Questions and Answers – July 28

Press Release – Office of the Clerk

1. ANDREW LITTLE (Leader of the Opposition) to the Prime Minister : Does he stand by his statement that I dont want to ban foreigners from buying residential property?
Questions to Ministers

Prime Minister—Overseas Buyers of Property

1. ANDREW LITTLE (Leader of the Opposition) to the Prime Minister : Does he stand by his statement that “I don’t want to ban foreigners from buying residential property”?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes, I stand by my full statement, which was: “We do not support a ban on foreign buyers. We think that’s neither justified nor likely to be terribly effective. For the most, part countries don’t have bans but where they have had them we don’t think they’ve worked very well.”

Andrew Little : Will he sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, a deal that this House and the public have not been allowed to see, if it makes it impossible to stop people from the US, China, Japan, and elsewhere buying our houses?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I think the member is a little behind the eight ball because the reason that a ban may not be applied to a Chinese buyer of a residential property in New Zealand is as a result of Labour writing the most favoured nation provisions in the China free-trade agreement and the ratification of the Korean free-trade agreement. It is a shame that Labour did not think of all this 8 years ago.

Andrew Little : Will he sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement if it prevents his Government or future Governments imposing taxes that apply only to offshore housing speculators?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : The member will appreciate that the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is currently under negotiation, so those issues have not been resolved. But I am confident that future Governments of New Zealand will have plenty of tools in the tool box when it comes to applying taxes if they so wish to do so.

Andrew Little : How many homes have been sold into overseas ownership since he said he was concerned about Kiwis becoming tenants in their own land, in 2010; or does he not know?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I do not know.

Tim Macindoe : What reports has the Prime Minister received confirming that banning foreigners from buying residential property does not work?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : Last week I received a report from Australia, and I quote: “The double whammy of the lowest interest rates since the 1960s and an investor frenzy has seen Sydney’s median house price smash through the magic AU$1 million mark for the first time.” The report goes on to note that Sydney’s median house price is now higher than London’s, and fast approaching New York’s. Investors now have a record 62 percent share of Sydney’s housing market loans. This is the market that, theoretically at least, bans foreign buyers—something that clearly does not work.

Andrew Little : Why is he refusing to listen to the overwhelming public demand for a ban on overseas investors buying our houses and forcing prices out of reach for first-home buyers here?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : We have a far more scientific way of doing things on this side of the House than looking at whether a name is Chinese and deciding they are the bad guys. As I said, the reason why we would not be able to ban a Chinese person buying a—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER : Order! I am sorry to interrupt the Prime Minister. I cannot hear the answer with that level of interjection.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : The reason why they are making that much noise is they know what I am going to say. The reason why you cannot try to ban a Chinese person is that Labour wrote it into the law. [Interruption]. Yes, you did. Oh yes, you did.

Tim Macindoe : Has the Prime Minister seen reports in support of the Government’s approach to international investment and trade?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : Yes. Yes, I have seen two reports. The first one said, and I quote: “I am a rabid free-trader. I believe in free trade. I am part of a party that has been pro – free trade and has initiated many free-trade agreements, including China.” The second report offered the opposite view. It said: “You may have heard my colleague describe himself as a passionate free-trader. Well, I could not describe myself in that way.” The first report was from Clayton Cosgrove; the second report, a few minutes later, was from Clare Curran—underlying the deep divisions within the Labour Party. And that was the tone of their—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The Prime Minister will resume his seat. [Interruption] Order! Both sides need to tone down their level of interjection.


3. DAVID BENNETT (National—Hamilton East) to the Minister of Finance : What reports has he received on the state of the New Zealand economy and what do these reports show?

Hon BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Finance): On Friday, Statistics New Zealand published merchandise trade data. Merchandise exports in the year to June totalled $48.5 billion—up $2.8 billion, or 6 percent, on the same period 2 years earlier. The figures indicate that overall exports to China increased 2.9 percent in June compared with the same month a year earlier. That happened because gains in the export of non-dairy produce such as meat and fruit outweighed the impact of a decline in the value of whole-milk powder exports to the world’s second-largest economy.

David Bennett : What other reports has he received that indicate that the economy is expanding at a solid, sustainable rate?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : Part of the report from Statistics New Zealand was that the annual value of fruit exports reached an all-time high of $2 billion in the year ended 30 June. That is one of many non-dairy sectors benefiting from the reduction in the exchange rate and flat to falling interest rates, which are underpinning continued moderate growth in the New Zealand economy. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER : Order! [Interruption] Order! I just need to ask for a bit more cooperation from the left-hand side, otherwise I am going to have to ask somebody to leave.

David Bennett : What factors support a positive outlook for the New Zealand economy?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : A number of factors are supporting the growing economy: strong inwards migration, including, for the first time, net inflows from Australia to New Zealand; a stable fiscal outlook; continued growth of the construction and services sectors; and New Zealand’s high labour force participation. Of course, all these factors are subject to the usual risks that an open, globalised economy faces, but just because some of those risks eventuate some of the time, it does not mean that the economy is not continuing to grow. We are on track for moderate sustainable growth of 2 to 3 percent.

David Bennett : Has the Minister received data about international visitor arrivals?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : Yes, because tourism is currently either our largest or second-largest export, depending on which month you measure it in. Data published last week showed that international visitor arrivals numbered 177,000 last month, and that is 9 percent higher than in June 2014. This, of course, is very positive for people with jobs in industries that are servicing our international guests. The downward correction in the Kiwi dollar will underpin the competitiveness of our tourism industry, which, I repeat, is either our largest or our second-largest export industry and looks to be doing fairly well.

Health, Minister—Briefings

4. Hon ANNETTE KING (Deputy Leader—Labour) to the Minister of Health : When was he or his office first briefed on the contents of the draft New Zealand Health Strategy?

Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN (Minister of Health): Kia ora, Mr Speaker. Last November I asked officials to commence work on refreshing the New Zealand Health Strategy, which had not been updated since the year 2000. Since that time I have met regularly with officials to discuss the direction of the strategy. Following extensive engagement and input from a wide range of stakeholders, I received the first written draft of the strategy on 3 July.

Hon Annette King : In light of that answer, when he decided to update the New Zealand Health Strategy did he have any discussions with the Director-General of Health on what needed to be reviewed, including funding and governance arrangements for district health boards?

Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN : I talk to the director-general about a wide range of subjects, and of course funding, going into your first Budget as health Minister, is going to form a core part of those discussions. What else would one expect?

Hon Annette King : How could he be unaware of proposed changes to district health boards’ structures and funding when his Director-General of Health—not a third party, as he claimed—had, firstly, been briefing him on progress since the beginning of the month, and, secondly, district health board chairs and chief executive officers had been given the recommendations in the leaked reports 2 weeks ago?

Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN : The member is confusing three different reviews there. Basically, the funding review and the stolen capacity and capability review are reviews commissioned by the Director-General of Health. So they are his reviews; he receives the recommendations. He was about to brief me, and then, of course, the report was stolen by Mrs King’s contact.

Hon Annette King : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I take exception to the last remark that the member made. I have no contact who stole any documents. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The way forward, to settle the House, is that I am going to ask the Minister to withdraw that remark, but personally I did not think it was in any way a reflection on the member herself. But can I ask the Minister simply to withdraw that part about a stolen paper.

Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN : Well, Mr Speaker—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! No—

Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN : I withdraw.

Mr SPEAKER : Thank you.

Hon Annette King : If he is now ruling out any changes to district health board governance arrangements, why did he allow papers to go out with proposed changes he did not agree with, say he had not read the report, and then blame the Director-General of Health, calling him a third party? I mean, is that incompetence or laziness?

Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN : No, that is completely incorrect. The director-general was not called a third party. If you want to know what incompetence and laziness is, it is a Minister who doubles the budget and does 2,000 fewer operations, who culls 30,000 patients from waiting lists, and who sends 760 people to Australia for cancer treatment—and that Minister was Annette King. [Interruption]

Hon Annette King : No, that is not going to save him either. Is he now taking a whole-of-Government approach to sensitive issues by getting the communications manager from the national cyber intelligence office of the Government Communications Security Bureau to issue rebuttal lines to the media for his Director-General of Health, or is neither the Minister nor the chief executive officer capable of fronting difficult issues?

Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN : Obviously that is a ridiculous statement. What I am focusing on is repairing the damage done by Annette King’s $150 million district health board deficit, which she left behind and which we have now got down to about $50 million.

Hon Annette King : I seek leave to table an email from Cherie Blithe from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, at the national cyber intelligence office, who sent the email to Radio New Zealand—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! It has been described. I just need the date of it.

Hon Annette King : Yesterday.

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

Prime Minister—Trans-Pacific Partnership

5. JAMES SHAW (Co-Leader—Green) to the Prime Minister : Does he stand by his statement that “New Zealand is never going to sign up to the TPP unless we believe it is in New Zealand’s best interests”?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes.

James Shaw : Is it in the best interests of New Zealand’s $32 billion information and communications technology sector that the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement requires changes to the Copyright Act that would disallow reverse engineering of software for interoperability purposes?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : Given that the deal has not even been concluded yet, I cannot go into the individual parts. What I can say is that the overall statement from the Government stands true. We are not going to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement unless we believe that it is in the best interests of New Zealand on the balance of benefits. But I would have thought that the opportunity to have free trade with the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, and other countries puts us in a very, very strong position.

James Shaw : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. My question was in relation to New Zealand’s $32 billion information and communications technology sector.

Mr SPEAKER : I heard the question, and the essence of the answer that I heard from the Prime Minister is that he cannot really comment on that because the matter is still under negotiation. That addresses the question.

James Shaw : Does he agree with the lawyer for Vattenfall, the German nuclear power company currently suing the German Government, that if countries do not want to be sued by multinational corporations, they should not sign up for agreements containing investor-State dispute settlement mechanisms, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : No, New Zealand has had investor-State dispute resolution in successive free-trade agreements, including in the New Zealand – China Free Trade Agreement, signed by the previous Labour Government. The important part is having safeguards included in that.

James Shaw : If, as calculated by the Parliamentary Library, the benefit to New Zealand’s dairy sector is only $37 million a year by 2025, or 0.01 percent of GDP, while the cost to Pharmac from patent extensions is up to $50 million a year, will he still sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : This is the problem with the Greens’ economic analysis and research. You are using the Parliamentary Library to model something that even I do not know the details of yet. So guess what? If you put rubbish information in, you get rubbish information out. Actually, the member, who has done a little bit of this stuff in his previous career, is way better than this. He would never have done this for a client.

Andrew Little : Does he stand by today’s statement about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and prescription drugs that “patents will run for a little bit longer and that means the Government will have to pay for the original drug as opposed to the generic”; if so, can he guarantee that this will not mean higher costs to taxpayers for subsidised medicines, higher costs to patients for non-subsidised medicines, or a risk that some medicines will no longer be subsidised due to the increased Budget pressure?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I can guarantee that consumers will not pay more. I think that it is highly unlikely, actually, that the Government will have to pay any more through Pharmac. But on the basis that it had to pay a tiny bit more, the Government would fund that increase, because, actually, what would end up happening is that the Government would earn a lot more revenue through tax revenue. That is why David Shearer, Phil Goff, and David Parker—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! [Interruption] Order! That is not necessary for the answer.

James Shaw : What specifically would it take for him to walk away from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : If I did not believe that the deal was in New Zealand’s best interests.

Social Housing—Initiatives

6. BARBARA KURIGER (National—Taranaki – King Country) to the Minister for Social Housing : What work is being done to ensure social housing is available for those most in need?

Hon PAULA BENNETT (Minister for Social Housing): The Government’s social housing reforms are all about ensuring that there are more social housing places to meet the needs of vulnerable families. We have introduced reviewable tenancies so that those who can afford to move on from social housing can do so and make room for someone who is more in need. So far, 185 people have moved, including 11 who have bought their own homes. We also have housing support products that help people who are wanting to go on to the waiting list with bond and moving costs, so that they can go into private letting, and also for those who are moving out of social housing. We are now looking at work to address the reasons why people on the register turn down social houses.

Barbara Kuriger : How many people have declined an offer of a social house?

Hon PAULA BENNETT : In the year to October 2014, 4,155 offers of a social house were declined by people on the register, and 3,081 people declined properties. Some declined multiple properties. For example, 31 people declined a house four times, and two people declined seven houses each—12 percent of those declines, or 498 people, were made without good reason.

Barbara Kuriger : What kinds of reasons does she consider are good enough to decline the offer of a social house?

Hon PAULA BENNETT : I do not think that people should be declining houses because they do not like the colour of the door, or because they do not like birds chirping in the trees next door, or because there are children playing on the street outside the house and they might ask for money. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER : Order! This is the very last warning that I am giving to the particular member on my left.

Hon PAULA BENNETT : But these are all reasons that have been given. I absolutely accept that there are valid reasons for turning down a house, such as wanting to keep your child at the same school or not wanting to live near a gang or a P house. [Interruption]

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER : Order! Will the Minister finish her answer.

Hon PAULA BENNETT : Every time someone turns down a house that they are offered, without a good reason, it creates significant delay and means that it takes longer to get a family who really are in desperate need into that house.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! Complete your answer and sit down.

Hon PAULA BENNETT : That situation is not fair, and I am looking to do something about it.

Finance, Minister—Economic Growth

7. GRANT ROBERTSON (Labour—Wellington Central) to the Minister of Finance : Does he stand by his reported statement that the slow-down in growth this year had come at the right time in the electoral cycle?

Hon BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Finance): Yes. I do not know if I actually used the word “slow-down”. I think I said that it was because the economy is a bit softer. But that was alongside statements to the effect that we do not want to be a political party that, as soon as it sees any market or global turbulence, starts talking about spending more, borrowing more, regulating everything, and keeping foreigners out, which is what the Labour Party has done in the last month.

Grant Robertson : In light of that answer, is he concerned that there are still 146,000 people out of work, 11,000 more than at the time of last year’s election, or is that OK for those New Zealanders to be doing it tough because it is at the right time in the electoral cycle?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : I am not sure what the member is referring to. The number of people on benefits continues to drop. Today there are 42,000 fewer New Zealand children in a benefit household than there were 3 years ago. The Government’s social investment approach to welfare is increasingly recognised in other developed countries as very progressive, if not revolutionary.

Grant Robertson : Is he concerned that at least $13 billion will be absent from regional New Zealand over 2 years as a result of plummeting dairy prices, or are the job losses and hard times that go with that just fine in his book, as long as it happens at the right time in the electoral cycle?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : I am concerned about that, and having for a number of years represented an area that has become an intensive dairying area, I know quite a bit about the impact that that loss in dairy income will have. But surely the member is not going to suggest that dairy prices ought to stay low for the next 3 years so that he can get re-elected. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER : Order! [Interruption] Order! The level of interjection now coming from my right-hand side means that I will not hesitate to deal with somebody very severely on this side if I need to.

Grant Robertson : Is he concerned that the proportion of workers who received a pay increase over the past year is the lowest for 5 years, or is that just fine, so long as it happens at the right time in the electoral cycle to suit his party’s electoral prospects?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : I think that demonstrates that the member has a bit of homework to do. Real wage increases have continued. In the last year, in fact, inflation was zero and oil prices dropped, yielding spare cash for families for further consumption or saving. There is no evidence that wage growth is way out of proportion with where it has been over recent years. Wages continue to rise and will continue to do so, despite that member trying to say that the economy is going down the toilet.

Grant Robertson : When will he apologise to New Zealanders for his out-of-touch, cynical, and selfish comments to the National Party conference on the weekend, or is he just more worried about his party’s electoral prospects than how New Zealanders do?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : The cynic in me would say that it would be when that member’s out-of-touch, cynical, and selfish undermining of the Labour leadership stops.

Grant Robertson : Given that he has acknowledged that he did make comments in the weekend that the slow-down or softening of the New Zealand economy was happening at the right time in the electoral cycle, when will he start governing in the national interest and not in the interests of National?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : Unfortunately, the Government does not have sufficient influence to determine when or how economic slow-downs occur. I know that member believes that is the case, but, actually, the fundamental job in New Zealand is to ensure that this economy is resilient to precisely these slow-downs, and I think the Government has built up a track record where its policy has supported that resilience and built up the confidence of New Zealanders in their ability to deal with economic adversity. We are proud to stand by that track record.

Mt Eden Corrections Facility—Management

8. DAVID CLENDON (Green) to the Minister of Corrections : How many Final Warning Notices, in accordance with Serco’s contract with the Crown, have been issued since Serco took over management of the Mt Eden Corrections Facility?

Hon Peseta SAM LOTU-IIGA (Minister of Corrections): Tēnā koe, Mr Speaker. None, but there have been substantial financial penalties to date.

David Clendon : Why have no final warning notices been issued to Serco, given that at least 10 performance notices have been issued in the last 3 years, and any one of those could have doubled as a final notice?

Hon Peseta SAM LOTU-IIGA : As I have said in the past, there are a number of options available to the department, but the most important thing at this stage is ensuring the safety of staff and prisoners at the facility. That is why we are awaiting the outcome of the review by the chief inspector.

David Clendon : How did the Department of Corrections fail to pick up on the huge failings at the Serco facility, despite auditing and reporting done by Serco, doing spot checks, and having an onsite monitoring team, including a primary and two secondary monitors in the prison, who attended daily and weekly meetings on operational matters and a monthly contract management meeting attended by the prison director?

Hon Peseta SAM LOTU-IIGA : Those matters that the member refers to are part of the review of the chief inspector, which is being overseen by the Office of the Ombudsmen. I await the findings of that review and I suggest that the member waits too.

David Clendon : Was the Minister correct to dismiss as “political game-playing” accusations last week of prisoner violence in Mt Eden prison?

Hon Peseta SAM LOTU-IIGA : I was referring to bringing the death of a young man to this House and using it as a political football. These issues and allegations are serious and our Government takes these matters seriously, and that is why the review is in place.

David Clendon : Given revelations about Serco’s failings since question time last Thursday, will the Minister now rule out renewing Serco’s contract for the management of Mt Eden prison?

Hon Peseta SAM LOTU-IIGA : We have a review in place and we need to get to the bottom of all the serious allegations that have been brought to task. Certainly, termination is one of the options available.

David Clendon : What, if any, additional monitoring has the Minister already put in place at the Auckland South corrections facility at Wiri, which is also managed by Serco?

Hon Peseta SAM LOTU-IIGA : We have monitors in place. We have the Office of the Ombudsmen, which is able to go on the premises at any time. There are a number of monitoring and surveillance of the activities of Serco currently in place.

Dr Russel Norman : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The question was what additional monitoring there was. The Minister referred to the existing monitoring; David Clendon is interested in what additional monitoring there was.

Mr SPEAKER : I think this is a fair call. I am going to ask David Clendon to repeat that question.

David Clendon : Thank you, Mr Speaker. What, if any, additional monitoring has the Minister put in place at the new Auckland South correctional facility at Wiri, which is also managed by Serco?

Hon Peseta SAM LOTU-IIGA : I have not personally put in any additional measures at Wiri.

Mt Eden Corrections Facility—Management

9. KELVIN DAVIS (Labour—Te Tai Tokerau) to the Minister of Corrections : Does he agree with the statement made by the Department of Corrections Chief Executive Ray Smith that “not everything is broken” in relation to Serco’s management of Mt Eden Corrections Facility?

Hon Peseta SAM LOTU-IIGA (Minister of Corrections): Yes, I do, but, like the chief executive, I am awaiting the outcome of the review by the chief inspector.

Kelvin Davis : How can he believe that not everything is broken at Serco when this morning two inmates were found to have been organising a class A drug ring within the prison?

Hon Peseta SAM LOTU-IIGA : The incident that that member refers to is subject to a police investigation, and I await the findings of that police investigation.

Kelvin Davis : Has he received any reports contradicting Ray Smith’s press release of 23 July, which concluded that the February serious assault case involved only one attacker?

Hon Peseta SAM LOTU-IIGA : Can the member please repeat the question?

Mr SPEAKER : Yes, I can certainly organise that.

Kelvin Davis : Has he received any reports contradicting Ray Smith’s press release of 23 July, which concluded that the February serious assault case—the Littleton case—involved only one attacker?

Hon Peseta SAM LOTU-IIGA : No, I have not received any reports.

Kelvin Davis : Does he agree with the Prime Minister’s statement on Saturday that “That is the advantage of the private sector model. We can act; we can deal with it.”; if so, why does he feel that he cannot deal with any issues that come up at public prisons?

Hon Peseta SAM LOTU-IIGA : I always agree with the Prime Minister.


10. ALASTAIR SCOTT (National—Wairarapa) to the Minister of Immigration : What measures has the Government announced to help spread the benefits of migration across New Zealand?

Hon MICHAEL WOODHOUSE (Minister of Immigration): The Government has announced a package of changes designed to help spread the benefits of migration across the country, particularly in those regions with demands for workers, skills, and investment. The changes include trebling the bonus points for skilled migrants for a job offer outside Auckland, doubling the points for an entrepreneur setting up a business in the regions, streamlining the labour market check, and providing a pathway to residence for a number of long-term migrants on temporary visas in the South Island. Overall, the feedback on these initiatives has been positive, with wide support from local mayors, and a number of business groups that welcome the opportunity to access the skills and labour their regions need to grow.

Alastair Scott : What reports has the Minister received supporting the Government’s changes to immigration settings?

Hon MICHAEL WOODHOUSE : I have seen a wide range of reports supporting the Government’s changes, from a wide range of stakeholders: mayors, business groups, and others. I know one pragmatic report said: “I thought about it for a while, and I thought: ‘Well, let’s give it a go.’ It is an instrument, there’s a whole lot of stuff that can be done, but anything that helps to get the regions going has got to be good.” That is from the very sensible Labour MP Stuart Nash, and I wholeheartedly agree.

Housing Market—Restrictions on Overseas Buyers

11. Hon DAVID PARKER (Labour) to the Minister of Trade : Is the effect of Article 139 of the New Zealand – China free-trade agreement that it allows restrictions to be introduced on foreign buyers of New Zealand homes, including Chinese buyers, so long as subsequent agreements with other countries are no more generous?

Hon TODD McCLAY (Acting Minister of Trade): Mr Speaker, kia ora and tēnā koe. The most favoured nation obligation of the New Zealand – China free-trade agreement requires New Zealand to extend to Chinese investors any preferential treatment granted under subsequent New Zealand free-trade agreements, and this is a reciprocal clause. I am advised that China is currently negotiating with the US and the EU on investment. Article 139 also means that New Zealand investors will receive any preferences made or extended under the most favoured nation clause of that agreement.

Hon David Parker : Can he now confirm what he refused to answer last week—that is, the Trans-Pacific Partnership will purport to stop a future New Zealand Government banning the sale of existing New Zealand homes to foreign buyers from Trans-Pacific Partnership countries?

Hon TODD McCLAY : The Trans-Pacific Partnership is still under negotiation, so there is no agreement yet. That is why it is still called a negotiation and not yet an agreement. Whether or not provisions in subsequent agreements allow restrictions on foreign buyers of New Zealand homes or whether they also prevent restrictions from Chinese buyers would depend upon the specific facts, measures, and the application of the provisions in any respective agreement.

Hon David Parker : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. This Minister’s answers—last week and this week—are making a mockery of this Parliament and a fool of you, Mr Speaker. I do not say you are foolish, but it is making a fool of Parliament that he can turn up and make denials in this House or refuse to answer these questions. That the Minister of Trade on The Nation and then the Prime Minister on Q+A answers them is an affront to this House.

Mr SPEAKER : On this occasion my duty here is to listen to the question, and then I expect the Minister to address that question. The question asked whether he would confirm etc., and then went on to put the proposition the member wanted answered. At the very start of the Minister’s answers he, effectively, said “The negotiations are still under way.” and therefore he would not be able to confirm that. That is an answer. It may not be an answer that is satisfactory to the member, but the way forward is further supplementary questions.

Hon David Parker : Speaking to the point of order—

Mr SPEAKER : No, no. I have ruled on that point of order. If the member has a fresh point of order I will hear it, but we are not about to relitigate points of order.

Hon David Parker : Does he now concede that although China can and has banned sales to non-residents in its cities and Australia has too, he is trading away New Zealand’s sovereign right to ban the sale of New Zealand homes to overseas buyers from Trans-Pacific Partnership countries and China?

Hon TODD McCLAY : No, I do not accept that. I suggest to the member that he goes and does a little bit more research about China. Nobody gets to buy land in China—not Chinese people, not people from other countries. That is the first thing. The second thing I would say is I can give an absolute guarantee that under the Trans-Pacific Partnership this Government will not commit to something that compels the Government to produce a shonky list based on peoples’ names and what they think their ethnicity might be to create policy—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! [Interruption] Order!

Hon David Parker : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. If you will not make the Minister answer a question, could you at least stop him insulting the Opposition—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! I have a very good mind to ask that member to leave the Chamber. The first thing is whether the question “Does he now concede …” was addressed? The Minister right at the start of the answer said that he does not agree with that. And then as soon as the Minister did wander to where he was going with the latter part of his answer, before the member was even on his feet, I stood—[Interruption] Order! I certainly do not expect backchat from the Hon David Parker when I am delivering a ruling. As soon as I saw where the Minister was going, I rose to my feet and stopped him answering, then turned to the member to see him on his feet.

Hon David Parker : Are the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of New Zealanders who want an assurance that his Government will protect New Zealand’s ability to stop the sale of New Zealand homes to foreign buyers reasonable or unreasonable in their expectations?

Hon TODD McCLAY : What is unreasonable is this member’s position compared with some of his colleagues’ when it comes to trade. Recently, Clayton Cosgrove said that he is a rabid free trader. Clare Curran and Mr Parker are just rabid, and, of course, Mr Little is just angry on this issue.

Māori Language / Te Reo Māori—Support for Young Learners

12. NUK KORAKO (National) to the Minister of Education : He aha ērā mahi āwhina kia kaha kē atu ai te ako o te hunga rangatahi i Te Reo Māori? [What is being done to help more young people learn Te Reo Māori?]

Hon HEKIA PARATA (Minister of Education): Te Reo Māori i te tuatahi, te reo Pākehā e whai atu. Ā, tēnā koe e Te Mana Whakawā, otirā, huri noa i tō tātou Whare, tēnā koutou katoa. Ko tō tātou Reo Māori he taonga tuku iho, he reo kāmehameha, nō reira, kia kaha tātou ki te kōrero i tō tātou reo rangatira ahakoa ki hea, ki ngā kāinga, ki ngā wāhi mahi, ki ngā whare ako, ki ngā hāpori hoki. [In the Māori language first, followed by the English language. And so salutations to you, Mr Speaker, but at the same time to you all throughout our House. Our Māori language is a treasure that has been handed down, it is priceless, and so we need to be robust in speaking in our esteemed language, regardless of where that might be—in the homes, workplaces, learning institutions, and communities as well.] The New Zealand curriculum for English-medium schooling gives schools the option of teaching Te Reo Māori. Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, the curriculum for Māori-medium schooling, focuses on developing effective communicators in Te Reo. Between 2010 and 2014 the number of young people learning Te Reo at school grew from 133,000 to more than 147,000. Should schools choose to do more with Te Reo Māori—and I encourage them to do so—they are supported by the Ministry of Education and other agencies with resources. Ko Te Reo kia tika, ko Te Reo kia rere, ko Te Reo kia Māori, ā, ko Te Reo Māori ka rangona i ngā moka katoa o Aotearoa. [The Māori language must be correct, fluent, and Māori in essence, and it must be heard in all extremities of New Zealand.]

Nuk Korako : He aha ngā whakaotinga mahi kia tipu ai te mātauranga kaupapa Māori? [What is being done to grow Māori-medium education?]

Hon HEKIA PARATA : We are committed to growing the number of young people attending Māori-medium education—from kōhanga and puna reo to kura kaupapa, wharekura, and whare wānanga—to ensure that they achieve educational success. To this end, we are working both within Government agencies and with the providers of Māori-medium education to strengthen their reach and provision. In 2014, Māori-medium education was provided to approximately 2 percent of the schooling population, or just under 18,000 students, across 282 Māori-medium schools or settings. We know that many young people do well in Māori-medium education, and our Government is committed to seeing that continue. Kia ora.


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