Mr SPEAKER: I have reviewed some replies to written questions provided recently. The Minister for Economic Development has responded to a series of questions saying that they are out of order under Standing Order 380. That is not an answer to the question. It is not for Ministers to rule things out of order. Only I may rule on relevance and admissibility. If it appears to a Minister that the question is not in order, then the proper course is to return it to the Clerk’s office or to enter into a discussion with the Clerk’s office, or to enter into a discussion with the Clerk’s office.
That’s David Parker, also the Attorney-General.
I have also seen written questions asking what meetings a Minister has attended between certain dates that have been answered by “What is meant by meetings?” That is not an answer to the question. If a Minister is not clear what a question means, he or she could contact the member who has asked the question in order to seek clarification. A Minister’s office should be able to receive clarification and provide a reply to the question within six working days.
That’s Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters.
The questions that I have mentioned today will be returned to Ministers, and I would expect that they would be replied to urgently. I will continue to review answers to written questions periodically to ensure questions are being addressed.
Good to see.