Contrasting Labour hoardings

Labour leader David Cunliffe put up his first hoarding today, (as snapped by Patrick Gower).

Cunliffe hoarding

Interesting to see no ‘Cunliffe’ on it apart from the picture, and a meaningless slogan the most prominent wording. ‘Party vote Labour’ is far less prominent.

Clayton Cosgrove (source Whale Oil)

Cosgrove hoarding

Cosgrove is 8 on the Labour list but no ‘Vote positive’ or ‘Party vote Labour. Much less red, his own slogan which sounds a bit like National’s, and a very misleading ‘MP Waimakariri’ as Cosgrove is not an electorate MP.

Trevor Mallard has started putting his hoardings up a day early (source Holly Bennett).

Mallard Hoarding

Mallard is standing for the electorate only and isn’t on the list so is promoting himself, with ‘Vote positive’ and ‘Party vote Labour’ far less prominent at the bottom.

Megan Woods:

Hoarding Woods

Same layout as Mallard’s but Woods is also on the list (at 20).

Jacinda Ardern:

Hoarding Ardern

Same again. This seems to be the official 2014 layout. Jacinda is 5 on the list.

Chris Hipkins:

Hoarding Hipkins

Another standard layout with the all important party vote note prominent. Hipkins is an electorate MP and 9 on the party list.

 

Sue Moroney (source Whale Oil)

Moroney hoarding

Two different versions. The top one is recycled from 2008, promoting both Labour and Moroney but obviously no current slogan ‘Vote positive’. The second is very prominent ‘Party vote Labour.

Ironically Moroney’s recycled hoardings are the best party promotions. She is 10 on Labour’s list and has trouble winning electrates.

It’s strange to see each MP with vastly different hoardings.

Cunliffe and the Labour blokes

Different columns on Labour, one from Rachel Smalley claiming David Cunliffe is trying to attract the female vote, and another by Duncan Garner on Labour blokes disregarding party interests and trying to shore up their electorate chances.

Rachel Smalley: Cunliffe courting the female vote

The most recent policy announcements suggest to me that David Cunliffe is not cutting it with women. You’ll remember Helen Clark lost the support of women in her final term, and I don’t think Labour has ever claimed it back. During his leadership challenge, remember that Cunliffe wasn’t popular with women in his own party. I suspect that’s resonating in the wider public too.

According to polls this year both Labour and Cunliffe have lost support from female voters.

So he’s going after the female vote. Women are more likely to bounce between parties. Men tend to vote for what’s right for their own wallets, but women are more likely to consider issues beyond personal wealth and economics.

A particular problem Cunliffe has is that women are more adept at reading body language and don’t like it when it differs from verbal language.

Even his “sorry I’m a man” speech, which was obviously targeting women, had suggestions of a lack of authenticity.

Meanwhile Duncan Garner posts Three Labour MPs say ‘stuff the party – I want to win my seat!’

Three Labour MPs have broken ranks in recent weeks – quite loudly and very publicly.

They are interested in one thing: self-preservation. They want to win their seats and they’ve given up relying on their party. They are clearly concerned Labour will poll poorly on election night, so they’ve decided to run their own campaigns – away from head office and away from the leader.

These MPs have either chosen not to be on the list or they have a low-list spot. They are vulnerable. It’s all or nothing for them.

They must win their seats to return to Parliament; this sort of pressure usually focuses an MP’s mind. They want to be back in Parliament and they want the $150k salary.

I’m talking about West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor, Hutt South MP, Trevor Mallard and list MP and Te Tai Tokerau candidate, Kelvin Davis.

He has left Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene out.

Take Davis: yesterday he engaged Labour in its biggest u-turn in years. He told me he supported the Puhoi-Wellsford road project that his party has openly mocked and criticised.

Davis is a staunch promoter of Northland interests and has put this before the party.

Further south in Wellington, Trevor Mallard is openly campaigning for the return of the moa – against the wishes of his party and the leadership. It’s a desperate cry for attention: Mallard needs visibility and the moa got him the headlines.

That has been a bizarre sideshow. Cunliffe initially responded “the moa is not a goer” but Mallard has kept on going on about his pet project of the future.

And further south again, Damien O’Connor voted with the Government 10 days ago to allow storm-damaged native trees to be harvested in protected forests.

Tirikatene also voted with the Government on the tree bill.

These three blokes are the outliers in the Labour Caucus. And they are blokes too; they need to make some noise to be heard. They clearly have issues with the tame approach within their caucus.

O’Connor and Davis certainly look in touch with middle New Zealand, their electorates and their issues. They have given the one-fingered salute to their struggling party and put self-preservation first.

O’Connor, Tirikatene and Mallard are relying totally on holding their current electorates in order to stay in Parliament, they don’t feature on the Labour list.

Davis is in a doubtful list position and to put a bob each way on his chances he needs to keenly contest Hone Harawira to try and win Te Tai Tokerau off him.

While Cunliffe is struggling to woo the women voters some of the strongest male presence in Labour is going their own way, disregarding the wider party interests, and as Garner says, putting self preservation first. This suggests they don’t hold much hope of the party doing well.

Cunliffe is struggling to appeal to women and failing to appeal to his own caucus for unity.

It’s hard to see how this can work out well for Labour.

Unless Kim Dotcom sinks National, giving Labour  a shot at forming a Government despite their shambles.

 

Is Mallard serious?

Trevor Mallard seems to be taking his proposal to resurrect moa from their DNA seriously even though it makes one wonder if he’s taking the piss.

But he could have an odd obsession with things from the past going by his social media profiles.

His Twitter profile:

Mallard TwitterHis Facebook profile:

Mallard Facebook

 

This is a long time MP who has opted out of his party list but is apparently seriously standing to try and retain his electorate.

Seriously?

He seems to have a fixation with looking at things from bygone eras.

Cunliffe tries to paper over Mallard ‘wisecrack’

David Cunliffe is once again reacting to awkward news and appears to be trying to downplay a Trevor Mallard ‘wisecrack’ (it is more of a dumb distraction).

Mallard seems to have made most of the political news today with his proposal for resurrecting moa. Stuff reports:

Time to bring back…the moa

With “the science of de-extinction advancing quickly”, as he put it, the Hutt South MP has laid down a challenge for Lower Hutt and for scientists: Let’s work towards the possibility of moa one day striding again through the bush of Rimutaka Forest Park.

While admitting it sounded “a bit Jurassic Park”, Mallard said scientists had been making progress on techniques for using recovered DNA from extinct animals to reconstruct new life.

Fifty to 100 years from now, Wainuiomata could again be home to the moa, which would make an enormous difference to the environment, community and economy, he said.

“It would certainly give us international focus and, frankly, I can’t think of a better place. Those valleys [behind Wainuiomata] are accessible without helicopter, with a one-hour walk.”

In what seems to now be a regular outlet for Cunliffe’s PR machine Greg Presland tries to play it down at The Standard.

This morning Trevor Mallard said with his tongue at least partially in his cheek that locals and scientists should work towards the possibility of moa one day striding again through the bush of Rimutaka Forest Park. Scientifically the idea is not one that is utterly impossible. Work on genetics goes on all the time and it is possible that one day reconstituting an extinct creature from recovered DNA may actually bring that creature back to life.

Our politicians should be future thinkers and should be willing to discuss ideas and concepts, no matter how bizarre they currently may be.

Social media has exploded. Trevor Mallard and Moa are trending on local twitter feeds in a way which must make the creators of #TeamKey very jealous.

David Cunliffe has joined in the fun. The Herald quote him as saying:

“I don’t think this one’s going to fly. There’s a lot of scientific work to go under the bridge before moas are going to be flopping around in Wainuiomata.

The moa’s not a goer.”

This sounds vey much like a carefully written social media release. It tries to get some counter digs in against National and Colin Craig, then concludes:

Politics can be a brutal, overly serious business sometimes. We should tolerate the odd occasion when our elected representatives break out of their shell and make the odd wisecrack.

But the comments see through this attempt to paper over a wisecrack.

Mallard has deliberately floated this distraction and has gone to some effort to do so. It obviously wasn’t just an off the cuff wisecrack, he had prepared a graphic to go with his proposal.

Media happened to be on hand to report what would usually be a minor political presentation. And in Parliament more media followed up with a stand-up interview where Mallard seemed to enjoy the attention and was taking questions seriously.

From Scoop audio:

Mallard: …have been found in much better condition that people thought they would be found in and it all becomes a possibility.

You know Jurassic Park ended pretty badly?

Mallard: Yeah and that’s why I want, I only want the small moa in Wainuiomata, I don’t want those that are two forty kg and three point five meters tall. I’d like ones that I can pat on the head rather like I did the polar bear over the weekend rather than the ones that are going to bowl us over.

Are you talking about this being fifty to a hundred years away. Are you sad you’re unlikely to see this in your lifetime?

Well you can never tell, with, these days some of us do live longer than our general life expectancy. I would say that I don’t expect to be the MP for Hutt South quite at that time.

Are you serious?

I’m I’m I’m absolutely serious that there is, we should be taking advantage of science as it develops. You can either, you know a lot of people pooh poohed early scientists, ah but but this work is something that is, it’s logical, ah it is already happening around the world and I think in New Zealand we don’t need to spend any money on it yet but we should at least start talking about it.

Do you really think this is a serious priority going into an election?

No.

So this, I mean it’s a good point, is this a good use of your time?

Ah, I made a, I was asked to make a speech in Wainuiomata which was involved why I loved Wainuiomata, and some medium term and some long term vision.

I spent much of the speech talking about housing, about the availability of cheap housing, the problems that the loan rations are causing in Wainuiomata, the fact that we’re not training properly, we’re not doing enough training and the effexct that is having on housing. That was a big part of my speech.

Ah but I was also asked to look way into the future, ah and this is what I did.

Your party has spent weeks trying to get rid of, you know bat off  distractions and now you’re just creating a new one.

I don’t think this is a distraction at all, it’s a it’s a it’s a minor long term idea ah for um for an electorate which we represent.

Will you have to change your GE policy to get this through?

I don’t think so.

So you’ll have to surely.

No no, I think if you look at our GE policy um ah it will certainly be within fifty years we’ll be able to test it against our GE ah genetic engineering policy, we’re not the Greens remember, we do have different policies, we had a royal commission on genetic modification and the answer was caution. Now I think with moa it would be extreme caution.

Anything else you’d like to bring back apart from moa?

Oh, you and your decent chess playing form.

Not former Prime Ministers?

No.

Is there any truth to the rumour that you’re trying to resuscitate Michael Joseph Savage?

Ah, well I think I think we know where to find the remains. Thank you.   

In Mallard: Bring the moa back to life within 50 years 3 News showed Cunliffe saying “The moa’s not a goer” followed by Mallard saying “Well the moa will be a goer”.

This is a very extended ‘wisecrack’. If he is taking the piss is it aimed at the media or at his own party?

Either way this is this sort of thing would result in endless ridicule at The Standard and across social media if it had been said by Colin Craig or someone from Act.

This is a very odd thing for Mallard to promote during an election campaign that has been persistently hobbled by Labour’s own goals.

Leggett lashes Labour

Porirua mayor Nick Leggett describes himself as “a life-long (moderate and pro-enterprise) Labour supporter”. He lashes Labour in despair in a post at The Pundit – Labour’s sins of ommission.

He begins:

Where is the sense of urgency from a Labour party that doesn’t seem terribly fussed about winning this election, or at least seems quite happy to leave it to potential coalition partners to get it over the line?

The biggest crime a Labour Party caucus, activist base and affiliated unions can commit is to not put their party in a position where it can realistically when an election. They can claim all they like to want to bring new talent into parliament through the list, but on current polling, it’s rhetoric – no new faces will make it come September.

It’s worth reading his whole post. He concludes:

Where is the sense of urgency in Labour that says it’s not OK for generations in a single family to be stuck on the dole? Labour is never satisfied with the status quo – we believe that tomorrow can be better. We have a divine discontent that makes us strive to improve on what is.

It would nice for all this be reflected in the Labour Party that faces the 2014 election.

It may be too late for this election, which is not good for New Zealand.  Whether Labour could beat National this election with the help of Greens and others or not a weak (once) major party weakens our democracy.

There’s a growing chance of a Labour vote collapse.

Labour have failed to recover and rebuild since Helen Clark and Michael Cullen packed up and left Nearly two terms ago. nearly six years ago.

More worrying is that in it’s current form it looks unlikely Labour will recover next term either unless something dramatic changes, and with the same old line-up with a procession of leaders that is looking a forlorn hope.

We could be moving to (or have already moved to) just a one major party, several moderate sized parties and several tiny parties model of MMP.

While National hold power we are likely to continue unremarkable slightly right leaning at at times timid government.

When the voters eventually give a hodge podge of parties a turn anything could happen, depending on how small Labour gets, who is leading them at the time and what factions are dominant.

In the meantime dominating the news today:

Time to bring back…the moa

With “the science of de-extinction advancing quickly”, as he put it, the Hutt South MP has laid down a challenge for Lower Hutt and for scientists: Let’s work towards the possibility of moa one day striding again through the bush of Rimutaka Forest Park.

While admitting it sounded “a bit Jurassic Park”, Mallard said scientists had been making progress on techniques for using recovered DNA from extinct animals to reconstruct new life.

Fifty to 100 years from now, Wainuiomata could again be home to the moa, which would make an enormous difference to the environment, community and economy, he said.

“It would certainly give us international focus and, frankly, I can’t think of a better place. Those valleys [behind Wainuiomata] are accessible without helicopter, with a one-hour walk.”

I’d prefer “time to bring back Labour” as a serious political force but the party looks more like farce.

 

Problem for Problem Gambling Foundation

There was a flurry of criticism this morning when the Problem Gambling Foundation advised it was losing Ministry of Health funding for the bulk of it’s current services.

Trevor Mallard was quick off the mark.

Govt silences casino deal critic by axing funding

The Problem Gambling Foundation is being forced to shut its doors after losing government funding because it has vocally opposed National’s dodgy convention centre for pokies deal, Labour’s Internal Affairs spokesperson Trevor Mallard says.

It also appears that Mallard was wide of the mark. Criticisms have been premature.

The funding hasn’t been cut, it is being moved to a “superior” provider. From the Problem Gambling Foundation’s media statement Statement on Ministry of Health contracts:

While the Ministry describes PGF as a valued provider of quality services it has told PGF it has a superior offer for the clinical and public health services PGF provides.

Mallard acknowledges the change of service provider despite his “axing” headline:

“The Ministry of Health has said it has received a ‘superior contract bid’ but as the Foundation is the largest provider of problem gambling services in Australasia, it is hard to imagine a more qualified organisation to do this work.

“The Government’s deal with SkyCity stinks and the public knows it. An additional 350 pokie machines in Auckland will cause significant harm to the community.

“The Problem Gambling Foundation has spoken out about the dangers of this deal and are now paying the price.

“Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne and the Ministry of Health need to explain the reasons for this outrageous decision,” Trevor Mallard says.

Stuff explain in Problem Gambling Foundation loses Govt funding:

A spokesman from Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne’s office confirmed today that the other organisation was the Salvation Army.

The spokesman said the Salvation Army bid for the contract was more efficient, and offered more services and value for money.

It’s tough on the PGF but funds for services should be contestable. The Salvation Army have a record of providing a wide range of services – and they have also been critical of the Government.

Internal Affairs minister Peter Dunne and the Ministry of Health both “emphatically deny” any political involvement.

The Mojo story and a Masterton coincidence

The big question still unanswered about the Mojo Mathers versus Taxpayers’ Union story is who initiated the story.

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

A puzzle has remained about who put the questions to the Herald on Sunday in the first place.

Tonight PhilP commented on Kiwiblog:

I read a piece in Monday’s Wairarapa Times-Age where Trevor Mallard, Grant Robertson and Chris Hipkins were in Masterton last weekend with their Wairarapa Labour candidate Keiran McAnulty. Apparently they were out door knocking.

I can’t find the item on their website, but lo, the Wairarapa Times-Age is hosted by NZ Herald so must be APN.

This story is confirmed by some tweets:

@Kieran_McAnulty  Mar 1
Had a fantastic response from #gigatownMTN locals today, as the Labour team canvassed door to door. To those who helped out – Thank you!

@chrishipkins Mar 1
Great afternoon door knocking in Masterton. We’ve got an awesome candidate in @Kieran_McAnulty – popular with locals!

Embedded image permalink
And curiously:

If MPs end up having to justify every plane trip, taxi ride, bus fare, or train ticket the end result will be less public access to MPs

 @gtiso  Mar 1

@chrishipkins don’t worry. It’s only the left-wing MPs.

That was on Saturday. The Mojo Mathers story was posted on the NZ Herald news site at 8.30 am on Sunday.

Green MP’s 800km taxpayer-funded trip questioned
By Patrice Dougan

8:30 AM Sunday Mar 2, 2014

Was it available in the print version of the Herald on Sunday before Sunday?

It seems quite a coincidence that Chris Hipkins was in Masterton on Saturday with Trevor Mallard and was talking about the story topic.

Another tweet:

Drove down to Children’s Day celebrations at Avalon Park this morning. Don’t tell Jordan Williams about this travel extravagance…

See earlier story: Mathers story seems odd

UPDATE: There’s confusion over timestamps in Twitter between browsers, it appears that Hipkins’ tweets were made on Sunday afternoon. Chrome:

Hipkins Masterton 1

But Firefox seems to be accurate:

Hipkins Masterton 2I’ve never noticed before but the layout is different between the browsers as well.

I accept the Sunday afternoon timestamp. This reduces the level of coincidence, but it’s still very curious to see the three Labour MPs active in Masterton on the same day the story was probably researched and written.

The news report from the Masterton Times-Age.

Labour MPs Masterton

And the big questions remain:

  • who gave the story to the Herald on Sunday?
  • why was the Taxpayers’ Union questioned about the story?
  • why did the story imply the Taxpayers’ Union had asked the initial questions?
  • what were the motives for trying to make something of a very innocuous visit by a Christchurch MP to Masterton?

UPDATE2: Someone from the Wairarapa says about the Times-Age:

Worthy of note is that the wretched editor, one Andrew Bonallack, is determined to turn the paper into a Labour Party news propaganda organ.

 

Groundduck day

While Labour crash and burn Trevor Mallard keeps coming up with yet another attempt at the same old question that the Speaker rules out of order.

Questions for Oral Answer

Questions to Ministers

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

10. Hon TREVOR MALLARD to the Prime Minister: Further to his response of “No” as to whether he received an assurance from Mr Dunne that he had not made a copy of the draft Kitteridge Report on the GCSB available to a Fairfax reporter, in Oral Question No 11 on 12 February and that he “accepted him at his word”, in a supplementary answer to the same question, in what context did Mr Dunne give his word that he did not make said report available to the reporter?
This follows 

 30 January 2014:

11. Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South) to the Minister of Internal Affairs: Does he stand by all his statements?

Hon PETER DUNNE (Minister of Internal Affairs) : Yes—in fact, I am more than happy to stand by the only statement I have made since being appointed Minister of Internal Affairs 2 days ago, which is that the New Zealand Fire Service has today deployed the first of two firefighting contingents to help fight bushfires in Victoria. This actually follows four similar deployments to Australia last year and underscores the close relationship and cooperation our two countries have when dealing with times of national adversity. I am sure that the House will want to join with me in wishing our firefighters well and that they will have a safe return home.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Does he stand by the comment he made as he welcomed his new role that he has, with his chief executive officer, responsibility for, amongst other things, proper protection of the security of information?

Hon PETER DUNNE: Yes.

Hon Trevor Mallard: How does he reconcile that comment last week with his action in leaking a confidential report to a member of the parliamentary press gallery?

Mr SPEAKER: I will allow the Minister to respond to that question.

Hon PETER DUNNE: I stand by the comments that I made in the statement that the member referred to. I accept the responsibility that I have as Minister of Internal Affairs and I will honour that responsibility.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Did he leak the Kitteridge report or any draft thereof—

Mr SPEAKER: There is no ministerial responsibility for that question.

Etc.

And 11 February 2014:

11. Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South) to the Minister of Internal Affairs: Further to his answers to supplementary questions to Oral Question No 11 on Thursday 30 January relating to his responsibility for the security of information, does he believe that all his actions as a Minister mean he is an appropriate person to hold the position of Minister of Internal Affairs?

Hon PETER DUNNE (Minister of Internal Affairs) : Yes.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Did he, as part of the process of his recent reappointment as a Minister, give the Prime Minister an assurance that he did not leak the draft Kitteridge report or make it available to a Fairfax reporter?

Hon PETER DUNNE: The discussions I had with the Prime Minister are between the Prime Minister and me, but I reiterate the answers that I gave to the House on 30 January. I have had no ministerial responsibility for any issues relating to the Kitteridge report.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Was the reason that he is not prepared to tell the House that he has given the Prime Minister an assurance that he did not make the draft Kitteridge report available to a Fairfax reporter because he in fact made that document available to that reporter?

Mr SPEAKER: I call the Hon Peter Dunne, in as far as there is current ministerial responsibility.

Hon PETER DUNNE: I was appointed to this position on 28 January. In relation to the primary question, I have honoured the responsibilities entrusted to me fully since that date. In relation to other matters, I have no responsibility for them.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Is he in a position to give the House now an assurance that he did not make the draft Kitteridge report available to a Fairfax reporter; if not, why not?

Mr SPEAKER: Again, I will allow the Minister to answer the question, but in as far as he has current ministerial responsibility as Minister of Internal Affairs.

Hon PETER DUNNE: I refer the member to my previous answers on this very subject.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Referring to his current responsibility for security of information, can he give the House an assurance that he is a suitable person to oversee this for New Zealand by now stating that he has never made a confidential report available to a Fairfax reporter?

Mr SPEAKER: Again, I will invite the Minister to answer the question in line with his current ministerial responsibility.

Hon PETER DUNNE: My current responsibilities began on 28 January, and the question that is made is answered in respect of those answers, and I refer the member to previous answers on earlier subjects.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Having regard to the security and secrecy of information, particularly in his present job, why does he not admit the time, the date, the room, and the circumstances of his leaking of the Kitteridge report?

Mr SPEAKER: Order! That question is not in order at all.

Etc

And  12 February 2014:

11. Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South) to the Prime Minister: Is the Hon Peter Dunne a suitable person to hold the position answerable in this House for the security of information held by Government in light of him repeatedly declining to deny, in the House yesterday, that he made the draft Kitteridge report available to a Fairfax reporter, and, if so, has he received an assurance from Mr Dunne that he did not make the document available to any reporter?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister) : Yes, and no.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Is he the Minister responsible to this House for commissioning the Kitteridge report into the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), the Henry report into how that report was made available to a Fairfax reporter, and the reinstatement of the Hon Peter Dunne to his ministry?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Has he, since he received the Henry report, received any further information that has helped him to identify the source of the leak of the Kitteridge report into the GCSB?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No.

Hon Trevor Mallard: What, if anything, has changed with regard to who made the Kitteridge report available since he said on 7 June that he could not accept Mr Dunne’s assurances that he did not leak the draft Kitteridge report?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: What is true is that I accepted Mr Dunne’s resignation because he failed to comply with the inquiry. What I have also done, as I have said to the House before, is accepted Mr Dunne’s assurances that he has categorically ruled out playing any part in leaking the report. Another way of saying that would be “I’ve moved on.”—and do not worry, Trevor, one day David will move on when it comes to you, as well.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Does he stand by his statement in relation to the Henry report that there is only one conclusion you can take from reading the report; if so, does he still believe that Mr Dunne is the person most likely to have made the draft Kitteridge report available to a Fairfax reporter?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: In relation to the first part of the question, yes. In relation to the second part of the question, I accept Mr Dunne’s assurances.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: In respect of the Prime Minister’s answer to the second part of the primary question, which was “has he received an assurance from Mr Dunne that he did not make the document available to any reporter?”, to which he said no, preparatory to the reappointment of Mr Dunne, did he ask Mr Dunne for his assurance that he did not leak the Kitteridge report?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No, because I accepted him at his word, just as, I am sure, I will accept that member’s word that he did not discuss untoward things when he went to the Dotcom mansion three times.

Etc

And 18 February 2014:

11. Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South) to the Minister of Internal Affairs: Does he stand by his answers to all supplementary questions to Oral Questions in the House this year; if so, why?

Hon PETER DUNNE (Minister of Internal Affairs) :Yes , because they accord with my ministerial responsibility.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Does he accept he has responsibility in this House for the security of Government information; if so, will he now make it clear that he is a suitable person for holding that role by stating that he did not make the draft Kitteridge report on the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) available to a Fairfax journalist?

Mr SPEAKER: The Hon Peter Dunne—the first part of that question is acceptable.

Hon PETER DUNNE: I have answered that question—

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think you attempted to edit my question.

Mr SPEAKER: I have.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Can you—and, Mr Speaker—

Mr SPEAKER: I have. I can help the member. There were two parts to that supplementary question. The second part of the supplementary question is out of order. The first part of the supplementary question is in order, and that one can be answered.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER: Does the member wish to proceed?

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I want to refer you to Speaker’s Ruling 155/3, which relates to the Prime Minister’s requirements for the suitability of Ministers to hold roles. I am not asking the member whether he leaked the document; what I am asking him is to demonstrate—as is allowed under Speaker’s Ruling 155/3—that he is a suitable person for holding a role as a Minister in this House. The question was very—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I can help the member. If the member now rephrases both parts of his question, it will be over to the Minister which one he will address. But if the member rephrases the second part of his supplementary question in line with the words he just used, that will be in order.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Is he prepared to demonstrate to the House today that he is a suitable person for holding the role of security of Government information by directly denying that he made the draft Kitteridge report on the GCSB available to a Fairfax journalist?

Mr SPEAKER: The difficulty we have now got to is that the member is not repeating the first part of the question he raised.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Interestingly, I think that the first part of the question that the Hon Trevor Mallard asked could stand, but then he deviated and was in contravention of Standing Order 377(1)(b). There is clearly a breach of that particular Standing Order.

Hon Trevor Mallard: The question was very clear, and was whether he is prepared to demonstrate that he is a suitable person by doing X. I have not asked him whether or not he leaked the report on the GCSB to a Fairfax reporter; I am asking him to demonstrate his suitability by denying that in the House. Clearly, any person who was a Minister and leaked that report would not be suitable.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: If he had put a full stop after “demonstrate” or “demonstrate to the House”, that would be fine, but to go on and make a requirement that is by any reasonable assessment an imputation, an inference, or even an argument, and quite possibly a discreditable reference, it then falls outside the Standing Orders.

Hon David Parker: If that was the concern of the Minister in response to a question, he would just deny the allegation. It is very proper for the Opposition to try to highlight matters that are disreputable on the part of Ministers. This is an example where we are trying to do that, and that is quite within the Standing Orders.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: If that were the case, then any old question could be asked any old time. There would be no need to have Standing Order 377, “Content of questions”.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I am going to allow the member an opportunity to repeat his question as he first asked it, because the question has changed quite substantially. The member has every right to ask the current Minister of Internal Affairs something for which he has been responsible since he was appointed as Minister of Internal Affairs, and if the question is along those lines, I will rule it in order. If the member then tries to tease it back to occurrences that occurred some time before the Minister was appointed as the Minister of Internal Affairs, I will be inclined to rule it out of order, and that will be the end of the matter.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Is he prepared in the House today to demonstrate today that he is a suitable person to have custody of public information, by denying that he made that document available to a Fairfax reporter?

Mr SPEAKER: Order! To progress the matter, the Minister can answer the question up until the final addition of that information.

Hon PETER DUNNE: That question has been asked in a couple of forms on 30 January and 11 February. I stand by the answers given on both of those occasions.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. This is a matter that has been well traversed by a select committee and by inquiries inside and outside this House. With respect, if the Minister is being asked to demonstrate a present action that is required of him now—a certain fact that relates to his qualifications for the job—that is still a present matter that the House would like to be assured of. It is not, therefore, a past matter, which is the qualification that Mr Brownlee tried to put on it. Frankly, if we cannot hear the truth behind this, then this is no longer a House of Parliament that gets to the bottom of the matter.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: What Mr Peters is saying is that—the question implicitly makes an allegation. Otherwise there would be no need for the use of the word “deny”. That is not within the Standing Orders.

Mr SPEAKER: I appreciate the point that the member Mr Peters is raising. My job is to adhere to the Standing Orders. Therefore, this is question time, where Ministers can be asked questions where they have ministerial responsibility. What the member is attempting to do is devise a system whereby he asks the Minister to deny an action that occurred prior to him being a Minister. The Standing Orders do not allow that to happen in this House.

Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The issue that I want to raise with you goes to the issues around the character of Ministers and whether or not actions prior to their becoming Ministers can be questioned in relation to their character and suitability to hold the roles. I can recall examples—for example, Ms Collins questioned previous Ministers in the Labour Government over actions that they took even prior to their being members of Parliament and the implication that that had for their current ministerial roles. What Mr Dunne is being questioned on is something that related to his conduct prior to his holding the current ministerial role, but that is no different to Ms Collins’ questions to someone who was not even a member of Parliament when they did the things that she was questioning them on.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I would like to draw your attention back to a question earlier today, where you allowed Mr Williams to ask a question of the Hon Mr Woodhouse that related to his experience prior to being a member of Parliament, and you allowed Mr Woodhouse to answer it. What I am asking for is some consistency.

Mr SPEAKER: Yes, but I do recall the answer from Mr Woodhouse was that he replied to the effect that that was not relevant to the answer, and then proceeded to answer the question. The Minister has now answered the question. If the member still has a further supplementary question, I will listen to it. But—

Hon David Parker: You wouldn’t let him answer the second part.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I appreciate the assistance from the Hon David Parker, but the Minister has answered that question. Does the member have a further supplementary question?

Hon Trevor Mallard: I certainly do. In light of his answers last week, has he given any assurance to the Prime Minister on the question of his suitability to hold his current role, with regard to the security of Government information, other than through the media in June last year?

Hon PETER DUNNE: Prior to taking up this appointment, which actually pre-dates the period of ministerial responsibility, the Prime Minister and I discussed the role and what it entailed, and the outcome of that was that he offered me the job.

Rt Hon John Key: Can the Minister confirm that the actual test of whether someone serves as a Minister is whether they enjoy the confidence of the Prime Minister of the day, and can the member confirm whether he believes he has the full confidence of the Prime Minister of the day, and can the Minister confirm that—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! We have now had—[Interruption] I will hear from the right honourable—[Interruption] Order!

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The first question is of the Prime Minister, not the Minister—[Interruption] No, even though he sought to put it to Mr Dunne, it is only the Prime Minister that has the confidence, and the second question should have been ruled out because it was a second question.

Mr SPEAKER: If anybody wants to ask a supplementary question, they should ask a single supplementary question. In my opinion, the first supplementary question asked by the Prime Minister was completely in order and the Minister can answer it.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. In order to help the Prime Minister, I seek leave of the House for the full supplementary question of the Prime Minister to be answered by Mr Dunne.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Members must still abide by the Standing Orders.

Hon PETER DUNNE: I can only assume that, because the Prime Minister offered to appoint me as the Minister of Internal Affairs, he has full confidence in my ability to do the job, and I intend to reflect that confidence in the way that I carry out this role.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Further to the supplementary question asked by the Prime Minister and the Minister’s answer, did the Prime Minister then ask him whether he leaked the report?

Hon PETER DUNNE: That question was put to the Prime Minister last week, and I refer the member to the answer he gave, which I am not going to disagree with.

Mr SPEAKER: Supplementary—[Interruption] Order! Order! I need to hear the supplementary question.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Further to the Prime Minister’s question and the supplementary answer, did the Minister give the Prime Minister any information relating to the making available of the Kitteridge report to a reporter, other than through the media?

Mr SPEAKER: I do not accept that that question has any ministerial responsibility in respect of the current Minister of Internal Affairs.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. That question has more ministerial responsibility in it than the one that you allowed from the Prime Minister, which went to the Prime Minister’s responsibilities.

Mr SPEAKER: I will allow the member, rather than forfeiting a question, to have an attempt at asking a question in line with the current ministerial responsibility of the Minister.

Hon David Parker: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am confused—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! It is a point of order.

Hon David Parker: I am confused as to how a Speaker can find it in order for the Prime Minister to ask a Minister whether he has his confidence but then an Opposition member is not able to ask a question of whether the Prime Minister checked whether the Minister leaked a report before he said he was confident in him.

Mr SPEAKER: I do not need assistance. I am here to help the member’s confusion. My duty is to instantly judge how appropriate the question is to the Minister’s current responsibility. I have invited—[Interruption] Order! I have invited the member to attempt to rephrase his question. Otherwise we will simply move on in this matter.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Further to the Prime Minister’s question, which indicated that he has confidence in Mr Dunne, was one of the factors in building that confidence his making clear to the Prime Minister that he did not leak the Kitteridge report to a Fairfax reporter?

Hon PETER DUNNE: The discussion we had was wide ranging and dealt with matters relating to the internal affairs portfolio to which the Prime Minister subsequently appointed me.

 

Labour letting the attack dog out

Or maybe that should be letting the duck out, Labour’s Mallardy.

Labour seem to have re-employed Trevor Mallard’s muckraking, or he has unleashed himself. He has been used for the two Parliamentary weeks this year to try and dredge up tired old crap, looking tired and looking like crap when he does it.

It’s  sad sack politics, like a punch drunk old boxer.

Mallard has been busy on Twitter hissing like a goose.

And at number twenty seven in the Labour caucus he’s the one nominated to front up on Breakfast this morning, looking tired and like crap, to suggest that the public might perceive that Key had used his old friend in the GCSB to spy on Winston. That’s tired old politics, and he backtracked when asked if he actually believed what he said.

Comments on this at Whale Oil – BassilFawlty:

He has not looked well or performed well the last two times I have seen him, all the fight seems to have gone from him.

Yes, he’s looking a bit like a deflated cactus. Going through the shit-stirring motions.

Kaykaybee:

So Humpty Dumpty Trevvy Mallard is being put back on the wall for awhile. Cunliffe, busy trying to find a new chief of staff and struggling with policy, cannot deal with this farce and is forced to let the dogs out. I wonder in the confusion of running for leader did he even know about those within Labour who were in contact with the serial embezzler and fraudster Kim Dotcom.

Looks pretty desperate to have to resurrect a man you despise and demoted to the lowest of ranks and so ignominiously. Cunliffe and Mallard – such animosity ! Like to see how that pans out.

GazzW

Labour seem to be using Mallard for all of the grubby petty stuff that no one with an eye on their political future is prepared to do. He was such a pathetic looking object at QT this week raising the hoary old Dunne/Fairfax reporter (notice that they never name her even in the House) issue.

Poor old bugger in a crumpled suit and shirt ranting away from his place on the back bench – I almost felt sorry for him at one point but then I remembered all the shit that he’s dealt out in the past. It’s called karma.

Has Mallard gone rogue? Presumably not, the Labour whips will have supported his Question Time attacks. And presumably Labour management get to choose who to put forward for interview spots.

So David Cunliffe must either be supporting the old Mallard mutt being unleashed, or he is not controlling his caucus.

“Nice guys don’t last long in this game.”

In an NZ Herald article on David Shearer’s demise as Labour leader a sad observation is made:

The Mana Party’s Hone Harawira said he always found Mr Shearer to be “very, very friendly and very open”.

“I think that was probably his downfall. Nice guys don’t last long in this game.”

That’s how Harawira sees it, and I know others in politics see it that way. I was this told myself recently on Whale Oil.

It’s rubbish.

This sounds to me like it is an attempt to excuse bad behaviour, to excuse politicians who act awfully.

Some of the longest standing politicians in Parliament are widely regarded as decent, nice people – for example Phil Goff and Peter Dunne, both MPs since the 1980s.

There are also long serving MPs with reputations of being not so nice at times, like Trevor Mallard, Winston Peters and Clayton Cosgrove.

Politicians can be strong and still by nice. That means standing up and challenging the nastiness, and make it clear it doesn’t belong in Parliament. MPs are the people’s representatives, so they should represent decent and honourable behaviour.

Politics needs more nice guys and women. Strong and principled works best with nice.

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