Comparing Key to Peters in Parliament

Following on from Was Peters unfairly ejected from the Chamber? – does John Key get away with too much in the Chamber? Is his behaviour unbecoming of a Prime Minister?

Duperez commented:

“…cantankerous, disrespectful and disruptive behaviour…” are lovely descriptions and could be particular to Winston Peters in general or specifically the behaviour which saw his latest ousting.

I don’t quite know if that group of decriptors would apply to the consistent behaviour of say, John Key. ” Disrespectful and disruptive”, yes but not cantankerous. To the former two I’d add “smart arse” and “sneering.” Maybe “wily” also because he knows he can get away with whatever he likes and you always play to the ref.

I think this is fair comment. I agree that Key escapes the cantankerous label, but I think ”disrespectful and disruptive” could easily describe how he often acts in Parliament. And “smart arse” and “sneering” also seems appropriate descriptors.

I’ve said before and I’ll say again that I think Key’s behaviour often goes too far and can be a piss poor look at times.

But he’s also wily and knows what he can usually get away with.

Peters has been around long enough to also know how to be wily, but there’s a significant difference with what he does.

Key always directs his barbs and excesses at opposition MPs. While sometimes excessive it is seen as part of the cut and thrust of Parliamentary debate. He doesn’t argue with the Speaker, as Duperez says, he plays to the ref but he doesn’t play the ref.

In contrast Peters seems more intent on needling and questioning and defying and antagonising the Speaker. Tuesday’s clash on it’s own may not have seemed particularly bad but in the context of a long running battle with Carter then I don’t think the Speaker’s reaction was over the top.

Peters is one of the most experienced combatants in the Chamber. He should know how to play to the ref. He seems to frequently choose to fight with the ref. His questions often seem to begin targeting Government MPs or the PM but divert into spats with the Speaker.

Both Key and Peters display behaviour unbecoming of senior representatives of the people. They set a poor example and lower the tone of Parliamentary debate.

The difference is that Key fights his opposition while Peters seems obsessed with fighting the Speaker and the System. It’s hard to see how he can every win those battles, and his war his futile.

I don’t think either Key or Peters behave appropriately in Parliament, I don’t like the excesses of either. But Key keeps winning while Peters seems determined to continue battles he will mostly lose.

Was Peters unfairly ejected from the Chamber?

Winston Peters was ejected from the Chamber by the Speaker David Carter yesterday. I don’t know whether it was comparatively unfair or if it was justified, but I think it’s easy to see how the Speaker would be getting exasperated with Peters and his cantankerous, disrespectful and disruptive behaviour.

Yesterday’s exchange started from 7:25 here:

Transcript:

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Speaking about the primary question, which was “renege on any other commitments”—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! Can I just have the supplementary question without the preamble, please.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : You are getting it right now. I am relating it to the primary question.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The member will resume his seat. There is simply no need to relate it to the primary question. The Standing Orders require that the supplementary question is related to the primary question. I call on the member to simply ask his supplementary question.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am asking a supplementary question. I have used five words, and you have stopped me.

Mr SPEAKER : I am very tempted to not allow the member to ask a supplementary question. When he wants to ask a supplementary question, I give the member the call. He rises and asks the question. There is no need for an introduction about relating it to the primary question. I do not want to have to repeat this for the member. We will be moving to somebody else if I need to.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. With the greatest of respect, and I have been here longer than you—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER : Order! It is a point of order. I intend to listen in silence.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : If I intend there to be some relativity to the primary question in what I am about to ask, that is up to my discretion. With the greatest of respect, this is the first time I have had someone make the ruling you have just made from that Chair.

Mr SPEAKER : Well, then, I suggest the member needs to listen more often in question time. You are required to—[Interruption] Order! The member will stand and withdraw that remark immediately.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I withdraw.

Mr SPEAKER : Supplementary question, Andrew Little. [Interruption] No, supplementary question, Andrew Little.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The member will also be very familiar with the Standing Orders. I have the right to decide where I will take a supplementary question. I warned the member that he would not get a second chance. I am going to hear a supplementary question from Andrew Little. I may change my mind and then let the member ask a supplementary question. I may do so.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. You did not tell me that I would not get a supplementary question. You have—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! [Interruption] The member will immediately—[Interruption] The member will now leave the Chamber.

  • Rt Hon Winston Peters withdrew from the Chamber.

Apart from his petulance Peters was wrong with his last claim. He said “You did not tell me that I would not get a supplementary question.”

The Speaker had said: ” I am very tempted to not allow the member to ask a supplementary question. When he wants to ask a supplementary question, I give the member the call. He rises and asks the question. There is no need for an introduction about relating it to the primary question. I do not want to have to repeat this for the member. We will be moving to somebody else if I need to.”

That seems fairly clear.

Peters then tried to pull rank, questioned a ruling, and then made an inaudible (on the soundtrack) remark that he was required to withdraw, after which the Speaker moved to an alternate supplementary as he had warned he may do. And Peters kept disputing the Speaker until ordered to leave the Chamber.

Today Peters complained about being unfairly treated.

Perhaps he could consider his own behaviour may be out of order, but that seems unlikely, he seems more intent on grandstanding and trying to drown out Andrew Little (as he did in this case).

I wonder how the representing of the Northland electorate is going.

Iain Lees-Galloway unhappy in Parliament

Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway wasn’t happy with the Speaker David Carter nor a number of Government MPs  yesterday in Question Time.

 

Disgusting display of arrogance from Bill English in the house. And from elsewhere in the house (that I may not name) too.

He retweeted

The Speaker’s reasoning only makes sense if…nope. It’s just plain ridiculous

And  

Carter now shut Cunliffe out. Peters tries to help. Carter says public will judge… We have. You’re a useless, useless puppet

Then tweeted:

Parliament has become a complete farce. Most of you already think that but it’s been confirmed for us too today.

Retweeted 

Carter again demonstrating how a biased Speaker contributes to disorder in the house

Blaming the Speaker for ‘disorder in the house’ ignores the responsibility (or lack of) of those who are being disorderly, the MPs.

Then

I was wrong… child Poverty IS a laughing matter (going by National MPs’ giggles anyway).

Then another target:

Tim Groser and other Nat MPs very excited that he’s made a dick of himself on the international stage. Must be a National MP KPI.

Back to the Speaker – retweet of

When Carter says “no doubt in my mind the question has been addressed”, has he considered that the problem might be his mind?

Then yet another target:

More patronising arrogance from a National Party Minister. Take a bow, Simon Bridges.

Most of the criticism of the Speaker seems to have come from this exchange between Grant Robertson trying to dig into aspects of Bill English’s budget – it is hardly surprising that English wouldn’t reveal what could be addressed in the budget.

Draft transcript:

5. Finance, Minister—Statements on Return to Surplus

[Sitting date: 20 May 2015. Volume:705;Page:6. Text is subject to correction.]

5. GRANT ROBERTSON (Labour—Wellington Central) to the Minister of Finance : Does his Budget 2015 speech include the statement, “there will be a small surplus this year and increasing surpluses forecast over time”?

Hon BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Finance): The member will just have to wait one more sleep to find out.

Grant Robertson : Why should New Zealanders believe his making a promise for a surplus for next year and forecast surpluses for the following years tomorrow, given that he made that exact promise last year and will break it tomorrow?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : Well, I am quite confident that New Zealanders will make up their own minds about that, regardless of what that member says. In fact, if that member criticises the Budget and our economic management, most of them will conclude that we are probably doing the right thing.

Grant Robertson : Is it correct that Treasury advised him that the surplus he will promise tomorrow for next year is possible only if there is a significant rebound in global dairy prices?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : The member will just have to wait until tomorrow, but I hope tomorrow he uses the term “fiscal crisis”, because—

Grant Robertson : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER : Order! I am going to invite the member to ask that question again.

Grant Robertson : Is it correct that Treasury advised him that the surplus he will promise tomorrow for next year is possible only if there is a significant rebound in global dairy prices?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : The member will have to wait until tomorrow, but I hope he uses the term “fiscal crisis” tomorrow.

Grant Robertson : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! If the member is saying that question has not been addressed, on this occasion, it has. He talked about the surplus that will be promised tomorrow in his question. It has been addressed.

Grant Robertson : Is it correct that Treasury advised him that a surplus for 2015-16 is possible only with a significant rebound in global dairy prices?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : The member will have to wait until tomorrow.

Hon Members : No, no.

Hon BILL ENGLISH : Well, he will have to wait until tomorrow.

Grant Robertson : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. That is the third time I have asked a straight question to the Minister—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! [Interruption] Order! The member will resume his seat. That is not the same question he has asked three times. On the second occasion he repeated the question he had asked the first time, and on that occasion I ruled that, because of the way it was framed, that question had definitely been answered. Does the member have a further supplementary question? [Interruption] Order! I am on my feet, and I am going to warn that member that if he interjects like that again while I am on my feet, I will be asking him to leave the Chamber.

Grant Robertson : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Are you telling me that the Minister addressed the question I just asked?

Mr SPEAKER : No, I am not. I am saying that when you rose and took a point of order and said you had asked the same question three times, you are—[Interruption] I have a very good mind to do it. The point I was making was that the member was wrong with his first point of order, when he said he had asked the same question three times. He had not. We are moving forward, if the member wishes to ask—[Interruption] I am not entertaining further questions on my—[Interruption] Order! I am not entertaining any further adjudication on that matter. If the member has further supplementary questions, I will hear them.

Ron Mark : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am trying to be helpful, as an independent observer.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The member will simply raise his point of order.

Ron Mark : The point of order, Mr Speaker, to assist you, is that he—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER : Order! This is a point of order, I hope, but it will be heard in silence. It will be heard in silence.

Ron Mark : I am not challenging you at all, but—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! Would the member simply raise his point of order.

Ron Mark : I am trying to. The point I want to raise with you is that he did not actually say those words. His words were “This is the third straight question I have asked.”, not “I have asked the same question”—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The member may not have heard me, but I said that as far as I was concerned I had adjudicated on the matter and that was the end of the matter. The member may not have heard that.

Grant Robertson : Is it correct that Treasury advised him that a surplus for 2015-16 is possible only if there is a significant rebound in global dairy prices?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : The member will have to wait until tomorrow.

Grant Robertson : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. How is that an answer addressing that question? It is about advice he has received. He cannot tell me to wait until tomorrow. Amazingly enough, Treasury do give him advice. He ignores it—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! We have had a similar line of questions now on four occasions. It is not the way I would have hoped the Minister would have answered the question, but—[Interruption] Order! Grant Robertson will leave the House. I warned the member that—[Interruption] Order! The member will leave the Chamber.

  • Grant Robertson withdrew from the Chamber.

Chris Hipkins : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER : Order! We have a point of order that I will hear from Chris Hipkins.

Chris Hipkins : Repeatedly during question time today, when there have been points of order from either side of the House, you have admonished members on this side of the House for their interjections during points of order or when you were on your feet. I would like to know whether the same ruling is going to apply to Mr Brownlee, Ms Parata, and a variety—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! I have heard enough from that member. There were occasions when there were interjections from this side of the House when I called for order, particularly when Mr Mark was attempting to raise a point of order. I could not identify the particular person who made those interjections. Frankly, they were coming from a large number of people. On this occasion I specifically warned Mr Robertson that if he was to interject again when I was on my feet, I would have no choice but to ask him to leave. He did not heed that warning. He gave me no choice but to deal with him severely. I say to all members that when I am on my feet and I call for silence and then a member specifically, after being warned not to interject, does so, he leaves me no choice but to be severe.

Hon David Cunliffe : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The colleague Mr Robertson in front of me used four supplementary questions to ask the same question, as you have previously advised members to do when Ministers are not giving a straight answer. You have ejected a member who had absolutely understandable frustration. My point of order is to ask you what sanction will apply equally to Ministers who are deliberately thwarting the intent, if not the letter, of the Standing Orders and denying the people of New Zealand the opportunity to have a proper question answered in a proper manner.

Mr SPEAKER : I will hear from the Hon Gerry Brownlee.

Hon Gerry Brownlee : I think that question might be reasonable if it were about a range of topics that any Minister should be able to answer about their portfolio. But 24 hours before a Budget is delivered being asked to give a commentary on what will be in a Budget text is completely unreasonable. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER : Order! I can understand the sense of frustration on this side. I have agreed with that. But that was not the reason Mr Robertson was ejected from the Chamber. I hope I do not have to point it out again to members. The reason was that he was given a very specific warning. He ignored that warning.

Hon David Cunliffe : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER : Is it a fresh point of order?

Hon David Cunliffe : It is, because I did not question your ruling that you ejected a member for questioning your judgment. My point of order was, given the circumstances and the understandable frustration on this side of the House and the thwarting deliberately of the intent of the Standing Orders, at what point would any sanction be applied to any Minister who continued to make those types of tactics plain? That was nothing to do with the ejection of Mr Robertson.

Mr SPEAKER : I accept that point. Ministers are responsible for their own answers and those answers are then judged not only by this House but by the public. On one occasion when I did not think that the Minister had answered the question correctly I asked Grant Robertson to repeat the question. That is a tactic I frequently use. [Interruption] The member now interjects and says that it was on four occasions. As I have pointed out to the House, those questions were different. In one he quite specifically talked about a matter that would be addressed in tomorrow’s speech, and that gave the Minister a perfect out to say he would have to wait for the Budget. As to the last question about Treasury advice, it would have been a more satisfactory answer if it had been answered directly by the Minister, but at the end of the day I am not responsible for the answers that are given by any Minister in this House. Ministers themselves are responsible for—[Interruption] Order! Ministers themselves are responsible. They will be judged both by this House and by the public.

Hon David Cunliffe : Point of order.

Mr SPEAKER : No, I have dealt with that matter from the Hon David Cunliffe.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Point of order.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! Just a minute. I just want to be clear to Mr Cunliffe that I have dealt with that matter. I have made a ruling. I do not intend to relitigate it here today, but if it is a fresh point of order—

Hon David Cunliffe : It is, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER : A fresh point of order—the Hon David Cunliffe.

Hon David Cunliffe : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. What is the definition of “addressing the question”?

Mr SPEAKER : Now the member is attempting to relitigate the matter. I judge that on every occasion depending on the context and content of the question, the context and the content of the answer. I am the one who makes that judgment.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Point of order.

Mr SPEAKER : I am sorry—is this a fresh point of order?

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Yes, it is.

Mr SPEAKER : The Rt Hon Winston Peters.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. If one of the four questions with additional words gave the Minister of Finance an out, what was the redeeming feature for the first three answers that did not give him a way out?

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The member is now relitigating a matter that we have already ruled on in the House today. He is not raising a fresh point of order.

Tracey Martin : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER : Again, I want to give the same warning to Tracey Martin, to be fair to her. If she is raising an absolutely fresh point of order, I am happy to hear it, but if it in any way relitigates the discussion we have now had for the last 10 minutes, then I will be asking that member to leave the Chamber.

Tracey Martin : Thank you, Mr Speaker. I appreciate your warning and I hope that I do not transgress, but I seek your clarification on the last question asked by Mr Robertson—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The member now—

Tracey Martin : —not the content of the question, not the content of the question, but I am asking whether you could give a ruling later on about when it is appropriate, if we ask a direct question about a report, for a Minister to say we have to wait until tomorrow—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The member is now very dangerously—should be about to leave the Chamber. She is relitigating the decision I have made. I have explained to Mr Cunliffe that I have got to judge every answer given, as to whether it addresses the question. Mr Cunliffe sought more definition on that. I said it depends on the context of the question, the content of the question, the content of the answer, and the context. There is no specific ruling I can give as to whether any question in the future will be addressed or not. I make a judgment to all; that is my responsibility in this House.

Disabled Veterans “diminishment of the status”

What Winston Peters failed to address properly regarding Disabled Veterans – see Winston Peters’ honour “is beyond question” a comment from Beejay:

There is actually a story behind Winston’s question that is of vital interest to Veterans and their families.

Disabled Veterans are no longer people, they are “Cases” and even have a “Case Manager” who enters into a type of contract to “rehabilitate” the damaged Veteran so they can get back to work.

The War Pension is supposed to be a “benevolent acknowledgement” (the words of the Law) of the serviceman or service woman’s service to the nation while on active service. It is a “reward” from a grateful nation for sacrifices made in their name by the veteran.

We should do away with “Case Managers” and replace them with Veterans Support Persons to humanise the “Cases” and not in any way is this a critique of the so called “Case Managers” who do a great job.

Time for the MSM to do some digging especially to establish the extent to which a former senior Labour Minister influenced ideologically the diminishment of the status of the Veterans. They are the ones to be honoured, not the “Pollies”.

Winston Peters’ honour “is beyond question”

Winston Peters claimed during Question Time in Parliament yesterday in an odd exchange with John Key that “he is doubting my honour, and that is the real issue here, because, as you know, it is beyond question”.

What was beyond question was that Peters lost track of what his original line of questioning was about.

Draft transcript:

11. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First) to the Prime Minister : Does he stand by all his statements?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Does he stand by his statement on 14 October 2013 when he said in regards to this country’s veterans: “our Government has been firmly guided by a keen sense of fairness, and a sense of the need to honour our current and future veterans in a dignified way.”

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : Yes.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : If that is the case, is it true that while he was at Gallipoli, and New Zealand was remembering 100 years of Anzac sacrifices, behind the scenes cynical moves were under way to treat veterans as a burden on the State?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I have not got a clue what the member is talking about.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Well, half of that is correct—he has not got a clue. How can he stand by that statement when his Government sent out this letter to veterans on 30 April, 5 days after Anzac Day, signalling cuts to the services that they receive—this letter?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I do not know what letter the member is talking about.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I seek leave to table a letter from Veterans Affairs New Zealand, dated 30 April 2015, written to veterans 5 days after Anzac Day.

Mr SPEAKER : Leave is sought to table that particular letter. Is there any objection? There is none. It can be tabled.

  • Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.

Mr SPEAKER : Supplementary question—[Interruption] Order! It has been tabled—[Interruption] Order! [Interruption] Order! The member will resume his seat. Leave has been put, leave was granted, and the document will be tabled, but that does not stop the member now from proceeding with his supplementary questions.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Given that what is proposed is a serious cut and privatisation of the services to veterans, does he not think that a better use of public money would be to use the $25 million that he is spending on a referendum to change the flag to support those who have fought and died for the flag?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I think the member is making it up.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. With the greatest respect, that is the second time. The first answer was that he said he did not have a clue—well, I did not disagree with that.

Mr SPEAKER : But he is allowed to say that, if that is the answer he has got. The second point?

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Well, OK. The second one is that now he is doubting my honour, and that is the real issue here, because, as you know, it is beyond question. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The member will resume his seat. That is not a valid point of order.

“My secret love affair with Winston Peters”

Wendyl Nissen writes in NZ Herald…

…when I think of Winston, I am transported back in time to when politicians were sharp as a tack, masters of the one-line put-downs, amusing and witty one moment, serious and insightful the next.

In general I’ve never seen Winston Peters liken that – not much anyway, some of what he’s done deserves respect, but to me that’s overshadowed by his bull, bluster and bitchiness. Too often he looks to me like a pompous blunderbuss, firing a slanging match of of shots indiscriminately hoping that the media will find one that hits the mark.

I’ve watched him in Parliament staring down John Key and treating him like the petulant schoolboy he is. I’ve seen him pull out the bag of tricks he’s been using for years to deflect journalists and actually thought, “good on you, mate”.

Some of what he does in Parliament could be seen as effective holding to account but again it’s overshadowed by his petulance, disrespect, grumpiness and dirtiness.

As much as any politician Peters represents some of the worst of dirty politics – he’s a master of dirty allegations under the protection on the house, he roars on accusation but scurries like a mouse when it comes to providing evidence to back up his accusations.

Some people, like Nissen, love the posturing point scoring politics of Peters.

I don’t fancy his cup quarter full.

Some seem to think he represents the spirit of politics – I see him as many shitty shots with few hitting the glass.

Northland MP or grumpy old president?

“The Chairman is on his feet, will the member keep his mouth shut”.

WinstonPetersParliament

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.

Draft transcript:

Annual Review Debate

In Committee

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.

Annette King versus ‘the Prime Minister’

Annette King targeted John Key’s hair pulling in Question Time. Bill English responded on behalf of the Prime Minister (who is still in the Middle East).

Hon ANNETTE KING to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his statement that “There’s always a risk with third-term Governments that they get arrogant. There’s always a risk that they veer off into a space they haven’t been, and start surprising their supporters”?

Jo Muir’s on-the-fly summary at Beehive Live:

English is responding on behalf of John Key and says yes, based on his observation, he agrees.

King is asking whether Key’s behaviour was appropriate in terms of the hair pulling incident.

English says the PM apologised and long before it was reported in the media.

King has just mentioned Key’s comments of “horsing around” and someone on opposition benches is neighing like a horse.

That’s unlikely to be someone who has been criticising Key for childish behaviour.

English is defending the PM saying that his “inappropriate” behaviour is particularly disappointing considering it’s unusual for him to act like that.

Winston Peters is asking how Key explains the numerous photos of him stroking the hair of young girls and what psychological behaviour that is?

English isn’t impressed and is dismissing the question.

Peters is asking, putting the Auckland cafe incident aside, has Key apologised for all the other times he’s stroked hair inappropriately.

English says if anyone felt he had behaved inappropriately they have means to complain.

Transcript:

[Sitting date: 28 April 2015. Volume:704;Page:2. Text is subject to correction.]

2. Hon ANNETTE KING (Deputy Leader—Labour) to the Prime Minister : Does he stand by his statement that “There’s always a risk with third-term Governments that they get arrogant. There’s always a risk that they veer off into a space they haven’t been, and start surprising their supporters”?

Hon BILL ENGLISH (Acting Prime Minister): Yes. It was an observation based on watching the third term of the previous Labour Government.

Hon Annette King : Was pulling the hair of a woman worker in a cafe arrogant, veering off into a space where he had not been before, or just totally inappropriate behaviour?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : As the Prime Minister has acknowledged, it was totally inappropriate behaviour, for which he apologised to the young woman concerned and, I might say, well before public attention was drawn to the matter.

Hon Annette King : Does he think that in modern New Zealand it is OK to describe repeated and unwelcome pulling of a young woman’s hair as banter, horseplay, joking around; if not, why has he attempted to minimise his weird behaviour?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : The Prime Minister has not attempted to minimise the behaviour; he has acknowledged the inappropriate nature of that behaviour and dealt with the issue when it was drawn to his attention.

Hon Annette King : Was the National Party warned of his hair-pulling behaviour before his actions became public; if so, when?

Mr SPEAKER : In as far as there is prime ministerial responsibility, the Hon Bill English.

Hon BILL ENGLISH : Of course the Prime Minister had an indication about the behaviour, because the young woman raised it with him and he apologised to her. I might say that the Prime Minister has, through intensive interaction with the public over a long period as leader of the National Party and as the Prime Minister, observed almost always the highest standards of appropriate behaviour.

Hon Annette King : Was there any communication between his office or his staff and Rachel Glucina or the cafe owners following the breaking of this story?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : I have not had the opportunity to establish whether or not that is the case, so I simply cannot answer that question.

Hon Annette King : Does he stand by his statement that he “needs to be better at reading the tea leaves” when making decisions about how he will behave in public ; if so, how often does he use tea leaves for advice?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : Yes, the Prime Minister does stand by that statement. I might say that part of the Prime Minister’s disappointment at these events—

Grant Robertson : He did it!

Hon BILL ENGLISH : —and the inappropriateness of his behaviour is that in almost every other respect his interaction with New Zealanders is positive.

Hon Annette King : What is the difference between his behaviour and that of Aaron Gilmore’s?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : They are different circumstances and have both been dealt with appropriately.

Hon Annette King : I seek leave to table a Facebook post on the National Party’s website—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! [Interruption] Order! I do not need any further assistance. It is available to all members if they want to look for it.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Putting aside the numerous Parnell cafe incidents, how does the Acting Prime Minister explain the countless photographs of Mr Key stroking young girls’ hair, and what psychological condition is that?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : I reject all the imputations of that question. The Prime Minister has a track record that I know Opposition parties resent, and that is of very positive interaction with the whole range of the New Zealand community. In this case he has acknowledged the inappropriateness of his behaviour and dealt with it well before it came to public attention because, in his view, if the young woman felt that way about the behaviour, then it clearly was not appropriate and he had to deal with it.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Putting aside the Parnell cafe case, what about the numerous other cases where he has not apologised at all? How does he explain that?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : Almost without exception the interactions the Prime Minister has with the New Zealand public are not the subject of complaints. In fact, more than any other Prime Minister, he is open to those interactions and they are positive. If anyone felt that he had acted inappropriately, they are able to raise that issue and, I think, as indicated by this incident, the Prime Minister will take responsibility for his behaviour and apologise accordingly.

Hon Annette King : Has the Deputy Prime Minister ever advised him that he undertakes such behaviour in public?

Hon BILL ENGLISH : Very generally, the Prime Minister has been able to conduct a very positive relationship with the broader public without the benefit of advice from the Deputy Prime Minister.

Tracey Martin oblivious to NZ First ironies and contradictions

Stuff has an interesting profile of NZ First deputy leader Tracey Martin, who is a low profile contrast to Winston Peters. Her party leadership profile may step up a notch or two if Peters becomes committed to spending time in his Northland electorate.

So Tracey Martin – in Winston Peter’s shadow may have to change.

There’s significant Martin family involvement in NZ First, with Martin’s mother on the board of directors and Tracey’s sister works for her.

And there could be more as the NZ First board will decide on Monday who will ‘choose’ to take up Winston’s vacant list position. If Ria Bond at next on the list turns it down then Martin’s Mataroa Paroro, who is married to Martin’s sister-in-law, will get the opportunity to be instructed by the board to become an MP. That’s the board that includes Martin and her mother.

The profile paints a partial positive picture of Martin.

Living in the shadow of NZ First leader Winston Peters would be a cold place for many and while deputy Tracey Martin is no threat to his popularity she is successfully carving herself a place in Parliament.

Martin is consolidating a reputation in Parliament as one to watch, including nipping at the heels of Education Minister Hekia Parata.

But it also illustrates some irony and contradiction.

“We talk about bullying inside of schools, the abuse the Greens take, in particular Hekia and the abuse she gives Metiria [Turei] in te Reo most of the time is bullying we’d never accept inside a classroom and it’s in Parliament.”

Martin says she’s never formally met  Hekia Parata but is critical of the way she treats other MPs.

“We talk about bullying inside of schools; the abuse the Greens take, in particular Hekia and the abuse she gives Metiria [Turei] in te reo most of the time, is bullying we’d never accept inside a classroom and it’s in Parliament.”

Accusing another MP of Parliamentary ‘bullying’ and sledging while serving in Winston’s shadow is cute – Martin can often been seen laughing and cheering when Peters is in full fight in the House.

At the age of 50, Martin has found herself in a position of power that she never asked for and would walk away from tomorrow – a surprising claim from an MP only six months into her second term in Parliament.

In 2008 she was 13th on the party list and had no hope of making it to Parliament but when the listing committee, including her mother, met in 2011, she leaped up to second place. ntsG came out as number two. nte

“I deliberately said to my mother if she had any influence at all don’t make me number two because there was a certain group of people who were a bit anti the Martins anyway.”

Has she really not sought some level of power? She wasn’t promoted to second on the list and deputy leader by accident. If she hasn’t tried to get there she has been put there. It’s more likely a combination of both seek and having a hand up, despite her claims.

Martin is a self-professed feminist in the true meaning of the word.

She once asked her daughter what she thought a feminist was, she responded, “a woman who thinks she’s better than a man”.

Martin was quick to correct saying, “no, a feminist is a woman who believes she’s equal to a man. A woman who thinks she is better than a man is Mum”.

Regardless of whether she’s referring to herself or her mother as ‘Mum’ that’s an odd statement.

Better female representation is a long-term goal but for Martin the job is only a three-year commitment.

She’s in her fourth year in Parliament.

“I could happily go home tomorrow and do what I love to do which is raising money to help my community.

“I’m not desperate to stay here and that’s because I think the absolutely worst kind of politician is a person who is desperate to keep their job because they’ll do and say anything to keep it.”

Again that’s from someone serving as deputy to Peters, the king of saying anything to keep his job and do anything to keep it – as happened in the Northland campaign, where it seems the media is so used to Peters making outlandish promises they don’t take him to task for it.

Martin comes across as oblivious to the ironies and contradictions she illustrates.

Final result in Northland

The final results have been announced for the Northland by-election, with WInston Peters’ majority increasing 429 after the addition to election night totals of 1579 special declaration votes and overseas votes

Candidates
BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 17 0.06%
CARR, Joe FNZ 113 0.38%
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 68 0.23%
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 94 0.32%
HOLLAND, Adam IND 16 0.05%
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 11,648 39.36%
PAINTING, Rob CLI 39 0.13%
PETERS, Winston NZF 16,089 54.37%
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 60 0.20%
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 1,380 4.66%
ROGAN, Bruce IND 24 0.08%
Candidate Informals 42
TOTAL 29590

According to the Electoral Commission the turnout was 65.4 per cent of the 45,955 voters enrolled – that’s a very good turnout for a by-election.

This confirms a resounding win to Peters and an embarrassing defeat for National and their candidate Mark Osborne.

It also goes down in the records as a dismal result for Labour’s Willow-Jean Prime but that’s what Andrew Little and the Labour Party wanted. She comes in under 5% so doesn’t get a refund of her deposit.

30.17% or 13,869 votes were advance votes which is a high proportion, Advance voting is rapidly becoming popular.

If anyone is interested here’s a link to a Statistical Breakdown.

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