Nick Smith named and suspended from Parliament for “grossly disorderly conduct”

National MP Nick Smith was ‘named’ and suspended from Parliament today.

Another MP, Michael Woodhouse, had already been told to leave the Chamber.

Question No. 12—Police

12. Hon Dr NICK SMITH (National—Nelson) to the Minister of Police: Does he stand by all his statements, policies, and actions?

Hon STUART NASH (Minister of Police): Yes.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Does he stand by his statement to TVNZ on roadside drug-testing last December, in response to the Matthew Dow tragedy in Nelson, in which he said—and I quote—”There’s a discussion document that has been approved by Cabinet that’s going to go out to the public early next year”.

Hon STUART NASH: First of all, let me say that if a person is impaired by drugs or alcohol they should not be driving. It is against the law. We are looking at a new strategy to improve road safety during 2019. An immediate $100 million increase of funding was made to improve road safety when we took office. However, more announcements will be made shortly.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. My question was whether he stood by an important statement.

SPEAKER: The member very clearly got a “no” out of that. Carry on.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I certainly didn’t hear a “no”. I heard a comment on the issue. I heard nothing about—look, he said Cabinet had approved something.

SPEAKER: Order! Order!

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Did Cabinet, last year, approve a discussion paper on enabling police to do roadside drug testing? If not, why did he tell TVNZ and the people of New Zealand that it had approved such a discussion paper?

Hon STUART NASH: That member’s been around long enough to know that we don’t discuss what goes on in Cabinet in the House.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Point of order, Mr Speaker.

SPEAKER: No, no. I don’t need it. The member had a straight question, and it was a very clear question. It related to a direct quote from him. We had already commented that a paper had been approved by Cabinet. I’m sort of taking Dr Nick Smith’s word that the quote is accurate, and it’d be pretty serious if it’s not, but, taking that at face value, he cannot say on television that Cabinet approved something and then say that it’s not his role to say so in this House.

Hon STUART NASH: What I can say is I do not recall saying that, but what I will say is work is undergoing in this area.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Will the Minister apologise to the mother of Matthew Dow, who would’ve turned 25 today if not killed by a reckless drug-driver, given that he misled her in saying that Cabinet had approved a discussion document and that it was to be released earlier this year?

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. With the greatest respect, this is certainly no way to treat human tragedy in the way it’s being played out politically in this House, and we, on this side of this House, seriously object. We don’t diminish, in any way—

Hon Michael Woodhouse: Is the question out of order or not?

Rt Hon Winston Peters: —the harm or the hurt that the family might have felt, but this is not the way for this Parliament to behave, surely.

SPEAKER: First of all, I want to deal with the person who interjected during that point of order. Who was that?

Hon Michael Woodhouse: That would probably have been me, Mr Speaker.

SPEAKER: The member will leave the Chamber.

Hon Michael Woodhouse withdrew from the Chamber.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Point of order, Mr Speaker.

SPEAKER: No. I’m contemplating dealing with this point of order. This is a very serious matter. It involves the death of a loved one. I think many of us are concerned at the approach that is being taken in the House now, but in my opinion it is a matter of, at the moment, judgment of good taste and good taste rather than a matter, at the moment, of order. So if Dr Smith wants to restate his question with that proviso—the clear indication from me that there’s a question of taste and appropriateness involved here—but he is a very senior member, and, obviously, the public will make their judgment on it.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. You have rightly noted this is a serious matter. A key part of that is the accuracy of the quote, and I accept that—

SPEAKER: Order! The member has been invited to ask his supplementary question again, as he did previously before he was interrupted by the Deputy Prime Minister. No one has doubted his word as far as the accuracy of that quote is concerned. All we’ve had is the Minister saying that he can’t recall saying it.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Will the Minister apologise to the Dow family and to the people of New Zealand for his false statement, and I quote, “There’s a discussion document that’s been approved by Cabinet that’s going to go out to the public early next year” when that was untrue?

Hon STUART NASH: I have absolute sympathy for the Dow family, and your loss—I cannot imagine it. I will not apologise for something I have absolutely no responsibility for. For every family that has lost someone on our roads because there is a drink- or drug-driver, I have absolute sympathy. What I can say is work is going on in this area, though. Another thing I would say is Mr Scott brought a member’s bill to the House last year. I sat down with him and I tried to work with him on this, because we felt that the scope of his bill was too narrow. We asked to work with him. He refused to do that, so this Government undertook to address this in a way that actually addressed the issue.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Supplementary.

SPEAKER: No. The member’s run out of supplementaries.

POINTS OF ORDER

Land Transport (Roadside Drug Testing) Amendment Bill—Leave to Set Down as First Members’ Order of the Day

Hon Dr NICK SMITH (National—Nelson): I seek leave of the House for the Land Transport (Roadside Drug Testing) Amendment Bill to be set down as the first members’ order of the day on the next members’ day on 22 May.

SPEAKER: Leave is not going to be granted for that.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH (National—Nelson): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. You need to put the leave.

SPEAKER: Well, I’ve made it absolutely clear that I won’t grant leave for it.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Oh, you’re opposed to helping getting drug-drivers off the road as well?

SPEAKER: I have made it absolutely clear that I am very unhappy with the member and his approach—

Hon Dr Nick Smith: For standing up for my constituents?

SPEAKER: The member will leave the House.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Soft on drugs like the Government.

SPEAKER: Order! Right, no—come back, please. The member will resume his seat.

NAMING SUSPENSION OF MEMBER

SPEAKER: I’m invoking Standing Order 86. I name Nick Smith for grossly disorderly conduct.

Hon Nikki Kaye: Point of order, Mr Speaker.

SPEAKER: No. There is no point of order at this point.

The question now is, That Nick Smith be suspended from the service of the House.

A party vote was called for on the question, That Nick Smith be suspended from the service of the House.

Ayes 63

New Zealand Labour 46; New Zealand First 9; Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand 8.

Noes 56

New Zealand National 55; Ross.

Question agreed to.

Hon Dr Nick Smith withdrew from the Chamber.

The Points of Order, Naming and vote start at 7:00 minutes into the video:

Following that:

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE (National—Ilam): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I wonder in what close proximity to today’s most recent events we might see the release of the Debbie Francis report into parliamentary bullying.

SPEAKER: If the member would care to come either to the Business Committee or the Parliamentary Service Commission, as he is entitled to, he will find out.

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE (National—Ilam): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Would the Speaker be prepared to take a late submission to that report?

SPEAKER: No.


@GraemeEdgeler

During a term of Parliament, the first time an MP is suspended from the service of the House, it lasts 24 hours. While suspended an MP may not enter the Chamber, vote (incl as part of a whip-cast party vote), serve on a committee, or lodge questions or notices of motion.

A second suspension is for 7 full days. A third and any subsequent suspension is for 28 full days.

Each day a member is suspended means a deduction of 0.2% of their salary. I am not sure if this means 0.2% or 0.4% for Nick Smith.

This will be the first time (in some time at least) that an MP has had salary deducted for being suspended. MPs used to be under the impression that being suspended meant they lost their salary, but this never actually happened, because the Civil List Act didn’t allow for it.

It took me two submissions – first on the Standing Orders Review in 2011 and then on the new Members of Parliament (Remuneration and Services) Bill to get to oversight remedied, but the law now provides for salary deductions for suspended MPs.

 

 

 

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31 Comments

  1. Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  8th May 2019

      The Speaker is so obviously biassed that he should be sacked. Stuart Nash did not give a straight answer at all.

      There would be a real case for the Speaker not to be a former MP. This one is taking shameless advantage of his position.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  8th May 2019

        After years of Nationals biased speaker Carter , you suddenly care about bias?

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  8th May 2019

          I think that people would remember if he’d been like the current speaker. I doubt if he ever exercised the same level of favouritism.

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  8th May 2019

            Yes he did. Key especially, after years of Lockwood Smith, wanted his poodle in the chair.
            Did you not read the previous story about Mallard punishing the government ministers over questions asked and inadequate answers. It’s not uncommon.
            Never never happened with Carter.. (St bedes alumnus).

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  9th May 2019

              The PM doesn’t have the power to appoint the speaker, surely. That would be asking for trouble.

  2. Zedd

     /  8th May 2019

    methinks Dr Smith needs to be following Key, English & other Nats, who are ‘passed their useby date’.. post 9 looooooooooong years 😀

    Reply
  3. Gerrit

     /  8th May 2019

    I think that National is setting themselves up to take a position on the cannabis referendum. They are painting CoL into a corner through Nash and Genter reluctance to address at least the impaired driver issue. The speaker has not done the CoL any favours by kicking Smith out over this matter.

    That position being that unless the government address two areas of concern regarding cannabis decriminalisation they will not recommend a yes vote.

    One;- what impairment measurement standards and methods to test for drug impairment for drivers on the roads that will enable legal measures to prosecute offenders.

    Two;- what measurement standards and methods to test for drug impairment for workers in the work place that will enable legal measures to sack repeat offenders.

    Basically how to measure stonedness and at what level is there an impairment that is unacceptable on the roads or the work place.

    If cannabis use were to be legalised an employer needs, under worksafe legislation, to be able to test for a level of drug impairment and have some legal protection to admonish the employer. Hence the need for the state to provide impairment level guidelines and qualified testing regimes that will stand up in a court of law.

    So the Col have some homework to do.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  8th May 2019

      9 years of government and didn’t seem interested in roadside drug testing..in reality the road toll peaked back up again after many years of mostly decline….many reasons…but one would have been the drop by one third of the numbers of roadside breath tests taken by the police after Transport minister Bridges redirected the money to RONS.
      Ahh the hypocrisy of Smith is breathtaking

      Reply
    • Griff.

       /  9th May 2019

      Hello
      We already have testing for drug impaired driving.

      The Land Transport Act 1998(external link) gives Police powers to deal with the problem of people driving under the influence of drugs.

      The drug driving provisions of the Land Transport Act 1998 came into force on 1 November 2009 (through the Land Transport Amendment Act 2009(external link)).

      The Amendment Act also reformed the law regulating the registration and licensing of motor vehicles. These changes came into force on 1 May 2011. Information on these changes is available on the NZ Transport Agency website(external link). Information is also available on the Ministry website about ongoing access to the Motor Vehicle Register.
      What is the Land Transport Act offence for drug impaired drivers?

      It is an offence to drive while impaired and with evidence in the bloodstream of a qualifying drug. The presence of a qualifying drug alone is not sufficient for an offence; there must first be impairment as demonstrated by unsatisfactory performance of the compulsory impairment test.

      This law complements drivers’ duty to be mentally and physically fit when they drive a motor vehicle on public roads – this includes not being impaired by alcohol or drugs.

      There is also an offence of driving or attempting to drive while under the influence of drink or drugs to the extent of being incapable of proper control of a motor vehicle. Police have the option of charging the person with this offence, if there is sufficient supporting evidence.
      What substances are looked for in the blood test?

      Police can test for the presence of qualifying drugs if a driver fails a compulsory impairment test.

      https://www.transport.govt.nz/legislation/acts/qasdrugimpaireddrivinglaw/
      As to working
      Drug testing is already a part of employment contracts .
      In occupations like truck driving and forestry random resting is an industry norm due to insurance companys linking it to coverage . https://nz.pfolsen.com/market-info-news/wood-matters/2012/april/drug-and-alcohol-programmes-making-forestry-work-sites-safer/

      AS THIS IS BOTH COMMON KNOWLEDGE AND BEEN POINTED OUT TO YOU ONE MUST ASK DO YOU HAVE ISSUES WITH PROCESSING REALITY?

      Reply
      • Gerrit

         /  9th May 2019

        Get exited when someone yells at me. Sends pleasurable goosebumps down my arms and a erotic tingle up and down my spine. Sort of like a verbal lashing with a riding crop.

        Read my post again and take from it its intention.

        Your quote “This law complements drivers’ duty to be mentally and physically fit when they drive a motor vehicle on public roads – this includes not being impaired by alcohol or drugs.”

        The argument I make is that with legal cannabis, the law needs to set an acceptable level of impairment for a prosecution to stand up in court (like we have with alcohol). A good lawyer will argue that without a guideline the question of levels of impairment are open to interpretation.

        With cannabis illegal, even the smallest quantity in the bloodstream would, in the court of law, have deemed the person impaired.

        Same goes for the workplace. What level of impairment is acceptable for the bus driver?

        My understanding is that the benign parts of cannabis stay in the blood stream for weeks after ingestion. What other tests will be legally certified and able to stand up to scrutiny in a legal court?

        Reply
        • Griff.

           /  9th May 2019

          The argument I make is that with legal cannabis, the law needs to set an acceptable level of impairment for a prosecution to stand up in court (like we have with alcohol). A good lawyer will argue that without a guideline the question of levels of impairment are open to interpretation.

          As pointed out restrictions on drug impeded driving is already in law.
          The existing process has resulted in many prosecutions though the courts so the question of will the process stand up legally has been answered.

          Same goes for the workplace. What level of impairment is acceptable for the bus driver?

          My understanding is that the benign parts of cannabis stay in the blood stream for weeks after ingestion. What other tests will be legally certified and able to stand up to scrutiny in a legal court?

          Ditto.
          Losing your job due to failing a drug test has been happening for years.
          The process already stands up in court providing the employer has a well written employment contract and keep to the procedures the contract has.

          In neither case is the legality or otherwise of a drug a factor in the effectiveness of the processes or even relevant.

          I yell In an effort to get the objective reality of our present laws into your head.
          Doesn’t seem to work.
          If you go over to KB and read the threads on cannabis you will find DG has confirmed both and if he is there will give you further confirmation.

          Failing that I can not see how any one on line can help your issues with the comprehension of reality. You may be advised to seek professional help.

          Reply
          • Gerrit

             /  9th May 2019

            Thanks for your concern about my mental health and concepts of reality. you have no need to worry. My reality is not artificially altered.

            https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/93567858/what-legalising-cannabis-might-do-to-the-workplace

            “When rubbish truck driver Gary McLeod failed a random drug test, he was fired.

            But despite the positive test result for cannabis, the Christchurch man denied taking any – suggesting instead he might have passively inhaled at a party the weekend before.

            McLeod, who said he was a recreational user, was ultimately awarded $32,300 by the Employment Relations Authority after it ruled he was unjustifiably dismissed by Envirowaste because there was no proof he had taken drugs or was under the influence at work.”

            Expect a lot more of these cases when no guidelines for impairment levels are set.

            Reply
            • Griff.

               /  9th May 2019

              ROFL.
              Sorry you are talking crap and taking MSM story’s at face value mate .
              It has already been specified by precedent that for instance Air New Zealand can random test and sack you for failing a test for drugs.
              Read above carfull were I said you must fully comply with your process as laid out in your employment contact.
              The company lost the case because they did not do so.
              https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/308727/man-fired-over-cannabis-test-gets-$32k-payout

              A major waste company must pay more than $32,000 to a truck driver it fired for failing a drug test because it did not follow its own procedures.

              The measurable effects of cannabis use wear off totally in less then 4 hours from doing so .
              Drug testing for cannabis like many company do it is a rort like the meth testing in housing was. Testing is being driven by the testing company’s and is lacking in support by science..They should be testing for impairment not use as it is not your employers business what you do in your own time providing it does not effect them.
              As it means such employers find it a lot harder to get and keep good employees the market will sort it out if and when the drug becomes legal .

  4. oldlaker

     /  8th May 2019

    It has been suggested that Nick Smith, who is strongly opposed to the End of Life Choice Bill, is trying to delay its second reading. It’s a common tactic, as outlined in this excellent article http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/the-house/audio/2018693123/filibustering-for-jesus-slowing-end-of-life-choice
    “Member’s Bills get roughly 5 ½ hours of debate a fortnight (every other Wednesday when the House is sitting). So if you tactically delay debate by a day you delay it by at least a fortnight.”

    Reply
  5. John

     /  8th May 2019

    It seems from watching Parliament TV and reading Hansards that Nick Smith started playing a cheap political point scoring exercise with the memory of the Matthew Dow, and allowed his emotions to get the better of him. It was his last chip at the Speaker after he had been kicked out that was the defining moment, something that Smith can not be surprised about. He brought the entire thing on himself.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  8th May 2019

      Smith has been at this sort of game before……raising constituents issues for him to blatantly disregard normal conventions. Even when two judges convicted him for a case of witness tampering involving a family court case, Smith and his Catholic school buddies like Brownlee went after the Solicitor General who referred him to the court for his breach.
      It’s no surprise the transcript above includes other names such as Woodhouse and Brownlee, the usual suspects when the churchs interests are involved

      Reply
    • While I think it highlights a sometimes dysfunctional relationship between the Speaker and National – with faults on both sides – I agree that Smith took it too far when sent out of the chamber.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  8th May 2019

        Smith has complained that the speaker should have put the leave he requested to the House for decision by the members & shouldn’t have refused to put it as he did. I’m not sure how this works. From memory, members are usually asked is there objection? If there is objection from any member leave is refused. There would have been objection & it wouldn’t have been put. So I’m interested now in whether the Speaker can refuse to even ask the House if there is objection.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  9th May 2019

          members bills go in the ballot , no leave of the house required, just notify the Clerk

          Standing Orders say
          “273 Private bills
          Before a private bill is introduced it must be endorsed as complying
          with the Standing Orders as provided in Appendix C.”

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  9th May 2019

            Oh. I took it from Nick Smith’s leave request it had already been selected from a ballot, & he was asking for priority.

            Reply
          • Gezza

             /  9th May 2019

            This must be what Smith was trying to do:

            “Introduction by leave of the House

            The other method of introducing member’s bills is to seek leave of the House to do so. If there are no objections then the bill can be placed on the Order Paper. While this process is attempted fairly often, [26] it is usually done in order to draw attention to a member’s bill rather than in the expectation that it will be successful. The most recent example of a member’s bill being introduced in this manner was in August 2015, when David Seymour sought leave for his bill, the Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Rugby World Cup 2015 Extended Trading Hours) Amendment Bill, to be introduced and set down as members’ order of the day No. 1.

            No objections were raised and so this was done. [27] Prior to this the most recent successful introduction of a bill in this manner was in June 2008. [28] ”

            https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/research-papers/document/00PLLawRP2017011/members-bills

            Reply
            • Duker

               /  9th May 2019

              I presume the previous bills had been through the vetting required while Smiths had not ( there seems to be a government? bill in the System about roadside testing of Oral fluids ( which means saliva testing for drugs ) Not sure why Smith needs to have his own special new law.

              Smith was asking for ‘priority’ because its was part of the ongoing filibustering against Seymours end of life Bill.
              Very good summary about the methods in RNZ link from oldlaker
              A current minor local bill about the water supply in Gore which currently has priority over EOL will be subject to a ‘talkfest’ from Smith and his colleagues the Catholic mafia

  6. Gezza

     /  8th May 2019

    Nick Smith is correct. Bizarre that Stuart Nash is claiming he doesn’t recall saying this:

    Monday 31 December 2018
    The government says work underway to develop roadside drug testing may supersede the objective of a petition launched in Nelson today.

    The petition was launched by a Christchurch couple whose son Matthew was killed near Nelson last New Year’s Eve by a driver found to have been high on methamphetamine.

    The petition is backed by Nelson MP Nick Smith and seeks the urgent introduction of roadside drug testing of drivers.

    Police minister Stuart Nash said a discussion document on the topic had already been approved by Cabinet, and would go out for consultation early in 2019.

    https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/rnz/new-driver-drug-testing-works-minister
    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/379285/new-driver-drug-testing-in-the-works-minister
    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/family-christchurch-man-killed-drug-driver-launches-petition-calling-roadside-tests
    … … … …
    From that Herald article:

    “Suspended: Nick Smith hits back at ‘bully’ Speaker after getting the boot

    … Karen Dow, the dead man’s mother, interjected from the public gallery after Nash said he could not discuss what went on in cabinet. She said she was that child’s mother and she saw Mr Nash making that statement on national television.

    Outside the House, Smith said he was gob-smacked at what had happened.
He was incensed that Mallard had refused to put leave on his bill.
    “I’ve been in Parliament for nearly 30 years. It’s for the Speaker to put it to the House to make a decision to object to that Bill being introduced, not for him to override it.””

    What a mess, but it looks like Smith may have engineered it?

    Reply
  7. Ms Dow told First Up she was disappointed by Mr Nash’s “lack of memory”.

    Ms Dow said she had felt encouraged by Mr Nash’s earlier indication that the Government was working on the issue.

    “For that to be basically retracted is insulting, really.”

    She said she was also concerned by the way the Speaker “shut things down” and felt that he was biased.

    “My understanding is [he’s] supposed to be impartial, a bit like a judge in a court.”

    Ms Dow said Mr Nash needed to “man up” and stand by what he said.

    “If you made the comment in error, when things hadn’t been formalised, admit your mistake and apologise to New Zealand.

    “Not just to me, Mr Nash, because I took your word as a man of integrity, a man representing New Zealand Police, representing Kiwi voters – and we just want transparency.”

    Reply
    • Griff.

       /  9th May 2019

      It is another ” think of the children” emotional appeal.
      Such methods to force laws result in knee jerk reactions resulting in bad laws.

      On the question is cannabis impaired driving a major problem?
      Many studies have come to the conclusion that it is not an issue unless you are either obviously extremely stoned or combine cannabis use with alcohol.
      We already have a procedure for the police to rate a persons impairment and methinks to test for the presence of drugs.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  9th May 2019

        If you are “extremely stoned” it IS a problem. You can easily get distracted by your own thoughts or by something happening that you focus for too long on instead of the road. If you’re a regular light user it might not be so bad as you may pay even more attention to what’s going on when you’re driving, knowing you need to. However I think Ms Dow’s son was killed by someone high on meth?

        Reply
      • Gerrit

         /  9th May 2019

        “Many studies have come to the conclusion that it is not an issue unless you are either obviously extremely stoned or combine cannabis use with alcohol.
        We already have a procedure for the police to rate a persons impairment and methinks to test for the presence of drugs.”

        Yet you rubbished my premise that some legally measurable level of impairment be set. Police may have a procedure to rate and test for drug impairment, but those procedures don’t stand up in a court of law as there are no defined limits. Police cannot prosecute like they can with measurable levels of blood alcohol and present those findings before
        the courts.

        ………………………………………

        “Why doesn’t the law state a maximum legal level of drug such as exists for alcohol?

        It is not necessary to specify a maximum legal driving limit for drugs: the driver will be shown to be impaired or not impaired by the outcome of the impairment test.

        Setting a maximum legal limit for drivers using a controlled drug would be at odds with the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 which states that the use of certain controlled drugs (eg cannabis and methamphetamine) is illegal at any level. “.

        https://www.transport.govt.nz/legislation/acts/qasdrugimpaireddrivinglaw/

        Once cannabis comes out from under the control of the Drugs Act 1975, it will no longer be illegal so no longer covered by the act. Law changes will be required to cover levels of impairment (used to be zero under the Drugs Act 1975).

        Reply
  8. Reply
  1. Drug driver testing consultation by Government | Your NZ
  2. Drug driver testing consultation by Government | Your NZ

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