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NRT: Privileged!

Written By: - Date published: 12:12 pm, July 19th, 2012 - 7 comments
Categories: accountability, Gerry Brownlee - Tags: , ,

From I/S at No Right Turn:


Gerry Brownlee’s appalling performance in the House yesterday over the cancellation of the Levin – Otaki Road of National Signficance has already attracted criticism elsewhere, and now Labour’s Phil Twyford has responded by lodging a complaint for breach of Privilege. Obviously, Brownlee’s comments were deeply misleading (if not outright lies), and so if Parliament took its own rules seriously, he should be dragged before the Privileges Committee and held to account for them. But Parliament doesn’t take its own rules seriously; the current Speaker has ruled that a Member can only mislead the House in “a statement of some formality” such as an answer to a primary question, a personal explanation, or a Ministerial statement. Merely lying during a supplementary in Question Time just doesn’t cut it, apparently.

Still, Twyford’s complaint isn’t pointless. It voices public disquiet about this behaviour, and so helps press for reform. I have no doubt that older politicians will resist such reform with all their strength, but the public wants an honest Parliament, one it can be proud of rather than regard with disdain or disgust. And if Lockwood Smith wants to improve the public esteem Parliament and MPs are held in, he should act on this complaint, and hold Brownlee accountable.

7 comments on “NRT: Privileged!”

  1. higherstandard 1

    Look you’re quite out of order.

    How members discharge their duties is a matter for them as members of the House and any attempt to dictate the way that they carry out their responsibilities could be regarded as fettering the privilege of the House to control its own operation.

  2. Kevin Welsh 2

    Gerry Brownlee: No roads of national significance have been cancelled. What I would say is that I have had a look at some of the expenditure that the New Zealand Transport Agency has committed to over recent times, and there are a number of reports that I think do represent a questionable value. They are on, for example, the impact of urban form on economic performance, Valuing Urban Design, and Business case for walking and cycling. I think they are jaw droppingly expensive and, quite frankly, a total waste of time.

    And I bet everytime he looks in the mirror he is reminded of just how much a waste of time walking and cycling are.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    Julie Anne Genter: I seek leave to table this data from Auckland Transport, which shows that the entire—

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! The document itself is prepared by?

    Julie Anne Genter: The Parliamentary Library, which had to contact Auckland Transport to get the numbers that show that the rail system in Auckland is carrying over 30,000 people a day, which is four times more than the number of people being carried on Pūhoi to Wellsford.

    Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that document. Is there any objection? There is objection.

    What a surprise, NACT objecting to the facts that prove them wrong.

    And just so that people are aware that Brownlee was lying when he said that the Levin to Otaki was not part of of the RoNS we have this:

    The government has today announced the first seven Roads of National Significance, which have been singled out as essential routes that require priority treatment.

    Wellington Northern Corridor (Levin to Wellington) – SH1

    Which obviously includes the Levin to Otaki part.

  4. tsmithfield 4

    That Green MP is good. Maybe she should be leader of the party at some stage?

  5. Dr Terry 5

    It is becoming increasingly obvious, to those who care to look, that Green MP’s are very good.

  6. Ed 6

    What happened to that complaint – was it upheld? If rejected, were any reasons given?

    Has a complaint been made about John Banks lying to parliament regarding his involvement in campaign fund-raising?

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