Red Alert

Posts Tagged ‘oral questions’

Why was maritime nz still looking for bloody pumps this weekend ?

Posted by on October 17th, 2011
  • Has DPMC been tasked with coordinating the Government’s response to the MV Rena disaster to ensure that all government agencies involved are focusing their efforts on delivering the most effective response; if so, what were the dates and times of each of the meetings held for these purposes and which departments were involved?
  • When did he first become aware that it was likely that the owners of the MV Rena were unlikely to have enough insurance cover to reimburse all of the costs that taxpayers will incur as a result of the MV Rena disaster?
  • What concerns, if any, have officials raised with him about potential difficulties that may limit his Government’s ability to recover costs for the MV Rena disaster due to the ship’s Liberian registration?
  • On what date did his officials first become aware that it was likely that the MV Rena would break up on the Astrolabe Reef?
  • On what date was he first told that it was likely that the MV Rena would break up on the Astrolabe Reef?
  • Has he sought advice from his Minister of Transport about the concerns raised in the Thompson Clarke Shipping “Review of New Zealand’s Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response Capability” report which showed that the Oil Pollution Levy was bringing in $1m less annually than was being spent by the Oil Spill Response team; if so, what advice did he receive about the actions the Minister was taking to rectify the funding deficit?
  • Has he sought advice from his Minister of Transport about concerns raised in the Thompson Clarke Shipping “Review of New Zealand’s Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response Capability” report that the understanding officials from several Ministries and Departments had about their role in responding to an oil spill differed in some cases from those stated in Maritime NZ’s 2006 Strategy?
  • Has he read reports showing that “the view of MPRS [Marine Pollution Response Services] staff is that a greater level of NRT [National Response Team] training is required, particularly at the management level, including incident management team level,” if so, has he sought advice from his Minister of Transport about what steps were taken before the MV Rena disaster to address these concerns?
  • Has he asked his Minister of Transport why offers of assistance from New Zealand company, Lancer Industries Ltd, to provide oil recovery barges that could have been used to off load oil from the MV Rena during the calm days immediately following its collision with the Astrolabe Reef were refused; if so, what did he learn?
  • Was he aware when he defended the Government’s slow response to the MV Rena disaster by saying, “”But this is a very difficult and complex situation and there are a limited number of people around the world that you ultimately have to mobilise to New Zealand to ensure that you can ultimately start a recovery operation,” that Maritime NZ’s website advised that “Maritime New Zealand maintains a response capability of sufficient size to counter an oil spill of 3,500 tonnes… If the scale of an incident is beyond the nation’s domestic capability, arrangements are in place to secure overseas assistance”?
  • Did he believe it was necessary to wait until the “limited number of people around the world that you ultimately have to mobilise to New Zealand to ensure that you can ultimately start a recovery operation” were mobilised, because he had been informed that key personnel within Maritime NZ’s oil spill response operations were vacant at the time that MV Rena collided with the Astrolabe Reef?
  • Have any of the overseas people who have come to New Zealand to assist with the MV Rena disaster previously worked for Maritime NZ; if so when did they leave their positions at Maritime NZ?
  • Did Maritime NZ have a policy of not replacing people who left the agency during the time its management and funding were under review; if so, were any positions that were responsible for assisting with oil spills vacant at the time of the MV Rena collided with the Astrolabe Reef; if so, what were those positions and how long were they vacant?
  • Has Maritime NZ delayed the purchase of any equipment or supplies needed to respond to an oil spill due to the budget uncertainty resulting from the Government’s efficiency reviews of the agency; if so, what equipment or supplies were not purchased?
  • Does he stand by his comment that his government’s agencies are able to pump 50 tonnes of oil from the vessel per hour?
  • Was his agency spending time this last weekend looking for pumps and if so why did it take so bloody long?
  • Does he know that decent pumps are available in the construction industry all over NZ?

I would have loved to ask these questions in parliament but it isn’t sitting this week.


How not to answer questions

Posted by on December 7th, 2009

One of the jobs of an opposition MP is to try to find out stuff that the government isn’t making publicly available. There are several ways of doing this. An oral question in the House, written questions to the Minister, and Official Information Act requests (OIAs). Sometimes people just give you information.

I’m making available here the answers to 12 written questions I lodged in mid November to Communications Minister Steven Joyce to try to elicit some more information about his new broadband scheme. Information I believe is in the public interest. To understand the context, here’s the media release he put out on the process for bidders to get a piece of the action on the government’s $1.5 billion broadband scheme.

I realise that to many people this won’t mean a great deal. That’s not the point of this post. I want you to see how a Minister does his best not to answer questions .  Gives you some insight into how government’s ought not to act. And I wonder what you think?

PS: Needless to say I have lodged more questions. And OIAs. (more…)