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Questions and Answers - August 6


QUESTIONS TO MINISTERS

Prime Minister—Statements

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First): This question is to the Prime Minister and asks: does he stand by all of the answers given on his behalf to Oral Question No. 5 on 29 May 2013?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): I think the member has got the question wrong.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! On this occasion, could the member please repeat the question as worded on the Order Paper.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I made the mistake of using the draft.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! We all, on occasion, make mistakes. We do not often expect many from the right honourable member.

1. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First) to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by all of the answers given on his behalf to Oral Question No. 5 on 30 May 2013?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Now that the member asks, yes.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Given that his chief of staff, Mr Eagleson, told him as Prime Minister on 29 May of email correspondence between Peter Dunne and Andrea Vance, and that Mr Dunne was not complying with the inquiry, why did the Prime Minister state on 30 May that “I do not how Mr Henry is conducting his inquiry.”?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Because that was correct.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Was his chief of staff, Mr Eagleson, telling the truth last Friday when Mr Eagleson said that he had, subsequent to 23 May, “no further role in authorising or influencing the release of any further information”?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: How can that answer possibly be correct when it is a matter of public record that Mr Eagleson was in frequent contact with Mr Dunne’s office in the period 27 May to 4 June regarding the release of email correspondence—a fact that the Prime Minister has confirmed?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: What is clear is that whether the emails were released by Mr Dunne’s office was a matter for Mr Dunne and a matter for his chief of staff. What my chief of staff made clear was that my expectations were that all Ministers would comply with the inquiry.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. That last question challenged the answer to the previous question as to its correctness. The previous question was related to Mr Eagleson’s claim of having no further role in authorising or influencing the release of any further information. That is the gist of it and that is what I am asking. How can you reconcile what he said with the prime ministerial information released to the public of the 27 May to 4 June contact and role and involvement? His answer has no connection to that, though it would superficially seem like he had given some answer.

Mr SPEAKER: The essence of the question is how that answer can be correct, given some further information the member asked. Does the Prime Minister have anything further to add to the answer?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: At the start of the inquiry, Mr Eagleson wrote on my behalf to all Ministers and staff, advising that the expectation was that they would comply. That position never changed. If Mr Eagleson did that, he did that some time before when the member is asking about.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. We are allowed in our system of government and constitution to ask questions to seek to get at the truth. You have the chief of staff saying he had no role at all after 23 May, and the Prime Minister on record saying that between 27 May to 4 June all this involvement was participated in by his chief of staff. One of those statements cannot be true, and the Prime Minister is making no attempt to tell us which one is true.

Mr SPEAKER: On this occasion I do not agree with the final point that the member is raising. The member’s question asked how that answer could be true. On two occasions now the Prime Minister has attempted to justify how he thinks that answer can be correct, and that is for the Prime Minister’s responsibility, not mine. On this occasion the member, I understand, has one further supplementary question left. I will give him an additional supplementary question to see whether he can tease out the answer he may require.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I do appreciate that. Does he truly expect the public to believe that the Chief Executive of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Andrew Kibblewhite, was involved in Henry inquiry - related discussions to facilitate the release of phone records and email correspondence, but did not tell him as Prime Minister about this for a whole month?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: When Mr Eagleson said that he had no further role in authorising or influencing the release of any further information after 23 May, how was it that he got involved in the frequent contact with Mr Dunne’s office in the period 27 May to 4 June?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: It is quite clear. The statement made by Mr Eagleson was in relation to asking the Parliamentary Service to authorise the data, not correspondence or the discussion between Mr Eagleson and Mr Eaddy.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. You will recall that I used the phrase “authorising or influencing the release”. The Prime Minister goes straight for “authorising”, and we all know it was about influencing the release that we are after. [Interruption] Well, OK—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! This is a point of order.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: The reality of it all is that, one, Mr Eagleson is admitting that he was authorising or influencing at a certain date—23 May—and then he says that neither authorisation or influence, according to the Prime Minister, affected his 27 May to 4 June relations with Mr Dunne’s office. That is just beyond credibility.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I have given a good amount of time for the member to raise a point of order that is, in effect, a debate on the answer that has been given. I rule that the Prime Minister has adequately addressed the question that was raised.

Dairy Industry—Potential Contamination of Whey Protein

2. DAVID SHEARER (Leader of the Opposition) to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his statement that he is “deeply concerned” about the Fonterra whey protein scare and if so, is he satisfied that parents in New Zealand and overseas now have accurate information on this issue?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes. I am satisfied that Government agencies are working hard to provide New Zealand parents and caregivers with the utmost up-to-date information that they have. Parents should continue to monitor the Ministry for Primary Industries website and call Healthline and PlunketLine for further advice. In respect of overseas customers, their respective regulatory agencies are responsible for providing information to their consumers.

The Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade are giving those regulators the latest information as they have it.

David Shearer: What role is the Ministry of Health taking to reassure parents that the baby formula they are feeding their child is safe?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: My understanding is that the Ministry of Health has been involved with the response group that was established by the Government. The Minister of Health has been involved in every teleconference that I was involved in over the weekend. I might stand corrected, but his director-general was involved right through the weekend in terms of all of the information. The Ministry of Health website has been updated, and we have been monitoring admissions to hospitals around the country for any signs that might indicate that a baby has consumed infant formula that is tainted.

David Shearer: Were Ministers told of the issue before the Ministry for Primary Industries; if so, what actions did those Ministers take?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: My understanding is that at 12.35 on Friday, Fonterra advised the Ministry for Primary Industries, and then from there the other contact flowed with Ministers.

David Shearer: Is he satisfied that the protocols—if those protocols exist—between the Ministry for Primary Industries and Fonterra resulted in timely disclosure?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I think it would be very difficult for me to actually give an answer to that today. I think we do need to go and have a full inquiry. I mean, we have made it quite clear—or I think the company has made it quite clear—that it was aware on the Wednesday, and yet the Ministry for Primary Industries was not aware until Friday lunchtime. I cannot explain that gap in time. I think that is one of the very real issues that needs to be looked at.

David Shearer: Given that the Chinese media is calling the “100% Pure New Zealand” brand “a festering sore”, what urgent action is he taking today to limit the fallout for New Zealand?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Well, I think in reality the first issue we need to do is actually identify all of the potentially contaminated product and make sure it is off the shelves and not accessible to consumers. I think, secondly, from there, we need to be transparent, actually, with all countries that trade with us that we have actually gone and looked at what went wrong and ensured that it will not happen again, and then, ultimately, we need to continue to communicate with our customer markets. But I do think a bit of perspective needs to be put on this. I am not in any way downplaying the very seriousness of what has taken place, but I think we can also look back on 100 years of trading food internationally, and we have, generally speaking, very, very safe and high-quality standards.

Dr Russel Norman: Is the Minister in a position to tell us whether the tests in March 2013 that found Clostridium in those ingredients—and at that point we did not know whether it was a toxic form of Clostridium—triggered some kind of notification to the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Minister for Primary Industries?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Authoritatively I cannot be sure, but I think it is fairly unlikely that it did trigger a response to the Ministry for Primary Industries. My understanding of the way things went is that when they did the tests in March, I think it was partly done in Australia with Nutricia. That showed up, they spoke to the company, and the company did a series of other tests, but it was only really on Wednesday of last week when the company was sure, as a result of all of its testing, that it had a potentially very serious problem.

Dr Russel Norman: Is the Minister in a position to tell us why there was a 5-month delay between the identification of some kind of Clostridium and the final identification that it was actually Clostridium botulinum?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No, but I think the member asks a very good question, and it will be part of the review that will be undertaken.

Dr Russel Norman: Does the Minister believe that there should be some kind of automatic process whereby when a food manufacturer, like Fonterra but any other as well, finds Clostridium

in their product, particularly a product that is destined for infant formula, the Ministry for Primary Industries should immediately be told that there is a potential problem?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: That might be something that can form part of the review. I suspect that Fonterra may argue, or other manufacturers may argue, that that actually shows up more regularly than we think, but, in fact, it depends on the circumstances. One can only assume that Fonterra itself certainly does not want to do damage to its markets and its customers, and, therefore, if that had really sent the alarm bells ringing back in March 2013, one would assume that it would have acted much faster than it did. So it obviously believed that it was not a serious enough threat to stop the production of that infant baby formula.

Dr Russel Norman: Accepting that answer, does the Minister agree that having found Clostridium, it should have been an urgent question that needed answering very quickly as to whether that was Clostridium botulinum rather than just a harmless kind of Clostridium, because the answer to that question was critical to whether it should have allowed more of the product to go forward into the food chain?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Well, again, I think the member makes exactly the right point. We just cannot answer that question today. But it does seem very, very odd that Fonterra allowed production to carry on and for that infant baby formula to go into the supply chain or into the distribution chain. So one can only assume that it believed right up until Wednesday of last week that that was not an issue. I cannot explain why it did not think that that was an issue, but their scientists in the fullness of the time may be able to.

Dr Russel Norman: Has the Minister put this question to the Ministry for Primary Industries, rather than just Fonterra, as to whether the Ministry for Primary Industries believes that there should have been much quicker action on having found the generic kind of Clostridium?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I personally have not, although there was a sort of round-table discussion yesterday with the acting director-general, which sort of broadly traversed these kinds of topics. I suspect those sorts of questions have been asked, but the acting director-general has been extremely focused on trying to understand and quantify exactly the issue and where the product actually is. So, as I have sort of said on numerous occasions, there will be plenty of time to look at these questions, but it probably has not been the top of priority in the last 48-odd hours.

Dairy Industry—Potential Contamination of Whey Protein

3. PAUL GOLDSMITH (National) to the Minister of Finance: What are the expected economic consequences of the potential whey protein contamination issue?

Hon BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Finance): The Government’s immediate priority is to protect families and consumers in all markets from the potentially affected products, to share information, and to work closely with our trading partners. In the year to June 2013, New Zealand exported $45 billion worth of product. Of this, around a quarter was dairy, and, of that, around a quarter was exported to China. In the year to June 2013, the export value of the two products potentially affected by contamination, whey protein concentrate and dairy-based powder, to our largest market in China totalled $125 million. That is around 1 percent of dairy exports, or ¼ of 1 percent of total exports. Only a fraction of that $125 million of value is currently subject to restrictions into the Chinese market. Products not affected include whole and skim-milk powders, fresh and UHT milk, butter, cheese and yogurt. There is some longer-term risk, of course, of effects to our reputation, but, if these circumstances are managed transparently and effectively, we ought to be able to reduce those risks. The economic impact of the amount of product currently under restrictions is sufficiently small and would not have a discernable impact on our GDP.

Paul Goldsmith: What preliminary assessments has he seen of the possible economic consequences of the issue?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Well, there would not be a detailed assessment of economic consequences until or unless there was a likelihood of a significant impact. At this stage there is no

indication that the issue has escalated to the point where it could have that significant impact. Treasury advises that macro-economic effects will depend largely on the extent of response from our international trading partners, and, of course, that is why we need to work so closely and transparently with our trading partners.

Paul Goldsmith: What do financial market indicators suggest about the longer-term effects on the economy?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: In the last few days I think we saw initially, and understandably, some reaction both in the price of Fonterra shares and the New Zealand dollar, both of which declined. We will learn more tonight at the next global dairy trade auction. Prices for delivery later this year will provide an early indication of whether the market expects any longer-term effects. Important to avoiding any wider economic slow-down is, of course, to live up to our reputation as honest, open, transparent, and trusted operators of food safety.

Prime Minister—Statements

4. DAVID SHEARER (Leader of the Opposition) to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by all his statements?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes.

David Shearer: Does he stand by his answers to this House on 31 July when he said: “… the inquiry at no point asked for a journalist’s records …”, given that the emails released on Friday evening show that phone access and email records of Andrea Vance were sought by the Henry inquiry?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes, I stand by that and the fully corrected answer I gave. The member cut short my quote, which was: “… either access records or phone records.” I later went on and corrected my answer when I said that he did request them, meaning the access records.

David Shearer: When he said to the House on 31 July: “I am more than happy to show the email traffic that supports the view of the Government.”, why did he not table emails from 20 May that show that the Key-Henry inquiry sought both phone and email records for Andrea Vance and Peter Dunne?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I am pretty sure the member is referring to emails that I did not have. They were the emails that came out later on.

David Shearer: I seek leave to table three emails that refer to the correspondence between the head of the inquiry or the administrator of the inquiry and Parliamentary Service—two on 20 May and two on 27 May—which cover emails, phone logs, and swipe access card logs.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The easiest way is for me to put the leave. I understand that they may well be in the public arena, but I will put the leave. Is there any objection to those documents being tabled? There is objection. [Interruption] Order!

David Shearer: Why did he seek to blame a Parliamentary Service contractor for the release of email and phone records between Andrea Vance and Peter Dunne, when, in fact, those records were actually requested by the Key-Henry inquiry?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: The member is confusing a number of different issues, but, in fact, it is quite correct. They were released by Parliamentary Service’s operator.

David Shearer: Does the Prime Minister expect the House to believe that with all the questions and Official Information Act requests being made, his chief executive officer and his chief of staff did not inform him that the inquiry had requested and received the email and phone records of Peter Dunne and Andrea Vance?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes. In the case of my chief of staff, he was not aware of that until, I think, last Thursday night. I was made aware of it on the Friday. In the case of my chief executive officer, I have already publicly said that he knew about that a month earlier, and arguably he should have put that into the public domain earlier.

David Shearer: In light of the last answer, did Andrew Kibblewhite offer a briefing or was a briefing sought by the Prime Minister on what information was requested by the Key-Henry inquiry before last Friday?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No, I did not seek a briefing, and the reason for that is that I set up the terms of reference, and the inquiry was run by Mr Henry.

David Shearer: Can he guarantee to the House that the email correspondence between Andrea Vance and Peter Dunne was not opened by anyone in his office, his department, or his agency that he is responsible for?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: That is the advice that I have received. The advice I have received is that when it was sent by Parliamentary Service, it was sent to an email system where it could not have been opened, and it was recalled within an hour.

David Shearer: Does he agree with the statement made by Steven Joyce that he accepts David Henry’s word over that of Peter Dunne that he never said he wanted access to Mr Dunne’s phone logs so as to compare them with Andrea Vance’s—

Hon Steven Joyce: That’s not what I said, actually. Show me the actual quote.

David Shearer: That is on The Nation, Mr Joyce.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I would need to see the full statement by Mr Joyce because, as we just saw right before, Mr Shearer doctored a quote from me and conveniently left a bit out.

David Shearer: Is the fact that he does not know about the emails from his chief of staff or his chief executive officer a result of the fact that he did not ask or was not told, or simply that he does not want to know the real questions and the real answers about the Henry inquiry?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: It is relatively simple. The inquiry was established under the authority of my name and was to be independently run by Mr Henry. If I was in this House now, answering some of the questions that the Leader of the Opposition wants me to answer, he would be saying that my mitts were all over it and it was not an independent inquiry. Some time ago he was saying that I did not try hard enough. Then, by the way, the Labour members were on the Privileges Committee. They are claiming to be holier than thou, but, by the way, they wanted Andrea Vance’s emails. It is quite remarkable if we go through all of the events in this saga.

David Shearer: Given that he cannot answer something as simple as that question, why should anyone trust him on his ability on behalf of New Zealanders to provide the oversight to the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB)?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: It is rather interesting, is it not, because on Sunday I happened to watch Q+A—actually, I have got to say, on display was the real leader of the Labour Party. Anyway—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Just answer the question.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: As everyone will know, the oversight of the GCSB under the proposed legislation is a lot stronger than what was put in place under a Labour Government. We all know that the reason the Leader of the Opposition is not supporting the legislation is that he is having his string pulled by the muppet that is sitting next to him—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! That was quite a sufficient answer. [Interruption] Order!

Hon David Parker: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. It is not becoming of the Prime Minister, in respect of this serious issue, to describe members of the Opposition as muppets. I would expect you, in the Chair, to protect the decorum of this place by calling the Prime Minister to order.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member might want to have a look at the proceedings later on today to see that I immediately did call the Prime Minister to order. I thought that was quite sufficient. I am certainly not about to rule the word “muppet” out of order.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER: Point of order—[Interruption] Order! This is a point of order from the Hon Trevor Mallard.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I am standing to agree with you. You did call the Prime Minister to order—in fact, before he used that word—when he headed in that direction. He ignored you, and you did not reprimand him.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! No, I rose to my feet and tried to catch the Prime Minister’s eye. I called “point of order” to him, and it would be within seconds that he ceased his answer.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER: Is this a fresh point of order?

Hon Trevor Mallard: It is a related point of order.

Mr SPEAKER: Let us hear it.

Hon Trevor Mallard: You called “Order!”. He is meant to be looking at you and listening to you. He took no n7otice. That is different from your account.

Mr SPEAKER: No. [Interruption] Order! On many, many occasions, when Ministers are giving answers, they often direct them to the person who asked the question. They do not necessarily spend the whole of their answer looking at the Speaker.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Listen—just listen.

Mr SPEAKER: If the member wants to stay in the House, he had better not suggest that I be listening. I am doing my very best.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER: Is this a fresh point of order?

Hon Trevor Mallard: Yes, it is.

Mr SPEAKER: If we are going to have more time-wasting that we are getting from the member, then he will not get to stay in the House. I will hear a fresh point of order.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I want to apologise if I gave the impression that you were not listening. You were; the Prime Minister was not.

Mr SPEAKER: I am very pleased to accept that point of order.

Police Association—Statements

TE URUROA FLAVELL (Co-Leader—Māori Party): My question is to the Minister of Police. Is the Government taking any action in response to the unprecedented recommendation from the Police Association—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I am sorry to interrupt the member. This question was transferred, so it is not to the Minister of Police. It is to the Minister of Justice. Would the member like to start his question again. It is to the Minister of Justice.

5. TE URUROA FLAVELL (Co-Leader—Māori Party) to the Minister of Justice: Is the Government taking any action in response to the unprecedented recommendation from the Police Association to call for an independent inquiry into the conviction of Teina Pora; and does she agree with what President Greg O’Connor describes as significant disquiet among police who are uncomfortable with the fact that Teina Pora is in prison for this crime?

Hon JUDITH COLLINS (Minister of Justice): There are two legal avenues for Mr Pora. In 2011 he lodged an application with the Governor-General for the royal prerogative of mercy or a pardon. This application has been on hold as Mr Pora’s lawyer wished to provide additional evidence to be considered. So that is still open. The second avenue is for Mr Pora to appeal to the Privy Council. The Privy Council may either quash Mr Pora’s convictions or order a retrial, which could result in Mr Pora being found not guilty. Mr Pora’s lawyer has advised that he intends to apply to the Privy Council and he is currently finalising papers for this. It is for the courts to decide whether a person is guilty of any crime—not the Government. It would not be constitutionally appropriate for the Government to launch yet another Government inquiry into the police investigation or any other aspects of Mr Pora’s convictions until Mr Pora has completed his legal options. If Mr Pora has new and compelling evidence, then that needs to be presented by his lawyer in the proper way to the proper authorities—that is, to the courts or the Governor-General. The third

avenue of inquiry that could be initiated by the Police Association or any other affected person, including Mr Pora, is to lodge a complaint with the Independent Police Conduct Authority, which exists for the purpose of independently inquiring into any allegations of police misconduct.

Te Ururoa Flavell: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I appreciate the explanation given by the Minister—it was pretty full—but I did ask a question around whose responsibility this is. She did explain that it fell within the avenues available to Mr Pora and, of course, to his supporters, but the question starts “Is the Government taking any action …”. I am just seeking clarification as to whether the Government under the Minister’s realm has any plans, has any action, can take any action, over this case. I am just seeking some clarification around that.

Mr SPEAKER: The Minister might like to elaborate, but it was pretty clear to me in the answer that the Minister was saying it is not the role of the Government at this stage because there are two other courses of action available.

Hon JUDITH COLLINS: I can add, I think. I am happy to add for the member’s benefit that there already is an inquiry, and that is the inquiry under the royal prerogative of mercy, which is for a pardon. That inquiry has not progressed further since 2011 because Mr Pora’s lawyer has said that he wants to present more evidence to it. Until he does, then it really cannot progress further. So there already is an inquiry.

Te Ururoa Flavell: Thanks to the Minister. What impact does she think the accumulated impact of the police conduct, the police investigation, and their very public call for an inquiry into the conviction of Teina Pora has on the general confidence and trust of New Zealanders in the justice system?

Hon JUDITH COLLINS: Well, I think it is a very good point that the member has raised. The fact is, though, that at the moment the ministry is administering 12 applications for pardons and three applications for compensation claims. So at any time—and this is a pretty normal time in these matters—we have 15 claims either for a pardon or for compensation. This is quite a publicly heard matter, but it is absolutely right in a democracy that people should be able to state what they think. If they want to and if they have concerns about any police conduct in Mr Pora’s case, then I will repeat what I have said before today—that they should make a complaint to the Independent Police Conduct Authority, which is the body that has statutory authority and power to investigate. I would suggest that if anyone has any genuine concerns, that is exactly what they should do.

Andrew Little: Given that neither an appeal to the Privy Council nor an application for the royal prerogative of mercy can deal with the serious allegations now being made about the police investigation and the handling of the case by the prosecuting counsel and that the Independent Police Conduct Authority cannot deal with both, does she not see that an inquiry into this matter is now urgently required?

Hon JUDITH COLLINS: I believe that the member is getting ahead of himself. This matter still has an appeal right to the Privy Council and it also has an open application for a pardon. So the normal course of events would be that a complaint is made to the Independent Police Conduct Authority, which would normally deal with these matters post any court proceedings, which I think is the correct order. But also, if the member has any concerns as to the prosecution behaviour in terms of Crown Law, then I would have thought that a letter of complaint on those lines to the Attorney-General would be the correct course of action.

Prime Minister—Statements

6. Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader—Green) to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his answer to one of my supplementary questions on 31 July 2013 that “the inquiry at no point asked for a journalist’s records, either access records or phone records”?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): I stand by my corrected answer. If the member reads the full transcript of that question, he will note that I later clarified my response to the member’s supplementary question. In relation to the building access records I stated that “he did request that.”,

meaning Mr Henry. I also stated that I thought it was wrong and that the inquiry should not have asked for that information.

Grant Robertson: What about the phone records? Answer the question.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: In relation to the phone records, the Henry inquiry did not request Miss Vance’s records.

Dr Russel Norman: Given that the Prime Minister has now told us that Mr Henry did request the journalist’s access records, is he concerned about the email sent by his chief of staff on 9 May, which asked Parliamentary Service to provide to the inquiry any relevant material requested, given that those access records were requested by the inquiry and the inquiry had the authority of his chief of staff to ask for them?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I do not have the emails with me, but, from memory, they state quite clearly “for Ministers and staff”.

Dr Russel Norman: Given that the email on 20 May goes from the inquiry to Parliamentary Service and specifically asks for all emails between Andrea Vance and Peter Dunne, is it not the case that the inquiry asked for the content, not just the metadata, of those emails, and it did so on the authority of his chief of staff?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: In relation to the second part of the question, no, it was not on the authority of my chief of staff.

Dr Russel Norman: How can it not have been on the authority of his chief of staff when his chief of staff wrote to Parliamentary Service on 9 May and asked Parliamentary Service to provide any relevant material requested by the inquiry and then the inquiry requested the material?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Because the email on 9 May was in relation to Ministers and their staff, not journalists.

Dr Russel Norman: Then, in reference to the email of 20 May from the inquiry to Parliamentary Service, it was asking for emails between Andrea Vance and Peter Dunne. Hence, does it not meet the criteria that he has just laid out? It was in relation to Ministers that the Henry inquiry sought the information, and hence it was authorised by the email from Mr Eagleson on 9 May asking Parliamentary Service to provide any information requested from the inquiry.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No, because what happened was the authorisation was in relation to metadata. When the actual contents of the emails were requested, that was the very point that my chief of staff made—that, in fact, he was not authorised, he believed, to do that. He said he needed to ponder that for a day. He did so. He went back the next day and said: “No, I don’t believe I have the authorisation to do that for a support party Minister.” He referred it to Mr Dunne’s office. Mr Dunne said that no, he would not release the content of the emails but he was happy to “have a discussion with Mr Henry”.

Dr Russel Norman: In relation to that point, I seek leave to table the email trail that shows that it was a request for the content of the emails. This is the email of 20 May from the inquiry.

Mr SPEAKER: Again, I suspect that that email has been released, but I will put the question. Is there objection to that email trail being tabled? There is objection.

Grant Robertson: In light of the Prime Minister’s answer to Dr Norman’s first supplementary question, I seek leave of the House to table an email from Monday, 20 May, timed at 5:53 p.m. where the inquiry seeks the phone logs between the listed extensions of Peter Dunne and the numbers of interest, being Andrea Vance to and from those—

Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that email. Is there any objection? Yes, there is.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I seek leave to table the statement from David Henry in relation to the Henry inquiry, where he quotes: “The inquiry I led never requested the phone records of journalist Ms Andrea Vance. The inquiry reported the fact immediately the information was received.”

Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought—

Hon Trevor Mallard: Can I seek an assurance from the Prime Minister that it has not been previously published?

Mr SPEAKER: Well, the member has the ability to deny leave if he so wants. The Prime Minister sought leave to table—

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. You have, I think on at least three occasions—

Mr SPEAKER: And I will do the same on this occasion. I assume that if it is a media release, it has probably been published, but, on the same basis as I have treated all the others, I will put leave to the House. Is there any objection to that particular statement from David Henry being tabled? There is not.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Mr Robertson concluded his last submission to the House by talking about the Prime Minister lying. That usually is found to be an offence in this House by all manner of members, including the person who is the subject of the allegation. Of course, it does not happen when it is true.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I do not believe that we are getting a point of order on this occasion.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Well, he said it.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! If the member also wants to stay for the balance of question time, he is quite OK to raise legitimate points of order, but raising points of order either to waste time or make political statements will not be tolerated.

Dairy Industry—Potential Contamination of Whey Protein

7. KATRINA SHANKS (National) to the Minister for Food Safety: What information can she provide to the public regarding the safety of infant formula?

Hon NIKKI KAYE (Minister for Food Safety): Ministers have been advised that Nutricia has voluntarily recalled a number of its products to ensure that potentially affected stock is off the shelves until there can be complete confidence as to whether or not these products are contaminated. Last night Nutricia initiated a voluntary recall of Karicare Stage 1 New Baby Infant Formula from birth, and Karicare Gold+ Stage 2 Follow-on Formula from 6 months. The Government welcomes Nutricia’s decision. Now that there is a definitive recall across the two product lines, the Ministry for Primary Industries is assisting Nutricia to ramp up public information. This includes national advertising of a statutory recall notice: radio advertising, social networking advertising, and online advertising. People can get information and advice from Healthline, PlunketLine, and the Ministry for Primary Industries consumer helpline. The Ministry for Primary Industries is continuing to work round the clock on this issue. Parents and caregivers should continue to regularly check the Ministry for Primary Industries website for any updates, and call Healthline and PlunketLine if they have any health concerns.

Katrina Shanks: What are the main actions the Government has taken to address the immediate issues raised with regard to the safety of infant formula?

Hon NIKKI KAYE: Some of the actions that we have been taking include placing officials from the Ministry for Primary Industries at Fonterra sites in Auckland, Hamilton, and Australia to verify information and to obtain a complete picture of the products and locations affected by the contamination. Ministry officials have conducted a physical check of the plant in the Waikato to confirm the pipe suspected of causing the contamination has been changed. A ministerial response team has been established for a whole-of-Government approach on this issue, and we have been meeting regularly. Ministers have spoken with food and grocery industry representative members, and have been assured that they have no immediate concerns about the ability to supply existing alternative infant formula. Ministers have also been advised that the industry is putting in place arrangements to secure the ongoing supply of alternative infant formula products. From a public health perspective, health officials have been an active part of the response team. The Director- General of Health has been working closely with the Director-General of the Ministry for Primary

Industries. There has been increased surveillance for any symptoms that could possibly result from exposure of this bacteria. The surveillance has been in district health board baby units, paediatric wards, and general practices. I am also advised that the Ministry of Health has utilised its system of conveying urgent messages to general practices. This has been a whole-of-Government response. Ministers and agencies are working round the clock to ensure that the public are protected.

Housing, Affordable—Statements of Reserve Bank and Auckland Issues

8. Hon DAVID PARKER (Labour) to the Minister of Finance: Does he agree with the Reserve Bank that house price inflation in our largest city Auckland is “rapid”; if so, what is the Government doing to deal with the demand and price pressures caused by speculators?

Hon BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Finance): Yes, I do agree with the Reserve Bank, but I do not agree with the member’s habit of calling everyone who wants to buy a house a speculator; many buyers, if not most, are not. Of course, speculators who buy and sell houses with the aim of making a profit are already required to pay tax on any capital gains. In addition, the Government has significantly tightened tax rules for property owners and investors, and provided the Inland Revenue Department with extra resources to enforce those tax rules. These moves are expected to raise $700 million to $800 million of extra tax on property investment every year, which is far in excess of any estimates of capital gains tax. The Government is focusing, though, as a top priority on the supply of houses. As outlined by the Productivity Commission, regulatory restrictions on the supply of new housing and new land in Christchurch and Auckland markets is a significant driver of the increases in prices. The Government is also focusing on reducing the delays and costs of Resource Management Act processes, improving the timely provision of infrastructure, and working with the construction sector to lift its low levels of productivity.

Hon David Parker: Would a capital gains tax excluding the family home dampen demand from the owners of multiple numbers of houses—if you do not like the word “speculators”—given that 40 percent of Auckland homes are no longer owner occupied?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: The “owners of multiple homes” would refer to a significant number of New Zealanders, and many of them would not regard themselves as speculators.

Hon Judith Collins: David Shearer?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Well, David Shearer—

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

Hon BILL ENGLISH: —and maybe others. Australia has that kind of capital gains tax, and it has made no difference. Australia also has restrictions on foreign buyers, and it has a less affordable housing market than New Zealand. That is why we are focusing on mechanisms such as the housing accord with Auckland Council, targeting the construction of 39,000 new houses in Auckland over the next 3 years. We are also about to pass legislation—hopefully, with the support of Labour— giving the Government the capacity to speed up consenting, so that we can get more houses on the ground faster in Auckland.

Hon David Parker: Did he make representations to the Reserve Bank to exempt Kiwi firsthome buyers from loan-to-value ratio restrictions; if so, why did he not include such an exemption as a condition of loan-to-value ratios when he gave the Reserve Bank the power to use them?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: The Reserve Bank, in the end, will make the decisions about loan-tovalue ratios. The Government has been consulted and has put the point of view that was articulated by the Prime Minister publicly several weeks ago. I would say this: in the same way that the member speaks of having a capital gains tax that exempts most houses, the Reserve Bank has raised the issue of the challenge of having restrictions on low-deposit loans, which might exclude most people with a low deposit. The question for the Reserve Bank is how to make that kind of intervention effective.

Hon David Parker: Why does the Government think it is fair to give preference to overseas house buyers over Kiwi first-home buyers by shutting first-home buyers out via loan-to-value ratios, while leaving overseas property speculators free rein to buy and make tax-free capital gains?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: I simply do not agree with the member’s premises. In any case, whatever happens with loan-to-value ratios, the real driver of house prices is restriction of supply of houses. Auckland needs 13,000 houses a year, and it is getting 4,000. It does not really matter whether people are first-home buyers, long-term investors in housing, or owners of family homes; all their interests will be served by more houses on the ground faster, and lower interest rates than would otherwise be the case.

Dairy Industry—Potential Contamination of Whey Protein

9. IAN McKELVIE (National—Rangitīkei) to the Minister of Trade: What reports has he received of international reactions to the potential contamination of whey protein concentrate?

Hon TIM GROSER (Minister of Trade): New Zealand posts in affected markets are continuing to liaise with authorities and to share information with them as the extent of the contamination comes to hand. Governments are reacting in exactly the way we would expect, and most are taking a very measured approach. We have to recognise that the situation is fluid and that new import restrictions and new testing requirements may be introduced at any time. But today, as I am answering this question, of the eight potentially affected markets, only one has applied a suspension of imports. That is China, and China has been very measured in that response. It has suspended the importation of whey protein and dairy-based powder manufactured by Fonterra, including Australian-produced products using Fonterra whey powder protein as an ingredient. I would just like to add, for members here, that the phrase “dairy-based powder” is a little misleading to anyone who is not a technical expert. It does not include our major powder exports. Clarification on this point by the Deputy Prime Minister earlier has indicated that it is actually a very small part of our total dairy exports that have been affected so far by the Chinese authorities’ legitimate decision. But, of course, because it is a fluid situation and it may well change, we are keeping this under the closest possible review. The Governments of Malaysia, Thailand, Viet Nam, Singapore, Australia, and Saudi Arabia, and the authorities in the separate customs territory of Hong Kong, are keeping the situation under review, as you would expect them to. Contrary to some earlier reports, I am advised today that there is presently no import ban on New Zealand products in place in Russia, which is different advice than we received only yesterday. Our overseas posts are working very closely with the host Governments and the authorities and regulators concerned to ensure that these countries have as full information as possible to protect the health of their children. I understand the Viet Namese, Singaporean, and Russian Governments have undertaken precautionary recalls—not import bans, but recalls—of potentially affected product. Danone has undertaken precautionary recalls of potentially affected product in Malaysia.

Ian McKelvie: What measures will the Government be taking to reassure overseas markets and consumers?

Hon TIM GROSER: All efforts are currently focused on the job at hand, which is consumer health both at home and overseas, as the Prime Minister and other Ministers have previously explained. Once we have worked through those issues by locating and quarantining all potentially affected product, we will then begin the critical task of restoring the trust and confidence of our overseas markets in the New Zealand supply chain. I would just like to reiterate the fundamental point that the Prime Minister has made, which is that we have over 100 years of experience in delivering high-quality, safe food to consumers in multiple countries, and that is the base to which we will return. How we, Fonterra, and the other dairy companies that we are in close contact with manage this situation in the weeks and months ahead will clearly determine how well we recover from it. The whole of Government is focused on this issue.

Health, Minister—Policies

10. Hon ANNETTE KING (Labour—Rongotai) to the Minister of Health: Does he take responsibility for the health outcomes from his policies; if not, why not?

Hon TONY RYALL (Minister of Health): As Minister I take responsibility for the overall performance of the New Zealand public health service, including responsibility for the big increase of over 37,000 extra patients who have received first specialist assessments under this Government.

Hon Annette King: Does he take responsibility for district health boards that are once again this year sending letters to general practitioner clinics saying that due to the current resources available and increased demands, they will be accepting only urgent referrals to the hospital, something that in March in Parliament he claimed did not reflect what was happening; and is he aware that general practitioners are now reporting that patients with significant impairment and pain are not getting timely treatment, and are saying that the real number of patients waiting to be seen is being hidden?

Hon TONY RYALL: I would have to say, to any of those claims that the real number of patients being hidden is what is going on, that it is not correct. That member will recall that in fact it was her party opposite that slashed 36,000 people from waiting lists in order to hide the true number of people waiting.

Hon Annette King: I seek leave to table a letter from the Hutt Valley District Health Board to general practitioner clinics, saying that it will accept only urgent referrals. This is under his watch— it is nothing to do with 8 years ago.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Leave is sought to table that particular document. Is there any objection? There is none. It can be so tabled. Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.

Hon Annette King: I seek leave to table a letter from a general practitioner clinic saying that their patients have significant impairment and pain because they have been denied timely treatment, and that the stopping of the referral of these patients hides the real numbers—under his watch.

Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that particular letter from a general practitioner clinic. Is there any objection? There appears to be none. It can be so tabled. Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.

Hon Annette King: Does he take any responsibility for Mrs Holland of Hawke’s Bay, who has received a letter telling her that she cannot be seen because of current resources and capabilities, even though she keeps falling over and is permanently on a walking stick; or Mrs Bennett, of MidCentral, who has been refused an appointment because only urgent referrals are being accepted, even though she is unable to walk more than a few steps; or Mr Greenwood, from Capital and Coast, who has been refused an appointment and has been forced to stay on a sickness benefit for 2½ years? These are just some of the growing numbers of cases emerging under 5 years of his stewardship.

Hon TONY RYALL: I would have to see the full story behind those claims, because I am aware that that member made a claim of a large number of people who were missing out on services of the district health boards, on the basis of a doctored Official Information Act request that she then had to apologise for, for the claims that she had made.

Hon Annette King: I seek leave to table the amended numbers of colonoscopies from South Canterbury that the Minister is talking about. They had to amend them because they made the mistake, not me.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Order! What is the source of the document the member is—

Hon Annette King: It is a report from the South Canterbury District Health Board to me, to correct their mistake.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Leave is sought to table that particular report from the South Canterbury District Health Board. Is there any objection? There appears to be none. It can be tabled.

Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.

Hon TONY RYALL: I seek leave to table an Official Information Act response to Mrs King from the South Canterbury District Health Board, which shows the numbers were changed.

Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that particular document. [Interruption] Order! Would the member please resume his seat. Leave is sought to table that document. Is there any objection? There is none. It can be so tabled. Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.

Hon Annette King: Does he take responsibility for the shocking health outcome for an elderly woman in a retirement village hospital in Wellington who was found covered in faeces on three separate occasions, care that was called disgusting by her daughter, because he has failed to implement recommendations from three significant reports into care of the elderly—all released under his watch; his 5 years as Minister—which included recommendations around low wages paid to carers, around training, and around staffing levels?

Hon TONY RYALL: I was shocked and appalled to see the level of that care being provided in that facility and it is simply completely unacceptable. The Government has put $184 million extra into aged residential care, and what I can tell that member is that I am interested she is now suggesting there should be minimum staffing ratios in rest homes, because, when she was Minister, she ruled that out.

Hon Annette King: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I have a point of order. It will be heard in silence.

Hon Annette King: I seek leave to table the Human Rights Commission report—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! That report will be available to all members.

Hon Annette King: I seek leave to table the Audit Office report about—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member is now starting to waste the time of this House by attempting to table documents that are available to any—

Hon Annette King: He hasn’t read them, has he?

Mr SPEAKER: Order! If the member also wants to stay for the balance of question time she needs to be careful about points of order that she raises.

Dairy Industry—Potential Contamination of Whey Protein

DAVID BENNETT (National—Hamilton East): My question—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Would the Minister please—[Interruption] Order!

11. DAVID BENNETT (National—Hamilton East) to the Minister for Primary Industries: What response has he received from the primary sector on the potential whey protein contamination issue?

Hon NATHAN GUY (Minister for Primary Industries): I have briefed a wide range of people from across the sector including industry bodies such as the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand and Federated Farmers. The response has been consistent. Food safety is a top priority for New Zealand and we need to do what we can to assure New Zealanders and our export markets that we are taking this very seriously. The industry groups have expressed disappointment that this has happened, but are committed to doing what they can to assure New Zealanders and overseas markets that, as an exporting food nation, we treat food safety issues very seriously.

David Bennett: What messages has the Minister given to the sector?

Hon NATHAN GUY: I have reiterated to industry groups that this issue is the top priority for the Government. Our first priority is, of course, the safety of New Zealanders and our international consumers. I have also updated the sector on the actions I, my ministerial colleagues, and officials have taken since learning of this issue. This includes the Ministry for Primary Industries sending staff into Fonterra’s data and distribution centres and Nutricia’s warehouses with their permission to verify information and to obtain a complete picture of the products and locations affected by the

potentially contaminated product. I have given the ministry a clear message that no resource is to be spared with this response, to ensure the health and safety of New Zealanders and our international consumers. Primary industries are crucial to the New Zealand economy and it is vital that we have a strong reputation internationally as producers of safe food.

Housing New Zealand Corporation—Vacant Houses

12. PHIL TWYFORD (Labour—Te Atatū) to the Minister of Housing: What is the number of Housing New Zealand houses which are currently vacant as a proportion of the total Housing New Zealand stock?

Hon Dr NICK SMITH (Minister of Housing): Of the 68,913 homes, 390, or 0.6 percent, are vacant and available to be tenanted. About half of these at any time are under not offer, but not yet let or occupied. A good example of this is the house Mr Shearer was photographed peering into last Thursday. One thousand and fifty-three, or 1.5 percent, are vacant because they are earthquake prone or under earthquake repairs; 248, or 0.36 percent, are under redevelopment; 1,301 have repairs under way; 545, or 0.8 percent, are vacant pending sale; and 60, or 0.1 percent, are vacant for miscellaneous reasons such as being ex-P labs, fire damage, or because they are awaiting demolition.

Phil Twyford: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I asked the Minister, in a question that was set down, what is the number of houses that are currently vacant. We heard a catalogue of subcategories; I asked for the number that are vacant, and he did not answer the question.

Mr SPEAKER: I am absolutely sure that the Minister included that number, but if the Minister did not include that number, could he do so. [Interruption] The Minister says that he did. The member has a further supplementary question. [Interruption] Order! Does the member have a further supplementary question?

Phil Twyford: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I asked for the number of houses that are vacant. I got a catalogue of—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! We are having some assistance from the Minister, the Hon Dr Nick Smith.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH: The issue is that a lot of State houses are vacant today, because— [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: I am allowing the Minister to speak to this point of order to try to assist in getting the answer. If the members are going to object, it is clear that they are not interested in the explanation.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH: The issue is that lots of houses, for instance today, are vacant because the tenants are out at work or out doing training. “Vacant” is a very broad definition. That is why I provided detailed information to the member. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I will hear from the member his point of order.

Phil Twyford: It was a question that was set down. The language was very precise and very simple. I asked for the number of vacant houses, not a catalogue of subtotals and subcategories. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I have listened carefully to the points of order that have been raised. I have listened to the question. I have listened to the answer. The best way forward on this occasion is that I will allow the member an additional supplementary question if he so requires.

Phil Twyford: What is the number of Housing New Zealand houses which are currently vacant as a proportion of the total Housing New Zealand stock? Currently vacant.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH: Of course, a property can be vacant for lots of reasons. The important figure—

Hon Members: How many?

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

Hon Dr NICK SMITH: —the important figure—is houses that are vacant and are ready to be tenanted. That number is 390, or 0.6 percent. It is true that there are some houses that are being demolished. It is also true that some houses have been wrecked by earthquakes. They too are vacant, but it is a nonsense to include them in the member’s message about vacant properties.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I have a point of order from the Hon Trevor Mallard, but just before I accept the point of order, I want to be fair to the member. I have said that if he—and there are two other members—raise points of order that are not legitimate, I will be asking the member to leave the House. I do not expect—on this occasion this will not be occurring.

Hon Trevor Mallard: No, I understand that I am under extreme prejudice. The question that was asked both as a primary question, and the essence of it, as a supplementary question—and the primary question was set down—asked about the number that are currently vacant. It did not ask whether that was a good question or whether some other question should have been asked, and my view is that the Minister should have come to the House with that number and the proportion.

Mr SPEAKER: It is a very legitimate point of order that has been raised by the member. I may well agree with the member, but on this occasion I am not responsible for the answer. I gave the member an additional supplementary question, so he reused it to ask exactly the same primary question. The Minister has chosen to answer it in the way that he has. I can move this matter no further forward except to invite Mr Twyford to continue his line of questioning.

Phil Twyford: I seek leave to table a communication from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment that shows that 3,703 vacant properties are held by Housing New Zealand.

Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that particular communication. Is there objection? There is none. It can be so tabled. Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.

Mr SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Phil Twyford. [Interruption] Order! I have called Phil Twyford.

Phil Twyford: Why is the offers and repairs process allowing approximately 1,700 properties classified as “lettable” by Housing New Zealand to be vacant, an increase of more than 200 since January 2012?

Hon Dr NICK SMITH: For very good reason. The previous Government significantly underspent on maintenance. We are spending on average $5,000 on the repairs to houses at the time that they become vacant and before they are further let. For that reason, I would much rather re-let a quality property than one that was in the run-down mess left by the previous Government.

Phil Twyford: Given his statement that there are 1,200 homes empty for minor repairs, what definition of minor repair is he using, and is he happy that 1,200 tenants, many of them families, have been moved out of their homes, often into overcrowded and substandard housing, simply because of minor repairs?

Hon Dr NICK SMITH: Let me make the issue of minor repairs clear: three-quarters of the properties that become vacant have to have $5,000 or more spent on them. We can have an academic argument about whether $5,000 is minor or not; I am actually quite proud of the fact that this Government is going to spend $2.9 billion over the next 3 years making sure that we have got houses of some quality that I would be happy to have a family in.

Phil Twyford: Supplementary question—

Mr SPEAKER: No, you have had—can I just check whether the member has had the additional supplementary question. The member has had not only his share but the additional one that I generously gave him earlier.

QUESTIONS TO MEMBERS

Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill (No

2)—Passage

1. Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South) to the Member in charge of the

Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill (No

2): Is it his intention to proceed with the first reading of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill (No 2); if so, why?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Member in charge of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand

(Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill (No 2)): Undoubtedly yes, because the Reserve Bank needs a much wider range of counter-inflationary measures, rather than the crude, blunt tool favoured by the incumbent Government. It needs tools—

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Brought in when that member was Treasurer.

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: —to combat the inflow of hot money, much wider than the last policy targets agreement, which was changed by the National Party - New Zealand First Government in 1996 and then promptly ignored by the next National Party leader, Don Brash, and it needs tools to create a stable, competitive exchange rate, paying regard to the fact that we are an export-dependent economy. All of those will be fresh news for Gerry Brownlee.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Has he seen any reports from economists on this question; if so, what did they say?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: The reality is that all those economists who are concerned about this country’s future and who understand this country’s history—like, for example, Business and Economic Research Ltd—have been very supportive of this measure. Then, of course, you have got the other lot, who are dependent upon the insurance companies and banks in overseas ownership for their future livelihood. They tend to favour a currency run for the few—and very few—against the dynamic majority interest of provincial New Zealand and exporters and workers for exporters.

Electricity (Renewable Preference) Amendment Bill—Passage

2. Hon MARYAN STREET (Labour) to the Member in charge of the Electricity

(Renewable Preference) Amendment Bill: Is it her intention to proceed with the first reading of the Electricity (Renewable Preference) Amendment Bill; if so, why?

MOANA MACKEY (Member in charge of the Electricity (Renewable Preference)

Amendment Bill): Yes, it absolutely is my intention to proceed with the first reading of the Electricity (Renewable Preference) Amendment Bill, and the reason that I want to proceed is that this bill is an important first step to meeting the current Government’s two targets: firstly, that 90 percent of our electricity generation be from renewable resources by 2025; and, secondly, the National Government’s target of a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This bill is an important first step in introducing a range of measures that will help us to meet those targets. Currently, we are not on track to meet those targets. The Hon Gerry Brownlee has indicated the importance of this bill when he said on the repeal of this measure, which the previous Labour Government put in place, that in fact what we needed was—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! I invite the member, before she prepares for her next question, if there is one, to look at Standing Order 383.

Hon Maryan Street: What would the impact of the bill be on the renewable energy sector?

MOANA MACKEY: The impact is very, very important, indeed. The best thing we could do for the renewable energy sector would be to have an adequate price on carbon. As of this morning, that price on carbon was 50c. The Hon Gerry Brownlee highlighted the importance of this bill when he said: “Reducing carbon emissions in the electricity sector remains a goal, and renewable technology will be encouraged through the Emissions Trading Scheme,” and “National believes that

investment decisions in the electricity sector should be made on the basis of sound economics, with environmental effects taken into account through a price on carbon.” Labour agrees with that. We do not currently have an adequate price on carbon. That is why this member’s bill is entirely appropriate and necessary.

Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Paid Leave) Amendment Bill—

Submissions Received

3. SUE MORONEY (Labour) to the Chairperson of the Government Administration

Committee: How many submissions were received on the Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Paid Leave) Amendment Bill?

Hon RUTH DYSON (Chairperson of the Government Administration Committee): Submissions on the Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Paid Leave) Amendment Bill opened on 1 August 2012 and submissions on that bill closed on 5 October 2012. At the first meeting after this date, the Government Administration Committee was advised that the bill had attracted a total of 2,710 submissions. That may seem like a large number, but the member in whose name the bill is sponsored indicated to the committee that her understanding was that the number was lower than it should have been—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member has satisfactorily addressed the question with the answer— [Interruption] Order!

Hon Ruth Dyson: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I have not finished, because it is not the answer to the question.

Mr SPEAKER: But I am inviting the member, and all other members who have questions to answer today, to look carefully at Standing Order 383. That question asked for the number of submissions that have been received. That number was given by the member as 2,700. Am I wrong in saying that? [Interruption] Well, then I will certainly hear from the Hon Ruth Dyson.

Hon RUTH DYSON: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and the reason that I am saying that is that it is a very unusual situation in relation to the number of submissions that we originally were told were received, and the final answer to the question.

Mr SPEAKER: Well, if the member would concisely summarise that for the benefit of the House, I would be grateful.

Hon RUTH DYSON: I will try my best, Mr Speaker. The member in whose name the bill is sponsored challenged that number of submissions and then went back to an umbrella organisation called 26 for Babies. As a result of those inquiries with that organisation, which is set up to support the bill, it was discovered that a large number of submissions that were sent through the 26 for Babies website to the committee did not actually arrive on the committee’s website. The committee resolved at a later meeting that it had been demonstrated that these submissions had been sent by the due date, but had not been received through no fault of the submitters, and that we would therefore accept them as being received by the due date. An investigation into the reason for that—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! That answer is now miles too long and I warn all other members who are going to be answering questions to adhere to the Standing Orders. Is there a supplementary question?

Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I certainly accept that in this particular case that was a particularly long answer. However, earlier in question time today, in answer to questions put forward by Phil Twyford, the Hon Dr Nick Smith put forward a very, very long answer cataloguing a wide range of different variables in relation to the primary question. In fact, when we raised the point of order with you, suggesting that we actually just wanted the answer to the question, you, in fact, allowed him to continue giving that answer. I just want to be sure that we are going to have a consistent standard here. I accept that Ruth Dyson’s was a long answer—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I have heard enough from the member. If the member is now accusing me of being inconsistent, I will take that very seriously indeed.

Sue Moroney: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I do have a supplementary question, but in order to ask my supplementary question, I need the answer to my question. It was not the answer—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! If the member wants to ask a supplementary question, I will give her one further chance, otherwise we are moving to the next question.

Sue Moroney: What was the final number of submissions received, then, by the committee, given her previous answer, and—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! That is quite a sufficient supplementary question. What was the—

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER: Again, I warn the member that if it is a satisfactory and fresh point of order that does not in any way—

Hon Trevor Mallard: It is an absolutely new point of order.

Mr SPEAKER: I will listen to it with interest.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Members have the right to ask supplementary questions with two legs. That is a standard process and it applies to both these members—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I need no further advice. I have received advice that supplementary questions should have only one leg. The member has asked a supplementary question. Would the Hon Ruth Dyson please answer that question.

Hon RUTH DYSON: Mr Speaker, I certainly will. There were no submitters out of the total who were opposed to the bill. There were seven who proposed changes or delay in the implementation of the legislation. That was 0.183 percent of the total submissions, which were 126 unique submissions and 3,683 form submissions.

Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I just want to seek clarification from you, with relation to your last ruling. Is that only in relation to supplementary questions to members or does that apply also to supplementary questions to Ministers?

Mr SPEAKER: It is a general rule. I refer the member to Speaker’s ruling 169/4: “A supplementary question should contain only one question.”

Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill—Passage

4. Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South) to the Member in charge of the

Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill: Is it his intention to proceed with the committee stage of the Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill; if so, why?

TE URUROA FLAVELL (Member in charge of the Gambling (Gambling Harm

Reduction) Amendment Bill): [Authorised te reo text to be inserted by the Hansard Office.] [Authorised translation to be inserted by the Hansard Office.]

Hon Trevor Mallard: Is it his intention to strengthen the harm reduction aspect of his bill by accepting an amendment to have a “pokie pause” for 4 or 5 hours each morning, similar to the one that the House supported in relation to alcohol, because the House saw that this was a useful way to overcome addiction and abuse; if not, why not?

TE URUROA FLAVELL: [Authorised te reo text to be inserted by the Hansard Office.] [Authorised translation to be inserted by the Hansard Office.]

Point of Order—Supplementary Questions

CHRIS HIPKINS (Senior Whip—Labour): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. You referred me earlier to the Speakers’ rulings. I have now had a chance to look at them, and I just want some clarification from you with regard to Speakers’ ruling 169/6 on the same page. In this case it is to do

with Ministers’ questions, but it equally, presumably, applies to members’ questions. Speakers’ ruling 169/6 states: “(1) Ministers need address only one of the questions contained in supplementary questions. (2) If members ask multiple questions, they run the risk of Ministers answering the parts that they regard as less important.” That, of course, is a more recent ruling than the one that you quoted, which is from 1963. The one that I have just quoted basically variously dates from the 2000s. I just want to get your ruling on which of those applies: the more recent one or the historical one.

Mr SPEAKER: That is a matter for interpretation at the time. I do point out again that the member is wrong. I quoted Speaker’s ruling 169/4, which, of course, is from 1984. That was probably still before the member was with us, but be that as it may.

Sentencing (Protection of Children from Criminal Offending) Amendment Bill—Passage

5. ANDREW LITTLE (Labour) to the Member in charge of the Sentencing (Protection of

Children from Criminal Offending) Amendment Bill: Is it her intention to proceed with the first reading of the Sentencing (Protection of Children from Criminal Offending) Amendment Bill; if so, why?

Le’aufa’amulia ASENATI LOLE-TAYLOR (Member in charge of the Sentencing

(Protection of Children from Criminal Offending) Amendment Bill): What an excellent question, and I thank the member for his keen interest in this very important bill. I can advise the member that I am looking forward to the opportunity to introduce this bill, the Sentencing (Protection of Children from Criminal Offending) Amendment Bill, to the House. New Zealand society has raised numerous and major concerns around the increased number of young children being subjected to severe abuse through criminal offending. New Zealand parliamentarians can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to the seriousness of this particular issue, especially with more children dying at the hands of irresponsible criminals. Furthermore, some of the incidents and cases involve family relatives of children, and those who are meant to be their guardians for life. These irresponsible criminals will be made to face the reality of their offending, and my bill will ensure that they are given the sentence that reflects the seriousness of their offending.Andrew Little: What impact will the bill have on the numbers of families and the numbers of children whom the bill seeks to protect?

Le’aufa’amulia ASENATI LOLE-TAYLOR: I must apologise, I did not quite the hear the question from—

Mr SPEAKER: The question was what impact will the bill have on the numbers of families and numbers of children affected.

Le’aufa’amulia ASENATI LOLE-TAYLOR: The bill would definitely provide the opportunity for a safety net. It will also give judges the power to ensure that the sentences being handed out to criminals reflect the crime that has been committed. In other words, we are looking at making sure that the punishment fits the crime.

QUESTIONS TO MEMBERS

Question No. 6 to Member

KRIS FAAFOI (Labour—Mana): My question is the Chairperson of the Law and Order Committee. When will she—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I have just been advised that Jacqui Dean is not in the House, and therefore—[Interruption]—Order! I have just been advised that Jacqui Dean is not in the House, and that question will be held over to the next sitting day.

Kris Faafoi: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am just wondering whether I can seek leave to table this question to the chair of the Law and Order Committee.

Mr SPEAKER: No. That is just wasting the time of the House.

Social Security (Clothing Allowances for Orphans and Unsupported Children) Amendment

Bill—Passage

7. JACINDA ARDERN (Labour) to the Member in charge of the Social Security (Clothing

Allowances for Orphans and Unsupported Children) Amendment Bill: Is it her intention to proceed with the first reading of the Social Security (Clothing Allowances for Orphans and Unsupported Children) Amendment Bill, if so, why?

TRACEY MARTIN (Member in charge of the Social Security (Clothing Allowances for

Orphans and Unsupported Children) Amendment Bill): Kia ora, Mr Speaker. Yes. It most certainly is my intention to proceed with the first reading of the Social Security (Clothing Allowances for Orphans and Unsupported Children) Amendment Bill because the issue of fairness that it addresses for a large percentage of New Zealand orphans and unsupported children is real and urgent.

Jacinda Ardern: Will the Social Security (Clothing Allowances for Orphans and Unsupported Children) Amendment Bill assist groups like the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust; if so, how?

TRACEY MARTIN: Indirectly, yes. The majority of kin carers who are looking after the dayto- day needs of these orphans and unsupported children on behalf of us in New Zealand do tend to be grandparents who are now raising their grandchildren.

Care of Children Law Reform Bill—Passage

8. SUE MORONEY (Labour) to the Member in charge of the Care of Children Law

Reform Bill: Is it her intention to proceed with the first reading of the Care of Children Law Reform Bill; if so, why?

JACINDA ARDERN (Member in charge of the Care of Children Law Reform Bill): Yes, it is my intention that the Care of Children Law Reform Bill will receive its first reading as soon as members’ day allows. This bill seeks to update the antiquated adoption laws in New Zealand and put children at the heart of all decision making around their future guardianship. Given that this is such an overdue piece of work, I would encourage the Government to pick it up as soon as possible.

Sue Moroney: Why is it necessary for the Care of Children Law Reform Bill to be advanced at this time?

JACINDA ARDERN: Our current law in this area dates back to the early 1950s and, simply put, is no longer fit for purpose. More than 10 years ago the Law Commission put out a report titled Adoption and its Alternatives, a more than 300-page report of ideas and recommendations to modernise our law and put children at the heart of any decision making about their future. Labour progressed work on guardianship, and now it is time for adoption law reform to begin, and to finally give legal weight to things like, for instance, whāngai adoption, which for too long has not been given legal weight in this country. My bill will begin that process, and I look forward to the support of this House for that bill.

Privacy (Giving Privacy Commissioner Necessary Tools) Amendment Bill—Passage

9. CLARE CURRAN (Labour—Dunedin South) to the Member in charge of the Privacy

(Giving Privacy Commissioner Necessary Tools) Amendment Bill: Is it her intention to proceed with the first reading of the Privacy (Giving Privacy Commissioner Necessary Tools) Amendment Bill; if so, why?

SUE MORONEY (Member in charge of the Privacy (Giving Privacy Commissioner

Necessary Tools) Amendment Bill): Yes. The first reading of my bill that gives more power to the Privacy Commissioner to fix privacy breaches becomes more urgent every day. The bill was initially drafted as a response to the systematic privacy breaches that have been happening frequently under this Government. From ACC to EQC, the Earthquake Commission, and now the GCSB, the Government Communications Security Bureau, and just about every acronym in

between, it is obvious that this Government is playing fast and loose with New Zealanders’ privacy. Who can forget the privacy breach that saw the ACC sending the private information of 6,748 people, some of them with sensitive claims, to Bronwyn Pullar, and then the leak—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! Wrap up the answer please.

SUE MORONEY: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I probably should have said at the outset that this answer will—

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

SUE MORONEY: —be a little long because of the number—

Mr SPEAKER: I am sorry, it will not be a little long. Wrap up the answer concisely.

SUE MORONEY: My bill aims to address these and many other breaches—the many other breaches that I could have talked about—by giving the Privacy Commissioner the power to investigate such breaches without having to first receive a complaint. Further, my bill would give the commissioner the right to require agencies to implement her recommendations once an investigation has been completed. Both of these law changes were recommended by the Law Commission when it considered our privacy laws.

Clare Curran: Has the member seen reports of support for the first reading of her bill to give the Privacy Commissioner more power to deal with privacy breaches; if so, what were they?

SUE MORONEY: Yes, associate professor in commercial law at the University of Auckland Gehan Gunasekara wrote an opinion piece in the New Zealand Herald on 20 May saying that this bill is a step in the right direction. I have also seen a report from a year earlier that appears to support a bill enacting the Law Commission’s recommendations on privacy issues. This was on 2 May 2012 when Minister of Justice, Judith Collins, opened Privacy Awareness Week by promising to replace the Privacy Act with a new Act. She promised to have a bill ready—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Just complete the answer.

SUE MORONEY: —for introduction in the first half of 2013. Well, we are into August 2013 now. There is no sign of Judith Collins’ bill, but I look forward to her support of my bill, which was introduced into Parliament in May 2013. I seek leave of the House to put forward the copy of Judith Collins’ speech to Privacy Awareness Week on 2 May 2012.

Mr SPEAKER: It is probably available on the website, but to short-circuit things, leave is sought to table that speech. Is there any objection? There is.

Hon Trevor Mallard: It’s an outrageous speech.

Mr SPEAKER: OK. Leave is so denied.

Question Nos 10 and 11 to Members

Mr SPEAKER: Question No. 10 and Question No. 11 are held over to the next sitting day.

Electronic Data Safety Bill—Passage

12. SUE MORONEY (Labour) to the Member in charge of the Electronic Data Safety Bill: Is it her intention to proceed with the first reading of the Electronic Data Safety Bill; if so, why?

CLARE CURRAN (Member in charge of the Electronic Data Safety Bill): It is my intention to proceed with the first reading of the Electronic Data Safety Bill, which would establish a commission of inquiry into the various privacy breaches that have occurred within the last few years within various Government agencies. The commission would also examine the agencies’ capacity to respond to breaches in the future and how best to prevent future unauthorised access to private information. There is a long line of privacy breaches at Government agencies, which include the ACC, the Ministry of Social Development, the Earthquake Commission, Housing New Zealand, the Medical Council of New Zealand, Immigration New Zealand, and recently the Ministry—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! That answer goes well past the original question.

Sue Moroney: Has the member seen recent reports of breaches that have provided unauthorised access to private information, or instances where the Government’s handling of a vulnerability issue has been questioned—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member in charge of the bill has no responsibility for that whatsoever.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The question was “Has the member seen …”. She actually does have responsibility for what she sees. It is the same as the Minister—

Mr SPEAKER: No, I do not accept that on this occasion. The question is ruled out of order.

Question No. 13 to Member

Mr SPEAKER: Question No. 13 is held over.

Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill (No

2)—Purpose

14. ANDREW WILLIAMS (NZ First) to the Member in charge of the Reserve Bank of New

Zealand (Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill (No 2): What is the intention of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill (No 2)?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Member in charge of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand

(Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill (No 2)): The intention of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill (No 2) is to amend section 8 of the principal Act to give the Reserve Bank a broader ambit when implementing monetary policy. This is an approach that provincial and export New Zealand has been desperately waiting for, for decades now. The bill would mean that the Reserve Bank would have to consider a much wider range of counter-inflationary measures, which about 50 other economies are doing, I might add, as well as supplementing tools for managing the exchange rate—in short, no longer following the crude prescription for the right-wing monetarists that have so beset this economy.

Andrew Williams: What additional tools could the Reserve Bank use?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: That also is an excellent question. Such tools would include lightening capital controls, which would reduce the inflow of so-called “hot” money, which so many commentators have talked about, and lead to a depreciation of the exchange rate, which all the commentators—including the IMF—say is seriously overvalued, except they do not want to do anything about it. Another option is the introduction of a cap on the New Zealand dollar and a floor, above which and below which it must not rise or fall. This would require the Reserve Bank to sell New Zealand dollars and purchase foreign assets when the dollar reaches a certain threshold, which is now well past. The dollar has been damaged in the New Zealand export sector for a long, long time, hence we are finding so many people in the countryside, despite there being basic primary products like logs, having no employment at all.

Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill (No

2)—Effect on Policy

15. ANDREW WILLIAMS (NZ First) to the Member in charge of the Reserve Bank of New

Zealand (Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill (No 2): How will the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill (No 2) help the Reserve Bank pursue a balanced macro-economic policy?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Member in charge of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand

(Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill (No 2)): I have to commend the questioner on his amazing, insightful questions, because they are exactly what New Zealand needs at this point in time—another very pertinent question. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill (No 2) would, in respect of the rural parts

of this country, be of enormous assistance for provincial New Zealand towns. It would be of enormous assistance to a place like, for example, Southland—with less than 3 percent of the population and 18 percent of the exports—which would for the first time in a long time get a fair go. The bill would require the Reserve Bank to incorporate in its monetary policy the goal of achieving a stable and competitive exchange rate, sympathetic to export growth. The effect of a stable and competitive exchange rate would be a more productive export sector, which would increase the national income and help us earn our way out of the current economic malaise that the National Party has sunk us to.

Andrew Williams: What is the outlook for New Zealand without a balanced macroeconomic policy?

Mr SPEAKER: That question is not the responsibility of the member.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Surely you could ask him to rephrase it so it included the Reserve Bank amendment bill, and how—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member has been here long enough and should have given some assistance earlier. The member is responsible for the bill—[Interruption] Order! The member is responsible for the bill. If the question is worded in such a way that it addresses that responsibility, I will give the member a chance to answer. But if it is not related to the bill, then it will be ruled out of order.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: So can he ask it with the bill in it?

Mr SPEAKER: Yes.

Andrew Williams: How will the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill be impacted in terms of the New Zealand economy if it does not succeed and there is no balanced macroeconomic policy as a result?

Mr SPEAKER: That is certainly a better attempt.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Thank you, Mr Speaker—it is a wonder what some members can do with your guidance.

Mr SPEAKER: The member should not be surprised. Will he proceed now with the answer.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: The answer is that if we do not change, it will be more of the same. It will be more of the same, only worse: hundreds of manufacturing jobs being lost each week; more manufacturing closures, as we see headlined every week; cutbacks and relocations offshore, as we see in our news every week; more farmers sliding into economic difficulty, despite being involved in what they say is the white gold of our country’s economy; every year 50,000-plus going to Australia; and a worsening balance of payments crisis that sees us heading to uncharted depths, as evidenced this very day by the current account deficit reaching, I think, 4.9 percent and heading towards 7 percent.

Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill (No

2)—Timing

16. ANDREW WILLIAMS (NZ First) to the Member in charge of the Reserve Bank of New

Zealand (Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill (No 2): Why is the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill (No 2) needed now?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Member in charge of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand

(Amending Primary Function of Bank) Amendment Bill (No 2)): Despite a recent drop, the fact is that there has been an unerring rise in the New Zealand dollar, heading towards parity with the US dollar. Our current account deficit is forecast to reach almost 7 percent, as I said, in the next 2 years. As we know, an average of 100 manufacturing jobs are being lost each week, and the high dollar is estimated to be costing exporters well over $2 billion a year. We need to have a serious public debate about the future of monetary policy—in particular, the historically high dollar—and this time we hope that the National Party, which has so many provincial seats—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Just complete the answer without referring to the National Party. It is to do with the member’s responsibility for the bill.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: —will, by some process of osmosis, understand common sense and economics.

Andrew Williams: What is the international context of the bill?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: That is the best question of all, because this House has heard that we cannot take measures, except that around the world Governments and central banks are placing greater emphasis on their exchange rate. Right now the United States, for example, is getting the benefits of its third round of quantitative easing, so is the United Kingdom, and the European Central Bank has cut interest rates. Singapore, Japan, and Switzerland are actively trading against their respect currencies. Other countries, such as Brazil and Canada, are operating capital controls, whilst we resemble Spain, with the tired old recipe that has not worked for 28 years now.

Sentencing (Protection of Children from Criminal Offending) Amendment Bill—Purpose

17. BARBARA STEWART (NZ First) to the Member in charge of the Sentencing

(Protection of Children from Criminal Offending) Amendment Bill: What is the intention of the Sentencing (Protection of Children from Criminal Offending) Amendment Bill?

Le’aufa’amulia ASENATI LOLE-TAYLOR (Member in charge of the Sentencing

(Protection of Children from Criminal Offending) Amendment Bill): How wonderful it is to hear the member’s question. I must thank the member for seeking better understanding of what this bill is all about.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Now would the member just address the question.

Le’aufa’amulia ASENATI LOLE-TAYLOR: I am pleased to inform the member that the Sentencing (Protection of Children from Criminal Offending) Amendment Bill aims to ensure that New Zealand deals with criminals who take no notice of the rights of young generations, particularly minors or children under the age of 17 years. The bill seeks to make criminal offending in the presence of a minor an aggravating factor at sentencing, in response to the increased number of children who suffer emotional, physical, and psychological effects as a result.

Barbara Stewart: What feedback, if any, have you received from the community on the Sentencing (Protection of Children from Criminal Offending) Amendment Bill?

Le’aufa’amulia ASENATI LOLE-TAYLOR: Kia orana, Mr Speaker. That is one valid, very important question. I am pleased to elaborate.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Would the member just answer the question.

Le’aufa’amulia ASENATI LOLE-TAYLOR: I am trying to, Mr Speaker. In recent years communities have witnessed the ongoing and unfair treatment of our children, yet criminal activities involving children have not deterred the criminals from committing serious crimes in their presence. I can advise the member that I have received a huge amount of feedback from various community organisations, local groups, individuals, and key Government organisations. Some of these communities include Papatoetoe Methodist congregations; Sandringham congregations; the combined Woolston and Christchurch communities whom I met at a public forum; anti-violence groups; councils; schools; sports clubs; and more. These communities are waiting with interest to see this bill being introduced to the House and getting its first reading, which I am hopeful will be this week.

Sentencing (Protection of Children from Criminal Offending) Amendment Bill—Timing

18. BARBARA STEWART (NZ First) to the Member in charge of the Sentencing

(Protection of Children from Criminal Offending) Amendment Bill: Why is the Sentencing (Protection of Children from Criminal Offending) Amendment Bill needed now?

Mr SPEAKER: I call Le’aufa’amulia Asenati Lole-Taylor.

Le’aufa’amulia ASENATI LOLE-TAYLOR (Member in charge of the Sentencing

(Protection of Children from Criminal Offending) Amendment Bill): Just to help you, Mr Speaker. My name is Le’aufa’amulia—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Would the member just address the question.

Le’aufa’amulia ASENATI LOLE-TAYLOR: It is a fair comment. It is my name.

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

Le’aufa’amulia ASENATI LOLE-TAYLOR: I am glad to hear that the member’s interest in this bill shows the importance of why the bill should receive strong support across the House. Only last month another child died at the hands of the child’s carer—one of so many children whom this country has witnessed to be a statistic and to form the unacceptable level of minors being unfairly affected by the ignorant behaviour of those who subject our young children to their criminal activities. Criminal offending by adults often exposes minors to serious harm, and I can advise the member that this bill aims to enable the legal system in New Zealand to view such criminal activities and give appropriate sentences that are reflective of this harm.

Barbara Stewart: What research backs up the Sentencing (Protection of Children from Criminal Offending) Amendment Bill?

Le’aufa’amulia ASENATI LOLE-TAYLOR: An excellent question, and I can say this. There have been numerous media reports of children being placed in danger, and also children who were found in P labs are likely to be inhaling and absorbing the same levels of methamphetamine as adult drug users. I can inform the member that senior lecturer in psychological medicine at the University of Auckland, Dr Trecia Wouldes, said that in their research on the long-term effects of methamphetamine on children, what was known about the effects of passive smoking could be indicative, and the effects range from allergies or irritations from the drugs, with the worst coming from breathing the fumes daily, and physical trauma or burns that could occur if the labs exploded. Thank you.

Social Security (Clothing Allowances for Orphans and Unsupported Children) Amendment

Bill—Purpose

19. RICHARD PROSSER (NZ First) to the Member in charge of the Social Security

(Clothing Allowances for Orphans and Unsupported Children) Amendment Bill: What is the intention of the Social Security (Clothing Allowances for Orphans and Unsupported Children) Amendment Bill?

TRACEY MARTIN (Member in charge of the Social Security (Clothing Allowances for

Orphans and Unsupported Children) Amendment Bill): Kia ora. The intention of the Social Security (Clothing Allowances for Orphans and Unsupported Children) Amendment Bill is recognition in statute that an orphan is an orphan, whether placed with foster parents or kin carers, and that any State support should be based upon the circumstances of the child, not the circumstances of the adult.

Richard Prosser: What feedback, if any, has the member received from the community on the Social Security (Clothing Allowances for Orphans and Unsupported Children) Amendment Bill?

TRACEY MARTIN: Kia ora. I have been pleased to receive not only substantial support from the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust but also positive recognition from the New Zealand Family and Foster Care Federation Inc. I have also had conversations with iwi-based social service providers, who have an intimate knowledge of how this inequity affects many of these children in the families they serve.

Social Security (Clothing Allowances for Orphans and Unsupported Children) Amendment

Bill—Timing

20. RICHARD PROSSER (NZ First) to the Member in charge of the Social Security

(Clothing Allowances for Orphans and Unsupported Children) Amendment Bill: Why is the

Social Security (Clothing Allowances for Orphans and Unsupported Children) Amendment Bill needed now?

TRACEY MARTIN (Member in charge of the Social Security (Clothing Allowances for

Orphans and Unsupported Children) Amendment Bill): I thank the member for his question. The Social Security (Clothing Allowances for Orphans and Unsupported Children) Amendment Bill is needed now as more and more children are finding themselves in the unenviable position of being declared an orphan or an unsupported child by the State. Kin carers are being targeted by social services to step up and support these children, which they do, only to find the children deliberately disadvantaged through lower support due to a kin relationship. These children are being discriminated against by the State due to circumstances beyond their control.

Richard Prosser: How will orphans and unsupported children be better off under the Social Security (Clothing Allowances for Orphans and Unsupported Children) Amendment Bill?

TRACEY MARTIN: Should the Social Security (Clothing Allowances for Orphans and Unsupported Children) Amendment Bill pass into law, all orphans and unsupported children will be recognised equally by Government services, as should always have been the case. This will bring the focus of the service provision back to a child-focus provision, which was, I believe, the original intent of previous Parliaments.__

ENDS

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