Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, February 24th, 2010 - 26 comments
Categories: Economy, education, john key, Parliament, phil goff, tax - Tags: anne tolley, bill english, David Cunliffe, national standards, trevor mallard
Success for Opposition frontbenchers largely consists of embarrassing their opposite number by forcing them to answer questions they would rather not. Labour showed both how to do that and how not to do it in the House yesterday.
First, how to do it.
Trevor Mallard: Anne Tolley is dead meat and Mallard is keeping up the pressure. How? With simple, precise questions that cut to the quick of Tolley’s uselessness. Yesterday, Mallard had Tolley claiming that national standards are “business as usual”, so won’t make changes, and that the ‘plain english’ reports will be so simplistic and uninformative that schools will need to supplement them with the existing reports.
Tolley basically lost it a couple of times under questioning yesterday. And she has now fatally undermined the reasoning behind her flagship policy. She would be gone by now but Key needs to keep two women on the frontbench, and just about every one below Tolley has either been embroiled in a scandal or is a blathering idiot even by National standards.
Now, how not to do it.
Phil Goff: As you know, if a member asks a minister a two-part question, they only have to address one part. So what the hell was Phil Goff thinking asking “Does he still expect that the vast bulk of New Zealanders will not be worse off under his proposed increase to GST; if so, which New Zealanders does he expect will be worse off?” and a similar follow-up?
It was always obvious that Key would just answer the soft first halves. Goff may as well not have bothered. Next time, Phil, just ask the question that Key doesn’t want to answer. Ask him ‘who won’t be better off under his tax package, given his claim that the “vast majority” will be better off’. Basic stuff.
David Cunliffe: Bill English is still lying about Labour’s economic performance. In fact, now it’s worse. English is claiming the economy grew at just 0.5% under Labour. The truth is it grew at 1.7% and has shrunk by 2.2% under English’s watch. Yet Cunliffe just lets it go. He’s a smart guy, it just doesn’t make sense.
Last week, Cunliffe commented on this site and said “we have had work underway decomposing the amended GDP figures”. Frankly, David, it’s pretty simple. Add the quarters for the September years from 05/06 to 07/08 together to get the annual GDPs, work out the % differences, from that the average growth rate. You ought to be able to do the maths yourself and if you don’t have someone on your staff who can do it for you in five minutes, which is what it took me, you’re in trouble.
English should be hammered for this, either its gross incompetence or it’s an outright lie.