Who was telling the truth?

Question No. 10?Foreign Affairs via Hansard.

Question No. 10?Foreign Affairs

Hon TODD McCLAY (National?Rotorua)?to the?Minister of Foreign Affairs: Has he made a decision whether New Zealand will sign up to the United Nations global compact for migration?

Hon DAVID PARKER (Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs): On behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the member continues to display a fundamental misunderstanding of the diplomatic processes that apply. There is no document to be signed; there is a vote.

Hon Todd McClay: Why has the Government not yet been able to make a decision, given he has had the draft text of the UN compact since July?

Hon DAVID PARKER: On behalf of the Minister, because we are carefully checking all of the facts, including the irresponsible and incorrect assertions that this somehow curbs the sovereignty of countries that vote for the compact.

Hon Todd McClay: Can the Minister of Foreign Affairs confirm that the Government have been negotiating the compact since February, they’ve had the draft text since July, adopted it in Morocco last week, and are actually just keeping Kiwis in the dark until after Parliament has lifted for the summer recess?

Hon DAVID PARKER: On behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, no. I can confirm that the gymnastics of the Opposition, who signed up to the?New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants?on?

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Stop telling lies.

Hon DAVID PARKER: ?19 September 2016?

SPEAKER: Order! Order! The member will resume his seat. Mr Brownlee will stand, withdraw, and apologise.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: I withdraw and apologise. I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, it should be something that you would pick up, if someone is putting a gross mistruth to the Parliament.

SPEAKER: The member will now stand, withdraw, and apologise again.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: I withdraw and apologise. I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Because it seems the rules are changing, could you advise the House what we do if a Minister stands up and says something that is grossly untrue?

SPEAKER: If the member is convinced that a Minister said something that is grossly untrue and it is a deliberate act, he writes me a letter. The member has been here since 1996; he knows that and is being disorderly and asking the question.

Hon DAVID PARKER: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. In the circumstances, sir, I seek leave to table the resolution adopted by the general assembly on 19 September 2016, which is titled the?New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which the National Party in Government voted in favour of.

SPEAKER: Is there any objection to that? There appears to be none.

Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.

Hon Todd McClay: Was the Prime Minister correct on NewstalkZB this morning when she said that it’s Winston Peters who would be making the decision to sign the UN compact later this week and not Cabinet?

Hon DAVID PARKER: I have seen the transcript of that interview, and that is an improper characterisation of it. [Interruption] It’s an incorrect characterisation of it. Can I further?

If you want to know who was telling the truth listen to the audio?of the interview referred to below.

The first part starts at 12:26 and her final foot in mouth occurs from 14:20 onwards

For those of you who don’t have time to listen here is my targeted transcript of what Jacinda Ardern said. Judge for yourself if what Todd McClay said was an ?improper characterisation?.

That’s the decision and the announcement will be made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. It will not be finally voted on till later this week […]

Cabinet has had a discussion. Final approval, of course, sits with Iain Lees-Galloway and Winston Peters […]

[…] I haven’t checked his [Winston Peters] um ah plans around announcing his decision, his final decision.?

SPEAKER: Order! Order! The member will resume his seat. I’m going to let the Minister answer the question, but I don’t want him to in any way imply that it was a deliberate misquoting of the Prime Minister, because if that was the case that would also be a breach of privilege and the Minister can’t do that by implication. So I’d ask the Minister to just take care with his words.

Hon Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. It’s very clear in past Speakers’ rulings that where there is an assertion in a question, a Minister is absolutely at liberty to reject the assertion, which is what the Minister did. I don’t think he said that the member had been deliberately misleading. He said it was a mischaracterisation. He is challenging the assertion; that is absolutely a legitimate thing for a Minister to do.

SPEAKER: The Leader of the House does have a good point, but I think in the circumstances of today I’ll just ask people to take care.

Hon DAVID PARKER: Further, sir, I would say that if New Zealand does take the decision, which is likely to be made by the end of the week, to vote in favour of the resolution, I’m advised that the countries likely to vote in favour of the resolution are on that sheet [Holds?sheet] and the countries in the world likely to vote against it, on that [Holds?sheet]. The National Party is very lonely in their populist gymnastics.

Dr Duncan Webb: Would supporting the compact bind the New Zealand Government on future immigration policy or otherwise limit the sovereignty of the current and future Governments?

Hon DAVID PARKER: On behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, because of the falsehoods that have been spread about this compact, the Government has sought legal advice on its effect to be absolutely sure that supporting the compact would in no way restrict or limit New Zealand’s sovereignty, including our ability to set our migration policies. So the answer to the question is no.

Hon Todd McClay: Does he agree with the statement that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Peters, made to media that the problem with these non-binding agreements is over time they become binding; and, if so, will he inform his Cabinet colleagues of his long-held position on UN agreements?

SPEAKER: I’m going to remind the member that he is, I think, speaking as Winston Peters at the moment.

Hon DAVID PARKER: Thank you, Mr Speaker?that gives me considerable latitude. The first point to make would be that I’m sure that the Minister of Foreign Affairs was speaking in respect of treaties. This is not a treaty. The second point I would make is that the reversal by the National Party on its earlier position is desperate, opportunist flip-flop, which appears to show that the National Party takeover by Judith Collins is just about complete.

SPEAKER: Question No. 11?Kiritapu Allan.

Hon Member: Is that in order?

KIRITAPU ALLAN (Labour): My question is?

SPEAKER: Sorry, would the member resume her seat. There are questions about whether that was in order or not. It was, I think, a reasonable response to a pretty aggressive political question.

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