Parliament 18 October 2012

2.00 pm – 3.00 pm

Questions to Ministers.

  1. Hon NANAIA MAHUTA to the Minister of Education: Is it still her strategy in education to “focus on teaching and learning quality” and “transparent accountabilities”?
  2. MAGGIE BARRY to the Minister of Finance: What progress is the Government making in supporting jobs and economic growth?
  3. EUGENIE SAGE to the Minister for the Environment: Does she stand by her statement that, “My preference will always be for all our sites to be safe for swimming”?
  4. CHARLES CHAUVEL to the Attorney-General: Who, other than himself and the Prime Minister, was present at the discussion on the Government Communications Security Bureau’s unlawful surveillance of Mr Dotcom?
  5. NICKY WAGNER to the Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery: What reports has he received on the outlook for increased employment opportunities in the rebuilding of Greater Christchurch?
  6. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS to the Prime Minister: Does he think it is important that his Ministers, including himself, come to the House prepared to give honest answers?
  7. DARIEN FENTON to the Minister of Labour: How will employers know whether a job applicant aged 18 or 19 has been receiving a benefit for 6 months or more in order to pay the Government’s starting-out wage?
  8. TIM MACINDOE to the Minister for Social Development: What announcements has she made on the new Children’s Teams which form part of the Government’s White Paper for Vulnerable Children?
  9. Dr DAVID CLARK to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his comment that Government computer systems “can’t actually support radical changes from Government”?
  10. Hon TAU HENARE to the Minister of Customs: How successful has SmartGate technology been at processing passengers at the border?
  11. CHRIS HIPKINS to the Minister of Education: How long will boards of trustees of the schools she proposes to close or merge in Christchurch have to consult with their local communities before they are required to provide feedback to her ahead of a final decision?
  12. CATHERINE DELAHUNTY to the Minister of Education: Does she stand by her statement to schools, about their obligation under the Official Information Act 1982, that, “New Zealand is an open and transparent democracy. They [schools] are required to release this information. You are public entities.”?

Labour MPs are asking five of today’s questions, National four, the Greens two and New Zealand First one. Patsy of the day goes to Tau Henare’s Question 10 – How successful has SmartGate technology been at processing passengers at the border?

There are three questions relating to education, all from opposition MPs, whilst the remaining questions cover a range of topics. Eugenie Sage follows up a recent New Zealand Herald story regarding water quality in New Zealand’s rivers, whilst the GCSB, Christchurch rebuild, starting out wage and Ministry of Social Development also feature. Winston Peters’ will presumambly be placing pressure on John Key over the correction the Prime Minister gave at the opening of the House on Tuesday. 

Government Bills 3 pm – 6 pm

1. Education Amendment Bill – First Reading

2. Minimum Wage (Starting-out Wage) Amendment Bill – First Reading

3. Taxation (Annual Rates, Returns Filing, and Remedial Matters) Bill – Third Reading

The Education Amendment Bill will be introduced by Hekia Parata. The Bill sets out the necessary legal framework for the introduction of charter or “Partnership” schools into the schooling network, alongside state schools and private schools. The Bill also allows the Ministry of Education to assign a National Student Number to children at a much younger age, the aim of which is to foster childhood education at a younger age.

The Minimum Wage (Starting-out Wage) Amendment Bill amends the Minimum Wage Act 1983 through changes to the Order-in-Council provisions. These include introducing the ability to set 1 or more starting-out rates of wages (payable at not less than 80% of the minimum adult rate of wages) for eligible young people aged 16, 17, 18, or 19 years who are not supervising or training other workers, repealing the ability to set the current new entrant rate, and changing the criteria for setting the current training rate. If passed, the changes proposed by the Bill will come into effect on 1 April 2013. This Bill is being introduced by Kate Wilkinson.

Taxation (Annual Rates, Returns Filing, and Remedial Matters) Bill, introduced by Peter Dunne, makes amendments to various Acts, including the Income Tax Act 2007, the Tax Administration Act 1994, the Goods and Services Act 1985 and the KiwiSaver Act 2006. The Bill proposes to remove the requirement for the Commissioner of Inland Revenue to issue personal tax summary (PTS) forms to certain taxpayers; instead, these taxpayers would be required to file tax. Individuals filing a tax return will also have previous years taken into account, to prevent, “cherry picking” whereby individuals only file a return when they are owed a refund. The Bill proposes that tax returns have tax obligations reconciled for each of the previous four tax years.

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