Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Questions Of The Day (2,3,4 and 6)

Industrial Relations - Fisheries Commissioners Payments - Violence In Schools - Health Funding Authority Fitout Audit

Questions For Oral Answer Wednesday, 8 September 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.

(Note: Questions 1 and 5 concerning East Timor and Apec were moved earlier.)

Question 2.

Gerry Brownlee to the Minister for Enterprise and Commerce Max Bradford:

Q: Has he received any reports of discrimination against employees on the grounds of union status under the Employment Contracts Act 1991?

A: Yes indeed I have. The Court of Appeal addressed it in the Tranzrail case. It confirmed that companies are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of union membership. I have also seen reports that non-union members will not be entitled to paid stop-work meetings under Labour Party policy. That is discrimination.

Question 3.

Sandra Lee to the Minister of Finance Bill Birch:

Q: Since Treasury provided him with advice, regarding the payment of fees to the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission, that in part stated that "Given weak accountability arrangements on Commissioners - who are appointed by the Crown - fee levels require your approval."; what action, if any, has he taken to increase the accountability arrangements on Commissioners?

A: Fisheries commissioners remuneration is paid for out of the commissions trading activities. The Minister of Finance approves the payments after reference has been made to the SSC.

Q: (Sandra Lee) Were the payments in 1998-99 $915,000 or the $221,000 declared and will he make the fees subject to the Official Information Act, and if not why not?.

A: The source of the money comes from the trading activities itself. The second is that the only fees signed off by me are the benchmark fees. There will be other fees earned by commissioners which will not be subject to my approval. The fees were set at a high level in 1990 by the Labour Party. In 1994 I trimmed the fees from what they were when they were set by Labour and annualised them. Since 1994 the fees to the chair and deputy chair have not changed.

Question 4.

Mr Frank Grover to the Minister of Education Nick Smith :

Q: As 887 secondary school pupils were suspended for assaulting teachers and other pupils during the second quarter of this year, what measures is he taking to curtail the incidence of violence by pupils in secondary schools?

A: We have funded an anti-bullying programmes. We have also approved, this term, new rules on suspensions. We are of the view that alternative learning centres for some children are appropriate and we have funded those too with $37 million.

Q: (Frank Grover - Christian Heritage) Why have assaults on teachers increased?

A: Those figures are misleading. In assaults on teachers we are looking at less than one in 1000 pupils. Since the new rules were introduced there has been a 25% reduction in permanent suspensions. The new rules are working. And they are supported by principals. Nick Smith later accused Marion Hobbs of taking a PPTA line on violence in schools.


Question 6.

Rt Hon. Winston Peters to the Minister of Health:

Q: (Ron Mark on behalf) Is he satisfied with the outcome of the recent audit review of leases and fitouts of the Health Funding Authority?

A: I can advise that the Audit was carried out by Price Waterhouse Coopers. Given their reputation I can be sure we can rely on the quality of their work.

Q: How can he be satisfied when the audit was carried out by the own internal auditors?

A: If he had listened he would have heard that the audit was carried out by the PWC, an international firm of reputation, the terms of reference were approved by the Auditor General. As to the conduct of the audit it would seek to retain its reputation and I would be surprised if it was as limited as the member implies.

(Ron Mark later sought leave to table the report - refused)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Binoy Kampmark: Funeral Rites For COVID Zero
It was such a noble public health dream, even if rather hazy to begin with. Run down SARS-CoV-2. Suppress it. Crush it. Or just “flatten the curve”, which could have meant versions of all the above. This created a climate of numerical sensitivity: a few case infections here, a few cases there, would warrant immediate, sharp lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, the closure of all non-vital service outlets... More>>

Dunne Speaks: 25 Years Of MMP - And The Government Wants To Make It Harder For Small Parties
This week marks the 25th anniversary of the New Zealand’s first MMP election. Over the last quarter century, the MMP electoral system has led to our Parliament becoming more socially and ethnically diverse, more gender balanced, and to a wider spread of political opinion gaining representation. Or, as one of my former colleagues observed somewhat ruefully at the time, Parliament starting to look a little more like the rest of New Zealand... More>>

Eric Zuesse: China Says U.S.-China War Is Imminent

China has now publicly announced that, unless the United States Government will promptly remove from China’s Taiwan province the military forces that it recently sent there, China will soon send military forces into that province, because, not only did the U.S. secretly send “special operations forces” onto that island... More>>


Dunne Speaks: Labour's High Water Mark
If I were still a member of the Labour Party I would be feeling a little concerned after this week’s Colmar Brunton public opinion poll. Not because the poll suggested Labour is going to lose office any time soon – it did not – nor because it showed other parties doing better – they are not... More>>



Our Man In Washington: Morrison’s Tour Of Deception

It was startling and even shocking. Away from the thrust and cut of domestic politics, not to mention noisy discord within his government’s ranks, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison could breathe a sign of relief. Perhaps no one would notice in Washington that Australia remains prehistoric in approaching climate change relative to its counterparts... More>>



Binoy Kampmark: Melbourne Quake: Shaken, Not Stirred

It began just after a news interview. Time: a quarter past nine. Morning of September 22, and yet to take a sip from the brewed Turkish coffee, its light thin surface foam inviting. The Australian city of Melbourne in its sixth lockdown, its residents fatigued and ravaged by regulations. Rising COVID-19 numbers, seemingly inexorable... More>>