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SCP HOUSE: Questions Of The Day –20 March

Today’s questions concerned: Zero-Tolerance On Crime – Zimbabwe - Electoral Integrity Amendment Act
- Treaty and Health – District Health Boards Cuts - Regional Partnerships Programme – NCEA - Student Workplace Learning – Maori Television Service – Cancer Drugs – District Health Boards – Tax Incentives - Social Workers Registration Bill

Questions Of The Day - Wednesday, 20 March 2002

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.

Hon RICHARD PREBBLE to the Minister of Police (Phil Goff answering):

Q: In light of the report in today’s New Zealand Herald, which states that “New York’s murder rate is at its lowest level since the late 1890s” and that chief prosecutor Robert Morgenthau attributed this to the city’s zero-tolerance policy on crime, why doesn’t the Government adopt zero-tolerance on crime for this country?

A: The murder rate in New York, though lower than it has been for years, remains 458 percent higher than New Zealand on a per head of population basis. Zero tolerance is one amongst a number of reasons but it is by no means regarded as the main reason. The overall rate of violent crime here is161 per 100,000 while in the United States it is 506 per 100,000. In the US the rate had a long way to fall. New Zealand police do not believe zero tolerance principles would fit into the New Zealand context. We also have less homicides today than we did a hundred years ago on a per capita basis.

Question 2.

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

Q: What is the Government’s response to the decision of the Commonwealth Chairpersons’ Committee to suspend Zimbabwe from the Councils of the Commonwealth?

A: New Zealand welcomes the suspension,. This action is an essential response to the Commonwealth election observers report which found the election did not allow for the free expression of the electorate.

Q: Is it still the government’s intention to put in place sanctions against Zimbabwe?

A: It is our intention to put in place targeted sanctions which are largely symbolic, including a ban on travel to New Zealand for key personnel, a ban of sale of weapons such as police batons and there will be an attempt to have Zimbabwe excluded from the Commonwealth Games.

Question 3.

Hon ROGER SOWRY to the Associate Minister of Justice Margaret Wilson:

Q: Will she introduce amendments to the Electoral Integrity Amendment Act 2001 to cover internal party splits within the next two weeks; if not, why not?

A: No, the Act arose out of a specific set of circumstances, namely the party hopping that went on within the last government.

Q: (Roger Sowry) As Minister in charge of the party hopping legislation can she inform the house how it could be if the Alliance splits in two will either faction have to resign? If not how can it be that there will be two separate parties neither of which have defected?

A: This is more speculation, there could be three parties not two and it seems only right to answer such speculation when it occurs.

Question 4.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS to the Minister of Health Annette King:

Q: Further to her answer to my oral question of Wednesday, 13 March 2002, was it the Ministry of Health that “advised that it is not possible to break down expenditure in the manner sought”; if so, has she sought an explanation from the Director General as to why they are unable to do so, if not, why not?

A: Yes, and yes and the Director General informed me health expenditure on Maori is so interlinked with the spending on all New Zealanders it is not possible to separate spending in the way the member asks.

Question 5.

Hon ROGER SOWRY to the Minister of Health Annette King:

Q: Which District Health Boards are considering cuts to health services, and why?

A: I have seen no evidence to date of any plans to cut services.

Question 6.

JOHN WRIGHT to the Minister for Industry and Regional Development Jim Anderton:

Q: What progress is being made in Industry New Zealand’s Regional Partnerships Programme?

A: The Regional Partnership Programme has been welcomed by the regions of New Zealand as a very important step that regions work together and in partnership with Government. Today I can announce a partnership has been formed with the Bay of Plenty worth $100,000. There is new confidence in the regions and a sense of partnership with the Government for the first time in decades.

Question 7.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH to the Minister of Education (Steve Maharey answering)

Q: Will a student’s record of learning under the new National Certificate of Educational Achievement include a record of subjects students undertook but failed; if not, why not?

A: The NCEA is a standards based system of assessment and the record of learning is a lifelong document of that person’s achievements showing what the have achieved and what they know.

Q: Can the Minister explain how it will show what a student does not know?

The student will get a breakdown clearly setting out what they can achieve and what they can not achieve.

Q: How will a student know if they have failed?

A: A results notice will show in which standards they have achieved and in which they have not achieved.

Question 8.

H V ROSS ROBERTSON to the Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education) Steve Maharey:

Q: What reports has he received on the benefits to employers of participation in student workplace learning linked to school-based studies?

A: I have seen a new report on the Gateway programme in which students learn on the job and it report shows a great deal of support by employers for this programme. Ninety percent of employers surveyed indicated they would continue to participate in the programme. There has been a large uptake by Maori and Pacific Islander students to the programme.

Question 9.

Hon GEORGINA TE HEUHEU to the Minister of Maori Affairs Parekura Horomia:

Q: What is his response to groups representing Maori language nests around New Zealand calling for Maori to boycott their new television service?

A: I believe people, including those individuals, should leave any judgements until the service goes to air. I would encourage all New Zealanders to take a wait and see approach. The Maori Teevisoin Service will be breaking new ground, there are many things that need to be worked out, including the use of English. The main function of the service is to encourage te reo Maori me nga tikanga.

Question 10.

JUDY KEALL to the Minister of Health Annette King:

Q: What recent decisions have been made to improve access to cancer drugs in New Zealand?

A: Last year I took steps to ensure a range of drugs were made available on a nationally consistent basis. A further $4million has been made available to cover incremental costs and ensure this is continues to be possible.

Question 11.

SUE KEDGLEY to the Minister of Health Annette King:

Q: Does she agree that District Health Board members are entitled to speak freely and publicly about matters relating to District Health Boards, providing they do so in their personal capacity; if not, why not?

A: It has been left up to boards to decide on board members speaking, not me. I will let Boards deicide themselves what their decision and protocols will be in relation to their members.

Question 12.

GERRY BROWNLEE to the Minister of Finance Michael Cullen:

Q: Does he intend introducing tax incentives to encourage savings in this year’s Budget; if not, why not?

A: No final decisions have been taken, what we will not be doing is wasting money on upfront incentives that will not encourage savings and only help the well off.


Question 1.

BOB SIMCOCK to the Chairperson of the Social Services Committee Taito Phillip Field:

Q: Does the committee intend to report back on the Social Workers Registration Bill; if so, when?

A: It does intend to report back, it will be when the bill has been presented after the committee has finished deliberating and intends to deliberate when it next meets on March 27th or at a meeting ot be called on the 28th of March if required.

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