Week Dominated by Kaikoura Earthquake

by Desk Editor on Friday, November 18, 2016 — 4:40 PM

Week in the House dominated by the aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake which jolted the country on Monday morning; Prime Minister John Key delivers a ministerial statement on the quake on Tuesday, and is followed by a round of speeches from representatives of all parties in the House; Aftershocks of the quake were felt in Parliament’s debating chamber later that afternoon, as Finance Minister Bill English was answering questions about the Government’s response to likely economic impacts of the quake; Tuesday also saw an unusual Question Time – in its cordiality, as well as the fact that all questions stemmed from the same subject – the Kaikoura earthquake; Among ministers facing questions throughout the week about the quake and its aftermath are the Prime Minister John Key, Minister for Transport Simon Bridges, Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee, Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith, and Education Minister Hekia Parata; Meanwhile, on Thursday Mr Brownlee led the House in recommending the appointment of former Transport Secretary Martin Matthews as the new Auditor-General to succeed Lyn Provost – a move endorsed by MPs including the Maori Party’s Marama Fox and Labour’s Trevor Mallard; Also on Thursday, Mr Mallard, as Assistant Speaker, chaired part of Thursday’s special Pacific Issues debate, coinciding with the Pacific Parliamentary Forum held this week at Parliament; Week sees a total of 21 select committee meetings held – including three Health sub-committees on Friday, hearing public submissions on Maryann Street’s petition calling for an inquiry into public attitudes towards euthanasia; On Thursday, the Justice and Electoral Committee hears a submission criticising the Government’s Electoral Amendment Bill – including its rushed submissions process and lack of provision for the possible impacts of natural disasters such as earthquakes on the election process; Education and Science Committee hears submissions on the Education (Update) Amendment Bill – including criticism of its establishment of Centres Of Online Learning – or “COOLs”.

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