Accusations of Labour shielding Ministers from scrutiny in Parliament

Claims have been made that Labour is protecting some of it’s Ministers from scrutiny in Question Time in Parliament.

The second, directed at Minister of Employment Willie Jackson:

Question No. 11—Employment

11. Hon PAUL GOLDSMITH (National) to the Minister of Employment: Does he still stand by all of his statements?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS (Minister of Education): on behalf of the Minister of Employment: Yes, in the context in which they were made.

Hon Paul Goldsmith: Does he stand by his statement in the Manukau Courier that there is a “crisis” in New Zealand employment?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: Yes.

Hon Paul Goldsmith: How many jobs has the New Zealand economy created in the past year while it has been in crisis?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: I don’t have those figures with me.

Jackson did front up for questions from Goldsmith the day before:

The first minister switch yesterday:

Question No. 10—Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media

MELISSA LEE (National): I seek leave for this question to be held over until the next question time when the Hon Clare Curran is available to answer this question.

Mr SPEAKER: Is there any objection to that? Yes, there is.

10. MELISSA LEE (National) to the Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media: Does she believe it is important for State-owned broadcasters to be independent?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS (Leader of the House) on behalf of the Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media: Yes.

Melissa Lee: Does she agree that maintaining the independence of Radio New Zealand includes full disclosure of any meetings the Minister has with RNZ’s head of content?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: Yes, and the Minister has corrected the written answer that she gave, which was referred to in the questions yesterday.

This follows Lee questioning Current on Tuesday:

 

Melissa Lee has been submitting many written questions to Curran.

38 Comments

  1. David

     /  February 22, 2018

    Mallard continues to play a shocker. Brownlee,s speech in the general debate was very good and highlighted how little the new government is actually doing…a relief as far as I am concerned.
    Sooner or later Munro will be either in full health or retire and the plum job in the PMs office will be filled and then our press gallery can get back to reporting instead of auditioning.

  2. David

     /  February 22, 2018

    I had the misfortune of listening to Jackson trying to answer a question last week and its pretty clear he has no idea what he is doing and had no grasp at all on the employment figures, sure we get his Maori first and foremost schtick but he is supposed to be the hand picked talent Labour brought in.

    • Gezza

       /  February 22, 2018

      A problem very noticeable with Willie, in the Chamber during Question Time: The Trevor Show, is that you are correct – and that he simply operates his mouth without engaging brain-gear & dribbles out simple, silly nonsense as though he was still on his radio show.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  February 22, 2018

        What a good point, Gezza, What is all right on the radio, where profundity is not expected from the announcers. is unacceptable in Parliament.

        I was once on a radio station (a small, local one) and the conversation was light in between songs, as it had to be. Lighthearted, amusing banter was expected. It’s not as easy as they make it seem, as one is talking to the other announcer and the audience…WJ may be very good at this on the radio, but he’s useless in the House.

  3. Blazer

     /  February 22, 2018

    I just don’t accept the..accusations.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  February 22, 2018

      You do have the tendency to put fingers in ears and go “LA LA” when the left is held up to any sort of accountability.

    • alloytoo

       /  February 22, 2018

      Is that supposed to be ironic? If so WELL DONE.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  February 22, 2018

        If a Labour MP was caught on CCTV setting fire to the House, Blazer would insist that they were, in fact, extinguishing the flames.

  4. I had hopes that Mallard would have been a credible Speaker.
    Not to be.
    He is the foil to Questions asked of ministers and is very obviously protecting Labour.
    Then he threatens with ‘trifling with the Chair’ when the heat goes on him…
    They should concentrate on questioning everything he says or does he certainly isn’t very consistent

    • Gezza

       /  February 22, 2018

      I like him. I think he’s reasonably fair & even handed. His “supplementaries” withdrawn or awarded punishments cut both ways & get applied to both sides.

      From the viewpoint of a frequent watcher of Question Time (& who doesn’t always fall asleep about 3/4 of the way thru & have to catch up with the replay at 6 or 10pm) it is far easier to hear questions & answers in this Parliament than it has been for years because he stops the racket as soon as the whooping, hollering, barracking & insults start flying.

      They caught Curran out badly for effectively deliberately not disclosing an obviously relevant meeting on this one. I’m not sure exactly how the Opposition thought they could make capital of out of it if she’d disclosed it in the first place but not doing so makes her look guilty about something.

      Exactly what though = what? Maybe they could ask Carol Hirschfeld?

    • Jesters whip

       /  February 23, 2018

      All I can say is think back to when Carter was in the chair protecting key and national

      • PartisanZ

         /  February 23, 2018

        He did that mostly by “umming and arhhing” didn’t he? When he wasn’t sleeping on the job with his eyes open …

  5. PartisanZ

     /  February 22, 2018

    I would need to know whether this ‘shielding’ is or isn’t already common practice in ‘The House’ before commenting …?

    I suspect it is common practice … but honestly can’t be bothered finding out.

    Just how many of the ‘practices’ in our House of Parliament are worthy of praise? Filibustering? 6000 questions? Play-the-man … ? Deviousness and lies? “Conscience votes”?

    All from so many ‘honourable’ members …

    • Compared to almost any previous speaker Mallard is looking like a partisan stooge. He actively protects Ministers. Its like he’s got grandkids on training wheels. His painful lessons to Minister and explanations on their behalf to the Opposition are quite unparliamentary

      • Gezza

         /  February 22, 2018

        He doesn’t protect them, he keeps them to the rules – of which there are many. If they keep themselves focussed they might actually end up making Question Time function the way it was intended to. He DOES need to educate Ministers (& new MPs) on what they can or can’t do. A lot of them have no idea.

        The fact is that the Opposition can be stymied on a lot of things because so much policy detail has to await the presentation of the Budget. Until then the Government can get away with filling the time up with smug, smartass answers the same way the Key adminstration often did, & National have had to switch to playing the straight faces & pained, humourless whiners.

        National has to work with a lot of rats & mice stuff that’s not really that important at the moment.

      • adamsmith1922

         /  February 22, 2018

        Mallard makes the not lamented Margaret Wilson appear like a bastion of impartiality. Labour’s track record on Speaker appointments is lamentably poor

    • Corky

       /  February 22, 2018

      All grist for the mill, Parti. It would seem the old adage ”you can run, but you can’t hide” has been made redundant by Labour and Mallard.

  6. Zedd

     /  February 22, 2018

    These Ministers have been in their jobs, only a few months & the Natl. attack dogs are already off their leases/Knives sharpened.. Natl were in power for 9 LOOOOONG years… they were at least given a chance to ‘get their feet under the desk’ before they were ‘held to the fire’ !!

    It keeps reminding me of that saying ‘They (Natl) know the cost of everything, but the VALUE of Nothing !’ 😦

    • High Flying Duck

       /  February 22, 2018

      To show so much incompetence so early is quite unusual Zedd.
      National performed very well from day one and had an agenda to actually implement rather than wordy statements of intent followed up with “wide ranging reviews”.

      • Blazer

         /  February 22, 2018

        what biased nonsense…ministers like Parata signalled their incompetence very early in the term.Lotu Liga,McCully,Ngaro….etc,etc=hopeless.

        • Corky

           /  February 22, 2018

          A failed cultural quota scheme by National, Blazer. That’s what happens when you aren’t true to yourself and become Labour Lite.

        • adamsmith1922

           /  February 22, 2018

          Oh, so you object to Maori

        • Corky

           /  February 22, 2018

          No, I object to race over ability, or perceived ability because of race or quota.

      • Zedd

         /  February 22, 2018

        @HFD
        ‘To show so much incompetence so early is quite unusual Zedd’

        oh really.. how do you explain 9 LOOOONG years of incompetence from Natl then ? 😀

    • Get a grip. These people have been in Parlaiment, in the main, for years. There is no excuse for procedural inexperience, simply because most were on the Opposition benches. It is a disgrace.

      • Blazer

         /  February 22, 2018

        I have a grip…looking for a ..grapple..try McCully when it comes to experience…show some restraint…ffs!

      • adamsmith1922

         /  February 22, 2018

        Labour supporters are injected nightly with infusions of Jacinda dust

    • Trevors_elbow

       /  February 22, 2018

      Get a grip.

      Being a shadow minister while in opposition means you should know the key numbers and operational processes and procedures BEFORE winning the treasury benches. You should be prepared. They arent and are obviously short on talent to operate a government…

      Concrete pills on the desk, take one and do the work is the correct response to ministers fluffing their lines constantly

    • adamsmith1922

       /  February 22, 2018

      i am so sorry that you are unwell

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  February 22, 2018

      Poor Oscar Wilde. Now Zedd is misquoting him.

  7. Gezza

     /  February 22, 2018

    I missed the start of the first question on Question Time: The Trevor Show today. Might check out the video, it’ll probably be posted by now. Looks like Winston stood in for the PM. PMs always seem to be absent on Thursdays.

    Willie Jackson came over better today: much more Minister-like performance. He explained why hes was absent, on business yesterday.

    Nick Smith was a constant interjector during Question 8 at today’s QT & eventually, when ordered, got up & gave such two such deliberately sarcastic withdrawals and apologies for the same etiquette breach he lost the Opposition 3 supplementary questions. He had another whinge about that during Question 12.

    I wonder if in fact Speaker Trev IS starting to overdo this punishment, but I can’t tell from the cameras whether this is because the Opposition are misbehaving more off-camera. The Opposition run the risk of losing more if they challenge him on these. He’s less inclined to award the Opposition extra questions when Government members now than when he started this punishment.

    I do thinkthat Trev manages the hour well, on the whole, by keeping people on point. And I thought the previous Speaker Carter was over-biased towards the last Government, who were generally the noisiest barrackers of the assembly back then too, from my observations.

    It’s probably impossible to get a completely unbiased Speaker, although I think Lockwood Smith was very good, & generally well-respected by all parties in The House. But this questions punishment could become a serious bone of contention soon. I’m not sure if members can raise complaints about it in public with the media.

    • Gezza

       /  February 22, 2018

      * para 4 “…when Government members misbehave now…”

    • Gezza

       /  February 22, 2018

      Nick Smith’s caning – view at say, 2:20.

      • Gezza

         /  February 22, 2018

        Had to smile at this bit of that Question 8 session:

        Hon Louise Upston: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. In terms of interjections, I thought it was a practice in this House that every elected member of Parliament had the freedom of expression. I am interested to know if you are creating a new ruling today, based on your comments to the Hon Dr Nick Smith about participation—

        Mr SPEAKER: No, that member will resume her seat. Firstly, she’s trifling with the Chair, and, secondly, I think she should probably have a discussion with the Rt Hon David Carter who has made a very similar ruling. I know because he made it to me!

  8. robertguyton

     /  February 22, 2018

    National are swamping the Speaker with trifles – petty, negative and the actions of sore losers. Trevor Mallard is handling the pettiness with as much aplomb as possible, but he must be thinking, “W***ers”.

    • Gezza

       /  February 22, 2018

      Trev’s obviously listened to the old Zen Yoda, you reckon?

  9. Colin

     /  February 22, 2018

    Melissa Lee has done a great job getting Clare Curran up against the ropes, until Mallard called a halt.

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