Questions and Answers - September 12
QUESTIONS TO MINISTERS
Question No. 1 to Minister
DAVID SHEARER (Leader of the Opposition): In light of your decision regarding that question, Mr Speaker, I am now faced with a question that is very, very different from the one I actually began with. My feeling, therefore, is that if I am not able to ask the Prime Minister or the Acting Prime Minister the question I originally intended and to hold him to account, I respectfully withdraw my question.
Mr SPEAKER: I think the member is entitled to do that. Question No. 2, Dr Russel Norman. [Interruption] Order! I have called Dr Russel Norman. [Interruption] Now, look. This nonsense will stop. I have acknowledged that we have an issue here, and I think it is worth giving further attention to this issue. I have suggested a way forward on this issue. But I have now called Dr Russel Norman for question No. 2.
Child Poverty, Abuse, and Neglect—Prime Minister’s Statement in Green Paper for
2. Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader—Green) to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his statement, “The Government wants all young New Zealanders to have the opportunities they need to succeed and reach their full potential”?
Hon BILL ENGLISH (Acting Prime Minister): Yes.
Dr Russel Norman: Has he seen the Cabinet paper on the social obligations for parents policy that states that 2,200 parents will have their benefits cut in the first year, and how does that help their children reach their full potential?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: I understand that that is not actually what the Cabinet paper says. But I think that parents’ knowledge of those obligations means they are likely to comply with them, precisely so that they do not put the welfare of their children at risk. In fact, if they meet those obligations, it will be positive for their children.
Dr Russel Norman: I seek leave to table the Cabinet paper that shows that 2,200 parents will have their benefits cut in the first year.
Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that document. Is there any objection? There is no objection. Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.
Dr Russel Norman: Given that the Cabinet paper specifies that only “the most disadvantaged and vulnerable beneficiary families will be tested for complying with the regime”, what will happen to their kids once their parents’ income is slashed?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: The Government takes the view that almost all of those parents will understand that they are reasonable obligations, because they are not so much obligations to the Government, they are obligations to their own children. We believe that most parents—in fact, almost all parents—would comply with those obligations.
Dr Russel Norman: Given that the Cabinet paper itself admits that around 2,200 parents will not comply with the obligations and hence will have their benefit cut, is it really moral for the Government to punish children for the perceived sins of their parents?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: In the first place, let us get it clear that it would be the parents who are punishing their children, not the Government. Secondly, we take a more optimistic view than the officials’ view in the Cabinet paper. The Prime Minister’s view is that most parents—in fact, almost all parents—are likely to comply with those obligations, and that means better results for their children.
Dr Russel Norman: Why does the Minister continue to make the point, to argue, that parents—
Rt Hon Winston Peters: What’s going on here?
Mr SPEAKER: Order! Is the member calling a point of order?
Rt Hon Winston Peters: No, I am asking a question. It is called question time.
Mr SPEAKER: Sorry. I beg the member’s pardon, but I did not see him stand and I called Dr Russel Norman.
Dr Russel Norman: Given that the Cabinet paper itself says that around 2,200 parents will not meet the requirements of this policy and will hence have their incomes slashed by the Government, does he take responsibility for the fact that the children of those parents will go hungry because his Government will cut their income by 50 percent?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: I believe that the presence of the sanction will encourage almost all parents, except maybe those who are completely reckless in their regard for their own children, to comply with the obligations. It is an obligation to their children in the first place, and in the second place to the taxpayers, who are providing almost all of the income on which those families are living.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Why is the Prime Minister able to stand by his statement as outlined in question No. 2 today, but not stand by his statement as outlined in question No. 1 today? What is the difference here?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: The difference is that he was not asked question No. 1.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. He most certainly was asked question No. 1, which related to all the statements he—
Mr SPEAKER: Order!
Rt Hon Winston Peters: I have not finished yet.
Mr SPEAKER: I have heard sufficient. [Interruption] Order! The member will resume his seat. We are both of advanced years, but we can move a little quicker than that. The question on the Order Paper today was not to the Prime Minister, and that is the end of the matter as far as this House is concerned. The Minister’s answer was perfectly proper.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. With respect, the original question that went in from the leader of the Labour Party was to the Prime Minister. That has been clearly established. It was then changed, and then withdrawn. I am making the point that the primary question that first came to the Prime Minister, question No. 1, which was to do with a statement, as in question No. 2, is in fact, therefore, the same. Therefore, why is he able to answer question No. 2 today, and not question No. 1 as originally asked?
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Minister’s answer was a perfectly fair answer because question No. 1 today is to the Minister of Education. If the member wants to dig deeper, he has further supplementary questions. But I cannot say to the Minister answering it: “Minister, you mustn’t give that kind of answer. You must actually interpret the member’s question as meaning this.” I cannot do that. The Minister answers the question he hears, and he gave a perfectly fair answer to the
question he heard. There are further supplementary questions for the member to challenge that, and I am sure he is perfectly capable of that.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. First of all, is there something going on here where the person in control of the sound system decides unilaterally that he himself will stop the conversation here? That has clearly been perceived outside this House. It is not a laughing matter; it is serious.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! When I get to my feet I think they know that members are meant to cease speaking and resume their seats, and I suspect they are being helpful to members because if they do not do that they may not remain in the House that much longer. It has been a practice for some time that when Speakers are dealing with a matter, the member whose microphone was on has it switched off.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Am I to understand that that is a directive that the sound system controller is in charge of—that he got a directive saying that, or he just worked it out for himself?
Mr SPEAKER: Order! Had the member been around during recent years he would have found that it has been a practice that has been going on for some time. I have not directed them whatsoever to do it. I think it is a practice that has developed to assist with the order in the House so that members can hear the Speaker and not other members when the Speaker is delivering rulings to the House.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. With respect, it is not the job of that man there, or woman, or whoever he is, to make those—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member will resume his seat right away. I will not tolerate this nonsense any more. It is the Speaker’s responsibility to maintain order in this House, and the member is just trifling with the Chair. I have invited the member to carry on his line of questioning. He has got supplementary questions that he can ask the Minister. If he wants to pursue a matter of interest, he should do that.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. You are saying that we have got supplementary questions to clear this up, but the problem is that we have all got limited supplementary questions here. I have a question at No. 11 and every supplementary question I use trying to find out what happened here, I have lost when I come to question No. 11. That is surely not an answer. What I want to know is, first of all, whether or not the Acting Prime Minister was prepared to admit that the question first came to the Prime Minister when it was put in this morning at 10.30. That is the fact that I am trying to get out, and I should not have to waste five supplementary questions to get to a specific fact on that matter. It was a very clear question.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I accept the member’s right to ask the question, absolutely, but the question the Minister hears is the question the Minister is obliged to answer. That is why we have supplementary questions. I accept the member’s point that there are limited numbers, but it is a matter of what is most important to the right honourable gentleman. The member has to focus on what is most important and use the questions as he sees fit. But I cannot say to a Minister answering a question: “Look, the questioner really wanted this answer or meant that.” I cannot do that. That would be wrong for the Speaker to be doing that. I have to try to insist that Ministers answer the questions they hear. The Minister answered the question he heard.
Dr Russel Norman: Given that his earlier answers acknowledged that there will be some parents—possibly up to 2,200—who will have their benefit cut as a result of this policy, how can it possibly be ethically acceptable to punish the children of those parents because the Government does not like the actions of those parents?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: The point of the policy is to ensure that the parents take actions that are consistent with better prospects for their children in the first place and that, secondly, they meet their obligations to the broader community, which is offering support for that family. The Government is planning to introduce sanctions, as the member has pointed out. Those are fairly
robust sanctions and the relevant department would ensure that every option is given to the parents to enable them to meet their obligation in the first place.
Te Ururoa Flavell: Tēnā koe, Mr Speaker. Kia ora tātou katoa. Does the Prime Minister agree that the $6.5 million negotiated in Budget 2011 by Māori Party Ministers to expand family-based literacy programmes to all decile 1, 2, and 3 schools is a positive step towards allowing those young New Zealanders in those deciles to have the opportunity they need to succeed and reach their full potential?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: Yes, and a feature of those programmes is precisely that the parents learn alongside the children. It is consistent with the Māori Party’s general line on policy in this respect: it prefers to discourage dependency and encourage independence if at all possible, and the means of doing that should be consistent with the values of whānau rather than the individuals concerned.
Dr Russel Norman: If the principal reason that the Minister is giving behind this policy is that parents in receipt of Government support should be obliged to send their children to preschool and other requirements, then why will he not make the same demands of parents in receipt of Working for Families, given that they also are in receipt of Government support?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: In some respects it is a matter of the practicality of operating this kind of policy. It is simply going to be quite a challenge to operate it for all parents on benefits, let alone parents who are in work. But, secondly, all the indicators show that once a family has work income coming into the household, almost all the indicators for children improve significantly. That is why the other, complementary part of this policy, alongside social obligations, is active intervention by Government to help these families get into work, and strong encouragement for them to get into work.
David Shearer: Will he commit to a Government obligation to guarantee that every child has a place in early childhood education and free doctors’ visits, no matter where they live?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: Well, in the first place, if there is not an early childhood education place immediately available, of course parents cannot be sanctioned for not meeting that obligation. [Interruption] Well, we do not need a guarantee, because actually, with growing demand, the early childhood sector will respond as it always has and more places will be available.
Dr Russel Norman: Mr Speaker—[Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I want to hear Dr Russel Norman’s question.
Dr Russel Norman: What kind of a monstrous Government punishes children because it does not like the actions of their parents, and is not this Government policy—to paraphrase Exodus—a policy of laying the alleged sins of the parents upon their children?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: I would ask the question of what kind of a monstrous Government, of which the Greens were a part up to 2008, did absolutely nothing—absolutely nothing—for the most vulnerable children and the most impoverished families in this country.
Denis O’Rourke: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The answer given by the Minister was not an answer to the question that was asked.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member must resume his seat—the member must. I just invite him to go and read the Hansard. The question asked was somewhat provocative and the answer given was somewhat provocative, but that is the way it works.
David Shearer: Does he believe that access to the reading recovery programme is important for ensuring all young New Zealanders are able to succeed and reach their potential?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: For some young children that is the case. For some children, actually, reading recovery does not work; maybe they need access to other programmes. But, in the end, the measure of it is what those children are able to achieve, and that is why it is hard to understand the confused Labour Party policy, which cannot decide whether it supports measures of child achievement or not.
David Shearer: Does he agree with the Hon Bill English that “Reading recovery is a safety net for children who are struggling, but half of this country’s lower decile schools, for whatever reason, are not making use of it.”?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: Yes, he does agree with him—the statement was made, I think, 6 or 7 years ago. The member advises the Prime Minister that the reason that a lot of low-decile schools do not use it is that it does not work for their kids, so they use other programmes.
David Shearer: Does he agree with the statement made by the Hon Bill English that “thousands of six-year-olds are missing their last chance to be caught in the safety net,”?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: Yes, I do, and that is one of the reasons we came up with the policy of national standards, which the Labour Party will be forced to support eventually—within months— because it tells us which individual children are missing out on the safety net.
David Shearer: Does he agree with the Hon Bill English’s statement about the lack of reading recovery in low-decile schools: “This leaves a huge hole and helps explain why New Zealand has one of the biggest disparities in reading in the developed world,”?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: The one modification the member would now make to that statement is realising that reading recovery does not meet the needs of every child. If that was the case, every school would be using it and every child would be able to read. But, unfortunately, about one in five of our kids is not successfully reading.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Minister was asked whether he agreed with the statement, and we are still waiting to know what the answer to that is. If we are going to have some exactitude in question time, then let us have it in answer time, too.
Mr SPEAKER: Well—
Rt Hon Winston Peters: He was asked whether he agreed with the statement.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I hear the right honourable member, and I thought I heard fairly clearly that the Minister did not agree, and that he actually would modify it now. [Interruption] He would modify it now. If the Minister says he would now modify it, clearly he does not agree with what he said originally. I mean, it is not that difficult.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. With the greatest respect, I do not think that really we are helping the process if you are constantly doing the interpreting for the Minister. I want to read in Hansard what he said, not what you said he said. That is how it works. It is actually a situation where tomorrow I cannot use his quote, because he did not give the answer, you did. So, with respect, could we have the judge staying on the bench?
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I just invite the member to apply his mind.
Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think that that was an unreasonable comment for you to make to—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Speaker is very rapidly losing his patience. The member will resume his seat. I think some of the comments made were not that reasonable.
David Shearer: Given that the Prime Minister disagrees with the Hon Bill English, is he aware now that the proportion of low-decile schools offering reading recovery is currently lower than when Bill English expressed his concern before?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: I am not sure whether the Prime Minister is aware of that or not, but the fact is that now that schools need to comply with national standards, they have every reason to seek out the reading programme that works best for their children. It is probably the case that trying to force them all into one reading recovery - type programme is misjudging what works best for their children.
Hon John Banks: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Interjections should be rare and reasonable. I could not even hear, for the barracking from the Labour Party. This is the barking and barracking—this is the shambles—I talk about, Mr Speaker. Settle them down so we can listen to the answers.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I ask the House to come to order. I realise it has been a testy start to question time, because of the transferral of a question, but we need to get on top of that. I think the House should just come to order. The member’s point is not—the member’s point is well made.
Economic Programme—Job Creation and Productivity
3. JONATHAN YOUNG (National—New Plymouth) to the Minister of Finance: What is the Government doing to increase jobs and support a productive and competitive economy?
Hon BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Finance): The Government has taken a number of quite significant measures to help businesses employ more people and pay them more. The 90-day trial period for new employees has created 13,000 jobs. Business tax in New Zealand has been held to 28c in the dollar—lower than Australia’s—so businesses retain more of their profits to invest in their business. ACC levies have been reduced this year by $600 million, reducing costs to business. And the Government has removed 170 unnecessary and excessive regulations, saving an estimated $200 million in compliance costs for businesses.
Jonathan Young: How has the New Zealand economy and employment market performed over the last 2 years, and what is the outlook for the next few years?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: Prior to the last 2 years, of course, with the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, there was a sharp rise in unemployment. In the past 2 years, however, almost 60,000 net new jobs have been created, and 150,000 new jobs are forecast over the next 4 years. The after-tax average wage is up by 20 percent since 2008. The everyday cost of living is increasing at its slowest rate in 12 years. Interest rates are at the lowest levels in 45 years, saving a family with a $200,000 mortgage $200 a week compared with 4 years ago. And we would expect, consistent with the Budget 2012 forecasts, that economic growth of 2 to 3 percent will continue this success.
Hon David Parker: Does he agree with Fitch Ratings that the forecast widening in the current account deficit and the high New Zealand dollar pose a risk to New Zealand; if so, does he think he needs to do something about it?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: Yes, but I do not believe that the answer to it is a 20 percent devaluation in the exchange rate, as advocated by those Opposition parties. It is not clear even how they would do it, even if they want to do something that is a bit odd.
Jonathan Young: How is the Government supporting people to move from welfare into work?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: We need to take the opportunity in a growing job market to assist people from welfare into work. In Budget 2012 and over the next few years the Government will be investing around $500 million in welfare reforms. Current programmes include the $62 million Job Streams package for wage subsidies, $55.1 million for 155 dedicated Work and Income staff to support job seekers and sole parents looking for work, $80 million for the early childhood education and guaranteed childcare assistance payment, and $150 million for youth services, including wraparound support for young people not in education, employment, or training.
Hon David Parker: Are record numbers of New Zealanders leaving for Australia because his programme to increase jobs and improve the New Zealand economy is working, or are they leaving because his Government has let them down and failed to achieve the promises made when it was elected in 2008 and again in 2011?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: I think a number have been leaving because Australia has experienced a once-in-100-years terms of trade boost, which has meant it has been getting record prices for commodities and paying very high wages to dig those commodities out of the ground. In more recent months those commodity prices have dropped off, and Australia may become a less attractive option. In fact, in the next 12 months New Zealand is likely to grow just as fast as, if not faster than, Australia.
Jonathan Young: What recent reports has he seen on jobs and growth in the New Zealand economy?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: There have been a number of reports about jobs, including jobs that have been lost and new jobs that have been created. But the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, a survey of 650 employers, which was released earlier this week, found that 27 percent intend to increase hiring, and 8 percent plan to reduce hiring. When we have got relatively moderate growth rates, some businesses and some sectors will be doing well while others, as we have seen in the last couple of weeks, will be doing poorly. But, on average, the economy is producing more jobs.
Emissions Trading Scheme—Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s Statements
4. GRANT ROBERTSON (Deputy Leader—Labour) to the Minister for Climate Change
Issues: Does he agree with Dr Jan Wright, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, that his Government’s changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme “makes a farce of our climate change commitments”; if not, why not?
Hon SIMON BRIDGES (Associate Minister for Climate Change Issues) on behalf of the
Minister for Climate Change Issues: No. New Zealand remains on track to meet its first commitment period obligations under the Kyoto Protocol to maintain its average emissions at 1990 levels during the period 2008 to 2012. In fact, New Zealand is expected to exceed its commitment.
Grant Robertson: Is the Ministry for the Environment correct when it estimates that the direct cost to the taxpayer of the proposed changes in this bill will be $330 million?
Hon SIMON BRIDGES: We do not see, actually, that amount of money as a revenue stream. In fact, what it is was the accounting by officials going forward of revenue coming to the Crown. Well, that is not the situation.
Grant Robertson: I seek leave of the House to table a Cabinet paper from the office of the Minister for Climate Change Issues, which includes a table on the net fiscal impact of the proposed policy changes showing a $330 million impact.
Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that document. Is there any objection? There is no objection. Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.
Grant Robertson: Why is he prepared to see ordinary New Zealanders pay their share of carbon costs through petrol and electricity prices, but under this legislation gives polluters an indefinite 90 percent subsidy on their emissions, at a cost of $330 million to those ordinary taxpayers?
Hon SIMON BRIDGES: We do not view this as a subsidy—we do not agree with the characterisation there—but the fact of the matter is that we have made a judgment that, actually, we live in very fragile economic conditions globally, and that it is not right to heap costs on to business and households at this time.
Grant Robertson: Mr Speaker—[Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I want to hear the question. I say to members, please, the noise is unreasonable. Grant Robertson.
Grant Robertson: Has the Minister spoken to the chair of the select committee today, who drew into question Dr Jan Wright’s independence and impartiality—
Hon Member: No, he didn’t.
Grant Robertson: —sorry, one of the members of the select committee, who today drew into question the impartiality and independence of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, simply because she had raised concerns that this Government continues to subsidise polluters at the cost of taxpayers?
Mr SPEAKER: In so far as the Minister is responsible, the Hon Simon Bridges.
Hon SIMON BRIDGES: No. Look, the commissioner is entitled to her views, but so are the members on this side of the House.
Welfare Reforms—Investment Approach
5. Hon TAU HENARE (National) to the Minister for Social Development: How will the Government’s investment approach refocus New Zealand’s welfare system?
Hon PAULA BENNETT (Minister for Social Development): Mr Speaker—[Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I want to hear the answer.
Hon PAULA BENNETT: Today we have announced further detail on the Government’s investment approach to welfare. Our reforms will fundamentally change the way welfare is delivered. We are applying an investment approach to understand where best to target support, looking at each individual on a benefit, given their needs, challenges, and prospects of a quick return to work. To do this, we tasked experts to undertake an actuarial valuation of the welfare system, which shows us the different types of benefits and the effect of policy changes on individuals within the benefit system.
Hon Tau Henare: What does the valuation show about the costs of different types of benefits?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: The valuation shows that the lifetime cost of New Zealand’s current benefit population is $78 billion. This reinforces exactly why we have got to invest in people through a work focus system—so that they do not get caught in the trap of long-term welfare dependency. The valuation tells us that those on unemployment benefits represent just 5 percent of the lifetime cost of welfare—
Andrew Little: What a waste of money!
Hon PAULA BENNETT: —the angrier you get, the less likely you are to win the argument, but that is fine—yet currently they receive the lion’s share of support to get them off welfare and into work, compared with sole parents at 23 percent, those on sickness benefits at 9 percent, and those on invalids benefits at 24 percent.
Sue Moroney: Trying to look busy. Doing nothing about jobs, trying to look busy.
Hon PAULA BENNETT: Opposition members call out, but, actually, although the unemployment benefit did drop under them, we saw the sickness benefit increasing, we saw the invalids benefit increasing, and actually they should be ashamed of what they did for those people in that time.
Hon Tau Henare: How does the valuation support the Government’s changes to the welfare system to date?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: Well, the valuation confirms that our changes to date are focused on the right groups. The group with the highest individual lifetime cost on welfare is those who go on benefits before the age of 18. The valuation shows that just 4,000 16 and 17-year-olds on benefits account for $1 billion of the lifetime cost. This underlines why the Government’s first stage of welfare reforms was rightly focused on ensuring young people do not become welfare dependent.
Jacinda Ardern: Has anything changed since the Ministry of Social Development in a similar exercise roughly 18 months ago told us that to save money we should invest in the young, the unwell, parents, and those on benefits for longer periods; if not, what has the Australian company Taylor Fry told her that she did not already know?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: Actually, the valuation has given us a lot of things that we did not know. It has taken at least 40 different models of analysing the system, and has come up with a robust piece of data. It has taken more than 20 years of behaviours of beneficiaries to come up with something that will actually give more transparency, or accountability, actually, to New Zealanders on what is working, and what is not, over a long period of time.
Jacinda Ardern: Can she confirm that in the next year superannuation will cost twice as much per annum as all main benefits combined; if so, why will she not address the cost and sustainability of this scheme, or is this about costing what is politically convenient?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: I presume that the member is taking that information in part from the actuarial that was done today that she is now dissing. The facts are that we need to do projections so that we can look at where the spend really is. I do not have a crystal ball to tell me exactly what is
going to happen with benefits, but with the right sorts of interventions we can bring them down and see better results for those people who need them.
Early Childhood Education—Government Policy
6. SUE MORONEY (Labour) to the Minister of Education: What plans does she have to improve the provision of early childhood education?
Hon HEKIA PARATA (Minister of Education): Tēnā koe, Mr Speaker. First, early childhood education is provided by organisations licensed by the Government to do so. Second, this Government has invested $1.3 billion in early childhood education in Budget 2012-13. Third, we have set a Better Public Services target that 98 percent of all new entrants will have participated in quality early childhood education by 2016. Fourth, we are building an early learning information system so that we can better understand who and where our earliest learners are, so that we can better target to their needs. Fifth, I have established an Early Childhood Education Task Force in the Ministry of Education that is right now working with communities to raise participation in early childhood education. Sixth, I have made it clear to existing providers, by increasing the targeted equity funding to $47.9 million, that they must gear up their efforts to engage and retain those who have lower participation rates. Seventh, we have set aside $19.1 million to support Māori-medium early childhood education provision. Eighth, I have prioritised developing models that work for Pasifika communities—
Hon David Parker: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. My point of order is that I think that by the time the list gets to eight, if it was a question, the member asking the question would have been already stood down.
Mr SPEAKER: I am not unsympathetic to the member’s point that the answer was taking a long time. As I sought to stop the Minister in my mind, I relooked at the question, and it asked what plans the Minister has. It says: “What plans does she have to improve the provision of early childhood education?”. It is a fairly open question. The discipline on the Minister is that everything she has raised is now open to questioning.
Hon David Parker: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. For that to be symmetrical, we would have to be able to ask questions that long, putting that many issues to a Minister. Given that Ministers are required only to answer one part of the question, that would be wasting the House’s time, just as that answer did.
Hon HEKIA PARATA: The question is actually framed as a plural. I was not asked “what plan”; I was asked “what plans”. I was doing my very best to answer all of those, and I had only one more point.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I just ask the House, and Ministers also, to be a little bit reasonable. The question did ask “what plans”, and who is the Speaker to stop a Minister from outlining the plans? That is the dilemma with that kind of question. Had the Minister moved—[Interruption] Order! The House will come to order. The mood today is just unacceptable. It will look so bad on the television—so bad. It will look so bad. Believe me, I watch it all the time, and it will look so bad. I just recommend to the House to please be a little more reasonable.
Sue Moroney: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The question I asked, and it was on notice, specifically asked about plans to improve the provision, and I would point out that most of the list did not, in fact, improve provision.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member just lost a supplementary question, because that was not a point of order.
Sue Moroney: Is she aware that when Ministry of Education official Richard Walley met with the early childhood advisory committee to report on the work of her funding advisory group, he referred to consideration of the funding model used in the tertiary sector, where funding depends on the students’ successful completion of courses and qualifications, for use in early childhood education?
Mr SPEAKER: I call the Hon Hekia Parata. Did the Minister not hear the question clearly? To save time, I invite the member to repeat her question.
Sue Moroney: She is trying to think of an answer now. Is she aware that when Ministry of Education official Richard Walley met with the early childhood advisory committee to report on the work of her funding advisory group, he referred to consideration of the funding model used in the tertiary sector, where funding depends on the students’ successful completion of courses and qualifications, for use in early childhood education?
Hon HEKIA PARATA: No, I was not aware of that.
Hon Clayton Cosgrove: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Can I invite you to reflect on your ruling in respect of Sue Moroney. Another member in this Chamber, Mr Banks, trifled with you. I am not sure whether he is allocated a supplementary question each day. I tried to get that information. You did not embark on any sanctioning on him at all, yet you embarked on sanctioning my colleague and docking a supplementary question. Where is the consistency—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call Sue Moroney, if she has a further supplementary question.
Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I just want to raise an issue with you with regard to a point of order that was raised earlier by David Parker in regard to when Ministers give very, very long answers. We are limited in the number of supplementary questions that we can ask. I appreciate that you have ruled that Sue Moroney’s point of order was unnecessary, but she has only a very limited number of supplementary questions with which she could respond to all of the content that the Minister raised. I just ask you to reconsider the reasonableness of that.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! And I invite the member to reflect on the fact that when the Minister did not hear the member’s question clearly, I invited the member to repeat her question so it could be heard clearly. The member chose, after I had already deducted a supplementary question, to make an unhelpful comment when repeating her question. I did nothing about that, because I had already taken action against the member. All members seem to think that I am being unfair on their side. The only conclusion that I can arrive at is that I am probably am about—[Interruption] Well, let me be blunt. If the Labour Party feels I have been tough on it today, some of the interjections I have had to tolerate today coming across from the second bench of the Labour Party have been totally unacceptable. If I hear any more of them today, members will be leaving, because they have been totally outside the Standing Orders. I have chosen to ignore them, because I do not want to be seen to be picking on one side of the House, but you know that what is good for the goose has got to be good for the gander. I am not going to tolerate any more nonsense on this.
Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think you are reflecting on me, and I just ask you what options there are for Labour members when Government Ministers make up Labour policy—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! This is not a point of order, and I—even though it is not a point of order at this stage in the proceedings, I do hear what the member is saying. I will try to make sure that I deal with that. There was one instance today, I do accept, where I did not deal with it, and I should have.
Hon Clayton Cosgrove: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am sorry to frustrate you, but we are entitled in this place to take points of order. Could I invite you to reflect on your previous ruling. You said that there had been two transgressions by my colleague Sue Moroney, but your ruling in respect of a supplementary question deduction happened before the second transgression. So my question to you simply is this: in the case of Mr Banks, you did nothing, and in the case of Sue Moroney—and I would argue that Mr Banks trifled with you—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! Look, I have dealt with this matter. I will not tolerate any more such nonsense. The Speaker has absolute control over supplementary questions. We will get on with question time.
Sue Moroney: Why, when asked if national standards were being considered for early childhood education, did her Ministry official reply “Not yet.”?
Hon HEKIA PARATA: First of all, I do not know whether my Ministry official did reply to that in that way—[Interruption] I do not know that to be the case. I was not present. I do not know which official—I did not hear it. I cannot answer for that official.
Sue Moroney: Is—[Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I want to hear this—[Interruption] Order! Now Government members are not helping. I want to hear this supplementary question.
Sue Moroney: Is her assurance that exams for 3 and 4-year-old children are not on her agenda just as reassuring as the previous Minister Anne Tolley’s assurances before the election that league tables were not on her agenda?
Hon HEKIA PARATA: What is on my agenda in early childhood education is that 98 percent of all new entrants will have participated in quality early childhood education by 2016. They will be able to go to school having completed the Te Whāriki curriculum, where they are competent, confident, socially engaged, and ready to learn. This is in a context where this Government has increased investment in early childhood education by 34 percent since 2008, where it has become 32 percent more affordable than in 2007, and where enrolments have increased between 2 percent and 4 percent a year—nearly 10 percent in total—since 2008.
Sue Moroney: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. [Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! A point of order has been raised.
Sue Moroney: I seek leave to table the newsletter of the New Zealand Childcare Association, Te Tari Puna Ora o Aotearoa, dated 5 September, to its membership, informing its membership of those comments from the ministry officials.
Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that document. Is there any objection? There is no objection. Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.
Mr SPEAKER: Question No. 7, David Bennett.
Melissa Lee: Supplementary. Supplementary.
Mr SPEAKER: Supplementary question—I have already called question No. 7. The member should have got to her feet sooner. David Bennett, question No. 7.
Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The member was trying. I mean, it might have been that you were not looking for her, but she was on her feet, even if she was not as loud as some of us are.
Mr SPEAKER: I appreciate the member’s care. He may have noticed that the supplementary questions have now been balanced up. Question No. 7, David Bennett.
Business Research and Development—Government Initiatives
7. DAVID BENNETT (National—Hamilton East) to the Minister of Science and
Innovation: What new investment is the Government making in innovation and high-value manufacturing?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE (Minister of Science and Innovation): Today I announced that 31 projects at universities, Crown research institutes, and private research organisations have been awarded research grants in the high-value manufacturing sector. The 31 projects range from medical technologies like early cancer detection to nanotechnology insulation and cryogenic refrigeration. The $92 million for the projects over 6 years is the second tranche of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s 2012 science investment round, and follows the $133 million in science research grants that I announced last month.
David Bennett: What other investment has the Government made to encourage innovation and high-value manufacturing?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: The research grant funding announced today is in addition to the $115 million the Government has invested this year in research and development co-funding for business.
In addition to that, in July the Prime Minister and I announced the establishment of the Advanced Technology Institute, which will be named after the late Sir Paul Callaghan. The Advanced Technology Institute will be a one-stop shop to help hi-tech and high-value manufacturing firms become more competitive and get New Zealand’s best ideas out of the lab and into the market place faster. Legislation to establish the Advanced Technology Institute was tabled in the House this week, and we are hoping it will receive its first reading shortly.
Accident Compensation Corporation—Consultation on Bid for Wiri Prison Contract
8. CHARLES CHAUVEL (Labour) to the Minister for ACC: What consultation took place between her and ACC, or between her predecessor and ACC, over ACC becoming a member of the consortium that bid successfully to build New Zealand’s first public-private partnership prison at Wiri?
Hon JUDITH COLLINS (Minister for ACC): There was no consultation between me and ACC over this investment decision. I checked with ACC and with my predecessor, and I am advised that there was no consultation between Dr Nick Smith and ACC over the decision. However, Dr Smith was notified prior to the announcement of the decision by ACC, on a nosurprises basis, of ACC’s decision.
Charles Chauvel: Is she concerned about the risks to ACC’s investment in Wiri, given the widespread opposition to the private operation of prisons amongst the public and across at least half the political parties represented in this House?
Hon JUDITH COLLINS: No.
Charles Chauvel: Is she aware, specifically or generally, of the terms of the contract between the Department of Corrections and the consortium; if so, how; and if not, how can she be so confident about ACC’s risk position?
Hon JUDITH COLLINS: No, I do not have those details.
Charles Chauvel: Does she have a view, in light of reports that the contract is worth nearly $1 billion and of a duration of over 30 years, on the appropriateness, given the extent of public investment in the consortium, of keeping most of its terms secret from the New Zealand public?
Hon JUDITH COLLINS: Well, I do not think that is really a matter for ACC. But I would say that I thought that that member was actually in favour of Government investment in infrastructure such as prisons, and I would have thought that ACC was clearly one of those Government investors.
9. Dr CAM CALDER (National) to the Minister of Corrections: What progress has been made on the new prison to be built at Wiri?
Hon ANNE TOLLEY (Minister of Corrections): Yesterday a contract was finalised, allowing the Secure Future Consortium to design, build, operate, and maintain the new, 960-bed publicprivate partnership prison at Wiri. The new prison will deliver value for taxpayers and support the Government in reaching the target of a 25 percent reduction in reoffending by 2017. The 25-year contract is worth approximately $840 million, which is 17 percent less than if the prison was procured through conventional means, representing a $170 million saving for taxpayers.
Dr Cam Calder: What impact will the construction of the new prison have on the Greater Auckland economy?
Hon ANNE TOLLEY: The new prison will provide a huge boost to the Auckland economy. This is a very significant infrastructure project that will see up to a thousand workers involved in the construction of the prison over the next 2 years, and the ongoing running of the prison will create about 300 permanent jobs. In addition, the prison’s ongoing maintenance and management will inject millions of dollars into the Greater Auckland economy ever year.
Ross Sea Marine Protected Area, Proposal—Effect on Toothfish Catch
10. GARETH HUGHES (Green) to the Minister of Foreign Affairs: What advice has he received on how New Zealand’s Ross Sea Marine Protected Area proposal would have affected the percentage of the toothfish catch landed by New Zealand fishers in the last three years?
Hon MURRAY McCULLY (Minister of Foreign Affairs): The total allowable catch for the toothfish fishery in the Ross Sea region will not change as a result of a marine protected area. I have been advised that the New Zealand Ross Sea Marine Protected Area proposal would change the location in which fish are caught, but not necessarily the total amount of fish that New Zealand fishers would catch.
Gareth Hughes: Is it correct, then, that 84 percent of the historical catch has been from areas that his plan leaves wide open to further fishing?
Hon MURRAY McCULLY: I am informed that if you take a historical average over the last 10 years, then approximately 16 percent of the catch would have been in the area in the proposed marine protected area—the proposal put forward by New Zealand. So, on that basis, the member’s assertion would be correct, yes.
Gareth Hughes: Does the Minister stand by his comment made in the film The Last Ocean, about the Ross Sea, that he wanted New Zealand to be a conservation leader; if so, why did Cabinet reject the stronger protection proposal developed with the US Government?
Hon MURRAY McCULLY: The submission of a marine protected area proposal is merely the start of a process, not the end of it. Amongst the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources nations that will deal with the proposals, there are 25 countries represented, with a diverse range of interests. Some are more heavily emphasising science and conservation interests; others are more focused on national fisheries concerns. I suggest to the member that if a proposal advances any one of those considerations to the exclusion or disbenefit of others, then it is quite likely there will be no marine protected area agreed upon at all, and that is the real risk we now confront.
Gareth Hughes: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. It was a pretty clear question. I asked why Cabinet rejected working with the US, which is what the Government has been doing for the last few years. I specifically asked: “Why did Cabinet reject the stronger protection proposal developed with the US Government?”.
Mr SPEAKER: I thought I heard an explanation. I believe I heard an explanation. A number of reasons were given there.
Gareth Hughes: Did he simply draw a line around the main toothfish area and draw a line around the biodiversity hot spots, and is his plan not simply a fishing industry protection plan, and not really a marine protection plan?
Hon MURRAY McCULLY: Can I assure the member and the House that I left the drawing of lines, as he puts it, to people with significantly greater knowledge and qualifications than I possess myself. Can I repeat the comment I have just made, which is that the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources process involves 25 different nations. There will be those who want to emphasise scientific considerations, particularly science research, those who want to put a stronger focus on conservation, and those who are more interested in the fisheries outcomes. Any attempt to focus exclusively on one of those is likely to lead to no agreement amongst those 25 countries. New Zealand has sought to take forward a proposal that captures the best prospects of seeing an agreement made.
Gareth Hughes: I seek leave to table two maps produced by the Antarctic Ocean Alliance, which show the Government’s proposal, where the biodiversity is, and where the fishing occurs, and the fact that they do not mix.
Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table those two documents. Is there any objection? There is no objection.
Documents, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.
Exchange Rate—Prime Minister’s Statements
11. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First) to the Minister of Finance: What did he mean when he said that there is a “level of discomfort about the high level of the New Zealand dollar” in answer to Oral Question No 2 yesterday?
Hon BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Finance): I meant what I said.
Mr SPEAKER: Before I go to the Rt Hon Winston Peters, for a primary question I think it is not an acceptable answer to say: “I meant what I said.” The question asked what he meant when he said that, and I think some explanation is not unreasonable.
Hon BILL ENGLISH: What I said yesterday was there is a level of discomfort about the high level of the New Zealand dollar. That put it about as accurately as I could have at the time, and I have no further explanation despite your wish for one.
Mr SPEAKER: What would be a little bit helpful would be to hear who has the level of discomfort.
Hon Gerry Brownlee: No, he didn’t ask that.
Mr SPEAKER: No, order! The question asked what did he mean by—[Interruption] Order! You know, it is a primary question. The question asked about his saying there is level of discomfort. Is the member saying that he has a level of discomfort? The primary question asked for an expansion on that answer, and I think the House does deserve an expansion on that answer from the Minister of Finance in answering a primary question.
Hon BILL ENGLISH: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am in a difficult position because I have no expansion on it. I made that comment. We could get into theories about exchange rates and adjustments. We could get into what “discomfort” might or might not mean. But I do not have any extra thing to say on it that will assist the member. I am happy to assist him if he has some other question, but, in response to that question, that actually sums up the Government’s position about the New Zealand dollar.
Mr SPEAKER: So the Minister has explained that the Government has a level of discomfort. [Interruption] I am being serious here. This is a primary question on the Order Paper to the Minister of Finance.
Hon Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. If you are going to go down this track, then you would need to put in front of you the question that was asked yesterday that elicited that answer, because I think then it would be seen that the answer given by the Hon Bill English was perfectly reasonable and should have been abundantly clear.
Mr SPEAKER: That might be the member’s view, but the primary question was asked, and it is not acceptable simply to answer a primary question with “I meant what I said.”, when the answer that was referred to was simply a level of discomfort about the high level of the New Zealand dollar. There is a genuine interest in this issue. I believe that this House deserves better from the Minister of Finance. I expect the Minister of Finance to be able to answer that primary question and expand a little on those words. I am not asking for more than a little further explanation of what he meant by that.
Hon BILL ENGLISH: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I object to being forced by the Speaker to give an answer more than what I am willing, able, and can justify giving. I have never seen this happen in the House before. The member asked a question, which I thought was not that sensible a question, because I said—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member cannot do that. I accept that if the Minister is invoking the public interest, if he does not believe that it is in the public interest to expand further on that answer, I fully accept that—I fully accept that. But the question was accepted as being in order, and therefore, being a primary question, there were several hours to prepare an answer to it— and it is on an issue of significant public interest. I believe that the House does deserve an answer. If it is not
in the public interest to expand on that answer, I am absolutely prepared to accept that. If that is the Minister’s position, I fully accept that.
Dr Russel Norman: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am sorry but I do not believe that the Minister made any claims that it was not in the public interest to answer the question. I accept you may be trying to interpolate that, but I think actually we need to hear from the Minister. If he is arguing it is not in the public interest to answer, I believe he needs to say that.
Mr SPEAKER: I interpreted what he said as alleging it was not in the public interest to expand further on that answer.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I have been unusually restrained on this matter, as you will have been well aware. But does this mean that henceforth any Minister can get up and take the Minister of Finance’s view that all he has to do is use the word “discomfort” and refuse to explain what it means to anybody—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! This is not really a point of order. This is now getting into the Minister’s answer. The member has seen me attempt to elicit an answer to a primary question. I have interpreted what the Minister has said as that in his view it is not in the public interest to expand further on that particular answer. The member can dig into that further with the supplementary questions he has.
Dr Russel Norman: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I do not believe that is actually what is happening here. The Minister is simply refusing to answer the question under your direction. He is not claiming a public interest defence.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member is not particularly helping the order of the House. He has seen me push a Minister harder than he has seen any other Speaker ever push a Minister. If he wants the Speaker to continue to actually try to elicit answers from Ministers, then it is not very helpful to take this line.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Does his answer to my primary question mean that he and his ministry, after 3½ hours, cannot tell us whether or not the level of discomfort includes his concern that the dollar might be overvalued?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: No, it does not mean that. What the answer to the question means is that, as the Government has said quite often, we would prefer the level of the dollar to be lower. That would make it easier to rebalance the economy. However, on the other hand, it would, if it was lower, reduce the standard of living of New Zealand households. Either way, we cannot influence the level of the dollar directly, and we are getting on with helping our exporters be more competitive, because, unlike the Opposition, we do not think we can choose the level of the exchange rate.
Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I accept that you provided quite a lot of assistance in trying to get the answer to the primary question, and the Minister did not answer. But the answer that he has just given effectively could have been the answer to the first question—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! No, this is unhelpful to the progress of the House.
Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think my colleague, in a way that he should not have, has interjected that you did not hear the point of order, and I think it would have been appropriate to hear it. Mr Speaker, you interpreted that the Minister had said it was not in the public interest. Our view is that your interpretation was wrong. That has just been confirmed by the Minister answering in a way that he should have originally.
Mr SPEAKER: I will hear the honourable Bill English.
Hon BILL ENGLISH: I am just trying to assist the progress of the House. There is not much point in our having a long debate about the answer to the first question. I gave you a point of view about that, the member asked another question, and I could easily have got up and just said “No” and sat back down, but I do not think that would have assisted the progress of the House. I do not think there is a lot of point in our going back and litigating that. I am happy to answer the question the member asked.
Mr SPEAKER: And, indeed, the question was a slightly different question.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: If, as he says—and I quote him—he “would prefer the dollar to be lower”, how lower does he prefer it to be?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: I do not have in mind, and I do not think anyone has in mind, a particular level. All the measures of relative values of the New Zealand dollar show that by historical standards it is at high levels. If it was 75c in the US dollar, that would be easier. If it was 70c it would be even easier for exporters, but bear in mind that would also mean a reduction in living standards for New Zealanders. As I said before, either way, we cannot pick the exchange rate. We do not try to pick the exchange rate. We get on with making our exporters as competitive as they possibly can be.
Dr Russel Norman: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Minister has once again given an answer that could have been given to the primary question. I would argue that he has defied you in not answering the primary question, because you interpreted that he was acting—you said that it was not in the public interest. It—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! This is not helpful to the order of the House. The Speaker makes his judgments, and that matter is now dealt with. We are getting answers to the supplementary questions, and I think that is good progress for the House.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Given that he had 3½ hours to answer the primary question and about 3 seconds to answer the supplementary questions today, does he consider his assessment of the situation to be better than that of the IMF, which has said the dollar needs to be about—
Hon Steven Joyce: Better than John Walley’s.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: There is only one wally around here, and I am looking at him.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! Members should know the mood the House is in today. It is unhelpful to make any kind of interjection like that. The Rt Hon Winston Peters please to ask his supplementary question.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Given that he had 3½ hours to prepare the primary question’s answer and 3 seconds to answer the supplementary questions, does he consider his assessment of the situation to be better than that of the IMF, which has said the dollar needs to be about 15 percent weaker than its current level, or the Prime Minister’s statement on 17 April that “We’ve been overvalued for a few days.”, when the New Zealand dollar was trading at US82c, the same level it is at now?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: I do not believe that my assessment is better than others’, but I think it is about as good.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: When he told Radio Live on Monday that the Reserve Bank “would be looking to intervene”, did he mean to say he supports the dollar reflecting New Zealand’s economic fundamentals, or what did he mean?
Mr SPEAKER: Could I ask the right honourable member please to repeat his question. It just was not heard clearly. If the member could repeat his supplementary question.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Perhaps you could turn it on again, so I can print it off.
Mr SPEAKER: Order!
Rt Hon Winston Peters: When he told Radio Live on Monday that the Reserve Bank—and I quote him—“would be looking to intervene”, did he mean to say he, as the Minister of Finance, supports our dollar reflecting New Zealand’s economic fundamentals; if not, what did he mean?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: I was asked a question about the speculation by some trader that the kiwi could go to US90c, and I pointed out that if it looked like that was happening, based on historical experience the Reserve Bank might look to intervene. But, then, that is ultimately a matter for it. In respect of the fundamentals of the New Zealand economy, we are fundamentally a bit more sound at the moment than a lot of other developed economies. That is one reason the dollar is a bit higher. If we continue to perform in the way we are, with growth of 2 percent to 3 percent, that will
put us in a pretty special group of developed economies. That level of performance is likely to keep the dollar somewhere around where it is.
Hon David Parker: And still we get poorer. And still we get poorer.
Hon BILL ENGLISH: What we need to do is make our exporters as competitive as possible, so that regardless of the level of the dollar they can be profitable. And, by the way, the way to get poorer is actually to devalue by 20 percent, as the Labour Party is advocating.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] No. Order! The Minister cannot allege policies to another party.
Accident Compensation Corporation Board—Appointments
12. ANDREW LITTLE (Labour) to the Minister for ACC: Does she stand by her statement that recent appointments to the board of ACC “underline the Government’s commitment to genuine culture change, and will lead to a more balanced and comprehensive approach to the governance and operation of ACC”?
Hon JUDITH COLLINS (Minister for ACC): Yes.
Andrew Little: What culture change is she expecting from the appointment of Trevor Janes, who was a director of Capital and Merchant Finance in August 2006, when the board of that company signed off a prospectus so fraudulent that three other directors were recently sentenced to the harshest jail terms ever in New Zealand for corporate fraud as a result, and over which Mr Janes took no action in the form of whistle-blowing or other protection of investors’ interests and merely resigned after the damage was done?
Hon JUDITH COLLINS: Mr Janes has had nothing to do with the matters that have been before the court, as that member well knows.
Andrew Little: In light of the New Zealand Institute of Directors’ practice note No. 4, dated 7 September 2012, entitled “Lessons learned from the ‘hands-off’ approach to governance” and containing the advice “A director must not abdicate responsibility” and the further advice that directors have a high level of responsibility “not only about what they know, but about what they ought reasonably to have known.”, will she reconsider Mr Janes’ appointment?
Hon JUDITH COLLINS: Certainly not.
Andrew Little: I seek leave to table practice note No. 4 from the New Zealand Institute of Directors on the matter just referred to.