Parliament Hansard Report – Thursday, 6 August 2020 – Volume 748 – 000524

Parliament Hansard Report - Thursday, 6 August 2020 - Volume 748 - 000524

Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

ORAL QUESTIONS

QUESTIONS TO MINISTERS

Question No. 1—Housing

1. Hon GERRY BROWNLEE (Deputy Leader—National) to the Minister of Housing: Is she satisfied with all aspects of quarantine and managed isolation management, and what, if anything, has she learnt from the Australian experience of a second wave of COVID-19 infections?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS (Minister of Housing): In answer to the first part of the question, yes, but as I outlined on Tuesday, this is a process of continuous improvement. While the systems are robust, we cannot always prevent human error. In answer to the second part of the question, what I’ve learnt is the importance of good Government oversight and robust procedures to ensure we keep COVID out of our communities. In New Zealand, the Defence Force have the responsibility for operating our facilities with the assistance of police, aviation, and security staff. What we have seen in Victoria in the wake of a community outbreak is a transition to a publicly managed system similar to ours, because poor management of private managed isolation facilities through private providers resulted in a second wave of COVID-19 and an extended lockdown. But the most important lesson I’ve learnt is that under the brilliant leadership of our Prime Minister, we prioritised a public health response. Because we went hard and went early, we are now in a strong position to bounce back from the effects of COVID-19.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: With such glowing testament to the Government’s brilliance, can she guarantee—

SPEAKER: Order! The member will ask a question that is in order.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Is her glowing testament to the Government’s competence a guarantee—

SPEAKER: Order! The next time, the member will lose his supplementary.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Well, you better instruct me. Point of order—point of order.

SPEAKER: If the member can’t recognise his ironic tone himself, everyone else can. Ask the question.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Can the Minister guarantee that the Government’s management of quarantine and managed isolation will not result in a second wave of COVID-19 infections in New Zealand?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: This is a question that I’ve spoken about on numerous occasions, as the member will be aware. What we will guarantee as a Government is that we will prioritise setting up robust managed isolation and quarantine facilities that protect New Zealanders and the gains that we have made. What I have also talked about is that there will be human error, but we are putting in place a significant risk mitigation strategy to ensure that we are protecting all of us.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: What risks are posed by security guards at quarantine facilities in New Zealand falling asleep on the job?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: Private security guards who are subcontracted through the Aviation Security Service (Avsec) are one part of the layer of security that exists in our managed isolation and quarantine facilities. Of course, the operational lead of our facilities lies with the New Zealand Defence Force. We also have Avsec, we also have police, and then we do have subcontracted security guards. Obviously, it is not acceptable to have security guards falling asleep on the job, and this is the subject of an investigation that we are carrying out with site security assessments of all of the 31 managed isolation facilities. But the guarantee I can give New Zealanders is that we aren’t putting all of our faith on one simple layer of security, that we have multiple layers of security within our facilities, and that is why they are doing the job they were set up to do, and that is to keep COVID inside of our facilities and not in our communities.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Is she aware of reports that similar incidents of security guards falling asleep in the state of Victoria could have led to the increased community transmission of COVID-19 in that state?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: I am aware of some nocturnal activities alleged around security guards in the state of Victoria, but what I can tell that member is that, actually, what has been publicly identified as the biggest risk that was posed in the state of Victoria with the facility was the outsourcing of the management of the managed isolation and quarantine facilities, and the lack of robustness that came through that. That is why our Government has made a commitment to ensure that we brought in early the New Zealand Defence Force to be the agency that was operating our facilities.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Has the Minister checked to find out if security guards who are working in a private capacity or through private contractors at the 31 managed facilities are working shifts of less than 12 hours and do not have second jobs?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: As I talked about, we are currently carrying out site security assessments of all of the 31 managed isolation facilities, and this is the subject—as well as the number of hours, the pay rates that people are being paid is also something that we are interested in. We are also interested in whether or not they are licensed security companies that are being employed in these facilities. So not only have I asked the questions; we have also met with unions who represent these security workers.

Hon Stuart Nash: Did the Minister ever uncover any evidence of Casper the homeless ghost—I mean guest—as reported by the Opposition—

SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! Order! The member will stand, withdraw, and apologise.

Hon Stuart Nash: I withdraw and apologise.

Hon Louise Upston: No, mean it—stand and look like you mean it.

SPEAKER: Order! No, the member will sit down, and the Hon Louise Upston will stand, withdraw, and apologise.

Hon Louise Upston: I withdraw and apologise.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Has the Minister just told the House that there may well be unlicensed security guards acting as one of the lines of security at some of the 31 quarantine centres?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: As that member is well aware through the engagement of security firms through a number of his portfolios, there are a variety of types of security companies that operate in New Zealand. Some of them are licensed; some of them have employees who are not. Part of the individual site security assessments that we are carrying out is an audit of the types of security subcontracts that are present at every site. But before that member would like to fearmonger more for New Zealanders, I would like to give the reassurance that this is a layered approach to security, and people can have faith that our managed isolation and quarantine facilities are offering a strong line of defence to keep COVID out of our communities.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Has she had any discussions with Dr Ashley Bloomfield to ascertain why he might have put a lot of fear into the New Zealand community yesterday by suggesting a second wave could be imminent?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: I think the only person putting fear is the person wearing the tin foil hat. But what I would like to say is that it’s the responsibility of the Director-General of Health to prepare New Zealanders in the wake of a global pandemic about what could happen. In fact, our Prime Minister three weeks earlier had outlined what the scenarios would be if there is a resurgence of the virus. This is what a Government with a plan looks like. This is what a Government who is prepared looks like and why there is a public that has faith in our Government in leading them through this pandemic.

Parliament Hansard Report – Motions — Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki—75th Anniversary – 000523

Parliament Hansard Report - Motions — Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki—75th Anniversary - 000523

Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

THURSDAY, 6 AUGUST 2020

Mr Speaker took the Chair at 2 p.m.

Karakia.

MOTIONS

Atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki—75th Anniversary

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Deputy Prime Minister): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I seek leave to move a motion without notice and without debate to mark the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

SPEAKER: Is there any objection to that course of action being taken? There appears to be none.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: I move, That this House mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the fiftieth year since the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entered into force, by urging all nuclear armed states to make real progress toward a nuclear weapons-free world; and that it urge all states to maintain the global norm against nuclear weapons testing, and all who have not yet joined the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to do so at the earliest opportunity to ensure a world finally free of the threat of nuclear weapons.

Motion agreed to.

Parliament Hansard Report – Oral Questions — Questions to Ministers – 000522

Parliament Hansard Report - Oral Questions — Questions to Ministers - 000522

Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

ORAL QUESTIONS

QUESTIONS TO MINISTERS

Question No. 1—Housing

1. Hon GERRY BROWNLEE (Deputy Leader—National) to the Minister of Housing: Is she satisfied with all aspects of quarantine and managed isolation management, and what, if anything, has she learnt from the Australian experience of a second wave of COVID-19 infections?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS (Minister of Housing): In answer to the first part of the question, yes, but as I outlined on Tuesday, this is a process of continuous improvement. While the systems are robust, we cannot always prevent human error. In answer to the second part of the question, what I’ve learnt is the importance of good Government oversight and robust procedures to ensure we keep COVID out of our communities. In New Zealand, the Defence Force have the responsibility for operating our facilities with the assistance of police, aviation, and security staff. What we have seen in Victoria in the wake of a community outbreak is a transition to a publicly managed system similar to ours, because poor management of private managed isolation facilities through private providers resulted in a second wave of COVID-19 and an extended lockdown. But the most important lesson I’ve learnt is that under the brilliant leadership of our Prime Minister, we prioritised a public health response. Because we went hard and went early, we are now in a strong position to bounce back from the effects of COVID-19.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: With such glowing testament to the Government’s brilliance, can she guarantee—

SPEAKER: Order! The member will ask a question that is in order.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Is her glowing testament to the Government’s competence a guarantee—

SPEAKER: Order! The next time, the member will lose his supplementary.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Well, you better instruct me. Point of order—point of order.

SPEAKER: If the member can’t recognise his ironic tone himself, everyone else can. Ask the question.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Can the Minister guarantee that the Government’s management of quarantine and managed isolation will not result in a second wave of COVID-19 infections in New Zealand?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: This is a question that I’ve spoken about on numerous occasions, as the member will be aware. What we will guarantee as a Government is that we will prioritise setting up robust managed isolation and quarantine facilities that protect New Zealanders and the gains that we have made. What I have also talked about is that there will be human error, but we are putting in place a significant risk mitigation strategy to ensure that we are protecting all of us.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: What risks are posed by security guards at quarantine facilities in New Zealand falling asleep on the job?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: Private security guards who are subcontracted through the Aviation Security Service (Avsec) are one part of the layer of security that exists in our managed isolation and quarantine facilities. Of course, the operational lead of our facilities lies with the New Zealand Defence Force. We also have Avsec, we also have police, and then we do have subcontracted security guards. Obviously, it is not acceptable to have security guards falling asleep on the job, and this is the subject of an investigation that we are carrying out with site security assessments of all of the 31 managed isolation facilities. But the guarantee I can give New Zealanders is that we aren’t putting all of our faith on one simple layer of security, that we have multiple layers of security within our facilities, and that is why they are doing the job they were set up to do, and that is to keep COVID inside of our facilities and not in our communities.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Is she aware of reports that similar incidents of security guards falling asleep in the state of Victoria could have led to the increased community transmission of COVID-19 in that state?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: I am aware of some nocturnal activities alleged around security guards in the state of Victoria, but what I can tell that member is that, actually, what has been publicly identified as the biggest risk that was posed in the state of Victoria with the facility was the outsourcing of the management of the managed isolation and quarantine facilities, and the lack of robustness that came through that. That is why our Government has made a commitment to ensure that we brought in early the New Zealand Defence Force to be the agency that was operating our facilities.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Has the Minister checked to find out if security guards who are working in a private capacity or through private contractors at the 31 managed facilities are working shifts of less than 12 hours and do not have second jobs?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: As I talked about, we are currently carrying out site security assessments of all of the 31 managed isolation facilities, and this is the subject—as well as the number of hours, the pay rates that people are being paid is also something that we are interested in. We are also interested in whether or not they are licensed security companies that are being employed in these facilities. So not only have I asked the questions; we have also met with unions who represent these security workers.

Hon Stuart Nash: Did the Minister ever uncover any evidence of Casper the homeless ghost—I mean guest—as reported by the Opposition—

SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! Order! The member will stand, withdraw, and apologise.

Hon Stuart Nash: I withdraw and apologise.

Hon Louise Upston: No, mean it—stand and look like you mean it.

SPEAKER: Order! No, the member will sit down, and the Hon Louise Upston will stand, withdraw, and apologise.

Hon Louise Upston: I withdraw and apologise.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Has the Minister just told the House that there may well be unlicensed security guards acting as one of the lines of security at some of the 31 quarantine centres?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: As that member is well aware through the engagement of security firms through a number of his portfolios, there are a variety of types of security companies that operate in New Zealand. Some of them are licensed; some of them have employees who are not. Part of the individual site security assessments that we are carrying out is an audit of the types of security subcontracts that are present at every site. But before that member would like to fearmonger more for New Zealanders, I would like to give the reassurance that this is a layered approach to security, and people can have faith that our managed isolation and quarantine facilities are offering a strong line of defence to keep COVID out of our communities.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Has she had any discussions with Dr Ashley Bloomfield to ascertain why he might have put a lot of fear into the New Zealand community yesterday by suggesting a second wave could be imminent?

Hon Dr MEGAN WOODS: I think the only person putting fear is the person wearing the tin foil hat. But what I would like to say is that it’s the responsibility of the Director-General of Health to prepare New Zealanders in the wake of a global pandemic about what could happen. In fact, our Prime Minister three weeks earlier had outlined what the scenarios would be if there is a resurgence of the virus. This is what a Government with a plan looks like. This is what a Government who is prepared looks like and why there is a public that has faith in our Government in leading them through this pandemic.

Parliament Hansard Report – Tuesday, 4 August 2020 (continued on Wednesday, 5 August 2020) – Volume 748 – 000521

Parliament Hansard Report - Tuesday, 4 August 2020 (continued on Wednesday, 5 August 2020) - Volume 748 - 000521

Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

TUESDAY, 4 AUGUST 2020

(continued on Wednesday, 5 August 2020)

COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH RESPONSE AMENDMENT BILL

First Reading

Debate resumed.

AGNES LOHENI (National): Thank you, Madam Speaker. A pleasure to pick up on my contribution to the COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill. The bill aims to provide a framework which is about recouping the costs of managed isolation and quarantine facilities for New Zealanders coming back home, returning home. Before I go on, I would like to acknowledge all the personnel, the staff, who are working at the various isolation facilities—health personnel, hospitality workers, the cleaners, security, the army and police personnel. Thank you for all that you do.

As I was listening to some of the earlier contributions to this bill, there was a lot of talk about fairness—that we needed to be fair to the New Zealanders who are returning home, that this is their home country. This bill is actually about fairness. In fact, the National Party introduced absolutely this concept that New Zealanders returning should make a contribution to the cost of the quarantining and managed isolation.

COVID-19 and the period of lockdown for us as a country has just been one big wrecking ball through this country, and nothing has been fair about it. We know many families and businesses have been hit so hard, and some businesses will not come back from this. We know that we’ve got 200,000 people on the unemployment benefit. We know that business confidence is down. Nothing has been fair. The debt is mounting, too—another $150 billion.

So in terms of fairness, of course it hasn’t been fair, and we have to acknowledge the thousands of New Zealanders who’ve been impacted in so many ways. It hasn’t been fair to those who’ve lost their jobs. It hasn’t been fair to those businesses who have faced complete ruin. It hasn’t been fair to people who are struggling to make ends meet, people that perhaps may be losing their homes. It hasn’t been fair to those who have missed out on seeing their loved ones on their last days, attending those family events, funerals. It hasn’t been fair to people who’ve had to cancel wedding plans or people that have missed attending the birth of a grandchild.

It absolutely hasn’t been fair, and under normal circumstances, we would never think to charge New Zealanders who want to return home. But this is not normal circumstances. It’s extraordinary times. Most New Zealanders are feeling it, and they do feel that they want some fairness in terms of the costs, the burden that we as a country are facing currently, but also the cost to taxpayers for New Zealanders returning home. As we’ve heard, the cost to New Zealanders per stay is $5,700. That is a lot, at this time—to ask taxpayers to shoulder that full cost of New Zealanders returning home.

We support this bill. We support a framework to recoup the costs. We don’t believe that the bill goes far enough, and we will provide some Supplementary Order Papers in the name of the Hon Gerry Brownlee to that effect. Ultimately, as Minister Woods has announced, the Government expects to spend $479 million by the end of the year on managed quarantine, and the amount that is expected to be recouped under this bill is about $10 million, or just under $10 million, which is—that’s just 2 percent, 2 percent of what it would cost to fund the managed quarantine facilities. I don’t think that’s fair to taxpayers, to New Zealanders who are already shouldering so much of the cost of this post-COVID period. I think it’s very reasonable—and, actually, New Zealanders have stated quite clearly that they don’t believe it’s fair and they do want New Zealanders who are returning home to shoulder and to wear some of that cost as well.

There will be some exemptions set out in this bill in terms of personnel that may have to go out and come back in, but there is an expectation that if you are going away on holiday, you will be on the understanding that you will pay for the cost of your managed isolation in return.

So the other thing is that we don’t know how long we’re going to be in this position of having these facilities, so we do need a solution that is practical and fair. As I said, everybody will say, “We’ve got to be fair to the New Zealanders coming back.” We also have to be fair to the taxpayers that are here that are already shouldering the cost of the debt that’s rising, the job losses, and the impacts on families. Madam Speaker, thank you very much.

ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Hon Ruth Dyson): The following call is a split call.

Parliament Hansard Report – COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill — First Reading – 000520

Parliament Hansard Report - COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill — First Reading - 000520

Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

TUESDAY, 4 AUGUST 2020

(continued on Wednesday, 5 August 2020)

COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH RESPONSE AMENDMENT BILL

First Reading

Debate resumed.

AGNES LOHENI (National): Thank you, Madam Speaker. A pleasure to pick up on my contribution to the COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill. The bill aims to provide a framework which is about recouping the costs of managed isolation and quarantine facilities for New Zealanders coming back home, returning home. Before I go on, I would like to acknowledge all the personnel, the staff, who are working at the various isolation facilities—health personnel, hospitality workers, the cleaners, security, the army and police personnel. Thank you for all that you do.

As I was listening to some of the earlier contributions to this bill, there was a lot of talk about fairness—that we needed to be fair to the New Zealanders who are returning home, that this is their home country. This bill is actually about fairness. In fact, the National Party introduced absolutely this concept that New Zealanders returning should make a contribution to the cost of the quarantining and managed isolation.

COVID-19 and the period of lockdown for us as a country has just been one big wrecking ball through this country, and nothing has been fair about it. We know many families and businesses have been hit so hard, and some businesses will not come back from this. We know that we’ve got 200,000 people on the unemployment benefit. We know that business confidence is down. Nothing has been fair. The debt is mounting, too—another $150 billion.

So in terms of fairness, of course it hasn’t been fair, and we have to acknowledge the thousands of New Zealanders who’ve been impacted in so many ways. It hasn’t been fair to those who’ve lost their jobs. It hasn’t been fair to those businesses who have faced complete ruin. It hasn’t been fair to people who are struggling to make ends meet, people that perhaps may be losing their homes. It hasn’t been fair to those who have missed out on seeing their loved ones on their last days, attending those family events, funerals. It hasn’t been fair to people who’ve had to cancel wedding plans or people that have missed attending the birth of a grandchild.

It absolutely hasn’t been fair, and under normal circumstances, we would never think to charge New Zealanders who want to return home. But this is not normal circumstances. It’s extraordinary times. Most New Zealanders are feeling it, and they do feel that they want some fairness in terms of the costs, the burden that we as a country are facing currently, but also the cost to taxpayers for New Zealanders returning home. As we’ve heard, the cost to New Zealanders per stay is $5,700. That is a lot, at this time—to ask taxpayers to shoulder that full cost of New Zealanders returning home.

We support this bill. We support a framework to recoup the costs. We don’t believe that the bill goes far enough, and we will provide some Supplementary Order Papers in the name of the Hon Gerry Brownlee to that effect. Ultimately, as Minister Woods has announced, the Government expects to spend $479 million by the end of the year on managed quarantine, and the amount that is expected to be recouped under this bill is about $10 million, or just under $10 million, which is—that’s just 2 percent, 2 percent of what it would cost to fund the managed quarantine facilities. I don’t think that’s fair to taxpayers, to New Zealanders who are already shouldering so much of the cost of this post-COVID period. I think it’s very reasonable—and, actually, New Zealanders have stated quite clearly that they don’t believe it’s fair and they do want New Zealanders who are returning home to shoulder and to wear some of that cost as well.

There will be some exemptions set out in this bill in terms of personnel that may have to go out and come back in, but there is an expectation that if you are going away on holiday, you will be on the understanding that you will pay for the cost of your managed isolation in return.

So the other thing is that we don’t know how long we’re going to be in this position of having these facilities, so we do need a solution that is practical and fair. As I said, everybody will say, “We’ve got to be fair to the New Zealanders coming back.” We also have to be fair to the taxpayers that are here that are already shouldering the cost of the debt that’s rising, the job losses, and the impacts on families. Madam Speaker, thank you very much.

ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Hon Ruth Dyson): The following call is a split call.

Parliament Hansard Report – Tuesday, 4 August 2020 – Volume 748 – 000519

Parliament Hansard Report - Tuesday, 4 August 2020 - Volume 748 - 000519

Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

TUESDAY, 4 AUGUST 2020

The Speaker took the Chair at 2 p.m.

PRAYERS

SPEAKER: Kia orana. Members, because it’s Cook Islands Language Week, I’ve asked the Hon Alfred Ngaro to say the prayer in Cook Islands Māori.

Hon ALFRED NGARO (National):

[Cook Islands Māori text to be inserted by the Hansard Office.]

E Te Atua Mana, te akameitaki atu nei matou iakoe no toou takinga meitaki taau i riringi mai ki runga ia matou. Te akaruke nei matou i to matou tu tangata, te akamaara nei matou i te ariki vaine, e te pure nei matou kia arataki koe i ta matou uriuri anga manako, kia rave matou I ta matou angaanga i roto i teia ngutuare na roto i te pakari, te tuatua tika e te akaaka no te meitaki e te au o to matou basileia Niu Tireni.

[Cook Islands Māori text to be inserted by the Hansard Office.]

Amene.

Parliament Hansard Report – Prayers – 000518

Parliament Hansard Report - Prayers - 000518

Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

TUESDAY, 4 AUGUST 2020

The Speaker took the Chair at 2 p.m.

PRAYERS

SPEAKER: Kia orana. Members, because it’s Cook Islands Language Week, I’ve asked the Hon Alfred Ngaro to say the prayer in Cook Islands Māori.

Hon ALFRED NGARO (National):

[Cook Islands Māori text to be inserted by the Hansard Office.]

E Te Atua Mana, te akameitaki atu nei matou iakoe no toou takinga meitaki taau i riringi mai ki runga ia matou. Te akaruke nei matou i to matou tu tangata, te akamaara nei matou i te ariki vaine, e te pure nei matou kia arataki koe i ta matou uriuri anga manako, kia rave matou I ta matou angaanga i roto i teia ngutuare na roto i te pakari, te tuatua tika e te akaaka no te meitaki e te au o to matou basileia Niu Tireni.

[Cook Islands Māori text to be inserted by the Hansard Office.]

Amene.

Parliament Hansard Report – Thursday, 30 July 2020 – Volume 748 – 000517

Parliament Hansard Report - Thursday, 30 July 2020 - Volume 748 - 000517

Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

Question No. 3—Health

3. ANAHILA KANONGATA’A-SUISUIKI (Labour) to the Minister of Health: What recent announcements has he made about upgrading vital infrastructure at Auckland City Hospital?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS (Minister of Health): Yesterday, I visited Auckland City Hospital to view the infrastructure upgrade programme that they have been progressing using Budget 2018 funding of $275 million.

Chris Bishop: Budget 2018!

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: This includes upgrading and replacing key infrastructure—just hold on for a moment—including lifts, fire protection systems, boilers, electrical substations, and water systems. They have been making such good progress that the Government is now able to help fund the second phase of this very important work, so I was able to announce an additional $262 million for Auckland City Hospital that will help to fund new central plant and service tunnels, new tanks, pumps, and air handling systems.

Anahila Kanongata’a-Suisuiki: Why is this investment required?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: Most of the infrastructure at Auckland City Hospital is almost 50 years old, and the majority of the site relies on services from a central plant building. Infrastructure failure could compromise the entire hospital system’s network and its ability to provide care that New Zealanders need. Unfortunately, this is a risk for many of our hospitals up and down the country, and that’s why we’re improving hospital infrastructure in DHBs with a $3.5 billion allocation of funding for this purpose so far to date. The funding I confirmed yesterday brings this Government’s investment in core Auckland DHB assets to more than half a billion dollars in just two years as we make up for a decade of neglect.

Anahila Kanongata’a-Suisuiki: When will the second phase of infrastructure upgrades at Auckland City Hospital get under way?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: More good news: the work is already under way. Initial work, like site investigation, surveys, and testing are progressing well, and the physical work is due to begin in October. This is a significant piece of work, and, at its peak, the project will require as many as 350 extra workers on site. Confirmation of this project sends a strong signal to the construction sector that the Government has a rolling maul of major construction work to provide confidence and support to the businesses and their workers.

Parliament Hansard Report – Business Statement – 000516

Parliament Hansard Report - Business Statement - 000516

Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

THURSDAY, 30 JULY 2020

The Deputy Speaker took the Chair at 2 p.m.

Prayers.

BUSINESS STATEMENT

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS (Leader of the House): Next week will be the final sitting week of the 52nd Parliament. On Tuesday, 4 August the Appropriation (2020/21 Estimates) Bill will have its third reading. I’ve informed the Business Committee of my intention to move urgency on Tuesday. Bills to be passed under urgency will include the COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill, the COVID-19 Response (Further Management Measures) Legislation Bill (No 2), the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill, the Fuel Industry Bill, and the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Amendment Bill. The Land Transport (Drug Driving) Amendment Bill will receive its first reading and there will be a motion to extend the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020. On Thursday, 6 August, all things going according to plan, the House will close its proceedings with the adjournment debate.

CHRIS BISHOP (National—Hutt South): Can I ask the Leader of the House whether or not the Government will give consideration to picking up the Adverse Weather-affected Timber Recovery on Conservation Lands Bill, a member’s bill in the name of Maureen Pugh, that has just been drawn from the members’ ballot, and sending that to a select committee in the time the House has before we rise for the election.

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS (Leader of the House): Of course, the Government has a lot of legislation to try and get through over the three remaining sitting days we will have next week, and so we have no intention to pick up any of the members’ bills.

Parliament Hansard Report – Oral Questions — Questions to Ministers – 000515

Parliament Hansard Report - Oral Questions — Questions to Ministers - 000515

Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

Question No. 3—Health

3. ANAHILA KANONGATA’A-SUISUIKI (Labour) to the Minister of Health: What recent announcements has he made about upgrading vital infrastructure at Auckland City Hospital?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS (Minister of Health): Yesterday, I visited Auckland City Hospital to view the infrastructure upgrade programme that they have been progressing using Budget 2018 funding of $275 million.

Chris Bishop: Budget 2018!

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: This includes upgrading and replacing key infrastructure—just hold on for a moment—including lifts, fire protection systems, boilers, electrical substations, and water systems. They have been making such good progress that the Government is now able to help fund the second phase of this very important work, so I was able to announce an additional $262 million for Auckland City Hospital that will help to fund new central plant and service tunnels, new tanks, pumps, and air handling systems.

Anahila Kanongata’a-Suisuiki: Why is this investment required?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: Most of the infrastructure at Auckland City Hospital is almost 50 years old, and the majority of the site relies on services from a central plant building. Infrastructure failure could compromise the entire hospital system’s network and its ability to provide care that New Zealanders need. Unfortunately, this is a risk for many of our hospitals up and down the country, and that’s why we’re improving hospital infrastructure in DHBs with a $3.5 billion allocation of funding for this purpose so far to date. The funding I confirmed yesterday brings this Government’s investment in core Auckland DHB assets to more than half a billion dollars in just two years as we make up for a decade of neglect.

Anahila Kanongata’a-Suisuiki: When will the second phase of infrastructure upgrades at Auckland City Hospital get under way?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: More good news: the work is already under way. Initial work, like site investigation, surveys, and testing are progressing well, and the physical work is due to begin in October. This is a significant piece of work, and, at its peak, the project will require as many as 350 extra workers on site. Confirmation of this project sends a strong signal to the construction sector that the Government has a rolling maul of major construction work to provide confidence and support to the businesses and their workers.