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Democracy needs straight answers to straight questions

Written By: - Date published: 10:57 am, March 21st, 2013 - 49 comments
Categories: accountability, clayton cosgrove, democracy under attack, Parliament, russel norman, Steven Joyce - Tags:

The current Speaker in the House, David Carter, is a disaster.  Yesterday was beyond a joke as he let the government get away with avoiding providing serious answers to important questions.  It began with a question that had been diverted from the PM to the Minister for State Owned Enterprises.  It was a question to John Key about criteria he had stated in the past.

1. DAVID SHEARER (Leader of the Opposition) to the Minister for State Owned Enterprises: Has the Government met the five criteria the Prime Minister laid out for proceeding with asset sales?

Hon TONY RYALL (Minister for State Owned Enterprises) : Yes. In particular, one criterion was that New Zealand investors would be at the front of the queue and that we would need to be confident of widespread and substantial New Zealand share ownership. At 10 o’clock this morning the number of New Zealanders who had pre-registered their interest in Mighty River Power went over 400,000.

David Shearer: When the Prime Minister said that the third criterion would be that companies would need to present good investment opportunities for investors, with which international investors had the Prime Minister had discussions that have yet to be made public?

Hon TONY RYALL: In respect of that answer, of course I am not able to tell them exactly to whom the Prime Minister has spoken, nor am I able to comment on the nature of the investment at this time.

David Shearer: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. This just illustrates the inability of the Government to be able to answer a question from the Opposition.

Mr SPEAKER: The Minister addressed the question. He said he was unable to relate a conversation—[Interruption] Does the member have further supplementary questions?

Then, with question 2, Russel Norman and Clayton Cosgrove asked questions that were not answered by Steven Joyce.  Joyce used a lot of smoke screen words to divert from answering the question:

Hon Clayton Cosgrove: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. With respect, that did not even get anywhere near the question. I simply asked whether, having guaranteed the big end of town through the covered bonds legislation, he would commit to implementing the proposal we have put forward. He talked about the Crown Retail Deposit Guarantee Scheme and responded to an interjection, but he never answered or even addressed that question.

Mr SPEAKER: The Minister said he did not accept the proposition that was put by the member. If the member wishes to ask further supplementaries, he has the ability to do so.

Later during Question Time, when Mallard and Norman attempted to complain about the Speaker’s inconsistencies and not following precedents set by the previous Speaker, Lockwood Smith, they were told Clark just had a different style.

Dr Russel Norman: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I agree with you that it has become very noisy. I would argue the key problem is that the decision or the ruling of Speaker Smith that a straight question gets a straight answer is no longer being upheld under your new Speakership. That is creating disorder.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! That is now questioning the competence and the bias of the Speaker. That is very serious. I am attempting to elicit sensible answers for members, but on many occasions members are wanting the answer designed to their satisfaction. That is not what question time is. The question must be addressed, but it will not necessarily mean that the question at all times will be answered to the satisfaction of the member asking the questions.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I want to agree with what Dr Norman said, but to make it clear that no one—and I do not think Dr Norman did—attributed bias to you. What he indicated what was that there is a different set of rulings, and they are quite different.

Mr SPEAKER: I accept there are certainly different styles. From the moment you have a different Speaker, you will have a different style.

It is parodied well by Imperator Fish

David Shearer: Thank you Mr Speaker, my question now to the Minister of State Owned Enterprises: Has the Government met the five criteria the Prime Minister laid out for proceeding with asset sales?

Tony Ryall: Blue cheese.

Shearer: Point of order, Mr Speaker. What kind of answer was that?

Mr Speaker: The minister answered the question. He may not have given the answer you wanted, but he nevertheless gave an answer. Do you have any supplementary questions?

Russel Norman has now published an open letter of complaint to the Rt Hon David Carter:

I strongly urge you to revert to the set of rules that Lockwood Smith had developed over the course of his Speakership. These rules can be summarised as “A straight question will get a straight answer”.

I agree.  However, what David Carter has exposed is the underlying approach that Lockwood Smith used much more subtly.  He sometimes allowed the PM and his ministers to avoid being fully accountable to the NZ public. Smith was more consistent, and maintained a more orderly House.  Most often he was fair to all sides. But there were limits to how well he served democracy.

 

49 comments on “Democracy needs straight answers to straight questions”

  1. toad 1

    How dare Russel Norman question the Speaker’s self-proclaimed bias.

    That is apparent for all to see.

    As is his incompetence.

    • DR 1.1

      If the speaker has proclaimed himself as biased, he should not only be questioned but reprimanded as well. The essence of democracy is to hear what everyone has to say and then form a conclusion from what everything has been said.

      Unless you don’t understand what democracy is all about, there’s no point for you to try to understand what’s written here.

    • big bruv 1.2

      Toad. I have gone back as far as I can yet for some reason I must have missed the posts where you ripped into Margaret Wilson for her bias. This is the same Margaret Wilson who is widely considered to be the worst speaker the house has seen since the days of Dr Wall.

      Why was it that you did not have this level of “concern” in Wilson’s days?

      Might it be that like all lefties you simply cannot deal with a level playing field?

      Never mind, you have at least another two terms to get used to speaker Carter.

  2. Andre 2

    One house and no accountability How did we get in this pickle?

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      A parliament that can do pretty much what it likes and is unaccountable to the public as we have no say between elections. We need the power of recall.

      • AmaKiwi 2.1.1

        + 1

        Absolutely!

      • Ugly Truth 2.1.2

        To revoke their power an alternative must exist. To have authentic power an alternative system would have to be lawful, and presumably this system would also be democratic. Such a system could be implemented by re-establishing common law hundred, although it’s purpose is to keep the peace rather than to effect public policy.

    • Civil government was “deemed necessary”. The remedy is to abandon it and re-establish lawful government.

  3. framu 3

    this is the man who rang up talk back and rather unsuccessfully pretended to be a dole bludging maori.. so im not holding out much hope for his role as speaker to be any better.

    its high time the speaker was from the judiciary not a political party

  4. vto 4

    Forget it. Nobody believes any of the shit that comes out of this government anyway.

    A boycott of the entire Parliaentary question time and other questioning would be the effective approach.

  5. Matthew 5

    I would like to see an appropriately timed walkout by all opposition parties, just to press the point.

    • SpaceMonkey 5.1

      Would love to see that!!

    • xtasy 5.2

      It should have happened some time ago, they better talk to each other and do this soon!

      • North 5.2.1

        Yeah, rapid succession stoushes involving a senior Labour member (not Mallard), followed by a senior Greens member, followed by Winston.

        If the shock waves of the latter stoush weren’t enough to stop Mr-Tory-Farmer-Speaker-Carter treating members like his working dogs down on the farm, Hone would rise and deliver a plain language point-of-order perfected with pukana. Then everybody walks out leaving only:

        Dunnokeyo waving his little handies and giggling girlishly

        Blinglish hoarsely booming “Get on back ya bastards !”

        Bunter Brownlee’s corpulence in the throes of a shallow 6.5

        Botox Banks elevating with malodourous flatulence

        Imagine it. Such fun ! Second only to Canberra.

  6. grumpy 6

    Lockwood introduced a degree of responsibility to ministers to answwer questions that had almost been totally destroyed by Wilson, the most partisan Speaker for decades.

    Carter is no Smith but still better than Wilson

  7. mac1 7

    Mrs Mac1′s unsolicited comment when listening to Question Time yesterday, “Is that the Speaker? He sounds very biassed.”

    I’ve listened to the Speaker and thinking about his technique to allow a question to be asked three times if a opposition member complains about the Minister not answering the question, two points come up.

    Firstly, such a practice seems a waste of time if the same non-answer is supplied. It means that not so many parliamentary questions get asked, in the period allowed, yes? A tactic which would advantage the Government.

    Secondly, and more importantly, if the Speaker maintains that Ministers are ‘addressing the question’, as he states is his style of doing things, why then does he feel the need to have the question asked three times if that is all that he is going to require of Ministers, as opposed to the previous Speaker’s insistence upon answering the question.

    Interesting to hear just now (10 a.m.) a RNZ report upon opposition complaints. The only interviewee was Gerry Brownlee as Leader of the House giving a smooth version of QT as being more orderly now. I suspect that things will be much more disorderly as the opposition get more frustrated. The report from RNZ was unsatisfactory in its coverage of this issue with a one sided response.

    This comment was also posted earlier today at Red Alert.

    • xtasy 7.1

      Yes, and I have noticed, that under this government, Radio New Zealand has also become “more orderly” – i.e. is not raising sensitive issues much anymore!

    • ghostrider888 7.2

      yes mac1, this speaker appears to be some sort of parliamentary “village idiot.”

  8. infused 8

    I watched question time yesterday and there was a ton of shouting and what not. It’s a shitfest. Regardless of the speaker. He should be ejecting members.

    • freedom 8.1

      There should be a simple rule, if a member is speaking everyone else shuts their pie holes. Yes it might slow things down a bit but surely and very quickly less of the tragic stuff will end up in Hansard?
      Would that be such a bad thing?

      Seriously if a question is being asked or answered and you open your trap, outside of asking for a point of order, you are out for the day. The level of juvenile bs in our Parliament of late is embarrasing, unhelpful and completely disrespectful to our Democracy. A Democracy that was once about the people of New Zealand is now all about their owners. Do not forget we are discussing behaviour that is unacceptable in a Primary School let alone our House of Representatives.

  9. chris73 acualy is Dolan 9

    Now you have a small idea of what the right were complaining about Wilson and Hunt…except Carters still better then either

  10. Raymond a Francis 10

    As I said to my wife, if you think had a hard day at school today take a look at this

    Talk about pot calling the kettle black and being given an inch and taking a mile……pathetic

  11. Wayne 11

    The supplementary asked by Dr Norman actually was answered by Mr Ryall.

    You could not actually expect Mr Ryall to know who everyone the Prime Minister has met, and it could not have been forseen that this supplementary would have arisen by looking at the primary.

    That is how Ministers have to think about these things and prepare for question time. They look at the primary, and try to think of all the possible questions that might arise as supplementarys. It does not seem to me that Mr Ryall could have reasonably thought that such a supplementary would arise.

    Did Dr Norman know something that he thought would embarrass the Govt, in which case he should have been more direct in his supplementary.

    Direct or specific questions that are within the reasonable contemplation of the primary question should be able to be answered, but a “fishing” question is generally too wide ranging.

    So was this a “fishing” question, or does Dr Norman know more?

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      You could not actually expect Mr Ryall to know who everyone the Prime Minister has met, and it could not have been forseen that this supplementary would have arisen by looking at the primary.

      Perhaps that was why the question was addressed to the PM and not the Mr Ryall.

      • Wayne 11.1.1

        No, as I read it the question was to Tony Ryall, as Minister of State Owned Enterprises. Maybe Dr Norman should ask the PM the same question.

        • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1.1

          It began with a question that had been diverted from the PM to the Minister for State Owned Enterprises. It was a question to John Key about criteria he had stated in the past.

          Perhaps you need to learn to read then.

          • Wayne 11.1.1.1.1

            Yes, I see that, but Russell Norman would have known by 11.00 am that the Minister of State Owned Enterprises was answering the question, mostly because the qusetion as asked was actually his portfolio responsibilty.

            To require a qestion like this to be answered by the PM it would have to have a quote from the PM in it, referring to something that only the PM could answer. But reference to 5 criteria for the SOE sales is something the Minister of SOE’s could answer, and indeed would be expected to know.

            If Dr Norman has something really interesting about the PM, he will frame the question so it is impossible to transfer it to another Minister. He has been in Parliament long enough to know how to do that.

            Transfer of questions is quite common. Opposition MP’s are suppossed to know the ways of drafting questions, so that it will not happen

            • Wayne 11.1.1.1.1.1

              I note that the primary was asked by David Shearer, and I have now seen the full transcript of the Question One.

              So does Dr Norman have anything specific?

  12. framu 12

    “Direct or specific questions that are within the reasonable contemplation of the primary question should be able to be answered”

    agree there – but i listened to some of the exchange on the raido during the drive home (motorway drive so i got to listen to all of it)

    there were pretty straight forward, direct questions being asked of ministers – and the speaker was letting them answer with some extremely indirect answers – some of which boiled down to “im not going to answer that!”

  13. bad12 13

    The politics of it all, what a shambles of a question time was Wednesdays little episode, by contrast today’s was one hell of a yawn,

    The Minister of Everything Steven Joyce got to revel in the title like a pig in muck as Slippery the Prime Minister, Bill from Dipton (Diptin what is what i want to know), and, Pinocchio, SOE Minister Tony Ryall were all conveniently absent from the House so Joyce got to flex His innate ability to waffle on endlessly saying nothing much at all,

    Back to yesterdays abysmal effort by the Speaker where at the point of Pinocchio/ Ryall saying that He was not privy to any advice Slippery the Prime Minister had received Pinocchio/Ryall was allowed to NOT answer the question and more importantly the Speaker happily let Slippery who was present in the House off of the hook of answering that particular question,

    The politics of it all???, there is ONE thing that National has that make that particular rabble and cohort of out-right fools electable and that is Brand Slippery,

    Watching Slippery closely has become a bit of a sporting occasion round here, and reading the body language and nuances of His speech can be very enlightening,

    At this point in the electoral cycle we have been quietly impressed with the demeanor of our Prime Minister which has gone from that of being almost lost in a form of gay abandon from the initial power rush of Prime Minister-ship to one of dark petulance as the faults of His Leadership become exposed and understood by more and more of the populace,

    In other words the gloss is starting to wear thin on the Slippery one and He, lacking a depth of intellectual rigor is finding that less of us are willing to let Slip His glib attempts at comically sweeping the worst aspects of His Government, becoming more apparent by the week, under the carpet of smile’n’wave or glib assertions of being relaxed about this or that,

    The politics of Wednesdays little charade of having Him pass questions to the likes of Pinocchio/Ryall and today’s ‘no show’ of the 2 Ministers plus Himself are the same,

    It is all designed to protect ‘Brand Slippery’ and His many faults from the scrutiny of the wider electorate, it doesn’t matter to National whether or not the likes of Pinocchio/Ryall becomes increasingly more disliked by the public and the same situation is Nationals strategy around Minister of Everything Steven Joyce,

    Come election time 2014 both Joyce and Pinocchio/Ryall will be shuffled off stage left for the duration and ‘Brand Slippery’ will be the face of the National Party seeking a third term, with bthat in mind National have to ensure that as little of the mud that is flung Slippery’s way in the ensuing 20 odd months sticks and thus National will use any means to ensure that ‘Brand Slippery’ remains untarnished hence the House Speakers abject allowance of the Prime Minister to effectively pass the buck of responsibility at yesterdays question time…

  14. AmaKiwi 14

    In every organization I have belonged to the moderator of the AGM is selected for their capacity to be fair and unbiased.

    How about a binding referendum to have candidates for speaker nominated by the Law Society and elected by the people?

    Yesterday’s freak show was not a condemnation of Carter. It was a condemnation of the system.

  15. xtasy 15

    I used to enjoy some Question Time sessions when Lockwood Smith was Speaker. He did not always get decisions right and in some cases also was soft on his Nat “mates”, but generally he was pretty good and tried to apply sensible rulings and orders.

    With Carter I experienced a sudden shift to disappointment and annoyance, as he is not delivering any good standards at all. The bias shown by him letting off ministers with statements like “the answer was replied to satisfactorily” is appalling. Some questions are not answered at all in substance, and it is also an insult to questioners, having to repeat questions twice or three times, to try and get an answer.

    No this man has turned NZ Parliament into an embarrassment for NZ democracy. It is becoming a “demockery” kind of House now, or a “National Parliament” instead of a “NZ Parliament”.

    So now I wonder about the worth of bothering to listen to or watch Question Time at times.

    Democracy, accountability, transparency and responsibility must be taken serious in government, and sadly the QT we now get is not delivering, sadly also not the Official Information Act and Privacy Act requests, that are answered in a contemptious manner more and more often by government agencies and ministries.

    NZ is really losing its way.

  16. Jane 16

    I regularly watch question time and there is plenty of blame to go around. Shortly after Carter became speaker the opposition were pushing him harder than they had been Lockwood, bouncing up with dodgy points of order and generally messing about (reminded me of my 3rd form class when our teacher changed half way through the year, pushing to see where the new boundaries were) and I heard Carter say ‘the Minister has addressed the question’ and thought right there’s a warning of things to come, if they continue on being stupid then where Lockwood would call on his eloquence and be helpful (often way more helpful than I’d like) Carter is not going to bother with it and will retreat to just moving on.

    The delusion is that question time is about asking questions and getting answers, it’s not, it’s about who can get tonight’s allocated 30 second politics sound bite on the news. In order to make the question sound bite able they wrap it in so much drivial that it’s easy to get out of answering it. In Normans case it’s always some shrill quip about destroying the world, Winston is generally incomprehensible but thundering, Shearer tries but stumbles on the lines. Mallard seems to have got lost in obsecure point of order land and seems to pop up just so he can get his name in the days hansard. It is possible to ask questions that either get an answer or show the Minister is dodging but they would be boring questions and wouldn’t play well on the news.

    • karol 16.1

      I regularly watch question time and there is plenty of blame to go around. Shortly after Carter became speaker the opposition were pushing him harder than they had been Lockwood, bouncing up with dodgy points of order and generally messing about.

      Give examples of these as compared with all/most that have been about questioning the inconsistent rulings contradicting previous standing orders, and shielding the PM and ministers from answering serious and important questions?

      The delusion is that question time is about asking questions and getting answers, it’s not, it’s about who can get tonight’s allocated 30 second politics sound bite on the news.

      I agree that Question Time has become too dominated by game playing (the media has some responsibility here), but the government avoiding being held accountable (under the protection of the current speaker) is contributing to this. Russel Norman is actually one of the MPs least into game playing, endeavours to follow the rule.

      In Normans case it’s always some shrill quip about destroying the world,

      Oh dear. Up to that point you had me.  I was thinking you were making a serious attempt at objective analysis.  Show me examples of Norman doing this?

  17. big bruv 17

    The hypocrisy of the left is breathtaking at times.

    Have all of you forgotten how Margaret Wilson gave Clark a free ride?, have you forgotten how she let ministers get away with not even addressing the question?

    I watch those fools Mallard and Norman stomp their feet in the house when they cannot get their way yet neither of these two losers said a word about Wilson while she running defense for the corrupt Clark Labour government.

    Yes Carter might not be as helpful to the left as Lockwood was, but he sure as hell is fairer than Wilson or that fat waste of space Hunt ever were.

    Suck it up lads, in six or so years you might get a chance to put Trev in the chair, in the mean time you can spend the next couple of terms pondering how bad Hunt and Wilson were.

    • karol 17.1

      Wilson was way better than David Carter as Speaker. I never watched parliament when Hunt was speaker. What evidence do you have of Wilson’s bias?

      I don’t think the answer for the left is to wait for a Labour Speaker (and I certainly wouldn’t want Mallard there).

      A far better solution is to have a neutral speaker – someone with a legal background and a sound understanding of politics.

  18. Chris 18

    Carter is a dick. Especially when he has let the nits off answering a question and then smirking. It is no wonder the nits can just answer anything they like ,usually ending with a long tirade against Labour of a hundred years ago,relevant to nothing and then sitting down with a “you can’t touch me” sneer at the Opposition. They know bleeding well that carter will support them on the basis of “I am satisfied that the question has BEEN ADDRESSED” What does that even mean. The Opposition should just abandon their question of the day and just point out that there is no point in asking anything of those giggling,dribbling excuses for a government and then walk out. This government has totally devalued the whole question/debate process and they should be ignored until they grow up.

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    April is starting to come down off the shockingly high anomalies of the first couple of months of this year. GISS is clocking in a still strong warm anomaly of 1.11°C. This is by far the hottest April in the… ...
    1 day ago
  • Fanshawe St Bus Stop improvements
    Occasionally it is small projects that can have a lot of impact on people’s PT experience. With the ever growing number of people working near Victoria Park, an upgrade to the bus stops on Fanshawe St along with improvements to the… ...
    1 day ago
  • Fanshawe St Bus Stop improvements
    Occasionally it is small projects that can have a lot of impact on people’s PT experience. With the ever growing number of people working near Victoria Park, an upgrade to the bus stops on Fanshawe St along with improvements to the… ...
    1 day ago
  • An abuse of the Speaker’s chair
    Last week NewsHub revealed leaked MPI reports which showed that MPI had been turning a blind eye to widespread criminal behaviour in the fishing industry. Today was the first day of Parliament since those revelations, and given their seriousness, it… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • An abuse of the Speaker’s chair
    Last week NewsHub revealed leaked MPI reports which showed that MPI had been turning a blind eye to widespread criminal behaviour in the fishing industry. Today was the first day of Parliament since those revelations, and given their seriousness, it… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Punakaiki Fund invests in Populate
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    Lance WiggsBy Lance Wiggs
    1 day ago
  • A piece of gratis media advice for Hilary Clinton
      Here’s some free media advice for Hilary Clinton now just trailing Donald Trump in the polls: Stop smiling and waving to “people you recognise” in the crowd. It’s insulting to everyone else, looks (and may well be) dishonest… ...
    1 day ago
  • A piece of gratis media advice for Hilary Clinton
      Here’s some free media advice for Hilary Clinton now just trailing Donald Trump in the polls: Stop smiling and waving to “people you recognise” in the crowd. It’s insulting to everyone else, looks (and may well be) dishonest… ...
    1 day ago
  • The Nuit Debout revolt in France: let the gems sparkle. . .
    by Denis Godard The movement of occupation of squares in France is [over] two weeks old. [1] Its evolution is difficult to predict, because it is open to many unforeseen events, even though its roots are deep. At this point… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • Open Government: Unilateral
    Back in April, State Services Minister Paula Bennett announced in an answer to a Parlaimentary written question that we were consulting the Open Government Secretariat about an extension to the deadline for submitting our action plan:While New Zealand's second Open… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Open Government: Unilateral
    Back in April, State Services Minister Paula Bennett announced in an answer to a Parlaimentary written question that we were consulting the Open Government Secretariat about an extension to the deadline for submitting our action plan:While New Zealand's second Open… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
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    frogblogBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • Free the Wicklow 2
    Protests around the imprisonment of these two activists are taking place around Ireland and also in Britain.  Anyone fancy organising something at the Irish embassy in Wellington  There is also an Irish consulate in Auckland. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • DIY Touring The World: New Zealand
    New Zealand has a small population, few places to play and not much money for touring bands - but you can’t beat the beautiful landscapes, hidden gem venues and fantastic audiences. Music impresario Ian Jorgensen has been touring bands… ...
    2 days ago
  • We are all socialists now
    A mass government house-building programme is a favourite policy of the left for solving the Auckland housing crisis. Use cheap government capital, build affordable, energy-efficient homes, mass produce them to get efficiencies of scale, and get people back into owning… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • We are all socialists now
    A mass government house-building programme is a favourite policy of the left for solving the Auckland housing crisis. Use cheap government capital, build affordable, energy-efficient homes, mass produce them to get efficiencies of scale, and get people back into owning… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Protected: Tributes to Dame Margaret Sparrow
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    ALRANZBy ALRANZ
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand and New Zealand
    There’s a 2009 sci-fi novel by China Miéville called The City and the City. The action takes place in two separate cities which overlap each other geographically, but the denizens of each city is compelled to ‘Unsee’ things they see happening in… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand and New Zealand
    There’s a 2009 sci-fi novel by China Miéville called The City and the City. The action takes place in two separate cities which overlap each other geographically, but the denizens of each city is compelled to ‘Unsee’ things they see happening in… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • Breaking free from fossil fuels – the risk we take is not taking action
    Last week, #BreakFree2016 wrapped up across the globe. Greenpeace joined with many inspiring organisations in a global wave of peaceful actions that lasted for 12 days and took place across six continents to target the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects.In places… ...
    2 days ago
  • More odious debt
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • More odious debt
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Additional Harbour Crossing ill-considered and over-rushed.
    We are increasingly concerned that Auckland is in the middle of very poor process where by far the nation’s biggest ever infrastructure project is being forced along and at ill-considered speed without anything like the level of public participation nor detailed… ...
    Transport BlogBy Patrick Reynolds
    2 days ago
  • Additional Harbour Crossing ill-considered and over-rushed.
    We are increasingly concerned that Auckland is in the middle of very poor process where by far the nation’s biggest ever infrastructure project is being forced along and at ill-considered speed without anything like the level of public participation nor detailed… ...
    Transport BlogBy Patrick Reynolds
    2 days ago
  • Tinder and 3nder are officially at war
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    2 days ago
  • Weekly Listening: Die Antwoord, Joey Purp, King Kapisi and more
    A showcase of some of the best new music releases from the past week.   Joey Purp - GIRLS @ Feat. Chance The Rapper This track might be the catchiest three minutes and 32 seconds to hit your ears… ...
    2 days ago
  • Some big news, for me
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    GrumpollieBy Andrew
    2 days ago
  • Start as you mean to go on
    The GCSB has a new director: His family tease him by calling him Johnny English. He has a 3000-strong record collection – not classical, but some “out there” 1980s indie rock. Andrew Hampton is also a government fix-it man –… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • Start as you mean to go on
    The GCSB has a new director: His family tease him by calling him Johnny English. He has a 3000-strong record collection – not classical, but some “out there” 1980s indie rock. Andrew Hampton is also a government fix-it man –… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • Polity: Mike’s minute: Mike’s maths!
    Today, media ubiquity Mike Hosking took to nzherald.co.nz to vent his frustration at Labour for suggesting that it would re-convene the same Tax Working Group first used by National. He was clearly very upset.For Mike, Auckland’s housing crisis is a… ...
    2 days ago
  • Polity: Mike’s minute: Mike’s maths!
    Today, media ubiquity Mike Hosking took to nzherald.co.nz to vent his frustration at Labour for suggesting that it would re-convene the same Tax Working Group first used by National. He was clearly very upset.For Mike, Auckland’s housing crisis is a… ...
    2 days ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    frogblogBy Denise Roche
    2 days ago
  • Helter smelter deja vu: Tiwai Point uncertainty stalls NZ renewables
    Simon Johnson looks at how New Zealand Aluminium Smelter Limited is behind the Meridian/Genesis deal keeping the Huntly Thermal Power Station burning coal as the threat of closing the Tiwai Point smelter is stalling the construction of consented renewable energy… ...
    Hot TopicBy Mr February
    2 days ago
  • Helter smelter deja vu: Tiwai Point uncertainty stalls NZ renewables
    Simon Johnson looks at how New Zealand Aluminium Smelter Limited is behind the Meridian/Genesis deal keeping the Huntly Thermal Power Station burning coal as the threat of closing the Tiwai Point smelter is stalling the construction of consented renewable energy… ...
    Hot TopicBy Mr February
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.
    It's eight days since the Prime Minister airily assured Guyon Espiner on Morning Report that "in my experience with Work and Income", homeless people could go along to their local office and get sorted with some emergency housing.We now know… ...
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.
    It's eight days since the Prime Minister airily assured Guyon Espiner on Morning Report that "in my experience with Work and Income", homeless people could go along to their local office and get sorted with some emergency housing.We now know… ...
    2 days ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    frogblogBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 days ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    frogblogBy Gareth Hughes
    2 days ago
  • What we are expected to believe
    In recent months I have become increasingly concerned at the state of bullshit in this country. Bullshit, as Harry Frankfurt famously wrote, is distinguished not by its intentionally negative truth value (those are lies) but its absence of intentional truth… ...
    2 days ago
  • The end of Auckland’s old growth model
    The New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development’s public shark-jumping exercise the other week got me thinking. While their flagship policy of a new megabillion eastern tunnel project is a bit mad, their report does a reasonable job of diagnosing one… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    2 days ago
  • The end of Auckland’s old growth model
    The New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development’s public shark-jumping exercise the other week got me thinking. While their flagship policy of a new megabillion eastern tunnel project is a bit mad, their report does a reasonable job of diagnosing one… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    2 days ago
  • Why are whistleblowers being prosecuted as spies?
    Whistleblowers are a ‘check’ on government, corporate or organisational secrecy and malfeasance. I recently read Tim Shipman’s preview of the Chilcot report into the origins of the Tony Blair-led UK engagement in the US’s invasion of Iraq, which looked at… ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    2 days ago
  • Spend and Tax
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    Briefing PapersBy Brian Easton
    2 days ago
  • The birth place of the artist
    It may not be the best reason to fund the arts. It’s certainly not the only one. But travelling to the small city of Rovereto, at the feet of the Italian dolomites, reminded me of the lasting influence that a… ...
    Bat bean beamBy Giovanni Tiso
    2 days ago

  • Minister won’t fess up on wrong figures
    The Minister of Health was caught out telling porkies in Parliament today when he was asked about the number of people getting access to mental health and addiction services, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. ...
    10 hours ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    11 hours ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    11 hours ago
  • Scrambled announcement policy on the hoof
    Paula Bennett’s scrambled desperate announcement that she will pay homeless people to move to the regions is just the latest evidence of the disarray this Government’s housing policy is in, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This is policy… ...
    11 hours ago
  • Police Minister admits resolution rates fall short of expectation
    Police Minister Judith Collins has admitted in Parliament current burglary resolution rates are not meeting the expectations of our communities, says Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash “Out of 284 police stations in New Zealand in 2015, 24 stations recorded zero… ...
    12 hours ago
  • Mojo Mathers: A better deal for animals in Budget 2016
    Currently we are failing animals in NZ. On the face of it farmed and domestic animals in this country have strong legal protection from abuse, cruelty and neglect. In reality it seems that only the very worst, most extreme cases… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    12 hours ago
  • Metiria Turei: What we need from Budget 2016
    Every family deserves a warm decent home.  Everyone believes that. This housing crisis is just the latest consequence of a Government who puts the interests of the few wealthy people above the needs of NZ families.  Families are doing it… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    14 hours ago
  • Dairy exports fall of 11%: Budget action on diversification needed
    Dairy exports have fallen 11 per cent compared to this time last year, a fall of almost $1.5b, showing the Government must take clear action on diversifying the economy in tomorrow’s Budget, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David… ...
    14 hours ago
  • Investors driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland
    Investors cashing in on skyrocketing Auckland house prices are driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland and causing homeownership rates in some of our poorest suburbs to plummet, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “New analysis shows… ...
    17 hours ago
  • Budget must deliver on paid parental leave
    Budget 2016 must deliver 26 weeks paid parental leave by April 2018 – anything less will be short-changing families, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “My Bill which is before Parliament this afternoon has majority support and does just that. I… ...
    17 hours ago
  • Key’s “brain fart” on tax cuts news to English
    John Key didn’t tell his own Finance Minister he was about to go on radio and announce he wanted $3b of tax cuts, just days after Bill English ruled them out, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “In Parliament today… ...
    1 day ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 days ago
  • Budget building materials policy backfires
    On the eve of this year’s Budget official figures show Nick Smith’s Budget 2014 centrepiece to reduce the cost of building materials has backfired, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment officials have spent the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 days ago
  • Govt must come clean on tax cuts in Budget
    National is making a mockery of the Budget process by dangling the promise of tax cuts but failing to include them in the Budget, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “National’s tax cut promises have turned into a farce. One… ...
    3 days ago
  • Grant Robertson Pre-Budget Speech
    Today I want to talk about success. As we know success can come in many different forms, from the fact you all made it here at such an early hour on a Monday, for which I am very grateful, to… ...
    3 days ago
  • Budget must deliver for middle New Zealand
    The Government must ensure next week’s Budget stops the squeeze on middle New Zealand and delivers shared prosperity for all New Zealanders, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. The call follows new research commissioned by Labour that shows working… ...
    4 days ago
  • Our housing emergency – why we have to act
    Marama and Metiria at Homes Not Cars launch On Thursday, Metiria Turei announced the Green Party’s plan to start addressing the emergency housing crisis facing our country. Too many people are without homes right now – homeless. It is the… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    5 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    5 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    5 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    5 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    5 days ago
  • Car rego victims must get a refund
    Motorists who have been overcharged for their car registration should get a refund, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “Minister Nikki Kaye’s ‘faulty risk’ rating scheme has blown up in her face with over 170 different models of car having… ...
    6 days ago
  • Council statement shows they just don’t get it
    The Auckland Council’s statement today shows they don’t understand the problems created by the urban growth boundary, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “I have been the first to defend the Auckland City Council when Bill English has been blaming… ...
    6 days ago
  • Inspecting electronic devices a potential privacy threat
    Labour is expressing concern for New Zealanders’ privacy rights as the Government signals Customs will have the power to inspect electronic devices coming across the border, says Labour’s Customs Spokesperson Rino Tirikatene. “We agree that customs officers should have the… ...
    6 days ago
  • The Price of Water
    This week I hosted a public meeting at EIT in Hawkes Bay to discuss how we might put a price on the commercial use of water, so that water may be valued and treated more sustainably. I invited a… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • Caption It NZ!
    Today I received a petition from the NZ Captioning Working Group urging the government to legislate for accessibility via closed captioning for deaf and hard of hearing New Zealanders. It was timely because today is the fifth Global Accessibility Awareness… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    6 days ago
  • Older Kiwis to miss out on electives
    The Government is not doing enough elective surgery to keep up with New Zealand’s ageing population, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “It’s damning that the targeted national intervention rate for cataract and knee and hip surgery is the same… ...
    7 days ago
  • Most principals say their college is underfunded
    The Government must substantially increase funding for secondary schools in next week’s Budget after a new survey found 86 per cent of principals consider their college under-resourced, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Just 14 per cent of secondary principals… ...
    7 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    7 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    7 days ago
  • Labour calls for independent inquiry into illegal fish dumping
    The Labour Party is reiterating its call for an independent inquiry into New Zealand’s fishing industry after two reports revealed the Ministry for Primary Industries turned a blind eye to widespread fish dumping in New Zealand waters, says Labour’s Fisheries… ...
    7 days ago
  • Mt Karangahake and Newcrest Mining
    On Wednesday and Sunday of last week the local residents of the Karangahake mountain in the Karangahake gorge of Hauraki/Coromandel peacefully protested against a gold mining drill rig on private land adjacent to the DOC land. The drilling rig was… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Robbing Aucklanders to pay Rio Tinto
    New Zealand’s national electricity grid stretches the length of the country and contains some 11,803 kilometres of high-voltage lines and 178 substations. It wouldn’t make sense for competing power companies to duplicate and build their own expensive electricity transmission system… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Government should abolish Auckland urban growth boundary
    The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Over 25 years the urban growth boundary hasn’t… ...
    1 week ago
  • Kiwis don’t want iPads for Land deals
     It is outrageous that schools are relying on money and iPads from foreign land investors to meet the learning needs of their students, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Several OIO land applications by offshore investors have claimed that without… ...
    1 week ago
  • Homelessness – National has failed all of us
    A young South Auckland Māori woman recently tried to get hold of me around midnight. I missed her call. The woman wanted me to know the sharp reality facing too many families looking for a stable place to live. Things… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Moko case should never have been manslaughter deal
    Confirmation again yesterday that the manslaughter charge in the Moko Rangitoheriri case was a deal done by the Crown Prosecution Service is justifiably the cause of outrage, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.“This should never have been a case where… ...
    1 week ago
  • Overseas investor funds school’s digital devices
    The Government must address the inequality laptops and tablets in classrooms are causing after a Queenstown school was forced to use a donation from an overseas investor to get their students digital devices, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “Documents obtained… ...
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
    This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
    This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Key plucks $3b out of thin air – reckless and irresponsible
    John Key refuses to give up on his dream of tax cuts to the wealthy, despite being shot down by Bill English, and is resorting to plucking numbers out of thin air, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “On radio… ...
    1 week ago
  • John Key woefully out of touch on homelessness
    John Key is completely out of touch if he thinks desperate South Auckland families forced to live in cars can simply go to Work and Income for help, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Many of these families are working and… ...
    1 week ago

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