PQ 1. Ministers—Confidence
[Sitting date: 29 July 2014. Volume:700;Page:1. Text is subject to correction.]
1. METIRIA TUREI (Co-Leader - Green) to the Prime Minister : Does he have confidence in all his Ministers?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes .
Metiria Turei : Does the Prime Minister agree with his Minister of Conservation that Fish and Game should be quiet and let our rivers become more polluted?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I think that the member is misrepresenting the Minister of Conservation.
Metiria Turei : Well, does the Prime Minister then back the Minister of Conservation’s threats to sue David Haynes, the president of the Federation of Freshwater Anglers, and to stifle Fish and Game from advocating for cleaner rivers; if so, why?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY : Firstly, I am not sure that the Minister ever actually said that, and, secondly, the Minister has made it quite clear that he is not pursuing a course of legal action.
Metiria Turei : How can the Prime Minister have confidence in his Minister for Economic Development when he is planning to cut real funding to science and innovation by 21 percent over the next 10 years, or does he think that smart Green innovation is not the future for New Zealand?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY : The member is quite wrong. She was wrong when she tried to say those things last week, and she is wrong this week.
Metiria Turei : Does the Prime Minister retain confidence in the Minister for Social Development when she twice claimed not to have read the most important epidemiological research on the health impacts of poverty from Otago University, showing that in New Zealand one baby a week dies from conditions associated with low income?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I have tremendous faith and confidence in the Minister for Social Development. I think when people look back on the history of this Government in many years to come, they will remark on what an incredible job she has done in terms of welfare reform, in terms of getting people into work, in terms of her caring about vulnerable children, and in terms of the work that she has done to shepherd that important issue through this Parliament. If that member could achieve about 10 percent of what the Minister for Social Development has, she would be doing well, but I do not hold out—
Mr SPEAKER : Order!
Metiria Turei : Does the Prime Minister back statements from his Minister for Social Development that she absolutely stood by her decision to deny newborn babies born into severe poverty at serious risk the same baby payment that is given to other babies, or does he think that all children in New Zealand have the right to thrive?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY : Yes, in the context she made them, which was around the in-work tax credit, which, I might point out, was actually a part of Working for Families. It was established and implemented by the previous Labour Government.
Metiria Turei : How can the Prime Minister have confidence in his Ministers when they are threatening Crown entities that stand up for the environment, meddling with scientific research, and deliberating denying support to the poorest newborn babies in New Zealand? Is that level of arrogance his idea of working for New Zealand?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY : Well, I would reject the characterisation that the member has made , but what I would say is that not only are we a group of people, on this side of the House, who are focused on the important issues—the economy, law and order, health, education, and the environment—but we are actually a group of people who agree on the direction in which we are going. Every time we see the Greens talking about what they might do with Labour, with Kim Dotcom, and with other political parties, we find complete and utter disagreement. No wonder it is a shambles—
Mr SPEAKER : Order!
Hon David Cunliffe : Does he have confidence in the Minister of Immigration given that thousands of records from the immigration contact centre have gone missing as a result of an IT “upgrade”?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY : Yes, I do have confidence in the Minister of Immigration