Why MPs behave poorly in Parliament

One of the primary reasons why MPs behave poorly in Parliament is because political journalists feed the frenzy by giving the worst of parliament the most attention.

Claire Trevett illustrates this in Pokes and jokes hit and miss but Winston Peters still the master.

Peters may be the master of attention seeking but that doesn’t make it a healthy environment for democracy.

On Key:

To celebrate the occasion and the rare display of Black Caps sledging Australians, Key dedicated much of his speech at the start of Parliament to sledging his own opponents.

On Little:

Little was not bereft of comebacks. He welcomed back Michael Woodhouse – the overseer of health and safety reforms which listed worm farms as dangerous: “I am pleased that we have got through a summer with not a single worm farmer suffering a fatality or serious accident.”

He congratulated newly restored minister Judith Collins for making such a difference in such a short time, noting New Zealand had slipped two places in the corruption index in the two months she had been back.

On Shaw:

But then came poor old James Shaw, the newly minted Green Party co-leader. His caucus was not so well trained at laughing as National and Labour.

His valiant efforts met with a wall of silence.

The circus only rewards clowns.

Nobody was quite sure what he was banging on about, but happily the novice was followed by the master: NZ First leader Winston Peters.

Peters took his usual scatter gun approach to his targets, depending who heckled him.

The sensible leadership over Waitangi events has disappeared in Parliament.

Finally Seymour set about insisting closure of a charter school in Whangaruru was proof the schools worked.

It was all as incomprehensible as circling the desert of the real.

The most respectful and sensible speaker didn’t rate a mention – Peter Dunne. He began by paying a tribute to the late Rt Hon Bob Tizard. He acknowledged Annette King respectfully. And he closed with a welcome back to all members, with a special mention to new MP Maureen Pugh.

But that sort of thing doesn’t rate a mention. We have headline driven political coverage, which grotesquely distorts our democracy.

WHOOPS: And I forgot to mention Te Ururoa Flavell, who flies under the media radar because he’s one of the best behaved and respectful MPs in Parliament.

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33 Comments

  1. David

     /  10th February 2016

    To be fair to them Question time and these set pieces are theatre and all the important stuff gets done in select committees where there is a lot of cooperation and working together.
    The press gallery dont report on these things because they are essentially a bunch of twitter obsessed gossips who rarely depart their bubble.

    Reply
    • kittycatkin

       /  10th February 2016

      I suppose that it’s the same as the fact that there were no crashes or drownings at the weekend doesn’t count as news.

      Reply
  2. I reckon the Westminster system is just completely outdated. Its growth, evolution and progress completely hampered and smothered by its own tradition.

    If we provide a bear pit or dogfighting ring or monkey house we get bears, dogs or monkeys to inhabit it.

    Parliament is stuck in 16th, 17th or 18th century Britain.
    Tories versus Whigs really, isn’t it?
    Two factions of the aristocracy fighting it out for power and privilege, making concessions for “the public good” (the common man) because of the regrettable advent of universal suffrage.

    As with so many other things today – prime example ‘Feminism’ – it’s as though the ‘Group Dynamics’ movement never occurred. As though Le Bon, Freud, Moreno and the rest never existed, theorised, wrote, practiced, proved and improved.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_dynamics

    To exaggerate (as I do) – The body politik is not going to thrive with a dead heart.

    Democracy needs a heart transplant. It needs to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, sans wigs, robes, battons and gavels, given a long weekend workshop in “consensus decision making” and “action methods” and appropriately wired up to the internet …

    Reply
    • kittycatkin

       /  10th February 2016

      Whig and Tories didn’t come in until the c.18.

      Reply
        • kittycatkin

           /  10th February 2016

          Peasant ! 🙂

          Reply
          • kittycatkin

             /  10th February 2016

            I think that someone downvotes me regardless of what I say. If I agreed wholeheartedly with them, they’d still do it.

            Reply
            • kittycatkin

               /  10th February 2016

              Believe it or not, universal male suffrage didn’t come in in England until 1918-so there are people alive now who were alive when all men didn’t have the vote.

              The Suffragettes revisionists tend to skim over the fact that many of them were not wanting universal female suffrage but wanted it on the same grounds as men-they didn’t want the working classes to have it, either male or female.

              I suppose that the Phantom Downvoter of Old London Town will downvote that…sigh….

          • @ KCK – “Peasant!”

            Sprung, damnit! Good retort.

            Our only consolation is behaviour would probably be a darned sight worse in the Church of Parliament if the Ministers were elected only by landowners or the gentry.

            Reply
  3. Oliver

     /  10th February 2016

    “The circus only rewards clowns”. This sums up politics in NZ and explains how we ended up with our current prime minister.

    Reply
    • kittycatkin

       /  10th February 2016

      That’s nonsense-if it was true, nobody else would work in a circus. It explains nothing.

      Reply
  4. Oliver

     /  10th February 2016

    When ever I want experience primary school again I tune into parliament TV and the memories start flooding back.

    Reply
    • kittycatkin

       /  10th February 2016

      Your GP can probably help you with your memory loss.

      Reply
    • Pantsdownbrown

       /  10th February 2016

      That was only last year you were at primary school so not that much of an achievement…………

      Reply
  5. mrMan

     /  10th February 2016

    “One of the primary reasons why MPs behave poorly in Parliament is because political journalists feed the frenzy by giving the worst of parliament the most attention.”

    Replace ‘MPS’ with ‘commenters’ ,’parliament’ with ‘the standard’, and ‘journalist’ with ‘blogger’, and it resembles a conversation we had yesterday, thought today you seem to be on the other side of the argument

    Reply
    • Being critical of commenter behaviour on a blog and being critical of MP behaviour in parliament seems to be on the same side to me.

      Reply
      • mrMan

         /  10th February 2016

        But you’re blaming the journalists for feeding it , which is the other side.

        Reply
        • Except that I’m being very critical of it, and I didn’t headline OAB as master of trolling out glorify the behaviour.

          I didn’t notice you complaining about me being critical of Slater.

          Reply
          • mrMan

             /  10th February 2016

            That’s clearly because I’m Pete Belt.

            Reply
            • grumpy

               /  10th February 2016

              Possibly………….

            • mrMan

               /  10th February 2016

              Nah, just playing on the paranoia that dominates NZ blogs, everyone is suspicious, everyone is from somewhere else trying to cause disruption and incite someone into saying something libellous. Every new voice is suspect.

              FWIW, I made mention of the other site yesterday

            • Rob

               /  10th February 2016

              Yeah, couple in here think everyone has alts and they use them to gang up on them. Can’t understand that more than one person disagrees with them.

            • mrMan

               /  10th February 2016

              At least this place doesn’t have a ban-hammer like others. Really think that a lot of it comes from there being no safe-harbour legislation here yet, so site-owners worry too much that they are going to get sued for the words of others. They start moderating heavy, and it makes the whole scene unpleasant. Though in some cases it’s also because the site owners are pretty unpleasant characters.

  6. Zedd

     /  10th February 2016

    Shakespeare said “all the worlds a stage.. we are players”
    watching parliament TV, i think this puts it in context. The ‘debating chamber’ has become more like an ‘amateur theatre stage’.. some are serious & others just like ‘acting the fool’ (no guesses for who is the ‘village idiot’) :/ 🙂

    Reply
    • kittycatkin

       /  10th February 2016

      All the world’s a stage/ And all the men and women merely players./They have their exits and their entrances/And one man in his time plays many parts/His acts being seven ages/First the infant, mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms/Then the whining schoolboy with his satchel/ And shining morning face/Creeping like snail unwillingly to school…and so on.

      Please do Shakespeare the courtesy of quoting him correctly ! I bet you can’t say which play this is in.

      Reply
      • Zedd

         /  10th February 2016

        @kck
        ‘As you like it’ – act 2 🙂

        I wasn’t trying to pass an English Lit. exam.. I was using a paraphrase to make a point
        oh dear.. 😦

        Reply
        • kittycatkin

           /  10th February 2016

          You did say that Shakespeare said it, not that you were paraphrasing it-and his words are immeasurably better than anyone’s paraphrase.

          Reply
          • Zedd

             /  10th February 2016

            @kck
            why do you come here ?

            if its to correct peoples spelling & quotes.. i think you’ve ‘lost the plot’ 😦

            btw; I won the bet.. what do I win ?? 🙂

            Reply
          • mrMan

             /  11th February 2016

            At it again Anna B?

            Reply
  7. Why MPs behave poorly in Parliament:
    1 David Carter

    Reply
  8. Zedd

     /  10th February 2016

    I just watched the first Q-time.. nothings changed:

    1) Pino-key-o still spreading B-S thick & fast.. trying to avoid a question from Ms Turei about whether tax-cuts for the rich (in election year) are a higher priority than helping the less fortunate. It wasn’t until the Epsom MP also put it, that he conceded it was a ‘possibility if the economy could cover it’ (paraphrase)

    2) The speaker was quick to shut down the opposition MPs, but not the Govt. he also constantly gave his smug smirk whilst doing so.

    one thing I noticed:
    what has happened to Melissa Lee over the break ?
    she looks like she fell in a bath of bleach !? OR maybe she was indoors the whole time ??
    ** maybe the comment by a NZ1st MP last year, about her & other Govt. MPs ethnicity got to her ?

    Reply
  9. explains why I pretty much completely switched off from MSM in all its guises after the last election. If you can’t beat ’em, ignore them altogether. I think I am happier for it.

    Reply

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