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SCP HOUSE: Questions Of The Day – 6 December

SCP HOUSE: Questions Of The Day – 6 December

Today's questions of the day concerned: USA Bombing Own Troops – Auckland District Health Board deficit – Charities working party – Ron Mark and military files – Waikato Innovation Park – West Coast District Health Board deficit – Major General Dodson and others – Susan Bathgate’s resignation of warrant – Govt & social sector and community forums – New Plymouth Practical Education Training Centre - Instability in Zimbabwe – Police Minister’s confidence in Commissioner…

Questions Of The Day - Thursday, 6 December 2001

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 till some days after the event.


Question 1.

KEITH LOCKE (Green) to the Minister of Defence Mark Burton:

Q: In light of the United States' bombing of its own troops in Afghanistan does he believe that New Zealand's SAS troops will be safe from "friendly fire" in that country; if so, why?

A: Minister of Foreign Affairs Phil Goff replied: “On behalf of the Minister of Defence any commitment to deploy military personal involves risks. That is why no decision is made lightly but is calculated to accommodate risks. Every endeavour is taken as far as is possible to minimise such risk.

Question 2.

Hon ROGER SOWRY (National) to the Minister of Health Annette King:

Q: Has she received a letter from the chairperson-designate of the Auckland District Health Board who "has written to the Minister of Health to express concern at the arbitrary out-turn to the review and to forewarn the Minister of the true deficit range that has been estimated at $71 million to $87 million, based on the reviewer findings"; if so, what specific action has she taken as a result?

A: Ruth Dyson on behalf of Health Minister: Yes a letter has been received. I am advised work continues between the Ministry and the Auckland District Health Board on this issue and will be presented to the Minister of Health in due course.

Question 3.

MARK PECK (Labour) to the Minister of Finance Michael Cullen:

Q: What progress has been made with the establishment of the charities working party?

A: The working party has formed and will meet again today – it was set up in consultation with Charities and will benefit Charities by facilitating work between such organisations and government organisations. The working party will revue issues such as taxation and registration issues.

Question 4.

Hon MAX BRADFORD (National) to the Minister of Defence Mark Burton:

Q: When does he expect the State Services Commission to complete its report on the accessing of Mr Ron Mark's personal military files and does he consider the timeframe suitable given the nature of the allegations?

A: Phil Goff replies on behalf of the Minister of Defence: I have asked the State Services commissioner to make inquiries into the accessing Ron Mark’s military files. The timing of a response from the State Service’s inquiry is in the hands of the commissioner and a statement from his office this morning suggests this is likely to be next week. This inquiry ought to be and seen to be independent of political interference.

Question 5.

LIZ GORDON (Alliance) to the Minister for Economic Development Jim Anderton:

Q: What support is Industry New Zealand providing for an Innovation park in Hamilton?

A: Matt Robson replies on behalf of the Minister for Economic Development: Industry New Zealand has today announced $2 million for the Waikato Innovation Park – this is expected to produce 2500 new jobs. It will contribute towards providing for economic and sustainable employment opportunities – and produce opportunities for both the public and private sector.

Question 6.

Dr PAUL HUTCHISON (National) to the Minister of Health Annette King:

Q: Has the Government agreed to the West Coast District Health Board's request for a $6 million cash injection by the end of this month to cover immediate and future cash-flow requirements; if not, why not?

A: Ruth Dyson replies on behalf of the Minister of Health: The West Coast District Health Board has made this request – I am advised by the Ministry of Health a response within the time frame for this will be met.

Question 7.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (NZ First) to the Minister of Defence Mark Burton:

Q: Has he received any information that Allan Emerson, previously a director of Communication Trumps and now an advisor to Major General Dodson, has been saying that he has information which should cause a certain member of Parliament to be careful?

A: No.

[Winston Peters suggested that Mr Emerson was not truthful in a letter to the Government].

A. It is often appropriate when accusing a person who is outside of this house of being untruthful, to put that opinion outside of the House where privilege does to protect the Member from being challenged legally.

Question 8.

SIMON POWER (National) to the Minister of Labour Margaret Wilson:

Q: Can she assure the House that the "issues" raised about Susan Bathgate in the advice from John Upton QC would not in any way affect Susan Bathgate's suitability to hold her warrants; if not, will she advise the Minister for Courts of the "issues" raised?

A: Mr Upton QC’s advice was privileged – the detail of this advice I do not intend to go into in the House. It seems to me that if Ms Bathgate decided she no longer wished to hold this warrant – then I had a duty to accept that.

Question 9.

ANN HARTLEY (Labour) to the Minister of Social Services and Employment Steve Maharey:

Q: What are the anticipated benefits of the meeting which is to take place tomorrow between the Government and the social and community sector?

A: Tomorrow the Prime Minister leads the first forum meeting between Government and the social and community sector in Waitakere City – this meet will be the first of a series of meetings and will mirror similar styled meetings as occurred between the Government and the business sector via forums around the country. The community sector meetings will be of great benefit in allowing government and the community to work together to progress improvements in employment and other community initiatives.

Question 10.

Dr MURIEL NEWMAN (ACT) to the Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education) Steve Maharey:

Q: Why did he publicly vilify the Practical Education Training Centre in New Plymouth, as reported in the New Zealand Business Times, before his own Ministry had completed its investigations?

A: The New Zealand Business Times report is inaccurate – However following an investigation of the Ministry over many months, I had to announce the basis of the Ministry’s actions – students deserved to know of the details of this investigation.

Question 11.

GRAHAM KELLY (Labour) to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Phil Goff:

Q: What reports has he received on the current situation in Zimbabwe?

A: Zimbabwe is in a bleak situation on the verge of self destruction – Mr Mugabe is determine power at any cost and Zimbabwe has gone from a prosperous economy to one under great strain. He has also interfered with any opposition to his regime, this includes interference to political opponents, citizens and the news media. Zimbabwe’s membership within the Commonwealth should be suspended or expelled unless the situation that exists at this time, ceases.

Question 12.

Dr WAYNE MAPP (National) to the Minister of Police George Hawkins:

Q: What did he say or write to the Police Commissioner which led the Commissioner to reply "I share your disappointment that we have again failed to meet your expectations." and "I, as commissioner, and the deputy commissioners are unhappy that we and our staff continue to make your job more difficult and frustrate your efforts to assist us in our endeavours to meet our common goals"?

A: From time to time the Commissioner and I talk about higher standards. I am pleased to refer to the House that this is now happening. I can confirm that the Commissioner is doing a very good job and that standards are lifting.


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