Question Time 3 June (SuperGold Card)

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First) to the Minister for Senior Citizens: When can my office expect a response to the letter sent to her on 27 May 2015 regarding SuperGold Card concessions?

Hon MAGGIE BARRY (Minister for Senior Citizens): As the member’s office was made aware on 27 May after his email to the office, Minister Foss will respond in due course because the transport concessions around the SuperGold card fall under his delegation and not mine.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Can the Minister for Senior Citizens please explain to the House and to the fool over here—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! That is the sort of remark that will lead to disorder in this House. [Interruption] Order! If the member wants the opportunity to complete his line of supplementary questions, I advise him to cooperate. Would he simply ask his supplementary questions.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Can the Minister for Senior Citizens please explain to the House, the New Zealand Herald, and seniors what arguments she has made against the Government’s continual delays in the SuperGold card review and the lifting of the moratorium on new transport allocations?

Hon MAGGIE BARRY: As that member may or may not be aware, there was a review that began in 2013. That will be released in due course. It is not very far away now. That member asked me to make it apparent to the readers of the New Zealand Herald. I wonder whether “Peters yet to act on promises made to Northland” is not prompt—

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Point of order. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! This is a point of order. It will be heard in silence.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. My point of order is about what arguments she has made to stop the delay in the review. That is precise.

Mr SPEAKER: Well, I wish the supplementary question had been as precise as that. Would the Minister please address that—because I had trouble listening to the answer.

Hon MAGGIE BARRY: There has been no delay. The review has been going on since 2013 and will continue until it is finished. It is appropriate to give good time and attention and care to detail—something that member could well learn from.

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

Rt Hon Winston Peters: If she is, as has been described by her colleague the Hon Craig Foss, very robust in representing seniors, as he advised me on 18 February this year, then why is she saying that there has not been a delay when it was planned to announce that that review was completed in June 2014?

Hon MAGGIE BARRY: That member is entirely incorrect about the dates, so the premise that there is a delay is totally flawed. As the Minister for Senior Citizens I am very proud indeed of the progress that this Government has made with the SuperGold card. From its very, very humble beginnings in 2008 there are now more than 12,000 businesses that the card is able to be used for. This is a great gain for seniors. In the last 3 months we have increased that by 650 further outlets, to do with things that—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The question has been answered.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: What is she doing on behalf of seniors to advocate for an end to the SuperGold card review, described by Mr Voss on 18 February—

Hon Members: Foss.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: —Mr Foss—as being completed in June 2014—he gave the date back then—and what is she doing about new applications being made, for example, from the Paihia to Russell ferry, the Ōkiato to Ōpua ferry, the Kohukohu to Rāwene ferry, or, for example, the Bluff to Stewart Island ferry, all of which were stopped by the closure of all applications until the moratorium is over?

Mr SPEAKER: The Hon Maggie Barry—either question.

Hon MAGGIE BARRY: The moratorium was put in place in 2010 so the member is somewhat behind the times. The member may be stung by the notion that he has done little to serve his electorate, but let us not cloud the issue. Minister Foss said in this House in February—and I checked the Hansard, because I am in the habit of checking facts rather than just burbling off the top of my head like that member—in response to a question from that member, that there would be, he expected, an answer by the end of June this year. That may happen; it may be a little longer. Those were his expectations. We do things thoroughly—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The question has now been answered.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: In answer to the Minister as to what she is doing, is it not a fact that a moratorium exists that prevents new applications for the transport allocations, and that has been extended now by over a year; if so, can she explain to this House and the confused New Zealand Herald journalist what the facts are, including the one in the Dominion Post yesterday saying that she was particularly ineffective?

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Either of those two supplementary questions.

Hon MAGGIE BARRY: When it comes to ineffective, I take lessons from the master, and that would be you. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I need to remind all members, particularly those to my right, that this is a point of order. [Interruption] That is the very sort of interjection that will have that Minister leaving the Chamber.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. My point of order is that I am asking whether or not the moratorium prevents any new applications.

Mr SPEAKER: No, the member can resume his seat immediately. He also asked about the effectiveness of the Minister and the Minister took the opportunity to respond.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Point of order.

Mr SPEAKER: I have just addressed the matter. If the member is raising a fresh point of order, I will look forward to it.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. This is a new matter, and it goes to numerous answers from the Minister. Of the four answers she gave, all attacking me personally, none of which I objected to—none of which I objected to—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member will resume his seat. This member gives as good as he gets.