Questions And Answers June 5

by Desk Editor on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 — 4:33 PM

QUESTIONS TO MINISTERS

Ministers—Confidence

1. DAVID SHEARER (Leader of the Opposition) to the Prime Minister: Does he have confidence in all his Ministers?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes.

David Shearer: Does he have confidence in himself, given that on 26 March in this House he said that privacy breaches were inevitable and a result of human error with regard to our Government agencies, yet the Government Chief Information Officer’s review that he received in December last year showed there was systemic failure?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: To quote the Deputy Prime Minister: “He’s never been sure of that.”— “he” being me, of course.

David Shearer: I do not think I got an answer. Why—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Supplementary question, David Shearer.

David Shearer: Why, when he had already received a report into privacy breaches and had a Cabinet discussion on the report, did he continue to mislead the public that there were no systemic failures of Government information systems?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I did not. If the member is talking about the Government Chief Information Officer’s report that has been released, it looked at public-interfacing systems, of which there were 215 across 70 agencies, in which there were 12 breaches. What that also showed was that that is quite a different issue, actually, from someone making a simple human error and mistake like sending an email with the wrong address.

David Shearer: Does the report into privacy breaches show that 87 percent of public sector agencies have no formal security certification and accreditation processes and 73 percent have no formal security policy; if so, does he not think that is a little beyond human error and actually amounts to systemic failure right across our Government?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Well, the member is confusing two different issues. One is publicfacing—[ Interruption] Well, he can choose to if he wants to, but one is public-facing issues and the second is whether someone sends an email by mistake. In the case of the point I was referring to, which the member quotes from, it was where someone used an email address and sent to the wrong address. That is human error. What the Government Chief Information Officer’s report today shows is that, yes, there is room for improvement and, yes, the system is being improved, and our Government will be the first Government that actually has a chief technology officer who will have wide-ranging powers as a result of the changes we have made and a number of other systems improvements that we have enhanced in the last 6 months.

David Shearer: Does he now consider, in light of the Government Chief Information Officer’s report, that there were systemic failures across our Government in regard to information systems?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No, I do not think there is systemic failure. I think what there is, in those public-interfacing systems, is room for improvement, and, as I said, that is why the Government has been developing an information and communications technology assurance framework, that is why the Government is upgrading the powers of the Government Chief Information Officer, and that is why the Government commissioned the work that has been going on. It is inevitable, actually, as we move into the digital age—I know the Labour Party is in the dark ages, but the Government is actually moving into the digital age—that these errors will occur.

David Shearer: Why should the public trust him to implement the recommendations of the Government Chief Information Officer’s report when he actually denies that there is any systemic failure?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: The member is confusing two completely different issues. If the member wants to do that then he is going to carry on talking the way he talks under his invisible cloak.

David Shearer: When his Minister Peter Dunne was questioned four times by David Henry as part of the Kitteridge report leaking inquiry, something that no other Minister underwent, was that questioning under oath?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I do not have details about the inquiry, because the inquiry is ongoing. But to the best of my knowledge, no, information was not taken under oath.

David Shearer: Given that the witnesses questioned as part of the inquiry into the leaking at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were questioned under oath, does he not consider it is a double standard not to question those suspects in the Kitteridge inquiry under oath?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No.

David Shearer: Given his statement to TV3 that he was sceptical about finding the leaker, does he really want to find the perpetrator; if so, would he not, therefore, insist on those people being questioned being questioned under oath?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: To the best of my knowledge, over the course of many Governments there have been inquiries. Very few of them are taken under oath. Some are. Very few of them are. If the member is saying that they have to be taken under oath, is he then saying that the inquiries that were held under the previous Labour Government that were not undertaken under oath were, therefore, just made up?

Economy—Reports

2. JOHN HAYES (National—Wairarapa) to the Minister of Finance: Since the Budget on 16 May, what reports has he received on activity in the economy?

Hon BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Finance): I have seen a number of reports that point to the economy building momentum, following the reasonably strong growth of 3 percent that we saw in 2012. ANZ’s regional activity index shows increasing economic activity in the first quarter of this year, with 12 out of 14 regions showing back-to-back quarterly increases. Statistics New Zealand reports that building consents rose to a 5-year high in April. The BNZ-Business New Zealand Performance of Manufacturing Index remains in positive territory. As Business New Zealand has pointed out, manufacturing has been growing this year, helped by strong activity for new orders— not exactly our definition of the crisis that the Opposition says exists in manufacturing.

John Hayes: In light of building momentum in the economy, what recent reports has he received on business confidence, and how will this impact on economic activity over the coming year?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: I have seen one recent report on business confidence, which shows that confidence across the business sector remains high. I am looking forward to another report on economic activity, being the report of the Opposition inquiry into the crisis in manufacturing, which started out with a hiss and a roar last year but seems to have disappeared, probably because manufacturing is growing not shrinking.

John Hayes: What international reports has he received on the New Zealand economy and the Government’s economic programme?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: This week the OECD has released its economic survey of New Zealand for this year. It says that the New Zealand economy is beginning to gain momentum, with growing business investment, increasing household spending, and Canterbury reconstruction all contributing. It says that the macroeconomic policies strike the right balance between supporting the recovery and ensuring sustainable medium-term growth. It also says that a return to fiscal surplus is appropriate, so that the Government can pay down debt, which will raise national savings and prepare the Government for future cost pressures. This follows a similar positive assessment of New Zealand by the International Monetary Fund.

John Hayes: In its report on New Zealand, what did the OECD say about its views on the tax system in this country?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: The OECD believes changes should be made to the tax system, although it acknowledges that our recent changes in 2010 were appropriate. It has suggested a capital gains tax on all assets, including the family home; it has suggested, also, a land tax; and it has suggested that rather than this revenue being spent, this revenue should be used to reduce other tax rates like the top income tax rate and the company tax rate. The Government does not support this policy.

Capital Gains Tax—OECD Report

3. Hon DAVID PARKER (Labour) to the Minister of Finance: Has he read the OECD advice that introduction of a capital gains tax would “make the tax system more conducive to both growth and equity”; and that “the lack of a capital gains tax in New Zealand exacerbates inequality”; and “reinforces a bias toward speculative housing investments and undermines housing affordability”?

Hon BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Finance): Yes, I have read the report, and I disagree with it. In the first place, the member has left out its recommendation that the capital gains tax should tax all homes and not exempt the family home, and, secondly, that the revenue should be used to cut income taxes. In respect of inequality, we have decided to approach the problem from the cause of inequality. One of the causes of it is planning laws that limit the supply of housing, which favours existing and higher-value home owners over poorer New Zealanders who want access to the housing market. I am pleased the Labour Party is supporting our legislation to achieve that.

Hon David Parker: Well, is he surprised to learn, then, that of the 30 countries in the OECD that have a capital gains tax, only Switzerland has no exemption for the family home?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: No, I am not surprised. That is the weakness of capital gains taxes all around the world. If you say a capital gains tax is going to bring the housing market under control but then you exempt most of the housing market, it is unlikely to work, and it has not worked as a method of controlling housing markets anywhere in the world.

Maggie Barry: What measures has the Government taken in recent years to ensure property investors pay their fair share of tax?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Well, of course, we do have a capital gains tax on people who trade property. The Government has moved in recent years to give the Inland Revenue Department the resources to ensure that those people who trade in property and are subject to capital gains tax actually pay their tax. We have also abolished depreciation on investment property. This is expected to raise $3 billion in tax revenue over 4 years, much more than any proposal we have seen for a capital gains tax that excludes most houses, so we are collecting more revenue from the property sector than would any proposal for a capital gains tax we have seen.

Hon David Parker: Why does he continue to refuse to adopt a capital gains tax excluding the family home when it is clear it would reduce inequality, it is clear it would take the pressure off house prices, and it is clear some people would pay their fair share of tax, and, at the same time, it would improve the economy?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: If a capital gains tax had all those magical powers, then you would not see a whole lot of developed country economies on their knees because of excessive housing markets. We have not implemented it, for a couple of reasons. One is that we believe the other tax

measures we have taken, which are collecting $3 billion in tax revenue over 4 years, are more effective, and, secondly, we believe that changing the planning laws to allow more supply of houses will have a much bigger impact on fixing wealth inequality than a capital gains tax.

Rt Hon John Key: Has he seen any reports about a period of time between 1999 and 2008 when there was a substantial increase in the housing market in New Zealand and when there was a major amount of work done, to extent that half of the work of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet was about the housing market, and, by the way, was there a recommendation for a capital gains tax that was adopted in that period of time?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: It is funny you should mention that. Some of the things the last Labour Government did were sensible. In 2001 it commissioned a tax review—a comprehensive review of New Zealand’s tax system. That review concluded that a capital gains tax that exempted the family home would not be effective. Faced with the fastest-rising housing market in New Zealand’s history through the mid-2000s, the previous Labour Government, in which most of the Opposition’s current front bench served, did not implement a capital gains tax.

Hon David Parker: Is the lack of a capital gains tax not one of the reasons why fewer young New Zealanders can afford to buy a home, especially in Auckland?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: No, the main reason young New Zealanders cannot afford to buy houses in Auckland is that the supply is unreasonably limited, and that has pushed the prices up to unreasonable levels. We have been negotiating intensively with the Auckland Council to fix that problem, and we are pleased that the Labour Party is supporting the Government’s legislation to increase the supply of housing and reduce the asset inequality that is generated in New Zealand from restrictive planning laws.

Hon Peter Dunne: Can the Minister confirm that the last official organisation in New Zealand to recommend a capital gains tax was in fact the Brash committee, chaired by Dr Don Brash in 1989, that the Labour Government of the time rejected that report, and that subsequent Governments have also rejected that report?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: I believe that the member is right that the last time a review of the New Zealand tax system recommended a capital gains tax was in the late 1980s under Dr Don Brash, and since then every single review of our tax system has rejected a capital gains tax and every Government has taken that advice.

Hon David Parker: Is the truth of the matter not that Mr English and his colleagues stopped the Savings Working Group and others looking at a capital gains tax by putting it out of their ambit, and is it not the reality that National’s refusal to introduce a capital gains tax is because it does not suit the vested interests of its backers?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Well, with, I think, 47 percent of New Zealanders voting for the National Government in the last election, we are very pleased to represent a very broad range of backers—in fact, a much broader range of New Zealanders than the Opposition Labour Party, which claims to represent everybody. No, the reason we have not implemented a capital gains tax is that when you exempt most of the housing market, it becomes a tax purely on successful, profitable businesses, and that would be bad for growth. We are addressing the problem of rising house prices by addressing the real issue of the lack of supply, particularly in Auckland.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I have just pulled out the 50th Parliament allocation of supplementary questions for oral answer, and I see on that that there is no allocation for Mr Dunne. I just wanted to check that, as with Opposition members, the rules are being applied evenly, and that Mr Dunne was allocated questions and you were told in advance, before the session started, of the change of allocation towards Mr Dunne, who, of course, even before he becomes an independent, does not have a supplementary question.

Mr SPEAKER: I am advised that there has been an arrangement made with the ability for the United Future member to take one question a day if he so wishes, and that arrangement is formally with the National Party.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Does that mean that if other parties wish to enter into agreements whereby they take a supplementary question, up to one a day, without notifying you, they can enter into that sort of arrangement? If that is the case, the allocation becomes stupid.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! It does not mean that.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I do not think it is reasonable for Mr Mallard to start trying to put some sort of a formulaic arrangement over this. We would welcome, for example, the Labour Party giving Mr Harawira a question a day; that would be most entertaining for the House. The point of order is simply this: each party has its allocation but each party has the ability within its own agreement to transfer those allocations. We have an arrangement with Mr Dunne, which is notified to the Speaker, so that there are no surprises for the Speaker should that question be asked.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Again, Mr Brownlee, seriously—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Just address the point of order.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Well, I am addressing the argument that he put and showing why it is defective, because, as you well know, such an arrangement is not discouraged but it requires prior notice to you, which is a point you made. Mr Brownlee is about to invite you to depart from a welllaid- out procedure.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I may not have made it clear enough. There is a permanent arrangement, of which I am aware, for United Future to take a question from the National allocation, and that is permanently based. The very significant point here is that the Opposition every day very effectively utilises its allocation of questions. On most days, this side—the National side of the House—does not.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Can I just get this absolutely clear. It is OK for the National Party to enter into a permanent arrangement with another party for the transfer of questions, but it is not an option available to the Labour Party.

Mr SPEAKER: No, no. I am sorry. If the Labour Party wants to approach me with a permanent arrangement of a permanent transfer on that basis, I am very happy to consider it. I see no reason why that should not be granted. But to the best of my knowledge, the Labour Party attempts to very effectively use every one of its supplementary questions, and, in fact, on occasions uses some others that are allocated to other parties.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Can I ask you this question: is the arrangement that you say you have already been made aware of an arrangement that, as you said, was made with United Future, or was it made with now Mr Peter Dunne? Because, frankly, you are well aware of the circumstances whereby he ceases to be, by law, the leader of United Future.

Mr SPEAKER: I addressed that matter earlier. The arrangement was made with United Future. As to the other matter that has arisen over the last few days, I have adequately addressed that at this stage.

Brendan Horan: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. If National would give me those questions, I would use them.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I am not sure what that point of order is.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I cannot believe what I just heard.

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Mr Speaker—[Interruption] Mr Speaker—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! Would the member please come to his point of order immediately, and would there be no further interjections.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: The problem with the circumstances that you have laid out is that you were going to invite—and you had invited—Mr Dunne to communicate with you. If he does not communicate with you this month, next month, or any time soon, then how can that actually be a ruling that now binds you?

Mr SPEAKER: Because, as I have said earlier, I have written to the member and I have invited him to—I want to know the scale of the problem, and until I receive a response to that, I do not intend to take the matter further.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think you might have just made it quite seriously worse, because you indicated that you wanted to know the scale of the problem.

Mr SPEAKER: That is right.

Hon Trevor Mallard: The party is either registered or it is not. The fact that it is not registered—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I have addressed the matter. I am aware from the media that the party is now no longer registered, but I am unsure as to when it might possibly be re-registered.

Hon Trevor Mallard: No, no, but it is gone. If it is gone, it is gone.

Mr SPEAKER: I know that. I am aware of that. I have written to Mr Dunne. I am seeking an explanation from Mr Dunne and I will not take the matter further until I have received that response from Mr Dunne.

Budget 2013—Early Childhood Education

4. TIM MACINDOE (National—Hamilton West) to the Minister of Education: How does Budget 2013 progress the Government’s early childhood education priorities?

Hon HEKIA PARATA (Minister of Education): Budget 2013 provided a further $173 million for early childhood education, bringing our total investment to a record $1.5 billion. That is 74 percent more funding than the previous Government’s funding. Of this, $39 million provides for a universal subsidy increase for all early childhood education centres, and a further $41 million provides equity funding, targeting our more vulnerable children. The funding will continue to provide for increased participation, and our latest data shows that our focus is working, with around 95.5 percent of children now starting school having participated in early childhood education.

Tim Macindoe: What is the Government doing to increase the participation rate of more vulnerable families in early childhood education?

Hon HEKIA PARATA: The most recent data shows increased participation—from 94.1 percent to 95.5 percent. A pleasing element of this is the increase in participation by both Māori and Pasifika children. It has increased to 92 percent for Māori children and around 88 percent for Pacific Island children. We are working hard to address barriers for families to access early childhood education. We have established an early learning taskforce that is working with communities to apply or develop models that will work for them, and we are taking early learning opportunities to families, to whānau, to aiga, to communities that most need it. Thank you.

Schools, Primary—Nurses

5. METIRIA TUREI (Co-Leader—Green) to the Minister of Health: How many decile one, two and three primary and intermediate schools have their own school nurse funded by the Government?

Hon TONY RYALL (Minister of Health): I am advised that there are around 680 decile 1, 2, and 3 primary and intermediate schools. District health boards currently employ 280 fulltimeequivalent public health nurses, who provide nursing services to all of these schools. These nurses are employed by district health boards, not the schools themselves. How the needs of each lowdecile school are best met is organised on a local basis and additional services are provided in many cases—for example, as part of the rheumatic fever programme in 198 schools. But I have to tell the member that this is not the only good news. There will be 670 social workers—

Metiria Turei: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Just as questions are required to be succinct, so are answers. I think the Minister has talked a lot. I will certainly be making a point of order as to whether he answered my question, but he is simply going nowhere with his current answer.

Mr SPEAKER: Is the member saying she is satisfied with the answer? We can move to the next supplementary question.

Metiria Turei: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Minister has not answered my question.

Mr SPEAKER: The Minister was attempting to, but it is very difficult for the Minister to address the question, when immediately upon answering it the member starts to dispute the answer. I invite the Minister, if he so desires, to continue his answer.

Hon TONY RYALL: As I said, district health boards employ 280 fulltime-equivalent public health nurses, who provide nursing services to all these schools. This is not the only good news. There are 670 social workers in all low-decile primary schools by the end of next term, and I am advised that virtually all schools have a named public health nurse who works with them.

Metiria Turei: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. This question has been put on notice for some hours now—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! The Minister has quite adequately addressed the question. The member now has some supplementary questions if she wishes to use them.

Metiria Turei: How many decile 1, 2, and 3 primary and intermediate schools have a nurse based permanently in their school?

Hon TONY RYALL: I do not have information on how many because—[Interruption] What I can tell the member is that—and I do not think that the member was aware of this when the Green Party policy was announced—public health nurses are allocated to every school in New Zealand, and those services are provided by the public health nurses to all those schools. Matching those public health nurse services for all those schools are 670 social workers by the end of next term. It is this combination of school nurses and social workers that has proven to be most effective.

Metiria Turei: How many decile 1, 2, and 3 primary and intermediate schools have a nurse who visits more than once a month?

Hon TONY RYALL: Quite a lot, actually. While I have been talking around the countryside, it has become quite clear that most decile 1, 2, and 3 schools will have a very regular visit from their public health nurses. I talked to a couple of schools today who had a visit at least once a week, and all these nurses are available on referral by the school.

Metiria Turei: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. My question was very precise. It asked how many decile 1, 2, and 3 primary and intermediate schools had a nurse who visits more than once a month—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Can I invite the member, at the conclusion of question time, to study the Hansard.

Metiria Turei: If the Green Party’s proposal—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Would the member start again. I cannot hear the question; start again.

Metiria Turei: I cannot hear anything either. If the Green Party’s proposal for a dedicated school nurse in every decile 1, 2, and 3 primary and intermediate school was already happening, as the Minister has said, why, then, is KidsCan having to embark on a major school nurses programme of nearly $2 million to “plug holes” in school health services?

Hon TONY RYALL: I have not got the full details of what that member is alleging, but what I can say is that we are providing nurses in schools. Virtually every school has a named public health nurse, and there is a much better coverage. I saw a report earlier today that said there used to be one public health nurse for 13 schools in Porirua in 2002. What I know is that now all the four or so schools in Cannons Creek are receiving regular nurse visits every week for a significant number of hours. In the Capital and Coast District Health Board area, for example, some schools are allocated 20 hours a week of public health nurse time. The Green Party was unaware that public health nurses were active in schools.

Metiria Turei: If the Green Party’s proposal for a dedicated school nurse in every decile 1, 2, and 3 primary and intermediate school was already happening, as the Minister said, why has the principal of Papakura’s decile 1 Kelvin Road School said in a written email to me that they have

had only one visit from a public health nurse last term and only one visit from a public health nurse this term?

Hon TONY RYALL: I would have to check the detail of that case, but I would say I do not think many people think it makes a lot of sense to have one nurse allocated to a school of only 40 children. That does not make a lot of sense, because what will the nurse do all the time with one nurse for 40 children in a school? What this Government does is have 280 public health nurses working every day with schools up and down this country, which is a fact that the Green Party seemed to be completely unaware of when it announced its policy on Sunday.

Jacinda Ardern: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Just for the sake of clarity, the Green Party had asked a question on notice about how many of the school nurses in decile 1 to 3 primary schools were funded by the Government. The Minister mentioned that there were many nurses. Clearly, he did not have an exact figure. I just wanted to seek clarity as to whether or not it is actually up to the district health board’s discretion—

Mr SPEAKER: This is not a point of order. [Interruption] Order! That is not a point of order. The member will resume her seat.

Metiria Turei: I seek leave to table an extract from the email to me from the principal of Kelvin Road School, who says that—

Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table the email from the principal of the school. [Interruption] Order! The House has heard enough. Leave is sought to table that email. Is there any objection? Yes, there is.

Dr Jian Yang: Has the Minister seen a report that says there are no health services between before-school checks and nurses in secondary schools, and a claim that says that there is a gap in school-based health services programmes in primary schools?

Hon TONY RYALL: Yes, I have seen a report that says there is no national framework for school-based health service programmes in primary schools. This is simply incorrect. It appears that the writers of this report were completely unaware that we have significant numbers of public health services in primary schools, delivered by public health nurses, especially in low-decile schools. The writers of this report said that there were no health services before before-school checks and before secondary schools. The writers were well and truly behind the eight ball, and the report came from the Green Party of Aotearoa.

Metiria Turei: If the Green Party’s proposal for a dedicated school nurse in every decile 1, 2, and 3 primary and intermediate school was already happening, as the Minister has said in his last answer, why, then, has the principal of Hamilton’s decile 3 Rhode Street School written to me to say that his school has had to employ its own nurse, with funding diverted from his school’s operation grant, because “Many of our tamariki were missing school due to preventable illnesses such as glue ear, school sores, and head lice.”?

Hon TONY RYALL: Of course, I would have to check the full circumstances of what the member says, but I understand that in the Waikato they employ 36 public health nurses, who regularly visit schools. I think that if the member had taken the time to talk to some decile 1, 2, and 3 schools, she would have found out that public health nurses are regularly visiting those schools. They can take referrals from those schools. They are working actively with those schools, with Child, Youth and Family, and with hospital and general practitioner referrals. It is quite clear from the Green Party policy announced on Sunday that it did not realise that public health nurses visit primary schools regularly.

Metiria Turei: If the Green Party’s proposal for a dedicated school nurse service in decile 1, 2, and 3 primary and intermediate schools was already happening, as the Minister keeps repeating wrongly, why, then, did a principal write to me to say that a public health nurse tried to help where she could but was spread between too many schools, and was often seconded by the district health board to deliver other programmes?

Hon TONY RYALL: Of course, I would have to be able to check the details behind that. But what is absolutely clear is that we have got 280 public health nurses who are regularly visiting and supporting schools. They are also working closely with the families, based on the referrals that schools make. This is a valuable service that is already being provided. It is absolutely clear in its discussion document and its policy that the Green Party was completely unaware that the schoolbased health service is provided by public health nurses up and down the country. It is rather embarrassing for it, I would have thought.

Metiria Turei: Will the Minister address the reality of the situation and concede that school principals are right when they say that there is a glaring gap of nurses in primary and intermediate schools right now, and that the pay-off of a comprehensive service in these schools is improved academic results, better school attendance, millions of dollars saved from avoidable illness every year, and, most important, better lives for around 120,000 New Zealand children—lives that he is not providing for, because there is no comprehensive public health service in primary and intermediate schools—[Interruption] I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I do not expect the Minister to stand up and begin answering the question before I have even finished it. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! It would be helpful if the Minister did not rise until the member had finished. But, equally, it was a very, very long question.

Hon TONY RYALL: What I would say to that member, and in response to that question, is that members can ask as many questions as they like, but it will not cover the fact that the Green Party was unaware that, for example, in Gisborne, primary schools there in the high-decile areas are visited three times a week, and more often when need is there, that in Northland—

Hon Member: The high decile in Gisborne?

Hon TONY RYALL: —rather, the low-decile schools in Gisborne—and the low-decile schools in Northland are visited on a weekly basis, including 19,000 one-on-one consultations between the public health nurse and the school student. Whatever that member says, it cannot hide the fact that the Green Party did not know that the public health nurse services were provided in primary and intermediate schools.

Mr SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Brendan Horan. [Interruption] Order! I have called Brendan Horan.

Brendan Horan: Are school nurses able to provide care for every child that is insulin dependent and has type 1 diabetes in decile 1, 2, and 3 schools, and are these nurses aware of the problems these children and their parents are reporting with CareSens meters and faulty scripts?

Hon TONY RYALL: I am sure the school-based public health nurses are aware of the needs that any school wants to draw to their attention, but I have to say, in respect of that matter of the diabetes switch-over led by Pharmac, that actually the vast majority of consumers have made the switch and it is progressing very well.

Metiria Turei: I seek leave to table a summary document prepared by my office of extracts of emails from nurses and from principals talking about the issues of having no nurses available—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! That is enough of an explanation: a summary document prepared by the member’s office summarising the issues. Is there any objection to that being tabled? There is.

Brendan Horan: I seek leave to table correspondence from Mrs Sarah Jane Mills regarding problems experienced by a registered nurse to test her primary school – aged son’s blood sugars using a CareSens meter.

Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that document—

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

Mr SPEAKER: Are you speaking to that point of order?

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I am speaking to the point of order. My point of order is to ask whether this disclosure is being made with the consent of the correspondent.

Mr SPEAKER: That is a reasonable point. Could the member Brendan Horan confirm that the disclosure would then be made with the permission of the patient he is talking about?

Brendan Horan: Yes, I believe it is.

Mr SPEAKER: OK, leave is—[Interruption] I think that unless the member is sure, he would be better not to be tabling the document. That would be my advice.

Brendan Horan: I seek leave to table correspondence to me from Helen Lockley of New Plymouth, whose diabetic son—

Mr SPEAKER: Again, the same issue. Is Mrs Lockley aware that you are attempting to do this?

Brendan Horan: Yes.

Mr SPEAKER: OK. Leave is sought to table that correspondence. Is there any objection? There is.

Metiria Turei: I seek leave to table two documents. Both are communications to me, the first from the New Zealand Nurses Organisation and the second from the New Zealand Educational Institute, supporting a policy of comprehensive health services in decile 1, 2, and 3 primary—

Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table those two pieces of correspondence. Is there any objection? There is.

Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I waited until the end of the question because I did not want to interrupt the member’s questions, but I want to raise with you a recurring issue in the House, and that is the inconsistency of the quality of the sound system. During that question we could barely hear Metiria Turei, and I could tell that she was speaking quite loudly. We could hear very clearly both the Minister and Brendan Horan, and others, who were speaking quite quietly. It does seem to be that some of the microphones in the House are very loud and others are not. Sometimes, sure, the level of interjection impacts on that, but, clearly, there were points when the House was very silent while Metiria Turei was speaking, and I could still barely hear what she was saying.

Mr SPEAKER: I will certainly look—

Hon Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I do not want to prolong things. I would have to agree that it was pretty hard to hear the member. It is probably because of the location of the microphone. With all due respect, if it was on the other side of that desk and she was speaking directly to it, it would have been in a better position to hear what she was saying. But it was actually quite pleasant.

Mr SPEAKER: That is not helpful, either. I will—[Interruption] Order! I am ruling on this first. In answer to the point raised by Chris Hipkins, I will certainly have another look at the quality of sound. It is not helped by noise coming from any part of the House when members are attempting to ask questions.

Brendan Horan: I seek leave to table a series of photographs showing the results of dual testing using the same drop of blood—

Mr SPEAKER: No. That is not going to be of any value to the House.

State and Social Housing—Home and Housed Report

6. ALFRED NGARO (National) to the Minister of Housing: What progress has the Government made in implementing the recommendations from Home and Housed: A Vision for Social Housing in New Zealand?

Hon Dr NICK SMITH (Minister of Housing): The major recommendations of the report, which included the Salvation Army, the Auckland City Mission, and the Housing Foundation, were that New Zealand needed to develop a broader social housing sector. Its 19 recommendations included growing the community social housing sector to 20 percent, transferring the housing needs assessment from Housing New Zealand to the Ministry of Social Development, enabling access to the income-related rent subsidy for community housing providers, and introducing new tenancy agreements focused on providing support to those with the highest need for the duration of that need. Good progress is being made on all those recommendations, with funding changes in Budget

2013 and the Social Housing Reform (Housing Restructuring and Tenancy Matters Amendment) Bill now before the Social Services Committee.

Alfred Ngaro: How much new funding is the Government putting into implementing the changes recommended in the Home and Housed: A Vision for Social Housing New Zealand report?

Hon Dr NICK SMITH: The Government has set aside $139 million for the Social Housing Fund. It has already committed $60 million, enabling 422 addition housing units to be built in Northland, Auckland, Waikato, the Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, and Otago. It has budgeted $31 million for the transfer of the housing needs assessment to the Ministry of Social Development and for extending income-related rent subsidies to community housing providers. A further $47 million has been budgeted for renewable tenancies to fund the increase in income-related rent subsidies as families of higher need move into social housing.

Alfred Ngaro: What changes is Housing New Zealand making to the management of its housing stock in response to the Home and Housed: A Vision for Social Housing in New Zealand report?

Hon Dr NICK SMITH: The report expressed real concern that, historically, Housing New Zealand has been excessively focused on just the number of State houses, rather than ensuring that they are in the right place, that they are of the right size, and that they are of good quality. In response, Housing New Zealand has embarked on a major programme of reconfiguring its housing stock with a record investment of $2.9 billion over the next 3 years. This involves insulating every State house capable of being insulated—an initiative taken by my predecessor, Phil Heatley— spending $377 million on adding 3,000 additional bedrooms to existing houses, and building 500 new infill houses in Auckland, as well as the massive programme of rebuilds and replacement in Christchurch. There is also a housing warrant of fitness that is going to be introduced for Housing New Zealand properties—

Hon Annette King: Being considered.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH: —no, it is going to be introduced—to make sure that we actually focus on the quality of them, unlike the Labour Party, which has a disgraceful record in terms of the quality of our State housing.

Education, Minister—Decisions

7. CHRIS HIPKINS (Labour—Rimutaka) to the Minister of Education: Does she stand by all her decisions as Minister of Education; if not, are there any particular decisions she now regrets?

Hon HEKIA PARATA (Minister of Education): Yes, in the circumstances and the advice received at the time, and the decision I stand most by is the decision to invest $9.7 billion into education in New Zealand, the most ever invested in education in this country.

Chris Hipkins: Did she ask for or receive any further details about the 147 known defects in the Novopay system that she was made aware of in the 5 June written briefing she received from officials, prior to giving her final approval to Novopay going live; if not, why not?

Hon HEKIA PARATA: I asked for advice from those whom I was entitled to rely upon whether or not that rate was well within the acceptable level, and I was advised by officials that it was. In terms of the 5 June decision to go live, I was advised that three members of the information and communications technology approval council had approved the go-live, and that confidence point two had been met in all criteria. I now know that not to have been the case, but at the time that was the advice, and it was in that knowledge that I approved the go-live.

Chris Hipkins: Did she specifically ask for any further advice about the 147 known defects that she was advised about?

Hon HEKIA PARATA: As I have already responded to that member—well, I should make it clear. I am not an IT expert, so I relied on the advice that the IT experts gave me, which was that the criteria for confidence point two, which included those particular runs, had been met, and the advice from all of the officials and the independent advisers was that we should proceed to go live.

Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Both the first supplementary question and the second supplementary question were actually very specific about the 147 known defects that were reported in the briefing that the Minister received on 5 June. I asked her specifically whether she had asked for advice on those specific defects. She has talked about a number of other things she asked for advice on, but having—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! On this occasion I think the Minister has adequately addressed both questions. The first one was certainly addressed. In terms of the second one, as to whether she specifically asked for additional information, the Minister responded by saying that she was not a technology expert; she relied on the information that was given to her. I think that—

Chris Hipkins: Yes or no?

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member has no right to demand a yes or no answer. The member has further supplementary questions if he wants to use them.

Chris Hipkins: Did the advice she received on 5 June indicate that confidence point two had been met but also indicate that it had not been met; if so, why did she sign off on Novopay’s implementation, given that she was receiving clearly contradictory advice?

Hon HEKIA PARATA: On 5 June, with the go-live decision, the advice that I was clearly given, both by the information and communications technology advice council and in terms of whether confidence point two had been met, was that it was appropriate for me to sign and approve, and it was on that advice, and my asking for information and assurance, that I signed the go-live.

Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I asked her specifically—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Again, can I invite the member to look carefully at the Hansard, as, indeed, I will. The member, from memory, asked three supplementary questions. The Minister has very adequately addressed one of those.

Chris Hipkins: Did the advice she received on 5 June indicate that there was at least one medium-security vulnerability and one low-security vulnerability within the Novopay system; if so, did she ask for any further information on the nature of those security threats before she signed off the implementation?

Mr SPEAKER: Hon Hekia Parata—either of those two supplementary questions.

Hon HEKIA PARATA: In respect of the decision made on 5 June, the advice put to me, based on the knowledge of all of the information that applied to meeting confidence point two, was that it was satisfactory that Ministers could rely on that advice. Assurances were sought, they were given, and on that basis—relying on people who know about IT far more than me—I signed the advice.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I have the advantage of being able to read the question that my colleague asked. It does have two parts—

Mr SPEAKER: Yes.

Hon Trevor Mallard: —and I put it to you that neither of those was answered. The first part asked whether the advice she received on 5 June indicated that there was at least one mediumsecurity vulnerability and one low-security vulnerability. She did not answer that. She was then asked, if that was so, whether she asked for further information on the nature of those security threats. She did not answer that.

Mr SPEAKER: If the Minister could attempt to answer either of those supplementary questions, I would be grateful.

Hon HEKIA PARATA: The advice that I was given by officials, by independent quality assurers, by people with significant IT expertise was that within the expectations of the project at that time, it was satisfactory to go live. I relied on that advice at that time.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I could read the question out again. It did have two parts and neither of those was addressed by the Minister’s answer.

Mr SPEAKER: The best way forward is to invite Chris Hipkins as the original asker of the question to repeat the question.

Chris Hipkins: Did the advice she received on 5 June indicate that there was at least one medium-security vulnerability and one low-security vulnerability within the Novopay system; if so, did she ask for any further information on the nature of those security threats before she signed off implementation?

Hon HEKIA PARATA: My clear recollection is asking officials whether they could give me assurance that, notwithstanding those particular elements of the project at that time, it was satisfactory within the context of IT projects to proceed. The advice was, and I can rely only on the advice of experts in the IT field, that it was satisfactory that confidence point two had been met, and that the independent advisers who had been retained specifically for this purpose agreed that the golive should occur. On the basis of that advice, which I had complete confidence at that time that I could rely on, I approved the go-live.

Chris Hipkins: I seek leave to table the advice the Minister received on 5 June.

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

Flu Vaccine—Reports

8. SHANE ARDERN (National—Taranaki – King Country) to the Associate Minister of

Health: What reports has she received regarding the number of New Zealanders who have been immunised against the flu this year?

Hon JO GOODHEW (Associate Minister of Health): The Ministry of Health recently reported to me that the Government’s target of immunising 1.2 million New Zealanders against the flu this year has already been reached. This is the largest number of Kiwis ever vaccinated against the flu. This was an ambitious target, but thanks to the hard work of health professionals around the country we have reached our goal more than 2 months earlier than anticipated, which is great news because now more people are immunised against the flu, less flu is circulating in our community, leading to greater protection for us all.

Shane Ardern: What is the Government’s goal now for the flu immunisation programme?

Hon JO GOODHEW: Our aim now is to continue the momentum and immunise as many people as possible. In particular we want to see more of the fully funded immunisations for which around 1.1 million people are eligible. This includes people over 65 years old, pregnant women, children under 5 who have significant respiratory illnesses, and people with ongoing health conditions. So I encourage people who have not already had their immunisation to check with their health professionals to see whether they are eligible.

Ministers—Confidence

9. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First) to the Prime Minister: Has he recently taken steps to ensure that his confidence in all his Ministers is rightly placed?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): No. I have confidence in all of my Ministers. They retain my confidence unless I have reason to lose that confidence.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Can he confirm that the Kitteridge report was classified information at the time it was leaked, and caught by section 78 of the Crimes Act?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No, I do not believe I am in a position to confirm that. It may well be correct, but I would need to check it.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Why is the Prime Minister dismissing as “an indiscreet comment” a leak to a journalist who wrote on 9 April—and I am using the very words of that article that that journalist wrote—“The revelations are contained in the report, prepared by Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Kitteridge, and seen by Fairfax Media.”?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I thought the reference I made yesterday that the member was referring to—I may be wrong—was in relation to another detailed leak or a leak from the Intelligence and Security Committee meeting. I am pretty sure that was actually the reference the member made yesterday. I may be wrong. If that was the case, the member might like to know that the committee clerk wrote to all members after that leak emerged and reminded them of their obligations and to be careful.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Why is the Prime Minister dismissing a most serious leak as “an indiscreet comment”—not to do with anything other than the matter of the leak I am referring to— when the leak to the journalist was of a full report, which enabled the journalist to describe key details, such as the 71-page length of the report, the recommendation of “an immediate overhaul of the law”, criticism of a former Government Communications Security Bureau deputy director, under-resourcing of the Government Communications Security Bureau deputy director’s office, culture problems at the agency, and many other very substantial issues all in a long report by that journalist?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: As I say, I can go back and check yesterday’s Hansard. I may be incorrect or talking at cross-purposes, but the member is talking about the leak of the Kitteridge report. That is a serious matter subject to an inquiry by David Henry. When that inquiry is complete, the report is finalised, and I have had an opportunity to read it and digest it, it will be released. That was not actually the reference that the member was talking to yesterday, from memory. It was about another leak that came from the Intelligence and Security Committee, which I think at the time actually was an indiscreet comment as opposed to a leak. I may be wrong, but that is my understanding.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Why, when there is an inexplicable connection between one Minister’s phone calls and information leaks exclusively to one journalist, is he showing such little interest in these phone records?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I thank the member for playing super-sleuth, but maybe he would like to do what I am doing, and that is wait for the David Henry report.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am not obliged to wait for the David Henry report. I am obliged to do my job as an Opposition member and ask questions. My point is that the Prime Minister—

Hon Dr Nick Smith: It’d be sensible to wait.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Do not get excited, chaps.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! If the member wants to make a point of order, he will concentrate—

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Yes, well, my point of order is that I am asking questions legitimately of the Prime Minister about a certain Minister’s phone calls and the coincidence, not pure serendipity, of information by way of an exclusive leak to one journalist, which everybody in the press gallery knows about. I am entitled to ask that question and not be fobbed off by being told to wait until some other later report may come out.

Mr SPEAKER: As I recall the question, it certainly had an opinion that was delivered within the question that was the opinion of the member, and the Prime Minister adequately addressed that question. The member can ask a further supplementary question.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Why, when affected parties shown the Kitteridge report had their phones removed, were escorted into the room, and were kept under constant surveillance because they were seeing classified information caught by section 78 of the Crimes Act, is he now covering up the leak, which involves a serious crime punishable by 3 years in prison?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: The member is just being ludicrous. We have commissioned a report. David Henry is writing the report. I do not have the report. The report, in the fullness of time, will be received, will be read, and will be released. There is no more that I could do as Prime Minister. Some time ago that member said: “I deal in the facts.” Well, so do I. When I have the facts I will share them.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. You can see what is going on here. The Prime Minister—[Interruption] Oh, do not worry.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Order! It is a point of order—well, I hope it is a point of order.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Yes, exactly. I recognise a hysterical laugh when I hear one. The plain fact is that I am entitled to ask the Prime Minister about a certain Minister’s phone calls and the connection between that Minister and exclusive leaks that are covered by the Crimes Act. I am entitled to ask the Prime Minister whether he regards that leak as a crime, and instead I am being told to wait around, when we all know there is a leak, so we know that a crime has been committed—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I have heard sufficient. I have heard sufficient. [Interruption] I have heard sufficient. [Interruption] I have heard sufficient. The member is entitled to ask the question and the Prime Minister is expected to answer it, and he has done so. The member now has one further supplementary question, if he desires it.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Tell me, Prime Minister: have you spoken to the Hon Peter Dunne about his phone records and the pure connection by dates of exclusive leaks shortly after those phone calls and other communications that are a crime under the Crimes Act because the information is classified?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No, because if I did that I would be doing the job of David Henry. I am not the person responsible for the inquiry.

Crime Victims—Support

10. KATRINA SHANKS (National) to the Minister of Justice: How is the Government continuing its support for victims of crime?

Hon JUDITH COLLINS (Minister of Justice): Through our levy on offenders, I am pleased to announce increased funding and support for victims of serious crimes. In future we will be funding Victim Support to pilot an enhanced homicide support service, introducing a crime scene grant to support victims with accommodation costs where their residence cannot be used because it is a crime scene, increasing funding for rape prevention education, increasing funding for families of victims killed by a criminal act, and increasing funding for victims of crime travelling to New Zealand from outside the Pacific to attend court hearings.

Katrina Shanks: How else is the Government supporting victims of crime?

Hon JUDITH COLLINS: The Ministry of Justice currently employs 70 court victim advisers, who help around 40,000 victims each year. It recently rolled out an enhanced victim advisory service for sexual violence victims and established the Victims Centre to ensure victims are aware of their rights and the range of support available. The ministry also runs a helpline for victims and funds a range of services, including a 24-hour crisis support line, in addition to in-person support. The Victims of Crime Reform Bill will introduce a Victims Code and a register of victims’ complaints. The justice sector is continually reviewing ways to provide more support for victims of crime to strengthen our communities and ensure people feel safe.

Prime Minister—Statements

11. CLARE CURRAN (Labour—Dunedin South) to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by all his statements?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes.

Clare Curran: Does he stand by his statement to this House on 4 April 2012 that he is “comfortable with the arrangements that we have with Huawei.”, and, in light of this, is he aware that Chorus has rejected Huawei’s bid to provide fibre equipment and services for the major contract for taxpayer-funded ultra-fast broadband in New Zealand?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: In answer to the first part of the question, yes.

Clare Curran: Has any Government agency that he is responsible for recommended against Chorus accepting the bid from Huawei to provide equipment and services for taxpayer-funded ultrafast broadband?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: It is not my policy to talk publicly about the advice I receive from the Government Communications Security Bureau, and I will not be doing so this afternoon.

Clare Curran: Is he aware that three of the four New Zealand security Echelon partners have outright rejected Huawei’s involvement in their Government broadband roll-out while the fourth, the UK, now bitterly regrets approving a contract with the Chinese company after a forensic audit costing more than £20 million uncovered thousands of bugs in the telecommunications system?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I cannot speak for other partners that New Zealand has, but in relation to the last part, I do not believe that would actually be right. But what I can say is the Government takes network security seriously. It protects network security where it believes possible and where appropriate, and if the member wants to vote for the legislation that is currently going through the House that will strengthen network security, that would be great. But guess what? The member will not.

Clare Curran: Given the UK Government communications headquarters has an agreement with Huawei that allows it to vet Huawei devices and source codes for bugs and that covers British Telecom, is there a similar arrangement between the Government Communications Security Bureau and Huawei in New Zealand?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: As I said earlier, I am not going to discuss specific providers and either what advice or measures the Government Communications Security Bureau gives the Government or the Government follows, because I do not believe it is in the national interest to do so. What I do believe is in the national interest is to strengthen the legislation in this area. I invite the member’s party to do so. I am sure she will not, but I invite her to do so. I stand by my earlier statements that I am comfortable as Prime Minister with the steps this Government has been taking.

Clare Curran: Has he at any time discussed with the Government Communications Security Bureau Huawei’s bid for the ultra-fast broadband contract with Chorus?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: For the third time this afternoon, I do not talk about the discussions I have with the Government Communications Security Bureau in relation to this matter or other matters unless there is specific reason to do so. That is a longstanding position, by the way, that the former Prime Minister Helen Clark adopted.

Clare Curran: Does he now feel embarrassed that, having invited Huawei into New Zealand and virtually offering it contracts on a plate in 2011, he is now being forced to keep it out of the major contract, following the persistent concerns of all our major security partners?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: The member is deliberately attempting to mislead the House. I did not invite Huawei into New Zealand.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think you know that the Prime Minister cannot say that.

Mr SPEAKER: It would be helpful if the Prime Minister did not suggest that the member was deliberately misleading the House. It is certainly in order for the member to dispute the supposition raised. It would be helpful if the Prime Minister in future would not accuse another honourable member of deliberately misleading the House.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: She is.

Grant Robertson: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. You just asked the Prime Minister to not do that in the future, and I would question whether or not he should have been made to withdraw and apologise, but immediately following your making that ruling, the Prime Minister repeated it and said: “She is.”

Mr SPEAKER: Well, if the Prime Minister did interject that, it would be useful if he now stood, withdrew, and apologised to the member.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I withdraw and apologise.

Clare Curran: I seek leave to table a list of contracts related to the ultra-fast broadband roll-out that the telecommunications company Huawei has in New Zealand.

Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that information. Is there any objection? There appears to be none. Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.

Petroleum Exploration—OECD Recommendation on Tax Concessions

12. GARETH HUGHES (Green) to the Minister of Energy and Resources: Does he agree with the OECD; which recommends the removal of tax concessions for petroleum exploration; if not, why not?

Hon SIMON BRIDGES (Minister of Energy and Resources): No, I do not. I do not believe that the OECD gives sufficient weight to the challenge of developing New Zealand’s petroleum resources or to this Government’s commitment to ensuring that we receive a fair return from petroleum resources. For the record, I am not aware of another industry in New Zealand that contributes as much of its profits as a proportion to the Crown—42c in every $1; $700 million to $800 million a year. That is something we should celebrate.

Gareth Hughes: How is it that the Government can find over $46 million in support for an already wealthy industry to extract more fossil fuels, to lead to more pollution, and it can muster only $1.9 million to feed our poorest kids breakfast?

Hon SIMON BRIDGES: The amount the member talks about is exceptionally small in comparison with the $700 million to $800 million per annum we currently receive in taxes and royalties. As I say, I would like the member to see whether he can think of another industry that delivers that sort of money as a proportion of its profits to the taxpayer’s coffers.

Gareth Hughes: So what is the Minister’s rationale for supporting tax breaks for the profitable petroleum sector, and not similar tax breaks for industries like, maybe, the clean-energy industry, which international studies show has got four times the job-creating potential, and even agencies like PricewaterhouseCoopers say could be a potential $22 billion industry for New Zealand?

Hon SIMON BRIDGES: Well, there is no rush. I can tell the member that we met last week with the head economist of the International Energy Agency, the premier energy agency in the world, and the first thing he did was to congratulate us on being world leaders when it comes to fossil fuels subsidy reform—and we are world leaders in that area.

Te Ururoa Flavell: Kia ora tātou. Is he aware that Ngāti Kahungunu wrote to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in January 2013, supporting the recommendations made by the Waitangi Tribunal relating to the petroleum management regime; if so, what efforts will he make to follow their call for adequate communications standards to be enforced by the Crown between petroleum companies and iwi and hapū?

Hon SIMON BRIDGES: I am aware of that letter; indeed, I have met with that iwi a couple of times in Hawke’s Bay in relation to issues that they have about the sector. I can tell the member that when we reformed the Crown Minerals Act earlier this year we formalised consultation processes between the Crown and iwi, and, indeed, between iwi and industry. Now it is the case that industry, in relation to tier 1 permits at least, must supply annual reports to the Government on its engagement with iwi or hapū whose rohe intercepts the area of the permit or who otherwise may be directly affected by the Crown. Of course, what is also true is that this is an industry that can deliver great gains and jobs for Māori in places like Northland and the East Coast, and bring them home from places like Western Australia and Queensland. So I think the benefits from this industry can be felt disproportionately and favourably for Māori and iwi.

Gareth Hughes: In regard to the last answer, does the Minister want New Zealand to walk the walk on international fossil fuels subsidies, and will he recommend the removal of all tax breaks for petroleum exploration, given that the OECD says they counteract New Zealand’s efforts to address

global climate change, and distort investment decisions away from more sustainable sources of growth?

Hon SIMON BRIDGES: We walk the walk and we talk the talk in a world where there are hundred and hundreds—probably trillions—of dollars of subsidies for fossil fuels. The fact of the matter is we are one of the cleanest, greenest little countries in the world.

ENDS

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