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Questions of the Day (9-12)

Questions For Oral Answer Tuesday, 24 August 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 9.

Rod Donald to the Minister for State Owned Enterprises Tony Ryall:

Q: As Secrets and Lies claims that his staff played a key role in Timberlands' public relations strategies, does he stand by his statement of 13 July 1999 that "Neither my staff, nor I have had input into any such strategies."?

A: Yes.

Q: (Rod Donald - Green) How then does he account for his actions --- lengthy question…

A: Our office receives a lot of information from SOEs. My staff have advised me that they did not have any input into any TWC PR Strategy. I talk regularly with the Chairman and CEO as it is my responsibility to do so. I have no doubt that my staff do so as well. I am planning to visit the coast next week. I am sure I will get a warm welcome. I invite the leader of the opposition to come too.

(Nick Smith - I would like to table a statement from Helen Clark saying she wants to keep faith with the West Coast accord - initially some objection but on second shot approved.)

(Rod Donald sought leave to table a document form Timberlands - no objection.)

Question 10.

George Hawkins to the Prime Minister Jenny Shipley:

Q: Did she consult any of her senior Cabinet Ministers before announcing on 16 August that there would "most certainly" be an inquiry into INCIS because she "personally want[ed] to know the role of IBM, the role of the Police, the role that we as a Government played in this"; if so, what was their advice?

A: Yes I certainly have discussed this with a number of ministers. There was a wide range of advice given. Most of the advice concerned how we could manage the commercial issues while still having an inquiry. As described in the release yesterday we now believe we can reconcile these objectives. There was Crown Law advice sought and received before I made those comments. It was quite clear before I made those comments publicly what the government could do. Ministers have since made several announcements. Advice was sought on the timing for the inquiry. It was that it would be possible to do it concurrently with the legal action, but that it would be preferable to hold the inquiry after the legal proceedings had been completed.

Question 11.

Pansy Wong to the Treasurer Bill English:

Q: Is he confident about the outlook for growth of the economy for next year; if so, is this backed up by any external reports?

A: (To opposition interjections…) I am pleased the opposition agree Mr Speaker. I am pleased with the outlook for economic growth. Forecasts in the last week from the National Bank and Reserve Bank forecast 4.3% and 3.7% growth in the year 2000 respectively. Both expect the growth to be sustainable. Internationally the outlook for growth in New Zealand is very good. We are expected to grow faster than Australia the US, Germany, UK, France, Japan, Italy and Canada. The forecasts do predict an improvement in the balance of payments - not a dramatic improvement but an improvement.

Q: (Rodney Hide - ACT) Are there any threats?

A: New Zealand is going into a recovery cycle and it is a now a question of how broad that recovery can be. However, I don't think there is much doubt that the threat of high taxes and rolling back the ECA - so we can have secondary strikes again - and nationalising ACC would effect the confidence of those making employment and investment decisions in New Zealand.

Q: (Michael Cullen - Labour) Why is he inept bumbling, immature and avoiding me?

A: It is typical of left-wing politics that all the energy goes on personality politics rather than the big issues. The fact is Dr Cullen and Helen Clark are going around the country saying the economy is going nowhere when in fact it is going to grow next year faster than the US, Australia, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan. (to cheers from govt benches..)

Question 12.

Trevor Mallard to the Prime Minister Jenny Shipley:

Q: Is she satisfied that her Minister of Maori Affairs has at all times met the standards of behaviour she expects from her Ministers; if so, why?

A: Yes.

Q: Why, when he issued a threat to get funding for a close relative?

A: If the member will provide me with evidence of allegation I will examine it.

(Mallard - Labour: Leave sought to table letters wrote on 2nd and 3rd of August to the PM outlining the allegation clearly - leave granted.)

(Leave sought to make a personal explanation by Trevor Mallard about allegations of racism made against him - leave refused *HIGHLY UNUSUAL* - Mallard highly displeased at this - in Point of Order he then said that Mauri Pacific had threatened not to coalesce with Labour because of his objection to a lottery grant - presumably to his daughter's Kapahaka party's tour to China with Tuariki Delamere.)

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