NZ First versus Parliament again

Parliament resumed today with Question Time and it didn’t take long for New Zealand First MPs to get offside with the Speaker and get thrown out, with Denis O’Rourke being ejected early during Question 8.

Denis O’Rourke: In addition to the four options in the KiwiRail commercial review for 2014—the trimmed network, the separate islands network, the upper North Island network, and exit—will he request consideration of an expansion and improvement option for the whole country; if not, why not?

Hon SIMON BRIDGES: The member may not like the fact, but we have invested nearly $4 billion. That is comparable to what we have invested in the roads of national significance, which he and his mates next to him—the Greens—love to hate so much. We are investing, and we continue to do so with projects that stack up.

Denis O’Rourke: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I specifically asked whether the Minister would—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The question was so long, it would be very easy for the member to address any part of it. If the member asks a short, sharp question, I can help him get a straight answer. Supplementary question?

Denis O’Rourke: The question was not long—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member will resume his seat immediately. I have ruled. I am giving the member a chance to complete his questioning; if he does not want to, we can easily move to the next one.

Denis O’Rourke: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER: If it is a fresh point of order, I will hear it. If it is any attempt to relitigate where I have just got to, I will be asking the member to leave.

Denis O’Rourke: I am simply asking: if that question was too long—

Mr SPEAKER: I have dealt with that matter. I am asking Denis O’Rourke to—[Interruption] Denis O’Rourke will leave the Chamber. I gave him an absolute, clear warning. [Interruption] Order! The member will leave.

Denis O’Rourke withdrew from the Chamber.

Whether O’Rourke was hard done by or not by the initial ruling he ignored the Speaker’s ruling and subsequent warning fairly blatantly.

Then followed  leader Winston Peters.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. My colleague asked the question: if it was too long, then how would you have phrased it yourself? Now, can I just finish my point of order. I have barely spoken a few words—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! The member can raise a point of order in line with the Standing Orders and I will hear it, but he had better do it succinctly.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: That is precisely what I am doing. My colleague asked the question—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! This is a point of order—[Interruption] Order! The member will resume his seat immediately. This is a point of order, and I want to hear it without any interjection from my right-hand side.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: My colleague asked: if the question was too long, then how would you have phrased it? I think that he was seeking some clarity, because if the question was too long, you would have ruled it out at the very start when he finished asking the question. That is why my colleague was a bit—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The honourable member will resume his seat. I have been relatively lenient in light of the way the—[Interruption] Order! The member is very likely to be leaving the Chamber and joining his colleague. I have been relatively lenient with questions coming from New Zealand First today, but when those members ask a—[Interruption] Order! If the member interjects again while I am on my feet, he will be asked to leave. I have been relatively lenient, but when a question is as long as that, it is very difficult for me to actually decipher the specifics of the question, and, therefore, I ruled that the Minister had addressed the question. Mr O’Rourke took exception to that. I warned him that if he continued to relitigate a decision I had made, then he would be asked to leave the Chamber. He did then immediately relitigate the ruling I made.

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

Mr SPEAKER: If it is a fresh point of order—[Interruption] Order! No, the member will also resume his seat. I have ruled on that matter. The member is going to raise a fresh point of order, but if I consider in any way that it is an attempt to relitigate the decision I have just made, which the member does not have to like but must accept, I will not hesitate to ask the member also to leave the Chamber.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: First of all, it is a fresh point of order.

Mr SPEAKER: What is it?

Rt Hon Winston Peters: That is why I am raising it. It arises from your comment that you have been lenient on New Zealand First in question time today. As a matter of clarification, could you point out on what occasions and at what time have you been lenient on us?

Mr SPEAKER: That is, effectively, an allegation of bias, and that is a contempt of this House. The Rt Hon Winston Peters will also leave the Chamber. [Interruption] The Rt Hon Winston Peters will immediately leave this Chamber. [Interruption] Order!

Rt Hon Winston Peters withdrew from the Chamber.

David Carter is really struggling to maintain order in the House, and NZ First MPs seem to be intent on making it as hard as possible for him.

Both Speaker and NZ First should work out a way of dealing with this and moving on – if either wants to sort things out.

COntinued aggravation and increasingly open defiance may be seeking attention deliberately but the attention it gives the dysfunctionality of the House provides quite a sad view of Parliament.

Carter is not the strongest of speakers but winding him up and ignoring his warnings is hardly going to achieve much that’s any good for our democratic process.

c

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23 Comments

  1. I watched this as it happened and have commented about it elsewhere. Does Winston really think he can beat the system? If not why is he behaving like a fool or is he really one? ime has caught up with him, and he should go gracefully lest he erodes the rest of his failing mana.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  3rd May 2016

      He is old enough to be John Key’s father and have been legally married to his mother. If he does another term, he’ll be in his mid-70s, and another after that will see him hitting 80. He could be David Seymour’s grandfather. I don’t think that he’s a fool, but it seems as if the braying sycophants who are his followers have inflated his ego to absurd heights.

      Reply
  2. jamie

     /  3rd May 2016

    It doesn’t seem like a long question to me.

    It has only one “leg” to it apart from “if not why not” (which really just invites the questionee to explain his reasoning if he so desires, but doesn’t attempt to shoehorn in an extra question which is a common complaint from the Speaker.)

    There is nothing in the question that could be described as a personal attack or overly political (why they’re not allowed “political” questions in Parliament is beyond me, but it’s also a common complaint from the Speaker.)

    I suspect that the Speaker got confused by the Member listing the four options he referred to.

    I also suspect that this is a common occurrence for him. I believe we have a Speaker who is unable to correctly parse a sentence with a comma in it.

    I believe he mistook the pause for a change of subject.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  3rd May 2016

      It sounded to me like two questions in one. Will he blah-blah-if not, why not ? It was a clumsy question. Paul Holmes used to ask two questions in one, and I have seen it catch people who began to answer the first part.

      I don’t believe for one moment that the Speaker is the fool that you seem to imagine him to be.Your own use of commas is far from perfect.

      ‘Political’ here obviously has a very specific meaning.

      If NZ First and Greens get together, will they be New Zealand Green ?

      Reply
      • jamie

         /  3rd May 2016

        What you call a second question is, as I already laid out above, no more than an invitation to account for the reasoning of the answer. It is not a second question at all. Not that it matters though, you can add as many legs to a supplementary question as you like but the Minister only has to answer one. So for the purposes of determining the fitness of the question, the only criticism “if not why not” can elicit is the length it adds, which as any fool can see is exactly fuck all.

        Yes “political” has a specific meaning in this context, and this question doesn’t meet the Speaker’s usual threshold for “political” in this context. The question was straight, and stuck to the facts, and contained nothing that would ordinarily see a question ruled out of order on grounds of “political” content. And of course it wasn’t, so it isn’t.

        It was precisely the sort of question the Speaker always claims that he want to hear more of in Parliament.

        What have my commas got to do with anything? I haven’t criticised anyone’s use of commas, I said I thought the Speaker doesn’t understand how to interpret sentences that contain them. He thinks they indicate the start of another question. He has apparently never come across a list.

        I think the way you phrased the question is much the same way the tired old stupid deaf dullard Speaker heard it, complete with “blah blah blah”.

        Reply
  3. Blazer

     /  3rd May 2016

    Carter is the most biased speaker in living memory.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  3rd May 2016

      Whose memory ?

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  3rd May 2016

        my memory…I actually have one,unlike so many RWNJ’s who suffer the same affliction as the P.M.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  3rd May 2016

          Ah, but how old are you ? It would make a huge difference if you were 25 or 95 !

          Reply
  4. MaureenW

     /  3rd May 2016

    Funny, I’m not surprised, more refugees for New Zealand.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/79584497/refugee-quota-could-be-lifted

    Reply
    • MaureenW

       /  3rd May 2016

      Oops, sorry wrong thread – was meant for Open Forum

      Reply
  5. duperez

     /  3rd May 2016

    The question was apparently beyond the understanding of the Speaker. If that is the case he should resign as being incapable of doing the job properly.

    If it was within his understanding but outside his tolerance because it demanded an answer from the Minister he should resign as he is incapable of doing the job properly.

    Can anyone tell me if the Minister is requesting consideration of an expansion and improvement option for the whole country in addition to the four options in the KiwiRail commercial review for 2014—the trimmed network, the separate islands network, the upper North Island network, and exit? And if he is not, why not?

    Or should i direct the question to Sir (in waiting) David Carter?

    Reply
    • jamie

       /  3rd May 2016

      Utterly amazing that he will almost certainly receive a knighthood for the complete hash he has made of the job.

      Every sitting day he brings the whole of Parliament into disrepute.

      Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  3rd May 2016

      This was the primary question:
      DENIS O’ROURKE to the Minister of Transport: Is the Government committed in the long term to a sustainable railway network for New Zealand?

      Obviously he had prepared the long supplementary question which was at least two questions and an attempt to make a political point while effectively repeating the first question. I really don’t think he had much to complain about.

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  4th May 2016

        Saying “at least two questions” suggests there there two maybe more. What were the two in the first O’Rourke quote on here and what were the other possible ones? In my diminished state I cannot discern them.

        Mind you in the light of another reading today I also think the headline “NZ First versus Parliament again” could equally be “David Carter against Opposition trying to hold Government accountable” or “David Carter skews democracy.”

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  4th May 2016

          A question that sets out a long, complicated assumption, immediately implies the questions of whether that is true, complete or accurate before you get to the explicit questions that hang off it. And in any case it seems to me the Minister addressed the explicit question asked by citing the investment the Government was making and presumably that was reinforcing what he had answered to the primary question.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  4th May 2016

            We’ll never know. The speaker got in a huff, preventing any rational clarification of the situation, and ejected two members of parliament because of his lack of the intellectual equipment for the job,

            Reply
      • jamie

         /  4th May 2016

        That’s a bit loose Alan, the question asks ‘will he do (x) and if not why not’

        Even if I grant you that asking “and why” is a whole extra question, which I don’t really think it is as I laid out above, how do you get to “at least two”?

        Do you suffer from the same ailment as the Speaker?

        Reply
    • Gezza

       /  4th May 2016

      I can’t remember Lockwood Smith ever making the total farce out of this sort of situation that Carter does.

      Reply
      • jamie

         /  4th May 2016

        No, but Lockwood was capable of following a sentence of more than three words.

        Reply
  6. Bangle Boy

     /  4th May 2016

    It would seem there is absolutely no love lost between Winston & Mr Carter.

    Now NZ First are demanding that if they are in a position to get National across the line for a 4th term, then they would want Carter hauled back from the London posting should he have already gained it. Knowing this would make it hard for the government to award him the posting in the first place.

    “Has Winston Peters scuppered David Carter’s chances of London High Commissioner post?” http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/79349660/has-winston-peters-scuppered-david-carters-chances-of-london-high-commissioner-post

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  4th May 2016

      The current incumbent Sir Alexander Lockwood Smith KNZM earned the position.

      Reply

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