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Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

Question No. 5—Housing

5. Hon GERRY BROWNLEE (Deputy Leader—National) to the Minister of Housing: Does she plan to introduce and pass legislation before the House rises on 6 August to allow for people returning from overseas to be charged part of the costs of undertaking managed isolation?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS (Minister of Housing): As the member is aware, the Government has been considering this for a number of weeks now, and extensive work has been ongoing. As I have stated publicly, this is a complex area, and we have to carefully and methodically work through all the implications. The work is almost complete, and I’m happy to inform the member that we’ll be making an announcement very, very shortly.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: What is the policy detail that the Prime Minister said yesterday was being finalised ahead of an announcement?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: The member will need to wait and see.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Well, does she hope to announce the detail of the charging regime ahead of the election?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: As I informed the member in my primary answer, the announcement is very, very soon.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Does she accept that there is some urgency around implementing a charging regime, given that managed isolation is currently costing taxpayers around $10 million a week?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: This is a Government that is well aware of all the different factors that go into managed isolation, one of those being what an important line of defence the proper operation of our managed isolation and quarantine facilities have been in our fight against COVID. I know that member is a member of a party that is playing fast and loose with the border, but we are a party committed to maintaining a strong line of defence.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. That is a completely unreasonable thing for the Minister to say in an answer—after all, we’re not the Government. We’re not—

SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! Order! The member can’t get up and say he doesn’t like an answer.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: No, I said it was dishonest.

SPEAKER: The member—if the member said that, which I missed, he will withdraw and apologise.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: I withdraw and apologise. I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I said it was unreasonable for a Minister to make an accusation like that in an answer, and I think it is. We don’t control the border; they do.

SPEAKER: Does the member have a further supplementary?

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Yes, I do. Is the real problem of not getting a charging regime in place prior to the election that she’s been unable to convince all partners in the Government coalition to agree to it, and if that is the case, will she reach across the aisle, where there is a clear understanding of what needs to be done?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: In answer to the first part of the question, no, and in answer to the second part of the question, we always welcome the Opposition supporting the wonderful legislation that this Government may put up.