[Sitting date: 21 June 2012. Volume:681;Page:3220. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]
Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE (Labour—New Lynn) to the
Minister for Economic Development: Does he stand by all his recent statements?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE (Minister for Economic Development)
: Yes, especially my recent statement: “The only way we can create jobs, pay for public services, and lift New Zealanders’ living standards is through faster, sustainable economic growth.” I am sure all members in the House will be pleased to note this morning’s growth numbers. Although it is just one quarter, it demonstrates our economy’s improving strength, despite current uncertain international conditions, particularly in Europe.
Hon David Cunliffe: Does he stand by his statement today to the Commerce Committee that the Pure Advantage green growth report would leave us poorer for an extended period of time, that he fundamentally disagrees with it, and that it would be value-destroying?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: I agree with the first and third propositions. The second is not actually correct. I said in response to your questions this morning, Mr Cunliffe, that its proposal to move investment from New Zealand’s traditional strengths, which are around about 80 percent of our exports—in areas such as primary industries, oil and gas, and so on—immediately into what it described as new green growth industries would be very dislocating for the New Zealand economy.
Hon David Cunliffe: We will look to the transcript. How can he reconcile his statement that “The Auditor-General’s process will not impact on the Government’s negotiations with SkyCity.” with his answer to written estimate questions that “decisions in this area will be a matter for the new ministry”—meaning the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment—and can he therefore confirm that the incoming Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Chief Executive will have the authority to cancel or renegotiate the Skycity deal?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: I am not sure where the member gets his proposition today, but I can confirm for him that the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will start in 9 days’ time, on 1 July. I can also confirm for him that negotiations are ongoing, in parallel with the Office of the Auditor-General’s process.
Hon David Cunliffe: In light of the Minister’s comments, I seek leave to table his written answers to estimates—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! No, we do not seek leave to table written answers. They are available to all members.
Hon David Cunliffe: Does he stand by his statement that the Government’s target for employment growth is 170,000 over 4 years, when his colleague Mr English revised that forecast down to 154,000 in last month’s Budget, or are those Ministers not in frequent conversation?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: Oh dear, chasing things again. It is like a dog chasing a car.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Minister should answer it. Sorry, what was the answer?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: The answer to the question is that, if the member cares to note, one is Treasury’s predictions in 1 year, and the next is Treasury’s predictions in the next year. I was asked this morning about how we were going in relation to the first year, and I can report to members that we are progressing well and we are slightly ahead of target at this point.
Hon David Cunliffe: Does he stand by his statements to the Commerce Committee today that all costs of the new Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will be met within baselines; if so, why does the Government continue to withhold the full due diligence report?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: The transition will be met within baselines, and, as I advised the member this morning, the Government is seeking savings through this amalgamation, which I advised him the numbers for at the time. In terms of the due diligence report, there are a number of items that have been withheld at this stage, but they will be released in due course. Of course, we are going through a transition and it is important to give the officials the opportunity to manage that well.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Will the Minister release all of the Cabinet subcommittee and Cabinet papers giving rise to the superministry proposal, which would debunk the rumour that this idea came purely from him and John Key; if not, why not?
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: For the member’s information, I think you will find that redacted versions of the second Cabinet paper and the first Cabinet paper are available publicly right now.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I did not ask for a redacted version of two documents. I want to know whether or not he is prepared to release all the documents behind this proposal, not just two of them.
Mr SPEAKER: Well, it is a shame the member did not ask that question, instead of the rest of what he put into his question. I am loath to intervene when members add unnecessary information to a question. If the member really wanted the answer to that question, he should have just asked that, and not put the other bit in about something to do with the Minister and the Prime Minister. But I would ask the Minister if he could answer the first part of that question: when he intends to release all the papers.
Hon STEVEN JOYCE: The point I was making—he asked about papers of Cabinet committees and Cabinet, and those are the papers. There have been some redactions, as has been noted, but the papers have been released.
Mr SPEAKER: I thank the Minister.