ORAL QUESTIONS

QUESTIONS TO
MINISTERS

Question No.
1—Finance

1. Hon AMY ADAMS
(National—Selwyn)
to the Minister of
Finance
: Does he stand by all his statements and
policies?
Hon Dr DAVID CLARK (Associate Minister
of Finance)
on behalf of the Minister of
Finance
: On behalf of the Minister, yes, in the
context in which they were given and undertaken. However, I
would like to correct a statement the Minister made
yesterday regarding the household living cost price indexes.
Due to a transcription error, he referred to the increase in
living costs since June 2008, when in fact the numbers used
were for September 2008.
Hon Amy Adams:
Does he stand by his statement that he plans to grow New
Zealand’s prosperity when forecast average GDP growth over
the next two years has been revised downward from 3.5
percent in Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update 2017 to
just 3 percent in Budget 2018, and ANZ Bank today is saying
that growth momentum has clearly slowed?
Hon Dr
DAVID CLARK
: As with any growth forecast, there are
a range of views out there. Treasury is historically one of
the best forecasters, and I am confident in their Budget
Economic and Fiscal Update projections of continued solid
growth. The Government does not believe that buying and
selling houses to each other until we can’t afford them any
more is a sustainable economic strategy. For too many New
Zealanders, we’ve seen that this kind of growth has not
actually translated into improved living standards. We’ve
got a plan—
Mr SPEAKER: Order!
Order!
Hon Amy Adams: How can he be so
dismissive of these significant growth revisions when a 0.5
percent decline in average GDP growth over the next 2 years
is equivalent to around $2.3 billion in lost income for the
economy at approximately $500 per New
Zealander?
Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: I repeat
that Treasury projections are for solid economic growth. We
enjoy good forecasts and we have good times ahead. I think
the Minister should stop trying to talk the economy
down.
Hon Amy Adams: Has he now given up
all hope of continuing to close New Zealand’s after-tax wage
gap with Australia, that reduced by a third over the past
decade, with the removal of National’s tax bracket
adjustments, imminent further tax reductions in Australia,
and the slowing domestic real and per capita GDP growth
trajectory under this Government?
Hon Dr DAVID
CLARK
: We are planning to transition to an economy
that’s more productive, more sustainable, and more
inclusive. We want to see New Zealanders prosper socially
and economically. This Government has a plan and we’re
sticking with it.
Hon Amy Adams: I raise
a point of order, Mr Speaker. The question was very much
around closing the wage gap, the after-tax wage gap with
Australia. He didn’t even reference that in his
answer.
Mr SPEAKER: Well, I think the
member’s problem is that she had a list of other things and
added on to it. There was certainly an attempt to answer at
least one of those.
Hon Amy Adams: Does
the Minister agree with Jacinda Ardern when she said that
public-private partnerships (PPPs) in corrections “just
don’t work and on that we’ve been very clear”, and Phil
Twyford, who said that PPPs for prisons would be “a no-go
for this Government”?
Hon Dr DAVID
CLARK
: There is clear evidence around the
Government’s prior experimentation with PPPs that they did
not work. There are a number of perverse outcomes, and this
Government has steered clear thus far of any such
foolishness.
Hon Amy Adams: So why is a
PPP now being used to fund Waikeria Prison when the use of
PPPs for prisons has been clearly and repeatedly ruled
out?
Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: Well, I don’t
have the detail on that in front of me. But I understand
they sold the contract—
Hon Andrew
Little
: They signed it and it cost $34
million.
Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: They signed
the contract and it cost $34 million.
Hon Chris
Hipkins
: Can the Minister of Finance confirm that
there’s a difference between honouring a PPP agreement
entered by the previous Government to build a new prison
versus having a PPP for the operation of a new
prison?
Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: I’m
absolutely delighted to confirm that. There’s a huge
difference between honouring contracts and creating a stable
environment for the country, and entering into agreements
which have a whole lot of hooks, fishhooks, attached, which
that prior Government was prone to
doing.
Question No.
2—Tourism

2. Hon TODD McCLAY
(National—Rotorua)
to the Minister of
Tourism
: Does he stand by all the statements he
made to the Economic Development, Science and Innovation
Committee last week?
Hon KELVIN DAVIS (Minister
of Tourism)
: I stand by the statements I made
regarding the tourism portfolio.
Hon Todd
McClay
: Following his statements at the committee
last week, what does he say to taxpayers who expect him to
be on top of the detail of the $170 million allocated to
tourism in this year’s Budget, or would he rather continue
to be known as the “vacant” tourism Minister?
Mr
SPEAKER
: Order! That’s not a properly worded
question. The member knows that.
Hon Todd
McClay
: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.
That’s been widely reported in newspapers—
Mr
SPEAKER
: Well, the member should know that there is
more than a slight difference in the standards required in
newspapers and the standards required in this House.

Hon Todd McClay: What does he say to
tourism operators who have seen his select committee
comments that his $75 million of new money previously
promised for tourism for this year’s Budget has, in fact,
been replaced by a $6 million cut—that’s an $81 million
tourism broken promise?
Hon KELVIN
DAVIS
: The member is sort of fudging the figures
there. The advice that I received from the Ministry of
Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) was that the 5
percent cut in funding to Tourism New Zealand would have no
discernible impact on tourism numbers. In fact, by 2024,
we’re going to have 1.4 million extra visitors to New
Zealand. So I’m not concerned about tourism destination
marketing, per se. It’s more about destination management
now.
Hon Jacqui Dean: How many meetings
did he have with the Hon Nanaia Mahuta where freedom camping
was discussed, when he said at the Estimates hearing that
“We talk about the issue all the time.”?
Hon
KELVIN DAVIS
: My colleague the Hon Nanaia Mahuta
and I have a number of meetings, both formally and
informally. In fact, that’s what happens, actually, when
you’re related. We actually also talk as cousins, for the
member’s information. So colleagues and I—all of us
colleagues—discuss a whole heap of issues all the
time.
Hon Jacqui Dean: When he said at
the Estimates that he “Just took the local government
portfolio responsibility for dealing with freedom camping
work off the Hon Nanaia Mahuta”, did he tell her
first?
Hon KELVIN DAVIS: If I recall the
conversation correctly, the member asked me, “Who is
responsible for freedom camping?”, and I said, “Myself.” And
she said, “Why isn’t the Minister of Local Government in
charge of freedom camping?”, and I said, “Because I am.”
Now, I can’t be any more straightforward than
that.
Question No.
3—Corrections

3. Hon DAVID BENNETT
(National—Hamilton East)
to the Minister
of Corrections
: Does he stand by all of his
statements and actions in relation to Waikeria
Prison?
Hon KELVIN DAVIS (Minister of
Corrections)
: Yes, in the context they were
made.
Hon David Bennett: If he stands by
his statement that New Zealand prisons are super-sized
factories for low-level criminals, what is his definition of
a low-level criminal?
Hon KELVIN DAVIS:
The member is right that our prisons are factories for
criminals. In fact, that party’s plans for a mega-prison
are, quite frankly, wrong. American-style mega-prisons
swallow up young people and churn out hardened criminals.
That’s the matter here. That party there, even though they
had access to all the research and the best
evidence—
Hon Gerry Brownlee: I raise
a point of order, Mr Speaker. I’m sure the Minister’s
opinions about the previous Government are interesting to
him, but they aren’t particularly apposite to the question
that he’s been asked, which was—
Mr
SPEAKER
: That is a matter for my responsibility, Mr
Brownlee, and I’m waiting to see if he gets to it.

Hon KELVIN DAVIS: I’ll give an actual
case. There is a person who is in prison for stealing a
$1,000 cellphone. That person was in prison on remand at
Waikeria for a matter of days before he started self-harming
by stabbing himself in the groin and was sent to the at-risk
unit. Those are low-level criminals who should never ever be
in prison in the first place simply for shoplifting a
cellphone.
Hon David Bennett: If he
stands by his statement that the 1,500 bed build at Waikeria
is an American-style mega-prison, what is the biggest
American prison by bed count?
Hon KELVIN
DAVIS
: I have no responsibility for American
prisons.
Hon David Bennett: If he
stands by that previous statement, then what is the average
size of an American prison?
Mr SPEAKER:
Order! The Minister said it before and probably anticipated
the ruling that I should have made. This Minister has no
responsibility for American prisons.
Hon David
Bennett
: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of
order, Mr Speaker.
Mr SPEAKER: Which
one?
Hon Gerry Brownlee: Mr Speaker,
while he may have no responsibility for any prison system in
the United States, he most certainly has responsibility for
his own statements, and for a Minister to make a comparative
statement about an American prison, he must of course know
exactly what he was comparing, otherwise it’s just one of
those in-the-wind statements that means
nothing.
Mr SPEAKER: Well, Mr Brownlee,
I heard quotes made about mega-prisons; I’ve heard nothing
quoted from this Minister about average American prisons,
and it certainly wasn’t in the question.
Hon
David Bennett
: I raise a point of order, Mr
Speaker.
Mr SPEAKER: It’s not going to
be relitigating that again, is it?
Hon David
Bennett
: No, in the Minister’s first answer he
mentioned American-style prisons—
Mr
SPEAKER
: Mega-prisons. He didn’t say average
prisons.
Hon David Bennett: —and so
I’m asking him to reflect on that and define
that.
Mr SPEAKER: What’s the member
asking me to do?
Hon David Bennett:
Well, to get the member to answer the question, because he
referred to American-style prisons in his first
response—
Mr SPEAKER: So the member’s
now relitigating my ruling, is that right?
Hon
David Bennett
: No, I’m seeking for the Minister to
answer his question.
Mr SPEAKER: I think
I’m going to be kind to the member and let him continue to
have a supplementary—not an extra one; just his next
one.
Hon David Bennett: How does his
claim that his Government is focused on rehabilitation match
up with the fact that he admitted yesterday that prisoners
will have to sleep on mattresses on the ground because the
Government haven’t built enough beds to keep up with
demand?
Hon KELVIN DAVIS: The member’s
misquoting me. I was asked the question, “What happens if
there is a lack of bed space?”, and I said, “Well, every
corrections system in the world has a contingency plan for
just that event.” So if there was an earthquake today and we
had to move prisoners into another prison and there weren’t
enough spare beds, they have to have a contingency plan.
That contingency plan is the very same contingency plan that
the previous Government had, and now they’re criticising us
for having a contingency plan—the very same
one.
Hon David Bennett: I raise a point
of order, Mr Speaker. I asked the member about
rehabilitation. He never mentioned rehabilitation once in
that answer.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The
member should—I mean, I think he even read the question.
He should think about what he said.
Hon David
Bennett
: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The
Minister was asked about—
Mr SPEAKER:
No. If the member argues again, he’s going to be terminated
from asking supplementaries. If he wants a further
supplementary, he can ask one. He doesn’t—all right.

Question No. 4—Education (Māori
Education)

4. Hon NIKKI KAYE
(National—Auckland Central)
to the
Associate Minister of Education (Māori
Education)
: What progress has he made to strengthen
the capability of the education system to raise educational
achievement for young Māori?
Hon KELVIN DAVIS
(Associate Minister of Education)
:
[Authorised
Te Reo text to be inserted by the Hansard
Office.]
[Authorised translation to be inserted by the
Hansard Office.]
Mr SPEAKER: I am now
going to ask the Minister to repeat his comments and to
speak a little bit more slowly so I can either keep up with
it personally or through interpretation. So the Minister can
choose either to translate or to repeat.
Hon
KELVIN DAVIS
: Repeat.
[Authorised Te Reo text
to be inserted by the Hansard Office.]
[Authorised
translation to be inserted by the Hansard
Office.]
Hon Gerry Brownlee: Mr Speaker,
a number of desks on this side of the House don’t have ear
pieces to be able to hear the interpretation.
Mr
SPEAKER
: Well, that is members’ responsibility. If
they’ve lost their ear—[Interruption]. Well,
every—
Hon Gerry Brownlee: Mr Speaker,
it is not a member’s responsibility to provide the
facilities in here. That’s a ridiculous thing to say.

Mr SPEAKER: The member will resume his
seat. Every member at the beginning of the Parliament was
provided with an ear piece which plugs in to the thing
between himself and the honourable QC beside
him—
Hon Christopher Finlayson: No
need to be a smart alec. That’s totally offensive, and the
tone in which you used it.
Mr SPEAKER:
—the honourable member beside him, and it is a matter of
plugging it in and using it.
Hon Gerry
Brownlee
: We don’t have them. They’re not
here.
Mr SPEAKER: I mean, is it my
responsibility for members losing them out of their
desks?
Hon Members: Yes!
Mr
SPEAKER
: Right. [Interruption] Right, I just
want to say to the Deputy Prime Minister, that is not
helpful, and I think he should practise being kind for when
he is the Acting Prime Minister. We’re now going to go back
,and I’m going to ask Mr Davis to start again, and I’m going
to say to members that it is their responsibility either to
leave the things plugged in, as members always used to do,
so that they can use them immediately, or to keep
them—[Interruption] Order! It’s a matter of turning
it on.
Hon KELVIN DAVIS:
[Authorised
Te Reo text to be inserted by the Hansard
Office.]
[Authorised translation to be inserted by the
Hansard Office.]
Hon Nikki Kaye: What is
the number of young Māori in the 10 partnership schools
whose contracts have been terminated by this
Government?
Hon KELVIN DAVIS:

[Authorised Te Reo text to be inserted by the Hansard
Office.]
[Authorised translation to be inserted by the
Hansard Office.]
Hon Nikki Kaye: I raise
a point of order, Mr Speaker. In the member’s delegation, he
is certainly responsible for lifting achievement of young
Māori, and so he should know what is the young Māori that
have no certain future, in terms of partnership schools,
whose contracts have been terminated?
Mr
SPEAKER
: The Minister answered the question. He
answered it absolutely.
Hon Nikki Kaye:
No, he didn’t. He said he has no responsibility. That’s what
he said.
Mr SPEAKER: That’s right. That
is an answer.
Hon Nikki Kaye: He has
responsibility for young Māori.
Mr
SPEAKER
: Order! The member’s been a Minister. She
knows that responsibilities within the education portfolio
are divided. And, in this particular case, it’s been made
very clear in the House this Minister does not have
responsibility for decisions around partnership schools. And
the idea that any Minister should have the list of
ethnicities of children in particular schools is—well,
some people might know, but it’s not a reasonable
expectation on a Minister. Now, does the member have a
further supplementary?
Hon Nikki Kaye: I
raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Speaker knows that
the reality is there may be specific responsibility around
decisions on partnership schools, but this Minister has a
specific delegation around the achievement of young Māori
and what’s happening with young Māori in State schools in
New Zealand. It’s written into the delegation. This is a
situation whereby—
Mr SPEAKER: Sorry,
Ms Kaye, I have had enough now. I have ruled on this matter.
If the member wanted that specific information as it related
to Māori children, she may have been able to develop a
primary question within the Minister’s responsibilities.
She’s not getting it this way.
Hon Nikki
Kaye
: What has he done to ensure the welfare of the
more than 800 young Māori that he is responsible for that
have had their school closure confirmed and have no clarity
as to what school they’ll be attending next
year?
Hon KELVIN DAVIS: I have said in
this House that I have a conflict of interest around charter
schools and I also have no responsibility for charter
schools. She is referring to students of charter
schools.
Hon Gerry Brownlee: I raise a
point of order, Mr Speaker. Quite apart from the
extraordinary situation of a Minister with a delegation laid
on the Table of the Parliament to have some responsibility
for young Māori students’ educational achievement stating
in the House today that he has no responsibility for that,
he certainly, surely, has some idea to be able to indicate
to the House what will happen to young Māori students who
are unable to attend their schools currently or from the end
of this year, and what is his plan to assist them, given his
specific delegation to be responsible for their educational
achievement, stated in the document laid on the Table of the
House.
Hon Chris Hipkins: Even in areas
where Ministers have ministerial responsibility, where they
have a conflict, it is not unusual—and, in fact, it’s
expected—that Ministers will declare that and not comment
on the matter, because they have declared a conflict. I am
the Minister responsible for partnership schools. I’m happy
to answer any question on it.
Hon Nikki
Kaye
: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. It’s
not actually been public, because I have asked a range of
parliamentary questions—written—around whether Ministers
have declared conflicts. This is the first time that we’ve
heard this. Am I able—that’s the question I have for you,
as Speaker—to ask the Minister to table the conflict?
Because it’s not public information at the moment. It’s with
the Cabinet Office, but if he’s declared a conflict, then I
think that should be available to this Parliament if I can’t
ask questions about it.
Mr SPEAKER: If
the Minister wants to table the conflict, he certainly can.
If the member wants to ask the Prime Minister about
conflicts that have been declared to the Cabinet Office,
that can also be the subject of parliamentary
questions.
Hon Nikki Kaye: I raise a
point of order, Mr Speaker. I’ve actually already asked that
question of the Prime Minister in written questions, and I
haven’t been able to get this information. So I seek leave
for the Minister to table his conflict.
Mr
SPEAKER
: You can’t seek leave for another
member.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a
point of order, Mr Speaker. That member and her colleagues
have been repeatedly alleging that my colleague has a
conflict of interest. Now she doesn’t know about
it.
Hon Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point
of order, Mr Speaker. It was not an allegation made by this
side of the House; it was accepting the word of the Minister
of Education by this side of the House. You just said there
is a conflict of interest, and, therefore, he has the
delegation. I know that the Deputy Prime Minister—soon to
be Acting Prime Minister—has got a lot on his plate, but
try and keep up with it.
Mr SPEAKER:
Order! [Interruption] Order! Now, can I say to the
Deputy Prime Minister that through that point of order, he
repeatedly interjected. Can I say to the Opposition that
twice when I’ve been on my feet, there’s been raucous
behaviour. My view is that we should move on to see if Nikki
Kaye has a further supplementary that she would like to ask.
But we also—I make it very clear—have to take the word
of Ministers when they indicate that they do have a
conflict, and I will also say that it is not the first time
in this House that I’ve heard the suggestion that Mr Davis
had a conflict. I think it might have come from my left in
the past.
Hon Nikki Kaye: What is his
conflict of interest that means that he does not feel that
he can answer whether he has done anything to support the
800 young Māori whose future is uncertain because of
contract termination in partnership schools?
Mr
SPEAKER
: Before the Minister answers the question,
I actually need to ask the Clerk.
Hon KELVIN
DAVIS
: I believe I recall that it was actually the
member over there that claimed that I had a conflict of
interest earlier in the year, but let me just reassure her
that if any Māori student in the State system will benefit
from—
[Authorised Te Reo text to be inserted by the
Hansard Office.]
[Authorised translation to be inserted
by the Hansard Office.]
Mr SPEAKER: No.
Order! Order! This is very specific question that was asked
by the Hon Nikki Kaye, and it goes to a very clear answer
that the Minister had given previously. I want him to answer
it.
Hon Chris Hipkins: I raise a point
of order, Mr Speaker. I know that this is a matter that you
just clarified with the Clerk, because I could read you lips
while you were doing it. Once a Minister has declared a
conflict of interest, surely it is then up to the Prime
Minister to answer questions on that conflict. Otherwise, a
Minister declaring a conflict is put in this position, where
they have to talk about it and explain it, which partly
defeats the point of declaring the conflict in the first
place.
Mr SPEAKER: Yeah, and I
understand the point that’s made, but—
Hon
Nikki Kaye
: But, Mr Speaker, speaking to
the—
Mr SPEAKER: No, sorry. I’m going
to rule, if the member doesn’t mind. There are two sets of
responsibilities here. There’s the responsibility on the
part of the Prime Minister to receive and be involved in the
management of conflicts. The other part is a responsibility
on individual Ministers where there are conflicts within
their portfolios or delegations to declare them. I have just
ruled, by asking the Hon Kelvin Davis to respond, that if he
has made a declaration that precludes him from doing some of
the work that might otherwise be part of his delegation,
then it is appropriate for that to be—at least, in
summary—made public. It’s something that I myself did on
one occasion as Associate Minister of Finance where there
was a familial conflict.
Hon KELVIN
DAVIS
: To answer, the accusation was made that I
had a conflict of interest because I know the leaders of the
charter school Te Kāpehu Whetū in Whangarei. As a result,
I thought it was best just to step back from any decisions,
any commenting, on charter schools in total, because of
those allegations.
Hon Nikki Kaye: I
seek leave to table a document. It’s by the Auditor-General,
but it actually has a paragraph in there that confirms that
it is the Minister’s responsibility to declare conflicts in
this area. But supplementary—
Mr
SPEAKER
: Sorry, which document is
it?
Hon Nikki Kaye: It’s the
Auditor-General’s letter to me on these particular issues.

Mr SPEAKER: So it’s a personal letter
to the member?
Hon Nikki Kaye: It’s a
personal letter to me. I’m not sure how publicly available
it is, but it’s a personal letter to me.
Mr
SPEAKER
: Well, I—the member seeks leave for that
document to be tabled. Is there any objection? No, there’s
not. It may be tabled.
Document, by leave, laid on the
Table of the House.
Hon Nikki Kaye: On
what date did he declare the conflict of interest, ruling
himself out of supporting young Māori in partnership
schools?
Hon KELVIN DAVIS: When it was
discussed. To be honest, if she had wanted that information
directly, she could have asked a written—
Hon
Amy Adams
: We didn’t know until now.
Hon
KELVIN DAVIS
: No, I can reply in written form, Mr
Speaker.
Mr SPEAKER: Sure. I mean
there’s—well, I don’t. No one can be expected to know the
exact—carry around the exact date of something like that.

Hon Nikki Kaye: I raise a point of
order, Mr Speaker.
Mr SPEAKER:
Oh—
Hon Nikki Kaye: Well no, this cuts
to the heart of whether the Minister was acting
inappropriately on the time line as to when he declared that
conflict of interest, and the date really matters. So if he
doesn’t know—
Mr SPEAKER: Well, if the
date matters, then—if the date is really important, the
member, I’m sure, will put down a question.

Question No.
5—Corrections

5. GREG O’CONNOR
(Labour—Ōhāriu)
to the Minister of
Corrections
: What recent announcements has he made
to address the growing prison population?
Hon
KELVIN DAVIS (Minister of Corrections)
: Good news.
Yesterday, I was proud to announce that this Government is
setting a new direction for prisons in New Zealand. We are
building a 500-bed, high-security replacement prison at
Waikeria and, alongside it, we will be building a 100-bed
mental health facility, which will be the first of its
kind—adding an extra 1,500 beds to the system. Our
commitment to reform our broken justice system and this
Government’s commitment to social investment will help to
stop the growing number of people entering through our
prison gates.
Greg O’Connor: Why did he
decide to build a small-scale prison over a
mega-prison?
Hon KELVIN DAVIS:
American-style mega-prisons are crime-breeding factories.
They swallow up young offenders and spit out hardened
criminals—sometimes a fully patched gang member. They do
not keep communities safe. We have chosen to build a smaller
prison because international evidence shows smaller prisons
work, while mega-prisons—
Hon David
Bennett
: How much protection does he
need?
Hon KELVIN DAVIS: —favoured by
the Opposition—create better criminals, not better people.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member will
resume his seat. David Bennett will stand, withdraw, and
apologise.
Hon David Bennett: I
withdraw and apologise.
Greg O’Connor:
How will his recent announcement address reoffending
rates?
Hon KELVIN DAVIS: We know smaller
prisons are more effective in providing real rehabilitation,
and the 500-bed facility at Waikeria will be one of the
smallest prisons in New Zealand. From the outset, it was
blindingly obvious that there is a massive problem with
mental health issues in our prisons. What I can’t understand
is why no Government took serious action to address this
until now. We need to address the underlying issues facing
prisoners, like mental health, through the specialised
mental health facility; otherwise, we will always struggle
to address reoffending.
Question No.
6—Justice

6. Hon MARK MITCHELL
(National—Rodney)
to the Minister of
Justice
: Does he stand by all of his Government’s
justice policies and decisions?
Hon ANDREW LITTLE
(Minister of Justice)
: Yes.
Hon Mark
Mitchell
: Does the Minister still agree with the
Prime Minister’s comments that we’re filling our prisons
with low-level criminals?
Hon ANDREW
LITTLE
: Yes.
Hon Mark Mitchell:
How many people are in prison for possession of
cannabis?
Hon ANDREW LITTLE: I don’t
have that particular figure on me. What I can say is that we
know that more than 50 percent of those who enter the prison
system in any one year are convicted of crimes that do not
entail violence or are not otherwise serious.
Hon
Mark Mitchell
: What is an example of a non-violent
assault?
Hon ANDREW LITTLE: The member
may well be aware that earlier this year, a High Court judge
in Auckland was dealing with an offender charged with
indecent assault—in fact, convicted of indecent assault.
The actions comprising that offence were pinching the bottom
of a prison officer, and the judge was having to face the
fact that the prisoner, because of the operation of other
law, was facing a mandatory maximum sentence of seven years.
The judge said he was not going to sentence anybody to seven
years for pinching somebody else’s bottom.
Hon
Mark Mitchell
: Could the Minister just clarify for
me that he just stood in the House and told us that an
indecent assault is an example of a non-violent
assault?
Hon ANDREW LITTLE: No, that
member is deliberately misrepresenting what was
said—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! Order!
[Interruption] Order! The Minister should know that
he cannot make that accusation, which is, effectively, a
breach of privilege. The Minister will withdraw and
apologise.
Hon ANDREW LITTLE: I withdraw
and apologise. The member has misunderstood what I have
said. The charge that that particular offender faced was one
of indecent assault. That was the name of the charge. The
action which that charge related to was pinching a prison
officer’s bottom. Now, that is a world of difference from
other actions that result in a charge of indecent assault
that are genuinely more offensive, are violent, and that is
why the High Court judge grappled with the idea that he
should sentence that offender to seven years, and he
declined to do so.
Hon Mark Mitchell:
How many people, under your definition of non-violent
assaults—
Mr SPEAKER: Order!
Order!
Hon Mark Mitchell: —sorry, the
Minister’s definition of non-violent assaults—are
currently in prison?
Hon ANDREW LITTLE:
Again, I don’t have that detailed figure, but I repeat: what
we do know is that 50 percent of offenders entering the
prison system in any one year are convicted of offences that
do not entail violence and are not otherwise serious
offences. That member will know that we have a Sentencing
Act and a sentencing regime that distinguishes between
different categories of offence. There is more serious
offending and there is less serious offending.
Mr
SPEAKER
: Question No. 7—
Hon Mark
Mitchell
: Sorry, Mr Speaker—just one more
supplementary. Does he stand by the definition of a
low-level criminal, as given to the House yesterday, as “not
committing violent crimes … [only] committing … ‘street
crimes’, … younger offenders, young male offenders, those
with mental health issues, those with addiction issues,
those with literacy problems—[actually] all people who
have problems”?
Hon ANDREW LITTLE: That
is one of the more ridiculous questions asked in this House
for a long period of time. The—
Hon Mark
Mitchell
: Point of order, Mr Speaker.
Mr
SPEAKER
: I can’t at the moment see what the
question can be. The member’s asked, “Does he stand by his
statement made in the House yesterday?”, and I think what
we’re going to do is we’re going to hear the Minister’s
reply.
Hon ANDREW LITTLE: I did not
define less serious offending in those terms. That member
has taken a number of statements made at different times in
the House yesterday to—
Hon Mark
Mitchell
: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I
need to address that because—
Mr
SPEAKER
: No, is the member disagreeing with the
answer?
Hon Mark Mitchell: I am. I’ve
got the Hansard here—
Mr
SPEAKER
: Well, the member can’t.
Hon
ANDREW LITTLE
: As I said before, our criminal
justice regime recognises a difference between more serious
offending and less serious offending. That’s why we have a
Sentencing Act. That’s why we have different lengths of
custodial sentence prescribed for different
crimes—
Hon David Bennett: I’d hate to
see if someone pinched you, whether they’d get in
prison.
Hon ANDREW LITTLE: —and, in
fact, we have sentencing that doesn’t even involve custodial
sentences because the offending is at the less serious end
and can be dealt with by non-custodial sentences, including
with fines and other financial penalties.
Mr
SPEAKER
: I just want to deal with Mr Bennett now.
Mr Bennett, can you just please hold your tongue and
especially not refer to people pinching me while that
happens. It hasn’t happened for a very long time and it
certainly shouldn’t result in a prison
sentence.
Hon Mark Mitchell: I raise a
point of order, Mr Speaker. Can I just bring to your
attention that the Minister just intentionally misled the
House in that answer?
Mr SPEAKER: If you
think that, then there’s an appropriate action to take, and
that wasn’t it.
Question No.
7—Transport

7. JAMI-LEE ROSS
(National—Botany)
to the Minister of
Transport
: Does he stand by all his statements and
actions?
Hon PHIL TWYFORD (Minister of
Transport)
: Yes, including my action of putting
before the House the Land Transport Management (Regional
Fuel Tax) Amendment Bill, which passed its second reading in
the House unanimously.
Mr SPEAKER:
Order! That’s enough. The question is well and truly
answered.
Jami-Lee Ross: Did he advise
the Prime Minister to assure the public that the Ōtaki to
Levin expressway would continue as planned, a statement
which is now false?
Hon PHIL TWYFORD: I
advised the Prime Minister to say that, at the time she was
asked that question, nothing had changed in relation to that
highway project.
Jami-Lee Ross: Does he
agree with the Prime Minister when she stated, in relation
to Labour’s Government policy statement, that “Ōtaki is
continuing in the same way. If we hadn’t done anything last
week, Ōtaki would be in exactly the same position as it is
now and will continue to be.”?
Hon PHIL
TWYFORD
: At the time the Prime Minister made that
statement, the exploratory work, the public consultation
around the future alignment of that roading project, was
continuing. The Prime Minister was
correct.
Jami-Lee Ross: When will he
tell the Prime Minister that her statement in April is now
false, given that NZTA is re-evaluating the Ōtaki to Levin
expressway?
Hon PHIL TWYFORD: The NZTA
is now re-evaluating that expressway. It’s re-evaluating and
re-scoping dozens and dozens of roading projects around the
country. In light of the Government policy statement on land
transport, which prioritises safety, which prioritises
access, reducing carbon emissions, and resilience, it’s a
great transport policy and it’s going to deliver a fantastic
transport system.
Jamie Strange: How has
the Government updated its policy on light
rail?
Hon PHIL TWYFORD: Both this
Government and the previous one had plans for light rail.
The previous Government began work on route protection but
wanted to wait to start construction until 2047. This
Government believes that three decades is a little too long
to leave Aucklanders stuck in worsening congestion. So we’ve
made light rail a priority and we’ve begun the process to
start building it.
Jami-Lee Ross: Does
he agree with the NZTA representative who said in the
Dominion Post this morning that the Ōtaki to Levin
expressway was being re-evaluated “to better align with the
new Labour-led Government’s transport policy”, something the
Prime Minister said would not happen?
Hon PHIL
TWYFORD
: I do agree with that NZTA staffer because
she just articulated something that’s almost exactly the
same as the answer I just gave in the House.
Rt
Hon Winston Peters
: Can I ask the Minister as to
whether or not the successful passage of his bill through
the House with the support of all sides of Parliament is an
example of being a lion in the electorate and a lamb in
Parliament?
Mr SPEAKER:
Order!
Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: What’s
wrong with that?
Mr SPEAKER: Well, the
Minister has no responsibility for other members’ behaviour
inside or outside of the Parliament.
Question
No. 8—Health

8. ANAHILA
KANONGATA’A-SUISUIKI (Labour)
to the
Minister of Health: What is the Government
doing to increase the number of alcohol and drug
detoxification beds in Auckland?
Hon Dr DAVID
CLARK (Minister of Health)
: Yesterday, the
Government announced a one-off $16.7 million investment to
build two floors at the Auckland City Mission’s new home
ground facility. When construction is complete in two years’
time, it will house 30 studio units for alcohol and drug
detoxification. It’s a 50 percent increase on the current 20
beds that are funded in Auckland.
Anahila
Kanongata’a-Suisuiki
: How is this investment being
funded?
Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: The funding
will be drawn from funding recovered under the Criminal
Proceeds (Recovery) Act. As the Prime Minister said, it
feels entirely appropriate that we use the money that has
been accumulated, through misery, to end
misery.
Anahila Kanongata’a-Suisuiki:
Why is this investment important?
Hon Dr DAVID
CLARK
: We know that demand for detox and treatment
programmes is high. Too often people are waiting too long to
get the help they need. Programmes like the one at Auckland
City Mission make a significant difference—it is tried and
true. This investment will help turn lives
around.
Question No. 9—Regional Economic
Development

9. Hon PAUL GOLDSMITH
(National)
to the Minister for Regional
Economic Development
: Does he stand by his reported
statement that “as the CEO leaves Fonterra, the chairman
should in quick order catch the next cab out of
town”?
Hon SHANE JONES (Minister for Regional
Economic Development)
: Yes.
Hon Paul
Goldsmith
: Did he accept the Prime Minister’s
judgment the last time he called for the sacking or
resignation of a board member of a company “Calling for the
sacking of any board member is a step too far, and I have
told him that.”
Hon SHANE JONES: A
little bit of context around this issue: I originally gave
those remarks in the context of an event that was bound by
Chatham House rules. Members in that audience, either with
Fonterra or a National Party member, chose to leak them, so
I simply stood up and have got no compunction to repeat what
I said to the face of said man, the soon to be departed
leader of Fonterra.
Hon Paul Goldsmith:
Then why is he defying the Prime Minister by doing it
again?
Hon SHANE JONES: The Prime
Minister and I have a very warm and respectful relationship,
and I have an extraordinarily high level of admiration, and
that admiration will stretch even to a higher level in
several weeks’ time. There has been nothing said by me,
there has been nothing articulated in this small episode,
other than to stand up and show that whilst I am a friend of
business, unlike that member I am no
sycophant.
Hon Paul Goldsmith: Since
making those comments, what has the Prime Minister or her
office said to him about his comments?
Hon SHANE
JONES
: I don’t have much to do with the Prime
Minister’s office; I have a great deal to do with the Deputy
Prime Minister’s office. In terms of what remarks may have
passed between my good self and the Prime Minister, they lie
within the context of our relationship. But I can assure
you, I stand by my remarks in terms of accountability that
should be shown by a failing corporate governance culture at
the highest levels of our largest company, and if a cab
doesn’t suit then shanks’s pony is just as
good.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Is the
Minister saying that if the farmers of this country have
sadly and alas taken a haircut of over $700 million, no one
in politics should respond to that?
Hon SHANE
JONES
: I have been overwhelmed by the number of
responses supporting my overdue criticism of so said company
and its corporate culture. Many of the farmers have said to
me that at long last we’ve got someone who will speak truth
to corporate power and who will show that that particular
corporate emperor definitely has no clothes.
Hon
Paul Goldsmith
: When he accused the leadership of
Fonterra of being full of their own importance, did he look
into his own heart and acknowledge his own failings in that
area?
Hon SHANE JONES: I think the whole
House knows that I am a very hearty politician, and any
suggestion that those comments directed at that particular
board do not enjoy support amongst the hoi polloi of the
provincial community shows how out of contact that
particular member is. And, look, Fonterra cannot wander
around making advertisements, such as they did this year,
drawing on the countryside and the personalities of country
people and not expect the “Champion of the Country” to hold
them accountable.
Rt Hon Winston Peters:
In other words, is the Minister saying that someone from the
provinces should be defending the farmers of this country
and not somebody from Epsom?
Mr SPEAKER:
Order! Order! It’s not an area for which Mr Jones has
responsibility.
Question No. 10—Energy and
Resources

10. JONATHAN YOUNG
(National—New Plymouth)
to the Minister
of Energy and Resources
: Has she developed
comprehensive and tested contingencies to replace gas’s role
in New Zealand’s total energy demand, with MBIE having
recently downgraded the reserves of the country’s largest
gas field, Pohokura, by 27.2 percent?
Hon CHRIS
HIPKINS (Minister of Education)
: The Government has
set itself the goal—
Mr SPEAKER: On
behalf of.
Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: on behalf
of the Minister of Energy and Resources:
The Government has set itself a goal of having 100 percent
renewable electricity in a normal hydrological year by 2035
and the Interim Climate Change Committee has been given the
task of planning for that transition. Officials across a
range of agencies are working at wider energy demand issues.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s latest
gas reserve figures also noted that Mangahewa reserves have
increased 44.5 percent. The important point to note here is
that these figures do fluctuate year to year, and we
currently have 10.5 years of reserves remaining, which is
broadly in line with the figures published every year for
the past decade. Finally, it’s important to point out that
the Government has not ended exploration for gas—31
exploration permits covering 100,000 square kilometres
remain active. And we’ve also announced that a block offer
for further onshore acreage in Taranaki is
proceeding.
Jonathan Young: Considering
that those gas reserves are the lowest they have been in 15
years, what is her plan for security of electricity supply
for retail customers and commercial users as domestic gas
supply does run out?
Hon CHRIS HIPKINS:
I’ve been very clear in my original answer—in my primary
answer—that we still have 10.5 years of reserves
remaining, which is broadly in line with the figures
published every year for the past decade. That situation was
not changed from the day before the Government made the
announcement to the day after.
Jonathan
Young
: Considering the Minister has created a
potential end date for exploration, knowing that there’s no
new offshore permits and it’s going to be reviewed for
onshore in three years’ time, can she be more specific,
please, about what her plan for security of electricity
supply will be for those users of domestic gas when that
supply does run out?
Hon CHRIS HIPKINS:
I reject the assertion in the first part of the member’s
question. The Government has a clear plan to ensure that we
have a diversified electricity supply network. Just over 82
percent of our electricity currently comes from renewable
sources. And, of course, we want to do better than
that.
Jonathan Young: Will she guarantee
that during her Government’s transition to 100 percent
renewable electricity, New Zealand will at no time burn more
coal than it presently does to ensure security of
electricity supply?
Hon CHRIS HIPKINS:
No Government can give that guarantee, because we can’t
control how much it rains.
Jonathan
Young
: Will wind play a significant role in the
transition to 100 percent renewable energy; and, if so, how
much more investment will be required, given that this past
Sunday evening the country’s 17 wind farms contributed only
one-hundredth of 1 percent of New Zealand’s
electricity?
Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: Yes,
wind will continue to play an important role in the future
security of New Zealand’s electricity supply, as will
geothermal, as will hydro, as will a number of other
potential sources—solar is another one, more distributed
generation is another potential source to secure greater
security of supply.
Jonathan Young: I
raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I asked the question how
much more investment would be required, and if the Minister
could elaborate on that, that would be
appreciated.
Hon Chris Hipkins: I raise
a point of order, Mr Speaker. The first part of the member’s
question asked whether or not wind would continue to be a
part of the security of supply and I said
yes.
Question No.
11—Customs

11. RINO TIRIKATENE
(Labour—Te Tai Tonga)
to the Minister of
Customs
: What initiatives has the Government taken
to curb the smuggling of methamphetamines into New
Zealand?
Hon MEKA WHAITIRI (Minister of
Customs)
: This coalition Government is committed to
stopping meth and other illegal drugs from coming across our
borders. In Budget 2018, I secured an additional $58.1
million to help protect our borders, which includes an extra
127 customs staff over the next few years.
Rino
Tirikatene
: Why is the Government spending so much
money on stopping the smuggling of meth?
Hon MEKA
WHAITIRI
: The damage to our communities and our
whānau is immense. The use of illicit drugs costs us $1.8
billion in social harm every single year. It impacts on our
employment, our productivity, and weakens the fabric of our
society across all our regions. The extra $58.1 million will
go a long way to addressing this matter.
Rino
Tirikatene
: Is the Minister taking a cross-agency
approach to preventing the importation of meth into New
Zealand; and, if so, why?
Hon MEKA
WHAITIRI
: Yes, absolutely. We will continue
building on the success of our joint work with police,
immigration, and other agencies across Government and
overseas by enhancing outreach campaigns, sharing
intelligence, and increasing community engagement. Why?
Because it’s the smart thing to do.
Question
No. 12—Health

12. Dr SHANE RETI
(National—Whangarei)
to the Minister of
Health
: Does he stand by all his decisions and
actions regarding the National Oracle Solution (NOS)
programme?
Hon Dr DAVID CLARK (Minister of
Health)
: Yes, in their context.
Dr Shane
Reti
: Why did the ministry proceed with
commissioning Deloitte as independent reviewers, when
Official Information Act (OIA) documents show the first
words of Deloitte’s own conflict of interest declaration
state, “Deloitte has been involved in the National Oracle
Solution”, meaning they will be reviewing their own
work?
Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: I can’t speak
for why the ministry made that decision. The procurement
process originally was done under the Government procurement
rules that that Government set up, and the conflicts,
perceived or real, were declared in that piece of work, as
the member knows—the member’s got the OIA release now. The
ministry did, though, subsequently commission Audit New
Zealand to undertake an assurance process on the process
followed by the ministry in its engagement of a consultant
to review the National Oracle Solution programme.

Dr Shane Reti: Why did the ministry
proceed with commissioning Deloitte as independent
reviewers, when OIA documents now show Deloitte and
Deloitte-related entities provided 28 consultation services
to the project from 2011 to 2017?
Hon Dr DAVID
CLARK
: The project didn’t exist in
2011.
Dr Shane Reti: When was the
Minister made aware that Deloitte or Deloitte-related
entities have been “materially involved” in the majority of
their services provided to the project since 2013, and what
steps did he take?
Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: I
haven’t been advised of that.
Dr Shane
Reti
: Why did the Minister deny reviewer Thorsten
Engel’s 2011 conflict of interest in oral question No. 9
yesterday, when it is now clear that Deloitte were providing
significant services to the project in 2011?
Hon
Dr DAVID CLARK
: The project didn’t exist in
2011.
Dr Shane Reti: I seek leave to
table Deloitte’s conflict of interest declaration for the
independent NOS review and Deloitte’s additional conflict of
information statement for the independent
review.
Mr SPEAKER: Is there any
objection to that? There appears to be none. They can be
tabled.
Documents, by leave, laid on the Table of the
House.
Dr Shane Reti: I seek leave to
table a 4 April 2017 email from Deloitte confirming that
they have been materially involved in the project. It comes
to me as an OIA.
Mr SPEAKER: Is there
any objection to that document being tabled? There is an
objection.
Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: I seek
leave to table all of the OIA correspondence received by Mr
Reti to provide the full context for all of those things and
to provide a clear view of the history of this issue.
There’s one from 23 May—
Mr SPEAKER:
No, no—is there any objection to those documents being
tabled? There appears to be none.
Documents, by leave,
laid on the Table of the
House.

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