What if Grant Robertson…

What if Grant Robertson put as much time and research and effort into rebuilding the Labour Party as he seems to be putting in to trying to destroy Judith Collins’ political career?

What if Shane Jones was an outspoken advocate for a constructive and co-operative approach within his caucus and between Labour and Greens?

What if Labour’s social media campaign promoted positive things Labour would do and the strengths of Labour MPs and candidates?

What if Labour’s poll results improved rather than deteriorated?

Some MPs, parties, political activists and journalists see politics as a dirty murky no holds barred battle of attrition, where taking down an opponent is a primary goal and taking down the Government is the ultimate aim of the opposition.

Voters tend to be turned off by negative attack politics.

Non-voters are turned turned off altogether.

David Cunliffe in Labour Pains, an interview with Gordon Campbell:

Now, we got 660,000 votes last time around, roughly speaking. We are aiming for a million votes this time around. We’ve closed some of that gap. We have a very good idea where we are going to find the balance.

Labour have indicated that they want to get the votes of some of the 800,000 who didn’t vote in 2011.

What if Grant Robertson and Shane Jones and David Cunliffe and Matt McCarten learned that in politics, negatives repel?

Hoping you will emerge victorious out of an almighty shit fight seems at odds with encouraging and persuading disillusioned people to vote.

Mathers story seems odd

Just about everything about the story about the Mojo Mathers seems odd – see Taxpayer Union versus Mojo Mathers (the story has developed since then).

Summary

There was an article in the Herald on Sunday by Patrice Dougan about deaf Green MP Mojo Mathers that asked more questions than it answered.

Mathers is a very unlikely and unwise target for a petty political attack regarding MP travel when many questions could be asked about use and possible misuse of travel.

Jordan Williams of the Taxpayers’ Union poorly answered questions put to him by the HoS but he denies initiating the issue and he went into damage control quickly.

David Farrar, also involved with the Taxpayers’ Union, had no apparent involvement until making a late comment on Facebook, and posted nothing on Kiwiblog.

Through the day a number of Greens, including co-leader Russel Norman and communications director Andrew Campbell, kept trying to link John Key and National to the attack on Mathers.

Blogger Danyl Maclachlan (who’s partner works in the Green communication team) posts twice making serious accusations about funding of the Taxpayers’ Union and links with the TU and National and reacts aggressively when confronted.

There was no apparent involvement of Labour with no post and from what I can see no mention of this at all on The Standard (very unusual for something like this). Grant Robertson jumped on the bandwagon late yesterday.

The first question asked by the Herald remains unanswered – who asked it in the first place?

The Article

It started with an article in the Herald on Sunday this morning. It was odd. It was by Patrice Dougan – not a name commonly seen associated with political stories. It began:

Questions are being asked about a taxpayer-funded trip for deaf MP Mojo Mathers to be interviewed on a small provincial radio station.

It then detailed Mathers’ trip to Masterton, and quoted her explanation. It then said she “did not know the cost of the trip” but then provided a detailed cost estimate.

It then closed with:

The Taxpayers Union questioned whether it was value for money.

“It’s amazing that she has so little to do with her time to actually travel to a community radio that probably has as many listeners as you can count on your hand,” director Jordan Williams said.

“The only silver lining is that the time spent travelling to go on the station in the middle of nowhere is less time spent dreaming up new ways to spend tax payers money.”

Much criticism of Williams and the Taxpayers’ Union ensued. But Williams later claimed that he didn’t initiate the story or ask any questions, the Herald cam to him and asked him for comment.

Back to the opening sentence – “Questions are being asked about…” – who asked questions? That wasn’t answered, but it was implied that it had been the Taxpayers Union.

Green indignation

Social media was buzzing with Green indignation and criticism through the day. Much of it was the usual sort of quick reactions common when something controversial and potentially damaging politically.

But there were some unusual Green reactions as well.

@RusselNorman
The National Party’s ally doesn’t want Mojo speaking at a rural disability event. Seriously?

John Hart@farmgeek 
If you had any doubt the @TaxpayersUnion is a right-wing attack organ…

@RusselNorman
Whaleoil, Kiwiblog, Taxpayers Union, John Key. The four legs of the National Party attack dog.

Except Whale Oil and Kiwiblog do not appear to have been involved in this story. Slater reacted late in the morning – he is likely to break stories he is involved with. And Farrar was away on a walk for most of the day and still hasn’t posted on Kiwiblog about it (he covered it on his Facebook page late this afternoon).

@louise_bee
@RusselNorman
Interesting that they’re going after the Greens so much. They must consider you a bigger threat than Labour.

It’s common to see Greens talking up their importance like this when a scandal breaks, there was a lot of it during the Turei jacket episode.

@Andr3wCampbell 

Really glad @mojomathers gets out to rural communities to talk to people with disabilities. National’s attack petty.

@nzheraldnznews are people with disabilities in rural communities questioning the trip? Or just a @NZNationalParty aligned operative?

in actual news @JordNZ, here is a real story on tax payer spending @NZGreens uncovered whole you were chasing $500.

I think Andrew Geddis sums up the National Party attack on @mojomathers pretty well here http://pundit.co.nz/content/lets-all-pick-on-the-deaf-girl …

Andrew is “Aotearoa New Zealand Green Party Communications Director”.

Repeatedly linking National to the story and to the Taxpayers’ Union.

Support act

Danyl Mclauclan used to be an accomplished satirist at his Dim-Post blog, but he has evolved into a usually occasional political commentator/activist. Unusually he posted twice today, both on this topic.

Another question for the Taxpayer Union

Here’s my question for the Taxpayer’s Union and the journalists who run their copy. How much of the revenue of the various companies, consultancies and law firms run by the founders and directors of this ‘union’ is taxpayer funded? Given the individuals involved – eg Jordan Williams, David Farrar – I’d be shocked if the taxpayers were paying less than a million dollars a year to the people involved in this organisation who run around planting attack stories against opposition parties.

And:

Slightly more thoughts on the Taxpayers’ Union

Here’s how I’m guessing this works. The (taxpayer funded) opposition researchers in the National Party find a smear story they like. They pitch it to an editor at the Herald and – because they can’t provide comment themselves for obvious reasons, such as John Key’s taxpayer funded golf game – they say, ‘Call Jordan Williams at the Taxpayers’ Union and he’ll give you comment.’

So, that’s sort-of how political media works.

That sounds odd too, as if he is trying pin something on an opponent. Danyls insists he isn’t a Green but has been open about the fact that his partner works in the Green communications team.

I suggested to him on Twitter that “As much chance that #NZGreens could be playing this game as easily as @NZNationalParty are? Party and surrogates could be spinning?”

He usually ignores me but this time responded:

When is the last time you saw me quoted in a media story, vegetable?

And to a tweet from someone else:

Where did you get the idea that I was a member of the Green Party or shared their values? Fuck off lick-spittles.

That’s uncharacteristic and could suggest some sensitivity.

Labour’s involvement

What’s most notable about Labour’s involvement was the absence of any. The Standard didn’t post on it and remarkably there seems to be absolutely no comment on the most talked about political issue of the day.

Grant Robertson joined the issue very late, 8.36 pm last night, with a single tweet.

@grantrobertson1
Lets be clear Jordan Williams and his so called Taxpayers Union are simply a right wing political front. They should be reported as such.

Labour to have been right out of this loop

National’s involvement

Tau Henare tweeted early in support of Mathers…

@tauhenare
@mojomathers
Dear Mojo, tell these self serving pricks to go find something else to do. You are doing your job. #Endofstory

…and reacted to accusations later:

@Andr3wCampbell So which Nat MP supports the outrageous attack on a fellow MP?

@iamjordanking @JudithCollinsMP Ok bro so there are NO #NatMPs involved as far as we know. Just tell the truth FGS

@Andr3wCampbell And where’s the answer to my question. What MPs belong to #TPU? Answer the blinking question!

This is the face of the @NZGreens Coms Director. 1 He said #NatMPs were involved in the #TPU Debacle. Nope 2. dear #TPU, thanks for nothing.

The @NZGreens Coms Director. 1 He said #NatMPs were involved in the #TPU Debacle. Nope,Liar pic.twitter.com/W7eFU7SNcI

@iamjordanking @JudithCollinsMP Shutup you backed the greens Coms director, he said it, you tried to support him! U got caught, you deny it

@iamjordanking @JudithCollinsMP and BTW don’t woah me. Your supposition isn’t the point. There are no MPs and it’s not Nat party apparatus.

@iamjordanking @JudithCollinsMP I have no raw nerves, your mates lied and you over cooked it. Our MPs wld be outrAged at #TPU stupidity.

Judith Collins was only briefly drawn into it.

@JudithCollinsMP

@tauhenare: @Andr3wCampbell So which Nat MP supports the outrageous attack on a fellow MP?”Tau, you can’t expect the Left to tell the truth

Where does this leave it?

I’ve seen many attempted political hit jobs in media and online and this looks quite different to normal. There’s no sign David Farrar was involved and Jordan Williams did not appear to be pushing the story, to the contrary, he tried to retreat from it. He said it was “a hard lesson learned.”

It looks like a job done by people who are not practiced in the dark arts of politics.

While it’s possible it was opportunist reaction to the story Green leadership and their communications team were actively pushing a wider story, trying to taint the Taxpayers’ Union and also trying to smear National and Act.

But this currently left where it started in the Herald article – “Questions are being asked about …” – what questions? And who asked them?

We know who kept asking questions through the day, but we can’t be sure who put the question to the Herald in the first place.

The Herald is based in Auckland. It reported on a minor trip to Masterton by a Christchurch MP with a low profile. And it’s primary question seems to have deliberately implied something mischievous without answering the question.

There is something very odd about this story.

Re-orientation more pressing for Robertson

While Labour flounders and risks foundering on rocks Grant Robertson continues to relive his student days doing the rounds of the university Orientations. He just tweeted:

@grantrobertson1

My Orientation tour continues. Today it’s Auckland. Come on down and say hi at @PrincesStLabour stall. #labour4students

What about labour4election? #MPsforsupportingleader?

After the important things are done why not try -re-Orientation in caucus? There seems to be a major disorientation and loss of direction there.

Blogger linked to Cunliffe suggests incredibly vicious campaign

Blogger Martyn “Bomber” Bradbury has already had links to the Mana Party (as a paid consultant) and Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party (as a paid consultant) exposed.

Now NZ Herald reveals:

Bradbury says he regularly talks to Labour leader David Cunliffe, and his goal this year is to see Cunliffe elected Prime Minister.

No admission that Cunliffe or Labour are paying him.

Bradbury leans forward on his elbows at the cafe table: “The old rules are gone,” he grins. “This election is going to be incredibly vicious.”

Is he promising a vicious campaign on behalf of Labour or just out of the goodness of his heart? More likely it’s the only left wing party left for him to try and cosy up to.

Bradbury has separated from the Internet and Mana Parties and the Greens are unlikely to condone let alone utilise his firebrand of political activism.

What can we make of the Bradbury/Cunliffe/Labour connection? This is what Grant Robertson says about it.

Politicians can “manage the message” by talking through politically affiliated bloggers, says Robertson – whether that be Key talking to Slater, or Cunliffe talking to Bradbury.

“Bradbury is not someone I know that well, but I don’t have a high level of discomfort about him,” Robertson says.

Did Robertson say that knowing about Bradbury’s vicious intent?

It will be interesting to see how The Standard attacks this. They attacked John Key relentlessly for admitting an interest in Whale Oil.

  • KAROL: Dotcom snoopers: The “dirty, disgusting, despicable game”
    “This is looking like a sophisticated circular shell game.  Normally it’s thought that the PM’s office leaks stuff to right wing bloggers.”
  • ZETETIC: Rotten
    “We’ve always known that there were close ties between National and the abomination that is Whaleoil but now we know that the ties go right to the top.”
  • MICKYSAVAGE: John Key, Blogsters and the Dotcom leaks
    “And the confirmation that Key is regularly in contact with Cameron Slater shows how deep the relationship is between National and the Sewer is.  And there was the use of, as Key calls them, blogsters to smear opposition MPs with hints of corruption.”

With Bradbury admitting direct links to Cunliffe, an admitted lack of ‘discomfort’ from Robertson, The Standard should be horrified.

Waiting…

First response at The Standard, from ‘marty mars’:

I have to say that I am still struggling to get my head around the recent news that the prime minister rings slater up and chats – and the killer is, that is only if the lying dirty wanker is telling the truth – and he hardly ever does that! Dirty, dirty fight, dirty tactics, fight to win. Wake (further) up lefties the skirmishing is here.

He missed something.

Is Grant Robertson playing the long game?

Grant Robertson’s name comes up amid reports of dissatisfaction in Labour including MP go-slows to deliberately impede David Cunliffe’s leadership (see Garner – Labour MPs to lose the election then roll Cunliffe) .

Robertson is officially Labour’s shadow leader of the house but Trevor Mallard seems to have taken control from the back bench.

This exchange between MPs while Parliamentr was sitting on Wednesday (similarly chatted about by journalists):

Interesting innovation from the Labour Party today. Cunliffe, Parker and Robertson all missing in action today. Never before have I seen it.

… with Trevor running the show. surest sign yet they’ve flagged the election.

An observation from an avid Parliament watcher:

The resurrection of ABC? Both Mallard and Cosgrove were to the fore today; just sayin’.

And a comment by Fisiani at Kiwiblog:

For ages I have been telling you that Grant Robertson is playing the long game. It is not in Grant’s interest for The Cunliffe to win in 2014. For Grant to be the leader in 2017 the Cunliffe has to be rolled.

This will happen not due to active sabotage but by simply not putting in the effort to get out the vote as we previously saw in 2011 in Wellington Central when Grant Robertson managed to put Labour into third place for the first time ever. Grant Robertson believes that he should be and will be Prime Minister. He can wait 3 years to try.

While there could be a degree of opposing MPs and party supporters stirring or exaggerating. But there could also be more than an essence of reality in this.

Being ambitious isn’t a problem, but if personal ambitions are to the detriment of an MP’s party and to the detriment of Parliament and the governing New Zealand then serious questions need to be asked of those involved. Ultimately those questions need to be asked of the voters.

If Grant reads this and think’s it’s an unfair representation of how things are I welcome a right of reply.

Key question for GCSB

Last night Kim Dotcom tweeted that the GCSB had deletd

BREAKING NEWS about the #GCSB spy agency and a video quote by the Prime Minister of New Zealand at 10pm NZ time.

BREAKING NEWS: The GCSB spy agency seems to have deleted evidence relevant to my case against the GCSB for illegally spying on NZ residents.

GCSB Govt lawyer wrote that evidence in my case had automatically “aged off” (been deleted). John Key said this: http://youtu.be/p52fx0_MVEU

- that’s from Parliament in 2012.

Govt lawyer: “some communications have automatically aged off. We propose to include … those communications which are still recoverable”

Grant Robertson has picked up on this.

Key must say whether GCSB deleted files 

John Key needs to front up to New Zealand about whether the Government Communications and Security Bureau has deleted files in the Kim Dotcom case given he told Parliament the GCSB did not delete files, Labour’s Associate Security and Intelligence spokesperson Grant Robertson says.

“Many New Zealanders feel the Prime Minister has not told the whole truth about the GCSB/Kim Dotcom saga. It is time for to come clean and explain what he knows about the deletion of GCSB files.

“The allegation here is that some files relating to Kim Dotcom’s case cannot be released because they have been ‘aged off’ their system. That is a euphemism for saying they have been deleted. This may have serious implications for Kim Dotcom’s case.

“More than that, it calls into questions claims John Key made in Parliament in 2012 that the GCSB does not delete files.

“John Key needs to answer how much he knew about the deletion of files and whether he authorised their deletion.

“In light of the illegal spying on 88 New Zealanders, he also needs to say whether other files have been deleted. If they have, this calls into question the integrity of our security and intelligence agencies.

“New Zealanders’ trust and confidence in the GCSB has eroded under John Key’s leadership.

“These allegations, if true, will do further damage. It’s time for John Key to be honest with New Zealanders,” Grant Robertson says.

Key needs to deal with this quickly. It needs to be determined if this is a valid and serious allegation or if it is playing politics.

It’s also possible that the deletions have occurred after Key made his statement in Parliament, but this needs to be addressed and clarified by Key.

UPDATE:

PM says @KimDotcom ‘s GCSB claims wrong. Legal doc’s archived forever. By law raw intel’ aged off the system if no longer relevant or req’d

“Aged off” = deleted.

Key is citing:

23 Destruction of irrelevant records obtained by interception

  • (1) Every person who intercepts any communication under section 16 or under an interception warrant or a access authorisation must, as soon as practicable after the interception, destroy any copy that he or she may make of the communication, or any part of the communication, and any record, whether in writing or otherwise, of the information obtained by that interception, except to the extent permitted by section 25 or to the extent that the information recorded in the copy or record relates directly or indirectly to—

    • (a) the protection or advancement of 1 or more of the interests specified in section 7; or
    • (b) any of the Bureau’s functions under section 8A or 8B.

    (2) Every person commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000 who knowingly fails to comply with subsection (1).

.

Key accepts Dunne’s word on Kitteridge leak

After the Privileges Committee report on the David Henry inquiry there have been a number of questions and answers in Parliament about who leaked the Kitteridge report. The Henry inquiry failed to find evidence of who leaked the report.

Labour Leader David Cunliffe in Question Time on Wednesday:

Hon David Cunliffe: Does the Prime Minister now know for certain that the Hon Peter Dunne did not leak the *Kitteridge report?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No, I do not know the answer to that. I do not believe that was the purpose of the privileges claim.

Hon David Cunliffe: Then how could he accept him back in his Cabinet?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Because, firstly, we have not done that and, secondly, we accept the member at his word.

NZ First leader Winston Peters:

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Does the Prime Minister’s statement that he has to take Mr Dunne at his word *in respect of his denial mean that he believes Mr Dunne did not leak the *Kitteridge report?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: The member has, on numerous occasions, strongly said that he did not leak the report. I accept the member at his word. There was no conclusion to that report.

Grant Robertson in a debate on PRIVILEGE Question of Privilege Regarding Use of Intrusive Powers Within the Parliamentary Precinct

The Prime Minister set up an inquiry to do that. Today he tells us he may let Peter Dunne back into Cabinet. That is only possible for him to do if he believes that someone else other than Peter Dunne leaked the Kitteridge report.

 

Clark and Curran backing Robertson

Dunedin MPs David Clark and Clare Curran have announced they will back Grant Robertson in Labour’s leadership contest.

The support isn’t a surprise, but the timing is very curious, on the eve of the leaders’ roadshow hitting Dunedin.

The ODT reports that Clark, Curran name their man:

Home town favourite Grant Robertson received a boost yesterday in his quest to become Labour Party leader, with support coming from Dunedin MPs Clare Curran and David Clark.

The Labour leader road show is in Dunedin tomorrow in familiar territory for Mr Robertson – it will be held at the King’s and Queen’s Performing Arts Centre.

Mr Robertson is a former head boy of King’s High School.

So Robertson would probably be well supported by Labour members in Dunedin regardless of this signalling from local MPs.

There is some risk in doing this, especially for Clark he is seen as an up and comer, but there’s plenty of time for him to recover. Curran is expected to struggle to rise no matter who leads Labour.

Curran and Clark put out a statement indicating their backing of Robertson.

”We need a leader whose sense of social justice is instinctive, someone with sound judgement who gets it right first time. Grant Robertson is that man,” they said.

They told the Otago Daily Times Mr Robertson grew up in South Dunedin, one of the country’s high-density and lowest income suburbs.

”He understands what it’s like to struggle. He is a kind person and has a deep understanding what Labour can do for New Zealand.”

Dr Clark…

…said the leadership race was close and, initially, he wanted people to hear the candidates and make up their own minds.

”Members started asking me my opinion about who would be best … I think all can do the job but Grant is the one best placed to take on John Key and unify the party.”

Ms Curran…

…said the caucus vote was a significant part of the overall vote. She wrote to all her members this week and explained her preference.

She found people wanted her to stand up for what she believed.

”No-one will die wondering what I think. We have to be leaders and representatives of our community and electorate.

”People want to know we have strong opinions and I expect those opinions will be respected,” Ms Curran said.

So it might be a tough sell for Cunliffe and Jones tomorrow night.

But interestingly Shane Jones is the only one of the three who seems to have made a promise to Dunedin.

”This gum-digger is coming to meet the gold-miners. I love Dunedin. I have a few rellies down there.”

One of Mr Jones’ pledges to Otago was if he became a Labour prime minister, he would ensure government services would be relocated to Dunedin, even before his own province of Northland.

”If Treasury doesn’t like it, well, they can go to Blackball,” he said.

I asked all three whether they would be prepared to work more with local government to find local solutions. None replied.

I have repeated the question to them today.

Who should lead Labour?

Labour don’t have an abundance of riches in the leadership department. The main contenders as they have indicated today are:

Shane Jones

Strutted for the cameras at Shearer’s media conference today, but his recidivist underperforming, speaking with a paramu in his mouth, his lack of support in the party and his lack of obvious appeal to the wider public rule him out for me.

Andrew Little

Little has not been an MP for two years yet. Labour can’t risk another rookie, and shouldn’t risk Little anyway, his ambitions seem to be racing ahead of his credentials and ability.

They’d be nuts to choose Jones or Little.

Grant Robertson

Seems to have seen himself as not ready yet, hence he has been happy to prop up Shearer and bide his time. A Wellington party insider who would struggle to be accepted by the all important Auckland vote.

David Cunliffe

Apparently quite a few caucus colleagues don’t like him, but I don’t know if that’s personal dislike, jealousy, protection of their places or everything. But the dire position the party is in needs to take precedence. Labour needs the strongest leader possible, the person most capable of footing it toe to toe with opponents, and with political smarts – the latter is a question mark, he hasn’t made it to leader yet and he seems to have burnt a few bridges, but Cunliffe is the only strong option so must be the first choice.

I don’t see anyone else close to being worth of consideration.

It’s essential for Labour (and it would help the strength of Parliament too) that they put past animosities and personal ambitions aside and work together, something they haven’t done since Clark and Cullen were in control.

And who for deputy?

One option is to put a defeated leadership candidate at deputy to go for as strong a team as possible, but I have a problem with that. Leaving Robertson as deputy may seem logical but he has failed alongside Shearer and is tainted by being part of the same old.

Jones and Little don’t do it for me either, and would alongside Cunliffe it would look too much like a blokes club.

I think they should go for Jacinda Ardern.

Sure, she doesn’t look ready yet. But the party isn’t ready yet either, they desperately need to look like they are rebuilding. And they need to look more diverse than bloke 1 and bloke 2. It gives time Ardern to learn about rising to another level and proving herself.

Most of the voting public don’t know who deputies are, so if she doesn’t shape up it’s no big deal to flick over deputy in a reshuffle.

The biggest downside with Ardern is that she’s unlikely to stand up to the long established factions and boofs in caucus. But the caucus collectively has a responsibility to deal with the toxic morass that has got them into this situation.

Shearer hasn’t stepped up, but he has also been badly let down by his caucus. If they don’t put their own wee empires and egos aside and work for the good of the party, rallying behind the leadership, then Labour are stuffed for next year’s election. And that may be terminal.

Cunliffe + Ardern would look a very different Labour. That’s the first essential.

The second essential is for all 34 MPs to work together. That will be a lot harder to achieve than a strong balanced leadership.

David Shearer’s double barrelled question time

It is fairly widely acknowledged that David Shearer has not set Parliament alight with his speeches, and he hasn’t cut Key up with incisive questions. He seems to follow a mediocre script.

And Shearer has also been frequently criticised for always asking the same bland question – at least it seems to be always.

But Shearer (or his advisers) aren’t backing down, they are doubling up. Today:

Questions to Ministers

  1. DAVID SHEARER to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by all his statements?
  2. Dr RUSSEL NORMAN to the Prime Minister: Did his Chief of Staff, Wayne Eagleson, advise Parliamentary Service that United Future Leader Hon Peter Dunne had agreed to cooperate with the Henry inquiry and had consented to releasing his electronic phone logs; if so, why?
  3. JAMI-LEE ROSS to the Minister of Finance: What reports has he received on business confidence and intentions among companies to invest and hire more staff?
  4. Hon DAVID PARKER to the Minister of Finance: Does he stand by his statement that “High house prices matter because many New Zealanders spend a large portion of their incomes on housing and that has helped fuel household debt and contribute to damaging imbalances in the economy”?
  5. Dr CAM CALDER to the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment: What steps is the Government taking to raise achievement and participation in tertiary education by students in South Auckland?
  6. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by all his statements?
  7. EUGENIE SAGE to the Minister for the Environment: What percentage of sites identified as a river in the Suitability for Swimming indicator report released yesterday were categorised as “Very Good” or “Good” and therefore were safe for swimming?
  8. LOUISE UPSTON to the Minister for Social Development: What announcements has she made about the first Children’s Teams, part of the Government’s Children’s Action Plan?
  9. CHRIS HIPKINS to the Minister of Education: Does she agree with the Minister of Finance that “The Government is focusing on ensuring that every teacher put in front of our children is competent”?
  10. MIKE SABIN to the Associate Minister of Education: What recent announcements has she made regarding school property?
  11. DAVID SHEARER to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by all his statements?
  12. JOHN HAYES to the Minister of Customs: What is the Government doing to improve border processing?

Note question 1 and question 11.

I haven’t seen this before, and I asked Felix Marwick from Newstalk ZB , and he said it’s a first for him too.

It could be a bold move by Shearer – there must be a major change in Labour confidence to give Shearer two bites of the cherry. But to work he will need to take advantage of his exposure and not fluff his lines.

Giovanni Tiso@gtiso

@toby_etc ok, it didn’t work the last four hundred times Shearer tried it. But I have a good feeling about today.

But there is a reason apparently, for the vague questions anyway…

Grant Robertson@grantrobertson1 

@toby_etc @gtiso problem is that if the primary question is specific Key transfers it. This is only way to be sure he’s the one who answers

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