Oh dear. Lockwood Smith was by common consent one of the best Speakers we have had. David Carter seems be heading in a different direction. Lockwood Smith required Ministers to give direct answers to direct questions. Today in the House Carter answered a question for Hekia Parata, interpreting her words in such a way as to get her off the hook. He may well have put himself on it, and Hekia as well.
Watch this and judge for yourself. Carter clearly says his interpretation of Parata’s answer to Hipkins’ question was “that there was no guarantee given that the schools would remain open.” Parata was not willing to say that, because as Trevor Mallard pointed out, she knows it was wrong. Certainly principals and parents from the affected Christchurch schools are clear that such an assurance was in fact given.
Carter’s assertion that all too often “particularly opposition members” seek answers they want is fatuous. Patsy questions from National members do not get answers they want? And Hipkins’ question to Parata was closed – did she give an assurance, or not? – to which the answer has to be yes or no. No issue of an answer he wanted – it is a question of fact.
Carter’s interpretation of a Parata’s answer means that she is unaccountable in the House. His intervention let her fudge. Not a good start.