Can someone translate this?

From Hansard:

Chris Bishop: Why did she say in question time yesterday, “The Cabinet did not appoint me as the Minister to appoint the chair.”, when the Cabinet minute, publicly available on the Department of Internal Affairs website, notes, at paragraph 3 on page 1, “the Minister of Internal Affairs [will] be the appointing Minister for the Inquiry;”, and the Gazette notice appointing the inquiry member is in her name?

Hon : I want to really thank the member for this opportunity to clarify these highly technical details. Yesterday, the member asked me, “When Cabinet appointed her to oversee the Government inquiry into the appointment process for a Deputy Commissioner of Police,”—and I refer to paragraph 1.3 on page 1 of the Cabinet paper which he is referring to. I believe he’s referring to—and I quote—”Cabinet … [also] agreed in principle” to appoint me, as “the Minister of Internal Affairs … [as] the appointing Minister for the inquiry; … [and] that the Department of Internal Affairs provide administrative support to the inquiry;”. The technical detail that is somewhat confusing is the fact that, as the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Department of Internal Affairs is the default department with regard to inquiries. The concept of the appointing Minister—and this is where it gets really technical—

Hon Members: Ha, ha!

Hon TRACEY MARTIN: I’m trying to help the member, Mr Speaker. I don’t know if he wants the answer or not. It is a technical term meaning that I am the Minister who confirms the appointment by way of a notice in the Gazette. This is the final, technical step in a process that begins with Cabinet deciding to establish an inquiry. To be clear: my role as appointing Minister does not in any way mean that I, personally or unilaterally, create an inquiry or appoint its chair or membership; it is a formal role that confirms and carries out the will of Cabinet.

Chris Bishop: Why did Cabinet make her the appointing Minister for the Government inquiry into the appointment of the Deputy Commissioner of Police when the Minister of Internal Affairs has never been an appointing Minister for any Government inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2013?

Hon TRACEY MARTIN: I would have to go and check and verify that, actually. I would have to go and check the statement made by that member, because that is not the advice that I have received.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Can I ask the Minister to endeavour to clear up any misunderstandings of what was a very technical matter: will she use all media, including Snapchat?

Hon Member: That’s low, even for Winston!

Mr SPEAKER: No, it’s a perfectly valid question.

Hon TRACEY MARTIN: I’m trying to be helpful to the House and to the member asking the questions, to clarify the separation of duties that are made around the Minister of Internal Affairs and the process by which inquiries are set up, because it’s very, very important for the public of New Zealand to understand that no single Minister of the Crown has the ability to hand-pick, as the particular member has put out in press releases, anybody to do with an inquiry. It is a process that is very important to uphold.

Chris Bishop: Why did she say the Cabinet makes the overarching appointment and decision about any chair, in relation to the inquiry, when she is the appointing Minister for the inquiry and appointed the member to conduct the inquiry?

Hon TRACEY MARTIN: I’m going to have to refer back to the original answer. I think the member is confused about the word “appointing”. He is suggesting that that technical term means that I, independently—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Order! It does appear to me that some members are not entirely aware of Cabinet processes and responsibilities. The Minister is trying, I think it’s fair to say in a fairly complex manner, to explain to the House. It is not helped by people who have been closer to that position interjecting.

Hon TRACEY MARTIN: What I am trying to express is that at no time have I, personally or unilaterally, been able to select any members or appoint any chairs. That is a decision of Cabinet. The appointing Minister, which is a technical term, is around making sure that the decisions of Cabinet have been gazetted, that the decisions of Cabinet have been followed through with regard to report back. So I answered the question yesterday with as much clarity as I could when the answers were about Cabinet appointing me to oversee the inquiry. I will not be overseeing the inquiry; I’m just the Minister of Internal Affairs. Then he asked me, also, when Cabinet authorised me—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Order! I think that’s enough.

Chris Bishop: Can she confirm the following: Cabinet appointed her as the sole appointing Minister for the Government inquiry into the appointment of a Deputy Commissioner of Police; she appointed the inquiry member from a shortlist of at least five names; the Gazette notice appointing the member is in her name and her name only; and the Minister of Internal Affairs has never been an appointing Minister for any inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2013?

Mr SPEAKER: The member may answer any of those supplementary questions.

Hon TRACEY MARTIN: In answer to the first question, no. Cabinet had conversations and there were three Ministers delegated to make the decisions. To the last question—sorry, there were a lot of them in there—no, I cannot confirm that either. To the second to last question, yes. As the Minister of Internal Affairs, it is my name only on the Gazette.It is my responsibility to gazette the decision of Cabinet. I forget the second question.

If anyone can work out what the Minister was saying, please provide a translation.

Also she had to correct what parts of her answer were intelligible:

Hon TRACEY MARTIN: Kia ora, thank you. During question No. 10 of question time today, Chris Bishop asked a question with multiple parts: “Can she confirm the following: Cabinet appointed her as the sole appointing Minister for the Government inquiry into the appointment of a Deputy Commissioner of Police; she appointed the inquiry member from a shortlist of at least five names; the Gazette notice appointing the member is in her name and her name only; and the Minister of Internal Affairs has never been an appointing Minister for [an] inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2013?” After checking the Hansard, I can see that I incorrectly answered the first part of the question no. This should have been answered yes, as Cabinet did appoint me as the sole appointing Minister for this inquiry, though, as I said earlier during this question, the appointing Minister is a technical term that describes the Minister charged with confirming and carrying out the will of Cabinet, such as publishing the Gazette notice and sending out the appointment letter. Kia ora.

What is interesting is the reference to three Ministers being delegated to make decisions on this. Who were the other two?

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