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House of Representatives
13 September 2012
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Advanced Technology Institute Bill — First Reading

[Sitting date: 13 September 2012. Volume:683;Page:5225. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]

Advanced Technology Institute Bill

First Reading

Hon STEVEN JOYCE (Minister of Science and Innovation) : I move, That the Advanced Technology Institute Bill be now read a first time. I nominate the Education and Science Committee to consider the bill. At the appropriate time I will move that the Education and Science Committee report to the House on the Advanced Technology Institute Bill by 6 November 2012, and that the committee have authority to meet at any time while the House is sitting, except during oral questions, during any evening on a day on which there has been a sitting of the House, and on a Friday in a week in which there has been a sitting of the House, and outside the Wellington area, despite Standing Orders 188, 190, and 191(1)(b) and (c).

This bill provides the legislative framework for establishing the Advanced Technology Institute, or ATI, a new high-tech HQ for innovative New Zealand businesses. The purpose of the Advanced Technology Institute is simple: to help get New Zealand’s best ideas out of the lab and into the market place more quickly. The reality is that New Zealanders are great at coming up with smart ideas, but we do need to become more successful at translating those ideas more quickly into commercially successful products.

The Advanced Technology Institute will be a one-stop shop to assist high-tech firms to become more competitive by better connecting them with innovation and business development expertise and facilities that will exist both within the Advanced Technology Institute and across New Zealand’s Crown research institutes, universities, polytechnics, and other research organisations. It will focus on industries with high growth potential, such as food and beverage manufacturing, agritechnologies, digital technologies, health technologies, therapeutics, and high-value wood products.

The Advanced Technology Institute will help companies to grow and become more competitive. It will help increase the number of research and development - capable firms. It will help lift New Zealand’s exports of high-value manufactured goods and services and support economic growth. An important part of the Government’s Business Growth Agenda is ensuring that there are better linkages between business, science, engineering, and design to ensure great ideas are commercialised and generate income and jobs for New Zealanders. The success of the Advanced Technology Institute will be measured by how much it helps manufacturing and service firms to innovate, to increase their productivity, to grow their exports, and to operate more efficiently.

Growing innovation is a key way to create a better-performing economy and improve the standard of living of all New Zealanders. This Government has set the goal of raising the amount businesses spend on research and development from 0.54 percent to 1 percent of GDP. OECD research shows that at a national level increasing business expenditure on research and development drives economic growth. That is why we want the current investment from business in research and development to go up, and that is why we are co-funding with businesses in substantial research and development expenditure.

International evidence shows that institutes like the Advanced Technology Institute help companies innovate beyond the point their own capabilities allow, enabling them to increase earnings and employ more people. The Government has committed $166 million in this year’s Budget to support the Advanced Technology Institute.

The Advanced Technology Institute Bill establishes the Advanced Technology Institute as a Crown agent, recognising its mix of commercial and non-commercial objectives and its role in facilitation and as a gateway through which businesses can access funding for research and development. It will deliver specific programmes and initiatives, and, therefore, there will need to be a close alignment between the Advanced Technology Institute’s strategy and activities and Government policy.

Based in Auckland, the Hutt Valley, and Christchurch, the Advanced Technology Institute will be very different from other New Zealand research institutions. It will be very strongly business-focused and connected, and very responsive to commercial imperatives and time frames. It will offer a broad range of innovation support services, including technical services, as well as providing access to specialised expertise and facilities. It will also seek to improve connectivity between businesses and the significant but highly distributed capability that exists across New Zealand’s many public and private research organisations. It will help provide a route to global knowledge, expertise, and technology. Therefore, collaboration will be key for the Advanced Technology Institute.

To succeed it must work well with industry, Crown research institutes, universities and polytechnics, and other research providers to develop partnerships that maximise commercialisation opportunities. It will facilitate placements of researchers and graduate students with industry, while allowing academic stars to advance their careers and gain greater financial reward.

The assets and staff of Industrial Research Ltd will form much of the foundation of the Advanced Technology Institute, and this bill provides for Industrial Research Ltd to become a non - Crown research institute subsidiary company of the Advanced Technology Institute upon its establishment.

Last month the Government appointed a highly experienced, seven-member establishment board, which is charged with making the necessary operational decisions to get the Advanced Technology Institute operational as soon as possible. We have also announced that the Advanced Technology Institute will be named after one of New Zealand’s greatest scientists, the late Sir Paul Callaghan. Sir Paul believed science was not only about great ideas but also about getting value from those ideas through innovation and commercialisation. Those views exactly reflect the ambition of this new institute, so there can be few more appropriate names to be associated with it.

It is important that this bill be considered promptly and reported back to the House by 6 November so that the Advanced Technology Institute can be up and running early in 2013 and doing its good work for this country. I commend this bill to the House.

Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE (Labour—New Lynn) : I would like to acknowledge the words of the Minister of Science and Innovation and, in particular, the dedication of this new research institute to the late Sir Paul Callaghan, someone who commanded, I think, the universal respect of this House for his contribution to science and learning and his contribution to New Zealand’s economic development, and we would certainly echo that. Labour will be supporting this Advanced Technology Institute Bill to set up the Advanced Technology Institute. We think it is a small step in the right direction, but not by any means enough.

New Zealand spends less than 1 percent of its gross domestic product on innovation and research and development. Of that, about 0.6 of a percent—about two-thirds—comes from the Government, and only one-third comes from the private sector. The OECD average is 2½ times New Zealand’s level of investment—

Dr David Clark: Average?

Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE: —and that is the average—and the leading small, smart countries invest between three and five times New Zealand’s level of investment per capita in research and development. In this year’s Budget the Government increased slightly, in nominal terms, investment in innovation and research. However, it cut almost three times that amount from the economic development budget, thus effectively rearranging the deckchairs on a growth programme that is simply not working.

I think we need to concede that when this Government was first elected, a number of New Zealanders, including some of those in the research and technology sector, thought that it was prepared to consult and that that was a good thing. The Government, it has been said by some, brought a style to its operations that appeared to be in touch with the community, and that was welcomed by some.

Is it not interesting how times have changed? In 4 years what we hear now is the sound of dashed expectations. The Government consulted and it did nothing. It promised a brighter future; what we got were longer unemployment queues. It said that it would innovate, but instead it is continuing subsidies to pastoral agriculture and seems to equate extractive mining with economic nirvana. That is not to denigrate the huge contribution of agriculture or the significant place of mining in our economy, but it is to say that it is not a sufficient answer.

What I think there is bipartisan support for, and why we are supporting this bill, is the clear importance of innovation and research and development being at the heart of our economic development system, and we recognise that something like an advanced technology institute could play a key part in that role. But New Zealanders need to understand that although the Government talks the talk, it is taking, at best, only baby steps on the walk.

Let us look for a moment at some of the implementation issues that surround the Advanced Technology Institute. There are no scientists on the establishment board. It is wholly made up of managers and executives. It is top-heavy with management. The lack of scientific voices in the governance arrangements demonstrates that it is not about science at all but about just the commercialisation of it.

Dr Paul Hutchison: What about Neville Jordan?

Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE: Mr Jordan is an entrepreneur, first and foremost. The Government is trying to make a big deal of all the new funding. The reality is that although $166 million has been committed to develop the Advanced Technology Institute, most of this came from existing savings. The Government has taken from Peter to pay Paul. The total rose by only $37 million. Meanwhile the Ministry of Economic Development budget was cut, as part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment transfer, by around three times that amount.

Another proportion of the funding comes from the planned sale of State assets, and that asset sales programme is on the rocks because the Government cannot even do a bad thing well. It is interesting, is it not, that Industrial Research Ltd is being made a subsidiary under this bill? We know that the Government has a policy of being able to privatise subsidiaries, thus raising the question of Industrial Research Ltd’s long-term future.

The brief of the Advanced Technology Institute needs to be able to address the key impediments to technology-led economic development, particularly routes to market and the availability of investment capital. There is nothing in the plans for the Advanced Technology Institute that addresses either issue. The Government has, in the past, referred to the Danish model, the Danish Technological Institute. But what is interesting is that that institute is moving in exactly the opposite direction from the Advanced Technology Institute, by allocating more resources to research by consultancy and activities, whereas the Advanced Technology Institute is bringing them in-house.

The brief of the Advanced Technology Institute is relatively narrow to the manufacturing industry—or it started that way; it has recently been increased to include food and wood products. At issue is whether that is now too wide and whether the relationship between the Advanced Technology Institute and other Crown research institutes like Scion, for example, which also deals with wood products, is, in fact, clear and proper. There is a clear danger with the Government’s habit of trying to boil the ocean and doing nothing well.

In the detail of the arrangements are issues like the tight time frame, with a 30 September report back, and that will be a matter that we wish to take up in a later motion. Other issues are the skill set of the chief executive, the role of existing commercialisation units, how the Advanced Technology Institute will actually differ in practice from other Crown research institutes, and how it will work with the universities, which continue to act like fiefdoms—each trying to do everything, and the Government apparently giving up on the very sound idea of creating specialisations and centres of excellence.

The scientific community is disappointed by National’s approach to innovation and technology. There has been a lack of communication and there have been mixed messages from the Government. It says it wants more young people to develop skills in science and technology, and yet it has just cut postgraduate student allowances. National is letting New Zealanders down with its lack of vision and ideas. There has been a persistent under-investment by this Government in research and development. National cut out the popular research and development tax credits that were brought in by the previous Labour Government and, oddly, replaced them with a bureaucratic subsidy approach, which manufacturers and innovators in my electorate have told me makes them jump through hoops for Wellington public servants rather than be able to get on and do what they do best. Is it not interesting that the current National Government talks the talk about partnerships with business but, in fact, walks the walk of an old-fashioned bureaucracy in an area where it clearly lacks expertise?

National has just failed to understand the needs of a modern innovation ecosystem where there have to be centres of excellence with close partnerships between Crown research institutes, universities, and businesses; constant flow of information and people; and deep specialisation in areas of emerging market advantage. We are seeing none of that. We are seeing a bureaucratic approach centred in Wellington, making businesses jump through hoops, with a lack of investment and a lack of funding for the system overall. And all the while that this muddle is going on, National has failed to address the surrounding economic problems that are killing our innovative firms.

Again today the official cash rate held up. The gap between that and rates in our key trading partners is growing, our exchange rate is rising, and our best innovative firms are going to the wall or being bought up by foreign corporations. Our economy is being hollowed out, and this Government is sitting on the sidelines, watching it happen, and doing nothing. Does it have no ideas? Say so, get out of the road, and let the incoming Labour-led Government save the country. If the Government has got ideas, for goodness’ sake tell the country what they are and get on and do it, because small things like this institute, good as it may well be, are no solution for the problems facing the innovation sector. The Advanced Technology Institute, in this context, is just a fig leaf covering a multitude of sins. With declining real investment in research and development, and a failure to address the key structure impediments—with a lot of devil in the detail for the Education and Science Committee to sort out—the Government needs to be under no illusion that this small step will not deliver a research nirvana.

NIKKI KAYE (National—Auckland Central) : I am pleased to support the Advanced Technology Institute Bill to the House. As chair of the Education and Science Committee, I will look forward to working collaboratively with all members of the House on this bill. I want to acknowledge that the Advanced Technology Institute is to be named after one of our greatest scientists and a great leader, the late Sir Paul Callaghan. The late Sir Paul Callaghan said, last year: “My view is that to succeed, New Zealand businesses need to be the best in the world at what they do.” And with that, I would like to, firstly, set out how this is within National’s significant investment in the science and innovation framework.

I just want to cover off some of the things that we have done in the last 3½ years. I know that the Hon David Cunliffe has mentioned a couple of things and raised a number of issues that I think are actually incorrect. If you look at what we have invested, we have invested $166 million in the Advanced Technology Institute. Our overall funding in terms of science and innovation has increased by 17 percent over the last 4 years, in very difficult fiscal times. That figure includes a $250 million injection of cash in the last Budget, with $76 million in capital funding over the next 4 years for science and innovation. We have invested half a billion dollars in the Primary Growth Partnership to develop cutting-edge research and innovation in our rural industries. We have also undertaken significant reform in a number of areas like the Resource Management Act, and like labour reforms, which have been opposed by the Opposition. This bill is part of a very comprehensive reform of our science and innovation ecosystem. I think that members on this side of the House are very confident that we have not only invested significantly to show that we have increased our budget by 17 percent but also reformed all of the other levers within the Government—like labour reform, Resource Management Act reform, reducing costs to businesses, and ensuring that we have decent company tax rates—to actually enable our businesses to get ahead. So I just want to make that point before I go into the actual detail of the bill.

The purpose of this bill has come out of the Powering Innovation report, and is also part of what we know from international evidence—that is, by being business-focused, advanced technology institutes can help firms expand their own innovation capabilities, which enable them to grow and add value to the economy, and we actually get the best ideas to the market place faster. We want to ensure that New Zealand does a lot better in our rate of conversion of ideas into commercial products. That needs both having greater investment from a public sector and a Government perspective, but also ensuring we have a one-stop shop for businesses to be able to invest more in research and development, be connected to Crown research institutes and other tertiary institutions, and be better connected to international market places. I must say, as well, this is part of our overall framework, whether it is the aggressive trade agenda that the Hon Tim Groser has progressed, or ensuring that we are better linked up to international markets.

The other thing that I would say is very important, and what has been emphasised to me by businesses and by key scientists, is to ensure that we are focused not just on the physical infrastructure but also on the intellectual infrastructure of the Advanced Technology Institute so that this is able to be a high-tech headquarters for innovative businesses around New Zealand. We know that some research organisations have lacked visibility and relevance to manufacturing and service firms, and their research capability, although significant, has been very uncoordinated. We want to focus, with high-potential growth, on areas like food and beverage manufacturing, agritech, and digital technologies. If we do this, we know that we can increase the number of firms carrying out research and development, encourage firms that are already doing research and development to invest more, and boost the innovation and commercialisation capability of firms.

I want to mention that one part of the Advanced Technology Institute’s role is going to be to help business build industry-led innovation consortia and act as a portal through which businesses can access appropriate research and development and technical expertise both in New Zealand and overseas. I also want to mention that it is a service provider, so it is there to help by offering businesses technology testing, applied research and development work, business development, and technology and knowledge transfer.

The Hon David Cunliffe mentioned the establishment board. I would like to mention that Neville Jordan does have significant experience in terms of engineering and science, so it is not fair to say that this is just a whole lot of corporate managers. I think the purpose of the establishment board is to get the Advanced Technology Institute up and running quickly. We have been very clear about that. But another major aspect of the Advanced Technology Institute is about greater collaboration. We know that in the past Governments have acted in silos, and we need to ensure that businesses are better connected. We know that they will have more compliance costs and they will waste time if they do not have a one-stop shop to connect them to Crown research institutes, tertiary institutions, and international markets.

I want to mention a couple of things in terms of the location of the Advanced Technology Institute. We know that we have identified several areas—Auckland, the Hutt Valley, and Christchurch. I am very pleased, obviously, with the Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct, which is going to be a key space for innovation, but also that we ensure that the many businesses within Auckland are connected to the Advanced Technology Institute, so I am very pleased that the Advanced Technology Institute will potentially be located in central Auckland.

The Advanced Technology Institute will also seek to improve connectivity between businesses and the significant but highly distributed capability that exists across New Zealand’s public and private research organisations. The purpose of this is that the Advanced Technology Institute can collaboratively work with industry, Crown research institutes, universities, and polytechnics, as I mentioned, to develop partnerships and maximise commercialisation opportunities.

Finally, I also want to mention something that David Cunliffe mentioned about students. A key purpose of the Advanced Technology Institute will also be to help facilitate placements of researchers and graduate students with industry, while also enabling some of our academic leaders to advance their careers and gain greater financial rewards. I have met with a number of young scientists. I have met with people who have gone overseas and have come back to New Zealand. I think that this is really crucial—that it is a one-stop shop for businesses but also that some of our young people in New Zealand can see a future. They can see an innovative hub, whether that is in Christchurch, in the Hutt Valley, or in the Wynyard Quarter or another part of Auckland, to see a future for them in terms of both business and science. I think that is quite crucial.

I am very pleased to support this bill to the House. It is part of the National Government’s significant increase in investment in the last 4 years to $1.24 billion in science and innovation. It is part of a greater ecosystem in terms of how our scientists and our leading entrepreneurs interact with each other. It is part of saying that we are not just interested in shuffling the decks in terms of physical infrastructure but actually serious about intellectual property and the way that our businesses interact with scientists. It is also about saying to New Zealanders that if we want to connect with international markets, then we have got to be a lot more savvy in terms of how we operate our research institutions with our businesses. It is about reducing compliance costs for businesses. I support this bill to the House. Thank you.

Hon DAVID PARKER (Labour) : As earlier speakers have said, the Labour Party supports the Advanced Technology Institute Bill. Indeed, when our leader, David Shearer, spoke at the time of the Budget and identified this measure and some other related science initiatives in schools that related to encouraging more science graduates in tertiary education, they were probably the only two parts of the Budget that we in the Labour Party agreed with. So we will be supporting this bill, but we would note that this really is not enough.

National pretends that it is in the business of increasing New Zealand’s exports. It says that it recognises a need to rebalance the New Zealand economy away from consumption and towards export-led growth. Yet here we are, 4 years after National came into power, and that is not being achieved. Indeed, the biggest decrease in the current account deficit was occasioned by money coming in from the earthquake in Christchurch following insurance claims made on overseas reinsurers. If you strip that out of the decrease in the current account deficit, which dipped down quite sharply for 2 years, it was only half of what it appeared in the statistics department figures.

From here on our current account deficit grows. It grows to over 5 percent per annum. We are already one of the most indebted countries in the world—and it is not Government indebtedness. We have low levels of Government indebtedness in New Zealand, largely because the last Labour Government ran nine consecutive surpluses and left New Zealand with very low levels of Government debt. Gross debt had gone down from 48 percent to 18 percent of GDP and net debt was down at zero or thereabouts.

Of course, that has turned round following the global financial crisis, and there has been an increase in Government debt, but even when the Government gets back into surplus next year or thereabouts—and it ought to; the Labour Party agrees that that is an appropriate ambition and says that we would have done so too—even at that point New Zealand’s Government debt is very low by international standards, but our private debt is high. This shows up in our net international liabilities, which are amongst the highest in the developed world, and our net international liabilities—and a lot of people might be surprised to know this—are actually down there with Greece and Spain.

So that is New Zealand’s vulnerability, and the only way out of it is to export more so that in the future our exports are valuable enough to cover the cost of our imports and interests. That is where the settings that the Government changes in the economy to improve that outcome are absolutely fundamentally important. This is a good thing to do, but it is a small thing to do relative to the things the National Government says no to. It has put off the agenda all of the major levers that business needs it to pull in order to lead to export growth becoming a reality and overcoming our prolonged current account deficit. Instead, the Government’s own forecasts show the current account deficit rising.

What has the Government said no to that would be more effective than this bill to improve our export performance? It has said no to pro-growth tax reform. Two major parts of that that the Labour Party thinks are absolutely essential are, firstly, a research and development tax credit to encourage businesses to invest in research and development.

Colin King: To restructure their accounts.

Hon DAVID PARKER: “To restructure their accounts.”, the member from National says. That is not correct. When a tax credit is introduced there is always some recategorisation of expenditure at the margins.

Colin King A change of behaviour.

Hon DAVID PARKER: There is always some recategorisation of expenditure at the margin, but the reason why every other country in the Western World bar one or two does it, including Australia, is that apart from that recategorisation at the margin, it stimulates a lot more expenditure in research and development, and that is why other countries do it. Yes, it is true that there is a wiggle at the margin by some people recategorising expenditure but the vast majority of it is new and additional research and development expenditure. Treasury supported that reform. Treasury opposed the National Government that took over from Labour, when we had recently introduced a research and development tax credit, and criticised its abolition.

What is the next big measure in respect of pro-growth tax reform that is far, far more important than that? It is actually a capital gains tax. At the moment New Zealanders invest because of tax biases in the economy.

Hon Maryan Street: Make the hard decisions, National. Make the hard decisions.

Hon DAVID PARKER: It is a hard decision—thank you, Ms Street. Maryan Street makes a very good point that because it is hard, the National Government avoids it. But it has—

Colin King: It’s not hard.

Hon DAVID PARKER: From its point of view it is hard because it attacks its base, who will have to pay it.

Colin King: No, it’s the economic base.

Hon DAVID PARKER: It does not attack the economic base. It improves the economic base.

Hon Member: That’s rubbish.

Hon DAVID PARKER: That sort of Luddite view of the world is why our export performance is going backwards. [Interruption] They are flat-earthers on the other side. There is a capital gains tax in Australia, in the United States, and throughout Europe, and the voodoo economists on the other side say no to that economic theory, which, very simply stated, is that people should be encouraged to invest in enterprises for export on the basis of the profitability of those businesses, or for import substitution, instead of on the basis of a tax bias that favours over-investment in speculative land and building assets. It is that simple, and National members still do not get it. They ignore the advice of virtually every overseas country. They ignore the advice of the OECD, they ignore the advice of the IMF, they ignore the advice of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, and they ignore the advice of Treasury, and they say they are right. They are wrong. It is far more significant than what is being done here.

What is the next thing that the “Party of No”, National, put off the agenda? It says it admits that there is a problem with overvaluation of the currency. It sees other countries around the world manipulating their currencies and competitively devaluing their currencies, and what does it do? It does nothing. The “Party of No” says it cannot do anything to fix it, and it watches our export sector. The receipts have gone down. We are losing jobs in things like our timber industry, and manufacturing has been going backwards for the last two quarters. What does National say can be done? Nothing. That is National’s response. It is the “Party of No”. It will not pull these big levers.

We need to address our currency. We need to broaden the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act so we do not give primacy to inflation over other factors like employment, manufacturing, and export earnings. But no, National, the “Party of No”, says no. It has put off the agenda the big levers that business and people who want jobs in New Zealand need it to pull. As a consequence we have record numbers of New Zealanders giving up and going to Australia. As a consequence our own unemployment rate is lower than it would have otherwise been. The Government suppresses unemployment figures by waving goodbye to those New Zealanders who are going to Australia, despite the fact that it was National that made the promise when it was elected that it would be saying to wave goodbye to higher taxes, not to your loved ones. We do not hear National being willing to be held to account for that failed promise.

This bill is all well and good, but New Zealanders are disappointed in the Government that showed promise, in their view. They elected National into Government because they believed John Key and Bill English when they said that they would lead them to a brighter future. They are disappointed that that has not happened. They know they are seeing that this Government is not willing to pull the levers that the people of New Zealand need, the people who need jobs and prospects for themselves and their families. It is not willing to do this, to pull the levers in relation to taxation and pro-growth tax reform.

Let us turn briefly to savings. They say the big difference between Australia and New Zealand is mining. That is rubbish. Australians cleared out on New Zealanders when it came to earnings in their industries at a time in the 1980s when their mining industry was in the doldrums. The reason they get ahead is they save properly, and they invest in their industries, which improves labour productivity and total factor productivity. These are expensive machines that require technical operators to supply them and run them, and they are paid good wages. That is the reason why Australia does better, and another reason why New Zealand should follow in its steps, but, of course, the “Party of No”, National, says no.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): I call the honourable member David Clendon. It was close, Mr Clendon.

DAVID CLENDON (Green) : Yes, I was enjoying the previous speaker so much that his rather sudden ceasing took me by surprise. I am pleased to speak for the Greens on the Advanced Technology Institute Bill today. We will be supporting this bill at this reading. However, our continued support will rely on some clarity and on our getting a degree of comfort about some of the aspects of the structure and the operation of this proposed organisation.

We are yet to be convinced about some of the aspects that are proposed, and we look forward with genuine interest to the submissions that we will no doubt get from the scientific community and from the business community, in particular from some of those who are already working at that interface, because this institution—this organisation—will not be coming into a vacuum. There are existing mechanisms and organisations doing some of what it is proposed that this Advanced Technology Institute should do.

There is no question that we need to improve our performance in terms of research, science, and technology. We will not secure our economic future by putting large volumes of raw logs across the wharf, nor will we get richer, in any sense of that word, by producing more and more milk powder. These are low-value, high-volume commodities, and that is not the economic future of New Zealand or New Zealanders.

In our Green Party election campaign last year, one of the key planks of that campaign was advocacy for investing heavily in a greentech, cleantech economy, one that can generate genuine wealth while also protecting the integrity and well-being of our communities and, critically, the environment that underpins it all.

It is interesting when looking at this proposition—this institute that is to be established—as an occasional student of history. We know that this is not the first time an organisation has been proposed to link scientific effort, the well-being of our economy, and the appropriate use of our natural resources. In the early 1920s, it was hotly debated and it generated the establishment of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, an organisation that served New Zealand extremely well for over 60 years, and gave us a great advancement in terms of industry, particularly primary production, but elsewhere as well.

That all came to an end, of course. In 1986 there was a ministerial working group headed by one Sir David Beattie, who was charged by the Government of the day with investigating the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and its contribution. He came back with a report called Key to Prosperity: Science and Technology, Report of the Ministerial Working Party. The number of recommendations within that report included things like 150 percent tax deductibility for expenditure on research and development, and setting the target of doubling New Zealand’s public and private sector investment in research by 1993 or 1994. They were quite ambitious targets, quite ambitious goals, and absolutely necessary, and not terribly different from what we are endeavouring to do today.

The Government—and, indeed, successive Governments of the time through the 1980s and 1990s—took very little heed of this excellent report. Possibly the report was undermined by the one line in it that uttered heresy in that time. It said that the market alone could not deliver the outcome that New Zealand wanted and needed. Of course, in the 1990s the free market was all-powerful. Hopefully, we have got over that, and we recognise that collaboration between public and private sectors is actually the way to advance economically and socially.

The Crown research institutes, which replaced the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research—interestingly, one of those will now become a subsidiary of this new organisation—have always been hobbled by the legislation, which requires them to generate profit, and obliges them to endeavour to do long-term science and establish research strategies on 1 to 3-year funding cycles. I acknowledge the situation has improved somewhat in recent years. We still, however, have a great deal to do, and considerably further to go.

There are a number of issues we are concerned about within this bill. I mentioned the fact that Industrial Research Ltd will effectively be subsumed, and we do wonder at the need for that. Industrial Research Ltd has some responsibilities in terms of engaging with industry, notably in the high-value manufacturing end, essentially as a research organisation, and unless I have got it very wrong, this new institute will not be a research organisation.

I do wonder why this path has been taken, to effectively create a very uncertain future for Industrial Research Ltd, not least of all for the 360-odd people currently working within that organisation, who, as recently as late July this year, through the New Zealand Public Service Association representative, expressed their serious concern that they had absolutely no idea what was going on. They did not know what their future was. They did not know whether they had a future within this new structure. They had no idea what it meant for existing research projects. That is a major oversight, and it does lend weight to the proposition we heard from Mr Cunliffe that perhaps the focus has been far too much on the management and far too little on the science.

Nothing will undermine this proposition more quickly or more comprehensively than undervaluing the scientific community that will generate the horsepower that is the underpinning of it. For the last several decades we have been exporting many more scientists than we have been exporting science. That has to stop. Creating this level of uncertainty in a very key Crown research institute, Industrial Research Ltd, is not helpful in reversing that trend, and we hope that will be acknowledged.

I note with interest that within the bill it says that the new institute will be a Crown entity, but nowhere in the bill does it actually define the category of Crown entity. I understood the Minister of Science and Innovation in his speech to say it would be a Crown agent, and that would concern me to some extent. A Crown agent is an entity with the least amount of independence from the Minister. I do again think that this organisation, if it is to succeed, will need to be quite dynamic, will need to be innovative, and will need to move quite quickly. None of those are typically characteristic of any organisation that is very tightly bound to the policy of the Government of the day. I think this organisation will need a high level of independence from the Minister, and we would hope that—perhaps I misheard the Minister—we can consider what category of Crown entity this organisation should be.

One of the functions of the organisation—in fact, the key function, clearly—will be the allocation and administration of research funding as defined in the Research, Science, and Technology Act. It is not clear, of course, at this stage exactly what the nature or level of that funding will be or what the term of the funding put out to various interface organisations or entities will be. This is a level of detail that will determine how successful or not this organisation is.

We note that there will be a stakeholder advisory group, and that is an obvious and a sensible thing to do. I see no mention specifically of having Māori interests represented in that stakeholder group. Given that Māori are observed and recognised as being amongst the most entrepreneurial people on earth, and that there is a quite dynamic and evolving Māori innovation and business network coming through, I would sincerely hope that there will be a place at the table for that voice.

Nikki Kaye in her contribution referred to a one-stop shop, and that is helpful. Always in the business community people want a single point of contact with the Government, and if this entity can achieve that, that is a good thing. The danger, however, is that it will displace or disrupt existing organisations and existing relationships between the commercialisation units within the universities that are already doing some very good work. That transition will have to be managed very, very carefully and thoughtfully so that you do not end up taking several large steps back before we start to move forward.

I am intrigued by the $76 million over 4 years allocated to capital expenditure. This, in my view, ought to be a networking organisation. It is not a research organisation. It does not need laboratories or buildings that are specialised and fit-for-purpose buildings. As a networking organisation, why is there the need for $76 million of capital expenditure over 4 years? There are a number of other issues that we will bring to the select committee.

We also note that this institution is to be named after Sir Paul Callaghan, an extraordinary man and a remarkable New Zealander. There is a cautionary tale, however. Some years ago the Defence Force named a vessel after one of our greatest and most respected war heroes. It proved to be entirely unfit for purpose and ended up carting citrus fruit around the Mediterranean. It is to be hoped that the entity this Minister seeks to establish will become something worthy of its namesake rather than something that is redolent of lemons. Thank you.

COLIN KING (National—Kaikōura) : It is a pleasure to speak on the first reading of this bill, the Advanced Technology Institute Bill. It is another very positive initiative in the Government’s growth agenda, and it is reassuring to hear the acknowledgment around the House of the important space that this particular organisation will fill in meeting the needs of growing this nation’s economy. We have heard a lot about our overdependence on the agricultural sector. We have also heard comments about the commodity nature of those products that we export, but I just want to make the point, as we begin my contribution in this first reading on the Advanced Technology Institute, that that is what this country’s economy is surviving on. There has been a long-acknowledged deficit in this space of the commercialisation, the taking to market, and the capitalisation of innovative solutions for the country’s economy.

We know that we have a very proud and positive record around our scientific discoveries. We have in our history such names as Ernest Rutherford and Neil Pickering, and we know that this organisation is gong to be named after Sir Paul Callaghan, an outstanding New Zealander and an outstanding scientist, who said that New Zealand businesses need to be the best in the world to compete. There are many out there who are doing remarkably well. However, the way through to the market place, where they have to successfully negotiate the pitfalls within the commercialisation prospect, makes it very difficult for a lot of these businesses to succeed.

This organisation will be judged on its success. As a member of the Education and Science Committee, I say that we will be going over this very, very carefully to ensure that we get the foundation documents and principles of this organisation right, so that there do become reliable pathways through to commercialisation.

An aspect that does concern me a lot is that, just going back to the previous Labour speaker, David Parker, who gave a first reading speech considering the introduction of the Advanced Technology Institute, all we got was a lecture on what the Government is not doing with regard to the present economic situation that the world is facing. It is a bit rich to be lectured by a member of a party in Opposition that, when in Government, took the country into a recession before any other OECD country. It is a bit rich, too, to have an Opposition on the other side of the House saying no to everything that would promote economic growth. Then when it does have the opportunity to support a positive bill that addresses a distinct gap in the market place, it talks off the subject while it is still supporting the bill. It is very, very disheartening when you are trying your absolute best to get over those challenges and the Opposition is so negative.

What has been achieved while the John Key Government has been in existence has been a total re-energising of the Crown research institute sector. Quite frankly, when National came into Government with its associates, it was a chaotic scene. There have been 4 years of refinement, and we are very excited to see that we will now have an Advanced Technology Institute, that it will have bases throughout New Zealand, and that there will be that support that will take smart innovation to the market. The potential is there, the gap has been left wide open for many, many years, and it is with absolute pride and satisfaction that I look forward to considering this bill in the Education and Science Committee, with the support of the House. Thank you very much.

TRACEY MARTIN (NZ First) : Kia ora, Mr Speaker. I rise to dash the House’s hopes of a complete cross-party accord on this bill. New Zealand First will be opposing it.

Before I launch into the reasons why New Zealand First will be opposing the Advanced Technology Institute Bill, first of all I want to acknowledge my colleague from the Green Party David Clendon and the mention of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and the fantastic scientists—including John Dugdale, my father-in-law and one of New Zealand’s top entomologists—who, at that time, with that restructure, all found themselves applying to do their science for the benefit of this country. One of the reasons why Australia did much better than New Zealand, and still does so today, is that it not only retained its scientists in the 1990s but also picked up most of ours. Let us just have a think about that while we make decisions about science, shall we? There is nothing new under the sun.

I also want to acknowledge the late Sir Paul Callaghan, and particularly the Sir Paul Callaghan Science Academy, which is currently holding a science accord in the Matakana region for primary school teachers to reignite the focus of science inside our primary schools. It is a brilliant facility, and we certainly appreciate that legacy from that scientist.

The first line of the explanatory note of this bill says: “This Bill establishes”—establishes—“a new statutory Crown entity,”. I heard just today that the board has already established it. The establishment board is already here, so what is this? Is this just, what, some kind of fait accompli, some sort of “Let’s just go through the process, but we’ve already ticked that box. Thanks very much for your time.”? I find that amazing. I find it disappointing that here in a New Zealand Parliament we have to pass stuff after it has already been assumed it is going to happen. So I guess that is—

Mike Sabin: “Pass stuff”?

TRACEY MARTIN: What? Is that how you work things in the corridors, the member for Northland? Is that how this works? You work things in the corridors, you get it under way, and then you bring it to the House and see whether you can bring it past the people?

The intent of this bill is admirable. The intent of the bill is admirable. It is to support manufacturing in the service sector businesses to improve competitiveness and growth in science and technology, based on innovation and commercialisation, to increase the number of businesses undertaking research and development. Brilliant—nobody can disagree with that. But is it necessary to create another entity to do it? Is it necessary to spend $166 million of what we consistently hear is a very scarce resource—taxpayers’ dollars—to achieve these outcomes?

Over the next 4 years, $90 million of operational funding and $76.1 million of capital funding will be spent, with $11.9 million being spent in this financial year alone. There is the creation of another board, and there is the absorbing of Industrial Research—all under the umbrella of the new superministry, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment—and this is another business-led organisation to be funded with taxpayers’ money. We had a conversation about subsidies earlier this day, and here we have another business-led organisation funded by taxpayers’ dollars. That sounds to me like another way to say “subsidy”, quite frankly.

New Zealand First believes that now is not the time to spend another round of millions of dollars on logos, branding, and letterhead. There is the expenditure of this precious resource, the taxpayers’ dollars, on the inevitable administration costs of creating a new board—unfortunately, that money has already been spent, obviously, as the board is already in place—the dissolving of, and possible exit payments to, Industrial Research’s board, and the human resources and the consultant payments that will be required as staff from Industrial Research and The FoodBowl—which will be amassed due to the realignment process that those staff will have to go through—shift, or try to shift, from one organisation to another, not to mention the stress of the uncertainty of their job retention or the project development of things they are currently working on. Why now—that would be the question we would ask the Minister. Why now?

If this Government wishes to spend $166 million on supporting the manufacturing and service sector or investing in research and development, then we can give it several better ways to spend that cash. I could give the Minister today two companies that are struggling for research investment in Warkworth alone. Let us just take those two companies. One of them is Glasshape. Glasshape is a highly successful and dynamic company that focuses on manufacturing specialist glass products for the architectural, transport, high security, and superyacht industries. It has mastered, through its own research—the amount that it can fund itself with no assistance from the Government, because it cannot access any assistance from the Government—and refined the science of curved and bent glass, toughened glass, laminated glass, and double-glazed glass. It is Australasia’s largest manufacturer of this product, and it produces glass with high-quality, high-security, and bullet-resistant properties. It currently exports to Australia, the United Kingdom, the USA, China, Chile, Turkey—

Hon Member: Is this an advertorial?

TRACEY MARTIN: —the Pacific Islands, and Singapore, but it cannot get any research money from your Government. It cannot expand. It cannot develop any more products, because it cannot get any support from its Government. If you want to spend $166 million, that company could do with a couple of million.

Or what about Mahurangi Technical Institute, which has for the last 8 years been researching the captive breeding of freshwater eels for supply to the aquaculture industry? There is also quite a large amount of conservation spin-off from this project. The company is currently able to breed eels on demand for 52 weeks per year in commercial quantities, and it can raise them to 12 days old. This puts it at the forefront of eel-breeding research internationally, to the point where European research institutes come here to work with these people.

Mahurangi Technical Institute cannot get money invested from its Government to help it grow its programmes. It has a conservation fish hatchery. It has whitebait farming. It has recently succeeded in the fertilisation and hatching of whitebait at a commercial hatchery. It is into grass carp and silver carp. These are used as aquatic weed control agents across New Zealand. It currently has 27 contracts.

I could go on, but I will not go on, because I think I have made my point—$166 million would be better spent on the businesses that are today trying to do what you want us to do: grow the pie. You want us to grow the pie. You want us to—

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): Order!

TRACEY MARTIN: I beg your pardon, Mr Speaker. The Government wants us to grow the pie. The Government wants these businesses to save the New Zealand economy and to employ more people, and I would say that $166 million would go a long way in the Rodney electorate to actually give the Government what it is it wants us to do.

So New Zealand First will oppose this bill, because the timing is not right to spend $166 million on paperwork. Spend it on doing something that will actually make a difference.

Dr PAUL HUTCHISON (National—Hunua) : It gives me great pleasure to speak on this Advanced Technology Institute Bill. It is, again, a landmark in connecting science and innovation with business, with our tertiary education institutes, with Crown research institutes, and, of course, with private research institutes, and in commercialising our science and innovation, which is something that failed to happen during those 9 long years of the Labour Government. I too would like to acknowledge the huge contribution that Sir Paul Callaghan made to New Zealand science—not only to science but to advancing science in New Zealand, and of course through being one of the great communicators in this area. It is absolutely right and proper that this institute will be named after him.

Sadly, we were treated to a very dismal battery from David Cunliffe, who said that we in New Zealand spend or invest about 1 percent of GDP on science. The facts of the matter are that for 9 long years under Labour it was entirely static—entirely static. And yet over the last 4 years, there has been a significant, real increase of 17 percent in science and innovation spending, making the total rise from $1.16 billion in 2011-12 to $1.24 billion 2012-13. One of the things that I thought was greatly worrying was when David Cunliffe suggested that nothing was happening in New Zealand. And yet we find over the last 4 to 5 years business research and innovation spending has increased significantly—10 percent a year compound growth over the last 4 to 5 years.

Under this National Government, things are happening, and this Advanced Technology Institute will indeed assist to ensure that they continue to happen at a fast rate. This Government has set very ambitious targets in this respect. As David Cunliffe pointed out, Government investment or public investment as a percentage of GDP is approximately 0.57 percent. We have an ambition to get to 0.8 percent over the next few years. But he is quite right in saying that it is in the private sector that New Zealand has had a bad record. That was particularly so for those 9 long years under Labour, and that is why it is so significant that the growth in this area has been 10 percent a year compound increased under National for the last 4 to 5 years.

There is one other thing that did worry me. That was when he said that the composition of the board contained no scientists. Well, there is Neville Jordan, a hugely, highly recognised engineer and scientist in New Zealand, who, in 1975, founded MAS Technology Ltd, a telecommunications microwave company. He grew MAS Technology to a multinational company with a successful initial public offering on the Nasdaq index, and it has now, with its successors, earned over $1 billion in net foreign exchange for New Zealand. Who better to have on the Advanced Technology Institute board than people like Neville Jordan? I think we can be very encouraged by the insight that the National Government has in this respect.

As you know, the Advanced Technology Institute was a key recommendation of last year’s Powering Innovation report. This report in itself was the culmination of a huge amount of thought that was put in by a variety of people in the science area, in the economics area, in the business area, and in the academic area. I think it is going to be a great foundation for propelling this very important area into the future. As we know, part of Budget 2012 was the Government’s allocation of $160 million over 4 years for the Advanced Technology Institute, which will be situated in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. This is the very point that David Cunliffe was going on about, that many of our competitors overseas are investing so much more in this area of science and technology—three to four times more than New Zealand is. It is absolutely vital that we have mechanisms to ensure that we have an environment or an ecosystem in New Zealand that links science and innovation with the business sector. This is exactly what the Advanced Technology Institute is about. I commend this first reading to the House.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): I call Dr Megan Woods.

Dr Megan Woods: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Just before starting, the member must always call. Just standing up does not mean to say that you are going for a call, but I knew you were going to call, so I anticipated. Dr Megan Woods.

Dr MEGAN WOODS (Labour—Wigram) : Thank you for your prescience. Thank you for your prescience, Mr Speaker. I am very happy to take a call on the Advanced Technology Institute Bill, to talk of Labour’s support for the bill, and to continue what my two colleagues who have spoken previously have already started to do in spelling out some of the questions and some of the concerns that Labour has with the bill in its current form, and some of the questions we would like to see answered when the bill does go to the Education and Science Committee. As a member of that select committee, I am very much looking forward to this piece of legislation coming to that committee and to our having a chance to examine it.

Labour knows the value to the economy of science and innovation. We know that if we are going to have export-led growth we have to get this right, and that there is no question that our economic future lies in our ability to commercialise our fantastic science, to get it to market, and to build businesses and industry around this science. We know that there is no second chance, that this is a crossroads in our history, and that this is a time when we have to get it right.

But what Labour is concerned about is that this is going to be another science commercialisation strategy from National that will not succeed. We have already seen examples in the last 4 years. We have had a whole lot of talk this afternoon about the wonderful record of National in Government. I actually want to have a look at some of the reality of what has been happening with science funding since National came to power in 2008—what that record actually does look like—and to foreshadow some warnings that we just cannot let the Advanced Technology Institute go down this path.

We have had member after member opposite get up and talk about all the new funding and the increased investment from National. Let us put a reality check on this. There is $166 million going into the Advanced Technology Institute over a number of years, but the Science and Innovation vote rose by only $37 million. Members opposite may not realise, but science inflation runs pretty high—much higher than the Consumers Price Index. So let us not get carried away.

We do need to be looking at a model that is going to do things differently, and something that is going to do it better. We are not convinced that what is currently proposed under this legislation is the way to do it. Not only is it shifting the deckchairs and cribbing money back from other parts of the science and innovation budget but also it was partially funded from the planned sale of assets. So what happens now that it looks like those asset sales are falling over, or certainly have been delayed? Where is that money going to come from? It is going to have to come from somewhere. We have a delayed revenue stream from members opposite, and we are not hearing any talk of that.

We have the shifting of science and innovation funding. We are waiting on the money from assets sales that may or may not proceed, because they are being rushed and the Opposition is going to stop them. And then we also have other money coming out of different parts of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment budget. So let us actually put a reality check on this and realise that it is not the nirvana that members opposite are trying to sketch out.

The Advanced Technology Institute is, in many ways, based on the Danish model, which is referred to often in the Government’s papers. The Danes do actually have a very sophisticated innovation network, and their technology institute is a huge part of that. But one of the things that we have to bear in mind is that this is New Zealand looking to implement a model that the Danes are actually moving away from. The Danes are seeing that the provision—the absolute provision—of science through the kind of institute that they have is not necessarily the way to do it, and that a lot of it is actually vis-à-vis consultancy and activities related to consultancy rather than direct provision. This is where we need to make sure that the New Zealand model is fit for purpose for the New Zealand market, that it is a model that New Zealand businesses will engage with, and that it is something that is going to make a real difference.

So why is it that Labour is concerned that this is not going to work? Well, it is its track record, really. It is National’s track record of trying to come up with new ways of delivering science funding that just have not worked. I want to look at the technology voucher system that National brought in with a huge fanfare in the 2010 Budget. We were told that this was going to be a way for small and medium sized enterprises in New Zealand in the manufacturing, health, and medical technology sectors to access funding. These were going to be huge projects. They were going to be projects with co-funding over $100,000. Well, it did not work. Less than a year later this had to be downgraded to $30,000 because the money simply was not there. Not only did the money have to be downgraded, but it had to be extended out, because the manufacturing sector simply did not have enough money to take up this money.

So what happened? It was extended into the agribusiness sector. Once again it was primary industries that were funded. There is nothing wrong with funding our primary industries, and I am a huge fan of funding our primary industries. I would just like to assure my colleague Damien O’Connor, behind me; I could feel the glare boring into my skull from behind. The point is that this was money that was meant to be about transforming the New Zealand economy and about building up another string to the bow in high-value manufacturing. And it did not work. It has been a failure.

The concern, the very real concern, is that already the Advanced Technology Institute is going down this very same path. There is no learning from history for members opposite. The Advanced Technology Institute was announced by John Key with great fanfare. It was signalled before the Budget that this was going to be about the high-value manufacturing sector. We were told that it was going to be about delivering engineering services and it was going to be about small and medium sized enterprises being able to access these services, this technical, engineering, and scientific know-how. We have it stated in the objectives of the bill that it is about technology-based innovation. It is all around this engineering.

But, lo and behold, what has happened? Exactly what happened with the voucher system. We are already seeing that this has been expanded out. We now have, basically, the Food Innovation Network New Zealand folded into it. We are seeing it extended out, and once again there simply is not enough take-up in the manufacturing sector. We are having to extend this out into our agribusiness. Once again, there is nothing wrong with that, but what we are seeing is that this does nothing to address the structural problems and the fact that we do not have the basis of a strong manufacturing sector in New Zealand. It does nothing to address the problems that my colleague David Parker talked about. It does nothing to address the reasons why it is that our manufacturers find it difficult to export. It does nothing to address the lack of capital available to the manufacturing sector in New Zealand.

So once again we are going down the same path, and my very real concern is that in a matter of only a very short time we are going to see the Minister of Science and Innovation coming to the select committee and admitting to us, as he did about the vouchers, that it has been a disappointing scheme and has not been as successful as they hoped. Well, this is not a time for a hope and a prayer. This is a point in New Zealand’s history to get this right and for us to do something real and significant about supporting our high-value manufacturing system.

We are not supporting the pipeline of ideas. What we have seen from this Government, when we saw in the Budget that it announced the Advanced Technology Institute, is that it is going to stop postgraduate research in New Zealand. If you want an economy based on innovation, then fund people to do postgraduate research. You do not need an Advanced Technology Institute to tell you that, because it ain’t rocket science. If you want science and innovation in your economy, have scientists, have technologists, and have engineers. Postdoctoral positions are in a crisis in this country. We simply do not have enough funding to be encouraging the level of leadership in the next generation, of leadership within the scientific community. Scientists know this, and they are fast losing faith in this Government. In fact, the science and technology community has no idea what is happening around the Advanced Technology Institute; it feels locked out. Science and innovation needs to be an inclusive environment, where commercialisation and the researchers and the scientists are linked up, not made to feel like something is happening around them and they have no idea.

My fear is that we have a Government that once again is talking big the rhetoric of innovation. There are huge promises once again about economic transformation, but the Government is repeating the mistakes of history. The Government is going to under-deliver on this unless we make the changes that we need to. We need to be identified—

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): I am sorry to interrupt the honourable member. Her time has expired.

SCOTT SIMPSON (National—Coromandel) : Thank you very much for this opportunity to speak this afternoon in favour of the first reading of the Advanced Technology Institute Bill, in the name of the Hon Steven Joyce. This is another part of the Government’s growth and innovation programme, and it is a very, very good part. In a previous life I had the privilege of being the New Zealand general manager of a company called Protector Safety. We sold industrial protective equipment and products to workers and businesses around the countryside. It gave me a terrific opportunity to meet with literally hundreds of business entrepreneurs, business owners, and people who had in many cases started large companies from small, good ideas. Inevitably—

Mike Sabin: Real-world experience.

SCOTT SIMPSON: Yes, real-world experience, the member for Northland tells me, and it was indeed. But many times when I was visiting companies that had started from good ideas, the owners and the people who had started those companies would tell me horror stories about the difficulties they had had in terms of setting those companies up. They related the problems they had had in getting the good idea, the good concept, to a marketable, saleable product stage, where they could market it internationally on behalf of New Zealand, and in terms of taking their product to an international market.

Supporting this bill is a step to making that sort of opportunity easier for New Zealand entrepreneurs and for New Zealand scientists who have good ideas and can understand that actually the mix of science and business is a good one. It is a good one, but it is often a fraught one, because sometimes the good ideas and the business do not necessarily connect. There are a number of sad stories in our commercial history where we have had some terrific concept ideas that simply have not been able to be brought to market, because we have missed an opportunity at this level. So the Advanced Technology Institute will be a step along the way to making those sorts of things easier for our innovative scientists and our innovative, entrepreneurial business people. National knows that that is important so that we can stay ahead of the global market.

I think it is very appropriate that this institute will be named after the late Sir Paul Callaghan. That is a tribute to him, to his innovation, to his science, and to his passion for New Zealand and our future. He believed, absolutely, that science could make New Zealand a better place, and he had a passion for that. He knew also that linking science with business was a powerful mix for getting high value from good ideas. He believed that you could champion these things, and that by championing them you could turn them into something tangible and real.

So the institute will become an innovation incubator, and it has got serious grunt. There is going to be some serious money behind it—$166 million over 4 years. Of that, $90 million will be operational expenditure, and $76 million will be capital expenditure. It is about getting those good ideas researched, getting them right, and getting them to market quickly, efficiently, and, most important, profitably.

With facilities located in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, the institute will be well positioned. The focus will be on opportunities and industries like food and beverage, agriculture, and digital technologies.

But what I want to focus on is the opportunities in the health technology sector. In health technology I have got in my electorate of Coromandel, in the very great township of Katikati, a terrific business by the name of Triodent that is doing exactly this sort of stuff. That is a business that was started just 8 years ago. It now has an export revenue line of $20 million, and will over the next 3 years raise that to $50 million. What is it doing? Well, it is exporting tiny little pieces of smart technology in the dental area. Anyone who has ever had crown tooth work done will know how expensive that is. This company Triodent in Katikati produces these little dental tools that dentists use when they are doing crown work and it sells them for US$95 apiece. I visited Triodentrecently and in my hand I held a container, a ClickClack container, of 2,000 pieces of these little widgets that are produced. There was something like $200,000 worth of export dollars being held in my hand, and not a 40-foot container in sight. That is smart, innovative technology being used to create huge export dollars and opportunity for us and for our future.

I am looking forward to participating at the select committee stage. I know that the chair of the Education and Science Committee, Nikki Kaye, will do an admirable job. I am looking forward to progressing this bill through the select committee because I know that it will add to an already good and thorough growth programme initiated by this John Key - led National Government.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): I understand that the next call is a split call. I will ring the bell at 4 minutes.

Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South) : I am a person who knows a little bit about this area. I have been the local member for Industrial Research Ltd for a number of years now, and have watched quite a lot of innovation come out of its work. It works closely with Victoria University, chambers of commerce, and Business New Zealand in this general area.

I just want to ask a pretty fundamental question for the Education and Science Committee to consider, and that is whether this legislation is all puff or whether it is actually necessary. The question that I want to ask is whether there is anything in this bill that we are being asked to consider, the Advanced Technology Institute Bill, that could not be done without this bill. If that is the case, I would be interested to know what it is, and we should talk about that, because, frankly, everything that is being done in this bill should be able to be done across the Crown research institutes and across the universities anyway. There is nothing that is special about the arrangements here. It seems to me that much of what is being done here is administrative arrangement, all of which can be done within the general organisation of government at the whims of Ministers anyway, so there is not a good reason for the bill.

I just get the feeling that what we have here is a bit of paper that is going to take up hours and hours and hours of parliamentary time in order to make Steven Joyce look slightly better—in order to make Steven Joyce look slightly better. What I want to know from the next Government speaker is one thing or, if they are really innovative, two things that can be done under this legislation that cannot already be done today.

Of course we support science. Of course we support innovation. We will have a few battles with people down in Christchurch with some of their stuff, and I am told there is a university in Auckland that thinks it is pretty innovative, but you can wander along Jackson Street in Pētone and find 20 or 30 upstairs software companies, employing between one and 50 people, and all of them are doing interesting stuff. Most of them are exporting. Just about all of them are really anxious about a bill that we discussed yesterday—the Patents Bill—and may be discussing again next week.

If you go on to the Industrial Research Ltd campus you find about 20 different companies that are doing exciting stuff, things that are spin-offs. I want to acknowledge the work that Sir Stephen Tindall and others have done. I want to say that if there is one thing that is pretty important here, it is not this bill; it is capital. And getting the capitalisation systems right in order to hold ownership of these companies in New Zealand is important.

I mean, there is one little company called Mesynthes, which has developed—you know, people will find this relatively hard to believe—a product that comes out of sheep’s wool. Colin King knows a bit about this. This product goes into wounds. These might be wounds that have been caused by war. The US military is really interested in this. They might be wounds that are caused by operations, where people have had major sections of their body or a disease taken out. This gunk goes into their body, their skin goes around it, and the body absorbs it and converts it back into flesh. It is sort of like the reverse of flesh eating. The flesh eats it and creates new flesh. It is a New Zealand invention, you know, with the work on it done in Lower Hutt.

You can go 50 yards away from there to a little place next to CRL Energy, and you can find people who have the next metal product. It is stuff that goes into titanium and into aluminium to make them stronger and more flexible. It takes the weight of aluminium down to maybe about 40 percent of its current weight, and stretches titanium out. Do you know what it is made of? It is made of coal and sand. It is made of coal and sand from New Zealand beaches.

Hon Damien O’Connor: Good coalmining.

Hon TREVOR MALLARD: It is. The second-biggest coalminer in New Zealand actually owns it. The second-biggest coalminer actually owns this product and this process.

The point I am making is that we need more support to get the innovations, to get the science, to get them commercialised, and to hold on to them in New Zealand. There is nothing in this bill that will do that.

STEFFAN BROWNING (Green) : The Greens are supporting this Advanced Technology Institute Bill. They are supporting the potential of this concept, because it is good to see something that will work as a facilitator and conduit between science and business in a way to ensure that the gaps that Trevor Mallard was alluding to can be filled.

I believe that the current Crown research institutes, the universities, and business can actually already achieve the progress that we would want as well. However, this facility may do that in a better way. But that comes with some reservations as well. I am hoping that we learn a lot more through the select committee process, because exactly to whom, to what, and to where funding is going, and the direction this is going, is a little bit unclear at the moment. Potentially, this will have some of the best of the old Department of Scientific and Industrial Research collaboration.

However, I am a little concerned it may be force-fed to the science community, with business and science coming together in a rather uncomfortable situational process as well, because we do not have a clear idea of how much the Crown research institutes will be coerced into what might be nothing more than a subsidy for some of National’s big-business and venture capitalist friends.

Hon Member: Oh, please!

STEFFAN BROWNING: Let us see. Let us hear the examples—the real, genuine examples—of what this is going to be. Who are the targets of this? We are supporting it in good faith at this point. Let us hope that it is the best of facilitating and collaboration, a bringing together of science and innovation and marketers, and that it is there for the small and medium enterprises, which are so often starved of access to what is made available to the big players. Let us watch and let us see and let us get some more clarity from the Government on this.

This institute needs to be aligned with the clean, green, “100% Pure Aotearoa New Zealand” brand—a smart green economy, not just any technology, and not the science that so often can discredit a good brand.

I was fortunate enough in the adjournment to attend a biotechnology conference at Rotorua for the week, and the field trip that went with that on the Thursday. It was fascinating and encouraging to see the science that would fit with this sort of institute—it is already happening, mind you, at Scion—bioplastics, great products, great innovation, engineering for new products, waste-water processes, and other things that were just a snapshot of some of the things that happened there.

I was possibly fortunate, as well, that we did not waste time looking at their genetic engineering processes there, which is some of what I would consider to be the dirty science that can wreck New Zealand’s brand and the way that we market ourselves through the world. We have got a real problem with that in New Zealand in that some of the science in this institute is meant to be following that direction too. Biotechnology is in there, but what biotechnology is it? Is it biotechnology of the best form that we could be proud of and stand tall with, or is it something that is unfair to the rest of the productive community in New Zealand and that will discredit us?

Another concern I have is that the science may be misused in that it goes to businesses that end up getting sold offshore, so the benefit actually disappears from New Zealand—a bit like the scientists who are leaving, who were alluded to before. Today we hear that Fisher and Paykel Appliances might be being sold to China. Fisher and Paykel Appliances, albeit it is unnecessarily large and should not be needing this sort of institute to help it, is the sort of business that, logically, would use it, and it is disappointing to think that that benefit may go offshore. Thank you; we look forward to supporting this bill and hearing its progress.

Dr JIAN YANG (National) : I welcome the opportunity to speak on the first reading of the Advanced Technology Institute Bill, which is sponsored by our Minister of Science and Innovation, Steven Joyce. Members speaking before me have already stated that the bill is about establishing a new statutory Crown entity, the Advanced Technology Institute—or ATI—which will, when up and running, have bases in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. The institute’s two principal roles are, firstly, to help lift capability in businesses, Government agencies, education institutes, and research organisations, and, secondly, to act as a service provider for businesses. Its focus will be on our manufacturing and service industries, which both have growth potential.

As a former university lecturer, I welcome our Government’s efforts to push research and development theory into the realm of the real, practical world. Many of our university science students will be heartened to hear today that the National-led Government is committed to helping to get our best, most innovative ideas out of the lab and into the market place more quickly. In particular, the bill will promote greater movement of researchers, graduates, and academics between institutions and industry, which will give them valuable work experience, and I welcome this.

Like the 20th century, economic growth in the 21st century will be based on technological innovation. Technological innovation increases productivity, and increasing productivity is crucial for sustainable economic growth. For that reason, we must stay at the forefront of knowledge and technological innovation. We in National know the importance of staying ahead of global competition. This will in turn create jobs, lift incomes, and boost New Zealanders’ standard of living. This bill is part of our Business Growth Agenda, which is a key element in building a more competitive and productive economy.

National also understands the importance of helping small businesses that may be struggling in tough economic times. We are committed to helping them in every way we can. By locating the institute in key cities, we will be connecting high-tech firms to small businesses so that they can interact, grow, lift their competitiveness, and, in turn, boost New Zealand’s economic growth. National believes that bridging the gap between business, science, engineering, and design is the way to turn ideas into products. Science and technology innovation are major drivers of growth and international competitiveness. That is why Budget 2012 invested $326 million and, in 2012-13, total cross-portfolio funding of $1.24 billion for science, innovation, and research. In July this year New Zealand jumped up two places to 13th in the world in the Global Innovation Index, which analyses innovation in 141 countries. The fact that New Zealand is placed higher than countries—

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I know that at the beginning of a first reading of a bill there is some latitude to set the context. I think we have been going for about 3 minutes now, and other than saying which bill the member has been speaking to, he has given us a lovely discourse on science but nothing to do with the bill.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): That is a matter for me to judge.

Dr JIAN YANG: The fact that New Zealand is ranked higher than countries such as China, Japan, Germany, and Australia highlights the importance we attach to science and innovation. We need to keep investing in science and innovation so that we continue to improve and continue to be recognised as a smart, innovative country to do business in. This bill will help New Zealand businesses to become more competitive and successful globally, and that is a good thing for New Zealand. I commend this bill to the House. Thank you.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Members, this debate has concluded. The question is that the motion be agreed to. Those of that opinion will say Aye, to the contrary, No. The Ayes have it?

Tracey Martin: The Noes have it.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): The Ayes have it. Do you want a party vote? You must ask for—

Tracey Martin: A party vote; I beg your pardon.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): You must ask for a party vote. Do not assume, because you vote against it, that there will be a party vote. I will ask the Clerk for a party vote.

A party vote was called for on the question, That the Advanced Technology Institute Bill be now read a first time.

Ayes 110 New Zealand National 59; New Zealand Labour 34; Green Party 14; ACT New Zealand 1; Mana 1; United Future 1.
Noes 8 New Zealand First 8.
Bill read a first time.
  • Bill referred to the Education and Science Committee.

Hon JO GOODHEW (Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector) on behalf of the Minister of Science and Innovation: I move, That the Education and Science Committee report the bill to the House on or before 6 November 2012, and that the committee have authority to meet at any time while the House is sitting (except during oral questions), during any evening on a day on which there has been a sitting of the House, on a Friday in a week in which there has been a sitting of the House, and outside the Wellington area, despite Standing Orders 188, 190(a), and 191(1)(b) and (c).

Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE (Labour—New Lynn) : We are quite shocked that the Government would want a report-back date of 6 November. As the Standing Orders provide that any motion for a report-back date of less than 4 months can be debatable, I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Labour-led Opposition, to register our strong concern about this. One wonders why it is that the Government is taking this very unusual step of denying the Education and Science Committee, and through it the innovation community, a full and proper opportunity to make submissions on the Advanced Technology Institute Bill, to have its case heard, to consider the submissions in the normal way, to write a proper report, and to report back to this House within the normal time period. This is really only a couple of—not even 2 months. It is ridiculous.

What is the Government trying to hide in the depths of this bill? What is going on at Industrial Research Ltd that it is having to change the name, change the board, and fossick through this bill in the dead of daytime—or actually in the dead of the evening—at any time the House is in session? It can meet on a Friday. It can put extra strain on the select committee system. It can throw into confusion parties’ normal management of the House, and all for what? A bill that has not been introduced in urgency, a bill that the Opposition is supporting because it is ostensibly a small step in a positive direction.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I don’t know why.

Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE: Well, there we are. As my colleague has said, we do not know why, because it has been supported by the Opposition in good faith, on the basis that it is part of a normal legislative process. Now we find out that it is not. Now we find out that this is being rushed through the House, according to the Government’s timetable in less than 2 months.

That is outrageous. It is outrageous because there is no apparent justification for it. How do we know? Well, it just so happens that we have under the Official Information Act a Treasury memorandum of 22 February 2012, an aide-mémoire to the Minister of Finance, which sets out additional information on the time frame for costs related to the establishment of the Advanced Technology Institute. I wish to acknowledge my excellent colleague Megan Woods MP, who has provided this document to the House. What this shows is that the original Ministry of Science and Innovation proposal for the Advanced Technology Institute—

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Order! This debate is a very narrow debate, and under Standing Order 286(3) the member cannot bring in the content of the bill. I will read it to you, and this may apply to others: “Any debate on the question for a motion under this Standing Order is restricted to the special powers or instruction set out in the motion. It may not extend to the principles, objects, or provisions of the bill to which the motion relates.” So the member must talk, as he did earlier, as to the reasons why, or why not, there is a truncated period for the bill.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I appreciate your ruling, but I think if you had waited just a little bit more—I was listening very carefully to my colleague, and he referred to—

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): No, no. I am inviting the member to continue, and I will listen very carefully from now on in. The point I made was valid at the time. I invite the Hon David Cunliffe—

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I refer to you Standing Order 286(3): “Any debate on the question for a motion under this Standing Order is restricted to the special powers or instruction …”. The instruction relates to the time frame. My colleague was referring to the financial consequences of the time frame. It has nothing to do with the substance of the bill. It has to do with the timing of the bill, and therefore is something that is within the scope of this debate.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): I will be listening very closely.

Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE: Mr Speaker, may I offer a brief apology if the way that I framed this did not assist the Chair. Let me reread the title of the aide-mémoire in question, which is “Additional information on timeframe for costs …”. The substantive point that I wish to make—and I appreciate the intervention of my colleague Mr Mallard for assisting—is that the time frame was changed. It was delayed by Treasury from the earlier time frame recommended by the Ministry of Science and Innovation. The expenditure profile therefore slipped out a year, and one can only assume that the Government is trying now to make up for lost time.

But this appears to be bureaucratic slippage. Why is the Government denying the Parliament the opportunity to properly examine and debate what ought to be a relatively standard bill? It has not been introduced in urgency, and the Opposition is supporting it in principle, although there are issues with it. Why the Government would pull the stunt of asking for a report back in less than 2 months, which is less than half the minimum period provided for in the Standing Orders, frankly beggars belief. One can only assume that the Government is making a habit of trifling with the House. Mr Speaker, as you know, that is “second-term-itis” writ large. That is what happens to Governments when they have been getting just a little too comfortable on that side of the House, and getting a little too snug in those seats in the LTDs. They lose focus and they forget how it feels to real people out in real New Zealand. In this case the real people are the real scientists and innovators. They want this, let us assume, but they want it done properly. They do not want to have to come back to the House in 6 months’ or a year’s time to unpick drafting errors that should have been picked up the first time through. The Government is needlessly accentuating the risk of a drafting meltdown, because it is not giving this a proper period of consideration.

What are we asking for? The normal process is 6 months. Let us say that the Government is in something of a hurry and we took—I do not know—5 months or even 4 and a bit, which is provided for in the Standing Orders. That way we would not be having a debate on a motion that has now become debatable because of the Government’s unwarranted haste. We could be disposing of this early in the new year, but we are not. Instead, the Government is putting pressure on the House, pressure on the select committee system, and pressure on the sector to rush this through on Fridays, when the House is not sitting, and to have the select committee meeting while the House is in session, denying members the opportunity, for example, to have full consideration of other bills and possibly questions for oral answer.

Why is the Government doing this? Firstly, one wonders whether the Government has confidence in its own processes. My colleague Megan Woods has raised this issue in particular because of what appears to be bickering between Treasury and the Ministry of Science and Innovation. Treasury said the ministry’s timetable was not realistic, and it pushed it out a year.

It is unclear why the Government is now attempting to overrule Treasury and side with the ministry. But I think I have a theory. The Ministry of Science and Innovation is part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, which is the bureaucratic empire created to provide a fitting throne for Mr Steven Joyce, and Treasury reports to the “other” Minister of Finance, Mr Bill English. It is a legend around this place that the two do not often take tea. It may be that there is a bit of a tug of war going on here for the House timetable, resulting from—how would we put it—little disagreements, perhaps, between their respective bureaucratic empires. So there is a problem of confidence in the process.

Is there confidence in the substance? Why are we having this debate on the time line? If the Government had the courage of its convictions—

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Order! The member cannot say that. The member will withdraw that comment.

Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE: I withdraw that comment. If the Government had full confidence in the substance of the bill—

Hon Trevor Mallard: It’s a Government.

Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE: It was a Government, charitably speaking. It was a Government composed of some members—and that is perhaps a liberal interpretation. But none the less the issue of confidence remains.

Summing up, there is no need for this to have an outrageous 2-month time line turn-round. We should not be back having the second reading in November this year. It should be at least in the early part of next year. The Government is abusing the Standing Orders of the House, which is why it is incurring the penalty of this becoming a debatable motion. It has breached the normal 4-month rule for a report back, and all for what? It has a bureaucratic mess between two departments and between two rival Ministers, it has an inordinate pressure on House time, it lacks confidence in the process, it lacks confidence in the substance, and the people—

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): I am sorry to interrupt the honourable member. His time has expired.

Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South) : The Advanced Technology Institute Bill is a bill on which there has been a debate on the substance, and I think it was clear during that debate that it had the lukewarm support of Labour Party.

Dr Paul Hutchison: 108 members.

Hon TREVOR MALLARD: It was lukewarm—lukewarm—because although the new institute may or may not be a good thing, there was a question raised about whether the legislation is necessary or not. Given that—given the lukewarm nature of it—and the fact that all parties other than New Zealand First were supportive, one would have thought that the Government would tend the process to garner support and to try to get a degree of unanimity around the legislation and around the process.

But what do we have here? We have a Government that wants to ride roughshod to build up something that it says is going to be important for decades to come. What it is doing is changing the process that would normally occur in order to rush this through the system. I think it is important that if we are building something around which there is consensus, we should, as far as is possible, have consensus around the process, because then we can focus on the substance of the legislation rather than on the process, as we will now be doing, and as will occur in the truncated select committee process.

I indicated in the earlier debate that I represent hundreds, if not thousands, of scientists, if we take a broad definition, especially in the information science area. Many of those people will want to make submissions, but most of those people have something else to do. It is called a “job”. Many of them are self-employed, many of them are employed in small businesses, some of them are employed in Crown research institutes, and some are employed in universities and technical institutes. Those people know a lot about this area, and they will want to make submissions.

I am told by my colleague Ruth Dyson that the normal process is that there is normally a 6-week period that Parliament sets. That is the standard period: 6 weeks for submissions to come back. The committee meets and there is 6 weeks. Well, if the committee meets next week and there is a 6-week period for submissions to come back, that leaves no time whatsoever in order to hear those submissions, and that is an absolute disgrace.

My colleague David Cunliffe, I am just going to sort of disagree with him a little bit.

Hon David Cunliffe: No!

Hon TREVOR MALLARD: Well, no, I have never done that before!

Hon David Cunliffe: It never happens!

Hon TREVOR MALLARD: I have never done that before! He said that we are running roughshod over Parliament. Well, in a way that is true, but it is not the real issue. What we are doing here is we are running roughshod over the people of New Zealand, over the stakeholders, and over the businesses who have an interest in this and an interest in getting it right. We have had feedback that the rapid process that is being used here and has been used previously around the abolition of credits has caused major damage to New Zealand business. It has caused major damage to New Zealand business. Why should we repeat the process that caused that much damage in this bill?

I want to make another point, and that is the question of travel. I sit on the Business Committee, and it is very, very rare for us not to come to an agreement around the ability of select committees to travel to hear submissions. We think it is a good thing, taking Parliament out to the people. But we do it by agreement. We do it by the parties getting together in the Business Committee and saying that this is a good thing to do for this committee, there is enough notice, people are of agreement, and there are enough submissions in the area; good on them, get them out there talking to the people.

What we do not like and what is not good parliamentary politics is to have a Minister saying: “We’re telling you what to do, select committee.” and a whole pile of monkeys opposite voting for that Minister, for that approach. That is not acceptable. That is not an acceptable approach to running Parliament in a positive manner. That is not an approach that should happen.

There are some other things, such as meeting during the day. Select committees can, with the support of the Business Committee, often make decisions to sit during the day while Parliament is sitting where something is urgent. If something is urgent, if something is really urgent, then the Parliament has its systems for dealing with it and for dealing with these issues responsibly. But with what we have here, I frankly do not understand the reasoning of the Government and why it wants to burn off Opposition support, albeit lukewarm, for a bill by running this sort of process.

There are other things. I mean, you know, in respect of what Business Committee members say—without sharing too widely what happens in the Business Committee, because it is generally confidential—I think people are allowed to say what the committee members say, or quote themselves. I get damned annoyed with select committees that regard adjournments as holidays and do not meet. I get damned annoyed with lazy Government members who do not meet in the adjournments, regard them as holidays—regard them as holidays—and then come to this House and tell members that they are not allowed to come to the Chamber, that they are banned from the Chamber. It comes so close that if there was not a motion of the House, it would be a breach of privilege to have select committees meeting at this time, when the House is sitting, when lazy Government members—lazy Government members—have not been prepared to meet in the adjournment.

Mike Sabin: We will remember that when you’re next asking for it.

Hon TREVOR MALLARD: Well, I hope the member does remember that fact, and I hope the member is also a member who stands up for the Parliament and the people of New Zealand. What is that one’s name? What is his name?

Hon Members: Mike Sabin.

Hon TREVOR MALLARD: Mike Sabin. I want Mike Sabin to stand up after me and say that he is standing up for his constituents. I do not know how much science they do in Northland. No, I do. They actually do some quite interesting science up in Northland. But I want him to say that his constituents are going to get a fair shot at making a submission on this bill and that they are going to get, if not 6 weeks, 4 weeks—4 weeks—to prepare a submission. I think they should be allowed at least 4 weeks to prepare a submission, and then if there are enough submissions from Northland, I think the committee should go up there, preferably in the adjournment, and should deal with it.

If we did this properly, and maybe even worked it around Waitangi Day, the committee could meet there—at almost no additional travel costs because most members are up there—and report the bill back at the appropriate time early in the new year. What I am hoping for is that it could be dealt with in a positive way. It could be dealt with in a positive way and we could end up supporting it. What is going to happen, if the Government rides roughshod over the people of New Zealand, is that we will end up opposing this legislation to the closure.

DAVID CLENDON (Green) : I just want to make a couple of brief comments on this debate. There are some practical considerations about this. The bill, the Advanced Technology Institute Bill, was presented on Monday, I believe. We are having its first reading on Thursday. One wonders at the need for that haste. It is true, as I understand it, that the specific committee in question, the Education and Science Committee, is not a particularly busy committee at this point. I understand there is no legislation before it. It does have a number of inquiries in train, but there is capacity there to accommodate and to do some more work.

This bill, albeit having been presented only this week, has been fairly well flagged in terms of its content. We know that this particular institute has been a gleam in the eye of the Minister of Science and Innovation for some time. We have had a fairly clear sense even through media and other reporting of what it would look like. These are reasons why it might be appropriate to have a truncated select committee process.

Contrary to that, of course, in respect of these truncated processes—acknowledging the points made by the previous speaker, Trevor Mallard—it is quite an important fundamental constitutional and parliamentary process to allow members of the public time to participate. So I guess our view is that these truncated processes can work, but, generally, only if there is a high level of cooperation from all parties. We have just heard two reasonably passionate speeches, which give us a very clear steer that there is no such consensus and that there is not a willingness to cooperate, for very well-voiced reasons, which to me brings us to the point. We have had a motion from the Government that we should support this very, very short select committee process. What I would like to now hear is a justification from the Government for that. We would like to have it spelt out very clearly what the need is, what the benefit is, and what the public good is in having this quite short process. I guess we will make our decision on the quality of the argument that we hear from the Government. Kia ora.

TRACEY MARTIN (NZ First) : New Zealand First would also like to express its concern at this exceptionally shortened period of report back.

I sit on the Education and Science Committee. Although I may or may not accept the statements that the committee is not busy, it is a very collaborative committee that takes its work very seriously. It is working currently on a digital literacy inquiry; there are well over 30 or 40 submissions and 2 days of oral submissions that must be considered as we come to a report for this House. It has also just yesterday started an inquiry on Pasifika languages and their place inside early childhood education. This is a serious matter. We had at least 20 submitters submit to us orally yesterday. We have another day of oral submissions. Unless the Government is suggesting that we rubber-stamp this bill, the Advanced Technology Institute Bill—considering that it has already formed an establishment board, unfortunately that is where my mind is going to. I do not believe that the Education and Science Committee is a group of people who choose to rubber-stamp legislation for the benefit of a Government that wants to rush things through.

New Zealand First has also already stated today that we are not confident that this bill achieves what the Government says it is trying to do. Therefore, we would welcome the opportunity for the people of New Zealand and for the scientists of New Zealand to have the appropriate amount of time to gather their thoughts about this bill—there is wishy-washy information available about how things are actually going to work in it—to put them into the appropriate written submission form to send to the committee, to have the opportunity to take leave from their places of employment, and to book in to see and speak to the committee in the usual time line. I do not understand. We strongly object.

This committee does good work. I do not want, and I am sure the other members of my committee do not want, to be seen as rushing through legislation because it is convenient to us or anybody else. I ask that the Government reconsider and give us the appropriate amount of time to let the people of New Zealand participate in what is an internationally recognised process where the people can speak to their politicians about legislation. I seek that from this Government.

CHRIS HIPKINS (Labour—Rimutaka) : The previous speaker, Tracey Martin, finished slightly before I was anticipating. I am very happy to take a call to discuss this procedural motion, in what is a relatively new process for the House. I was on the Standing Orders Committee when the committee made the determination that a motion such as this to truncate a select committee process should be a debatable motion. It was something that the Standing Orders Committee spent quite some time considering. We saw that with many of the new powers that the Government was given by that Standing Orders review, including extended sittings and so on, there had to be some trade-offs to that, and this was one of them.

Truncating a select committee process does infringe quite seriously on the rights of members to participate fully in all aspects of the parliamentary process. What this motion does, for example, is it basically says that if the select committee chair decides to call a meeting of this committee while the House is sitting, and there are items on the Order Paper being debated in the Chamber that a member of that committee wishes to participate in the debate around, they will not be able to. They will be prevented from being able to participate in that debate.

The committee can already do by consensus all of the things that this motion gives it the power to do. If the members had decided that actually there was no good reason why they could not meet while the House was sitting because there was nothing on the Order Paper that they particularly wanted to participate in, then the committee could decide that for themselves. But what this does is it takes that decision away from the committee and it gives the chair the exclusive power to make that determination, even if other members on the committee want to participate in other proceedings in the House. I do not think that that is right, and it is a significant constraint on the rights of members to participate in the activities of the House, to represent their constituents, and to do the job that we are paid to do. That is the first point. I think that we need to be really careful when the Parliament, as we are being asked to do now, votes to take away the rights of members. That is effectively what the Government is now asking us to do.

This bill, the Advanced Technology Institute Bill, is being referred to the Education and Science Committee, which, I understand from the New Zealand First member Tracey Martin, who just spoke, works on a relatively collaborative basis, and has a few items of business on the agenda that it is dealing with at the moment. But I am told by my colleague that it does not actually have any other legislation on the agenda at the moment. So it should actually be able to accommodate this, if it was given a reasonable time frame—if it was given a time frame that was not truncated, that was not less than the 4 months. The Government can shorten the time frame from 6 months to 4 months without needing to go through the process that it is going through now. In 4 months—given the workload, I understand, of the Education and Science Committee—it should be able to accommodate the robust process within that time frame, if it was not being forced to rush it through.

As I said, if there is a desire to meet outside of Wellington, for example, as this motion gives the committee the power to do, the committee can already do that through a number of ways. The Business Committee regularly considers requests from select committees to meet outside of Wellington, and I think that we have adopted quite a collaborative approach to dealing with those requests through the Business Committee. The Opposition has actually gone out of our way to support many of those committees in meeting outside of Wellington. I think that that is—

Hon Trevor Mallard: The National Party wants to destroy that positive relationship.

CHRIS HIPKINS: That is right. The Government is basically saying that it does not want to collaborate with other parties in Parliament. It is going to just ride roughshod over that and do what it wants to do. I actually think that since the Standing Orders were changed—and this debate, as I mentioned earlier, that I am taking part in now was one of the changes made by the Standing Orders Committee—the Business Committee has actually adopted a very collaborative approach to assisting the Government to achieve the things that it wants to achieve. We have cooperated with it on extended sitting hours, which is unprecedented. It has gained a huge number of extra sitting hours that it would otherwise have had to use urgency for. In fact, even if it had used urgency, it could not have done some of the things that we have done using those new powers for extended sitting—even under urgency. In some cases—the Treaty settlement bills are really good examples—we have grouped things up. It is relevant, Mr Speaker, because it is all part of the trade-off that exists around processes in the House.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! This debate is confined to why this should be truncated. We are not talking about trade-offs or decisions around that. I have been listening very, very carefully, and I just ask the member to speak about the reasons why. He has been on track and then drifted off. I am asking him to return.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I also was listening very carefully to the member, and what I would like to put to you is that he was talking about the new processes of the House and whether or not we should support those processes being applied to this bill. What he was pointing out was that those processes are part of a package and that package includes general cooperation. I think what he was saying is that if the Government goes down this line—

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! I have heard the member and I have deemed that to be outside the scope. Cooperation is not, but to relitigate the business of the Standing Orders Committee in relation to this is.

CHRIS HIPKINS: One of the reasons that I am opposed to truncating the time frame for this—well, there are two reasons that I want to go into. The first is around what that does to the democratic rights of the people who are affected by the bill, and the second is what that does to the functioning of Parliament, particularly around cost. I will deal with the second one first—the issue around cost. A truncated process is actually quite an expensive process. Consider, for example, travel. If this committee is being given the power to travel, to hear proceedings outside of Wellington at relatively short notice, that is going to be more expensive. It cannot book—for example, my colleague Megan Woods pointed out to me that you cannot get Grabaseat tickets for many of these things if we do not have sufficient time to plan ahead for those. We cannot get the cheapest airfares, for example. So it is not necessarily going to be cheaper. There is cost associated with haste. My colleague Kris Faafoi pointed out to me earlier on that there is no dignity in haste. I think that is something that this Parliament should really take into account.

Coming back to the first point that I raised, about the risk of a rushed process, members of the public who are going to be affected by this bill will not have sufficient opportunity to actually have a say in it and to make submissions. So, for example—and I know I am not allowed to deal with the substance of the bill in this debate, but I think it should be noted—the establishment board has a real lack of scientists on it. Scientists might have a view on that, and they might want to come to the committee and prepare a considered submission. Bearing in mind that the committee probably will not meet until next week to open submissions, can scientists prepare a considered submission if that committee gets the bill next week? It will advertise for submissions, open submissions, and give people only maybe a week or two to make their submissions. The committee has only a week or two to hear them, then a week or two to consider them, and then the bill has to be reported back to the House. How on earth is that going to actually allow for due, proper consideration and for a depth of thought to go into that process? It is not.

Basically, if we pass this resolution, what this House is saying to the committee is actually to not worry too much about the process, as the outcome has been predetermined. The Government already knows what it wants to do. It is simply going through the motions of sending this to a select committee, but it does not actually expect it to change. It is not going to give the select committee sufficient time to run a proper process so that errors in the bill or improvements might be identified, and so that the people who actually have expertise have an opportunity to have a say. The Government does not want the committee to have that ability. I think that that is a very, very bad message for it to send.

This is quite an important issue, and it is one where we have offered cooperation to the Government by supporting the substance of the bill, but we are very concerned about the process. Our support for the bill, of course, may be potentially contingent on the outcome of the next part of the process. If that next part of the process is rushed, that may well compromise the level of support the bill gets for the remaining stages as it progresses through the House. If we do not think that people have had an adequate chance to look at the bill in detail, to consider where improvements might need to be made, then we might not necessarily support the bill through the remaining stages. So it is quite a serious issue. It is not something that we have seen—I think this is only the second time since the Standing Orders were changed that the House has been asked to consider a motion like this.

Hon Trevor Mallard: It might be the third.

CHRIS HIPKINS: Possibly the third, Trevor Mallard is suggesting.

Hon Trevor Mallard: One slipped through earlier.

CHRIS HIPKINS: One slipped through that we did not debate, because it was the first time. But this is uncommon. It is not common practice in this House, and it is not to be encouraged. I think it is important that the House takes some time, as we have been doing this evening, to actually examine whether or not there is good cause, in every case where this kind of motion is put forward, for a truncated process and for overriding the rights of members of Parliament to fully participate in the processes of the House. I do not think, on my reading of the bill, that there is. I am very disappointed that in moving this resolution the Government did not put forward a case for doing so. I think that is really important. If the Government is going to move a shortened process, it is incumbent on the Minister doing so to at least—even if it is only a few sentences—give some explanation of why it thinks the process should be shortened. And yet we got absolutely nothing at all from the Minister who moved the procedural motion. So there is no justification for truncating this process. The Government has not even bothered trying to assert one, so the Labour Party will certainly be opposing this procedural motion.

CHARLES CHAUVEL (Labour) : I want to say a few words about the motion that Minister Goodhew moved. I guess my fundamental point in this contribution is to say that the Opposition accepts that there will be occasions when these sorts of motions are appropriate. Just the other day we had a motion to truncate the scrutiny that would be able to be afforded to the Subordinate Legislation (Confirmation and Validation) Bill. The proposal was that that should go to the Regulations Review Committee and it should come back to the House on 5 November.

The committee met this morning, and we had a look at the strictures that that would put on our ability to consider the bill. Basically, because it was pretty much a procedural piece of legislation, we worked out that we could accommodate the House’s instruction. I had been given the courtesy, as the chairman of the committee, in advance from the relevant Minister by way of some advice that that was what the Government wanted. It wanted the legislation back quickly. We could not see any harm in that. There was no great controversy in the legislation; it was a procedural bill. As I said, we worked out in the committee today on advice that we could, without appointing advisers, write to the departments concerned and ask them for evidence by way of a written response to questions—

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! I think the member is talking about a different bill here. I am having difficulty following him. We are discussing the reasons for this.

CHARLES CHAUVEL: Speaking to the—

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, I have made a ruling. I have said that I am listening. The member should continue.

CHARLES CHAUVEL: I apologise if you think I am straying. What I am trying to do is draw an analogy between a situation where it is entirely proper to do this, and the present situation.

I am going to get the present situation, I promise you. But I want to make the point that we concede it is proper, on occasion, to do this, but it is not, even in those cases, an easy thing for a select committee to accommodate. It is necessary to do away with the possibility, for example, as we did today, of the likelihood of hearing evidence. We are simply going to do things mainly on the papers. We are going to do without advisers. We are going to simply try to rely on our expertise and on the evidence that we receive from departments concerned. That is probably just doable in that sort of case. This legislation is substantive legislation.

The reason I have tried to draw the analogy is that it calls for the reporting back of the legislation a day after the bill that I have just mentioned. The Subordinate Legislation (Confirmation and Validation) Bill is due back on 5 November. I have tried to illustrate to the House how the Regulations Review Committee has had to deal with that in order to meet that deadline. This is a much more substantive piece of legislation.

No doubt the Education and Science Committee is going to have to consider the same sorts of short cuts and abridgments that the Regulations Review Committee had to consider this morning. It will have to consider whether it can fully hear evidence, whether it can travel, whether it can hear from all the witnesses that it wants to hear from, and whether it is going to get the sort of advice that would customarily be able to be tendered from officials in the very, very short time frame that is available, even if it sits through all the adjournments and all the sittings of the House that lie between now and 6 November.

I want to make another point about the desirability of this practice. It is by way of trying to illustrate to the House the sorts of perils that can come up. When the criminal compensation legislation was being considered by the House, the Minister of Justice had said to me that because there was an expiry date coming up, she wanted to expedite the consideration of that legislation. So there was a very good reason why expedition should occur.

I agreed, on behalf of my colleagues, that we would cooperate, particularly at the Justice and Electoral Committee, in assisting to pass interim legislation so that the primary legislation, which was about to expire, would not leave a hole in the law while we as a Parliament considered what the replacement should be. There was a proper case for expedition. What there was not was consultation about whether there should be a truncation motion—just like in this case—so when it was moved, even the Acting Leader of the House, the Hon Anne Tolley, was surprised to have it sprung on her. She was not surprised to see that there was objection from our side of the House to the truncation motion.

That has led, I have to say, to some real difficulty in terms of the ongoing relationship between me and the Minister. The Minister felt that because we agreed to expedition but not truncation, and then we voted against truncation because it came up on a surprise basis, we had gone back on the deal we had. That certainly was not the case, but it is a good example of the sorts of problems that can arise in this sort of situation, where, without consultation, a truncation motion is moved.

I would make a plea to the Minister of Science and Innovation and to the Government to reconsider the wisdom of the truncation motion in this case. It is generally, I think, agreed to be not good practice. It should occur only where there is a good reason. I have tried to give two cases where I think there was good reason. First of all was one where really only procedural matters were being dealt with—and that clearly is not the case here—and, secondly, there was a case where there was primary legislation due to expire, and there was a need for some interim legislation to come up and be dealt with on an urgent basis. Again, that was clearly a case where it was justifiable to contemplate this sort of procedure even if there was not proper consultation and agreement on truncation.

That is not the case here. This is very substantive legislation. I am not going to refer to the substance of the bill, but what I am going to say is that the reason why this bill differs from the two cases that I have tried to put to the House includes the fact that it will involve a transfer of employees, legally, from one entity to another. It will involve the creation of a new Crown entity. If we have a look at clauses 15 and 16—

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, no. The member is now outside. You will come back to the provisions in the motion to shorten the period.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The motion is, in fact, much wider than the question of the shortening. There is the question of when the committee can sit. There is the question of where it can sit. I think it is important that members are not restricted. We had a bit about the shortening, but I am sure that as debate goes on it will be about the other provisions of the motion as well.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Well, that was a nice try, but it is outside the Standing Orders. Let me just read the Standing Order again: “Any debate on the question for a motion under this Standing Order is restricted to the special powers or instruction set out in the motion. It may not extend to the principles, objects, or provisions of the bill to which the motion relates.”

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The special powers or instructions that were moved—I accept that you were not in the Chair at the time—relate not only to the length of the period before the report back but also to when the committee can sit in the sitting—

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! I have heard the member. Firstly, I do have the House relayed in my office. I also have the motion in front of me, and I have the Standing Orders. I have instructed the member quite clearly on what he should speak on.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. You instructed him to speak only on the length of—


Hon Trevor Mallard: That is exactly what you referred to, Mr Speaker. And that is why I raised the original point of order.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Well, it is the provisions that were in the motion. Let us be quite clear.

CHARLES CHAUVEL: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I was simply making the point that although I was pointing out to the House that there were procedural bills where this sort of motion was appropriate, and there were occasions where a bill might contain a sunset clause where Parliament had not moved expeditiously to deal with replacement legislation, this is not one of those cases. This is substantive legislation. I am sure members in the select committee will want to hear about the effect of, for example, creating a new Crown entity. They will want to hear from experts about the effect of legally transferring employees from one entity to another.

There is another point that I want to really invite the representatives of the Government in the House to consider. This is a bill that has had virtually unanimous support in the House today. The bill has been referred to as Sir Paul Callaghan’s bill. Sir Paul is a person who commands, posthumously, enormous respect from all New Zealanders. I really think that this is the sort of case where the Government ought to just pause and consider whether it wants to create a controversy like this around legislation that it regards as clearly being something of a centrepiece of its economic development agenda, and where it has invoked the memory of a very great New Zealander, somebody who does deservedly have—


CHARLES CHAUVEL: —respect across the House. Well, Mr Speaker, I am making the point that a procedural motion such as this does not do honour to the person whom the Government wishes to name the institute after. It is another reason why I invite the Government to reflect again, as well as on all the consequences that my colleague Chris Hipkins has foreshadowed, as to whether this is a course of action that it wishes to pursue.

MICHAEL WOODHOUSE (Senior Whip—National) : I move, That the question be now put.

GARETH HUGHES (Green) : I rose very slowly to give the Government benches an opportunity—because I think we in this Chamber and the public of New Zealand would like to hear from the Government benches exactly why they are taking this step to have a shortened report-back time, so that the public, the experts, and the interested people can get to have a say on this bill, the Advanced Technology Institute Bill. It is deeply unfair. I think it is going to be counter-productive, but, sadly, I think it is symptomatic of the approach we see from this Government.

Looking at the Government benches, we see those members—we do not hear them, of course—sitting there mute. None of them are prepared to take a call to explain why they are doing this. There could be perfectly good reasons. There may be perfectly good reasons, but we will never know. The public will never know, because the Government benches, sitting there mute, refuse to answer. It is deeply unfair. It is unfair because we are not going to hear from the people who are busy, as Mr Mallard pointed out. Many of these people—the experts, the innovators, and the technologists—are busy working, and the Government benches are saying that they are not going to give them much time to have a say.

We have heard from the select committee that it has the time. We have heard from many members of the select committee that they have got the inclination to actually travel to hear from the experts. It is going to be counter-productive. What we want to see is good lawmaking coming out of this Parliament. If we do not have a chance to hear from the experts, and if we do not have a chance to have adequate, in-depth scrutiny by the select committee, it will be counter-productive.

What we are likely to see is the Minister of Science and Innovation, no doubt down the line, tabling a massive amendment on the Table, because there was not adequate scrutiny of this bill. Perhaps that is exactly what the Minister is intending. I think it is quite likely, knowing the Minister’s track record. One just has to look at previous bills he has introduced where he has thumped down massive amendments. Minister Foss, unfortunately, is also getting a reputation for that as well. We will never know, of course, because the Government members are refusing to take a call. The Minister is not even in the Chamber. I think it is embarrassing. I think it does not bode well—

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes. The member cannot refer to the absence of members from the Chamber. He is also drifting outside with some of his other comments.

GARETH HUGHES: That is right, Mr Speaker. I apologise for pointing out the absence of Minister Joyce.

Hon Trevor Mallard: You can say he’s not taking a close interest in the legislation.

GARETH HUGHES: That is right, Mr Mallard. I just want to point out that it is deeply unfair. I think it is disrespectful and symptomatic of this Minister and this Government, and it is a black mark. I think the Government benches should, if they are going to continue to do this, expect the Opposition parties to continue to raise this abuse—I believe—of process without good reason, and, in this case, with zero reason.

Dr MEGAN WOODS (Labour—Wigram) : We have heard from many people about why it is that there might be a good reason for the Government wanting to rush the Advanced Technology Institute Bill through. As a member of the Education and Science Committee, which this legislation is trying to be rushed through, I would like to take a call on this, and I would like to echo my colleague Gareth Hughes’ call for someone on the Government benches to stand up, to take a call, and to tell us why it is that the Government is proceeding with undue haste. As my colleague Kris Faafoi, beside me, has been reminding me, there is no dignity in haste, and we have absolutely no explanation from members opposite why it is that they want to proceed with such haste.

This is a bill that Labour was willing to support. In our substantive speeches—and I am not going to stray into the substantive parts of the legislation—all members on this side foreshadowed some very serious questions that we wanted to see answered at the select committee. To deny that opportunity for this Parliament to go through its process and have those questions examined by the people who have real expertise is an absolute travesty. Getting this legislation right is a delicate balance. It is a delicate balance of the scientific community, industry, and Government working together. So far, this whole process in setting up the Advanced Technology Institute has been weighted in favour of the Government. The select committee process is the very part of the process where it is that science and industry could come together to make sure that the outcomes that we are all seeking from the establishment of this institute can be achieved. We have no ability to answer in a meaningful way the very serious questions that were raised in this debate.

If we can compare the setting up of the Advanced Technology Institute with the setting up of the Crown research institutes 20 years ago, we see that this is a hugely speedy process. Setting up and dismantling the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, and setting up the Crown research institutes as a consequence of that dismantling, was a process that was hugely consultative. There was input from a large range of people. Why is it that the Government is trying to deny the process and the opportunity to have that consultation and to have people to input into it? We are just more than a little perplexed on this side of the House. We are dealing with a piece of legislation that will transfer people’s employment. We are dealing with people’s jobs. We are dealing with the way in which science is done. And this is not just tinkering around the edges. There is no need to be changing this. What this legislation is doing is creating Industrial Research Ltd as a subsidiary of a new Crown entity, and transferring some of the functions of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to it. Why is it that you would need to proceed with haste? There is nothing that is going to be done within this new organisation that cannot be done until this new entity called the Advanced Technology Institute is put in place. The reason for haste just does not exist.

As my colleague David Cunliffe has already alluded to, what we have seen from Government members throughout the history of the Advanced Technology Institute sort of being suggested is some rush to the finish line by the Government, which we do not understand, and which is casting serious doubt on why the Government really wants to push this through and on whether this is something we should be supporting. We saw Treasury having to put the brakes on the Ministry of Science and Innovation and its papers in the Budget documents because Treasury knew that the Ministry of Science and Innovation was putting together a time line that was simply unachievable. So there we have it. Treasury put the brakes on it, so why now is this Parliament trying to speed up that process, deny proper process, and deny the opportunity to get the very best outcome that we can?

We have heard from many members on this side of the House who are affronted that people with real knowledge, real expertise, and a real ability to input into the creation of this Advanced Technology Institute are being denied their voice and denied their ability to have a say. What it is, is we would like to hear more from the Minister of Science and Innovation on why this is. He is remaining strangely silent. Members of the Education and Science Committee from the Government side are also very silent on this question. I would like to hear from the chair, Nikki Kaye, on why it is that this legislation is being rushed through that committee, because I would like to point out to members of this House who might not be aware that actually, I think, this is the first piece of legislation that this committee has had to consider this term. It is not like it is a committee that is being rushed off its feet in terms of examining legislation. The need to rush this through just does not make sense. Something does not stack up, and we would like Government members to take a call. From lack of legislation going through this committee, is there all of a sudden going to be a need to push through other legislation in this committee—for example, are we going to have to get the charter schools legislation through at breakneck speed as well? So this is the kind of consideration that we have to have. What is the real agenda of why it is the people’s voice is being denied real input?

In my speech, when I talked about this legislation—again, I will not be delving into the substantive parts of the legislation—I talked about this actually being an important moment in our history and it being absolutely vital that we get it right. I made that statement with real gravity. It is something that I believe personally, and it is something that I believe passionately—that if we do not get this right our economic future is not assured. The only way we will get it right is to give the people who work in industry and the people who work in science the opportunity to have their say. I do not think that officials and parliamentarians are the only people who can input into this. I am affronted that members opposite have the arrogance to think that those who work at the coalface have nothing to input into how this is going to play out, because I, for one, want to hear what they have to say. I think these are the people who will actually have some real and meaningful things to input into this. But still we have stunned silence from members opposite, and not one mention of why that is. We just want to know why the undue haste. We just have blank looks, and members opposite unable to even look at us when we are asking this question, because they do not have an answer.

It is an affront to this House and it is not the reason I came into it. I came into this House to represent people and for people to have genuine input into legislation. It is all very well for members opposite to sledge across the House. How about they get to their feet, take a call, and tell us why it is that they are denying people the right to have input into their legislation. It is very important that we do have scientists, scientists who know lots of things like about H2O and water, to have an input. I really do urge people to have some kind of input into this. I urge members opposite to take a call and tell us why it is, but more than anything I ask that we do not rush this very important moment through the select committee process. It is too important.

JACQUI DEAN (National—Waitaki) : I move, That the question be now put.

A party vote was called for on the question, That the question be now put.

Ayes 61 New Zealand National 59; ACT New Zealand 1; United Future 1.
Noes 57 New Zealand Labour 34; Green Party 14; New Zealand First 8; Mana 1.
Motion agreed to.

A party vote was called for on the question, That the Education and Science Committee report the bill to the House on or before 6 November 2012, and that the committee have authority to meet at any time while the House is sitting (except during oral questions), during any evening on a day on which there has been a sitting of the House, on a Friday in a week in which there has been a sitting of the House, and outside the Wellington area, despite Standing Orders 188, 190(a), and 191(1)(b) and (c).

Ayes 61 New Zealand National 59; ACT New Zealand 1; United Future 1.
Noes 57 New Zealand Labour 34; Green Party 14; New Zealand First 8; Mana 1.
Motion agreed to.