Shambolic start to Parliament

I’ve been away for a couple of days so am just catching up a bit. It sounds like Parliament and politics is a shambles today.

Stuff:  Red-faced Government needs to bury first-day farce, fast

So far so shambolic. If this is a taste of things to come in the new Parliament, get ready for a wild ride.

Labour has run hard up against the reality of dealing with the biggest single Opposition party ever, and the panicked scenes as it tried to bargain its way out of an embarrassing vote to elect the new Speaker are a memory it will want to bury quick smart.

The desperate discussions captured on the floor of Parliament as Labour’s leader of the House, Chris Hipkins, tried to salvage a bad situation from turning into a train wreck are just the sort of images Labour doesn’t need.

Those images have catapulted what would normally be an in-house, procedural stoush, into a defining moment. They fit the Opposition narrative – the narrative being that this is the same party that only a few months ago was divided, and defeated, that Labour wasn’t ready for power, that the next three years are going to be a shambles.

The first vote on the first day of the House means none of those things of course. Labour was never actually at risk of losing the vote to elect a new Speaker – but what’s important is it thought that it might, after National spotted the absence of a number of Government MPs, and threatened to elect its own Speaker.

Looks like a steep learning curve for  Hipkins and for Labour.

While Labour was still scrambling to recover from that debacle, Foreign Minister Winston Peters dropped a bombshell, serving legal papers taking broad aim at a bunch of Opposition MPs, political staffers, a government department chief executive, and journalists, before heading overseas.

It’s hard to know whether Peters has evidence and wants more to back it up, or he is, as some have claimed, on a massive fishing expedition. If the latter then it looks problematic – especially going after journalists for their sources.

And it had been cl.aimed the papers were prepared two days prior to the election, and obviously well in advance of the supposed coalition negotiations.

Were the negotiations are farce designed to force Labour into conceding more?

Or was the legal action used as leverage – something like an attempt at political blackmail?

It at least make sit appear as if a National-NZ First coalition was a hopeless case.

At least they sorted themselves out in Parliament, with Trevor Mallard appointed Speaker.

But the deputy Prime Minister starting his term playing legal hard ball with the Leader of the Opposition, senior opposition MPs and journalists suggests the possibility of a very messy term – if it survives.

Stuff: Winston Peters looks to sue over pension leak

An affidavit seen by Stuff shows papers have been filed in the High Court naming Ministry of Social Development chief executive Brendan Boyle, National leader Bill English and his former chief of staff Wayne Eagleson, former ministers Paula Bennett, Steven Joyce, and Anne Tolley, and journalists Lloyd Burr and Tim Murphy.

Former National Party campaign communications manager Clark Hennessy is also named. The affidavit alleges Hennessy was the most likely source of the leak.

In a statement, Hennessy said “I strongly deny any involvement in this matter or anything to do with Mr Peters’ personal life”.

The affidavit, prepared by Peters’ lawyers, says he has instructed them to identify and sue the “persons responsible” for the leak. The affidavit was sworn in September, but the papers were only served on Tuesday, after Peters had left the country for an international summit

 

25 Comments

  1. Oh dear, oh dear, Ms Ardern seemed rather rattled. Why on earth did they choose a leader who had so little experience ? National seemed to be running rings around her and she didn’t come out of it well. Be careful what you ask for, indeed.

  2. Corky

     /  November 7, 2017

    ”And it had been claimed the papers were prepared two days prior to the election, and obviously well in advance of the supposed coalition negotiations.”

    This in my opinion, if true, is unethical and should see Winston get zero support at the next election. How can you file legal papers against a negotiating partner and not expect that to colour negotiation proceedings?

    This doesn’t affect me, because I didn’t vote for this shambles. But what about the poor fools who did? They deserve better.

    • Gezza

       /  November 7, 2017

      Any poor fools who voted for Winston’s party deserve whatever they get.

  3. chrism56

     /  November 7, 2017

    Yes Kitty – being shown up by people that they rubbished like Mr Bridges must be a real reality shock they won’t recover from. The more Mr Hipkins goes on about how they weren’t outwitted, the worse it looks for them.

  4. Corky

     /  November 7, 2017

    Going after journalists, Winston!! Welcome to your worst nightmare..for the next three years. First impressions are important. And this coalition has failed the first meeting with the New Zealand public.

  5. artcroft

     /  November 7, 2017

    I’m disappointed. I took Winston at his word that he decided to go with Labour for the benefit of the Nation. Now it turns out he went with Labour cos he planned to sue various National MP’s. I guess you just can’t trust Winston.

    • artcroft

       /  November 7, 2017

      Make sure you’ve got Grant covering your back during the day, and you sleep with your eyes open at night Stardust.

  6. chrism56

     /  November 7, 2017

    The serving of the legal papers by Mr Peters’ lawyers and while he is out of the country, is just proof it is bluster. The fact that he named so many, including the journalists, shows he hasn’t any proof and is just fishing. If he wanted to turn all the country’s media against him, and by inference the government, he couldn’t have done it better. .

    • Gezza

       /  November 7, 2017

      Garn. He plays them like a fiddle. They fall for it every time. Who’s already being talked about big time while he’s not even here?

  7. patupaiarehe

     /  November 7, 2017

    Oh, the irony! The Nats are wasting the governments time, but when they were in charge, they got very upset about this…

    At least Winston was making a point when he did it…

  8. Strong For Life

     /  November 7, 2017

    Brilliant… the best comedy show in town returns. I have missed these Labour stuff ups and daily laughs that had diminished since they replaced the inept buffoon Andrew Little. Now I expect laughs aplenty especially when Ms Ardern and Winston Peters are both out of the country. Who will lead the coalition then?

    • patupaiarehe

       /  November 7, 2017

      You’ve done well SFL, in pointing out the obvious. Ron vs Kelvin… I imagine it being like what I heard in the background, whilst working in a prison a few years back. A competition to see who is the dumbest Maori…

  9. chrism56

     /  November 7, 2017

    Where’s Blazer? He should have been along by now to tell us what a fantastic well organized government the Coalition is.

    • Corky

       /  November 7, 2017

      And Robbie Guyton. I would like to hear his excuses.

      • I didn’t make any in the several comments I made earlier, Corky.That said, it’s a passing blip (I hope) and should serve as a wake-up call to the Government. Sneaky though, aye!
        🙂

  10. Zedd

     /  November 7, 2017

    well hopefully Labour/NZF/Grn whips will learn to count, before they get flustered next time ?
    but it also shows Natz playing usual ‘dirty tricks’ again.. 😦

    • Corky

       /  November 7, 2017

      Rubbish, Zedd%. What this shows is Labour is full of Andies. Why shouldn’t National have fun?

  11. David

     /  November 7, 2017

    Green government has a slightly different meaning perhaps…

  12. Fight4NZ

     /  November 7, 2017

    Yes a sad day. The opposition agree on a simple procedural matter and instantly reneg. Lies and treachery remain National’s hallmark.

  13. David

     /  November 7, 2017

    Quite an amusing turn of events and even her pet media couldn’t resist piling in. I find the arrogance, not of Ardern, of Davis, Hipkins, Lee’s Galloway, Little, Twyford galling with their we are going to turn the economy on its head under urgency in spite of them coming a distant second.
    I guess we can now see Winston’s negotiations as just a way of scamming more concessions from a rather inexperienced young lady. Not sure if there has ever been a more dispicable politician ever in this country.

    • Gezza

       /  November 7, 2017

      Oh, Rob Muldoon – definitely. No one’s come close to beating him yet.

  14. RedLogix, astute commenter at The Standard, said:

    “Turns out that the members absent had the leave of Parliament, and everyone knew the numbers, but National exploited this without warning to play an ugly game. It is routine for members to be absent the House and customary for all Parties to respect this, and/or resolve any concerns expeditiously in the Business Committee. Breaking with this basic courtesy to is unprecedented.

    And again, it is customary for the Speaker to be elected unopposed as a mark of respect for the role; blackmailing the govt by threatening to force a vote is also unprecedented.

    And then using that blackmail to derail change to an agreement that the House had already voted for unanimously is a blatant, cynical hypocrisy of the lowest kind.

    And naturally our media lapped this up and praised this ‘brazen bluff’ all to high heaven.

    And all this on the first day. Well English did signal that he was going to run an obstructionist Opposition and now we have the opening play in that game plan confirmed. It’s not going to get any better from here on in.

    While Adern may shrug it away as a ‘bit of politics”, Mallard who now runs the House will not forget in a hurry.”

    • Trevors_Elbow

       /  November 8, 2017

      Blah blah blah…..customary to be elected unopposed? Bollocks…

      https://www.parliament.nz/en/get-involved/features-pre-2016/document/00NZPHomeNews201410201/election-and-confirmation-of-speaker

      And also not true a second time in the last 4 years

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8246741/Carter-elected-Speaker-of-the-House

      Your coalition of 2nd place and minor placings have contested the speakers election in 2013 and 2014…..So why should National not reciprocate?

      Google is your friend Robert…. care to retract your “customary” comment as obviously the custom was broken for good by the teams you cheer for recently so is customary no more

      • Trevor’s_Elbow, sorry to give you the Spanish archer, but if you’d read my intro, you’d see I was quoting someone else, so withdrawing their comment is…difficult, I’d have thought! In any case, you’re quite wrong. Google is my friend, as you note, as is my wide reading of the issue you cite; if you too were to read widely and think critically, you’d see how distinct the two situations are. As it is, your simplistic approach to the issue leaves you with a simplistic view; enough perhaps to satisfy you, but not the discerning amongst us.