Yesterday was predicted to be an abrasive day in parliament. It was expected that John Key and John Banks would be taken to task at Question Time.
Green co-leader Metiria Turei put a question to Key and followed up with supplentaries that went off on a different planet.
3. METIRIA TUREI (Co-Leader—Green) to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his statement that Hon John Banks has “got a version of events, others have got a different version. It’s not for me to forensically go through that”; if so, whose job is it to hold his Ministers to account for the veracity of their statements?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister) : The member is referring to statements made to the police, whose job it is to assess the evidence before them. I have no responsibility for assessing evidence given to the New Zealand Police. However, I would note that the police decided there was “insufficient evidence to consider a prosecution under section 134(1) of the Local Electoral Act …”.
Metiria Turei: Why does the Prime Minister believe John Banks when John Banks says that he did not read his donations declaration even though he signed it, despite comments by John Banks’ ministerial press secretary that he did read the documents and that his campaign treasurer went over the declaration with him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Because I accept the Minister at his word.
Metiria Turei: I seek leave to table an email exchange dated 13 September 2012 between John Banks’ press secretary and a New Zealand Herald journalist where the press secretary first claims that John Banks read the declaration and later clarifies that John Banks’ campaign treasurer went over the form with John Bank.
Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that documentation. Is there any objection? There is no objection.
- Document , by leave, laid on the Table of the House.
Metiria Turei: Is it a new policy of the Prime Minister that Ministers are not responsible for documents that they sign, and is this a new “don’t read, don’t care” defence on “Planet Key”?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No. I refer the member to the fact that the document was signed when he was not a Minister.
Metiria Turei: Will homeowners on “Planet Key” now be allowed to default on their mortgages and then claim it is OK because they did not read the documents; will business people on “Planet Key” now be allowed to sign illegal—[Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I apologise to the member. I could not hear her question and it is important I can. I invite her to start again. Members must make it possible for the Speaker to hear the questions.
Metiria Turei: Will homeowners on “Planet Key” now be allowed to default on their mortgages and then claim it is OK because they did not read the documents; will business people on “Planet Key” now be allowed to sign illegal contracts under his new “don’t read, don’t care” defence?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I do not know so much about “Planet Key”, but my expectations are it would be a lovely place to live, it would be beautifully governed, golf courses would be plentiful, people would have plenty of holidays to enjoy their time, and what a wonderful place it would be. But I would expect people on such a place—referred to as nirvana—to comply with the law, and that is what Mr Banks did.
Mr SPEAKER: Metiria Turei. [Interruption] Order! I want to hear this question.
Metiria Turei: Thank you. [Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I want to hear the question.
Metiria Turei: Is there one standard for ordinary New Zealanders, who are legally responsible for any statement or contract that they sign up to, and another for the Prime Minister’s Ministers, who can put their name to whatever falsehood they like as long as they live on “Planet Key”?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: The question here is whether Mr Banks complied with the law, and it is our belief he did. As I was saying earlier, the law prior to the changes for central government would have seen many members of this Parliament do things that would be illegal today but were legal back then. There are also successful candidates who have funnelled money through trusts, for instance, which are legal when it comes to the law. I expect people to comply with the law. That is pretty simple.
Mr SPEAKER: Metiria Turei.
Metiria Turei: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. [Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I want to hear this question.
Metiria Turei: Will his Government now be changing the law so that enforcement agencies such as the Serious Fraud Office or the police can also apply his new “don’t read, don’t care” defence, or, again, is it only Ministers on “Planet Key” who are entitled to that privilege?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: The member is missing the point. The point is whether the member complied with the law. The member may not like—[Interruption]
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I apologise to the right honourable Prime Minister, but I will not tolerate that kind of interjection. The member will not do that any further. He knows that it is contrary to the Standing Orders of this House to accuse another member of lying.
Trevor Mallard and Winston Peters then took over, trying to score points against Key and Banks.
But since then Turei seized on a comment by Key and ran (and ran and ran) with it. It sounds like an intended extended use of the term because she said ‘Planet Key’ seven times (twice when she repeated a question).
Soon after a Twitter campaign was started by another Green:
#planetkey sounds like a gated community in Parnell
And Turei joined in (presumably while she was sitting in parliament):
#PlanetKey solo mums will work for peanuts in Aussie big box childcare centers looking after other kids while their own scrabble in bins
#Planetkey no one knows what domicility really means
Joined by Gareth Hughes:
NASA has announced they are still searching for signs of intelligent life on
This has now been continued with the Green pseudonym ‘James Henderson’ posting at The Standard:
In the House yesterday, Metiria Turei threw National’s ‘Planet Labour/Planet Green’ line back at Key, asking if ordinary people get to break the law too or if that privilege is reserved for ministers on Planet Key. Like all little bullies, Key couldn’t take it back. He lashed out and, like Romney’s fatal gaffe the same day, it exposed something of Key’s real world view.
He said that Planet Key “would be a lovely place to live, it would be beautifully governed, golf courses would be plentiful, people would have plenty of holidays to enjoy their time, and what a wonderful place it would be”.
It looks like a planned strategy to try and turn Key’s ‘Planet Green’ line back at him, but it all seems a bit pointless and trivial. Except that ‘James Henderson’ has tried to add the usual gross overstatement of The Standard, talking it up into a ‘fatal gaffe’.
Good grief. What planet do the Greens think they’re on?
And for what? I’ll leave the last word to
@richardhills777 yeah, lame, but makes me feel great!