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Ministers Warned About Answering Questions Properly

The Prime Minister and other ministers have been warned to be careful about answering questions in the House and ensure they properly address those which cover their executive responsibilities.

Yesterday Prime Minister John Key declined to give answers in detail about his contact with blogger Cameron Slater saying they were not made in his capacity as prime minister.

Today Speaker David Carter ruled the prime minister and ministers were only accountable in the House for their actions in their executive roles and not, for instance, as leader of a political party or a personal capacity.

Carter said this was “a hard distinction to make”.

After looking back at yesterday’s Question Time, Carter said most of Key’s answers had been in order. However, on reflection one reply concerned him as it related back to the actions of Key as a prime minister in dealing with the Pike River disaster and should have been addressed with an informative answer.

He urged ministers to take more care on the issue.

Earlier when Parliament resumed at 2pm Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee said when the House sits next week, the Government would makes progress on the Address in Reply debate, the Employment Relations Amendment Bill and the Accounting Infrastructure Reform Bill.

More maiden speeches would be made on Tuesday and Wednesday.

A sitting programme for the rest of 2014 and for 2015 has yet to be agreed. It is expected that the House will sit initially from 20 – 23 October, 28 – 30 October and 4 – 6 November.

MPs agreed on a voice vote to a motion expressing condolences and concern about the attack on the Canadian Parliament.

The annual reports of Statistics New Zealand and the Government Superannuation Fund Authority were presented.

After the Speaker’s ruling MPs then began Question Time.

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