Parliament: Questions and Answers - Sept 11
QUESTIONS TO MINISTERS
Question No. 1—Prime Minister
1. Hon SIMON BRIDGES (Leader of the Opposition) to the Prime Minister: Does she stand by all her Government's statements, policies, and actions?
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN (Prime Minister): Yes, in particular the release yesterday of the Government's suicide prevention and action plan, which is part of our comprehensive response to the issue of mental health in this country and a further demonstration that this Government is finally, after years of neglect, taking mental health seriously.
Hon Simon Bridges: When will the Government deliver on its promise in the Speech from the Throne to build 100,000 houses over the next 10 years?
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Of course, we have reiterated that we have a focus on providing as many affordable houses as are needed. We will keep building them until we have satisfied the housing crisis that we inherited. I note—perhaps the member didn't put it in his Speech from the Throne at the time—that they had a goal of 37,000 houses being built, a goal that was never reached by the last Government.
Hon Simon Bridges: Why does she think so many prominent commentators on the left are so unhappy about the abandoning of KiwiBuild targets, describing them as a "broken promise" and a "sell-out"?
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I would, again, remind anyone who is looking at the KiwiBuild reset that we have never ceased building affordable houses, and nor will we. In fact, I also take the opportunity to paint a reminder of the picture over the last two years—we've delivered 2,178 public housing places, exceeding our target of 1,600 places per year; we've funded Housing First for a further 1,000 people through Budget 2019; a further $283 million went into Budget 2019 to fund and maintain 2,800 transitional housing—
SPEAKER: Order! I think it's fair to say the question has been answered.
Hon Simon Bridges: Having removed the KiwiBuild targets, what is her position on targets as a tool of Government to drive performance and accountability more generally across Government programmes?
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: As I've said many times in this House, I think you always have to act with some caution. For instance, we saw examples in different parts of health where district health boards manipulated their activity to fulfil the expectations of the health Minister, rather than actually lifting the health and wellbeing of the population.
Hon Simon Bridges: Does she no longer believe what she said at Davos that "What gets measured gets done."?
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: It's a different thing to measure than it is to place a target, and, as I've said, I have not said there isn't a place for them; I have acknowledged you have to act with caution. I'll give an example—rheumatic fever. If you only swab children, you ignore the fact that overcrowded, poor housing conditions help spread the disease. It's another example of why it's about more than just targets.
Hon Simon Bridges: Why was there no suicide target set yesterday?
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Because one lost life to suicide is one too many. I don't think anyone in this House—in fact, I would wager that there would be mixed views in this House on both sides around the idea of suicide targets. It implies a tolerance for the loss of life, when everyone, I believe, in this House has an aspiration that we make ourselves a country that is free of the tragedy that is suicide.
Hon Simon Bridges: Why is there no immunisation target, which would help in light of the measles epidemic currently?
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: A target doesn't immunise a child. Again, I point out to the member that we've actually had declining rates of immunisation since 2016, and that member put in an immunisation target well before that.
Hon Simon Bridges: Does she accept we are now a very long way from Dave Dobbyn singing "Welcome Home" at the KiwiBuild launch in McLennan, not even a year ago.
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: No.
Hon Simon Bridges: Has Ihumātao been resolved yet?
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: No. But unlike that member, I wouldn't be willing to sit by and just let it rumble on without playing a role in trying to broker a solution.
Hon Simon Bridges: Is she aware that Michael Stiassny is conducting negotiations between the Crown and Kīngitanga?
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: The member's asked me a range of questions on this matter in the House already, and I will repeat the same answers that I gave then. Unlike that member, I'm willing to respect the process that Kīngitanga's engaged in and allow the parties, including all those mana whenua who are involved, to continue in conversations. I actually would have thought that the member across the other side of the House would have the same interest as we do, and that is finding a peaceful solution.
Hon Simon Bridges: When Megan Woods said at the KiwiBuild reset last week "This is actually about calling time on something that hasn't worked.", was she referring to KiwiBuild or the Prime Minister's Government more generally?
SPEAKER: Order! Order! No—the Prime Minister will resume her seat.
Hon Simon Bridges: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I'd like to know why that's out of order.
SPEAKER: Because it's ironic.
Hon Todd McClay: It was sarcastic.
SPEAKER: Order! Mr McClay will stand, withdraw, and apologise.
Hon Todd McClay: I withdraw and apologise.
SPEAKER: And he's on a warning. [Interruption] That's enough.
• Question No. 2—Prime
2. Hon PAULA BENNETT (Deputy Leader—National) to the Prime Minister: Does she stand by all her statements?
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN (Prime Minister): Yes.
Hon Paula Bennett: Does she agree with the statement made by Jacinda Ardern in 2016 about the Chiefs rugby scandal that a resignation is not enough: "It's the PR quick fix—usher the source of the controversy away. But that solves nothing. … After all, apologies followed by silence changes nothing, and change is what we need."?
SPEAKER: No. That question does not relate to a statement of the Prime Minister.
Hon Paula Bennett: Does she stand by her statement in the House yesterday that "we need to make sure that we have environments in all of our workplaces that meet the expectations of alleged victims, and that respond to those situations.", and how does that correlate with a situation where the victims were barred from parts of the parliamentary complex?
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Yes.
Hon Paula Bennett: Does she stand by her statement in the House yesterday that "we need to make sure that we have environments in all our workplaces that meet the expectations of alleged victims,"; and, if so, how does that correlate that senior male staffers in her office have known about these extremely serious allegations since at least the beginning of the year and none of these men have brought it to her attention?
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Again, to answer the first part of the question, yes.
Hon Paula Bennett: Will she be revising her statement made to the UN less than a year ago that "#MeToo must become we too. We are all in this together.", in light of her own office's failure to deal with sexual assault allegations involving one of her staff members?
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: No.
Hon Paula Bennett: Does she stand by her previous statements that victims should go to one of their line managers and that no senior people in her office had received a complaint?
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: At the time that I made the statement, yes.
• Question No.
3. Dr DEBORAH RUSSELL (Labour—New Lynn) to the Minister of Finance: What recent reports has he seen on the New Zealand economy?
Hon GRANT ROBERTSON (Minister of Finance): This morning the BNZ released its latest wellbeing report based on a survey of 1,000 New Zealanders. The BNZ said its wellbeing index shows that Kiwis continue to enjoy relatively high levels of personal wellbeing despite concerns of a slowing global economy and its impacts on New Zealand. Interestingly, the wellbeing index also showed that, on average, New Zealanders rate all aspects of their wellbeing more highly than Australians—
Hon Gerry Brownlee: Of course a bank's going to say that.
Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: —more highly than Australians, Mr Brownlee. The BNZ noted that while generally life is pretty good in New Zealand—
Hon Gerry Brownlee: Every bank's going to say that.
Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: —there are too many New Zealanders who face financial stress, which detracts from their wellbeing. I'm minded to go back to the beginning of the answer for Mr Brownlee's benefit to say that this was a survey of 1,000 New Zealanders.
Dr Deborah Russell: What did the BNZ report say about the impact of incomes and finances on wellbeing?
Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: The BNZ found that the incident of financial hardship and stress across different groups of New Zealanders follows a similar pattern to that of overall wellbeing. While New Zealanders have relatively high levels of wellbeing, the survey of 1,000 New Zealanders—
Hon Gerry Brownlee: Bank customers.
Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: —clearly shows financial concerns detract from Kiwi's overall sense of life satisfaction. This is one of the reasons this Government has focused on lifting incomes, particularly for those in low and middle income brackets. Initiatives such as the Families Package, pay equity, paying the living wage to core Government workers, and lifting the minimum wage are all ways in which we are supporting the wellbeing of all Kiwis.
Dr Deborah Russell: What does the BNZ report say about future prospects of wellbeing?
SPEAKER: And I'm just going to remind the Minister of Finance that a slightly shortened reply would be appreciated.
Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: So much good news. The report reflects that New Zealanders understand what this Government are doing and are feeling more optimistic as a result. Of those surveyed by the BNZ about their prospects over the year ahead, 40 percent of respondents expect higher incomes, 50 percent expect to lift their savings, and 46 percent expect their debt to fall. This Government is implementing a plan for a productive, sustainable, and inclusive economy, which I could go into a great deal of detail about but I won't.
• Question No.
4. Hon PAUL GOLDSMITH (National) to the Minister of Finance: Does he stand by all of his statements, policies, and actions?
Hon GRANT ROBERTSON (Minister of Finance): Yes, in the context in which they were given and undertaken.
Hon Paul Goldsmith: Why did he sign off the KiwiBuild housing developments at Te Kauwhata, Wānaka, and Canterbury, most of the houses in which haven't been sold?
Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: That was done at the time under the rules of the scheme. The approach was endorsed by officials, and we signed it because that was the scheme as it stood.
Hon Paul Goldsmith: What is the potential liability to taxpayers from underwriting the homes in Wānaka, Te Kauwhata, and Canterbury if they're not sold?
Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: None. The properties will be sold at market rates.
Hon Paul Goldsmith: Does he agree with the Minister of Housing Megan Woods that the homes he underwrote were "about chasing the target" and getting the numbers stacking up, and led to "contracts being signed in places where there was little first-home buyer demand."?
Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: I do agree with Minister Woods. On this side of the House, we can learn from things that don't work, unlike the member opposite, who spent nine years repeating the same mistakes.
Hon Paul Goldsmith: Does it worry him that in signing the underwrite, he acted as a benevolent uncle to developers who had already had developments under way and successfully passed their risk to taxpayers?
Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: I act as a benevolent uncle to two wonderful nieces, not to developers.
Hon Paul Goldsmith: Is the Government still committing $2 billion of taxpayer money to KiwiBuild despite there no longer being the intention to build 100,000 houses?
Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: That is the allocation that was put forward in Budget 2018. We've already announced, as part of Minister Woods' announcement, that $400 million of that will go towards progressive homeownership. On this side of the House, we are committed to building affordable homes. We are committed to a Government housing programme that is exceeding expectations already, and we started off by acknowledging that there was a housing crisis—something that the Opposition never was able to do.
• Question No. 5—Local
5. Hon JACQUI DEAN (National—Waitaki) to the Minister of Local Government: What advice, if any, has she received on the likely costs and impacts on councils and ratepayers as a result of the Action Plan for Healthy Waterways?
Hon NANAIA MAHUTA (Minister of Local Government): I've received advice on the estimated cost of councils complying with the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management in relation to wastewater discharges. The Government is working simultaneously with councils on voluntary shared-service arrangements for water services to help them respond to the projected cost pressures.
Hon Jacqui Dean: What is the Minister's response to Local Government New Zealand's initial economic analysis on the freshwater package, which states: "The human and financial resources needed to achieve the requirements … are vast"?
Hon NANAIA MAHUTA: My response has been, and will continue to be, that we will work with the local government sector through some very challenging issues. I understand that the sector has advocated quite clearly through the Three Waters process and the freshwater management process. For the part that I'm responsible for, I think we've come to a common ground about what the real pressure is in the costs space and how we can work through those issues.
Hon Jacqui Dean: Will she be pushing for differing regulatory requirements for, say, the Southland region and the West Coast of the South Island; and, if not, why not?
Hon NANAIA MAHUTA: In so far as the Three Waters work programme for which I am responsible. The sector is well aware that one regulatory framework, primarily focused on drinking water, will be quite an important step forward, and it is necessary as a result of the Havelock North inquiry.
Hon Jacqui Dean: Is she concerned that work already under way, like Environment Canterbury's plan change 7, and all the council time and the cost to ratepayers that is going into it, could be superseded by yet another planned change required by the action plan, meaning even more cost to councils and their ratepayers?
Hon NANAIA MAHUTA: In relation to issues to do with planned changes, that is the responsibility, under the Resource Management Act, of my colleague the Hon Minister Parker, but in so far as the discussion with the local government sector on the Three Waters impacts and the freshwater contribution to improving freshwater quality, that is a matter that has been well canvassed with the sector, and they are aware that protecting source water for drinking purposes and improving discharges into waterways will lead to a total sum gain to improve freshwater quality.
• Question No.
6—Associate Minister of
6. MARAMA DAVIDSON (Co-Leader—Green) to the Associate Minister of Education (Māori Education): Ka aha te Kāwanatanga hei whakapakari i ngā kaiako ō Aotearoa kia pai ai te ako i te reo Māori, ki ngā tamariki katoa?
[What is the Government doing to strengthen the teaching workforce of New Zealand so that they can teach te reo Māori to all children?]
Hon KELVIN DAVIS (Associate Minister of Education (Māori Education)): E Te Māngai o Te Whare, tēnā koe. Mea nei ngā kaupapa i whakaritengia, i tautokongia ā-pūteatia e Te Kāwanatanga hei whakatupu i te nama o ngā kaiako matatau i Te Reo Māori: e 80 ngā karahipi Ako Aotearoa mō rātou e hiahia ana ki te whakangungu i te tohu mātauranga rumaki reo i tēnei tau; e 70 anō ngā karahipi mō ngā tauira kaiako hou i roto i ngā kura tuatahi me ngā kura tuarua; e 30 ngā karahipi i huainatia ai ko ngā "Kupe Karahipi" mō ngā Māori me rātou nō Te Moana Nui a Kiwa i oti ai tētahi tau mō te tohu mātauranga kaiako.
[Mr Speaker, my greetings. These are the initiatives that were designed and supported financially by the Government to grow the number of teachers that are fluent in the Māori language: 80 Ako Aotearoa scholarships for those that wish to undertake a Māori immersion qualification this year; 70 additional scholarships for new student teachers in primary and secondary schools; and 30 scholarships that are known as "Kupe Scholarships" for Māori and Pasifika students who have completed a year of their degree in teaching.]
Marama Davidson: Ka aha ake Te Kāwanatanga kia whakarahi ake i te hunga kaiako Reo Māori?
[What more will the Government do to increase the number of Māori language teachers?]
Hon KELVIN DAVIS: Ko tētahi kaupapa matua i whakaritea e te Kāwanatanga ko Te Ahu o te Reo. Ko Te Ahu o te Reo i whakamātautauhia ki roto i ngā takiwā e whā o te motu: ki roto o Waikato-Tainui tētahi takiwā, Taranaki-Whanganui tētahi anō, Horowhenua-Kāpiti tētahi anō, ā, kei Te Waipounamu hoki. Ko te whāinga o tēnei kia āwhinatia ngā kaiako ki te tuitui i Te Reo Māori ki roto i ō rātou karaehe i mua i te tau 2025.
[One of the major initiatives the Government has created is Te Ahu o te Reo. Te Ahu o te Reo was piloted in four regions around the country: in Waikato-Tainui is one region, Taranaki-Whanganui is another, Horowhenua-Kāpiti is another, and also the South Island. The goal for this initiative is that teachers are supported in threading Te Reo Māori through their classrooms by 2025.]
Marama Davidson: Ka aha Te Minita ki te tautoko te ako o Te Reo Māori i te whakangungu kaiwhakaako?
[What is the Minister doing to support the teaching of the Māori language during teacher training?]
Hon KELVIN DAVIS: E tautokongia ā-pūteatia—neke atu i te $12 hei tautoko i te kaupapa o Te Ahu o te Reo. Tō mātou whāinga kia 700 ngā kaiako e uru atu ki roto i Te Ahu o te Reo; e 685 ngā kaiako i tīmata ai te whakangungu. Ā tērā tau e hiahia ana mātou kia horahia puta noa i te motu.
[We are offering financial support—over $12 to support the Te Ahu o te Reo programme. Our goal is that 700 teachers engage with Te Ahu o te Reo; that 685 teachers begin training. Next year, we want this to roll out all across the country.]
Marama Davidson: Ka pēhea Te Minita kia tautoko i ngā kura reo rua, ngā kura kaupapa Māori rānei?
[How will the Minister support bilingual schools or kura kaupapa Māori?]
Hon KELVIN DAVIS: He hiahia nō mātou, te Kāwanatanga nei, ki te kite i Te Reo Māori i roto i ngā whare kōhungahunga, i ngā kura katoa hei mua i te tau 2025. Kua whakaputa mātou i ngā kaupapa āwhina kaiako, āwhina tamariki anō hoki pēnei i Te Ahu o te Reo, Te Kawa Matakura, Kauwhata Reo, te pūtea tautoko i Te Kōhanga Reo, kātahi anō ko te whakatairanga i a Mōu Te Reo i tēnei wiki. Ko tēnei Mōu Te Reo he pouaka e kī ana i ngā rauemi hei tautoko i ngā whānau, i ngā kaiako ki te mahi i Te Reo Māori kei roto i ngā kāinga, i ngā kura.
[This Government wants to see the Māori language in early childhood education centres and in all schools by 2025. We have launched programmes for supporting teachers and supporting children also—for example, Te Ahu o te Reo, Te Kawa Matakura, Kauwhata Reo, financial support for Te Kōhanga Reo, and just this week we have promoted Mōu Te Reo. Mōu Te Reo is a box full of resources to support families and teachers to engage with the Māori language in homes and schools.]
Marama Davidson: Ka āhea e takune ana Te Minita kia tutuki ai te wawata mō ngā tamariki katoa e ako ana i Te Reo Māori i ngā kura?
[When does the Minister intend to have realised his aspiration that all teachers learn the Māori language at school?]
Hon KELVIN DAVIS: Nāku i kī kē ko tō mātou hiahia, ā te tau 2025 e hiahia ana mātou i ngā kaiako katoa o ngā kura tuatahi kia tuitui ai i Te Reo Māori ki roto i ō rātou karaehe.
[I have already stated our goal, that by 2025 we want all primary school teachers to be weaving the Māori language through into their classes.]
7. ANDREW BAYLY (National—Hunua) to the Minister of Housing: Does the Government have a plan to develop a rent-to-own scheme as stated in the Speech from the Throne, and does she stand by her statement, "The scheme will mean that over time the family can buy further chunks of the mortgage until they own the home outright"?
Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS (Minister of Housing): Yes. As stated last week, we are currently developing a $400 million progressive homeownership scheme. Rent to buy, a subset of progressive homeownership, may well be part of that. In answer to the second part of the question, yes.
Andrew Bayly: What does she actually mean when she stated, and I quote, "The scheme will mean that over time the family can buy further chunks of the mortgage until they own the home outright."?
Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: Of course, as I also said last week, we will be taking the final design of the mix between the various products that sit under the broad umbrella of progressive homeownership to Cabinet later this year. But what it means is, for example, if you were looking to do it through a rent-to-buy scheme such as Habitat for Humanity currently are doing at the moment, the rent that someone pays over a period of time—nine years is the typical period that Habitat works on—at the end of that time, that would be cashed out as equity in the home. If we, for example, were to go for more like a shared equity scheme such as the Housing Foundation does, a third party would take an equity share in the house from the outset, and that would be progressively paid back over time—a recycle rate of 4.7 years such as the Housing Foundation works on, at which point, typically, a commercial mortgage can be taken out.
SPEAKER: Does the member have a supplementary?
Andrew Bayly: Yes, Mr Speaker.
SPEAKER: Well, get to it, please.
Andrew Bayly: Why, after the policy was announced two years ago in the Speech from the Throne, is the Minister still not able to say today the specific details of the policy?
Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: Of course, we have three-year parliamentary cycles, and everything that was said in the Speech from the Throne was what we were going to do over a term in Government. I am incredibly proud that we as a Government are committed to expanding homeownership opportunities for New Zealand, and in our first term in Government will have a $400 million scheme for progressive homeownership up and running. I do remind that member that his Government's flagship idea around this was $26 million, back in 2013. It was clearly not something his party is committed to.
Andrew Bayly: OK, so will the Minister confirm that the scheme will be in place by the election year, next year, 2020, to enable the 2,500 to 4,000 people she claims will be helped into homeownership through a shared equity or rent-to-buy scheme?
Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: The announcement I made is that the intention is to take a Cabinet paper at the end of this year to have a scheme up and running next year, with the 2,500 to 4,000 people being helped into homeownership over a four-year period.
• Question No.
8. JAN TINETTI (Labour) to the Minister of Education: What actions is the Government taking to deliver classrooms to meet student population growth in the regions?
Hon CHRIS HIPKINS (Minister of Education): Over the last few months the Government has announced over $350 million of investment in new schools and classrooms to accommodate 11,560 students as part of the release of the National Education Growth Plan. We're spending $1.2 billion in funding overall, that was allocated as part of this year's Budget as part of the roll-out of the growth plan—the largest investment in school property made by a New Zealand Government. The funding and the planning for student growth to 2030 gives schools and their communities certainty around managing growth and it provides an economic boost by creating new building projects in the construction industry.
Jan Tinetti: What steps is he taking to address school roll growth in Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Manawatū, and Whanganui?
Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: More good news. Last week the Government announced a new school in Tauranga and 50 new classrooms in the Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Manawatū, and Whanganui. These new classrooms provide space for an additional 1,300 students in these regions. This is all part of the growth plans to 2030 for those regions. They were publicly released, an amount to a $45 million investment in those areas. We're taking the student growth seriously and we're delivering this through the first ever National Education Growth Plan.
Jan Tinetti: How many classrooms will be going into each region as a result of last week's announcement.
Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: Brookfield School in Tauranga will be relocated and expanded to provide for an additional 325 students; 35 classrooms across the Bay of Plenty in Waiariki will provide for 700 additional students; in Taranaki five schools are getting 10 new classrooms for 212 additional students; and in the Manawatū-Whanganui three schools are getting five new classrooms for 106 extra students. I understand the excitement of the electorate members on the other side of the House, who never saw this kind of investment under their Government.
Mark Patterson: What action is the Government taking to deliver classrooms for Otago and Southland?
Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: Oh, just a few days ago, on Friday, the Government also announced a new school and new classrooms at five schools to cater for 840 additional students in Southland and Otago. This was part of the release of the growth plan for that region to 2030, supported by an additional $27 million investment so that we can get things moving quickly to accommodate that growth.
Mark Patterson: Which schools will benefit from the new classrooms for Otago and Southland?
Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: I'm very pleased to say that Shotover Primary School, where I visited on Friday, will get six new classrooms to cater for an additional 132 students. Alexandra School will get four new classrooms to cater for another 88 students. Hāwea Flat School in Wānaka is receiving four new classrooms for an additional 88 students. Garston School will get three new classrooms for an additional 66 students, and Cromwell Primary School will get three new classrooms for another 66 students, as well, of course, as the $17 million to build a brand new primary school in the Wakatipu Basin to cater for 400 additional students.
• Question No. 9—Energy
9. JONATHAN YOUNG (National—New Plymouth) to the Minister of Energy and Resources: Does she stand by her statement, "we are currently seeing higher wholesale rates … there is no reason to think that this will necessarily flow through to retail rates", and has she received any advice on domestic power price increases since then?
Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS (Minister of Energy and Resources): In answer to the first part of the member's question: yes, in the context the statement was made. In answer to the second part of the member's question: no, because I have not received advice since 31 July 2019 that there has been an increase in average residential power prices. I am aware, however, of the release of the New Zealand Energy Quarterly tomorrow that will have further information.
Jonathan Young: So what will the Government do to ensure domestic power prices will not rise for New Zealand families?
Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: As the member is well aware—because we've had many a long conversation in this very House about it—this is a Government that has been taking an electricity price review. This is a comprehensive piece of work that we will be releasing shortly.
Jonathan Young: Does the Minister agree with the Electricity Authority, who—commenting on natural gas shortages—say, "This points to one thing, which is higher prices; we don't see anything that's pointing to lower prices."?
Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: What we do know is that there has been a recent softening in the prices. What we also know is that very clear signals about the need to invest in more generation are being received by the market. This year alone, we have seen $650 million of committed investment into renewable energy. What we also know is that, long term, that means lower prices for New Zealanders because these have the lowest levelised costs of electricity.
Jonathan Young: Why is she still committed to a 100 percent renewable electricity goal, when the interim climate change committee said it will lift power prices by $300 a year for New Zealand's most vulnerable families?
Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: As we discussed at the time, we remain committed to this goal because it is 16 years in the future. In that period of time, there will be two check-ins on the Climate Commission's carbon budgets over that time. The suggestion that the interim Climate Commission made was actually that we have greater levels of renewable energy generation in place by that date. We're not willing to commit to that until we see how things pan out. That member should think back 16 years ago, and ask himself whether he could have predicted the future we're in now; nobody can. We are taking a very prudent approach to this that puts New Zealanders and the affordability of their power front and centre.
• Question No. 10—Arts, Culture and
10. Dr SHANE RETI (National—Whangarei) to the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage: Does she stand by all her policies, statements, and actions around cybersecurity and the Tuia 250 breach?
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN (Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage): Yes, I do, including my endorsement of the work that the ministry is doing to establish how this occurred via the Tuia website. I also take the opportunity to extend an invitation to members from across the House that although Tuia's configuration has changed somewhat under this Government, it was still a programme instigated under the last Government, and I am sure they would be keen to engage with the programme as its beginning looms large.
Dr Shane Reti: What sort of data was breached in the two further data breaches at her ministry in the month prior to the Tuia 250 data breach?
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Yes, I am aware that the member will, of course, be familiar with those two incidents. We responded in a written question around both. Those two breaches include, firstly, an email that was incorrectly addressed and went to the wrong sender; it was subsequently deleted. The second issue was in relation to a database of email contacts that was supplied in an augmented way to a third party for the purposes of memorial planning. However, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage (MCH) privacy officer subsequently signalled that they should have enabled contacts on the list to opt out if they wanted to. They immediately, therefore, withdrew the database from the third party, and they then confirmed they had no copy of it.
Dr Shane Reti: What actions did she take, if any, after the two data breaches in her ministry that could have prevented the Tuia 250 data breach?
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: As the member can see, those data breaches were very specific ones—ones in which MCH's privacy officers themselves internally identified the issues. I believe that they also consulted with the State Services Commission over those two breaches, and they considered them to be low level. Obviously, they are also very distinct issues to what happened in the case of Tuia, as I'm sure the member will agree.
Dr Shane Reti: Can she confirm that cell numbers of children under 18 were breached in the Tuia 250 data breach?
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Yes, the member will, obviously, raise this question in the House. There were in the application forms areas where some parents' applicants' information was provided, or indeed contact details provided of the applicants themselves, some of which were under 18, and I can confirm that in a small number of cases, that included the cellphone numbers of under-18s.
Dr Shane Reti: What are the personal relationships described in written question 30536 between the Tuia 250 developer and "at least one ministry staff member"?
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Rather than getting into any detail that may be covered off by the independent reviewer, I would prefer to leave that matter to the independent reviewer. They will be reporting in October, and I expect that we will be able to have a public release of that information thereafter. Of course the ministry has protocols in place around conflicts of interest, as does every other ministry, which, of course, we've an expectation be obliged and followed.
Dr Shane Reti: I seek leave to table a series of unpublished written parliamentary questions, 30421, 30643, and 30536, around my questions today.
SPEAKER: I will put it to the House. I just want to express my reluctance at that practice. These are matters which will be very shortly available to all members. If the member wants to make them publicly available he can; he doesn't need to do it here, and we could have major time-wasting if it became a habit. I will put it, however, to the House. Is there any objection to those documents being tabled? There appears to be none.
Documents, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.
• Question No.
11. ANGIE WARREN-CLARK (Labour) to the Minister of Health: What action is the Government taking to ensure New Zealanders living with cancer have access to high-quality care no matter who they are or where they live?
Hon Dr DAVID CLARK (Minister of Health): Just over a week ago, the Prime Minister and I released to the public a positive, well-considered, and comprehensive cancer action plan, which delivers more medicines for more people through an immediate funding boost for Pharmac and a faster decision-making process. It delivers a greater focus on prevention and screening, resulting in fewer cancers and earlier detection. We've appointed a new national director of cancer control and are creating a single national cancer control network. We are developing cancer-specific quality performance indicators to improve equity of care. And we have delivered on our promise to New Zealanders affected by cancer to establish a cancer control agency that ensures consistent standards of care no matter who you are, no matter where you live.
Angie Warren-Clark: Why is a cancer control agency necessary?
Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: This Government believes, as the last Labour-led Government did 14 years ago when it produced the previous comprehensive cancer action plan, that strong central leadership is required to coordinate and improve the spectrum of cancer prevention screening and care. My predecessor the Hon Annette King established the Cancer Control Council of New Zealand in 2005 to provide that leadership, and during that time New Zealand's performance on cancer care moved in the right direction on key measures, including survival rates and cancer incidence. The previous Government, I note, decided in 2015 that leadership was no longer required. I think most New Zealanders will agree that it is time to restore strong leadership to cancer care to drive implementation of our action plan and eliminate variations in treatment across the country.
Angie Warren-Clark: What is the focus of the cancer action plan?
Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: This is a 10-year plan that covers the full spectrum of cancer control, from prevention and screening to treatment and palliative care. It sets out pathways to improve our cancer care workforce and to sharpen research and data collection. All of these factors are critical to the delivery of successful services. In the end, though, the plan's number one focus is improving outcomes for New Zealanders. Importantly, it recognises that improvement is required most of all for Māori. If we lift the standard of cancer care for Māori to the point where they experience the same incidence, survival, and cure rates as other New Zealanders, this country will be one of the best performing societies in the world when it comes to the overall impact of this disease on our people. I promised to deliver better cancer care for New Zealanders. This plan is a huge step in the right direction.
Hon Michael Woodhouse: How will he know whether he is improving outcomes for New Zealanders, given that the interim cancer plan contains not one target for improvement?
Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: Across New Zealand there will be standards, which will be available to be seen as to whether they are being met. They are being led by the director of cancer control. We have already seen with bowel screening that there is variation across the country. Unfortunately, this Government inherited a situation where we have a postcode lottery for cancer care. We've already invested in linear accelerator machines, and we intend to have standards which are met to support the clinicians who are not meeting those standards, so that we raise the overall care across New Zealand. There's been nearly a decade of neglect, and we are working hard to make sure New Zealanders get the care they deserve in this country.
• Question No.
12. STUART SMITH (National—Kaikōura) to the Minister of Immigration: Does he stand by all his statements, policies, and actions?
Hon IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY (Minister of Immigration): Yes. In particular, I stand by increasing the refugee quota to 1,500; increasing the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme cap to 12,850, which is an increase of 2,350 people in this term of Government; and I'm particularly proud that since I became Minister, this Government has made a priority of tackling migrant exploitation.
Stuart Smith: Does he stand by his statement that the criteria for priority allocation of visas for those seeking employment in Government departments was not being used, and, if so, is he not aware that Immigration New Zealand are using that criteria as a reason for priority allocation?
Hon IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY: I have been advised that I was correct—that that criteria is no longer being used.
Stuart Smith: Does he believe seeking employment in a Government department is an acceptable reason to queue-jump the visa application process?
Hon IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY: The member needs to listen more closely. The last time he asked me that question, I said no.
Stuart Smith: How is it fair or transparent that small businesses and individuals throughout regional New Zealand are experiencing unreasonable wait times for visa processing, when those seeking employment in Government departments are able to skip ahead of other applications?
Hon IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY: I do wish the member would listen to my answers.
Stuart Smith: When he said "When they asked for that information, they were given it." in regard to the unpublished list, internally set criteria for priority allocation of visa applications, does he think it is reasonable for people applying for visas to ask for information that they are not aware exists?
Hon IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY: Well, I think it is reasonable for them to ask, and I'm aware that that practice has been in place since about 2003.
David Seymour: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I notice you've just awarded two additional supplementary questions to the National Party, and I wonder if you have considered that you might more effectively punish the Government by awarding them to ACT.
SPEAKER: I'm prepared to consider that, but I'm not going to do it.
David Seymour: Ah, what a pity—lucky escape, guys.