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Accident Compensation Corporation—2007-08 Financial Review

Thursday 26 March 2009 Hansard source (external site)

Mallard2. Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South) Link to this
to the Chairperson of the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee

When and how did he become aware that John Judge was unable to appear at the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee on the 2007-08 ACC financial review?

BennettDAVID BENNETT (Chairperson of the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee) Link to this

I had not asked Mr Judge to appear, but he will be appearing next week, for that member’s information.

SmithMr SPEAKER Link to this

The member was asked when he became aware that John Judge was unable to appear.

BrownleeHon Gerry Brownlee Link to this

I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I ask you to think about that, because that assumes that the member has made a request for Mr Judge to appear. The member has made it very clear that he has not asked him to appear. So why would he, in any circumstances in his role as chair, from that point be worried about whether Mr Judge was available? He did not ask him.

MallardHon Trevor Mallard Link to this

That might be fine, other than the fact that the Minister for ACC told reporters that—

SmithMr SPEAKER Link to this

The member will resume his seat. Points of order must relate to procedures and order. The interesting issue that has been raised by the Hon Gerry Brownlee is whether the chair of the board’s coming to such a meeting is something that is done specifically at the invitation of the chair of the committee, or whether it is a normal process that is followed for the chair of the board to come to a meeting. It may be that the chair of the committee would be advised whether that normal process was not being followed in this case. I simply invite the member to give a further answer, if he can, to the primary question from the Hon Trevor Mallard as to when he became aware that the chair of the board would not be attending the meeting.

BrownleeHon Gerry Brownlee Link to this

I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. You are putting the chairman of the select committee in a very difficult position. The Government made the decision early in the week to remove the chair of the Accident Compensation Corporation board from the board. At that point it would have been abundantly clear that the chair of the board was not attending the meeting. The question is whether Mr Judge was invited. The member—

SmithMr SPEAKER Link to this

The member is digressing as far as the Hon Trevor Mallard did.

SmithMr SPEAKER Link to this

If that is the case, then the member can easily say that he became aware of that when the Government made its announcement. It is not very difficult.

CullenHon Dr Michael Cullen Link to this

I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. On that last point, I think one should be mindful, of course, that it all depends on who was actually the chair at the time—

CullenHon Dr Michael Cullen Link to this

—but that is not the point I am trying to make. I think you actually raised by inference a very important issue, which I think you should think about as the defender of this House and of the proceedings of Parliament. When a State-owned enterprise or a major Government entity is called to appear before a select committee, I believe that it should be the assumption that the chair of that organisation will attend unless the committee has been notified why, for good reason, the chair cannot attend. Otherwise, I believe that such people would be treating the select committees of this Parliament with some degree of contempt.

SmithHon Dr Nick Smith Link to this

I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

SmithMr SPEAKER Link to this

I do not need to hear more on the general issue. The member has raised, I think, an interesting general point of order that maybe the Business Committee or the Standing Orders Committee of the House could reflect on. I do not think that it is for my consideration right now, but the member has raised what is certainly a genuine point of order. I invite the honourable member to reply.

BennettDAVID BENNETT Link to this

I did not ask Mr Judge to appear; therefore, I was unable to know when he was able to appear—as Mr Brownlee pointed out in his point of order on that question, just before.

MallardHon Trevor Mallard Link to this

Did, on the night before the meeting, Mr Bennett become aware that Mr Judge was cycling in the South Island; if so, did he become aware of that from the Minister?

BennettDAVID BENNETT Link to this

I am not aware of what Mr Judge was up to, at that time. But we had the Minister appear before the committee, and I should imagine that Labour members would have been very happy to have the Minister come and answer the questions about the accident compensation portfolio.

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