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Fixing Fonterra Scare Priority PM Tells MPs

The Government is doing all it can to limit the damage from the Fonterra botulism scare, Prime Minister John Key said today.

Parliament resumed today with Key making a ministerial statement on the food safety issue and he said officials had been working with Fonterra with the Government using all possible resources to deal with the situation after it was brought to its attention.

The first priority was the safety of people and ensuring all possible information was given to the public as soon as possible, it was likely however there would be two inquiries into what happened.

The international response so far had been on the whole balanced, he said.

Labour Leader David Shearer said the main priority would be ensure parents here and abroad were given accurate and timely advice.

Labour would work with the Government to ensure this happened, but when the time was right Labour would be demanding answers.

People would want to know why the problem took so long to detect and why there was delay in making it public, and what could be done to prevent it happening again.

Fonterra had been set up in law and given wide powers, but this also brought with it responsibilities and it had let people down, Shearer said.

Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee moved that the House should sit tomorrow morning to debate a number of bills. The motion was agreed by 64 to 56 with National, Maori Party, ACT and Peter Dunne in favour.

Select committee reports were presented on the:

Conservation (Natural Heritage Protection) Bill by the Local Government and Environment Committee

Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Amendment Bill by the Finance and Expenditure Committee

Briefing on District Health Board initiatives designed to meet the health target of shorter stays in emergency departments by the Health Committee

Petition 2011/34 of Trish Fraser on behalf of Stop the Tunnel and 162 others by the Local Government and Environment Committee

Petition 2011/57 of Raymond Hellyer by the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee

The Land Transport and Road User Charges Legislation Amendment Bill was introduced.

MPs began Question Time.

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