“The Chairman is on his feet, will the member keep his mouth shut”.
Winston Peters loved all the attention and the success the Northland by-election gave him.
The latest Herald-Digipoll adds to that, with Peters doubling his ‘preferred Prime Minister’ support from 5.9% to 12%.
But has it all gone to his head?
Something not many people will see – the media are unlikely to show it – is some of his behaviour in Parliament, where he acts like a cantankerous old git who thinks he deserves to rule, and who despises being told what to do.
See the video…
…starting from 1:56 leading to where Peters objects (at about 2:16) to a determination by the Business Committee of speaking rights for Appropriation Bill. Peters starts speaking from 3:40.
He displays disrespect and petulance. When told he could seek leave to the House to deal with his gripe it was objected to, so his acrimonious approach failed to achieve anything.
Annual Review Debate
The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Chester Borrows): This debate is the Committee stage of the Appropriation (2013/13 Confirmation and Validation) Bill. The time allocated for this debate is 9 hours and comprises two distinct elements in accordance with determinations of the Business Committee. The first is the debate on the annual financial statements of the Government, as reported by the Finance and Expenditure Committee. The time allocated by the Business Committee for this debate is 2 hours.
The second is the debate on the annual reviews of departments, Officers of Parliament, Crown entities, public organisations, and State enterprises, as reported on by select committees. The time allocated by the Business Committee for this debate is 7 hours.
We turn first to the 2-hour debate on the Government’s 2013-14 financial statements and the report of the Finance and Expenditure Committee. The Business Committee has determined that the first call will go to the chairperson of the Finance and Expenditure Committee and that the total number of calls will be as follows: the New Zealand National Party, 12 5-minute calls; the New Zealand Labour Party, seven 5-minute calls; the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, three 5-minute calls; the New Zealand First Party, two 5-minute calls; and the—
[Interruption] The Chairman is on his feet. Will the member keep his mouth shut? The Māori Party—[Interruption] Order! [Interruption] No, I am on my feet. The member will be seated. [Interruption] I am on my feet. The point is, for the members who are present, that the Business Committee has agreed to a motion—particularly from the Opposition parties—so that this debate will have more meaning than they have deemed it to have in the past. It is a new process, and I am endeavouring to lay that out to the Committee of the whole House as we are now. I would appreciate the ability to continue so that members are fully aware and not ignorant due to their adherence to the ways that have happened in the past.
The Māori Party, ACT New Zealand, and United Future New Zealand may negotiate with the New Zealand National Party for calls during the debate.
Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First): I raise a point of order, Mr Chairperson. You may say that this committee outside this House decided this and it decided that, but the fact of the matter is that this House is the master of its own destiny and we will not be ruled out because of some arrangement made outside with House with which we do not agree.
If you could tell me how 14 members gets 15 minutes and 12 members gets 10 minutes and that is fair, then I would like you to explain it to me mathematically, but it is not. [Interruption] I beg your pardon? Have you got a problem with actually working out the mathematics on that? If 14 members—
The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Chester Borrows): The member should make his point of order or complete it.
Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: My point of order is simply that that ratio cannot be fair, that 14 members—sit down. Fourteen members getting 15 minutes would surely mean that 12 members are entitled to more than 10 minutes. It is just actually mathematic. So there, for a start, I do not think it is reasonable—
The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Chester Borrows): I do not need any further help from the member on this matter. Sit down. [Interruption] Take your seat. The point is that the protocols for this debate have been determined by the Business Committee. If the member wishes to seek leave to change that, he can.
Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First): I seek leave for New Zealand First to have, for a start, a fairer ratio of speaking time than that laid out by you in your little preamble.
The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Chester Borrows): Leave is sought for that purpose, is there any objection?
There were objections from the Government side
The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Chester Borrows):The motion is lost.
There was a ruckus at the beginning of the next speech.
The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Chester Borrows): Order! Please take your seat. As I indicated earlier, the reason the new process was put before the Business Committee was to try to raise the level of debate. Let us see if members of the Committee can do that.
Then at 1:00 in the speech NZ First MP Ron Mark made a point of order:
Ron Mark: I raise a point of order, Mr Chairperson. Sorry to the member for interrupting his speech, but you did make a statement there that has got me totally confused. When has there ever been a question about the level of debate in this Committee, and who does it involve?
The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Chester Borrows): That is not a point of order.
Ron Mark: Well, you have made a statement and it should be clarified.
The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Chester Borrows): Do not challenge the ruling I have already given.
An abrasive petulant approach to Parliament is unlikely to achieve anything positive for the Northland electorate, nor for the NZ First Party.