Questions and Answers - July 31
QUESTIONS TO MINISTERS
Cost of Living—Reports
1. SHANE ARDERN (National—Taranaki - King Country) to the Minister of Finance: What reports has he received on trends in the cost of living for New Zealand families?
Hon BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Finance): Statistics New Zealand recently issued the Consumers Price Index for the June quarter. It showed consumer prices increased 0.2 percent in the 3 months to 30 June, following a 0.4 percent rise in the March quarter. In the year to June consumer prices rose by 0.7 percent, the lowest annual increase in the cost of living for nearly 14 years, and a fourth annual increase below 1 percent. The output for inflation remains subdued. The pressure on families from inflation and interest rates is likely to be moderate rather than significant, with interest rates sitting near 50-year lows. Many households are still dealing with the challenges and the aftermath of the recession, including the need to reduce their household debt.
Shane Ardern: What were some of the factors contributing to the low rate of consumer price inflation in the June quarter?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: In any given quarter, there are prices going up and prices going down. Petrol prices in that quarter fell 2.5 percent; since then they have increased. Fruit prices fell 4.5 percent, while both new and second-hand car prices fell by 1.9 percent and 1 percent respectively. On the other hand, vegetable prices rose 7 percent in the June quarter. However, overall consumer inflation remains low by historical standards. It is certainly better than late 2008 when the Government took office, when annual inflation was running at 5 percent. It is now currently running at 0.7 percent.
Shane Ardern: What contribution did electricity prices make to the latest consumer price data, and how does this compare with the trend in electricity prices in previous years?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: Statistics New Zealand reported that electricity prices increased by 3.4 percent for the year, although it is worth noting that prices are normally revised in the June quarter. This reflects, in part, increased transmission prices to pay for the long-overdue upgrade of the national grid, an upgrade initiated by the previous Government. The increase in electricity prices should be seen in the context of low overall inflation—that is, when the basket of goods and services purchased by the household is taken into account, including electricity, inflation was 0.7 percent for the year. Market expectations are for wholesale electricity prices to fall in the next few years—that is, the wholesale prices. For example, using the CPI measure, electricity prices jumped more than 60 percent in the 9 years the Labour Party was in office—over 7 percent per year, year on year, for 9 years. Now we are meant to believe it knows how to lower prices.
Hon David Parker: Does the Consumers Price Index show the rapid increase in second-hand house prices, where in Auckland we have double-digit—
Hon Steven Joyce: What’s a second-hand house, you clown?
Hon David Parker: A second-hand house is not a new one, you clown. [Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! Would the member please continue. If he wishes to start his question, he is welcome to do so.
Hon David Parker: Thank you. Is the Minister aware that the Consumers Price Index does not include the price of second-hand houses, which are increasing in Auckland at a rate of more than 10 percent per annum?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: I am aware of that. I am also aware that for a number of reasons, including the Government’s management of its own finances, interest rates have been at 40-year lows, which has enabled families to get their debt down and, in some cases, to trade up in their houses. We also know that the single biggest influence on reducing the rate of increase of house prices in Auckland and everywhere else is to increase the supply of new houses to the market. We look forward to the support of the Labour Party for the legislation that is going to allow us to do that coming through this House in the next few weeks.
Shane Ardern: What do the latest statistics show about the growth in wages compared with changes in the cost of living?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: The quarterly employment survey from Statistics New Zealand shows that the average full-time weekly wage rose 2.5 percent in the year to March, compared with inflation of 0.9 percent in the year to March. Over the last 2 years the average wage rose 5.9 percent, compared with inflation of 2.4 percent. Every family, of course, has its own particular circumstances, but it is clear that on average wages have been rising significantly faster than the cost of living.
2. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First) to the Prime Minister: Does he have confidence in the Minister of Immigration?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Does he have confidence in the Minister of Immigration, when he said on 28 March 2013 that “parent numbers from China have halved.”?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes, in the context that he made it.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: How can he have confidence in that statement when, in fact, all that the Minister of Immigration has done is stockpile over 5,500 parent applications from China in an effort to conceal real parent reunion numbers from China?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Well, I would reject the proposition that the Minister is trying to conceal anything.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Why would the Prime Minister reject the statement about the Minister attempting to conceal the true numbers of applications when, in fact, from Statistics New Zealand and Immigration New Zealand there is all the evidence that there is a stockpile now of 5,500, enabling the Minister to say that the application numbers are halved? How can he, in other words, express confidence in a Minister overseeing a department that engages in such duplicitous behaviour?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Well, I would have to see all of the data and the specifics the member is referring to. If he wants a specific question answered, he really should put it down for the Minister directly himself.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Why does the Prime Minister not like answering for a Minister when he has full confidence that he is telling Parliament the truth? In fact, when the Minister looks at this chart I am holding, showing the Chinese outstanding stockpiled numbers, he will know—
Hon Member: A bit hard to see, Winston.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Beg your pardon?
Mr SPEAKER: Order!
Rt Hon Winston Peters: He will know that the figures being given are not correct, and when did he learn about that, if not just 5 minutes ago?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: The member, if he has a specific beef with the particular numbers that a Minister has produced relative to other data, is really better to either put that down in the primary question, in which case I can answer that for him, or give it to the Minister in question, who will have that there.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I asked the Prime Minister whether he had confidence in his Minister of Immigration. He said he did, and now he is not wanting to answer the questions on this issue. I assume that his confidence was based on some fact, rather than just to make it up as you go along.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! As a way forward I would like the member to re-ask his last supplementary question.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: When did he, as Prime Minister, learn that the Minister of Immigration was overseeing a department deliberately stockpiling parent category numbers from China, as these charts show, and—
Hon Steven Joyce: Another one of your accusations without any facts.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: —“Big Ears”—is the answer “5 minutes ago”?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: The member is making a claim that I cannot be sure is accurate, and on that basis I am not prepared to answer it.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: I seek leave to table from the Parliamentary Library the June 2011 figures by nationality, the June 2012 figures by nationality, the June 2013 figures by nationality, and then the pending application chart, also prepared by the Parliamentary Library.
Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table those particular charts produced by the Parliamentary Library. Is there any objection to that course of action? There appears to be none. They can be tabled. Documents, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.
Prime Minister—Chief of Staff
3. DAVID SHEARER (Leader of the Opposition) to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his statement that “when my Chief of Staff speaks to someone, they speak for me”?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes.
David Shearer: Did his chief of staff ask Parliamentary Service for information on, or records of, phone calls from the parliamentary precinct, as part of the Henry review?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I think it is important, for the record, just to relay what my chief of staff did. So effectively there are two things. Mr Eagleson emailed the offices of the Ministers who had received the report to inform them that on my wishes they should comply with the inquiry, and, secondly, on 9 May he emailed Geoff Thorn at Parliamentary Service to confirm that I wished him to make available the inquiry records in relation to Ministers and their staff. At no point did he ask for information about journalists. That would not have been appropriate or right. He did not do so, and nor did the inquiry want that information.
David Shearer: Under what authority was Wayne Eagleson operating when he contacted Parliamentary Service asking for phone and email records to be released?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: In two areas. The first was that I had issued terms of reference for the inquiry, which were put into the public domain, and, secondly, on the basis that he had written to those individual Ministers requiring and telling them and their staff to comply with my wishes. He was making sure that Parliamentary Service understood that.
David Shearer: Why was it not the function of the Henry inquiry to do that, which he himself had set up?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: The Henry inquiry followed the broad parameters that were established by me, but my chief of staff made sure that all of my Ministers and their staff understood that it was our expectation that they would comply.
David Shearer: Who asked Parliamentary Service for a log of Andrea Vance’s phone calls to Ministers from her parliamentary extension to be released to the Henry inquiry?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Nobody. So—[Interruption]—nobody. And the paper trail—
Hon Member: He’s lying.
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Well, actually, funnily enough, buggerlugs, I am not, but anyway. [Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Prime Minister will continue with the answer, please.
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I am more than happy to show the email traffic that supports the view of the Government. What is clear is that the administrator of the inquiry emailed the Parliamentary Service and said in the email: “We are interested in any contact between the Ministers’ personal landlines and these numbers.” They were the numbers in relation to the journalists. What then came back were two reports. The first of those reports was, in fact, the phone numbers made to the journalist or sent back the other way. There was nothing in that report. A second report was also sent, which was the phone records of the journalist. I quote from the inquiry administrator when he received that information: “Many thanks for this. Let’s be clear, we did not request the second report you’ve attached here, i.e., the one showing all calls to and from the numbers of interest. We are not interested in looking at that.” They received it, they never looked at it, they never in any way accessed it, and they rejected the fact that it should have been sent to them.
David Shearer: Just to clarify, in the light of what he just read out, does “contact between” not mean both parties in terms of the contact between both Andrea Vance and the Ministers?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: What it means is not the journalist’s records. It means the phone contact between the Minister and the journalist.
David Shearer: What role did the Government Communications Security Bureau play in the Henry inquiry?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Well, the inquiry reported to the head of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the director of the Government Communications Security Bureau because it was in relation to the leaking of the Kitteridge report. To the best of my knowledge that is the only role that it played.
David Shearer: Given that the Henry report said that the bureau played “a substantial role, particularly in the gathering of records”, as the Minister responsible, can he tell the public exactly what that role was?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I have absolutely no clue what the member is quoting from or in relation to, but he is probably mixing up things, as he often does—
Mr SPEAKER: Order!
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: The reality is, as a summary, that the terms of the inquiry were set up by me. The person who conducted the inquiry was Mr Henry, with an assistant. To the best of my knowledge he carried out all of the work to look at that and ultimately wrote the report that went to those two individuals who had, effectively, commissioned it.
David Shearer: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Prime Minister doubted what I was saying and where I was quoting it from. I was actually quoting it from appendix 3, the processes used—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! If the member is seeking leave to table a document, that may—
David Shearer: Could I seek leave to table this report that actually indicates that.
Mr SPEAKER: I think that on this occasion leave is sought. Is there any objection to the tabling of that particular document? There appears to be none. It can be tabled. Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.
David Shearer: Is any information, including phone records and emails obtained in the course of the Henry inquiry, being held by the Government Communications Security Bureau or any other intelligence agency?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No, not to the best of my recall.
David Shearer: Will the questions about the involvement of the bureau in this particular issue, plus the allegations of the journalist Jon Stephenson, plus the multiple objections by submitters on the Government Communications Security Bureau bill make the Prime Minister reconsider passing the bill and instead have an independent inquiry?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: The Government Communications Security Bureau, for the purpose of clarity, did not play a role in gathering information or storing information. What the bureau made clear, and why it is in that report, is who, on the bureau side, received the report.
Hon David Parker: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Prime Minister, in reading from the email earlier, was quoting an official document. I would ask that he table it.
Mr SPEAKER: Was the Prime Minister reading from an official document?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes, I was.
Mr SPEAKER: Then will the Prime Minister so table it.
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I will. I seek leave to table the document.
Mr SPEAKER: There is no need for leave. Document laid on the Table of the House.
Government Communications Security Bureau, Review of Compliance—Actions of
Investigation into Leak
4. Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader—Green) to the Prime Minister: Does he take responsibility for the actions of the David Henry inquiry?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): The inquiry reported to the Chief Executive of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Director of the Government Communications Security Bureau. I had no involvement in it while it was under way, which is entirely appropriate. However, I did ask for the inquiry to be set up, and agreed the terms of reference, so I do take responsibility for the inquiry.
Dr Russel Norman: Does the Prime Minister, then, take responsibility for the fact that his inquiry, acting under his mandate, asked for and received Fairfax journalist Andrea Vance’s building access records?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I think we have made it quite clear that in no way was the inquiry set up on a basis to access the records of a journalist.
Dr Russel Norman: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. My question was whether he takes responsibility for it. I think that is a pretty straightforward question.
Mr SPEAKER: Would the member please repeat the question, for the benefit of the Prime Minister.
Dr Russel Norman: Does the Prime Minister take responsibility for the fact that his inquiry, acting under his mandate, asked for and received Fairfax journalist Andrea Vance’s building access records?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No, and the reason for that is that the inquiry at no point asked for a journalist’s records, either access records or phone records.
Grant Robertson: Yes, they did.
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No, it did not. And what has been made quite clear is, not only did it not ask for it—because those terms of reference were in the public domain, so every member of this House, every journalist, and every member of the public had the right to see and did see, if they chose to, what those terms of reference were—but when inappropriate information was sent to the
inquiry, what ultimately happened, of course, was that the inquiry itself fully understood its mandate, and never accessed that emailed information; in fact, it attempted to reject it.
Dr Russel Norman: Is the Prime Minister aware that in the answer he just gave he said that the Henry inquiry did not access Andrea Vance’s building access records, and does he wish to correct that answer?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: That is not right. What I am saying is that that was not part of the mandate, and when I was made aware of that I made it quite clear how strongly I felt in opposition to that.
Dr Russel Norman: Given that it was his inquiry, established under his authority—and regardless of how he may view the actions of Mr Henry, none the less it was under his authority— and that under that inquiry this journalist had her activities monitored, her movements around the building monitored, will he apologise to Andrea Vance?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I have made it quite clear that I find the actions that took place with regard to this totally inappropriate. I made that clear quite some weeks ago. But I also make it quite clear that at no point did the terms of reference indicate that a journalist’s activities were part of this, and if they were, then the member himself would have said something about it and members of the media would have said something about it. Nobody understood it to include journalists. Neither did the inquiry itself, because when inappropriate information was sent to it, it said “We did not request the second report you attached here, i.e., the one showing all calls from the numbers of interest. We are not interested in looking at it.”, and I am advised that the administrator who got that information never accessed it itself, so it was never accessed by anybody.
Dr Russel Norman: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The nub of my question—which I do not believe the Prime Minister addressed—was whether he would apologise for the fact that the Henry inquiry accessed the journalist’s building access records. That is the question.
Mr SPEAKER: I accept the point that the member is raising in that the Prime Minister did not directly address whether he would apologise, but he gave a very substantial answer as to why he felt, because the building access was not part of the terms of reference, that he did not have to. I think the member’s question has been adequately addressed.
Dr Russel Norman: In light of the email that the Prime Minister has read to us earlier today, which described the request from the Henry inquiry, which was of a form that it was requesting the telephone records that showed the contact between Andrea Vance and Peter Dunne, does he therefore take responsibility for the fact that Henry ended up with Vance’s phone logs?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I made it quite clear that there is no way that those phone records should have been sent. Our office was not aware that they had been sent until we saw the information on Friday. In relation to the logs of people moving around the buildings, if you go back to looking at the terms of the inquiry, it says it “will include reviewing communications and copying equipment and records, log books and any other material considered relevant of the persons” or their offices who were likely to have access to the compliance review report. That was read by Mr Henry as likely to be Andrea Vance, and so, on that basis, he did request that. I have made it clear that I think that that is wrong. I do not think he should have asked for that information.
David Shearer: Does he take responsibility for the email that he has just tabled?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I take responsibility for establishing the inquiry. I think it was quite important that we got to the bottom of the information. I take responsibility for ensuring—I think it was clear to the inquiry, through setting up the mandate, of what was part of the rules and what was not. What I do not take responsibility for is that someone in the Parliamentary Service decided to send information to the administrator, because the administrator of the inquiry never asked for that information. When it was received, they did not want to receive it. They made it quite clear. The email proves that quite specifically.
Dr Russel Norman: Does the Prime Minister accept—[[Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member can start his question.
Dr Russel Norman: Does the Prime Minister accept that a reasonable person receiving the email that he has just tabled and described to us—and accepting his word as an accurate description of that email—requesting, basically, information on the contact between Vance and Dunne, a reasonable response would be that what the inquiry was after were the phone logs on both sides?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No. What I accept is that this was looking at Ministers, or their staff, who had contacted—or the contact between those numbers. That is not the point at issue. What was released was that log, and that log was completely empty. What was also released and should not have been released to the inquiry was all of the contact made by Andrea Vance’s phone records. That was never requested, and should not have been requested.
Dr Russel Norman: So will the Prime Minister accept any responsibility for what has been a significant snafu, in anyone’s vocabulary, and that part of the reason this happened was because the terms of reference that he wrote up were interpreted, according to him, by Henry as giving Henry the authority to go after Vance, both in terms of her building access records—he went after Vance—and then a contractor at the Parliamentary Service received an email from the Henry inquiry that they misinterpreted, according to the Prime Minister, as asking for both sets of logs? That inquiry was established by the Prime Minister—is the Prime Minister not responsible for those actions?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Notwithstanding that that was a speech not a question, let me give this answer. No; and the reason for that is quite clear. I think the terms of reference are clear. They are about the activities of Ministers who received the report and their staff. That is quite clear. There is absolutely no question from this email log that it shows that not only did we understand that, but the people undertaking the inquiry understood that, because they rejected that information. Thirdly, if it was so ambiguous, if it was so unclear, well, the member rates himself as the so-called unofficial Leader of the Opposition, so why did he not pick it up? If it was so unclear, why did every journalist in the building who saw the terms of reference not pick it up? The answer is that it was clear to everyone what we were looking at—Ministers and their staff—and that would be the expectation of any good inquiry.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Could the Prime Minister share with the country when he had exactly this glorious though belated epiphany of conscience that suggests that MPs’ and journalists’ phone records have a certain sanctity of privacy, as was not the case in September 2007 when he and Mr Dunne demanded I give all of my telephone records over to their jacked-up inquiry?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: You know, I do not remember demanding that, but I do remember being interested in getting the answers, and, from memory, we are still waiting.
David Shearer: Is the Prime Minister seriously saying that contact between Ministers and Andrea Vance includes the Ministers’ calls but not Andrea Vance’s calls?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: The email says: “We are interested”—this is actually from the inquiry administrator—“in any contact between the Ministers’ personal landlines and these numbers.” There is nothing in those areas there. That log, as it quite clearly shows, is empty. The point at question is all the other phone calls that were made.
Housing, Affordable—Productivity Commission Report
5. MELISSA LEE (National) to the Minister of Housing: How many findings and recommendations did the Productivity Commission make after its 12 month inquiry into housing affordability and what conclusions did it draw?
Hon Dr NICK SMITH (Minister of Housing): The Productivity Commission made 44 findings and 33 recommendations in its in-depth study of housing costs in New Zealand. The recommendations conclude that the major issues for improving housing affordability are land supply, materials costs, infrastructure costs, building sector productivity, and compliance costs, and the Government is advancing reforms in all five areas. In fact, over half of the Productivity Commission’s recommendations were specifically about the issue of land supply and building
regulations. The Productivity Commission considered but rejected a capital gains tax, any foreign buyer controls, or a massive State house building programme, saying that none of them would make any difference to the affordability of houses for Kiwi families.
Melissa Lee: How many submissions did the Productivity Commission receive on its issues paper and its draft report, and did any of the substantive submissions raise concerns about the impact of foreign buyers on housing affordability?
Hon Dr NICK SMITH: The Productivity Commission’s issues paper specifically inquired into whether offshore investment had any impact on the New Zealand housing market. The issues paper resulted in 60 submissions from people around New Zealand and not one of those submissions raised the issue of overseas purchasers contributing to price increases, nor in the 90 submissions that it received on the draft report was any issue raised. The report concluded that there was no evidence of foreign buyers having any impact on house prices. It did find an identifiable impact of returning New Zealanders on house prices in some markets, but the last thing that members on this side of the House would want to do is stop successful Kiwis coming home.
Melissa Lee: What specific actions is the Government taking to address the No. 1 concern of the Productivity Commission that planning policies like Auckland’s metropolitan urban limit is significantly impacting on house prices, and what support does the Government have for these actions?
Hon Dr NICK SMITH: I am delighted that today the Social Services Committee has reported back the Government’s Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Bill, which will enable before the end of this year significant new housing areas beyond Auckland’s metropolitan urban limit to be opened up for housing. I am disappointed that Opposition parties are not supporting the bill, when all the evidence shows that this is one of the most essential steps that we must take, if we are going to improve access for ordinary Kiwi families to being able to afford a home.
Housing, Sales—Restrictions on Non-residents
6. PHIL TWYFORD (Labour—Te Atatū) to the Minister of Housing: Does he stand by his statement on restricting non-residents from buying residential homes “I think the policy is a gimmick, I don’t think it will work”?
Hon Dr NICK SMITH (Minister of Housing): Yes, I do. It is a gimmick. The first problem with the policy is that there is no evidence that overseas buyers are having any impact on house prices. The second problem is that any such policy would be notoriously difficult to implement. Forty percent of Aucklanders were not born in New Zealand, and we are not going to have a situation where you have to show your passport before you are going to be able to buy a property. The third contradiction in the policy is exempting Australia. It is a great principle where you say that you are not going to have non-residents buying houses in New Zealand except for Australians, who happen to be the largest group of overseas people buying houses in New Zealand!
Phil Twyford: Does he think it would be a gimmick to promise 39,000 houses in Auckland with no guarantee that even one of them will be affordable and no guarantee that most of them will not be snapped up by speculators?
Hon Dr NICK SMITH: It would be if it was not backed up by a substantive accord with the Auckland Council and an agreement in work by officials in both Government and councils to implement it, and if it was not backed up with a substantive bill before this Parliament that will free up land supply and enable new subdivisions to occur at a fast rate. In fact, what you are seeing from this Government with both the social housing bill and the housing accords bill is more action on housing affordability in more than a decade.
Phil Twyford: If he believes that increasing the supply of houses will increase affordability, why does he refuse to accept that reducing demand by restricting offshore speculators and taxing their profits will also increase affordability?
Hon Dr NICK SMITH: If it was such a great policy, why is it that the price of housing in Sydney, where they have that policy, is over NZ$800,000 per house? Why is it that in Melbourne, where they have that policy, housing affordability is a lot worse than in New Zealand? It was also interesting to note last week, when I was in Australia meeting with housing Ministers and officials, that they noted to me that their overseas policy was inherently difficult to implement and that they did not think it was having any effect, either.
Phil Twyford: Why did the Government give the Reserve Bank the power to implement loan-tovalue ratios without exempting first-home buyers, thus putting the interests of overseas speculators ahead of young New Zealanders, when some overseas speculators can borrow 100 percent at 1 percent interest?
Hon Dr NICK SMITH: On this side of the House we respect the independence of the Reserve Bank, but I also find it really interesting—
Phil Twyford: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. My question was, why did the Government give the Reserve Bank the power to implement—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Minister heard the question, I heard the question, and now I would like the Minister to have the opportunity to answer the question.
Hon Dr NICK SMITH: He asked about the Reserve Bank’s actions. The point I wanted to make is that this side of the House reflects the independence of the Reserve Bank, although the first mention I heard of alternative instruments—they are putting up interest rates like loan-to-value ratios—was from David Parker on the Opposition benches, who suggests the idea, and then when the Reserve Bank Governor suggests we use it, he opposes it. That just shows everything about the hypocrisy of members—
Mr SPEAKER: Order!
Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. [Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! This is a legitimate opportunity for the Hon Trevor Mallard to raise a point of order.
Hon Trevor Mallard: Mr Speaker, I did not rise immediately because I was sure that you would have intervened on the use of a word by that Minister that has been absolutely ruled out and that should be withdrawn and apologised for.
Mr SPEAKER: I did not rise immediately because I was expecting the Hon Trevor Mallard to do it more quickly. [Interruption] Order! The member will stand, withdraw, and apologise.
Hon Dr NICK SMITH: I withdraw and apologise.
Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Any time you want me to sit there, Mr Speaker, I am happy to.
Mr SPEAKER: There are many, many occasions when I would be very happy if the member would spend more time sitting than standing.
Phil Twyford: Does he agree with Bill English that private sector builders like Fletcher’s and Stonewood Homes, which will build Labour’s 100,000 affordable starter homes, build houses that “look like the back-end of Moscow”?
Hon Dr NICK SMITH: I do not take too seriously Labour’s policy of building 100,000 homes at $300,000 each when the average price of a section in Auckland today is $325,000. So if we are going to make affordable houses—
Phil Twyford: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I apologise to the Minister. We have a point of order from Phil Twyford.
Phil Twyford: Mr Speaker, I asked for a point of order.
Mr SPEAKER: And I am giving the member a point of order.
Phil Twyford: I do not understand why you are apologising for my point of order when you have not heard it.
Mr SPEAKER: I am not apologising to the member; I am apologising to the Minister because his answer was interrupted. Now, if the member has a point of order, I will hear it. [Interruption] Order! It is a point of order and it will be heard in silence.
Phil Twyford: I specifically asked the Minister whether he agreed with the statement by Bill English. I did not ask for a dissertation on Labour’s KiwiBuild policy. [Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] No, I do not need any assistance. What I would appreciate from the member—I think he is raising a good point on this occasion—is that we could give Ministers the opportunity to address the question. The Minister had not been long addressing the question, but he certainly had not addressed the question adequately at the time the member raised the point.
Phil Twyford: Point of order—
Mr SPEAKER: No, no, I am on my feet. If we get a continual process where before the Minister has an adequate opportunity to address the question, we get an interruption from anybody questioning it, then we are not going to get there. On this occasion the best way forward is for the member to repeat his question, and I will be looking for the Minister to then address the question satisfactorily.
Phil Twyford: Does he agree with Bill English that private sector builders like Fletcher’s and Stonewood Homes, which will be building Labour’s 100,000 affordable starter homes, build homes that “look like the back-end of Moscow”?
Hon Dr NICK SMITH: I have no confidence that those builders will be able to build each of those houses for the $300,000 that Labour claims when the average section price in Auckland is currently $325,000, so I do not care who the builder is. The policy is a nonsense. We must address the issue of land supply, which is exactly what this Government is doing with the bill before the House, and I cannot believe that Labour members opposite are opposing it.
Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I just want to raise with you an issue with regard to your most recent ruling that Ministers should be given an opportunity to address a question before a point of order is raised interrupting—[Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! This is a point of order.
Chris Hipkins: —and that is a very legitimate point. However, when a Minister stands up and immediately launches into an attack on the Opposition, rather than even suggesting that they might eventually get to answer the question, I think it is legitimate for a member to interrupt them. Repeatedly, we have had a situation where Dr Smith has launched immediately into attacking the questioner or the Opposition, without actually giving any indication that he is eventually going to get to answer the question.
Hon Gerry Brownlee: The Hon Dr Nick Smith’s answer was perfectly adequate, given that Mr Twyford had stated that the Labour Party appears to know already that Fletcher Construction and Stonewood Homes are going to be able to build—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! That is not a point of order. The point that Chris Hipkins raises is worthy of consideration. There will be occasions when the Minister is clearly not even attempting to address the question, and on that occasion I do not have any objection with the questioner raising it immediately. But I think we need to be careful that we are not premature on many occasions and interrupt when I perceive that a Minister is attempting to address the question. Often it takes a bit of an introduction before the Minister gets to the stage of adequately addressing the question, but I accept the point that the member is making.
Hon Clayton Cosgrove: Point of order—
Hon Member: Here’s the “Comb-over Kid”.
Hon Clayton Cosgrove: What was that, “blunderbuss”?
Mr SPEAKER: Order!
Hon Clayton Cosgrove: I seek leave to table Government announcements where foreign purchasers at the initial float of Mighty River Power shares were restricted to 30 percent total purchase, which the Government has never described as xenophobic.
Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that particular document. Is there any objection? There appears to be none. Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.
7. ALFRED NGARO (National) to the Minister for Social Development: What changes has the Government made to the welfare system?
Hon PAULA BENNETT (Minister for Social Development): National campaigned on welfare reform and we are delivering on those promises to New Zealanders. Our comprehensive reforms are now in place, with new expectations, greater obligations, a much stronger work focus, and an investment approach, which will provide even greater flexibility in how we work with people on benefits to make a real difference for them and their families.
Alfred Ngaro: What impact has National’s welfare reforms had to date?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: The latest June quarter figures show that there are currently 309,782 people on benefits in New Zealand, a reduction of more than 10,000 on welfare over the past 12 months. The largest reduction in number was those receiving the DPB at that time, down more than 1,500 in the quarter, and down by more than 7,600 over the year. We would expect to get greater results for New Zealanders and their families. Our welfare reform changes include new supports for sole parents, including one-to-one support for those at risk of long-term dependence, and a new work bonus for those who choose to move into work earlier than required.
Te Ururoa Flavell: Tēna koe. Kia ora tātou. Aside from those measures already outlined, what other measures have been taken to ensure that our most vulnerable whānau are not disadvantaged by the changes that have been made to the welfare system?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: I know this was of concern to the Māori Party. They certainly raised it with me many times while we were working on this policy. As a consequence what we made sure was that anyone with a child would not be sanctioned by more than 50 percent. We also made sure that they could re-comply really simply and really easily so that we did not see people in hardship and living for a long time on what is a very small part of their benefit.
Alfred Ngaro: What results has she seen from the Government’s extensive investment in teen parents?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: When we came into Government, New Zealand had some of the highest statistics when it came to teen pregnancy, yet resources for them were limited and sporadic at best. We were determined to support these young parents, and have invested a significant amount over the last five Budgets, such as, introducing teen parent intensive case workers, supported teen housing, parenting support for young fathers as well as young mothers, and our new youth services. Although it is early days, we have seen the teen birth rates fall for the last 3 years. At this stage we are putting it down to a more comprehensive use of the long-term-acting reversible contraception, and also girls staying in school longer. The rates are the lowest they have been since 1962.
Question No. 3 to Minister
GRANT ROBERTSON (Deputy Leader—Labour): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I have had the opportunity to review the email that the Prime Minister had to table earlier in question time, and it is quite clearly part of an email string, rather than the whole email string. I wonder whether the Prime Minister would table the whole email string so that we can actually see the context of it.
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Look, as it has been presented to me, that is the whole string, but what has been redacted is private information. So my understanding is that that is the sequence of order, but it is redacted in terms of information.
8. Hon ANNETTE KING (Labour—Rongotai) to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by all his statements?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes.
Hon Annette King: Does he stand by his statement: “We are concerned about the fact that mothers are being rushed out of hospital in a hurry after they have had their baby. This must change.”; if so, has the length of time mothers stay at a birthing unit increased or decreased since he made that statement?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes, I certainly stand by that statement. Can I congratulate the Minister of Health on getting $9 million extra to ensure that new mothers who needed extra support could get it. It was estimated that that would be for a specific group of about 10 to 20 percent of mothers. I can say that it has been shown that of the 20 district health boards, 11 have actually increased the amount of time that mothers spend.
Hon Annette King: When he fronted a photo opportunity with this baby—my colleague is holding the picture—to announce his policy for longer stays for new mothers in birthing units, what was the average length of stay at that time, which he announced, and what is it now?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I do not have that exact information with me, but what I can say is obviously that baby could see David Shearer over my shoulder—
Mr SPEAKER: Order!
Rt Hon JOHN KEY:—and he is crying like the rest of the caucus is.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! That is not helpful at all. [Interruption] Order!
Hon Annette King: When he put out his newsletter No. 49 in 2009 headed “Boosting support for new mums” and said many new mums feel “pressured into leaving hospital with their babies before they are ready.”, did he expect that 4 years and $38 million of taxpayers’ funding later the average length of stay for mothers in a birthing unit to have decreased from 2.9 days under Labour to 2.4 days under his watch?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I do not accept the proposition put by the member. What is clear is the Government has put in $9 million extra. What is clear is that we were targeting those mums who needed that extra support, particularly around breast feeding. That was estimated to be 10 to 20 percent. I believe that those mothers are getting an extra stay, and I believe that is why 11 of the 20 district health boards show there has been an increase in the length of stay in post-natal care.
Hon Annette King: I seek leave to table a policy document from 2008, “Background: Maternity Care”, stating “New mothers pressured to leave hospital before they are ready” and stating the average length of stay for mothers in 2008 under Labour was 2.9 days. I seek leave to table that National Party policy.
Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that document. Is there any objection? There appears to be none. Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.
Hon Annette King: I seek leave to table information from the district health boards showing the average now is 2.4 days, not what the Prime Minister said—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! Leave is sought to table that document, which is apparently from the district health boards. Is there any objection? There appears to be none. Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.
Hon Annette King: If there have been improvements for new mothers, as he claims, why are members of Parliament receiving emails from midwives like the one I received 2 days ago saying: “We saw no changes in policy on the shop floor. There is no financial transparency. The district health board maternity services are under-resourced and underfunded.”?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I cannot speak of that particular email, but what I can say is that I remember back to the days when that member was the Minister of Health, and I remember clearly seeing a number of things. One was significant numbers of stories in the newspapers about mothers being kicked out earlier—significant numbers. Secondly, what I would say is that there have been 2,000 extra nurses added since we became the Government, 80 of whom are midwives. What I do not remember and cannot recall in recent times are emails, but what I can recall is mums getting shoved $100 Pak ’N Save vouchers to clear off out of the hospital, under a Labour Government.
Hon Annette King: Now they get nothing. They get shoved out. I seek leave to table the email from a midwife who is at the front, on the shop floor—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! Leave is sought to table an email from a midwife. Is there any objection? There appears to be none. It can be so tabled. Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.
Foreign Charter Fishing Vessels—Requirement to Reflag Vessels
9. STEFFAN BROWNING (Green) to the Minister for Primary Industries: Does he still support the key feature of the Fisheries (Foreign Charter Vessels and Other Matters) Amendment Bill that required all foreign-owned vessels operating in New Zealand waters to carry the New Zealand flag from 1 May 2016, and operate under full New Zealand legal jurisdiction; if not, why not?
Hon JO GOODHEW (Associate Minister for Primary Industries) on behalf of the Minister
for Primary Industries: Yes.
Steffan Browning: Has he or any of his colleagues had any discussions or contact with National Party president Peter Goodfellow regarding extending the date for some operators of foreign charter vessels beyond 2016, given Mr Goodfellow is also the director of a company that stands to benefit from this exemption?
Hon JO GOODHEW: I can speak only for myself, since you asked about colleagues—no.
Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. What is not clear from that answer was whether the “myself” referred to was Minister Goodhew or the Minister for Primary Industries. I think it was the Minister—
Mr SPEAKER: Well, no, I think I can interpret it very clearly. Because the Minister was answering on behalf of another Minister, she was not prepared to categorically say whether the Minister himself had spoken to Mr Goodfellow.
Hon Trevor Mallard: She said “on behalf of myself”.
Mr SPEAKER: And she was stating quite clearly that she could not speak on behalf of her colleague, but that she could speak on behalf of herself, and that she had not spoken to the gentleman.
Steffan Browning: Has he seen and does he support the submission from Sanford, a company that National Party president Goodfellow has a substantial interest in, which seeks an exemption to allow the continued use of foreign charter vessels, and does he or his colleagues personally support such an exemption?
Hon JO GOODHEW: The Primary Production Committee, of which the member himself is a member, heard many submissions from many affected members of the public and companies. Last week the select committee reported back to the House on the bill. The committee made a range of amendments, including those exemptions. I have publicly stated that I have some concerns with the
amendments that the select committee made, and I am seeking further advice from officials before making any decisions on potential changes.
Steffan Browning: Has he seen reports that our continued use of foreign charter vessels may damage our international reputation with the United States; if so, why is his Government risking our international reputation in regards to the continued use of these slave ships?
Hon JO GOODHEW: I have seen reports and this bill, in fact, seeks to address those issues. It is now back from the select committee, and, as I have already said, I am seeking further advice on the amendments.
Steffan Browning: Will he commit, with that advice, to ensuring that no foreign charter vessels will be operating in New Zealand waters past 2016, and that there will be no dodgy exceptions for some vested interests to the original date for ending slavery on our seas?
Hon JO GOODHEW: I will repeat what I have already asserted, and that is that the Minister has some concerns with the amendments and is seeking further advice from officials before making any decisions.
Schools, Partnership—Teacher Qualifications and Registration
10. CHRIS HIPKINS (Labour—Rimutaka) to the Minister of Education: Does she stand by her statement with regard to the teaching profession that “being unregistered is not the same as being unqualified”?
Hon HEKIA PARATA (Minister of Education): Yes. There are already around 1,200 unregistered, hard-working teachers in the education system, adding value. All schools can already employ staff who are not fully registered with the New Zealand Teachers Council, but who are qualified in their particular area of expertise. Either the member has not done his homework and does not know that, or he does know and dismisses the significant contribution that these unregistered yet qualified teachers make.
Chris Hipkins: What is the purpose of teacher registration?
Hon HEKIA PARATA: It is to codify the requirements for teachers.
Chris Hipkins: What criteria does someone need to meet in order to become a registered teacher, other than hold a teaching qualification?
Hon HEKIA PARATA: The New Zealand Teachers Council holds the registered teachers’ criteria.
Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. That did not in any way address the question—what criteria does someone need to meet in order to become a registered teacher?
Mr SPEAKER: Order! Could the member repeat the question to the Minister.
Chris Hipkins: What criteria does someone need to meet in order to become a registered teacher, other than hold a teaching qualification?
Hon HEKIA PARATA: I would have to get the detail for the member, but the New Zealand Teachers Council—[Interruption] There are 12 elements to the registered teachers’ criteria. I am unable to list them here, but I am happy if the member would like me to table them. [Interruption]
Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I accept we are probably not going to get very far with this, because the Minister does not have the information with her, but I do want to raise with you an issue about what is reasonable to expect when a very specific question is asked. The Minister, in her answer yesterday, drew a distinction between unregistered and unqualified teachers. My question today was specific about that. It therefore is not unreasonable for me to expect that she would come to the House prepared to answer questions about teacher registration.
Mr SPEAKER: At the end of the day the member can formulate his supplementary questions as the questioning proceeds and the member has done that, and has done it well. It is then over to the Minister to stand and answer, and it is quite legitimate for any Minister in this House, in answer to a supplementary question, to say they do not have that information with them. That is a satisfactory
answer. It is a far better answer for any Minister to give, than to attempt to guess the situation and end up giving an incorrect answer to this House.
Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I accept your answer and I will not raise this any further—
Mr SPEAKER: Is this a fresh point of order?
Chris Hipkins: What I do want to do is ask you to reflect on the extent to which, when a very specific question is asked, a Minister should be expected to be prepared to answer specific supplementary questions on that.
Mr SPEAKER: I have already made that point to the member. The specificity of a primary question is important, and I will do everything I can to ensure that a Minister addresses a primary question. A subsequent supplementary question may be very closely related, but if the Minister feels that he or she does not have that information at hand to competently answer the question, it is quite legitimate for that Minister to say: “I don’t have that information with me.”
Chris Hipkins: Which of the criteria for teacher registration does she think are not applicable in the case of those teachers who will be working in charter schools?
Hon HEKIA PARATA: In respect of partnership schools kura hourua we are still going through the process, as the member knows because he sat on the select committee and the detail was fully available to him. Sponsors may propose that a proportion of the teaching staff not be registered as teachers but that they hold qualifications, and until we complete that process I will not be able to give specifics about each case.
Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I was not asking about any specific case at all. What I asked her was which of the criteria for teacher registration does she think are not applicable in the case of charter schools.
Mr SPEAKER: The Minister said they are working on those criteria, and until those criteria are finalised she is not prepared to be specific.
Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. One criterion for registration is that child abusers are not allowed—people who have child abuse convictions—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! Can I have the point of order, please.
Hon Trevor Mallard: The question is that surely a Minister who is half-competent would rule that out.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! Order! That is not a satisfactory point of order.
Major Events—Support and Promotion of New Zealand
11. NICKY WAGNER (National—Christchurch Central) to the Minister for Economic
Development: What support is the Government giving to attract major events to New Zealand?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE (Minister for Economic Development): Through the Major Events Development Fund the Government is making a significant investment to attract a number of worldclass events. Yesterday, for example, the schedule for the Cricket World Cup 2015 was announced in Wellington and Melbourne, attended by Prime Minister John Key in Wellington and Kevin Rudd in Melbourne. Fourteen host cities were announced, split evenly between New Zealand and Australia, with matches across New Zealand in Napier, Hamilton, Dunedin, Nelson, pool matches and a quarter final in Wellington, a semi-final and an Australia - New Zealand pool match in Auckland, and the opening match of the tournament scheduled for Christchurch. The Government is investing $5 million in the tournament from the Major Events Development Fund. The 1992 Cricket World Cup was successful on and off the pitch for New Zealand, and we look forward to once again welcoming the world here, to show off our hospitality.
Nicky Wagner: What are the benefits of this and other major events to New Zealand?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: Well, of course, this particular event will bring many benefits, not least the ability of New Zealanders to see their fine team coming up against the best in the world. As we have seen from the success of hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2011, the sorts of visitors who come
to these events tend to stay on longer than the tournament itself and they spend significant amounts on travel and accommodation while they are here. Today I released the findings of an economic analysis of the Government’s investment in major events. Eighteen events funded between February 2010 and April 2012 were evaluated, with the Government’s investment of $7 million collectively generating around $32 million of net benefit for this country. The evaluation shows that the Government’s investment in major events is generating substantial economic benefits—
Rt Hon Winston Peters: You’re boring people.
Hon STEVEN JOYCE:—for you, Mr Peters, growing businesses, Mr Peters, and delivering more and higher-paying jobs for New Zealanders.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Surely that answer—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I have not called the member yet. Point of order, the Rt Hon Winston Peters.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Surely that answer was far too long, unless his objective was to put Mogadon out of business.
Mr SPEAKER: That is not a helpful point of order, either.
Ship Grounding, Rena—Environmental Impact
BRENDAN HORAN (Independent): What scientific studies, if any, were considered by his ministry about the effect of the Rena disaster on the spawning, reproductive and growth cycles of snapper in the coastal waters of Tauranga Moana and the eastern Bay of Plenty prior to the release of his MPI Discussion Paper 2013/31 Review of sustainability and other management controls for snapper?
Hon JO GOODHEW (Associate Minister for Primary Industries) on behalf of the Minister
for Primary Industries: There have been no recent studies on the spawning—
Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. When a question is written down, it is required to be repeated or read precisely.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! It was a very long question. The member forgot to put the word “1” at the end. I find that acceptable on this occasion.
Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. No, no. There was no “1” at the end or “(SNA1)?”. He did not just forget one thing; he forgot five of them.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! If the member takes delight in wasting the time of this House, I will ask Brendan Horan to repeat the question as written.
BRENDAN HORAN (Independent): Thank you. For the grumpy pensioner, I will.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! Just get on and ask the question.
BRENDAN HORAN: Listen closely. To the Minister for—
Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I apologise now to Mr Horan. The Hon Trevor Mallard.
Hon TREVOR MALLARD: Although it was not quite as bad as the comment earlier, that reflection on a member in this House is one that I do find objectionable.
Mr SPEAKER: If it was a reflection on the member himself, he can ask for the comment to be withdrawn, but I did not hear any interjection that I found objectionable.
Hon TREVOR MALLARD: There was a most objectionable comment made about a senior member of this House by Mr Horan as a preface to his question. I think it is probably not wise to repeat it, but it was certainly unparliamentary.
Mr SPEAKER: My difficulty is that I did not actually hear what Mr—
Hon TREVOR MALLARD: I am loath to give you advice. I think—
Hon Members: Ha, ha!
Mr SPEAKER: I know that it is Wednesday—
Hon TREVOR MALLARD: Well, it might delay you giving me the job.
Mr SPEAKER: Order!
Hon TREVOR MALLARD: The point that I am trying to make is that the process probably should be that you ask the member whether he made an objectionable comment, and, if he did, to withdraw and apologise.
Mr SPEAKER: I have now ascertained through a lengthy point of order that the member you are talking about who made a comment is Mr Horan.
Hon TREVOR MALLARD: That is right.
Mr SPEAKER: Mr Horan, if you made a comment that was unparliamentary, would you please stand, withdraw, and apologise.
BRENDAN HORAN (Independent): I withdraw and apologise.
Mr SPEAKER: Now would the member proceed to read his question as it is on the Order Paper.
12. BRENDAN HORAN (Independent) to the Minister for Primary Industries: What scientific studies, if any, were considered by his ministry about the effect of the Rena disaster on the spawning, reproductive and growth cycles of snapper in the coastal waters of Tauranga Moana and the eastern Bay of Plenty prior to the release of his MPI Discussion Paper 2013/31 Review of sustainability and other management controls for snapper 1 (SNA1)?
Hon JO GOODHEW (Associate Minister for Primary Industries) on behalf of the Minister
for Primary Industries: There have been no recent studies on the spawning or reproductive cycles of snapper in the coastal waters of Tauranga Moana and the Eastern Bay of Plenty. However, growth data is collected routinely from the commercial fishery in this area. There is no indication that the Rena grounding had any effect on snapper biology overall. The snapper 1 stock covers a substantial area while the effects of oil spills from the Rena were relatively localised.
Brendan Horan: Why is the Minister unwilling to cut the commercial catch of large fishing companies such as Sanford, which, incidentally, is largely owned by interests associated with the National Party president—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! I will give the member one more opportunity to ask a satisfactory supplementary question without such additions to the question.
Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Can you be specific about what was unsatisfactory with that? There was a fact in there—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member is now starting to waste the time of this House. For supplementary questions, you have to look only at Standing Order 377. They must be clear and concise, without imputation and epithets. Would the member please ask his supplementary question.
Brendan Horan: Why is the Minister unwilling to cut the commercial catch of large fishing companies such as Sanford?
Hon JO GOODHEW: The member is jumping the gun. The Ministry for Primary Industries is currently undergoing consultation on a range of options. It is not targeting recreational fishers. There is a range of options, which includes cutting the catch limit for commercial fishers. The member might well be served to know that tonight there is a public information meeting in Parnell, which he or others interested could attend, and a public information evening in Tauranga at the coastguard building at Sulphur Point between 6 and 8.30 tomorrow, 1 August, if anyone wants to, in fact, have the facts before they put in a submission on the process before 23 August, rather than jump to the conclusions that this member has.
Te Ururoa Flavell: What steps has the Minister’s ministry been taking to ensure that the kai moana resource in Tauranga Moana will not be adversely affected in the long term by the Rena disaster, and what has the Government done to protect mana whenua rights of whānau, hapū, and iwi in relation to the environment in the wake of the Rena disaster?
Hon JO GOODHEW: The Ministry for Primary Industries is actively and always monitoring this fishery. If any adverse effects as a result of the Rena are actually picked up, then the appropriate action will be taken at that time.
Brendan Horan: Given the options in the Ministry for Primary Industries discussion paper, and given that the Minister for Primary Industries has downplayed the economic value of the New Zealand recreational fishing sector in his analysis, is this not a case of the fish rotting from the head first?
Hon JO GOODHEW: Once again, the member is taking this consultation process completely out of context. The member would be well advised, if he is so interested in it, to put in a submission. There have been no predeterminations of the outcome, and the options are many.
Question No. 10 to Minister
Hon HEKIA PARATA (Minister of Education): I seek leave to table the New Zealand Teachers Council registered teachers’ criteria.
Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that criteria. Is there any objection? There appears to be none. It can be tabled. Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.