Mallard to go list only

Trevor Mallard has announced he won’t stand in the Hutt South electorate next year, where he has been MP since 1993.

RNZ: Trevor Mallard won’t stand again for Hutt South

He will instead seek a place on the Labour list and said he had been given the nod from party leader Andrew Little that should Labour win the election he would be nominated for the position of Speaker of the House.

If Labour+Greens get to form the next Government and if Greens support Mallard becoming speaker and potentially if NZ First support Mallard becoming speaker.

Mr Mallard said it was up to Labour’s moderating committee to decide on list placements ahead of next year’s election.

This could be quite a risk for Mallard unless Labour improves it’s support. Last election Andrew Little only just squeaked back into Parliament via the list.

If Mallard gets back in on the list but doesn’t become speaker what will he do then? Mark time on the back bench.

Mr Mallard said his decision not to stand again in Hutt South had nothing to do with National’s Chris Bishop working hard to make some ground in the electorate.

“We’ve polled in Hutt South and I’m not convinced that Chris Bishop has made any more traction there than any other MP,” said Mr Mallard.

“In fact the local results very much parallel the national results with the significant increase for Labour since the election.”

Labour got 25% in the last election. They got 25.5% in the latest Roy Morgan poll and I didn’t see much questioning of this. They have polled in the twenties up to the low thirties since the election.

Bishop came within 709 votes of Mallard in Hutt South last election, down from 4825 in 2011. Mallard got a considerably higher vote (43.48%) than Labour (27.84%).

Bishop continues to work hard in the electorate. He recently opened an electorate office.

Mallard has put Labour into an awkward position.  He will continue to represent the electorate until the next election, so Labour’s new candidate will have to try and build a profile in his shadow.

However if Labour loses Hutt South it may give Mallard more chance of making it in via the list.

Has anyone positioned themselves solely to become the Speaker before?

Stuff earlier this month: Could ‘the everywhere man’ Chris Bishop win Hutt South off Mallard?

Evidence of outcomes on Whānau Ora

Parliament can often be seen as a morass of mundicity punctuated by gross grandstanding and bursts of bull.

But occasionally it can be entertaining. Like question 11 on Thursday. It had some typical nit-picky points of order from Trevor Mallard and Winston Peters but the latter ended up being quietly outsmarted by Te Ururoa Flavell.

This interchange has an unexpected family twist in it’s tail. (Thanks for pointing this out Gezza).

Whānau Ora—Evidence of Outcomes

11. DARROCH BALL (NZ First) to the Minister for Whānau Ora: What evidence, if any, does he have that Whānau Ora is making any meaningful impact for Māori whatsoever other than anecdotal evidence and conversations he has had?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL (Minister for Whānau Ora): Actually, it is good to go and meet with the people who are actually benefiting from Whānau Ora, but I can advise the House that the evidence comes from at least 10 publicly available reports that all speak of the benefits and the outcomes achieved by the Whānau Ora approach. In phase one of Whānau Ora at least 9,400 whānau received whānau-centred services until June 2014. Since Whānau Ora commissioning agencies have been established, Whānau Ora commissioning agencies reporting on engagement and achievement as at March 2016 show that over 8,500 whānau have been supported through Whānau Ora in all sorts of ways, such as health outcomes, financial literacy, education, and economic security. There is plenty out there. I would table it, but I know that is against the Standing Orders.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. It has become clear that there is a misunderstanding of the Standing Orders. The Minister can, of course, table any paper that he wants, at any stage—he is a Minister. Even if it is a public document, any Minister can table it. In fact, many of the documents Ministers do table are public. They do not require the consent of the House the way other members do.

Mr SPEAKER: And if the member seeks the leave, I have a discretion.

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I have got a list of 12 of those reports. I am happy to read all of them out in order to achieve—

Mr SPEAKER: No. No, I want the point of order.

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: The point of order is: I wish to table these documents.

Mr SPEAKER: Are they publicly available?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: They are publicly available.

Mr SPEAKER: Then I am not going to put that leave.

Darroch Ball: Why has he not commissioned or released one single independent report or economic analysis on Whānau Ora since July 2014, instead of relying upon anecdotal evidence to measure progress and outputs?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: I will start by saying that a number of reports have been commissioned and are available publicly. Let us start with the Productivity Commission. I will quote the Productivity Commission, which said in its report: “The Commission finds that Whānau Ora shows much promise to tackle long-standing issues for improving Māori wellbeing. Its kaupapa Māori approach is especially important to Māori wellbeing. It has many of the characteristics required for a devolved model to promote integrated services for families with multiple, complex needs and aspirations.” I have got another one—Office of the Auditor-General. I have got Ministry of Health—I have got them all.

Joanne Hayes: What announcements has the Minister made recently to support the economic outcomes for Māori?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: I have more good news. Whānau Ora is committed to empowering whānau to achieve—one of its goals is better economic outcomes. Today, along with my colleague the Hon Peter Goldsmith, I was pleased to announce the allocation of $900,000—

Hon Members: Ha, ha! Paul!

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: Sorry, Mr Speaker. Sorry, Paul.

Mr SPEAKER: Carry on, quickly.

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Firstly, I offer my apologies to my colleague Paul Goldsmith.

Mr SPEAKER: That is not a point of order. [Interruption] That is not a point of order. Now quickly bring the answer to a conclusion.

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: I am just pleased to announce $900,000 to improve the financial capability—

Rt Hon Winston Peters: How much?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: —amongst Māori. It is more than you have got, Mr Peters, for Māori communities—$900,000 more.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Point of order on two grounds: first of all, he cannot bring you into the debate; the second thing is I got $239 million—not like he got.

Mr SPEAKER: I am not interested in the second part of the—[Interruption] Order! I am not interested in the second part of the point of order, and for the first part I refer the member to Speaker’s ruling 31/3. If I am brought into the debate—and often it is accidental—I will intervene if I need to. It is my determination, not the Rt Hon Winston Peters’.

Darroch Ball: I seek leave to table a document that has been obtained through the Official Information Act and is dated 13 August 2015. The source is Te Puni Kōkiri (TPK), and it states there are no independent reports or economic analysis commissioned by TPK.

Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that particular document. Is there any objection? There is none. It can be tabled.

Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.

Darroch Ball: What evidence has he presented to the Minister of Finance for Whānau Ora funding when the Government’s social investment approach demands measurable data and measurable outcomes before continuing to spend taxpayers’ money?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: The Minister of Finance is available on the Whānau Ora Partnership Group and receives all of the reports from commissioning agencies on a quarterly basis. He receives those reports. Secondly, all of the reports from commissioning agencies are available online on the website and are public documents. Anyone can read them and there is plenty of evidence out there.

Joanne Hayes: How does the announcement support the Government’s national strategy on financial capability?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: Last year the Government signalled that improving the financial well-being of all New Zealanders was a priority. The upscaling of these pioneering Māori pilot programmes reinforces our ongoing commitment to this goal. We know that the Government needs to provide three things in order to steer people away from getting trapped in the cycle of debt and poor financial decisions. The three things are effective legislation, proper enforcement, and improved education. This will certainly contribute to that.

Darroch Ball: When is going to realise that Whānau Ora is a complete waste of taxpayers’ money while it is not working for ordinary Māori when, for example, the number of homeless Māori in Auckland has increased by 10 percent this year alone, more than half of all homeless—

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. With respect, next week is Māori Language Week. My ears are little bit sore with “Maari”—I would ask the member to pronounce it properly as Māori.

Mr SPEAKER: The Minister is starting to trifle with the Chamber. The question is a provocative question, it is likely to get a provocative answer, but it has been asked.

Darroch Ball: I have not finished my question.

Mr SPEAKER: Well, the member better hurry up and finish it. To be fair to the member, I invite him to start the question again as he has now lost his continuity.

Darroch Ball: When is he going to realise that Whānau Ora is a complete waste of taxpayer money while it is not working for ordinary Māori when, for example, the number of homeless Māori in Auckland has increased by 10 percent in this year alone, more than half of all homeless in Wellington are Māori, and 40 percent of those of all those on social housing waiting lists are Māori—

Mr SPEAKER: The question is too long.

Darroch Ball: —and Māori youth—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The question has been asked.

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: I will help the member. On reflection, I have a quote from a chief executive officer of at least one Whānau Ora provider from Northland who told the media in 2015: “Whānau Ora has made a substantive and positive difference to the way we are able to work with and align services”—

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. This Minister was asked “when is he”. It was not asked whether he could go somewhere else and seek refuge. It asked him for a personal answer, and he is not giving it.

Mr SPEAKER: The question, effectively, was “When is the Minister going to realise it is a complete waste of money?”. That gives a very wide ambit for the Minister to then answer the question. Members may not like the answer they are getting; I suggest they reconsider the type of questions they ask. The Hon Te Uruora Flavell—bring the answer to a conclusion.

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: Firstly, I say again I reject that allegation in the first instance. Secondly, I say again—

Darroch Ball: Where’s the evidence?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: I will give you the evidence right now—from somebody involved in Whānau Ora. It is the chief executive officer of Whānau Ora, and they said: “Whānau Ora has made a substantive and positive difference to the way we are able to work with and align services to meet the needs of the people,” That person was Lynette Stewart, the Rt Hon Winston Peters’ sister.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I am just waiting until I can hear it in silence because I am sure it is going to be interesting.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Every family has a member who loses their way.

Mr SPEAKER: And some families have more than others.

Joanne Hayes: What further reports has he had in relation to Whānau Ora’s success in Northland?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL: I have pretty much given the evidence. As the honourable member just said, there is evidence around, and the evidence is the statement I just gave to the House—that the Rt Hon Winston Peters’ sister was a chief executive officer of a provider of Whānau Ora.


Mallard versus Smith again

Trevor Mallard as Assistant Speaker has clashed with Nick Smith in Parliament before, with Smith being sent from the House – see Trevor Mallard versus Nick Smith.

There was a curious wee exchange between the two of them last night in Parliament, where Mallard ordered Smith to leave the House, but then changed his mind and said that Smith could come back..Mallard may have erred.

This happened when Labour housing spokesperson Phil Twyford was speaking on the introduction of Andrew Little’s Healthy Homes bill and Smith interjected.

PHIL TWYFORD (Labour—Te Atatū): … Andrew Little’s bill will require under the standards that will be promulgated under regulations a modern, affordable, and fixed heating source. The other deficiency in Nick Smith’s bill, which Andrew Little’s bill fixed, is that it will mandate legislation standards to the state of the modern building code. Nick Smith’s bill will allow houses that are retrofitted, that are already insulated to the 1978 standard, which is this standard—

Hon Dr Nick Smith: That’s a lie.

PHIL TWYFORD:—Nick Smith’s bill will allow hundreds of—

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Hon Trevor Mallard): Order! The member will resume his seat. Nick Smith will stand, withdraw, and apologise.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I stand, withdraw, and apologise.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Hon Trevor Mallard): The member will now leave the House. It is the second time. He knows how to withdraw properly. He will leave the House.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Sorry, what did I do wrong?

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Hon Trevor Mallard): The member knows he makes no further comment, and he did.

The video shows no sign of Smith saying anything other than “I stand, withdraw, and apologise.”

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I apologise.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Hon Trevor Mallard): Dr Smith, just come back. If it was a genuine mistake on your part and you give me that assurance, the member may stay.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I genuinely apologise.

It seems to have been a mistake on Mallard’s part. That may be why he changed his mind and allowed Smith to return.

This exchange begins at about 3:10 in this video:

Prior to this while Smith was giving his speech on the bill:

Hon Dr NICK SMITH: …That means the very first home to get insulated under this bill would be July 2018, and last home to get insulated would not be until July 2023. That compares—

Andrew Little: You’re making it up.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH: Read the bill. Read your own bill, because the Government’s approach provides that social housing must be insulated by 1 July this year, and all homes that are rented by 1 July 2019.

The Assistant Speaker didn’t intervene on “you’re making it up”, but accusing members of lying is generally regarded as going too far in Parliament. Smith will be well aware of this.

But it appears that Mallard may have got it wrong here.

Media ignore Mallard tweet

On Wednesday during Question Time in Parliament Trevor Mallard sent a tweet that accused John Key of being involved in tax evasion.

This is a serious accusation by an MP who is deputy speaker and aspires to be Speaker should Labour get back into power (and their coalition partners agree).

Whale Oil posted on the tweet yesterday:

Disgusting defamatory smear on John Key via Twitter from Trevor Mallard

Yesterday at 2:34pm Trevor Mallard made a tweet that didn’t just accuse John Key of being associated with tax evasion, it actually stated he was involved.

I have a screenshot, but the tweet has since been deleted, and I’m not going to repeat what it said.

However a link purportedly showing the deleted text was posted in a comment showing that it had been public for about two hours.

Suffice to say it was highly defamatory and you would think that an Assistant Speaker of the House would know better than to use Twitter from inside the house to defame the Prime Minister.

But deleting the text doesn’t make the defamation any less.

It appears that the tweet said “John Key deep in tax evasion” – something that is widely implicated and stated around social media, without foundation.

It doesn’t take much to find examples, recently from The Standard in comments associated with Key’s deposit with company specialising in foreign trusts


Crooked Key


The world of Wall St. high finance is the world of tax evasion. I think Key is up to his eyeballs in trouble and fighting desperately to keep from drowning.

This sort of comment are common, but coming from an MP is another matter.

It is obviously an unacceptable tweet from an MP while in Parliament, and is not one that can be supported by any evidence that I’m aware of.

Slater is justified in calling it dirty politics, despite some irony in him complaining about others using smears in politics. Slater and Mallard have feuded for years.

David Farrar also posted on this at Kiwiblog – Mallard defames Key.

Mallard has since deleted the tweet, which basically said John Key is involved in tax evasion.

Now what makes this worse is Trevor Mallard is an Assistant Speaker of the House of Representatives. He is Labour’s nominee to be Speaker. His behaviour is incompatible with being an officer of the House. Smearing and defaming the Prime Minister on Twitter (and during question time) does not make people think you can preside fairly over the House.

Mallard needs to decide – does he want to be Assistant Speaker, or does he want to be Labour’s Attack Dog? You can’t be both.

As for Mallard’s smear. Well they’ve been trying the same line for almost ten years now and it hasn’t worked. You think they would come up with a new strategy, but it seems they can’t.

This week some of the media prominently launched into ‘news’ that promoted a ‘perception’ problem for John Key over trusts and lawyers even though there was nothing that pointed to any actual impropriety.

But they seem to have ignored the deputy speaker sending a smear tweet while Parliament was sitting.

Is this because Mallard is not taken seriously any more?

Or is it because stories promoted by Slater and Farrar via their blogs are now shunned by media after the Dirty Politics disclosures?

Or did it not fit with their anti-Key messages that have been prevalent this week?

Or a mixture of all of the above?

One thing is for sure – political news can be very selective, and topical targets can get hammered disproportionately while others get away with large dollops of dirt dishing.

Perhaps Mallard’s tweet will be dealt with appropriately through Parliament’s Privileges Committee.

The Greens promote themselves as having integrity and have long pushed for better behaviour in Parliament – should they rule out supporting Mallard as a candidate for Speaker should they get joint power with Labour?

John Banks reinstated as JP

John Banks relinquished his position as Justice of the Peace when in 2012 he was charged with filing a false electoral return during his Auckland mayoral campaign in 2010, involving donations from Kim Dotcom.

Banks was found guilty but won an appeal that overturned the conviction after he produced new evidence from two American businessmen that contradicted claims made by Dotcom and his wife Mona.

Banks has now been reinstated as a Justice of the Peace. NZ Herald:

Banks takes up Justice of the Peace hat again

“This is just another step in putting a lot of wrongs right after a long, time-wasting and particularly nasty judicial jihad that should have never happened”.

He said he had been a JP for about 14 years and enjoyed the “bread and butter” but important role of certifying documents and swearing affidavits.

I don’t see any problem with Banks being a JP, I don’t doubt his integrity in this regard.

Questions will still be asked about his campaign integrity. Was he lax, or did he knowingly turn a blind eye in signing his electoral return?

Local body candidates are in a much more difficult situation regarding donations as they don’t have party structures to deal with donations at supposed arms length from the candidates. They have to somehow find ways of financing their campaigns but aren’t supposed to know specific donor details while being responsible for signing their returns.

I’m sure Banks was far from the only candidate to have problems dealing with donations. David Cunliffe was embarrassed by his use of a trust for donations when he stood for the labour leadership.

What makes Banks case different in particular is that there seems to have been an attempt by Dotcom to damage Banks, with claims of utu being involved after Dotcom and Banks fell out.

Trevor Mallard was involved, initially laying a complaint against Banks which led to Dotcom’s claims, and Mallard made a further complaint after this came out.

The National Government held a slim majority and Banks had been targeted by the opposition as a means of embarrassing or even bringing down the Government. Dotcom went on the try and defeat the Government in the 2014 election by starting up the Internet Party and pouring a large amount of money into the campaign.

In comparison to all of this Banks being lax or careless with his electoral return in a campaign that he lost seems far less of a democratic issue than what Dotcom and Mallard did.

Would Mallard have the integrity required of a JP? Perhaps now he might, but he has a history of dabbling in dirty politics of a kind far worse in a democracy than a disputed electoral return procedure.

I wouldn’t have any problem using Banks as a JP.

Collins – police and Gay Pride

Judith Collins walked with police during Saturday’s Gay Pride parade in Auckland.

So thrilled to be supporting & Dept of Corrections in today’s


NZ Herald reports that Judith Collins criticised for walking in Auckland Pride Parade

A spokeswoman for Ms Collins said the police had invited her to take part a month ago “in support of their ‘theme of diversity of people and roles in police’.”

“She was pleased that she was able to attend and was very happy to support police in the parade.”

Ms Collins went with the police rather than fellow National MPs Nikki Kaye and Chris Bishop and a National Party float featuring a rainbow of balloons.

During the parade, Ms Collins tweeted photos of herself arm in arm with two officers, writing: “so proud to be supporting @nzpolice and Dept of Corrections in today’s #PrideParade.” She also tweeted a photo of a line of police along the side of the parade holding back protesters, one of whom was carrying a sign that said “**** the police”.

Some weren’t happy the police took part.

The protesters were objecting to the police taking part in the parade, claiming alleged ill treatment of transgender inmates. They held up the parade by about an hour.

They may have some valid grievances about how transgender inmates are treated but disrupting a parade and everyone involved in it seems to be ill-judged.

This follows protests directed at John Key in the Big Gay Out last week. If it becomes a trend it is a concern – should participants in any event be vetted in case a minority doesn’t weant them to take part?

Trevor Mallard thought it was ok for the Police and Corrections to take part.

Mr Mallard said he understood the protesters felt marginalised but it was good Police, Defence and Corrections now took part in the parade. “I think it’s a sign of enormous progress that it’s okay for police to march. I don’t agree with the people who were protesting.”

But he protested about Collins marching with them.

Labour has criticised Police Minister Judith Collins for marching with police at the Pride Parade, saying it was “clear politicisation and totally inappropriate”.

Labour MP Trevor Mallard made the comment on Twitter after Ms Collins took part in the police contingent at the march. He later told NZME that while it was good the police took part in the parade, having the minister with them went “beyond the boundaries of what’s appropriate”.

“She’s not a police officer and constabulary independence is something that is very important. I think it was poor judgment to be part of a police march. It’s a matter of perception as well as fact, and being part of a public march as part of a police team undermines that.”

Andrew Little added to this criticism.

“It was totally inappropriate for her to be there as part of the police contingent. The police department is a special department which is constitutionally independent of the Government of the day and she should not have been anywhere near serving police officers, even in an event such as the Pride Parade.”

“It reflects poorly on Judith Collins who should have known her constitutional obligation to remain independent of the police. It is not an excuse that she got an invitation — she is not a newcomer to Cabinet and I think the New Zealand public are entitled to expect the highest standards of constitutional propriety from her.”

Perhaps there is some Ministerial convention that frowns on Collins’ participation but I fail to see what the problem is here. It seems to be another case of Labour picking lame and probably counter-productive battles.

Nikki Kaye tweeted from the parade:

Feb 19
With Louisa Wall at LGBTI Love ain’t political❤️


So some MPs from opposing parties were able to join in the camaraderie of the event. Kaye and Wall worked together on the marriage equality bill.

But Kaye also expressed disappointment with the criticisms:

Pretty gutted with labour on this one. As ministers we attend events all the time to support the agencies we are responsible for.

has no bearing on their operational independence. Championing diversity&creating change takes leadership-it’s great she marched


Police + Justice system have different arrangements. As a Minister you should not only understand but stand up for what is right

And Kaye replied:

not disputing different arrangements..just don’t agree that a minister marching for human rights compromises independence

It seems that Politic Egos have interfered with Gay Pride.

Mallard had marched and been photographed with placards recognising his support of the Homosexual Reform Bill thirty years ago.


Good on him for that.

Why couldn’t he let the Police, Corrections and Collins celebrate the normalising of common sexual preferences?

Edgeler gets support for racist law reform

Graeme Edgeler has posted New Zealand’s most racist law at Public Address, in which he details a ridiculous and racist law, and proposes a way of fixing it. And he seems to achieved his current goal of getting it into the members’ bull ballot.

One person can potentially make a difference at a supposedly politically dead time of year.

Edgeler first does some groundwork, discussing members bills and how to be effective using them.

There a lot a reasons to advance a members bill. From opposition, it can be a good to force an issue onto the agenda, sometimes hoping to get the law changed, but other times, knowing you don’t have the numbers, but wanting to force the government to make an unpopular decision.

Getting a law right is hard. Even the professionals stuff it up (and not all that infrequently). If an MP wants to actually pass a good law from the back benches (or from the opposition), they’re well advised to make it a simple one (or be really really careful!).

He then proposes a good use for a members bill.

I’ve got a simple idea. We should repeal New Zealand’s most racist law.

Sections 30-36 of the Maori Community Development Act 1962(originally the Maori Welfare Act) are laughably offensive.

Early last year there was a rash of instances of tourists having their car keys taken off them by people who had decided they were unsafe to drive. It stopped after a few instances, with police (and even the Prime Minister) warning against it.

What few of the people quite rightly objecting to the mild vigilantism probably realised is that the law actually specifically provides for circumstances when people can have their car keys taken away from them.

If the driver is Māori.

Or if the driver is non-Māori, but is in charge of a vehicle near a meeting place, or a lawful gathering of Māori.

It is also illegal to serve alcohol at a gathering of Māori. A Māori Committee can grant a licence to serve alcohol at a gathering of Māori, but only if that gathering is not for the purposes of a dance.

Māori wardens are empowered to enter hotels and to order quarrelsome Māori to leave.

This reads like it comes from one of those lists of ridiculous laws that are still in force, when New Zealand usually seems to be represented by a claim that it’s illegal to fly with a rooster in a hot air balloon (which I’m pretty sure isn’t true).

But it’s worse than a ridiculous law. It’s a racist law.

It has no place in New Zealand. It should never have been the law. And it certainly shouldn’t be law now.

There are a bunch of MPs who do not currently have a bill in the members’ ballot. Well, here’s an idea for you: propose the repeal of sections 30-36 of the Maori Community Development Act. I’ve evendrafted a bill for whichever MP wants to take this up.

And he seems to have had some success.

New Zealand has criminal offences applying only to Māori. New post: New Zealand’s most racist law…

If no one else has taken it I will.

A couple of other MPs have expressed general support, but none have said they’ll adopt it, so it’s there for the taking.

Great. Done.

That’s only initial success, it is still to get into the ballot and then would need to be drawn to get considered by Parliament, but it’s admirable to get this far at a time of the year when politics is generally regarded as on holiday.

One person can potentially make a difference in New Zealand politics, if they do suitable research and preparation, pick battles that can be won and pick a good time to promote their cause.

If Edgeler’s bill does get drawn from the ballot and considered by Parliament it should have a good chance of success.

And not surprisingly the Maori Party backs call to change ‘racist’ law:

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell agreed the legislation was outdated.

“The circumstances in which it was written was back in the 1960s and the circumstances at the time were far and away different from what we experience now. I think the former minister recognised that, as did the Maori Affairs select committee, we believed it was about time to have a review and attempted to take out the parts that could be dealt with.”

Mr Flavell said a 2014 Waitangi Tribunal review of the law found parts of it needed amendment, and he had been discussing how to go about that with the government and Māori authorities.


Trevor Mallard versus Nick Smith

Trevor Mallard as Deputy Speaker ejected Nick Smith from Parliament today, then recalled him to withdraw and apologise, then rejected him again.

Some journalist reports on Twitter:

Nick Smith ordered back to the house after saying on his way out of the house “unfit to ever be speaker”

Nick Smith issue resolved. He’s been back to the chamber, withdrawn and apologised for comment alleging bias on part of the deputy speaker.

From Parliament:

Minister Ejected During ACC Debate

by Editor on Tuesday, September 22, 2015 — 4:53 PM

The unusual event of a minister being ejected from the House while in the chair took place during the committee stage of the Accident Compensation (Financial Responsibility and Transparency) Amendment Bill this afternoon.

During debate on Part Two of the bill there was a strained interchange between Assistant Speaker Trevor Mallard and Nick Smith. Mr Mallard took exception to something Dr Smith said (probably for not addressing Part Two of the Bill in his speech) and Dr Smith took exception to this. As he was ejected from the House Dr Smith said Mr Mallard was not to fit to hold the office.

Eventually Dr Smith was recalled to the House and made to withdraw and then ejected again.

Video of the events as they unfolded:

Draft transcript:

Part 2 Repeal of provisions relating to residual levies

Speech – Hon Dr NICK SMITH (Minister for the Environment)

Hon Dr NICK SMITH (Minister for the Environment): Part 2 of this bill is about Parliament bringing forward the date on which the residual levy, which is paid by thousands of businesses around New Zealand, can be brought to an end such that ACC levy payers are having to pay only for the costs of the accidents that occur in a particular year. That is something that this Parliament should celebrate: after over 30 years of the ACC scheme, in this year and the next—this financial year—for the first time ACC will be fully solvent and fully funded. That is something we members of the National team are very, very proud of. I must respond to claims around where this residual levy has come from.

The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Trevor Mallard): Order!

Hon Dr NICK SMITH: Oh, look, Mr Chairman!

The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Trevor Mallard): The member will stand and apologise.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH: For saying what? I apologise for saying “Mr Chairman”.

The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Trevor Mallard): The member will now stand, withdraw, and apologise without reservation, or he will leave the Chamber.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH: I unreservedly apologise.

Part 2 Repeal of provisions relating to residual levies

Speech – Hon Dr NICK SMITH (Minister for the Environment)

The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Trevor Mallard): Dr Nick Smith will leave the Chamber.

Hon Dr Nick Smith withdrew from the Chamber.SMITH, Hon Dr NICK

The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Trevor Mallard): Dr Nick Smith will take a seat now. I am sorry. Minister Foss cannot take the seat, because he cannot take it while Dr Nick Smith is here. The Serjeant-at-Arms will find Dr Nick Smith and ask him to return to the Chamber, please. What I am going to do is I am going to ask Mr Foss to take the Chair until such time as Dr Smith can be found. I make it clear to those in the Government whips’ chair that if he is not found within the next half an hour, I will proceed with the measures that I am minded to do in any case.

There was a delay while Smith was found. Then:

The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Trevor Mallard): Order! I will just ask the member to resume his seat while we deal with this matter.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I raise a point of order, Mr Chairperson. I understand that you seek my apology, and you have it.

The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Trevor Mallard): What I would like you to do now is withdraw and apologise for the comment that you made as you left the Chamber, indicating bias on the part of the Chairperson. The member will do it properly. He knows how to do it.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I withdraw and apologise.

The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Trevor Mallard): The member will now leave the Chamber.

How would Mallard know what people want?

In a column at Stuff Trevor Mallard talks as if he knows “what we want”, but he doesn’t even seem to know what he wants, apart from dissing an opponent.

Trevor Mallard: Flag issue about PM’s ego, not what Kiwis want

When it comes to a brand spanking new flag, I started the parliamentary process with an open mind.

I don’t remember that bit. He must have closed his mind quite quickly.

The time for change will come I thought. But the middle of the commemoration of World War 1 is not the time.

if you don’t want something to happen you can think of many reasons why now isn’t a good time.

John Key has written that seeing the silver fern at the Bledisloe Cup  game confirmed to him that New Zealand needs a new flag. I watched that game, too.

But something else occurred to me looking around the packed stadium of 50,000 people: you would need three stadia that size to hold all the people who are out of work under National.

That’s why so many New Zealanders are angry about Mr Key’s flag project. There are a lot of serious issues facing New Zealand but the Prime Minister is fiddling about with the flag like he has nothing else to do.

This multi stadia vision of Mallard’s must be quite new. When he was in the Labour Cabinet his responsibilities included Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for the America’s Cup and later Associate Minister of Finance. Financie and sporting events must have been a different priority then.

There are 148,000 people unemployed in New Zealand right now, up 50,000 under National. There are 305,000 kids in poverty, up 45,000 under National. Net Government debt is at a record level, up by $58 billion under National. Homeownership is at its lowest level in 60 years.

$26m wouldn’t solve those problems, but it could make a start. Instead, Mr Key is flushing it away on a referendum that Kiwis have clearly said they don’t want.

Mr Key wrote “in a sense, the people have already spoken”.

He’s right: Kiwis have spoken. In every forum and in the media, the public opposition to a new flag and the referendum is overwhelming. The fact that fewer than 700 people showed up to the Flag Commission’s multi-million dollar roadshow speaks volumes.

The polls are stark – 70% of us don’t want change. Just 25% do.

That’s just one poll, so it’s very misleading quoting that. There are thirteen polls cited here, with a range of results. The three option polls show minorities against change in all three polls conducted last year.

The vast majority of over ten thousand flag design submissions were serious suggestions, suggesting significant interest from Kiwis.

It’s as plain as day that the second referendum will vote to keep the current flag.

It’s as plain as day that Mallard doesn’t know what he is talking about – or is deliberately promoting false impressions.

It’s impossible for anyone to know what the result of the second referendum will be.

The point of a flag referendum is to ask the people if they want change. The clear answer is that they don’t.  Not only do New Zealanders not want change, they don’t want $26m of taxpayers’ money spent on a vote.

No, the point of the two referendums is to ask if people want change. Grumpy old politicians opposing change under a Prime Minister they don’t want given any credit gives far from a clear answer.

John Key wrote that he believes now is the time for us as New Zealanders to have the national discussion around changing the flag.

I disagree. This is all for a vanity project in John Key’s name. We should all remember the word vanity comes from the Latin root Vanus which meant empty.

I began this process with an open mind. My mind is now made up. Now is not the time to change the flag. It wasn’t at the start of the process. It certainly is not now, no matter how many times the Prime Minister tries to convince us it is.

Mallard’s mind was obviously made up a long time ago. He has been campaiging against the referendums and against flag change for yonks.

Mallard announced that Labour would oppose change in March – see Loony Labour line on flag questions – despite change still published Labour Party policy.

But his and Labour’s opposition to flag change the Key way goes back into last year:

Petition 2014/0006 of Hon Trevor Mallard
During our consideration of this bill we also heard evidence on Petition 2014/0006 of Hon Trevor Mallard, requesting

That the House note that 30,366 people have signed an online petition calling for the Government to include a question in the first flag referendum asking New Zealanders if they want a change of flag or not.

The petition, along with other submissions, supported the inclusion of an initial “yes/no” question immediately before the proposed four alternative flag designs to be ranked in the first referendum. The petitioner argues that this referendum structure would allow participants to consider the alternative flag designs to help them decide whether or not they want to change the flag. If a majority voted against changing the flag, then the current New Zealand flag would be kept. The petitioner argued that this structure could save money as it might negate the need for a second referendum.

If the majority voted to change the flag, under the petition’s proposal the second referendum would be a run-off between the current flag and the highest-ranked alternative.

The majority of us recognise that if this procedure were followed, many of those who voted against changing the flag would probably not proceed to rank alternative flags, and therefore not contribute to selecting the preferred alternative. We note that the 2011 referendum on the voting system used a similar structure, and more than 50 percent of voters who voted to keep MMP in Part A did not go on to vote for a preference in Part B.

The majority of us note that the petitioner’s proposed referendum structure was considered by Ministry of Justice officials in preparing the Regulatory Impact Statement on the bill. The option was not among the top four for achieving the goal of a legitimate and enduring electoral outcome. There are a variety of reasons for this. For example, for a change of flag to occur, a majority of voters would have to vote twice for change, both in the first and second referendum; whereas those opposed to change could prevail at either referendum. The majority of us believe that the petitioner’s proposed structure would bias the referendum in favour of the status quo. A further reason against the proposal is that placing a first-past-the-post vote on whether or not the flag should be changed alongside a preferential vote as to the design of a possible new flag would cause complexity and thus confusion for voters. We note that the petitioner argued against this assumption.

Some submitters argued that adding an initial “yes/no” question into the first referendum would save money. However, the advice from the Electoral Commission is that not proceeding with the second referendum would produce only very limited cost savings. Net savings would be $2.27 million (given sunk costs already incurred and additional costs).

The majority of us therefore recommend no change to the referendum structure.

So Mallard is misrepresenting the cost – the first referendum with or without his amendment would incur most of the cost.

New Zealand Labour Party minority view

We stand strongly opposed to this bill.

While we question whether there is a genuine appetite for a debate around the flag, this has not been the primary reason for our opposition. Rather, it is the structure of the referendum that we object to.

And when they didn’t get the structure changed (which would have been against expert advice) Mallard and Labour switched to total opposition.

The most consistent argument against this proposed referendum structure was that it would be too complex for voters—we consider this argument to be an insult to the intelligence of the New Zealand population.


Labour wanted to make it more complex.

Mallard seems to have forgoten about this “most consistent argument” now a simple alternative choice in the first referendum and a simple new versus old i the second.

Mallard’s changing arguments are an insult to the intelligence of the New Zealand population

How can he know what Kiwis want when he doesn’t seem to know what he wants, except to oppose key’s flag initiative? Petty politics at it’s worst.

Flag Referendums Bill passed

The New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill passed it’s third reading in Parliament yesterday. Radio NZ reports:

Parliament passes law to change flag

Legislation clearing the way for referenda on changing the nation’s flag has passed its third and final reading in Parliament.

The bill was passed by 63 votes to 59 with the support of National, United Future, ACT and the Maori Party.

The first part of the referendum is expected to be held later this year, when voters will pick their favourite of four proposed flag designs.

As we know the process to seek and select alternate flag designs is well under way, with the top forty designs now chosen.

I find it odd that the legislation enabling this has only just passed. There has already been considerable effort and expenditure.

It was interesting to watch the twelve speeches in Parliament on this Bill.

Government speakers promoted the process, but more notably Opposition speakers spoke against the flag change process but didn’t look convinced by their own arguments, especially Trevor Mallard, Grant Robertson and Russel Norman.

Bill English (National):

This Bill will give New Zealanders the opportunity for the first time ever to vote on the flag that represents them and their country.

Trevor Mallard (Labour):

I’m an old fashioned Parliamentarian and I think the role of the Prime Minister is to stand up in this Parliament and to state his views.I waited through the first reading of this legislation. I waited through the second reading of this legislation. I waited through the committee stages for John Key to get on his feet and to give his views.

He went on to complain about the lack of Key’s contribution to the debate – but kept calling it Key’s ‘vanity project’. There’s not only a contradiction on that, there’s also a huge contradiction in Mallard’s and Labour’s pro-change but anti this change stance.

And Andrew Little did not appear to speak on Labour’s contradictory stance.

Alfred Ngaro (National):

It’s disappointing to see that a member…to see that he’s come to a point where he knows and he’s agreed, in fact at select committee he agrees with the changing of the flag. He told us that. It’s in Hansard.

He said that changing the flag is the right thing to do, yet today in this house, to the open public of New Zealand he’s only opposing it out of spite.

Grant Robertson (Labour):

I’m one of the members of the Labour party who thinks that there is a place for a new flag for New Zealand.

But I’m equally a member of the New Zealand public who’s angry with John Key for turning a process…I, along with a lot of other New Zealanders am angry with John Key that a discussion about this, a discussion about out national identity, has become a vanity project for him, and there’s absolutely no doubt that that’s what’s happened.

Ironically as Mr Mallard says, the vanity doesn’t extend to coming to parliament to actually talk about the flag change.

They are trying to argue two opposites at the same time, Unconvincingly.

Labour are intent on trying to depict it as a John key vanity project – but Robertson did not look or sound angry. His argument sounded contrived and insincere.

Russel Norman:

This Bill is of course a classic form over substance Bill. So the form of course is actual pattern on the flag…so it’s really about some people saying they want to change the pattern.

But a flag, the reason why the pattern matters is that it actually refers to a deeper substance, and the deeper substance that it refers to is the constitutional arrangements of the country, ah that’s the thing that really matters.

Norman gave a subdued fairly passionless speech. He wanted to change much more than the flag – he wants to change the constitution along with it.

However the Greens have also campaigned against the flag change as not the right time to put any resources into changing anything while there are ‘more pressing matters’. To be consistent they would not want constitutional changes to be addressed until there are zero hungry children and zero damp houses in New Zealand. That’s never.

Marama Fox (Maori Party):

I think this is an important discussion, and it’s important because I absolutely agree with a lot of the objections about why we’re doing this, but actually I absolutely agree that I’d like to see a change in the flag, and I’d like to see a change in the flag because I’d like to see something that does symbolise our duality of nationhood.

Should we be spending this amount of money on doing it? I’d like to think not.

Should we have put a constitutional change first before we put a flag change in? Absolutely agree with that.

Constitutional change would be much more complex, would take much longer and would be much more expensive than the flag change process.

The Maori Party voted for the Bill.

Links to the all the speeches:

New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 1 Bill English
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 2 Trevor Mallard
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 3 Alfred Ngaro
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 4 Grant Robertson
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 5 Jacqui Dean
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 6 Kennedy Graham
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 8 Jono Naylor
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 9 Russel Norman
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 10 Marama Fox
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 11 Chris Bishop
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 12 Jenny Salesa
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 13 Nanaia Mahuta
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 14 Joanne Hayes, Lindsay Tisch, Tim Macindoe