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PQ 2. Prime Minister—Statements

[Sitting date: 24 July 2014. Volume:700;Page:2. Text is subject to correction.]

2. Hon DAVID PARKER (Deputy Leader—Labour) to the Prime Minister : Does he stand by all his statements?

Hon BILL ENGLISH (Deputy Prime Minister) on behalf of the Prime Minister : Yes .

Hon David Parker : Does he stand by his statement that “My style is to be open and transparent ...”; if so, why will he not be open and transparent and tell New Zealanders what Claudette Hauiti used her parliamentary charge card for and how much she spent?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : The Prime Minister is the most open and transparent Prime Minister we have ever had, which accounts for why 70 percent of New Zealanders prefer him as Prime Minister and, I think, less than 7 percent prefer the Leader of the Opposition. In respect of Ms Hauiti, she has, of course, explained her expenditure this morning in some detail.

Hon David Parker : Why will the Prime Minister not disclose to New Zealanders what his office and chief of staff must have found out after investigations into this matter, especially when the Prime Minister has said of his chief of staff: “When they talk to him, they talk to me.”?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : My understanding is that the member in question has taken up the matter with the Parliamentary Service and with the Government whip, and believes, as she has said today, that as of this morning all matters are resolved. The Prime Minister will not be aware of the details of that.

Hon David Parker : How is it open and transparent of the Prime Minister to refuse to read the police report about John Banks’ declaration of electoral donations, which allowed the Prime Minister to pretend that John Banks had done nothing wrong so that he could keep Mr Banks’ vote and prop up his Government?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : The member is wrong on his description of those events. As I think Parliament is aware, Mr Banks has faced due process. There have been consequences for him and, actually, as far as Mr Banks, the courts, and Parliament are concerned, the matter is resolved.

Hon David Parker : How is it open and transparent to reinstate Peter Dunne as a Minister without first requiring Mr Dunne to state whether or not he did leak the Kitteridge report?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : The Prime Minister has been completely open and transparent about those matters. Everyone knows Mr Dunne’s point of view about the events that he is referring to. Everyone knows what the Prime Minister has done. There is nothing secret about it. I just wish that the Labour Party would not try to keep secret how few people in its caucus support its leader.

Hon David Parker : Is he concerned that his pattern of behaviour is now so clear that newspapers today reported, in respect of this latest instance involving Claudette Hauiti, that “... Key’s promise of greater openness is looking threadbare.”?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : Absolutely not. This is the most transparent, most accessible Prime Minister New Zealand has ever had. I can recall Helen Clark, as the previous Prime Minister, fighting the Ombudsman for 2 years to prevent transcripts of the post-Cabinet press conference being released. No one could imagine John Key doing that. He is very open and very transparent. That is one reason why even close to a majority of Labour voters now prefer John Key as Prime Minister, and, of course, we know why that is.

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