NZ First youth wing

Following on from Curwen Rolinson and NZ First which shows that Rolison has for some time claimed to be part of a NZ First youth wing and has been described in media as president of it for at least two years – Winston Peters has stated there is no youth wing and therefeore there has ever bee a leader or predident of a youth wing.

Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
Member of Parliament for Northland
7 JULY 2015

Statement on Curwen Rolinson

A remit proposing to formalise a youth wing is coming before the New Zealand First Convention in August.

Mr Curwen Rolinson was told countless times never to call himself the president or leader of a youth wing. New Zealand First does not have a youth wing in its Constitution, and therefore does not have a former or present president of such an organisation.

Wikipedia currently shows:

NZFirstWikipedia

That shows the Youth Wing is a thing but unofficial, but Wikipedia won’t be party controlled so that listing may be also unofficial.

Just after NZ First made it back into Parliament in December 2011 Stuff reported in Winston gives up the good life to ‘fix NZ':

NZ First ended the 2008 campaign a broken party when it failed to return to Parliament after Mr Peters was dogged with controversy over donations.

The experience led to some members leaving NZ First disillusioned and privately expressing their disappointment that Mr Peters could have avoided the party’s time in the political wilderness.

Former MP Ron Mark said Mr Peters knew the NZ First brand was solid but he needed to repair and rebuild it.

Mark got back into Parliament last year and was recently elected party deputy by the Caucus.

After years of being urged to start a NZ First youth wing, Mr Peters finally took that advice on board. “There has always been a love for Winston at the universities.”

In 2013 Rolinson and ‘NZ First Youth wing’ were in the news (Dominion): NZ First social media shut

NZ First has shut down some of its social media pages following a complaint about the leader of the party’s youth wing.

NZ First Youth leader Curwen Rolinson posted on Facebook that the party’s board of directors had tabled and accepted a complaint against his ongoing membership.

The board tabled the complaint on Monday night. It will be heard after the party’s convention this weekend.

Rolinson has been a member of NZ First since 2009, and was elected to the board in 2012 for a two-year term.

His post also said he had shut down the NZ First and NZ First Youth Facebook pages on instruction from party leader, Winston Peters.

“Accordingly, Winston has ordered ALL NZF social media pages to be shut down till this complaint has been heard next Monday.”

Peters declined to comment on the complaint, and there was no indication of when the party’s social media pages would be back online.

So Peters seems to have chosen not to comment on references to a youth wing then.

David Farrar Kiwiblogged on this with more details: NZ First youth wing head under investigation

Peters has promoted social media connecting with youth in a slightly different way:

Facebook election to find Winston Peter’s youth MP

New Zealand First leader Rt Hon Winston Peters will use a Facebook “election” to help uncover a deserving youngster to be his representative in New Zealand’s Youth Parliament.

Youth Parliament sees all MPs select a 16-18 year old to represent them in “Parliament” on July 16-17.

Peters was prominently involved in this:

That’s unrelated to a youth wing of NZ First, but I wonder if young party members like Rolinson were involved in making that a social media event.

In June 2013:

Back Benches – Youth Wing Special 2013

Our Panel: Young Labour President Jessie Lipscombe, New Zealand First Youth Representative Curwen Rolinson, Young Nats President Sean Topham, Young Greens Co-Convenor Lucy Gordon, and ACT on Campus President Taylor Warwood.

Rolinson is promoted there as Youth Representative and not as leader or president but it would be odd if this didn’t have Peters and party approval.

Curwen Rolinson

There are many other media references on this, as far back as July 2011 in Leak for Winston Peters:

About 300 of his faithful followers attended the annual conference and a greater number were expected today to hear the leader’s speech.

Most delegates were aged over 60 but the party known for attracting the older voter could also be fielding one of this year’s youngest candidates if 21-year-old Curwen Rolinson, leader of the party’s youth section, gets the nod.

In 2012 Frank Macskasy profiled Rolinson’s NZ First History in Interview: A Young NZer’s Thirst to make a Difference:

This online interview is with Curwen Rolinson, a member of NZ First’s Board of Directors; Leader, NZF Youth;  and “one-man nationalist revolution”.

Q: You’re a Director on NZ First’s Board of Directors. How long have you been a member of NZ First…

I joined up a little after the 2008 election.

I decided to go along to a local NZF meeting to see what the party was really like on the ground.

Afterward, Winston and I had a chat about tertiary policy and getting a youth wing going at university.

Also in 2012 in Otago’s student newspaper Critic

Critic loves to inform, so we talked to the Leader, and Troll-in-Chief, of Young NZ First, Curwen Rolinson, as well as “de facto Leader of Young NZ First Dunedin” Beau Murrah, about the policies behind the pinstriped suit and the smile.

It appears as if NZ First had an operational youth wing that wasn’t part of the party constitution.

Why Peters would worry about making the distinction now is curious – he might feel it’s embarrassing for the party that Rolinson has been charged with drug offences but Rolinson was an elected NZ First board member and obviously had close involvement with the party.

Curwen Rolinson and NZ First

Curwen Rolinson has been associated with NZ First – as Board member for six years so presumably longer than that. He has been reported as leading NZ First Youth.

It’s been reported today that Former NZ First youth leader on cannabis charge

The former president of New Zealand First’s youth wing has been charged with possession of cannabis for supply.

Curwen Rolinson’s always been a troublemaker for New Zealand First and now it seems he’s a law-breaker as well.

Police arrested the aspiring politician on April 15, and he since appeared in court charged with possession of cannabis for supply.

Former NZ First Youth president? A press release followed soon after this news under Winston Peters’ name:

Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
Member of Parliament for Northland
7 JULY 2015

Statement on Curwen Rolinson

A remit proposing to formalise a youth wing is coming before the New Zealand First Convention in August.

Mr Curwen Rolinson was told countless times never to call himself the president or leader of a youth wing. New Zealand First does not have a youth wing in its Constitution, and therefore does not have a former or present president of such an organisation.

So NZ First are disowning Rolinson? He has certainly been connected with NZ First, but  in what capacity?

Searching the NZ First website on either his first or last name gets no hits.

He posts often at The Daily Blog and this one yesterday (6 July 2015) identifies him as a past Board member:

This piece has been a joint effort between long-serving former New Zealand First Board of Directors member Curwen Ares Rolinson, and a mysterious Southern gentleman known only as “Eduardo”.

There he is “former New Zealand First Board of Directors member” but in an earlier post on June 18:

Curwen Ares Rolinson was once, thanks to the Prime Minister, memorably investigated by the counter-terrorism branch of the NZ Police’s Special Investigations Group as a potential “Threat to National[‘s] Security”. He also blogs regularly at a variety of outlets; and heads up NZ First Youth.

This had changed to ‘former’ by June 27:

This piece has been a joint effort between long-serving former New Zealand First Board of Directors member Curwen Ares Rolinson, and a mysterious Southern gentleman known only as “Eduardo”.

On his Facebook ‘About':

Former Board of Directors; at New Zealand First

Here is his resignation from the NZ First Board on June 14:

The very first thing anybody learns about me – apart from, possibly, the fact I’m an Aries … is that my life is completely dedicated to New Zealand First.

Earlier this week, I tendered my resignation from NZF’s Board of Directors, in protest against what I considered to be unconscionable and dishonourable conduct from same.

Needless to say, this saddens me greatly. My service unto The Party, as delivered from that highest echelon, has been one of the highlights of my young life. The resounding recognition received for same from the thousands of Party members whom I’ve met at Conventions and in my travels across the land has been truly humbling. As has their supreme confidence in me by continually re-electing me to the Board for six years running. Who’d have thought a political party best known for its advocacy for the aged would EVER have entrusted a young lad of 20 with elevation to its highest body.

I’m truly pleased with what I’ve been able to accomplish as a Board member. NZ First developed a Youth Wing, a Social Media Presence, and numerous other 21st century innovations in no small part thanks to my efforts (although it is also VITALLY important to recognize that I didn’t do any of this alone, and that other people – in the case of NZ First Youth, DOZENS of other people – helped to make it all possible).

But regardless of whereabouts I wind up in the organization, my core belief – that New Zealand First represents the best, brightest, and blackest hope for our Nation’s future salvation – remains absolutely unchallenged.

There has therefore never even been the vaguest hint of a question about whether or not our fates remain intertwined.

To quote from my letter of resignation:

“Having said all that: I wish to make one thing perfectly and absolutely clear.

I am not going anywhere.

I still resolutely believe in this Party – its ordinary members, if not always its leadership; its Leader, if not always his martinets; and its principles if not always their practical applications.

My heart is still Black; and the linings remain – as ever – Silver.

I will therefore be continuing in my membership of New Zealand First, my activities in running the Youth Wing, and my public representations on our behalf through media such as The Daily Blog. […]

I hope by offering my Resignation […] that this allows us all to move forward in relative dignity; and get on with the serious business of protecting and saving our New Zealand, rather than wasting your breath and my sanity on continued factional infighting.

Our mission, here in politics, is bigger than each of us and any of us.

I look forward to continuing to play my part within it.

Yours faithfully,

Curwen Ares Rolinson. ”

The Age of Ares is over.

“Acta est fabula, plaudite!”

Curwen Ares Rolinson's photo.
Curwen Ares Rolinson's photo.

Oddly from the previous day:

On Sunday, at our Party Convention, I was once again re-elected to NZ First’s Board of Directors.

I believe my campaign promises included “levity” and “keeping the bastards honest”.

I thank the Party for its ongoing faith in me and what I do :D

They’ve voted for me en masse in each of 2010, 2012 and now 2014, so I must be doing something right :P

Confusing.

Rolinson was referring to NZ First Youth still on July 4 (last Saturday):

New Zealand First Youth meetup last night. We look like a goddamn boyband.

 — with Simon Oh Ionmhainèain and 3 others.

Curwen Ares Rolinson's photo.

The NZ First – Pakuranga Facebook timeline shows him as “Curwen Rolinson from the NZ First Youth Wing“:

NZFirstPakurangaFacebookIn March 2013: NZ First Youth denies pledge at odds with party

The president of NZ First’s youth wing has signed a pledge in favour of same-sex marriage.

It is a move that goes against the party’s opposition to the marriage equality bill, which is due for its second reading in Parliament on Thursday.

NZ First Youth president Curwen Rolinson was one of eight youth party representatives who signed a marriage equality certificate outside Parliament this morning.

However, Mr Rolinson says his youth wing’s stance is not at odds with the party and his signing of the pledge was on the condition of a referendum.

He has an unofficially connected blog called Putting NZ First:

PuttingNZFirstblog

NO COMMENTS:

So it’s curious that NZ First seem to be trying to distance themselves from Rolinson’s party Youth wing activities when he has been a Board member for six years.

And if he’s been reported as NZ First Youth president for years why deny it now? Of course Rolinson’s arrest could be seen as embarrassing for the party but a belated cutting adrift won’t change much.

Related post: NZ First youth wing

Ron Mark – “we don’t find it strange at all”

Is Ron Mark the New Zealand First leader-in-waiting, ready to take over when Winston Peters bows out or conks out?

He was interviewed on The Nation yesterday (repeated Sunday morning on TV3 at 10 am) or you can watch here: Interview: NZ First Deputy Leader Ron Mark.

He uses the terms ‘bizarre’ and ‘strange’ – that could easily apply to the impression he leaves with this interview.

Mark  says what he probably needs to say about Peters being the unchallenged boss in perpetuity, but he seems to have some ambition, otherwise he wouldn’t have challenged for the deputy spot.

Mark is a politician with a lot of experience – as he demonstrated by blatantly misleading to media about taking over from Tracey Martin. He confirmed that the vote was on Tuesday but the announcement was deferred to Friday:

And once the votes were taken and the leader was confirmed, and the deputy leader was confirmed… The vote was taken on that. We also established an assistant whip which we hadn’t had before.

The Caucus determined that that should take effect as of the Friday at 10 o’clock, which gave people the chance to see what was left of that session, and we could go to the recess and come back tooled and ready to go. So, that was a Caucus decision to hold it till Friday, and so with effect 10 o’clock Friday, that was when their decision took effect, so…

On Tuesday Mark said: “No I’m not the new deputy leader, and we don’t discuss caucus matters.” (Newstalk ZB)

“Mr Mark also said he was not the new NZ First deputy leader, but would not comment on whether he had made or planned a challenge.” (NZ Herald)

To be fair to Mark it seems that he was bound by a strange Caucus decision to hold of announcing his elevation for three days. He, alongside Winston Peters and the rest of the NZ First MPs had to mislead and effectively lie about what had happened.

Mark was also contradictory when pushed to reveal the vote result.

So how did the vote go? Did you have a clear majority?
Oh, votes are always done in secret, and the votes were counted up by someone who wasn’t an MP, and, actually, no one knows the result.
Do you know the split?
No one knows the result… No one knows what the votes were at the end of the day

They must have been told the actual vote, surely.

Everyone knows the result. But we’ve been told that initially it was a draw. So was it a draw — straight down the middle?
Oh. You guys were saying all sorts of things that there was… Well, clearly it wasn’t a draw.

There were reports that it was a split vote that was resolved by a switch of sides by Richard Prosser. This may or may not be true.

Did Winston Peters vote for you?
I wouldn’t have a clue, actually.

It would be very unusual for a politician to bid for a higher party position without having a very good idea what the numbers were – and especially whether they had the support of their leader or not.

So were there 12 votes cast? Because we’re also hearing that someone abstained.
Oh, for God’s sake. See, this is the trouble. I mean… Nobody abstained, and the fact that that’s even a conversation is absolutely quite bizarre, but then a lot of bizarre things have been said over the last week, and we’re not responsible for that. The people whose mouths, those words, came out from, they’re the people responsible for that – most of them are journalists.

So he claims to not know what the vote was but is certain no one abstained.

What is quite bizarre is having a leadership vote and then pretending nothing had changed for three days. And then claiming to not know what the vote was but stating with apparent certainty aspects of the voting.

If Tracey Martin was doing such a good job, why did she have to go, then?
At the end of the day, it’s a democratic decision. People look at the candidates they have in front of them. They vote according to how they feel it should be, and that’s what happened. So it’s not for me, really, to answer questions like that.

It’s totally up to Mark that Martin ‘had to go’ – he decided that she should go and should be replaced by himself. He can choose whether to answer questions but avoiding them like this isn’t a smart look.

I suppose the thing is, Mr Mark, at some point the party is going to have to start thinking about life without Winston Peters.
Well, that point’s not too— I can’t see that on horizon right now, Lisa, because, you know, Winston’s yet to peak. He, against all the odds, after we got tossed out in 2008, he came back in 2011 against all the predictions, and I think this channel as well. 2011, he came back. 2014, he came back with more MPs. Now he’s just stormed the ramparts of Northland. Mark my words, he hasn’t finished yet, and if anyone thinks that Winston Peters is finished, all I’d say is smell the coffee.

That response can’t be taken seriously. The NZ First caucus chose a new deputy leader and then spent three days trying to fool the media and the country until confirming it had actually happened.

So it’s entirely possible that they are doing more than just thinking about ‘life without Winston’  but won’t be up front and honest about it.

That was most of the interview wasted playing media games with the process and the announcement.

Just before we go, I just want to ask – where do you stand on the spectrum? Because before you decided to stand for New Zealand First, I mean, you were at the National Party conference, you were even approached by ACT, so are you more comfortable to the centre right than the centre left?
Oh, I’m really comfortable as a New Zealand Firster and partly because we’re conservative but very much because we have a compassionate side to us and strong social conscience.

While they may see themselves competing with Colin Craig ‘compassionate’ and ‘conservative’ don’t seem to be prominent traits (of either) – Mark seems to be following in his leader’s footsteps with bull and bluster more noticeable.

Come on, Ron. Are you a possibility for working with the National Party?
I think New Zealand First, Lisa, could possibly work with any political party that’s prepared to do a deal that reflects more of our policies than they might want to consider. But, actually, our policies are all aimed at doing the best thing for New Zealand.

The best for New Zealand? Or the best for the New Zealand First constituency? Pushing for more free travel for pensioners is not exactly “the best thing for New Zealand”.

RonMarkStrange

“We don’t find it strange at all”

It looks like a strange interview to me. Ron Mark does deputy leadership takeovers well, and he does strange well too.

See for yourself –  a bizarre interview.

And the full transcript.

The curious attitude of Tracey Martin

Will Tracey Martin walk away tomorrow from a position of power she seems to have not wanted?

Martin has been replaced as NZ First Deputy Leader by Ron Mark in what is claimed to be a close vote, and against the wishes of Winston Peters. And seemingly with the full support of martin.

Martin’s reaction has been curious, as have past comments by her about her elevation in the party pecking order.

Just before the announcement yesterday that Mark was replacing her Martin tweeted:

Worth a re-read. :). Tracey Martin – in Winston Peter’s shadow

This linked to a Stuff profile of her from two months ago – Tracey Martin – in Winston Peter’s shadow – which suggests she wasn’t ambitious about leadership roles.

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.

As the party’s deputy leader she is the apparent succession plan for a party that seems to have prided itself on never having one.

That may sum up her elevation up the NZ First list and installation (until this week) as deputy – she wasn’t a threat to Winston.

Martin was a surprise pick for the deputy role and the unkind would say that’s because she wasn’t a risk of overshadowing her charismatic leader.

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.

Martin presents as very unambitious and not very committed – so why was she promoted and why was peters still, apparently, wanting her to remain as deputy this week?

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.

“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.”

But she was made number two anyway, and later she was made deputy leader, apparently against her wishes.

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

“And that’s only if you don’t cock it up.

“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.”

She doesn’t sound desperate to keep her job. Odd comments for an MP, it looks like she has been put into the party and the leadership against her wishes.

And the curiosity continued this week. It has been reported to be a close vote that deposed her as deputy, with Peters wanting her to remain as his 2IC. But from what she said yesterday she seems to support Mark’s elevation over her.

Stuff again, in Ron Mark new NZ First deputy:

Martin said she supported Mark and would never have been the deputy leader if he had been in the last caucus that appointed her in the role.

“I think I’ve done a really good job as deputy leader in the period of time I was required to do it. I think I did the best I could do with the experience I had.

“This isn’t an anti-me, this is the fact that Ron had years more political experience than I do and that is the right person in that place in that job going forward in this moment.”

This sounds almost like she would have voted for Mark against herself and against Peters.

Martin said there were no surprises over the announcement and she didn’t yet know what her future held.

“I hope to remain a well respected member of the NZ First caucus and Parliament. I’ll do my job and do it to the best of my ability.”

Except that yesterday she pointed out a two month old article that said “Martin has found herself in a position of power that she never asked for and would walk away from tomorrow”.

Very curious.

And now she finds in a position of less power. Will she walk away tomorrow?

Mark confirmed NZ First deputy

After a weird week of speculation Ron Mark was confirmed as the new NZ First deputy leader, replacing what is reported to be Winston’s choice, Tracey Martin.

It has been claimed this is the first time the NZ First caucus has decided something significant against Winston’s wishes.

This may introduce unfamiliar tensions within camp NZF. It has been widely known or assumed that Winston doesn’t tolerate any threat to his own leadership. Last term Brendon Horan and Andrew Williams were excommunicated, supposedly for daring to have ambitions that threatened Winston’s authority.

Mark is saying all the right things (that is, pandering to Peters) about his own ambitions, saying he sees Winston as the leader into the foreseeable future.

But whoever is deputy when Peters decides to retire (or otherwise ceases to be leader) will have the inside running to take over the top position, and it’s thought that Mark has his eye on this goal.

Mark is an experienced MP, having been in Parliament for about a decade before NZ First got rejected in the 2008 election.

He became mayor of Carterton and didn’t stand in 2011 when NZ First returned, but was reported to have been persuaded to stand last year.

Mark was apparently pissed off to be only placed at 9 on the list but with NZ First’s resurgence that was enough to get him back in.

The list selection is reported to be dominated by Peters and the party President, Tracey Martin’s mother. In 2011 Martin had been promoted to two on the list where she remained last election. So Mark has overturned the party rankings to get himself installed at second in command.

My impression of Mark in Parliament this year has been as a jumped up smart arse.

Perhaps the greater responsibilities he now has will morph him into a respectable and credible leader-in-waiting.

This should mean not trying to act like a young Winston clever dick. Time will tell.

Winston succession talent on display

While secrecy over the clash of the deputies continues Winston Peters lauded all of the NZ First talent in 3 News: NZ First cagey about leadership rumours:

Asked whether the party had a succession plan, Mr Peters said he’s “probably got 10 successors – that’s how much talent we’ve got in New Zealand First”.

Some of this talent was on display during Question Time in Parliament today.

Both deputy aspirants seemed to be trying to be young Winstons, without vast experience and without success.

10. Trade, Minister—Statement on Trans-Pacific Partnership

[Sitting date: 02 July 2015. Volume:706;Page:9. Text is subject to correction.]

10. FLETCHER TABUTEAU (NZ First) to the Minister of Trade : Does he stand by his statement in respect of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement that “We were never going to start the serious negotiations until it was show time”, and will this include the future of Fonterra?

NZFTabuteau

Hon STEVEN JOYCE (Acting Minister of Trade): Yes, the Minister does stand by his statements on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This includes the statement that further negotiations are needed to resolve the most difficult issues in negotiation, which include market access for dairy. In respect of the second part of the question, if the member is referring to the structure of Fonterra, the way Fonterra operates, established in the dairy industry reforms of a decade ago, is not up for negotiation.

Fletcher Tabuteau : For clarification, how does the Minister then reconcile the US Dairy Export Council’s strong support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement fast-track when its president, speaking about Fonterra before a Senate inquiry, said: “If this is going to be a high ambitious agreement in the 21st century, you need to reform the industry, which is creating a 90 percent market share for one company in the global market that the company”—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! Supplementary questions must be concise. Bring the question to a conclusion very quickly, otherwise I will rule it out of order.

Fletcher Tabuteau : Thank you, Mr Speaker. The president was suggesting that Fonterra has way too much market power by law and should not be therefore—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! Debates occur after question time. If the question can be made out—[Interruption] Order! I am on my feet at the moment. If the Minister can establish a question out of that, I invite the Minister to answer it.

Tracey Martin : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Unfortunately, because that is a direct quote from hearings held on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Minister would not be able to answer the question of my colleague without hearing the direct quote.

NZFMartin

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The member needs to study the Standing Orders. Standing Order 380 is quite specific on how questions can be asked. That question is miles too long. I warned the member. He then continued with a long question. I am now giving the Minister the opportunity to answer. If there are further supplementary questions and they are of that length, I will simply rule them out of order.

Ron Mark : Point of order. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER : Order! Would all members resume their seats. This may be a fresh point of order, in which case I am happy to hear it. But if it is in any way a relitigation of a ruling I have just made in respect of that question, then I will treat it very seriously indeed.

Ron Mark : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I fully accept your ruling. The question though is going forward to help us, could you give us a word count so that we can check ourselves—

NZFMark

Mr SPEAKER : Order! It is the last day before a break, so I will, on this occasion, be a little generous to the member. The published Hansard will be available at about 4.30 p.m. I suggest he just count it for himself. [Interruption] Order! No, the member will resume his seat. The question has been asked with some difficulty for me to decipher, but I am going to give the Minister a chance to answer. If there are further supplementary questions, we will move from there.

Hon STEVEN JOYCE : It is not the job of the New Zealand Minister of Trade to reconcile the statements of a US lobbying group, whoever they are. I stand by the answer to the substantive question.

Fletcher Tabuteau : Would the Minister describe the stand by the US National Milk Producers Federation as shadow-boxing given that it stated, after the fast-track was passed, that the US dairy industry has been a strong advocate for the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, with it previously telling the US international—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! That will do. The question has been asked, and again it is too long.

Hon STEVEN JOYCE : The answer remains the same. It is not the job of the New Zealand Minister of Trade to reconcile the positions of any other organisation that is lobbying in favour of a particular outcome in regards to a trade agreement. It is the responsibility of the New Zealand Minister of Trade to lead the negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Fletcher Tabuteau : Can I raise a point of order and seek clarification?

Mr SPEAKER : Yes, you can.

Fletcher Tabuteau : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I have sought to keep these questions within the bounds and structure of previous questions that I have asked in this House and have been allowed. Your—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The member has just summed it up perfectly for himself. I have noticed a habit whereby increasingly the questions that are asked by this particular member are far too long. I have given him the opportunity to shorten them. He has not taken my advice. He may well get the same treatment in the future. Does the member have a further supplementary question?

Fletcher Tabuteau : Can the Minister confirm to New Zealand farmers and consumers that under a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement United States milk and meat products containing wrapped dopamine and recombinant bovine growth hormone, both banned here in New Zealand, will not enter into New Zealand, as stipulated by the EU in its own free-trade agreements with the United States?

Mr SPEAKER : Again, marginal but I will allow it.

Hon STEVEN JOYCE : There are all sorts of things that are being negotiated, including such issues as phytosanitary conditions and all the requirements on animal product health and so on. These negotiations are continuing. The Minister is not in a position to comment on individual items, except to say, in response to the substantive question the member raised, that the way Fonterra operates is not up for negotiation.

To assist the NZ First talent here is Standing Order 380:

380 Content of questions

(1) Questions must be concise and not contain—

(a) statements of facts and names of persons unless they are strictly necessary to render the question intelligible and can be authenticated, or

(b) arguments, inferences, imputations, epithets, ironical expressions, or expressions of opinion, or

(c) discreditable references to the House or any member of Parliament or any offensive or unparliamentary expression.

(2) Questions must not seek a legal opinion.

(3) A written question must not repeat the substance of a question already lodged in the same calendar year.

(4) Questions must not refer to proceedings in committee at meetings closed to the public until those proceedings are reported to the House or (subject to Standing Order 115) to a matter awaiting or under adjudication in, or suppressed by an order of, any New Zealand court.

(5) Where the notice of a question does not comply with the provisions of the Standing Orders, it is not accepted. If, by inadvertence, such a notice is accepted it may be subsequently disallowed by the Speaker unless it is amended or revised so as to comply with the Standing Orders.

The Winston replacement battle

Hints of a possible deputy leadership battle in NZ First look like they were accurate – see Peters can’t name his deputy – with an announcement supposedly imminent (tomorrow is the word).

3 News: NZ First cagey about leadership rumours

New Zealand First is planning a crisis meeting tomorrow where it’s widely expected deputy leader Tracey Martin will be rolled.

The party’s MPs have been cagey about the issue over the last two days, with many refusing to confirm Ms Martin’s still in the role.

Leader Winston Peters says she is for now, but won’t say what might happen tomorrow.

Asked whether the party had a succession plan, Mr Peters said he’s “probably got 10 successors – that’s how much talent we’ve got in New Zealand First”.

Yeah, all lining up to topple Peters.

David Farrar with the not so secret The secret NZ First Deputy!

UPDATE: I understand that Mark did defeat Martin by one vote for the Deputy Leadership, after Richard Prosser swapped camps. We’ll find out tomorrow if this is correct, but heard from a parliamentary source.

It seems that Mark blames the Martins for his low list ranking last election, as he was seen as a threat – so this is a delayed utu.

Mark has look ambitious since his return, utu is likely to be just a bonus.

All the competition in NZ First is for second fiddle to Winston. Those who look to have ambitions in the past have been thrown out – Brendon Horan was kicked out of the party while an MP and Andrew Williams was thrown out through a low list placement last year.

If Mark gets the numbers to defeat Winston’s favoured deputy the tensions may rise a tad in NZ First. And if Mark becomes deputy the Peters/Martin control of the list appointments may be tested, demoting a deputy to an un-winnable position would surely be untenable.

The big prize of course is to be in a position to replace when he finally finishes his parliamentary stint.

I don’t think NZ First would look great with either Mark or Martin as leader. Winston’s “probably got 10 successors – that’s how much talent we’ve got in New Zealand First” looks a bit dubious.

Peters can’t name his deputy

Today Winston Peters coudn’t or wouldn’t name the deputy leader of NZ First. That’s bizarre.

There seems to have been a flare up of a battle for the deputy position, with claims that Ron Mark has challenged Tracey Martin for the leader-in-waiting slot in the NZ First caucus.

Peters was asked after the meeting who his deputy was. NZ Herald reports in Winston Peters: No comment on coup:

He was asked repeatedly by media who his deputy leader is and whether he could confirm Ms Martin would remain in that position.

“I cannot discuss caucus business, that’s confidential. I am restricted by that. We do not discuss caucus business outside of caucus,” Mr Peters said.

Sure he can’t discuss abacus business out of caucus. But not naming and refusing to confirm who the party deputy is seems nonsensical.

Martin sat beside Peters in the deputy’s seat in Parliament soon afterwards, so refusing to comment was a futile refusal to open.

Afterwards, most NZ First MPs refused to comment, but Denis O’Rourke confirmed that Ms Martin remained deputy leader.

Why couldn’t Peters confirm that? It should have been an automatic response.

Mr Mark also said he was not the new NZ First deputy leader, but would not comment on whether he had made or planned a challenge.

Mark could also confirm  he wasn’t deputy without breaching caucus confidence.

Radio NZ NZ First quiet on rumoured coup attempt:

Ms Martin herself refused to talk about anything that may have happened in caucus, saying she had no comment.

Not confirming she was still deputy also seems bizarre.

They all refused to comment, citing caucus confidentiality – including Mr Peters.

“I’m restricted by that, which we’ve had as a rule for 22 long years.”

He was asked by reporters why he could not just confirm there had not been an attempted coup.

“Well look, excuse me, I just gave you an answer, which is total if you follow it slowly – we do not discuss caucus business outside of caucus.

Sounds like blanket evasion.

Patrick Gower reported on 3 News that a coup attempt failed after Peters stepped to support Martin. Martin’s mother is reported to be close to Peters and is party president.

Native Affairs political debate

There’s been a lot of controversy around Maori Television lately with accusations that Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell intefered with and was involved in the calling off of a political debate.

There has also been an exodus of Maori TV journalists.

Native Affairs has often been an interesting look at Maori orientated politics. Tonight the debate that was supposedly called off will air – 8.30 pm on Maori Television.

So it’s my last show. Thought I’d invite some politicians on and talk about some controversial stuff

The promo says:

On Native Affairs we host our first political debate of 2015. Our leading Maori politicians are live in studio to discuss all the big issues.

Whanau Ora. Kohanga Reo. First right of refusal. And Maori land.

I believe that Te Ururoa Flavell will be there as well as Metiria Turei (Greens), Winston Peters (NZ First) and Alfred Ngaro (National).

Party positions on medical cannabis

In DHB delays treatment application for teenager in coma Stuff  canvases parties to gauge their position on allowing the use of medical cannabis.

Labour MP Damien O’Connor wants action.

O’Connor is also calling for Parliament to debate the issue of access to medicinal marijuana, particularly in cases such as Alex’s, where all conventional medications have already been tested.

Peter Dunne (UnitedFuture, Associate Minister of Health):

If the application to the ministry is successful, the ultimate decision comes down to Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne.

He would not comment on Alex’s specific case, but said he was already doing work around the possibilities of making medicinal cannabinoid (CBD) more readily available.

“While the evidence to date wasn’t strong … we have begun assessing from New Zealand what the situation should be.”

“I don’t know how long this process will take, but we are gathering evidence. I’ve had a series of meetings with officials around what it might look like and the process is ongoing.”

Labour leader Andrew Little…

…agreed with O’Connor that it was time for a debate, and would support a bill on the matter.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei…

…said Alex’s case was another example of the law not working.

She said the current process put up too many barriers for doctors and families, and it was time to consider opening up access to medicinal marijuana.

ACT leader David Seymour and Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox…

…were also open to a debate on the issue.

NZ First leader Winston Peters…

…said nobody could stop a debate in Parliament but he’d want to be sure all other legal options were exhausted before considering granting access to medicinal marijuana.

That’s five in favour of addressing medical cannabis and one who sounds reluctant.

Notably absent from that list is National.

But this may not need to go through Parliament. Dunne and the Ministry health are able to approve the use of drugs for medicinal use..

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