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Questions Of The Day (1-6)

Questions For Oral Answer Wednesday, 28 July 1999

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.

Rt Hon. Helen Clark to the Prime Minister Jenny Shipley:

Q: Given her statement with respect to the State Services Commissioner's investigation into the performance of the Work and Income New Zealand Chief Executive that "I will judge his performance based on what sorts of conclusions he comes to", does she expect his investigation to also report on the appropriateness of Work and Income New Zealand purchasing a corporate table at what have been described as "glitzy lectures"; if not, why not?

A: I would expect the State Services Commissioner to take into account all relevant factors.

Q: (John Carter - National) What is the purpose of the State Sector Act.

A: The purpose of the Act is to prevent political interference in operational matters which are better decided within the public service. I request the member who asked the principle question to abide by the principles of the State Sector legislation that her government passed in the 1980s. I remind the house again that it was the Labour Party that set the current framework to hold the State Services Commissioner responsible for CEOs of departments. I suggest the house wait for the outcome of his inquiry.

(Rod Donald - leave sought to table documents on World Masters of Business attendees from the public service - leave refused.)

(Tau Henare - leave sought to table two documents related to an earlier matter- granted.)

Question 2.

Murray McLean to the Minister for Accident Rehabilitation and Compensation Insurance Murray McCully:

Q: What recent reports has the Minister received concerning the accident insurance reforms?

A: I have seen reports from Auckland and Otago with 80% of respondents experiencing premium savings. I am also advised that the Timber Industry Association has a group scheme and that all members have received a large discount as a result. The Timber Industry Federation issued a press release last week attacking Labour's policy of repealing ACC competition. I had no prior knowledge of the statement whatsoever. The member [Ruth Dyson] should become reconciled to the fact that employers are putting their heads up and want to support the policy and tell Labour of their folly.

(Ruth Dyson - Labour - leave to table communications strategy for Insurance Council.)

Question 3.

Grant Gillon to the Minister of State Services Simon Upton:

Q: What investigation is he conducting into the benefits to the public of senior state sector management spending a reported combined total of $47,250 to attend the World Masters of Business seminar?

A: I am not investigating the matter. In the first case this is input expenditure and it is in the first instance a matter for the responsible minister . I have however no evidence that the organisations paid full price and booked full tables as the question implied. (To Helen Clark.) I understand the member is asking me if I know what the PM might do - I am afraid that I cannot say that I do.

Question 4.

Manu Alamein Kopu to the Minister for Enterprise and Commerce Max Bradford:

Q: He aha te take e kore ai te Kawanatanga e whakamana i te Hui-o-te Ao Whanui a International Labour Organisation Convention 169 e pa ana ki te Tangata Whenua me nga Iwi o nga whenua Noho Wehe?

Translation:

Q: Why has the Government not ratified International Labour Organisation Convention 169 concerning indigenous and tribal peoples in independent countries?

A: New Zealand's approach to ratification of international conventions is not to do so unless domestic legislation is fully compliant. The government is currently analysing this issue. Given the complexity of the issue it is hard to know how long this will take but we are working on this matter at present.

Q: Have Maori been consulted on this?

A: No. No consultation with Maori has taken place at this stage. My understanding is that a Hui is being convened by TPK next month. Background info will be distributed at that time and a paper is being prepared for ministers later in the year.

Question 5.

Hon. Phil Goff to the Minister of Social Services, Work and Income:

Q: What responsibility does he accept for the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Agency repeatedly failing to contain recidivist violent young offenders in secure custody with the result that further victims are exposed to their ongoing offending?

A: From time to time young people will abscond from placements. The Agency reviews its plans in those cases. In a small number of cases out of several thousand young people reoffend this is not acceptable and is dealt with by the courts and the agency.. I do not intend to give the police the power to seek secure custody orders from the courts. During the review of the CYPFA legislation that was debated and rejected by this house. The second reason is that the Labour party closed 300 beds for youths and I welcome that member's support when we announce plans to open new facilities shortly.

Question 6.

Hon. Peter Dunne to the Minister of Internal Affairs Jack Elder:

Q: Has the Cabinet discussed the future of the National Archives at any meeting this month?

A: The government has been considering its involvement in the cultural and heritage sector. Discussions are involving cabinet.

Q: (Peter Dunne - United) Did cabinet decide to transfer policy functions to a new Ministry of Cultural Affairs - and is the reason a court decision?

A: No decisions were taken on the basis of any court decisions or appeals. It is a fact however that an announcement in this area will be made soon. I am aware of an issue in the organisation about independence and concerns over a relationship with a department of state. Options are being considered.

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