Contrasting comments on Hipkins

Contrasting comments on the involvement of Chris Hipkins in citizenship in relation to Australian politics.

David Farrar at Kiwiblog:  Labour causes rift with Australia

This is a huge blunder by Hipkins, who used his special position in the NZ Parliament to try and help Australian Labor topple the Australian Government.

But what is a big thing is for an MP of one country’s Parliament to use their role to help the parliamentary party of another country’s Parliament. And that is what Chris Hipkins did by asking these two written questions (12)on behalf of Bill Shorten.

It would have been obvious to Hipkins that Australian Labor wanted this information to bring down a Government MP. He may not have known it was the Deputy Prime Minister but he would have known why Australian Labor was asking, and also be aware the Australian Government has a one seat majority in the House of Representatives and so the loss of even one seat could bring down the Government.

Here’s why Hipkins involvement was important, even though there had been media inquiries also. There is no deadline for DIA to respond to inquiries by foreign journalists. Even if it was a NZ journalist asking, they could take up to four weeks to answer under the OIA.

But by having Hipkins ask a parliamentary question, the Minister is obliged to answer within five working days or one week. So Hipkins was able to get Australian Labor the information as much as three weeks earlier.

Make no mistake this has caused huge anger within the Australian Government. Helping the Opposition to try and bring down the Deputy Prime Minister will mean very frosty relations if Labour forms a Government in New Zealand.

Mickysavage at The Standard:  Strewth Cobbah

You would think that New Zealand Labour was in possession of nuclear tipped medium range missiles and had threatened to let off a few into the sea near Tasmania just to make sure they worked.

Such has been the overwhelming response from Australia’s right about Labour’s Chris Hipkins asking Peter Dunne twosimple questions:

Are children born in Australia to parents who are New Zealand citizens automatically citizens of New Zealand; if not, what process do they need to follow in order to become New Zealand citizens?

Would a child born in Australia to a New Zealand father automatically have New Zealand citizenship?

And these were simple written questions to get bits of information, not significant oral questions where the opposition tries to embarrass the Government.  There have been over 7,000 of them this year.

You do not have to be a media genius to conclude that the tip off to Gartrell may have come from within the ranks of Australia Labor.  But to think that New Zealand Labour and Hipkins were responsible for what happened requires multiple levels of stupidity.

Their basic problem is that the media was already onto the issue well before Hipkins asked his questions…Hipkins had nothing to do with it.

Australian media may have beaten him to it, but Hipkins still got involved in some  questionable digging after talking to a mate working for an ALP senator.

I guess the right in Australia and in New Zealand are fearful of losing power and are lashing out in an attempt to damage their opponents.  But it is clear to me that on both sides of the Tasman the clock is ticking for the right.

So far Ardern seems to have handled things well, but she has made it clear she doesn’t approve of Hipkins getting involved.

The clock could be ticking for Hipkins.

Just now on RNZ – Ardern “refused a request” to be interviewed this morning, and Hipkins isn’t answering calls.

Hipkins’ ALP colluder has worked for NZ Labour

More details on the Australian Senator’s chief of staff named as the person who colluded with Chris Hipkins over citizenship questions – he was a New Zealander who has worked in Parliament here for Helen Clark, Michael Cullen and Phil Goff.

NZH: Citizenship saga: Man who spoke to Hipkins is a Kiwi

A former staffer for former Prime Minister Helen Clark and Finance Minister Michael Cullen was the Australian Labor Party staffer who spoke to Labour MP Chris Hipkins, prompting questions by Hipkins about citizenship in Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported Marcus Ganley, Australian Senator Penny Wong’s chief of staff, was the Australian Labor Party staffer who had spoken to Hipkins – a conversation Hipkins said prompted him to ask questions of Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne on the legal citizenship status of an Australian born to a New Zealand father.

Ganley was an adviser to former PM Clark and former Finance Minister Cullen during the Labour Government until 2008. He then advised Phil Goff as Opposition Leader.

Hipkins worked as a policy adviser to Trevor Mallard and Helen Clark prior to becoming an MP in 2008, initially under Clark’s and then Goff’s leadership.

In a written statement, Wong said a staff member in her office had “informal discussions with New Zealand friends about domestic political issues, including the section 44 debate.”

She said the questions Hipkins asked were not asked on behalf of Australian Labor.

“At no point did [Ganley] make any request to raise the issue of dual citizenship in Parliament, a fact confirmed today by Hipkins and the New Zealand Labour Leader.”

So, prompted by Ganley, Hipkins did some digging on citizenship here, supposedly  having no idea about the interest in Barnaby Joyce’s citizenship status.

Was it general dirt digging by two individuals independent of their parties? If so they have both seriously embarrassed their parties, and raises questions about the way they operate.

Julie Bishop, the Australian Foreign Minister, has said she would find it difficult to work with NZ Labour, prompting a strong response from Ardern.

Hipkins is currently the sixth ranked Labour MP, he is 7th on the party list for this election, and is Labour’s Shadow Leader of the House.

Senator’s chief of staff colluded with Hipkins

The chief of staff of Australian Senator Penny Wong has been named as the ALP staffer who contacted NZ Labour MP Chris Hipkins about citizenship.

SMH: Penny Wong’s chief of staff sparked NZ Labour’s questioning of Barnaby Joyce

Fairfax Media can reveal Senator Wong’s chief of staff Marcus Ganley – who is himself from New Zealand – was the ALP staffer that asked New Zealand Labour MP Chris Hipkins about the issue last week.

Mr Hipkins then asked a number of questions about citizenship in the New Zealand Parliament, however the questions did not explicitly mention Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce. Mr Joyce this week confirmed he was a dual national, which could disqualify him from Parliament.

Senator Wong confirmed the intervention after her office was contacted by Fairfax Media on Tuesday.

“A staff member in my office had informal discussions with New Zealand friends about domestic political issues, including the section 44 debate,” Senator Wong confirmed.

“At no point did he make any request to raise the issue of dual citizenship in Parliament, a fact confirmed today by Mr Hipkins and the New Zealand Labour leader.”

So Hipkins did it without being asked? Why would he take that initiative on his own?

Hipkins claims not to have known what was behind the discussions with Wong’s chief of staff.

She said she and her staff had no knowledge that any questions had even been asked until after the story broke on Monday.

“New Zealand Minister Peter Dunne has since confirmed it was questions by Fairfax journalists, and not the question on notice, which led to the outing of Mr Joyce as a New Zealand citizen,” Senator Wong said.

“For the Turnbull government to then turn this into a diplomatic incident to try to distract attention from the failings of the Deputy Prime Minister is both reckless, and damaging.”

This is very messy across the ditch, with both the Government and ALP looking suspect.

And it doesn’t look flash here for Hipkins, and by association at lest for NZ Labour. Ardern has done well to front foot it and look assertive, and she has distanced herself from Hipkins.

If this gets messier here the distance between Hipkins and Parliament could grow rapidly.