New Zealand Dog News

Reviewing the dog news in New Zealand with editors comments. Someone needs to keep reviewing how our dogs are doing in society.

March 29, 2006

What politicians said in Parliament about microchipping

Is this how they debate in the beehive (NZ's Parliament)? It's a good read...if anything

Dog Control—Microchipping, Farm Dogs

Hon DAVID CARTER (National) to the Minister of Agriculture: What action, if any, is he taking to further the cause to exempt farm dogs from microchipping?

Hon JIM ANDERTON (Minister of Agriculture): I made a commitment to the rural community that I would take the issue of the microchipping of farm dogs to Cabinet for the existing policy to be reconsidered. This I did over recent weeks, and I can inform the House that the matter was given full consideration by my Cabinet colleagues. After careful consideration of the issues, Cabinet decided on balance that successful enforcement of the policy required a consistent approach to microchipping across all communities throughout the whole of New Zealand.

Dave Hereora: What reports has the Minister seen on the enforcement of the Dog Control Act?

Hon JIM ANDERTON: I saw a report in Hansard of 13 November 2003 in which the National Party member for Port Waikato said: 'We must clamp down on irresponsible owners, and achieve universal enforcement of the law around the country.' I note that only minutes after that statement was made the National Party voted 27 votes in favour of the Dog Control Amendment Bill and none against.

Nathan Guy: How can farmers be expected to have any confidence in this Minister, when after promising to help farmers affected by the Gisborne flood he failed to do so, and after promising to deliver solutions to exempt farm working dogs he has again failed?

Hon JIM ANDERTON: If that member knows any farmers at all he will know that the vast majority of farming opinion is against subsidies for weather events unless they are of the most exceptional circumstance. Secondly, Federated Farmers and other farmers in the farming community know that they have a Minister who will not bypass their issues on the basis that they might get defeated. He will raise the issues and do his best to advance their cause. It is a long time since any Government of the National variety had a Minister like that.

R Doug Woolerton: Why does the Minister think that Federated Farmers are so opposed to dog microchipping, when it is not only the savaging of people that is trying to be protected here but also the savaging of their own stock?

Hon JIM ANDERTON: There are a wide range of views on this matter throughout the country, as I am sure the member knows. Equally, there are a wide range of views on that matter inside this Parliament and even inside Cabinet. However, I am bound by Cabinet collective responsibility on this matter and I accept, unreservedly, the view that Cabinet has taken on this matter.

Gordon Copeland: Does the Minister intend to revisit this matter, utilising the opportunity provided by the introduction of the local government law reform bill, and in particular, the opportunity to amend the Dog Control Act 1996 to exempt farm dogs from microchipping; if not, why not?

Hon JIM ANDERTON: If the member has ever participated in a Cabinet Executive Government he would know that the opportunity for a member of Cabinet to take a matter to Cabinet and relitigate an existing decision would be very rare, indeed. I had the privilege to do that and I accept the decision Cabinet has made after further consideration, which it did not need to give, but in fact, did.

Craig Foss: How can apple growers have any confidence in the Minister's ability to get New Zealand access to the Australian apple market when he has failed so miserably to achieve an exemption for farm working dogs?

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. Unless that member intends that there be a microchipping of apples, and to change the responsibility from the Minister of Trade to the Minister of Agriculture, that question is simply irrelevant and out of order.

Madam SPEAKER: Yes, I think it is a very long bow. It is actually a different issue, but if the member would like to reflect, and rephrase his question to bring it within the context of the primary question, which specifically relates to farm dogs, microchipping, and agriculture.

Craig Foss: Given the Minister's failure to achieve an exemption for working farm dogs, how on earth can New Zealand apple growers have any confidence in him whatsoever as we try to gain access to the Australian market?

Hon JIM ANDERTON: Within a day of requesting the High Commissioner for Australia to get a copy of the report that we had been denied for some years, that report was tabled in my office, and the Government I represent took the Australian industry and Government to the World Trade Organization to examine this issue—something that National never did in all its years of office.

Hon Damien O'Connor: Can the Minister confirm that every single apple exported from this country has to be identified by a sticker?

Madam SPEAKER: I think that falls into the category of another long bow. Stickers and microchipping do not make it.

Hon David Carter: Does the Minister still agree with the statement he made after becoming the Minister of Agriculture: 'OK, if you think you weren't taken seriously before, what is it about No. 3 in the Cabinet you don't understand?', and how come No. 3 got rolled by No. 18?

Hon JIM ANDERTON: As the member may find out one day, there are people in Cabinet whom one accepts being rolled by, and he may well find out one day who they are. However, the situation with this Cabinet is that there is a consensus position drawn by Cabinet after full debate and discussion. That was the situation this time. I think the member will find that Federated Farmers know full well that they have a Minister who will take up issues for them, and who will do the very best in their interests to see that they are taken seriously.

Hon David Carter: Does the Minister also stand by his statement last November: 'I got these portfolios because of my ability to bring people together to work on solutions.', and how successful was he in getting his Cabinet colleagues to accept his pragmatic solutions?

Hon JIM ANDERTON: Innumerable numbers of pragmatic advancements have been made by this Cabinet for all Cabinet Ministers in the positions they take to Parliament. However, I have noted that I am acknowledged by the member who has just asked the question to be Labour's No. 3 ranked Minister. I have to tell him that it may come as a shock to him that I have not been a member of the Labour Party since May 1989.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Has the Minister any reports contrasting the present action in respect of the World Trade Organization application concerning the access of Australian apples with that of 1997-98 when the then National Government did its best to derail that industry and sell it off, lock, stock, and barrel, to Fay Richwhite?

Madam SPEAKER: I thank the member, but we are on farm dogs and microchipping, so could we please bring it back.

Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Madam Chairperson.
I think that perhaps it is appropriate for the House to grant leave in this case, since we are on dogs, to get a question from the poodle.

Madam SPEAKER: The member knows that that is not a point of order.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. If the initial question with respect to the linkage of the apple industry was allowed—

Madam SPEAKER: It was not allowed.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: No, no it was allowed. I will check the Hansard. But I am just saying, if that is the precedent, then surely my question is in order.

Madam SPEAKER: No, I am sorry. Would the member be seated. He can check the Hansard. The question relating to apples was put directly but questions must relate to the primary question. When the question was re-put it did relate to the primary question. Now I will offer the member the same opportunity if he wishes to rephrase his question, but the subject has to come back to the primary question, which is about exempting farm dogs, microchipping, and actions taken by the Minister of Agriculture.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. I understand your ruling. But this point of order is in relation to the comment made by one Gerry Brownlee. If he thinks he is going to add that sort of comment to points of order, then he will get it back with doses of interest. I am asking that he be asked to withdraw and apologise.

Madam SPEAKER: Since the member has taken offence I will ask the member to withdraw and apologise. But I will state this first. The member is correct to this extent: if we have points of order that are not points of order, but do have inferences in them, then the member is right, there will be a response and there will be disorder in this House. I ask members to please refrain and to control their wit until they get outside, but to please keep their points of order to points of order that relate to Standing Orders. Now I invite the member to please withdraw and apologise.

Gerry Brownlee: I withdraw and apologise.

Hon David Carter: In light of the Minister's previous answer
to my supplementary question, is the Minister going to change his party's website and slogan: 'What Jim says, Jim does.', in light of being rolled in Cabinet yesterday?

Hon JIM ANDERTON: What I said and what Jim said was that he was going to take the issue that the farmers raised to Cabinet for consideration. I also said—and the member can check with the president of Federated Farmers—that there was no guarantee of the outcome. I did exactly what I said, and I am sure the member will find that Federated Farmers has no problem about the issue of dealing with me, and the veracity of what I said to them.


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