of decisions themselves, and when the Minister himself says in his criteria that parents will be able to resume responsibility for the children at short notice; why is it limited to 6 hours a week—why not 7; why not 8—and why put those sorts of limits on parents making decisions for their own children?

Hon CHRIS CARTER: As the member was outlining her question I was thinking of a report I received this week as Minister of Education about an unlicensed centre in Christchurch, not attached to a fitness centre, where children were not being supervised adequately, and where a child had to have part of a finger amputated because the children were not being supervised and kept in a safe place. That was a very practical example of a case I received in my briefing notes this week.

Paula Bennett: Does the Minister not accept that by over-regulating and making restrictive rules around gym creches they will be out-priced, so that parents will be unable to use the services and they will continue to close down, as they have done, and the effect will be that parents are unable to exercise at all?

Hon CHRIS CARTER: Actually, I am making a lighter regulatory impact on creches at fitness centres, pools, and gyms. No matter how many times the member repeats the question, she fails to grasp that it is a lighter regulatory impact but that it also ensures that children are safe.


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