web analytics
The Standard

Trev nails Tolley, other Lab MPs fail

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, February 24th, 2010 - 26 comments
Categories: Economy, education, john key, Parliament, phil goff, tax - Tags: , , , ,

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.

26 comments on “Trev nails Tolley, other Lab MPs fail”

  1. “Goff may as well not have bothered. Next time, Phil, just ask the question that Key doesn’t want to answer.”

    It’s a bit 101 from goff, isn’t it. I expect better from him than that – after all he got into the place when he was still in his short-pants.

  2. Theres points to be scored here as well if Winnie muscled up to Georgie and continually nailed her on what the plan is while tying jobless poly youth stats to rising crime and disrespect for authority.


  3. tc 3

    Goff will not be relected unless he undergoes radical PR surgery…..last night Beatson showed on Stratos how a real interviewer goes about the task.

    Goff’s answers were overlong, flat and full of that over analysis/intellect that turns swinging voters off yet he persists like a nagging fishwife….FAIL.

    I get the sinking feeling labor’s inability to refresh/rejuvenate the team will cost them victory in 2011 which’s tragic as all it takes is a smiley frontman, some catchy soundbites and a willingness to play the new game and not live in the past on how it should be played……come on Goff get with the program.

  4. gobsmacked 4

    In defence of Goff, it’s hard to argue with a 12 year old. His exchanges with Key have a familiar pattern:

    Goff: Does the Prime Minister believe “Statement A”, which he said yesterday, or Statement “Exact Opposite of A”, which he said last month?

    Key: What-ever. You smell!

    Goff: Point of Order, Mr Speaker …

    (And at least the Speaker is sometimes willing to call Key on his bullshit. More than the feeble fourth estate, who just swoon and drool at Key’s playground “wit”. Oscar Wilde, he ain’t).

    Agree about Mallard. More please.

  5. SHG 5

    Wouldn’t be the first time Trev’s nailed someone other than his partner.


    I know, too easy :)

  6. Jan Black 6

    “As you know, if a member asks a minister a two-part question, they only have to address one part.”

    That’s statement is only half true.
    It applies to supplementary questions. Not primary questions. Primary questions may have 2 parts, indeed almost all do (if not, why not?) and Ministers ARE expected to answer both parts of a primary question.

    This doesn’t derogate from your overall point. But accuracy is important.

  7. Doug 7

    Chris Auchinvole: Has the Minister seen any statements in support of mining on conservation land?

    Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: Yes, I have. I have seen a statement from the Hon Phil Goff, which says: “I think most New Zealanders want to see a balance. They want to see some areas that are less sensitive in the conservation estate available to environmentally sensitive mining.’ However, I have also seen a statement from the member who asked the primary question, Mr Charles Chauvel, in which he says: “What we will not do is permit exploration or mining on the conservation estate.’ Mr Chauvel seems to forget that under Labour there were no fewer than 82 mines on conservation land. I suggest that Mr Chauvel makes it clear to the House whether he or the Leader of the Opposition speaks for the party.

  8. BLiP 8

    Chopper Tolley’s behaviour in the House is quite the study in Troll Behaviour.

    After answering the primary question – “do you understand?” – with a lie, she then goes on into ad hominem – calling Trev a bully. Once pulled up on that, she admits the first answer was a lie – “I am admitting that there are a couple of things I don’t understand” – and attempts to change the question. Meanwhile, a barrage of unacceptable side comments and general “noise” emanates from fellow trolls seeking to detract the main discussion to such an extent the “moderator” is forced to step in. Finally, at the end of it all, Chopper Tolley the Troll is left spluttering that, in fact, her idea will, for the bulk of teachers, have the opposite effect of the one intended in that the Nationalâ„¢ Standards will, in many cases, provide less information than is currently available.

  9. Dancr 9

    Great description from Jane Clifton:
    “It’s becoming like a rerun of A Dog’s Show in Parliament these days, with Labour’s Trevor Mallard the purposefully stalking collie, and Education Minister Anne Tolley the heedless sheep that stamps its foot a lot and refuses to go into the pen.”

  10. prism 10

    Found a piece on Tolley in Her magazine. A glossy for the smart, upwardly mobile woman forging ahead in today’s world (my description). Theirs is its NZs only women’s business lifestyle magazine. Like a lot of women’s magazines they ask patsy questions and the women are often selling clothes, art, designers etc. body beautiful decorators etc. Nothing wrong with that but there is often a lack of width in the pursuits as well as depth in the articles.

    Tolleys political goal is [to be a good follower] and introduce National’s national standards by next year. There wasn’t a question of what her own vision for NZ might be. But she is ‘really passionate about ensuring that our kids, who we know are failing in the system, are given the opportunity to succeed in our education system”. No facts – no need – we all know! Not for her to reason why, but for her to do or die (as a politician). She thinks that a law and commerce degree combination would be most useful for political candidates. Not political studies, to know something about running a country, and how to decide where to spend tax for the most benefit, advantage etc.

    But she could always go back to local government though “it became very clear that the big decisions were made in Wellington”. It never occurs to these smug people that if they are that big and different in importance, maybe they should do some courses in political studies at least. And then try to form a realistic ideal for the country’s future. I think there is an over-arching idea of NZ Inc, – we are just like a big aircraft carrier of a country moored in South Pacific which should be run like a business.

    • The two really sad facts are that she truly believes that she is improving the plight of our children and that she is that stupid that she does not realise that she is incapable of managing a project to improve the position of our children.

  11. David Cunliffe 11

    Marty G

    I posted the 1.7% GDP growth figure in response to your last posting as follows, summarising some of labour’s economic achievements: (Posted at 1.19 on 20 February):

    “English appears to be using highly variable quarterly gdp figures: when annual gdp data is used the average over the last 3 years is 1.74%
    – Over the 9 years of the LAbour government gdp growth averaged (using the revised gdp numbers from Stats) 3.2%, higher than the US (2.5, the UK (2.6) or the OECD average (2.5).
    – At the same time gross sovereign debt was cut in half from 35% to 17.7%
    – And unemployment cut to 3.4%, the lowest in 21 years.
    That is a record to be proud of,and one National is unlikely to match”.

    I then commented in a further response to the same post as follows later that evening:

    “This is an interesting thread of ideas. We certainly do want to see NZ lift itself up the prosperity stakes. And the “how’ would fill more columns than we have room for here

    Some quick starting thoughts: it has to be about more than the “farm and the mine’ if we want a high value, high wage economy (farming is of course core, but undifferentiated commodities are notoriously vulnerable to exchange rate swings, and the margins are often low).

    Sustainable competitive advantage is about developing that something special on top that keeps the margins up and the value coming that in turn requires innovation, intellectual property rights, and the smart use of technology, capital and skills to leverage our underlying resource base.

    I am afraid all we have seen from National so far is a dumbing down of that debate by focussing on “deregulating’ essentially a pasive hope that if govt gets out of the way a thousand flowers will bloom. In a small, arguably subscale economy it jsut ain’t that simple or easy folks-otherwise we would all have become billionaires years ago. A more active partnership between governmetn and business is required to fast track high value opportunites and align resources.

    Secondly, and controversially, ownership matters. No point in getting farm or factory productivity up if the financial system captures all the gain and bleeds the value offshore. About 3/4 of NZ’s external deficit is not the balance of trade but the value of financial flows. The four Aussie banks typically send home more profit each year than is made by the entire NZX 50 companies. To fill the gap the National government is poised to flog off even more assets and further lliberalise the already very liberal overseas investment regime. Selling Godzone by the acre.

    We can’t solve that problem without getting savings up. Way up. Shame National gutted Kiwisaver. Nor can we do it with an outdated monetary poicy that targets inflation alone using one tool (the OCR) that makes the housing bubble worse, or at best is not sufficiently focussed to fix the bubble without immense collateral damage to exports. We need a bigger sovereign stake in our own econmy, before it irretrievably becomes someone else’s.

    Is it too late to fix? No I don’t believe so, but every year matters in our race against time. We can’t afford another three years of a National administration that barely understands the problem, has shown itself devoid of ideas, and patently can’t make a decision the latest focus group doesn’t like. We can’t turn this boat around steering by focus group. NZ needs clear goals and a plan to get there. Mr Key may be able to read a map, but he clearly has no compass.”

    There was a similar post on Red Alert and debate on interest.co.nz.

    Marty, the bottom line is that the correct GDP figures were given and English’s claims rebutted.

    There is an extensive technical debate in behind this as to why several years’ GDP figures were revised downwards late last year. That involves backward revision by the Department of Statistics partly in response to a “quality improvement project” and partly due to the various time lags involved in expenditure and production GDP data coming through. When latest data does arrive it is then “chain-linked” backwards into smoothing revisions to previous quarters’ and years’ reported data. Sounds somewhat counterintuitive but is an accepted practice. It is the details of that that we are having a further look at.

    In terms of the House today, Question Time was cancelled by a government that seems to be running just a bit scared at the moment. I am not going to tell you what the questions were in case we use them later, but they may have answered some of your concerns.

    And I agree with you on Trevor’s excellent work with Ann Tolley. It has been forensic, and devastating!


    • Armchair Critic 11.1

      David, apologies for the sporting analogy, but since Trevor had one, you can have one too.
      Figuratively – I want to see you smack Dr English over the top of the stand and on to the road. You clearly have the intellect, and he has provided the opportunity. So please, do it. Question time will not be postponed for ever.

  12. PK 12

    “Theres points to be scored here as well if Winnie muscled up to Georgie and continually nailed her on what the plan is while tying jobless poly youth stats to rising crime and disrespect for authority.”

    What do you think they should do?

  13. David Cunliffe 14

    PS someone asked for the cost of funding the deficit relative to the cost of tax cuts. Here are the numbers:


Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere