Parliament 26 March 2013

Oral Questions 2.00 pm – 3.00 pm

Questions to Ministers

  1. DAVID SHEARER (Labour) to the Prime Minister: Does he have confidence in all his Ministers?
  2. Peseta SAM LOTU-IIGA (National) to the Minister of Finance: What progress is the Government making in its programme to build a more competitive and productive economy?
  3. GRANT ROBERTSON (Labour) to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by all his statements?
  4. JAMI-LEE ROSS (National) to the Minister of Corrections: What announcements has she made on the introduction of prison performance tables?
  5. Hon RUTH DYSON (Labour) to the Minister of Conservation: What is the total number of staff that will lose their jobs at the Department of Conservation as a result of staff cuts announced today, and how many, if any, of those are “frontline” staff?
  6. MELISSA LEE (National) to the Minister for Social Development: How is the Government’s Social Workers in Schools initiative making a difference for vulnerable children?
  7. EUGENIE SAGE (Greens) to the Minister of Conservation: Can he guarantee that any job cuts announced today will not impact on the Department of Conservation’s ability to protect the conservation estate?
  8. Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Greens) to the Minister for the Environment: Does she agree with Guy Salmon’s comment that she is a Minister who wants to lower environmental standards?
  9. Dr CAM CALDER (National) to the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment: What has New Zealand’s income from international education been for the past 12 months?
  10. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (NZ First) to the Minister of Trade: Does he believe that a multi-million dollar fraud case involving one of Zespri’s import agents in China has hurt New Zealand’s international trading reputation?
  11. CHRIS HIPKINS (Labour) to the Minister of Education: Does she have confidence in the Ministry of Education; if so, why?
  12. LOUISE UPSTON (National) to the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations: What recent progress has been made towards the settlement of historical Treaty of Waitangi claims?

National is asking five questions, Labour four, the Greens two, and NZ First one. Labour is asking on staff cuts at DoC, confidence in the MoE, and two gotchas to the PM. The Greens are also asking on staff cuts at DoC, as well as environmental standards. NZ First is asking on a fraud case in China. Patsy of the day goes to Melissa Lee for question 6: How is the Government’s Social Workers in Schools initiative making a difference for vulnerable children?

Government Bills 3.00 pm – 6.00 pm and 7.30 pm – 10.00 pm

  1. Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill – committee stage
  2. Student Loan Scheme Amendment Bill (No 2) – committee stage (cont.)
  3. Local Electoral Amendment Bill (No 2) – committee stage

The Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill amends the Social Security Act 1964 to introduce a new system of main benefits, drug testing requirements, and work and child welfare obligations for beneficiaries. Paula Bennett is in charge and it just barely passed second reading, with National, ACT and United Future the parties supporting.

The Student Loan Scheme Amendment Bill (No 2) was introduced by Peter Dunne in August 2012, in his role as Minister of Revenue. The Bill introduces data-matching with the New Zealand Customs Service to locate borrowers in serious default when they enter or leave New Zealand. It will also change the definition of income, bringing it into line with the definition used for Working For Families tax credits and student allowances, from April 2014. At second reading only the Greens and Mana voted against.

The Local Electoral Amendment Bill (No 2) was introduced October 2012, in response to the John Banks donation saga. The Bill amends the principle legislation in regard to provisions for the conduct of local elections; transparency and accountability around electoral donations; and the integrity and efficiency of the electoral system.

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