Ministers versus Bishop

Two Ministers outed the constituent work of Chris Biship, National MP for Hut South, in Parliament today.

From 5. Question No. 5—Health:

Hon Chris Hipkins: Were the two women who tested positive for COVID-19 this week released from quarantine following personal representations advocating their early release from quarantine by National MP Chris Bishop?

Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: I am aware of that. Obviously, there have been representations made for compassionate leave from members of Parliament. I think people need to be very careful because these are sensitive matters, necessarily—[Interruption]

SPEAKER: Order! Order! Sorry, I’m going to hear the rest of this answer in silence. It’s a very serious allegation that’s been made here, and I want to hear the answer.

Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: Yes, I am aware of that, and I just would ask members to be careful around these situations. On the one hand, people have been requiring or requesting that people be let go early out of these situations. On the other hand, we’ve seen the risks that that presents to New Zealanders and the team of 5 million and their efforts so far.

Hon Michael Woodhouse: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I’d like you to reflect on your commentary about the question from the Hon Chris Hipkins as being a “serious allegation”. It kind of injects the Speaker into the question time in a way that a value judgment of that question might not stand scrutiny. Mr Bishop’s advocacy for those people did not infer that an unsafe process should be followed, and the fact that you have, effectively, commented on the fact that it’s a “serious allegation” is probably unhelpful—it’s certainly unhelpful.

SPEAKER: Well, if—sorry, I should have said it’s a serious matter and not a serious allegation, and I’m not absolutely certain that the member’s point of order has diminished it. But I will reflect on that.

Stuff:  Claims in Parliament National MP lobbied for leave for sisters who have Covid-19

NZ Herald: Two women let out after National MP lobbied for release

Both headlines look misleading, it doesn’t appear to have been lobbying.

And the Herald headline may be even more misleading. There is no indication that the women were “let out” as a result of what Bishop did.

Bishop has responded:

Some responses (from neutral and left leaners):

I wonder what the Prime Minister thinks of this happening while she wasn’t in Parliament.