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SCP HOUSE: Questions Of The Day – 22 August

Today’s Questions concerned the subjects of: Superannuation – Doctors Strike – Major Events Promotion – Urewera Park Road - Tertiary Fee Increases - Youth’s Drug Treatment – Investment Ready Scheme - Merepeka Raukawa-Tait – School Closures – Relationship Property Bill – Positive Aging – Defence Purchases - Health Bill Submissions.

Questions For Oral Answer - Tuesday, 22 August 2000

The following are paraphrases of today's questions for oral answer. They are not complete or official, the official record of Parliamentary proceedings is Hansard, which is not finalised some days after the event.


Question 1

. Judy Keall (Labour) to the Minister of Finance Michael Cullen:

Q: What is the purpose of his proposed New Zealand Superannuation funding scheme?

A: The purpose is to guarantee super on current terms at current levels into the future. Recently a proposal was put forward to enable the elderly to live in dignity. That was voted down at the National Party Conference. I suggest the leader of the opposition read the 10 year fiscal strategy report in the budget. In the meantime I will assume that the National Party plans to cut entitlements.

Question 2.

Rt Hon. Jenny Shipley (National) to the Minister of Health Annette King:

Q: Is it correct that Northland Health has had its total revenue cut for this year; if so, how does she expect Northland Health to fund a settlement of its week-long junior doctors' strike and deal with other staff shortages?

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A: (Lianne Dalziel on behalf) No overall funding for Northland Health has been increased by $2.9 million. I have consistently told HHS’s that funding in the budgets would have to be used to address pay increases for staff.

Question 3.

Kevin Campbell (Alliance) to the Minister for Economic Development Jim Anderton:

Q: What progress has been made in the development of a strategy for major events under the auspices of Industry New Zealand and the Ministry of Economic Development?

A: Industry NZ will have a role for promoting major events in NZ. However it will not be able to guarantee all events go ahead. For example I understand ACT has cancelled its $90 a head ball because noone wants to go.

Q: Is there a link between events and the economy?

A: Yes. But not between the economy and ACT balls. It’s their party and they can cry if they want to. We are following the lead of many nations that consider sporting and cultural events as drivers of employment.

Q: Jeanette Fitzsimmons (Green): Is this the same as what Kevin Roberts was proposing?

A: We will not be employing Mr Kevin Roberts and Saatchi to implement this policy the member will be pleased to learn.

Question 4.

Hon. Dr Nick Smith (National) to the Minister of Conservation Sandra Lee:

Q: Did she promise Mr Tame Iti, during a private visit to the Urewera National Park over the Christmas-New Year holiday break, funding for the Maungapohatu Road and exclusive Maori camping areas within the national park before seeking advice from her department?

A: No I did not. That former Minister knows well that there are a myriad of issues surrounding the Urewera Park. I make no apologies for asking that substandard bridges be upgraded to avoid another Cave Creek.

Q: Nick Smith (National): Noting that she has said to the media that she is funding the road to avoid protests is this an invitation for people who want a state funded road to ring Tame Iti?

A: When I was there I visited several people including Mr Tame Iti. The decision for this road was made on the basis of the experience in Cave Creek where people died.

Q: What about racially segregated camping grounds?

A: The issue related to a Tangata Whenua presence on Lake Waikaremoana was an issue raised in the inquiry conducted under Nick Smith as minister. It should also be appreciated that some areas on the lake are owned by Maori., as is the lake bed And if he is referring to Noahunga sites then he should realise that those were first established by the National Party in the Ngai Tahu settlement.

Question 5.

Tim Barnett (Labour) to the Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education) Steve Maharey:

Q: What recent reports has he received on the impact of tertiary fee increases on participation in the tertiary sector?

A: I have seen a report that rising fees have led to a decline in participation by low income and minority groups under National.

Q: What trends has he seen among fees recently?

A: Under the National Government fees have increased by 180%. That’s12% a year. Mrs Shipley may try to distance her self. She can run but she cannot hide.

Q: Will he confirm that participation also grew by 88% over that period?

A: While participation went up quality went down. Bigger is not necessarily better.

Question 6.

Hon. Peter Dunne (United NZ) to the Minister of Social Services and Employment Steve Maharey:

Q: Will the Commissioner for Children be reimbursed for the about $9,000 his office spent to enable a young drug patient to receive treatment at Queen Mary Hospital, Hanmer Springs; if not, why not?

A: I have received no such request from the Commissioner for Children. : When request is made for reimbursement we will consider it. The Commissioner was advised about what he should do on several occasions with respect of this case - but did not do what he was told.

Q: Given that the mother thanked him for his support, did he know about this case and when?

A: My office was contacted about this in late June. A recommendation was made that a health assessment be undertaken. This advice was not followed. This is not a case of someone falling through the cracks but rather one of advice being repeatedly given but not followed by people who should have known better.

Question 7.

Rodney Hide (ACT) to the Minister for Economic Development Jim Anderton:

Q: How will the Investment Ready Scheme assist the country's economic development?

A: Under the scheme Industry NZ will provide capital for innovative projects.

Q: Does he believe his department’s investment in magnetising fuel systems is a valid one.

A: This man approached the Government looking for advice on marketing. He was told he would need to prove his invention does what it says. I believe the advice was excellent. I understand some trucking companies are trying out the device and if it works then good on it. The scheme does not contribute any cash and in this case no cash was provided.

I must say that it is a bit rich for Mr Hide to raise this case when he has come to this house defending a businessman with convictions for threatening to kill and extortion.

(Richard Prebble – This is the fourth answer the Minister has given with comments on the ACT Party.

Speaker – would the minister desist from that area.)

The scheme assists companies to prepare so they can access capital and marketing advice and assistance better. This is very useful.

(Rodney Hide - Leave sought to table Aaardvark documents – refused

Winston Peters - Leave sought to table documents concerning a Rodney Hide speaking engagement in Fiji – granted)

Question 8.

Hon. Georgina te Heuheu to the Minister of Mâori Affairs Parekura Horomia:

Q: Did he summon the head of Women's Refuge, Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, to a meeting with himself and his Associate Minister Tariana Turia at which Ms Raukawa-Tait was reportedly told to "pull her head in"?

A: No I did not. Nor was she told to pull her head in.

Q: Is he sure he did not threaten her?

A: Yes.

Q: Is he considering cutting funding to Women’s Refuge?

A: No. There is never any danger of that happening under this government just because an organisation speaks out. Unlike the last government. Can I say we do support a zero tolerance approach to child bashing.

Question 9.

Jill Pettis (Labour) to the Minister of Education Trevor Mallard:

Q: (Mark Peck on behalf) What factors does he take into account when making decisions on school closures and area reviews of schooling?

A: Schools play an important part in communities. And when considering reviews I am sensitive for several criteria. These criteria are very real. I have advised the community of Marton that I will not be closing the James Cook School, contrary to advice from the Ministry. The school provides an important bridge between the richer and poorer parts of the town. I thank members for their contributions in relation to this case.

Question 10.

Hon. Tony Ryall (National) to the Associate Minister of Justice Margaret Wilson:

Q: What is the quantity of a significant disparity in the future earning capacities of two separating spouses which would permit a judge to award a lump sum payment to one spouse from the other spouse's share of matrimonial property under her proposed changes to the Matrimonial Property Act?

A: (Lianne Dalziel on behalf) The SOP is currently under review by the Select Committee. The SOP allows a court to take into account all relevant circumstances when making their decision. I have not seen any of the opinions that the member refers to. The member is a member of the committee considering this. I have not decided at this stage (speaking for herself) whether further guidance will be needed for the courts in this area. I am sure the committee will make a sensible suggestion in relation to this matter. I recall sitting in the Select Committee that listened to submission after submission from women who had supported their husband’s careers only to be dumped. I am sure the Select Committee will make an appropriate recommendation on this.

(Roger Sowry -

Question 11.

Steve Chadwick (Labour) to the Minister for Senior Citizens Lianne Dalziel:

Q: What steps is she taking to develop a positive aging strategy for New Zealand?

A: We have received reports and are working on their recommendations. I am advised that there are some groups in NZ who believe that some elderly people are not entitled to sufficient income to provide dignity. These are a problem for the positive aging strategy. Later she quoted from a release from Grey Power Manawatu extensively. The strategy is to develop a framework against the outcomes of each government department can be tested.

Question 12.

Dr Wayne Mapp (National) to the Minister of Defence Mark Burton:

Q: How will the Government ensure that the Air Force and Navy are properly equipped to maintain comprehensive maritime surveillance of the South-West Pacific region?

A: The government is undertaking a review of what is required for surveillance in the maritime theatre.

Q: Will he upgrade the Orions?

A: The government will be making announcements shortly.

Q: Can he confirm that only 551 hours were spent by the Orions on surveillance activities by the Orions in 1998 and 1999 and that much more time was spent on anti-submarine exercises.

A: Yes.

Q: Richard Prebble (ACT): Has he read the Evening Post which seems to know what the decisions are?

A: I have not informed the Evening Post of anything. The EP can speculate as can yourself. I will be making announcements tomorrow.

Tuesday, 22 August 2000

Question to Member

Question 1.

Rt Hon. Wyatt Creech (National) to the Chairperson of the Health Committee Judy Keall:

Q: Why did she instruct the clerk of the committee to advertise for submissions on the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Bill by 22 September, before the committee or Opposition members had been consulted on the matter?

A: The house has required reporting in November. Given the importance of the bill I took the decision to advertise as soon as I could.

Q: Why did she not consult with other members on this?

A: Under standing orders I had the right to do what I did. And that was what Brian Neeson did as the previous chair.


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