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Ministers—Confidence

Thursday 25 March 2010 Hansard source (external site)

King2. Hon ANNETTE KING (Deputy Leader—Labour) Link to this
to the Prime Minister

Does he have confidence in all his Ministers?

KingHon Annette King Link to this

Does he agree with the Minister for Social Development and Employment that her welfare reforms, which breach the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, would not bother most people and that “it is a discrimination that most New Zealanders will see as being fair and reasonable.”; if so, why?

EnglishHon BILL ENGLISH Link to this

Yes. If the Government chooses not to work test older women who have been on the widows benefit, I think most people would regard that as a fair amount of discrimination.

KingHon Annette King Link to this

In light of that answer, why does he believe that the children of widows are more deserving of support from his Government than the children of widowers?

EnglishHon BILL ENGLISH Link to this

The Government has made a series of decisions across a package known as Future Focus. It happens that the Attorney-General has made a statement to Parliament, according to the requirements of Parliament, that says that those changes are discriminatory. However, the Government is free under those procedures to proceed with its policy.

KingHon Annette King Link to this

Does he agree with the Minister for Social Development and Employment, who said that there are jobs out there for everyone, or with Paul Henry, who said on Breakfast that if Paula Bennett believed that, she was living in cloud-cuckoo-land?

EnglishHon BILL ENGLISH Link to this

The good news today is that the released economic figures show that the economy is growing and creating new jobs. It is an aspiration of this Government that everyone who is on welfare should be looking for work. Actually, quite a lot of them are finding work.

KingHon Annette King Link to this

How can he have confidence in his Minister of State Services, who told this House last week that there were no plans to close the Blenheim Accident Compensation Corporation office, only for its closure to be announced today?

EnglishHon BILL ENGLISH Link to this

The Prime Minister has great confidence in the Minister of State Services because he is a much better Minister of State Services than the previous Minister was.

KingHon Annette King Link to this

I do not think the last part of the question—

SmithMr SPEAKER Link to this

Is this a point of order?

KingHon Annette King Link to this

It is a point of order. I know it is a common practice of the Deputy Prime Minister—

SmithMr SPEAKER Link to this

No, no. With the nature of the questions being asked, inevitably there will be a political element to the answers. The member well knows that and she cannot use a point of order to say that.

KingHon Annette King Link to this

Has he ensured that the Minister of Energy and Resources has consulted with the Minister of Tourism over the potential conflict of prospecting for minerals on Dun Mountain at the same time as he is advocating for a national cycleway through the same area?

KingHon Annette King Link to this

Which analogy is accurate: his comparison of Whānau Ora to a waterbed, or the comparison by the Minister of Energy and Resources of mining to a date scone?

EnglishHon BILL ENGLISH Link to this

Both analogies are, of course, appropriate. I am impressed with the talent of my colleagues. They are able to make cut-through statements that even the Opposition can understand.

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