Labour, Green MPs block holding Curran to account

The Government that promised more openness and transparency has taken another step backwards, with Labour and Green MPs on the Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee voting against asking Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran to appear before it to clarify unanswered questions about her meeting with ex-RNZ employee Carol Hirschfeld and her communications with RNZ chairman Richard Griffin.

NZH: National members blocked from getting Clare Curran to appear before committee over meeting with RNZ Carol Hirschfeld

National was blocked from asking Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran to appear at a select committee to clear up unanswered questions around her communications with former RNZ executive Carol Hirschfeld, a report says.

The Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee released its report
today on a briefing in which the committee was inadvertently misled by RNZ chairman Richard Griffin and chief executive Paul Thompson about a meeting between Curran and Hirschfeld last December.

A minority report by the five National Party members of the select committee said questions remained unanswered regarding the appropriateness of communications initiated by Curran, with Hirschfeld and Griffin.

Curran’s behaviour was potentially in breach of parliamentary standing orders covering “intimidating, preventing, or hindering a witness from giving evidence, or giving evidence in full, to the House or a committee”, the National members said.

The National members also sought to invite Curran to the committee to give her the opportunity to clear up the unanswered questions.

“Regretfully, this resolution was not supported by other members of the committee, once again leaving the matter unresolved.”

The National members of the committee – chairman Jonathan Young, Andrew Falloon, Paul Goldsmith, Melissa Lee and Parmjeet Parmar – said they felt Parliament itself had been impugned by the inadvertent misleading of the committee by RNZ and actions of the minister.

The MPs who blocked holding Curran to account:

  • Paul Eagle (Labour, Rongotai)
  • Tamati Coffey (Labour, Waiariki)
  • Michael Wood (Labour, Mt Roskill)
  • Deborah Russell (Labour, New Lynn)
  • Gareth Hughes (Greens, list)

Coffey had a surprise win against Maori Party leader Te Ururoa Flavell in last year’s election.

Eagle, Wood and Russell scored fairly safe Labour electorates – Wood got into Parliament in a by-election in 2016 after Phil Goff resigned, while Eagle and Russell are first term MPs. Russell was rated as a good prospect as an MP, but she is putting party before principles here.

Hughes keeps a low profile in Parliament these days – Greens are also supposed to be strong supporters of open and transparent government and of holding the government to account (going by James Shaw’s comments in handing Parliamentary questions over to National) but joining the blocking of holding Curran to account suggests big talk, walk away from responsibilities.

Tn the whole scheme of things this isn’t a big deal, but it leaves a cloud over Curran’s ambitions to significantly boost RNZ, and she is likely to be reminded of this embarrassment whenever she tries to do anything on open government.

The final commitment in the Labour-Green confidence and supply agreement:

20. Strengthen New Zealand’s democracy by increasing public participation, openness, and transparency around official information.

Labour and Greens have weakened democracy through their weasel blocking in the committee.

Newsroom: When ‘open government’ becomes a joke

Curran isn’t just the Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media but the Minster of Government Digital Services and Associate Minister for ACC and Open Government (via a State Services portfolio).

Open Government now becomes something of a joke under Curran at a time when we need it to be the very opposite.

What’s important now is RNZ and the many other initiatives Curran is involved with don’t keep on paying the price for her mistake. Curran’s copybook may well be blotted but she presides over portfolios that are far too important for us to allow that stain to spread.

That was on 2 April. Labour and Green MPs on the committee have spread the stain further.

Most of the public won’t know or care about this festering, but it remains hovering over Curran, and it is a confirmation that Labour and the Greens are in Government more for themselves than for integrity.

Labour hiding details of MP’s past

It’s not just the Greens not being completely open and honest about the past of new MPs. L:abour has deliberately left details out of Tamati Coffey’s profile.

For many New Zealanders, Tamati Coffey is a familiar and friendly face: an award-winning presenter whose work in the broadcasting industry has spanned a decade. Since leaving full-time television in 2013, he has actively pursued a career in politics.

Tamati’s career has taken him all around New Zealand, and had him engaging with communities right across the country. It’s partly through this work that he has seen the inequality in our society — the wealthy have become more wealthy, while those with much less are holding down 40-hour jobs on minimum wages and having to resort to food banks to feed their families.

His involvement in politics has been spurred on by a concern that our people are currently not being provided with the basics: decent housing, decent wages and jobs, and support for those who need it. Tamati believes Government has the ability to change lives for the better, and wants to make sure those decisions are made by people with their hearts in the right place.

“Since leaving full-time television in 2013, he has actively pursued a career in politics” is hiding the fact that Coffey is currently on television.

See Viewer tells Tamati Coffey stop speaking Māori but TV boss ignoring the ‘rednecks’ – are Labour deliberately fudging the fact that Coffey speaks Maori?

What else are they trying to hide?

Two Maori seats appear to be safe

There had been reports that Te Ururoa Flavell was being run very close by Labour’s Tamati Coffey in Waiariki, but a Maori television/Reid Research poll suggests otherwise.

  • Te Ururoa Flavell (Maori Party) 60.1%
  • Tamati Coffey (Labour) 39.9%

It was a small sample size of 400 but that looks to be a comfortable lead. If Flavell wins this the Maori Party will be safely back into Parliament.

And Nanaia Mahuta is even more comfortable in Hauraki-Waikato:

  • Nanaia Mahuta (Labour) 78%
  • Rahui Papa (Maori Party) 22%

The Maori King’s backing of the Maori Party doesn’t seem to have made any difference there.

But both polls were had small sample sizes of 400 and were conducted from 11 July to 3 September, an unusually long polling period.

Both polls included party support but over such a period makes them of dubious value now.

http://www.maoritelevision.com/news/regional/flavell-runs-polls

http://www.maoritelevision.com/news/regional/house-mahuta-rules-polls

 

 

Waiariki electorate ‘internal Labour Party survey”

Without seeing details of claimed party internal polls it’s difficult to know how much weight should be given them, but caution should certainly be exercised.

Newshub:  Labour poll suggests it’s game-on in Waiariki

It obviously suits Labour to suggest it’s ‘game on’ in the Waiariki electorate. Labour have selectively leaked internal polls when it suits them, but most of their polls remain under cover.

The Hui has obtained the results of an internal Labour Party survey of Waiariki which is currently held by Māori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell, and the numbers make interesting reading.

Candidate vote

Which of the following candidates would you vote for as your local MP?

  • Māori Party candidate Te Ururoa Flavell – 31.6 percent
  • Labour candidate Tamati Coffey – 30.1 percent
  • Another candidate – 21.0 percent
  • Unsure – 17.3 percent

Not having any other candidates or parties named may distort the result.

Party vote

Which of the following would you cast your party vote for?

  • National – 13.4 percent
  • Labour – 19.4 percent
  • The Greens – 12.1 percent
  • NZ First – 25.7 percent
  • The Māori Party – 18.9 percent
  • Another Party – 4.4 percent
  • Unsure – 6.1 percent

The survey was conducted between July 19 and July 22, and has a margin of error of 3.6 percent.

A margin of error of 3.6% suggests a sample size of around 750, but that would only be correct if 750 people in the Waiariki electorate were polled, and Waiariki wasn’t a subset of the poll.

In the 2014 election the electorate vote:

  • Te Ururoa Flavell (Maori Party 9,726 – 44.62%
  • Rawhiri Waititi (Labour) 5,837 – 26.78%
  • Annette Sykes (Mana Party) 5,482 – 25.15%

Party vote:

  • Labour 8,595 – 38.7%
  • Maori Party 8,595 – 21.79%
  • NZ First 2,801 – 12.51%
  • Internet Mana 2,524 – 11.27%
  • Greens 1,787 – 7.98%
  • National 1,120 – 5.00%

Backward politics

I don’t know if this is part of the official Labour Party feud with the Maori Party, or one Labour candidate being nasty. Tamati Coffey:

CoffeyBackward

Coffey is Labour’s candidate for the Maori electorate Waiariki this year:

About

My name is Tamati Coffey and I am the Labour Candidate for Waiariki electorate in 2017. Authorised by Andrew Kirton, 160 Willis St, Wellington.

I don’t know of Kirton authorised his backward swipe at his opponent via that same Facebook account.

Coffey will be standing against Te Ururoa Flavell in Waiariki, who won against a different Labour candidate by 3,889 votes in 2014, with Mana’s Annette Sykes a close third about 350 votes back.

Mana won’t stand this year in an agreement with the Maori party so Coffey will have to do something extraordinary this year to stand a chance. Playing the backward card is unlikely to help his chances in the electorate. It will be interesting to see what sort of list position Labour give him – reward or not.