Questions & Answers – August 23

by Desk Editor on Tuesday, August 23, 2016 — 4:43 PM

  • Prime Minister—Statements

    1. METIRIA TUREI (Co-Leader—Green) to the Prime Minister: Ka tū a ia i runga i te mana o tana kōrero “you turn on the tap, you expect water to flow and for it to be potable, that you can drink it”?

    [Does he stand by his statement that “you turn on the tap, you expect water to flow and for it to be potable, that you can drink it”?]

    Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes.

    Metiria Turei: Does the Prime Minister agree with Dr Russell Death, professor of Freshwater Ecology at Massey University, that even if we chlorinate all our water supplies, people are still going to get sick from water-borne pathogens associated with the intensified dairy sector, and that another outbreak, as we have seen in Havelock North, is inevitable?

    Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No.

    Metiria Turei: Does the Prime Minister accept that the cleaner the water is before treatment, the cleaner the water is at the tap?

    Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I am not a technical expert, but it sounds logical.

    Metiria Turei: Will the Prime Minister arrange for the review of the wadeable standard and the national policy standard for fresh water management, given his agreement that the cleaner the water before treatment, the cleaner it is at the tap?

    Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No.

    Metiria Turei: How many people does the Prime Minister expect to have to get sick from the water that is coming out of their own taps before the Government will take urgent action to clean up the pollution of our fresh water?

    Rt Hon JOHN KEY: One thing we can be sure of is that this Government has done more than any Government in the history of New Zealand to clean up waterways, including setting national standards, pouring money into ensuring that our lakes and rivers are improved, and ensuring that New Zealanders can expect a high standard for water.

    Metiria Turei: Does the Prime Minister understand that New Zealand has the highest level of water-borne diseases in the OECD?

    Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I have no basis to either confirm or deny that statement.

    Metiria Turei: Why is land use not specified in the terms of reference for the Havelock North inquiry when it is well known that intensive agriculture is linked to declining water quality and, therefore, could be a factor in this outbreak?

    Rt Hon JOHN KEY: The terms of reference are very broad, and I do not think—as much as it suits the member’s own political agenda and her followers’—that she should jump to conclusions about what the cause of the water concerns is.

  • Urban Planning System—Reports

    2. ANDREW BAYLY (National—Hunua) to the Minister of Finance: What Productivity Commission reports has he received on New Zealand’s urban planning system?

    Hon BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Finance): Last week the Productivity Commission released its draft report Better urban planning in response to the Government’s request for a first-principles analysis of land use allocation, because land use is critical to the health and success of the New Zealand economy. The commission finds that planning can contribute positively; however, planning legislation lacks clarity and focus, there has been planning overreach in urban areas, and the planning system is not responsive to changes in cities. Infrastructure funding tools do not recover costs or account for the risk placed on councils. The Productivity Commission also suggested that central government and local government should make more effort to understand the issues each other is dealing with.

    David Seymour: Is the Minister concerned, or does he share the concerns of the report, for example, that the level of complexity in land use planning laws is increasing—for example, the Resource Management Act (RMA) was 382 pages when introduced in 1991, 790 pages in the 2011 revision, and 827 pages in a 2013 revision—and does the Government have any plans to introduce RMA reforms that might reduce the length of the Act?

    Mr SPEAKER: Before I call the Minister, can I just remind the member that he raised a point of order last week about questions being in line with the Standing Orders, particularly Standing Order 380. I would be grateful if he could assist me as well.

    Hon BILL ENGLISH: We believe that the RMA amendment that has been proposed in this House will achieve some of those things, but I do agree with his general point that the complexity of planning has increased. The Auckland Unitary Plan—where the general thrust of it is correct, I think—is around 7,000 pages, and it is possible that our councillors are getting a bit too involved at very low levels of detail, not just in how our cities develop but in how our own houses and households operate.

    Andrew Bayly: What does the commission say are some of the consequences of excessive planning?

    Hon BILL ENGLISH: The commission takes a fairly even-handed view of the function of planning itself, saying that it is important in achieving some aspects of the development of our cities. However, it does say that housing is unaffordable where land is unaffordable. The report highlights an eightfold increase in the price of land in Auckland between 1996 and 2014. In 1996 a hectare of land in Auckland was valued at around a million dollars; today it is valued at around $8 million. Research has previously associated that increase with Auckland’s urban limits.

    Andrew Bayly: What steps is the Government already taking, as part of its comprehensive housing plan, that were recommended by the Productivity Commission in its most recent report?

    Hon BILL ENGLISH: A lot of steps because, actually, the very first report of the Productivity Commission, back in 2012, was on the regulation of land use, and the Government took some advice from that. The commission says that notification and appeals should be limited to those more directly affected by development—that is part of the current RMA amendments. It says that planning should prioritise responding to growth and providing land use flexibility—that is the goal of the current RMA reforms and the national policy statement. The commission says the Government should be able to override local plans in limited circumstances where there are wider effects on the rest of the country—that is also part of the current amendments.

    David Seymour: Which of those steps does the Minister think will be first to have an effect?

    Hon BILL ENGLISH: They will all have an effect at the same time, when the RMA bill is passed. In the meantime, though, the prospects for improvement are pretty positive because the Auckland Council has passed the Auckland Unitary Plan, which now enables twice as much housing supply as the original plans did, and that is good news, particularly for low and middle income households that want to, in the long run, own houses in Auckland.

    David Seymour: Did the Minister intend to imply that none of the steps in the Government’s comprehensive housing plan have had an effect yet and will not have an effect until the RMA reform is passed?

    Hon BILL ENGLISH: No, because a whole lot of other steps are in place, ranging from demand-side measures implemented under the macro-prudential policy, through to the special housing areas and the cranking up of the Government’s production of new houses on its own estate, particularly in Auckland.

    Andrew Bayly: What steps is the Government taking to get more social and emergency housing where it is needed most as part of the Government’s comprehensive housing plan?

    Hon BILL ENGLISH: It is a bit of a challenge because 50 years of poor social housing policy has meant that about a third of Housing New Zealand’s portfolio is in the wrong place or is the wrong type. The Government is making significant change to the social housing system at the same time that prices have been rising fast, and that does make the changes challenging. Sales to social housing tenants and, where appropriate, to first-home buyers have generated revenue that has been reinvested. Housing New Zealand is planning to build around 2,000 houses over the next 2 years, on top of the 7,500 houses that are expected to be delivered by the Tāmaki Redevelopment Company and community providers around the country.

  • HousingBuilding Consents

    3. ANDREW LITTLE (Leader of the Opposition) to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his statement that “we are seeing a record number of houses being built”; if so, why, given 29,000 dwellings were consented nationwide in the past year compared to 33,000 in 2004 and 40,000 in 1974?

    Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes; according to the latest Building Activity Survey from Statistics New Zealand, the volume of residential building work in the latest March quarter is the highest since the series began back in the 1980s. That is up 40 percent since 2013, and an impressive 80 percent since the start of 2012. As I said in a speech last month, building consents are now at their highest level for over 11 years, and National’s comprehensive housing plan is aimed squarely at increasing them further.

    Andrew Little: Has he seen the Reserve Bank report showing that the number of new houses being built, both in Auckland and around the country, is many thousands below the number of new families needing a home?

    Rt Hon JOHN KEY: There is probably a likely shortfall at the moment, but what we know is that that gap is closing very rapidly, which will be assisted in part by the Auckland Unitary Plan and, actually, the fact that we are in the middle of the biggest building boom that New Zealand has ever seen.

    Andrew Little: Is he aware that the Reserve Bank’s calculations show 16,000 houses were needed to keep up with Auckland’s population growth last year, while only 9,000 were consented?

    Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I have not seen that data. I think that most people accept that one of those factors is migration, but, of course, migration goes through flows. We already saw it—and the cycle was easing back a little bit last week. So, overall, I think the generally received wisdom is that we need about 13,000 new properties a year in Auckland, and we are rapidly getting near that number.

    Andrew Little: How does the housing shortage, which is leading to out-of-control house prices and rents, affect families?

    Rt Hon JOHN KEY: It obviously has an impact in terms of what people have to pay for their homes—although I would point out that house prices nationally have gone up at under half the rate under this Government as they did under the previous Labour Government, and at about the same level in Auckland as they did under Labour. The one big advantage, of course, for New Zealanders now, with a National-led Government, is that interest rates are at a 70-year low and employment markets are very strong. The economy itself created 251,000 additional jobs in the last 3 years. In fact, things have got so good that even the Māori King says he will never vote for Labour again.

    Andrew Little: What does he say to Samoanagalo Ioelu, who is about to be evicted from the unconsented garage where she has been living with her 11-month-old baby, and who says “… we couldn’t afford the $300-and-something a week for rent … I can’t go on the road, I can’t go sleep in the car with my son, he’s too young.”?

    Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I do not have the details of the case, but I would refer the person to Work and Income.

    Andrew Little: Why, in 2016, are any New Zealanders having to choose between living in garages or living in cars—or is this the “something special” that he said that we were on the cusp of?

    Rt Hon JOHN KEY: The Government has been looking closely at the issue around emergency houses. It is one of the reasons why there was $41 million additional expenditure in Budget 2016 alone. It is why hundreds of millions has been put into social housing. It is why the Government has been ensuring that income-related rents are paid not only for Housing New Zealand homes but also for community housing providers for social housing. It is why there is more money being spent in Auckland for social housing.

    Andrew Little: In light of statements by Treasury, the Reserve Bank, the Auckland chamber of commerce, the ANZ—and now the 85 percent of Aucklanders who say there is a housing crisis—will he now admit that his plan is a comprehensive failure and that it is time to just build some bloody houses?

    Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I think that the member is incorrectly quoting those agencies.

  • Homelessness—Inquiry

    4. MARAMA DAVIDSON (Green) to the Minister for Social Housing: Ka tū a ia i runga i te mana o tā Te Pirimia kōrero e pā ana ki tētahi pakirehua i te take kore whare a te hunga Tōrangapū-whakawhitinga, “the Government has done a lot of work in the area of homelessness”?

    [Does she stand by the Prime Minister’s statement regarding the cross-party inquiry into homelessness that “the Government has done a lot of work in the area of homelessness”?]

    Hon PAULA BENNETT (Minister for Social Housing): Āe.

    Marama Davidson: How can she say that her Government is doing enough when at our inquiry at Te Puea Marae yesterday we had a packed wharenui with person after person, all day long, saying that what the Government is doing is just not enough?

    Hon PAULA BENNETT: I can say that actually this Government is taking the issues around social housing, emergency housing, and homelessness very, very seriously, to the extent that we actually did the work that the members are doing now over 12 months ago. That was part of the review that this Government led. From that we saw $2.5 million going into social housing just last year alone, then an increase of more than $41 million through Budget 2016. Since then I have announced another $9 million going into the Housing First initiative, and equally, around better tenant outcomes, some more money for that wraparound service. Equally, of course, we have seen the changes to the special-needs grant where we can help people with motels, so they no longer have to pay that back. So we have an extensive work plan around emergency housing. We are a long way through it, but we have still got more work to do.

    Marama Davidson: Did she say no to being part of our inquiry because she does not want to hear from people like Peter Jeffries from CORT Housing, who said of this Government’s response that it is just throwing scraps?

    Hon PAULA BENNETT: I would have met with Peter Jeffries from CORT Housing more times than that member has. In fact, I meet with community housing providers and non-government organisations weekly and am actually very connected to what is happening in this issue. I visit the city missions on a regular basis. I am in touch with the maraes and the work that is going on. [Interruption] The member cannot have it both ways. She cannot simply sit there and say that we are not doing anything and then say that what we are doing is not enough, because, actually, those two things contradict each other.

    Marama Davidson: Was the reason she was not there yesterday that she did not want to be confronted with stories like the mother of a child with a disability who is stuck paying $400 a week living in a dirty caravan with no cooking facilities?

    Hon PAULA BENNETT: The reason I am not part of this inquiry is that I actually speak to people at the coalface and people who are suffering from this on a weekly basis. I do not need to go 18 months back in the programme of work that this Government is already doing. As the members themselves would say, what they need is action, and that is what the National Party and this Government are doing.

    Rt Hon Winston Peters: Minister, since when has the coalface been the local deli?

    Mr SPEAKER: If the member chooses to answer—she does not have to.

    Hon PAULA BENNETT: It is probably the rest home that you should be in. [Interruption]

    Mr SPEAKER: Order!

    Rt Hon Winston Peters: Does the Minister remember making such a similar comment, being challenged for a race in the main street of Maungatūroto, with her being given half a kilometre head start, and not taking it up?

    Mr SPEAKER: If the Minister wants to—the Hon Paula Bennett.

    Hon PAULA BENNETT: In all fairness, I do not believe in elder abuse. And, for that matter, I probably do not think he should be in a rest home anyway.

  • Children and Young People, Care and Protection—Appointments

    5. ALFRED NGARO (National) to the Minister for Social Development: What recent announcements has she made regarding the care and protection of children and young people?

    Hon ANNE TOLLEY (Minister for Social Development): Last Thursday, at the Vulnerable Children’s Hub in Grey Lynn, I announced the establishment of a new, dedicated, child-centred ministry. The Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki will be in place from April 2017 to focus on the safety and long-term well-being of our most at-risk children and young people. It will focus on five core services: prevention, intensive intervention, care support services, transition support, and a youth justice service aimed at preventing offending and reoffending. It will have the ability to directly purchase vital services such as trauma counselling as soon as they are needed. There will be more high-quality caregivers and better support for those families who open their homes to our most vulnerable children. As I have said before, the long-term outcomes for young people in the current Child, Youth and Family system are simply atrocious. The new Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki demonstrates this Government’s commitment to properly care for and protect our most vulnerable children and young people and ensure they can lead the lives they deserve.

    Alfred Ngaro: How will the new ministry ensure that the best interests of the child are addressed?

    Hon ANNE TOLLEY: The Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki will be a child-centred system. Legislation has already been introduced in the House that will establish an independent youth advocacy service and require that children’s voices be heard in decisions affecting them. I was also delighted to announce that I have appointed a new youth advisory panel, made up of young people who are in or who have experience of State care, to advise me and the transformation team in the months ahead as we design the new system. I had my first meeting with the new panel this morning, and we had a very constructive conversation about how the new ministry will operate and best look after the needs of children in care. The advisory panel, the independent youth advocacy service, and new legislation will mean that the ministry will be truly child-centred.

    Alfred Ngaro: What reports has the Minister seen regarding her announcement of the new Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki?

    Hon ANNE TOLLEY: I have seen many reports welcoming the Government’s bold decision to radically overhaul the care and protection system and to establish the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki. The Children’s Commissioner called it “a great day for New Zealand children today” and said that “The new agency has the potential to be a world-leading organisation.” Social Service Providers Aotearoa Inc welcomed the certainty provided by the announcement and the path ahead. The Press called it “a welcome change for NZ children”, and the Otago Daily Times said it was “refreshing … to finally find an instance where someone is prepared to call a spade a spade.”

    Darroch Ball: Will she put the care and protection of children and young people first by supporting New Zealand First’s Supplementary Order Paper that makes the child sex offender register public, or will she continue to back the ideology that the rights and privacy of the offender come first?

    Hon ANNE TOLLEY: The answer is no, because the premise on which that member has put his Supplementary Order Paper is incorrect. In fact, the reason you do not make the register public is so that you can have all the names of those offenders in the one place so that that has the better chance of keeping the community safe.

    Darroch Ball: In that case, what does she say to each of the victims of child sex abuse who made submissions to the select committee, all wanting the register to be made public?

    Hon ANNE TOLLEY: I say exactly that. What we need—and the purpose of the register—is to keep track of those offenders who disappear into our communities, and we need those names and the details of where those people are to be all in the one place. Many of them have name suppression. If they are not on the list, then, of course, you end up with two lists and you have every chance of losing track of some of those.

  • Health, Associate Minister—Confidence

    6. Hon ANNETTE KING (Deputy Leader—Labour) to the Minister of Health: Does he have confidence in his Associate Minister of Health, given that less than half of drinking water supplies serving populations of less than 5,000 people are meeting drinking water standards?

    Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN (Minister of Health): Yes; and I am also advised that 96.8 percent of water supplies serving more than 100 people meet the bacterial standards, and 80 percent of water supplies serving more than 100 people meet the protozoal standards, while 98.7 percent of such water supplies meet the chemical standards. The situation is not quite how the member portrays it.

    Hon Annette King: As the budget-holding Minister, has the recent Havelock North drinking-water crisis and the latest crisis at Haumoana School—which has been forced to close today over an E. coli scare—convinced him to reverse his decision to discontinue funding of the subsidy scheme for small communities to upgrade their drinking-water supply?

    Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN: The member should remember that it was actually the Labour Government that started this scheme. It was a time-limited, 10-year scheme, so that Government always intended for it to finish. It was actually for populations of fewer than 5,000—Havelock North is considerably more. So she is a bit in danger of becoming, sort of, the “Ryan Lochte of Parliament”—making stuff up, exaggerating, and then having to apologise.

    Hon Annette King: He has not come back in any better a mood, Mr Speaker.

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! No. Order! That may be the member’s opinion, but it is unnecessary to raise that at question time. Can we have the supplementary question.

    Hon Annette King: If the Government is really committed to improving drinking-water quality in New Zealand, why did it freeze the subsidy scheme in 2009, then restrict access to the scheme in 2011, then underspend the original funding by $20 million in 2015, and, finally, cancel the scheme altogether last year?

    Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN: Once again, the member is conflating a couple of arguments. It was always a time-limited scheme. In actual fact, Labour always had restrictions around the scheme, so it was limited to decile 4 communities and higher; and no applicant who qualified under the criteria of the scheme did not receive a subsidy—unless they had not filled the application form out properly. So, quite frankly, what she is saying is completely incorrect.

    Hon Annette King: Why did he ignore the president of Local Government New Zealand, Lawrence Yule, who wanted the subsidy scheme for drinking water in small communities to be reinstated, saying that the scheme provided vital funding support for small communities that cannot afford to upgrade their drinking water?

    Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN: I have not been ignoring him. I speak with him regularly—in fact, I spoke with him this morning. The point about that scheme, I think, has been well covered. It was a time-limited scheme started by that member’s party, and it had run its course—and, in the end, all the applicants who fulfilled the criteria received the subsidy. [Interruption]

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! Order! Mr Brownlee. Order! We need quite a lot less interjection now, coming from many quarters in this House.

    Hon Annette King: Will he heed the warning of Professor Russell Death of Massey University, who said that contamination is highly likely to happen again in rural areas, or does he stand by his statement that “… we do not have these terrible water-borne epidemics in New Zealand.”, and that “actually campylobacter is a disease found primarily in chickens, and a disease of poor food-handling.”?

    Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN: Once again the member is taking comments out of context. That was from a speech made in 2007, and I stand by those comments in the context they were made in, at the time. The other point I would make—I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. [Interruption]

    Mr SPEAKER: I will just—

    Hon Annette King: It had better be a point of order.

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! Well, we will hear whether it is shortly.

    Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN: I am just noting that you are allowing the member to start her questions with a little flick at the person she is questioning. You are very keen on maintaining order in the House. I am just wondering whether you are going to let that practice continue.

    Mr SPEAKER: No. I can assure the Minister that nothing has changed in the way I have tried to attempt to keep order in this House over the last few weeks while the member might have been away. The Minister has managed to put a number of flicks in himself—I think it is about equal.

  • Teacher Supply—Announcements

    7. Dr PARMJEET PARMAR (National) to the Minister of Education: What recent announcements has she made regarding teacher supply?

    Hon HEKIA PARATA (Minister of Education): Late last week I announced several initiatives to boost the number of teachers in high-demand subjects and locations. We currently have enough overall numbers of teachers, but not necessarily in the areas or subjects that we need them in. The Government will offer an extra 100 TeachNZ scholarships for science, technology, and maths subjects to lift the number of graduates in these areas. Additionally, to support our recruitment of STEM teachers, we will for the first time invest in promoting teaching as a career to tertiary STEM students. We will also invest nearly $1 million in an Auckland programme to employ 40 new teachers through to full registration. Additionally, we have been working with secondary principal groups to identify solutions to secondary teacher supply. This announcement is a great example of how constructive work in the sector—namely, with the Auckland Primary Principals’ Association—leads to solutions that will benefit the young people in our education sector.

    Dr Parmjeet Parmar: How do these initiatives fit into the overall strategy to increase the quality of teaching and leadership in our schools?

    Hon HEKIA PARATA: There is an ongoing work programme that is aimed at building a workforce that meets the future needs of students and schools, such as lifting the quality of initial teacher education, establishing the Education Council, and forming Communities of Learning. Additionally, we are already supporting schools so that it is easier for them to recruit overseas teachers when a New Zealand candidate cannot be found. We will now expand our investment in this initiative, and have launched a new recruitment campaign focused on bringing Kiwi teachers back home. The Communities of Learning have the potential for schools to work together on recruiting and sharing teacher expertise.

    Hon Members: Oh, come on!

    Hon HEKIA PARATA: I am glad the House is so interested in raising supply. Thank you.

  • Wage Rates—Average Wage

    8. GRANT ROBERTSON (Labour—Wellington Central) to the Minister of Finance: Does he stand by his statement that the average wage would rise to $62,000 by 2018; if so, by what percentage per annum would it need to increase in the next 2 years to reach that level?

    Hon BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Finance): Yes, I stand by a statement made at the time based on Treasury forecasts in 2013. Of course, as the member is aware, over time what actually happens can be different from the forecast. To answer his question, wages will have to increase from their current level of $58,200 by 2.6 percent per annum to reach $62,000 in 2018. Treasury is now forecasting significantly lower inflation over the next couple of years, and that has lowered its forecast of the increase in the average wage.

    Grant Robertson: Is it in fact correct that in order to meet his promise made to voters that average wages would be $62,000 in 2018, they would have to increase at 3.6 percent per annum, or 2.5 times the rate that his Budget says they will?

    Hon BILL ENGLISH: In the first case, much as it might surprise the member, forecasts are not guaranteed to occur. That is the first thing. The second thing is that in forecasting wages over 4 or 5 years, it has turned out that inflation is much lower than was expected—less than half. In the last Budget, Treasury has reforecast that the average wage will not reach $62,000. It will reach a lower level, mainly because of lower inflation.

    Jami-Lee Ross: How did forecast wage increases and inflation since 2013 compare with actual wage increases and inflation?

    Hon BILL ENGLISH: It is important to remember that the real wage is what determines the spending power of families and households. If we compare Treasury’s forecasts for wages and inflation in 2013 with what actually happened, we can see that nominal wages increased 6.4 percent. That was a bit below Treasury’s forecast of 6.8 percent, but total inflation since 2013 has been 1.4 percent, when Treasury forecast 6 percent inflation. So the effect of that is that real wages have increased quite a lot faster than Treasury said they would, because inflation has been so low.

    Grant Robertson: Are working people receiving a fair share of growth in the economy?

    Hon BILL ENGLISH: It is a matter of how you measure fairness. I have not actually looked at the long-run averages for a while, but, from what I can see, they are not too far out of line. Of course, the question of whether they get a fair share and what that means is heavily dependent on other things that are happening. For instance, no one expected such low inflation for a long time. That has meant higher real wages. No one expected the lowest interest rates in 50 or 60 years, or, in parts of the globe, the lowest interest rates in 300 years, and we are not quite sure what that means for the share that households get.

    Grant Robertson: Does he think an increase in the real average household weekly income of 3 percent between 2008 and 2015 represents a fair share of growth in the economy for working people?

    Hon BILL ENGLISH: I think if you asked any particular household, they would say it is not enough; they would have preferred more. I do not think there is any doubt about that. But I think they would also say they prefer not to have 10 percent interest rates, like they had under Labour; not to have 5 percent inflation, like they had under Labour. By and large, at the moment they can see moderate but consistent wage increases ahead of them, and, if you look around the rest of the developed world, that puts us in a fairly unique position.

    Grant Robertson: How is it that the Reserve Bank, Treasury, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the ANZ bank, the Auckland chamber of commerce, Harcourts, and now Capital Economics are all wrong when they say that suppressed wages are partly a result of immigration policy settings, and why will he not take action to review those settings?

    Hon BILL ENGLISH: The settings are always under review. One of the fundamental tasks of a Government is deciding who comes across the border. But the most important change in those settings has been New Zealanders staying home, which we regard as successful, and, actually, I think those commentators do. It is really only the Labour Party that thinks that the turn-round from 40,000 Kiwis leaving to 40,000 of them staying home is some kind of problem.

  • National Health Targets—Progress

    9. JOANNE HAYES (National) to the Minister of Health: What progress has been made towards achieving the Government’s national health targets?

    Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN (Minister of Health): Today the Ministry of Health published the health targets for April to June 2016. They show great progress overall, with the improved access to elective surgery target again being achieved. In fact, it has been surpassed by 8 percent, but, of course, there is always more to do. This is the final time that the more heart and diabetes checks target will be reported, and it has exceeded the target, with 91 percent of the eligible population having had a cardiovascular check in the last 5 years. The health targets are important as they drive performance across the health system, ensuring that New Zealanders get better access to key health services.

    Joanne Hayes: What steps has the Government taken to improve access to health services in Christchurch?

    Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN: On Friday the Prime Minister opened the new $215 million Burwood Hospital in Christchurch. With 230 new beds and being 32,000 square metres in size, Burwood Hospital is the largest rebuild project in Christchurch East, and a great addition to the Canterbury health system. Key features include more beds for older persons, mental health, stroke, and more brain rehabilitation. Each floor boasts shared allied health spaces, such as gyms, to support the patient rehabilitation process. Burwood Hospital is the first cab off the rank in the close to $1 million of hospital redevelopments under way in Christchurch. Our focus will now be on delivering the new $72 million outpatients facility and the $445 million acute services building on the Christchurch Hospital campus in 2018.

    Hon Annette King: I seek leave to table an article from the New Zealand Medical Journal, which is not readily available, dated 19 August 2016—

    Hon Gerry Brownlee: It’s in the library.

    Hon Annette King: —no, it is not—stating—[Interruption]

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

    Hon Annette King: Can I start again, Mr Speaker?

    Mr SPEAKER: Yes, the member can start again, and I do not want any interruptions from my right.

    Hon Annette King: I seek leave to table an article from the New Zealand Medical Journal, dated 19 August 2016, stating that the childhood obesity plan is unlikely to solve New Zealand’s obesity crisis; it is based on a dated paradigm.

    Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that particular document. Is there—[Interruption] Order! I am putting the leave. Leave is sought to table it. Is there any objection? There is none. It can be tabled.

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


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