Most of the buzz after question time yesterday was about David Shearer’s producing two dead snapper, but a there was much more revealing question earlier where Shearer produced many stunned mullets on the Labour and Green benches.
Question 3 started with Shearer quizzing John Key on aspects of the GCSB bill. Shearer thought he did ok with this, he is promoting the question video on his Facebook page where he claims:
Kiwis have real concerns about the GCSB Bill. Today in Parliament I asked the Prime Minister why he won’t put proper protections in the law to prevent people’s emails being accessed. His response shows just how out of touch he is.
Key claimed that it was Shearer who was out of touch and that he didn’t know the law.
However further through the supplementary questions there was a remarkable exchange where Shearer pushed Key on whether the Prime Minister had approached Labour to discuss the GCSB Bill. Key was initially stunned.
David Shearer : Did he or anyone in his office ever contact the Labour Party to obtain broader support for the bill?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I cannot believe the member is asking that question. If he wants me to answer it, I will get on my feet and do so.
David Shearer : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think that was a question. Did he or anyone in his office ever contact the Labour Party to obtain broader support for the bill—did you contact me?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY : OK—[Interruption ]
Mr SPEAKER : Order! I want to hear the answer.
Rt Hon JOHN KEY : OK. Yes, Mr Speaker. After one of the Intelligence and Security Committee meetings, I asked Mr Shearer whether he would like to come to my office to have a discussion. We sat down and had about a 30-minute discussion where Mr Shearer said: “Keep this confidential. If you come out and say we’ve done it, that won’t look good and I don’t want you shouting it out about the House.” My deputy chief of staff went to see Mr Goff and also went to see Mr Robertson. On numerous occasions we reached out and at one point—
Grant Robertson : No, no, no. Don’t make stuff up.
One of the mullets speaks before the mallet strikes. Shearer kept pressing.
Rt Hon JOHN KEY : If the member really wants to get down and dirty, members of the Labour Party said they did not understand the law.
Mr SPEAKER : Order! The Bledisloe Cup was on Saturday.
David Shearer : So he is saying that he initiated contact with me after the—[Interruption ]
Mr SPEAKER : Order! The member has every right to have his supplementary question heard.
David Shearer : Is he saying that he made contact with me after the Intelligence and Security Committee meeting and that it was my request that he should remember that?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I am afraid the member is wrong. I went up to the member after the Intelligence and Security Committee meeting and said “Do you want to come to my office?”, to which the member said yes, and I said that we would probably take the stairs to avoid the other guys. We actually waited for the other members, in particular, Dr Norman, to leave so that he did not see the member coming up to my office.
Key refuted the claim strongly, and went on to make a very specific and revealing claim.
Shearer did not dispute this. He stood up for more mallet. I presume his next question was what he had been angling for, but he seemed oblivious of the door he had just run in to.
David Shearer : In the course of that discussion, did he say to me that he did not really care whether we supported it or not because he already had Peter Dunne over the line?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I did not say exactly that I did not care. What I—[Interruption ] No. I will paraphrase the words roughly. What I said was that we had the numbers to pass the legislation and I knew that if for political reasons he was just going to carry on the way he was going because Grant Robertson was calling the shots, fair enough—we would just get on and do it. The member also said he wanted a sunset clause, and I said you have got to have rocks in your head if you want to have that, because if you ever want to be the Prime Minister, you will never get the Greens over the line.
By the looks on the faces of National’s whips seated behind Key when he was answering these questions it was a surprise revelation to them.
After the last answer there was some noise from the government benches, but most of the Labour mullets were in a stunned silence.
Silence too on the Green benches, where Russel Norman remained motionless slumped back in his seat, while Metiria Turei hunched forward. They must be hugely frustrated at remaining the junior party to Labour, and despair at the lack of political awareness and competence of their presumed coalition partner.
Full transcript: 3. Prime Minister—Statements DAVID SHEARER (Leader of the Opposition) to the Prime Minister
In the House video (starts about 6.20):
Remarkably this is being promoted by Shearer on Facebook.