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Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard


(continued on Thursday, 28 October 2021)


In Committee

Debate resumed.

Clause 3 (continued)

CHAIRPERSON (Adrian Rurawhe): Kāti rā, tēnā rā tātou katoa. Mōrena mai tātou. Members, when we suspended last night we were debating clause 3 of the COVID-19 Response (Management Measures) Legislation Bill, which includes Schedules 1 to 8. Members had been focusing their questions, as far as possible, on the Minister in the chair before we moved to the next Minister. The reason for this is that Ministers can only have one adviser at a time in the Chamber and if we mix the questions around a little too much, we will waste time swapping out advisers. I need to let the committee know that Minister the Hon Poto Williams is available in the chair this morning until 9.30 a.m., so I suggest members address any questions relating to residential tenancies immediately, and then Minister Faafoi will be available to address questions relating to property law.

Can I ask the Ministers, that you’re remaining in the seats that you’re in for this first half hour so that members know that the Hon Poto Williams is the Minister in the chair.

Hon SIMON BRIDGES (National—Tauranga): Point of order. I’m just trying to make sure—so I have questions for Minister Faafoi. I’m sure this is abundantly obvious but I’m not going to do those now. I’m going to wait till 9.30. Is that the process?

CHAIRPERSON (Adrian Rurawhe): There were a number of points of order last evening during the committee stage. The Standing Orders stand. There was an attempt to try to be efficient in the way that we run the debate on clause 3, to try and help the debate under the restrictions of only allowing one adviser in the House at a time. However, members have taken it upon themselves to address the breadth of the eight schedules, so it’s really up to the members of the committee. The Government has advised that the Hon Poto Williams is available till 9.30, but if members want to address other issues, they’re absolutely entitled to.

Hon POTO WILLIAMS (Minister for Building and Construction): Point of order. If I could just, perhaps, be helpful to the committee and suggest that I’m prepared to—well, I have a couple of issues I would like to raise in relation to the Schedule 5 discussion, and then I am available until 9.30. However, if members of the committee want to discuss other schedules, I am happy to use my time for the first part of the morning, and then allow other Ministers to take the chair, if that is useful to the committee.

Hon MICHAEL WOODHOUSE (National): Point of order. Thank you, Mr Chair. There’s just a couple of things that I think could assist the committee stage this morning—and it may have been discussed last night; I’m not aware. One of the confusions is it’s not actually clear who the Minister in the chair is, because we don’t have the chair beside the Clerk. I wonder if it would be appropriate to designate a chair on the Government bench that would be the Minister in the chair so that we would know then how that order is going. It doesn’t need a prescribed—as we will do, say, for example, with the Budget Estimates review.

I should just finish by saying I did hear Minister Hipkins as Leader of the House saying there was a Business Committee agreement around which Ministers would be available. That’s not entirely my understanding. There was an invitation for parties to say who they would like to interrogate, but there was no agreement in respect of how clause 3 would go through, and you’re quite rightly saying that the Standing Orders prevail.

CHAIRPERSON (Adrian Rurawhe): Thank you for that contribution. The member on both counts is exactly correct. So I’m going to ask the Minister in the chair, if I can, and I would have to ask the Hon Nanaia Mahuta to move—that we designate these front two as the Minister in the chair. It will make my job a lot easier as well, and when—whoever’s in there is the Minister in the chair.

STUART SMITH (National—Kaikōura): Point of order. Thank you, Mr Chair. Last night, there was a discussion around—I believe it was Speakers’ ruling 52/4—an allegation of an improper accusing of the members of the Opposition by Minister Little of their being controlled by those people who fund the National Party, or that was the allegation—

CHAIRPERSON (Adrian Rurawhe): Yeah, I’m going to interrupt the member—

STUART SMITH: —and you were going to come back and rule on that.

CHAIRPERSON (Adrian Rurawhe): Yeah, that’s right. That was raised by Chris Bishop. I said I would come back to him, but I’m happy to let the committee know that I’ve been through both Hansard and watched the recording of how things progressed, and taken advice from the Clerk’s Office. I am happy that the ruling that I made was correct and I took the words of the members on both sides as being honourable, and that’s where the matter lies. Members have other avenues if they wish to pursue them, but not through points of order.