Greens give National their primary questions for oral answer

Written By: - Date published: 9:48 am, March 19th, 2018 - 268 comments
Categories: democratic participation, greens, james shaw - Tags:

I have to be honest and say that I am struggling with the rationale.  The Greens have decided to give to National their primary questions for oral answer in the house.  From Radio New Zealand:

Greens co-leader James Shaw said the deal with National was intended to limit the number of “patsy” questions the government gets from its own MPs and support parties.

Patsy questions are normally phrased in a way that allows ministers answering them to boast about recent policy achievements and other government work.

The move should not be seen as a sign that the Greens were unhappy with the government, Mr Shaw said.

However, question time was a key avenue for the Opposition to interrogate the Government, and patsy questions were a waste of time.

“The purpose of question time is to hold the government to account and patsy questions don’t do that – they crowd out the ability to hold the government to account.”

National Party leader Simon Bridges said he appreciated the move but not too much should be read into the deal.

National was open to working with the Greens in Parliament but he doubted the Greens felt the same, he said.

He was putting more emphasis on environment policy as leader and was happy to work with the Greens on those issues.

Trusting National to advance important environmental issues would be like trusting a fox to guard the henhouse and not eat the chickens.

I cannot see any upside.  I agree the Greens are showing they are committed to open democracy and a properly functioning Parliament but surely there are other ways to achieve this.

One option suggested by Laura O’Connor Rapira and others on Twitter was to open the questions up to the public.  This would have really shown the Greens are committed to a properly functioning democracy.

As Jo Moir suggests the decision may have been motivated by concerns at the Greens’ polling slipping.  But giving the impression that the party is willing to cooperate with National is not the way to do it.  Late suggestions of possible cooperation with National during the 2011 and 2014 elections by the Greens caused their support to also dip.

And as a minimum the Greens could have at least required National to ask them the questions.  Otherwise they will have lost the opportunity for patsy questions with the possibility of absolutely no questions at all being asked of their ministers.

I honestly don’t get it.  I am happy to be persuaded this is strategically a master stroke but I just can’t see it.

268 comments on “Greens give National their primary questions for oral answer”

  1. Reality 1

    Daily Blog is particularly scathing of this move by the Greens. However self-righteous they may feel about their offer to let the fox into the henhouse, many will feel totally let down by what they have done.

    • Cinny 1.1

      It could hinder the new Green MP’s from having a voice

    • soddenleaf 1.2

      simple. National are their own worst enemy right now, they have leadership wars ahead, feeding them more opportunity to out themselves as boring neotards, that good not bad.

      Also it’s the principle, anyone who watches question time hates pasty govt questions.

      So this moronic triad that gormlessly equates forward with progress, or backward with retreat, is offensively conservative. Sometimes handing a noose for your opponents to use is good politics.

      Given how loathsome the sex scandals were directed at the Labour party, when obviously sexual offending happens not only in a lawyers office, or a party do, but in homes, in the streets. It’s just the high profile places where people are willing to stand up, because there are a lot of women, I.e not the national party where that doesn’t happen cause everyone naturally closes ranks.

  2. red-blooded 2

    I’m with you on this one, Mickey. To me this seems incredibly naive and/or poor political judgement. If the Greens are worried about patsy questions, then there are other alternatives. They could set up some process for questions from the public about their ministerial areas or “hold the government to account” in areas that they’re concerned about but don’t have ministerial responsibility for. Yes, they’d have to be careful not to give the impression of complete disarray and disharmony within the government, but questions don’t automatically fall into just two categories – patsy and attack – there’s a sliding scale in between these two extremes.

    Gifting an advantage to the party that is most at odds with your core values and political ethos seems to be a very odd way to be principled. (Note, I’m not counting ACT as a “party”.)

  3. Ffloyd 3

    Do you think Shaw would have run this past Labour before making this ??? gesture. I haven’t seen any report of it but possibly have missed it.

    • red-blooded 3.1

      Well, Labour haven’t commented, but I’m pretty sure if it had been agreed that would have been part of the announcement and commentary.

    • Carolyn_Nth 3.2

      Shaw says he did. Reported on Stuff yesterday afternoon:

      Labour was verbally told about the Greens’ plans a couple of weeks ago, before an approach was made to National, and gave Labour the documentation outlining the details on Thursday

      • red-blooded 3.2.1

        “Told” is different from “agreed”.

        You’re right that Labour don’t have any right to tell the Greens how to use question time, weka (and I don’t think I suggested that). Government is at least partly about relationships, though, and I can’t imagine that this has done much to strengthen that relationship.

        There were other options if the Greens felt uncomfortable about how past governments have used Question Time.

        • weka

          I don’t think I suggested you did 🙂

          “Government is at least partly about relationships, though, and I can’t imagine that this has done much to strengthen that relationship.”

          I think it’s about building robust relationships that are resilient to disagreement. The MoU established that the two parties were still free to act as independent parties, and they agreed to no surprises. I can’t see how that is undermined here. The Greens *will continue to exercise their rights as their own party *and maintain good working relationships. Those things aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s not like Labour don’t do things that don’t suit the Greens, so I’m not sure why this issue keeps coming up with it’s the other way around.

        • veutoviper

          “There were other options if the Greens felt uncomfortable about how past governments have used Question Time.”

          Exactly – like using the actual processes set down for achieving change within Parliament. Most of the powers and responsibilities in respect of these lie with the Speaker of the House, the Office of the Clerk, and various Select Committees are specifically responsible for how Parliament operates such as the Standing Orders Committee, the Privileges Committee and the Business Committee.

          It is not a simple case of one Party just deciding to operate differently and announcing this – if you really want change then it has to go through the set processes – and you don’t achieve change by ignoring or stepping on other peoples’ toes and areas of responsibility and jurisdiction.

          Trevor Mallard as Speaker is being very pro-active in making changes to how the House operates – far more so than any Speaker I can remember. And he knows every trick in the book as to how the rules can be bent etc.

          So the fact that the Green Party came out with their statement yesterday came across to me as both arrogant and naive – again.

          Moreover, it is not just naive but somewhat flummoxing when in fact they have been doing the very thing that they are pronouncing about – asking patsy questions – right up until recently as my analysis shows.

          AND to also give their question allocation to the Opposition takes the cake.

          IF they had just decided to quietly trial a no-patsy questions process for a period of time and used their questions in another way other than just asking one another questions as if operating in a vacuum, and then announced that they had done so and believed it was a major improvement, then I would have had a great deal more understanding and respect.

          They could have used their questions in some other ways. These are just off the top of my head and pretty rough:
          – a weaning process where one Green asks another about progress on say climate change, the respondent then instead of going into a speech about what was happening, could succinctly answer that a press release on that issue was about to be released or had been, and it was not a good use of Parliamentary time to go through the full details.

          – a trial of asking Labour and NZF questions which don’t blast/criticise etc but suggest better/different solutions such as “Has the Minister considered A?”

          – offer some of their questions to ACT – Seymour has about one question a week only, and Labour often give him some! Seymour also seems to be supporting a number of Green issues of late. For example, he voted for the Green Bill on medicinal cannabis which sadly did not get through.

  4. Cinny 4

    Greens walking the talk, the handing over of ‘patsy questions’ is a bold move, something we haven’t seen before in NZ Parliament.

    Mr bridges and his team should calm their farm just a little bit, it’s not about the Greens giving you help, it’s about the Greens trying something new. The media narrative on headlines yesterday was pure click bait.

    Not sure how this is going to play out, but it’s going to be fascinating to watch.

    Edit, Speaker all ready takes so many questions away from the nat’s for being disruptive in the house, must say loving Trevor as main Speaker, he’s ace.

    • red-blooded 4.1

      Dunno, Cinny, it may be the Greens trying something new, but it’s also giving the Nats help.

      • Cinny 4.1.1

        Agree, it’s a bit of a double edge sword, will be interesting to see how it goes down tomorrow.

        Edit… Meanwhile, was wondering how the current government can hold the prior government to account in question time, just thinking about Operation Burnham

        • Wayne

          Whether there will be an inquiry is in AG David Parker’s hands. Presumably we will know within the next week or two.

          • Cinny

            Thanks Wayne, coolies, that’s not long to wait. Def need an inquiry, I suspect the outcome of which will raise more than a few eyebrows

    • Steve Reeves 4.2

      Maybe this is a clever long-game.

      The Nats, even with the number of questions they already have, are not really all that impressive. Bridges was getting owned by Ardern most of the time in the previous session.

      This is a “give them enough rope” strategy—allow them to show how weak and shallow they are when it comes to good ideas and useful ideology.

  5. Sanctuary 5

    Well David Farrar is delighted. If keeping the right wing in a splendid mood with free gifts was the Green party aim, I would say mission accomplished.

    Classic virtue signalling from a bunch of political idiots. The only with half a brain is Julie Anne Genter, I suspect she’ll be joining Labour before the next election.

    • Robert Guyton 5.1

      “The only (one) with half a brain is Julie Anne Genter, I suspect she’ll be joining Labour before the next election.”
      It’s funny, depending upon how you read it.

    • Delia 5.2

      Virtue signalling, what exactly does that mean? Can you explain, thanks.

      • tracey 5.2.1

        It is a prevalent right wing meme to dismiss some stuff without an actual argument.

        Suggesting someone does not really believe in racism or sexism or whatever and is just saying they are to make them.seem.moral. The Right have used it to imply all other parties are doing this, and have no real morality, to make themselves feel better about having none and selling anything to the highest bidder or new best friend

        Like saying something is PC as though that is an argument in itself or you are just a Feminazi as though that explains everything.

        • mikes

          It’s not a right wing thing, both left and right can be guilty of it.

          “the conspicuous expression of moral values done with the primary intent of improving one’s standing among one’s peers.”

          Or, as Urban Dictionary describes it, virtue signaling is “saying you love or hate something to show off what a virtuous person you are, instead of actually trying to fix the problem.”

    • veutoviper 5.3

      And from the reaction of a bunch of them to your comment, their idea of humour is about as green as they are.

  6. ianmac 6

    So let us supply the weapons with which the Opposition can use to damage the Government.
    Suicidal inclinations?
    A last Hurrah?

    • gsays 6.1

      Also ianmac, we could try:

      When I heard the announcement I viewed it as a brave move.
      A fine example, if you are desirous of a bipartisan parliament, and would like a move away from the lurching left then right.

      • red-blooded 6.1.1

        Really? By that reasoning, the Greens could have allied themselves with any of the previous 3 governments to stop them lurching so far right.

        And do we really want a “bipartisan” government? Most people on this site want more distance between Labour and the Nats, not less. The US is the leading example of bipartisanship: I guess with a reckless idiot in charge that’s something many are grateful for, but would they have an idiot in charge if people weren’t so frustrated with the bipartisan state? Wouldn’t more people vote if they believed there was a point – that their vote could really change something?

        • gsays

          By bipartisan I meant more of a consensus across parliament, hopefully leading to lasting solutions.

  7. Enough is Enough 7

    Patsy Questions are a waste of time.

    But giving the Nats another bullet each day defies logic.

  8. Michelle 8

    Haere ra! Greens your next on the chopping block

  9. Dean Reynolds 9

    The Greens are political half wits – have they learnt nothing from their incredibly inept handling of the Tariana Turei fiasco?

    • red-blooded 9.1

      Tariana Turia and Meteria Turei are not the same person. Just saying…

      • fender 9.1.1


        Jean Keynolds could also be a halfwit

        • Dean Reynolds

          I apologise for referring to Meteria with an incorrect name, but this does not refute the facts of the case. The National Party is a ruthless organisation, driven by greed, self interest & a thirst for power at any price. They are the implacable enemies of everything the Green Party represents & one of their political aims is destroy the Greens, by pushing their party vote below 5%.
          It is madness for the Greens to hand over any sort of advantage to arseholes like that.

    • veutoviper 10.1

      Like it – haven’t seen that for a long while!

      • Pat 10.1.1

        it seemed appropriate….was certainly my first thought….and even Shaw sounded unconvinced (and unconvincing) this morning on RNZ

  10. savenz 11

    From Keith Locke,

    “One of the things that disturbs me most in yesterday’s Green press release is that National is labeled the “opposition”. National is not the “opposition” on the TPPA. The Greens are. National is not the “opposition” to deep sea oil drilling. The Greens are. National and Labour support New Zealand being in the Five Eyes. The Greens do not. National and NZ First support keeping keep New Zealand troops in Iraq. The Greens do not. It is quite misleading to call National the “opposition”.”

    • red-blooded 11.1

      I have to say, that article by Keith Locke was really helpful for putting this into context, particularly his comments about questions asked by the Greens under their last Confidence and Supply agreement (with Labour+Alliance) and by the Māori Party to National under the last government.

  11. veutoviper 12

    To Micky Savage

    Last night on Open Mike, the discussion under 9 and its subthreads included suggestions by myself and others that the Green MPs had asked such questions (of each other) right up until the last day Parliament last sat ( Thu 1 March 2018).

    Alwyn put up the (only) four questions that the Green MPs had asked in the last two weeks of that period as showing that these were patsy questions (but did not provide links to either the videos or Hansard).

    I am very familiar with the workings of Parliament and its resources including their website, so was just going to put up the links to the videos for those four questions but then decided to identify all oral questions that all Green MPs have instigated or answered since the new government came into being in Nov 2017 until now to get a better picture of the overall situation vis a vis Green Party participation in Question Time and the types of questions they have been asking or have been asked, and by whom.

    I completed this last evening and have written up a summary analysis (with video link)s identifying:
    – each primary oral question asked by or to each Green MP to another Green MP
    – any questions asked of Labour or NZF by Green MPs
    – any questions asked by Labour or NZF of Green MPs
    – any questions asked by National of Green MPs.

    In discussion with weka late last night I said I would put this analysis up as a comment this morning on OM. Sent it some time ago to OM but I suspect it has got caught up in moderation or spam as it is long and has links to all of the 17 questions asked by Green MPs since Nov 2017 (plus to questions asked of Green Ministers by National). The results are interesting and worth seeing IMHO. Any way my comment can be released or that I can resend it? Eg have it as a Word doc which I could send to someone (eg you?) via email. I have your email – and know where to check this as the one I have is from a few years ago.

    • veutoviper 12.1

      Now released and at 7 on Open Mike.

      Since Parliament has been sitting from Nov 2017 until on 1 March when it broke for three weeks, Green MPs have instigated and replied to 17 primary oral questions – all from one Green MP to another Green MP in the latter’s capacity as a Minister or in the case of two questions to Chloe Swarbrick in her capacity as sponsor of the Green Party Member’s Bill on medicinal cannabis. These two questions were quite legitimate Questions to Members which are in addition to the 12 questions asked each sitting day. So in terms of the latter, the Green Party have strictly speaking only asked 15 QT questions.

      All 17 primary questions (plus the supplementary questions asked by the same or another Green MP following the primary one) fit the definition of Patsy questions in being questions from a MP in the government to a Minister in that government designed to allow the Minister to speak on the work underway or achieved in their portfolios.

      These 17 primary oral questions may well be the Green Part’s entire oral question allocation over that time (see addendum now added at the end of this comment.).

      Green MPs have not instigated any primary oral questions to Labour or NZF Ministers over that period; nor have Labour and NZF instigated any primary oral questions to Green Ministers or MPs.

      National have instigated seven (7) primary oral questions to Green MPs in their Ministerial capacities – 2 to Shaw; 2 to Genter; and 3 to Sage.

      Green MPs have occasionally participated in asking supplementary questions where the primary question to Labour or NZF has been instigated by National but I have not identified all instances of these as most instances are not readily identifiable. However, on four more prominent occasions Shaw and Genter did take part in asking supplementary “patsy” questions when Robertson was being questioned by National.

      The following are just some of my personal thoughts since doing this analysis.

      In theory, this seems a good and noble decision by the Green Party to forego asking patsy questions. However, the Green MPs have not foregone doing so to date right up to the last sitting day on 1 March 2018.

      The analysis suggesst that, for the most part, the Green decision to give their (very small) oral question allocation to the Opposition is really only likely to affect the Greens themselves – in that they will no longer be able to ask each other patsy questions allowing them to tell the House what they are achieving in their various Ministerial portfolios. If they do, they could open themselves to claims of hypocrisy, failing to keep their promises etc.

      As Shaw has said, they are able to tell the public what they are achieving via Press Releases. However, Press Releases are not part of the official historic record of Parliament through Hansard etc as are Oral Questions in Parliament.

      But time will tell. If they ask no questions – and no other Party including National ask them many or any questions in Question Time – then they may be seen as choosing to not participate in a legitimate part of Parliamentary process under the Westminister system. Or they may be seen as having been left out in the cold by the other Parties. We will see.

      • veutoviper 12.1.1

        A short addition to the above:

        To put this into perspective, since the start of the new Government in Nov 2017 to date, a total of 324 primary oral questions to Ministers have been raised in Question Time. Of these only 22 have been to Green Ministers of which 15 were patsys by Green MPs and 7 by National – only 6.8% of total questions.

        • Carolyn_Nth

          Thanks, veuto. A very useful analysis.

          i would like to see Question time improved so it works to truly hold the government of the day to account.

          I used to watch it. Rarely do so now. There’s a lot of grandstanding, stunts, and spin, and it is often used to try to get media attention through such antics.

  12. A disappointing and extremely naive political strategy from the Greens.

  13. savenz 14

    Just looks lazy. If they can’t be bothered asking questions, then maybe step down and let other Green MP’s further down the list back into parliament.

    I keep hearing how the Greens are too busy to get anything done anymore from their supporters, as they have such a heavy work load.

    For fucks sake, people out there are working 3 jobs on minimum wages and don’t have an army of support staff and volunteers to fall back on and a six figure salary.

    If you want a cushy 9 – 5 pm job, don’t run for parliament! Or do a Natz and go around Europe on the taxpayer aka Todd Barclay.

    Millennial syndrome or stupidity syndrome?

    Begs the question (yet again) who is advising the Greens into so many moronic headlines????

    Get a new team!!! Or step down and get new Green MP’s. There are some goodies further down the list!

    • dukeofurl 14.1

      Questions are often formulated from the leaders office and ‘doled out to Mps’ to ask.

      Is this really a resourcing issue in Shaws office. So far they have asked patsies of Green ministers, which of course need research and information to be compiled into answers for the reply in parliament.

      You can see how circular this all is. I can see some staffers thinking ‘ we are doing this why ?’
      a) They write a patsy question to a Green minister ( which is passed to a green Mp to ask)
      b) They write the patsy answer to the question they have just asked .

      However Ministers are provided resources to compile answers and leaders are provided resources to ask questions. ( The Mps are just a salad in the sandwich here)

      • DoublePlusGood 14.1.1

        Answering questions from the opposition almost certainly requires more resources than making up PR fluff for a patsy question.

  14. I thought the amount and quality of questions National were asking was already problematic? Yes, written vs oral I know, but it shows their form.

    How it will be spun by the press makes it seem extremely unwise. I truly fear @jamespeshaw may have just sent @NZGreens below 5%.

    I can’t think of any credible political advantage it could bring, people just aren’t familiar enough with question time to get why they are doing it.

    • Cinny 15.1

      Maybe, just maybe it will encourage more to tune into question time because of said story. One can only dream….. wish more people watched/listened to it.

    • weka 15.2

      “I can’t think of any credible political advantage it could bring, people just aren’t familiar enough with question time to get why they are doing it.”

      I don’t think it is intended to bring political advantage to the Greens. It’s to keep on with making parliament more democratic.

      • Warren Doney 15.2.1

        It has the huge disadvantage of making us look like collaborators, and as someone already mentioned, making parliament more democratic would be far better served by giving questions to the public.

        Something akin to a Facebook or Twitter poll for the questions of the week would generate a huge amount of interest and publicity.

        • Cinny

          “Something akin to a Facebook or Twitter poll for the questions of the week would generate a huge amount of interest and publicity.”

          I really like that idea Warren.

        • tracey

          They cannot give questions tot he public. Have a read of veutoviper’s posts.

          Collaborator’s, as in a war? I think that is the mentality Green’s are trying to break down.

        • Keepcalmcarryon

          Totally agree Warren. This move by the greens is moronic. The Nats are running a strategy to overload the government with their own dumb patsy questions why on earth give them more air time.
          If the greens wanted to make a democratic statement either change the rules on who and what questions are asked or use the questions as suggested for the public to have a voice.
          So much stupid in this decision and this outfit is our only true left wing party in parliament. How poorly served we are.

      • dukeofurl 15.2.2

        That may be a good idea and worth persuing, but handing over questions to someone else nowdoesnt change anything at the moment. And may not change anything ‘going forward’ as they say.

        All that happens now it frees up resources in the Greens leaders office where questions are formulated and answered.

      • tracey 15.2.3

        And step two is to propose changes to Standing Orders.

        It seems many here are unhappy with stuff when their party is in Opposition but happy with it in when their party is in Government.

        Greens are trying to create a new paradigm. The apoplexy with which it is being met suggests the change will be hard but is overdue.

        As for those harking back to Turei… let me count the resignations that should have happened from national’s Cabinet and PM ranks long before hers… and yet.

        “Handling” a political situation has as much to do with how the media feel about the situation as to how anyone actually handled it.

        In the meantime we are clearly as deep in Dirty Politics mode as ever. The Nats are in campaign mode, and building momentum to be exactly what they have always been. Bridges, imo, is seen as better able to carry the strategy applied to Key than English.

        • red-blooded

          I don’t think it’s fair to say that people are apoplectic, Tracey. There are just many of us who see this as a foolish move and are explaining why.

          And if we are in Dirty Politics mode, it doesn’t seem like a great time to be further strengthening the Nats’ hand…

  15. savenz 16

    Also whoever came up with the Green strategy to silo each MP into just dealing with one or two issues, needs their head read!

    A better strategy is to concentrate on the big issues and collectively do something about them, while keeping time a bit of time free everyday to concentrate on the day to day scandals and issues.

    So many Green headlines seem to be just about themselves. The public actually expect their MP’s to work for the public, not constantly pontificate about themselves or their party in the headlines.

    Look at their headlines on their own site…

    Green Party announces significant change to Question Time
    (Topic, Themselves)

    Sign up to join the conversation on the Zero Carbon Bill
    (What the public can do, not what the Greens are doing about it in parliament)

    Have your say on international climate change guidelines
    (What the public can do, not what the Greens are doing about it in parliament)

    The headlines on their site are still the leadership challenge (topic themselves) and second is “our people’ about themselves again. Then in the middle are links to the actual issues.

    The TPPA which the Greens are against, is not there and the submissions link not there on the ‘news’.

    • Sacha 16.1

      “What the public can do, not what the Greens are doing about it in parliament”


      • savenz 16.1.1

        Yes gasp. Nowadays people expect politicians work for their salary, not just have suggestions for what everyone else can do.

  16. weka 17

    “I am happy to be persuaded this is strategically a master stroke but I just can’t see it.”

    It helps to stop looking through the lens of politics being about power and control. There is no big power play here. The Greens aren’t doing this because they believe that National will ask good questions about the environment. Afaict, they’re doing it on principle because the patsy questions are waste of everyone’s time and the Greens don’t need the allocation they have. The principle is as Shaw stated – QT is the prime space for the govt to be held to account and having patsy Qs just monkey wrenches that. This does not support democracy.

    Lots of the commentary yesterday was people trying to figure out the angle and not finding one resorting to either ‘the Greens are going right’, or ‘the Greens are really fucking stupid’. But honestly, I think there is no angle and that is why people are having trouble making sense of it.

    Better to look at it as non-partisan, and indeed about democracy and how politics is done. The context is the other moves they are making along these lines e.g. making their Ministers’ diaries open. They’re changing culture here and playing the long game.

    It might also be about differentiating themselves from Labour, but not by having a poke at Labour so much as presenting themselves and the democratic reform party. I haven’t watched the Shaw interview from yesterday yet though, so haven’t seen the bit about Ardern understanding that coalition partners in 2020 aren’t a given.

    So not so much a master strategy as just the GP going about their normal business. They were dropping hints during the election campaign that post-election they would be making moves to change how politics is done.

    (I do think they need to improve their comms though. It took most of yesterday for me to even understand what QT is and then what the implications of this move by the Greens are. I’m guessing that there are many NZers who have heard this announcement and have no idea what is going on).

    • If there is no angle, it’s appalling that however it was decided, the huge downside was not enough to stop it happening.

    • tracey 17.2

      Added to that is their proposal to make changes to Standing Orders, which many seem to be ignoring.

      Change is uncomfortable, doing things the way they have always been done is more comfy but just causes decades of harm.

      The more insensed the left gets about this the more it seems bigger than it is.

      Anyone didn’t everyone hate the lack of transparency under Key and English? This is Labour’s chance to show how they are different.

    • Keepcalmcarryon 17.3

      Unfortunately politics is about power and control.

      • weka 17.3.1

        Except for those who do it differently. What the Greens do is a form of resistance. Expectations that they should play the Game undermine their politics, which they are entitled to.

        • mikes

          So why couldn’t they just not use their question allocation instead of giving more ammo to the National Party and making things slightly more difficult for the government?

          This is a really dumb move. Unless maybe its simply the Greens now starting to show their true colors. Like I’ve always said, the Greens don’t like the working class.

          • weka

            Afaik if they don’t use their questions they get reallocated proportionally to the other parties, so National would still get some. The point of what they are doing is to uphold the democratic principle that QT is where the Opposition holds the government to account. That is literally the purpose of it. If you want to argue against the value of the Opposition doing that, then consider the last nine years.

            If National choose to abuse QT that is not the responsibility of the Greens and it is incumbent on all of us to then hold National to account to fulfil their role as the Opposition.

            Further, the Greens intend to push for reform of QT via the Standing Orders review.

            • red-blooded

              So, if there’s already a review underway, why pre-empt it?

              And if the Greens object in principal to patsy questions, why have they asked so many of them when given the chance? And why don’t they just put their other hats on and ask questions that they’d like to use to hold the coalition partners to account? That’s one of the benefits of a Confidence and Supply agreement.

              As for “some” of the questions going to the Nats, that might be the case if they just refrained from asking questions, but they’ve announced that they are passing their rights on to the Nats except if they occasionally want to ask one for themselves (at least they have reserved that right).

              • weka

                One of the values of what they have done is that we are now all talking about it. If they just waiting for the review and made their submission how much attention do you think that would get? I reckon sfa. They need to build momentum and so I expect them to carry on with things like opening the Ministers’ diaries, and spotlighting the problems with QT by basically saying patsy questions don’t serve democracy and the Opposition should have them. Consider what that might mean for the left in opposition some time in the future.

                “And if the Greens object in principal to patsy questions, why have they asked so many of them when given the chance?”

                I would guess, and it is a guess, that they’ve been following convention until now. See McFlock’s comment on this, the idea that in a meeting one day they realised what a waste of time/effort their questions were and they wanted to free that time up for something else. Yes, they can use that time/resource for asking useful questions of Labour/NZF, and they have retained the right to do that. But they feel like they don’t need one of those every week. Why is that? Some people are interpreting that in a negative way, but it’s not the only way to understand it. Look at what that means.

  17. savenz 18

    Also agree 1000% – best idea ever

    “One option suggested by Laura O’Connor Rapira and others on Twitter was to open the questions up to the public. This would have really shown the Greens are committed to a properly functioning democracy.”

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 18.1

      brilliant idea this one!!

    • tracey 18.2

      Ecept for the bit about trolls… FB being for sale to highest bidder and clicker and commenters…. time to create identities etc… white collar at computer all day, blue collar on site, factor floor etc…

      • savenz 18.2.1

        So what, give it to National rather than the trolls????? Not sure about the logic there… Very cynical view of the public and democracy if the public ‘can’t be trusted’ but Natz can.

      • red-blooded 18.2.2

        Presumably they’d reserve the right to choose the questions. I agree it would be a difficult scenario, but this one also creates difficulties!

        • UncookedSelachimorpha

          Yes, could be moderated, with no obligation to ask any particular question (and not simply a counting of ‘likes’ etc).

  18. savenz 19

    The other thing that annoys me too, is that there is heat at present on Labour and National and whenever this happens for some bizarre reason, the Greens rush out and announce something stupid about themselves, which takes the heat off holding Labour and National to account and then puts it back on the Greens to how hopeless/stupid/naive the Greens are!!

    WTF! It’s like a self sabotage from the Greens, every time!

    • Wayne 19.1

      “Heat on National.” What heat?

      As far as I can see the last two weeks was about the government, and not in a good way.

      Presumably you mean that now Simon is the leader of National, people will want to see how he goes, but that is not really the same as “heat on National.” And in any event so far he seems to be doing quite OK.

      • tracey 19.1.1

        You missed he and Adams contradicting each other and his bizarre and embarrassing “let some prisoners vote…. to a few minutes later… don’t let any prisoners vote”?

        There is that photo op up Mt Maunganui when he dropped in to get his image enhanced sitting next to a disabled person… same type of person his and your government and those before have pissed on from on high for years.

  19. Ovid 20

    If they don’t think patsy questions are helpful, why don’t they just not ask the questions? I see no advantage to ceding them to National, who will simply ask “Does the Minister stand by all their statements” over and over again.

    • weka 20.1

      If the intention of this is to improve democracy then those questions disappearing doesn’t help that and could be considered anti-democratic.

      “who will simply ask “Does the Minister stand by all their statements” over and over again.”

      And then what happens?

      • veutoviper 20.1.1

        It has been a very standard ploy for many years here and in other Westminister parliamentary countries to ask question such as” Does the Minister stand by all their statements, policies etc” because the Minister/Government only gets to see the primary oral question in advance; they do not see the supplementary questions until they are asked them in person in the House. Hence these general primary questions do not indicate to the Minister and their advisers what the supplementary questions are actually going to be about.

        I am not saying it is good; but you really should watch Question Time and Parliament in general to get to understand how the system currently works – and also do some background reading to understand why many of the parliamentary processes have developed over many, many years – in some cases centuries.

        • weka

          Thanks, I understood that (most people this week aren’t going to have time to do that kind of research, myself included).

          My question was to get Ovid to follow through on the criticism. National ask a blind questions and then get to ask the Minister on the spot questions? Will this make Labour more accountable or less? Yes, National will use this to attack Labour, but what is the way out of that whole dynamic? Is it to keep the status quo around Qs? Are Labour abusing the system also in how they respond? Do Labour need to up their game in terms of transparency and integrity with regards to how they are governing?

          I’m not saying that National will ask good questions. I’m saying the status quo was appalling, and the Greens are pushing for change. Most people I see arguing against the Greens are arguing for status quo on the basis that National are evil and we should control power as much as possible to limit the damage they do. That’s a very low level of democracy to be aiming at.

    • There are 12 questions at a time, if the Greens don’t ask theirs, they are allocated to other parties proportionally, so Nats might get 2, Labour 1 etc.

      • red-blooded 20.2.1

        That might happen if they simply happened not to use their question allocation, but the announcement has been that they are ceding their allocation to National. While I won’t claim specific expertise in this matter, a quick Google search took me to this page that said “Questions are allocated proportionally to each party based on the number of MPs, though parties may exchange slots through mutual agreement.”

        This, together with the various press statements etc about giving questions to the Nat.s suggests that the Greens won’t just have their unused questions reallocated, they’ll officially cede them to a party that opposes almost everything they stand for.

        • weka

          Hmm, they’ve retained the right to ask questions when they need to, so in effect they’re only giving Nat the ones they don’t have a use for.

      • weka 20.2.2

        cheers, that’s useful.

  20. cleangreen 21

    To be fair here, (I am not a green party member or supporter) I see that Labour have made some awful errors so far;

    Greens are trying to wake labour and NZF up here i think;

    Starting with the disastrous opening speech of Shane Jones in Gisborne as he (on behalf) of his NZF coalition) began producing a “coalition Labour policy of “Regional development” and came here to Gisborne firstly to make enemies by saying “I have seen no support for rail”.

    The community was shunned, This amn Shane jones has alienated thousands among the thousands that marched in support of the rail after to was damaged in a storm over two thousand walked to the rail station in May 2012 after national allowed the rail washout to occur.

    Shane Jones now said it may not reopen now, even though it was his boss’s (Winston Peters first election plea from 2014-2017 was to re-open the line!!!!!!
    For Shane Jones; Meng Foon sais this in 2013 so hear this now;

    “Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon said “I ask the Government to give us a chance to prove our ability to use the rail sustainably, it is only $4m for the capital repairs and we’ve seen how quickly KiwiRail committed to repairing the flood damaged West Coast rail earlier this month.

    Is it just the East Coast that is no longer important?”

    Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon said “I ask the Government to give us a chance to prove our ability to use the rail sustainably, it is only $4m for the capital repairs and we’ve seen how quickly KiwiRail committed to repairing the flood damaged West Coast rail earlier this month.

    Is it just the East Coast that is no longer important?” Surely Shane now can stop listening to the trucking lobbyists and begin to hear this????

    So Jacinda needs to sort her cacus out and get her support partners wishes provided to them, and control loose lips like Shane jones else jacinda may face defeat or an internal row.

    Thank you Green party for trying to wake labour and we hope it works for us all before the Labour party make the wrong mistakes again.

    • dukeofurl 21.1

      labour doesnt control the ‘lips’ of a coalition party Mps ?

      Im not sure why you even think this is a good idea , even if it was possible. ( Should this even be on this post)

      • veutoviper 21.1.1

        No it shouldn’t be on this post and it is a complete distortion of the regional development plan and Provincial Development Fund launch in Gisborne by the coalition government with the leaders of the three parties, Labour, NZF and the Greens active participants in the launch.

  21. Phil Toms 22

    Giving the fascists more time to speak does not hold the govt to account. The Greens do not have to ask patsy questions. They clearly had no desire whatsoever to grill the Govt on the creepy CPTPP and mounted no campaign whatsoever. The 5% who stayed loyal to the greens did not do so to give the Tories our voice. They do not have the right to give away our voice. The Tories and Labour are virtually the same and the Greens are the only ones with the remnants of an alternative view, until now apparently.

  22. Robert Guyton 23

    I absolutely support this initiative by The Greens, for several reasons, but the one that makes me feel most excited is that it is an initiative, it shows The Greens have initiative; initiative , what an excellent quality for a political party to have and display!

    • weka 23.1

      Yep. Would love to hear the other reasons.

    • Reality 23.2

      Initiative? Even stupid ideas could be said to be a form of initiative. Whether the idea makes sense strategically is the issue that eludes James Shaw in his desire to get a headline.

      • weka 23.2.1

        I’ve yet to see anyone dumping on the Greens over this have a realistic analysis of the strategy involved. That you don’t understand the strategy doesn’t mean it’s not there.

        And it’s now Shaw, it’s the GP.

        • tracey

          This ^^^^

        • Sanctuary

          “…. That you don’t understand the strategy doesn’t mean it’s not there…”

          Very Green thinking to assume you are so much more clever than everyone else that it stands to reason that objections are based on a failure to perceive your brilliance.

          How about people can see the strategy, it is just they can’t believe how stupid it is?

          • weka

            I spend a large amount of time defending the Greens, not because I think they are perfect or above criticism but because I think many people simply don’t understand who and what the GP are. I’ve written posts about this many times. If you want to understand the Greens you have to listen to what they themselves say (rather than MSM or commentariat reckons), learn the culture, and then form a critical analysis.

            What I see mostly is people criticising the Greens through a conventional L/R political analysis and it comes up wanting again and again. Hence we still have people, even in the past few days, arguing that this is a sign the Greens will go with National for form govt. I’m sick of pussy footing around that. It’s a nonsense that I expect from the RWers here who are shitstirring. When I see lefties running those lines, it’s time for some people to wake the fuck up.

            The comment I replied to above was a throwaway comment with someone’s reckons that have no shared basis in evidence. Who knows what they mean or think. I gave a throwaway comment back because I’m sick of having to explain the same shit over and over again.

            If people *can see the strategy and think it’s bullshit, then they can explain that analysis. That I will argue against (or for if I agree). Mindless reactionary comments I will criticise differently.

          • tracey

            Many people have suggested reasons why they might do this, including me. Shaw, imno, has fronted this poorly. He doesn’t speak well in these staged interviews and needs to be clearer and more succinct.

            But some here don’t like it, fair enough, and no amount of explanation is going to make them feel better.

            BUT is it really suck a BFD?

            Only if people make it one.

          • veutoviper

            This ^^^^

            • weka

              Reality didn’t present an analysis of strategy failing though, they just used the opportunity to bash the Greens. There are others trying to critique the strategy or lack thereof, including micky in the post, which I am more appreciative of.

    • red-blooded 23.3

      Not everything new is smart, Robert.

      Asking meaningful questions would show more initiative and would do more to promote issues of concern for their supporters. It’ll be interesting to see how many questions they do actually ask from this point on. Not many, is my guess.

      I don’t agree with people who are saying that this will drive the Greens under 5%. It’s an issue that will resound with very few people and won’t be a feature of the next election campaign. Having said that, it’s not a great way for them to show that they’re ready for government and able to function in a stable coalition.

      • weka 23.3.1

        “Asking meaningful questions would show more initiative and would do more to promote issues of concern for their supporters.”

        How would that work? Please give examples from the last month. I’m actually pretty curious about this, because I too haven’t really understood why they don’t use those questions themselves better. I’m guessing it’s because they see the Questions as primarily a tool of the Opposition and thus not that useful to them given they are on Labour’s side.

        • dukeofurl

          hasnt VV looked back and found the pastys are asked by Green Mps of Green Ministers?

          • weka

            yes, it’s in OM yesterday and today. Not sure how that is relevant to my comments though.

        • red-blooded

          I can’t give examples from the last few months because the Greens have been asking patsy questions in that time. But have a look at the piece by Keith Locke published on The Daily Blog. He gives examples from his time, eg “Let’s look at an earlier period, 1999-2002, when the Greens had a Confidence and Supply Agreement with the Labour/Alliance government – similar to the Confidence and Supply Agreement the Greens have today with the Labour/NZ First coalition, although the Greens now have three Cabinet Ministers (outside-of-Cabinet). In that earlier time, Labour and the Alliance expected most of the Green questions to be challenging – on such topics as genetic engineering, the war in Afghanistan, welfare reform, free trade and investment treaties and counter-terrorism legislation.”

          He also highlights areas of ongoing difference between Labour or NZF and the Greens and references the more recent questions from the Māori Party towards National on things like policing and penal issues. It’s worth a read.

          • weka

            Thanks will have a read later. What I meant by examples form the past month is where it would have been useful for the Greens to have used their questions but not asked patsy ones. What issues were up front, and where would the GP fit into that in terms of asking questions of the government to hold them to account? I’m guessing the TPPA would be an obvious one, but I don’t still fully understand how question time works. Can the Greens use their allocation to ask any kind of question of any party?

            • dukeofurl

              I think questions can only be asked of Ministers about things in their responsibility and the PM about all of the government.

              two exceptions are the Chair of a select committee can be asked about its business ( very rare) and a Member who has had a bill drawn from the ballot, can be asked about by any other member.

              The labour/greens confidence and supply says:
              ‘The parties will cooperate with each other in respect of executive and parliamentary activities, consult closely, and operate with mutual respect to achieve agreed outcomes.’

              Maybe that means they dont ask questions of each others ministers , but I wouldnt know.

              • red-blooded

                No, it doesn’t mean that. If the Greens were in an official coalition, that would apply, because of Cabinet rules (any agreed policy is backed by all). In a C&S agreement, the Greens have freedom to criticise, vote against and publicly challenge (through QT or other means) anything that’s not under their ministerial management and not covered by the detail of the agreement. That leaves lots.

              • weka

                agree with rb. The Greens are free to criticise the govt in certain areas e.g. those MPs who don’t hold Ministerial posts can effectively act as if they are outside of govt, but even Ministers are free to disagree with the govt within limits, because they are outside of cabinet. JAG has been talking about this in the co-leader election process.

            • UncookedSelachimorpha

              I thought about your question and had a browse here:


              My first impression is that the Nat questions are largely disingenious maneuvering and point-scoring, and the one I can see from the Greens (GG) is a Patsy!

              I don’t really have a problem with Patsy questions – they can be used to inform.

        • mikes

          “..they see the Questions as primarily a tool of the Opposition…”

          Right, and now they (the Greens) are helping the opposition by giving the opposition more tools?

          You would have us believe that there’s some great strategy behind that. Well, most people see it for what it is, a helping hand to the National party.

          Crazy, ridiculous, dumb move by the Greens which will backfire, just like their last ‘great’ idea.

          • weka

            Their last great idea was to open their Ministers’ diaries. How has that backfired?

            • UncookedSelachimorpha

              That, and rejecting corporate lobbying. Both were great ideas!

              Less certain about this latest one.

      • veutoviper 23.3.2

        Could not agree more, red-blooded. I was so flummoxed by their announcement yesterday when I knew how they have been operating in Parliament since Nov 2017, that I spent several hours last night analysing their Oral Question record in this Parliament to date. Full is at 7 on Open Mike with a summary above at 12.1.

        17 primary oral questions in all – all patsys to other Green MPs/Ministers. No primary questions to or from Labour or NZF, but occasionally supplementaries some of which have been patsys.. Only seven primary oral questions to the Greens from National.

        This out of a total of 324 primary oral questions in Question Time to date.

        They can no longer ask patsys of one another – or support Labour by asking patsy supplementaries – without breaking their own self-inflected rules.

        So my prediction is that they is that they may well be ignored by the other parties in Question Time, and sit there silent in isolation in full view on Parliamentary TV. QT is the most watched/listened to section of Parliamentary broadcasting by far.

        Time only will tell whether it will affect their vote.

    • newsense 23.4

      It gets everyone talking about the Greens and gets the focus on them.
      It may play out that they get a reputation for being less silly and get credited enough to work with National to prise off some blue green votes.

      The other possibility is that voters look at Jacinda as PM, who is an urban liberal, somewhat Green adjacent PM, and move from the Greens to Labour at even greater speed, leaving the Greens out of the next parliament, to what consequences who knows?

  23. dukeofurl 24

    The basic numbers on changes to parliament rules, Greens + National = Majority

    So I can see a pathway where Greens gets Nationals support on certain procedural changes to the way Questions for Oral Answers are operated.

    Trouble with that lofty ambition, is that they havent told us this is ‘the deal’. All we have been told is they want to change stuff to make the’ government more accountable’

    Details please of what the deal is with national in order for the changes to occur. ?

    • weka 24.1

      As far as I can tell there is no deal. If you have evidence of a deal (beyond MSM opinion), it would be good to present it.

      • dukeofurl 24.1.1

        Like I said greens need nationals votes to make the changes ( whatever they may be)

        Do you give up something ( like QoA) without a definite deal in place and rely on nationals goodwill come time to make it happen .

        Would you not agree, changes are needed to Oral Questions. 8 green votes by themselves are not changing anything, so deals need to be done with other parties.
        Im assuming there is a deal with national, as they have been given something (that the greens dont want , true).

        • weka

          Or they could rely on L/NZF.

          The rest is supposition. Given the Greens operate from a base ethic of appropriate transparency, I think if they had made a deal with National they would have said do. On the balance of probabilities, this is *far more likely than them doing a secret deal. For one, that would go against their kaupapa. For another, it would go down extremely badly if it were leaked. Integrity works, which is why the Greens do it. Meanwhile people are running round looking for ulterior motives or deals or whatever, instead of just taking this at face value.

          Besides, not everyone sees politics as a series of deals. Sometimes it really is ok to just give things away. You yourself noted advantages to the Greens that have nothing to do with a deal with National.

          • Carolyn_Nth

            I think the move is in keeping with the GP principles, and with a long term stated aim to work to improve Question Time.

            Yesterday James Shaw indicated there was a strategic element to the announcement, which had to do with the need to not be subsumed within the Labour Party, and ultimately lose their strength and independence.

            I see this as a hopeful sign that the GP is strengthening their strategies – something Julie Anne Genter recently stated was necessary.

            So, this was not entirely a transparent element of the announcement, but not totally hidden either.

            So, those saying this announcement is naive on the part of the GP doesn’t fully add up. But nor do statements that the policy is just about the GP following their principles.

            I do think change to Question Time is long overdue, and so let’s see where this, and further attempts to change QT, lead.

            • weka

              If it is also a political strategy for the party, I haven’t seen that yet. The link is Jo Moir framing it as that. I’d like to see that from source. Was it in the TV interview yesterday?

              • Carolyn_Nth

                I couldn’t find a video capture of Shaw’s comment.

                However, Kim Hill’s interview on RNZ at the weekend covers the same ground. She quizzed James Shaw on whether this was an attempt to establish the GP as having a separate identity from Labour.

                There are specifically 2 places in the interview where she asks this directly. Basically Shaw’s first response is that small parties do need to avoid being undermined by alliances with a bigger party, but that this was not the “primary” motive for the move to give up questions.


                00:17 mins:

                KH: Is it also a way for you guys to combat the loss of identities suffered inevitably by smaller parties in government?

                JS: Well look we are very cognisant that the history of MMP is littered with the carcasses of parties that have gone into government and haven’t come out the other side. But in this case, the reason I did this is because it is our long led view that patsy questions are a waste of time and going back to well before I was in parliament….


                KH: So you think to suggest that this is to carve you out an identity instead of being mashed up with Labour, is a cynical view?

                JS: I think, it’s not, it’s certainly not the primary thing.

                KH: But it is one purpose?

                JS: Look, I mean commentators have had in the last 24 hours [KH tries to say something] they’ve had a lot of different views about strategic mind behind this view. And, um, i can honestly hand on heart say the reason why we have done this the way that we’ve done this is that we believe that patsy questions are a waste of time.

                Later in the interview Shaw says he hopes National was at first non-plussed at the offer. they were looking for the catch.

                Shaw says that Bridges said the gift will be used in the spirit that it is given.

                edit: [saved this so I didn’t accidentally delete it – more to come]


                KH: And when you said that PM Ardern was aware of the need for political friends you were warning her that the Greens needed some attention, were you?

                JS: No [chuckle] No no [KH: Are you sure]. No absolutely. it’s something that she has said to me on a number of occasions. She truly understands MMP, and that, if we are going to succeed, if she’s going to succeed, if the Labour Party is going to succeed, we’ve all got to succeed together. that’s true of the Labour party. It’s true of the green Party. it’s true of NZ First. We have to help each other out.

                • tracey

                  Thanks for this Carolyn, and your earlier posts. Much appreciated.

                  I wish Shaw was better at expressing himself simply and clearly

                • Carolyn_Nth

                  In listening to, and transcribing this, I felt, Shaw’s wording indicates that, while it wasn’t the “primary” reason for gifting questions to the Nats, there was a strategic element to it. [The use of the word “primary” is a give away].

                  Shaw dodges and hums around the questions of whether it was partly to preserve the GP independence from Labour.

              • Carolyn_Nth

                Also, see the transcript from Q&A at the weekend – Corrin Dann’s interview of James Shaw:

                CORIN Giving them supplementaries as well?

                JAMES Yeah, well, up to a point. So we want to hold those more in reserve. So we’ll kind of see what the emerging questions are. Sometimes there will be things that we want to jump in on. So, for example, when Steven Joyce was having a go at Grant Robertson, I would often use our supplementary questions to point out that Steven Joyce’s $11.7 billion hole was fake news. And so I think that that’s part of the context.

                CORIN How does Labour feel about this?

                JAMES I think reaction was mixed. I think that it would be fair to say that they thought the idea of handing the Opposition a bigger stick to beat us with wasn’t universally thought of as a great idea. But I don’t think that they… They certainly don’t think believe that we shouldn’t do it.

                • tracey

                  I think some of this is also that the media are focusing on it being about getting out from under labour so they can get excited that there might be a rift.

                  • Carolyn_Nth

                    There will always be those gunning for the GP from left, right and centre. Best they just get on with what they decide to do.

            • weka

              lots to agree with in your overall analysis btw.

          • cleangreen

            Yes it is possible there Weka,

            Wethink the next poll will show some change in strategy.

  24. UncookedSelachimorpha 25

    This might be a clever political strategy (e.g. not wanting to appear to be just another branch of the majority party, which is always a risk for minor coalition partners).

    But the ‘Patsy Question’ explanation makes no sense. If they want to avoid ‘Patsy Questions’, then just don’t use their own questions to ask any. There are plenty of non-Patsy questions they could be asking Labour – e.g. TPPA, inequality etc

    • weka 25.1

      If you consider the questions to be an important part of the democratic process, then disappearing them doesn’t serve democracy. I’m guessing the Greens don’t need 42 questions a year to hold Labour to account. They are sometimes opposition sometimes govt depending on what is going on. I think here they are also breaking the duopoly that is our system, I expect more of this.

      They also appear to believe that the purpose of the questions is for the Opposition to hold the Government to account. That is a principle they want to uphold irrespective of who is in power and who isn’t.

      • Baba Yaga 25.1.1

        “They also appear to believe that the purpose of the questions is for the Opposition to hold the Government to account. That is a principle they want to uphold irrespective of who is in power and who isn’t.”

        I agree, and that’s fair enough. However I do wonder why the Greens could not choose to use their allocated questions to hold the Government to account in areas of policy where they disagree. Both ACT and MP MP’s did precisely that over the term of the National government.

        • tracey

          This is why they will hold some.

        • weka

          They have said they will do exactly this. The issue is over the questions they don’t need and what should happen to them. As I already said.

          Afaik, allocation number is based on number of MPs i.e the Greens will have more allocated questions than ACT or the Mp.

          • Baba Yaga

            The Greens don’t get that many questions. I would have though they have enough independent policy to have used all they have. I admire the Greens on this, I just think it is an unnecessary charity.

          • veutoviper

            The number of questions is based on the number of MPS minus the number of Ministers, Associated Ministers and Parliamentary Under Secretaries.

            So GP has 8 MPs but three are Ministers and one is a Parl U/S, so their primary oral Question Allocation is based on the remaining four MPS only. We covered this in detail yesterday weka.

            As Baba Yaga said, on occasions ACT and the MP did use their question allocation to question/ hold National to account – GP has not done this once so far in this new Government. if they signed up to a C/S agreement that does not allow them to do this, be it on their heads, no-one else’s.

      • veutoviper 25.1.2

        And they have not used one single question to date “to hold Labour to account” or NZF. Just 17 patsys to one another.

  25. At the risk of sounding like a self-help bullshit salesman, this is the Green Party being the change it wants to see in the world. If the change you want to see is integrity being placed ahead of political advantage, that doesn’t leave you the option of rejecting living up to your principles because there’d be no political advantage in it. In fact, it might put you in the position of having to live up to your principles despite there being obvious political disadvantage in it. It’s astonishing to have a party like that in government, and so far I’m liking it a lot.

    • weka 26.1

      best commentary I’ve seen on this so far. Also, that the Greens have been in parliament for 20 odd years and this is still so hard for people to understand. That or they just want the power mongering politics to continue (or more generously, they don’t see a way out).

    • tracey 26.2

      Well said PM….

      But… the game!… the Game!!! What about playing the game… and hasn’t playing the game served labour and its supporters so fucking well since 1984!

      • weka 26.2.1

        Lol, so true, the Game!!

        • Robert Guyton

          The Greens are leading the way, showing how it can be done – let’s support them – after all, they represent those who want to… lead the way and show how it can be done!

    • Robert Guyton 26.3

      Beautiful and insightful comment, Pyscho Milt!

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 26.4

      I see what you mean, PM. Makes sense.

    • Incognito 26.5

      Agreed! I expressed it differently (in the other post today on this hot topic) but we’re saying essentially the same thing.

  26. newsense 27

    Did the Greens have to ask pasty questions?

    • tracey 27.1

      Did the Greens have to accept that things should be done how they have always been done?

    • weka 27.2

      what should they do with the allocation if they don’t ask patsy questions?

      • veutoviper 27.2.1

        Take a look at the second half of above for some off the top of my head/rough suggestions as to what they could have done instead of going full monty all at once.

  27. tracey 28

    Here are some of the LIberals proposals in Canada.

    In case anyone hasn’t noticed, since the Green Party entered parliament one of their tactics has been to get people talking about stuff that matters to them.

    They generally are quite particular about what they choose. It has been the environment, climate change, poverty and now how parliament operates.

    The emotional attachment some have to them and us of our politics is showing on this topic. It is NOT that big a deal. The average person probably didn’t even know there WAS a question time, now they do. And they know one party thinks it is a joke.

    • red-blooded 28.1

      And one way to get people talking about the things that matter is to ask questions about them.

  28. esoteric pineapples 29

    I’m really hoping someone challenges James Shaw for Male Co-Leader at this year’s AGM. He hasn’t been held to account for the disastrous election campaign. James campaigned for the role with the argument that a lot of people thought about voting for the Greens but didn’t, with the implication that he could turn these into votes. In fact, things went the opposite way and it was beholden of him to fall on his sword. This decision suggests nothing is going to change unless he does.

    • tracey 29.1

      Who do you suggest, and why?

    • weka 29.2

      Very difficult to know exactly why the vote dropped, there were many variables. Most of which weren’t under Shaw’s control. You get that he doesn’t run the party right?

  29. Baba Yaga 30

    “One option suggested by Laura O’Connor Rapira and others on Twitter was to open the questions up to the public. This would have really shown the Greens are committed to a properly functioning democracy.”

    The real ‘power’ in asking Questions in the House is not in the written primary question (which is often deliberately broad) but in the supplementary questions that follow. Opposition MP’s use these supplementary’s to test a Ministers knowledge of their portfolio. Having a member of the public suggest a primary question would be of little value unless they then got to ask the supplementary’s, and I would suggest that would be impractical.

  30. Stuart Munro 31

    Didn’t the Greens at one point solicit questions from the public? I think on the whole I’d rather see greater public accountability in parliament than more questions for the tired and corrupt far-right troughers of National.

  31. tracey 32


    I have to be honest and say I am bemused at the complete lack of response by labour to the Defence Commander being deliberately misleading or lying tot he people of NZ.

    Rather than worry about a few patsy questions relinquished by the Greens, answer me this

    Why has this not been a headline?

    “Ardern suspends Defence Commander on full pay pending an enquiry.

    That would be strong Leadership, would get the media focus back on something else…. but guess who would probably block that? Clue: NOT the Green party

    Just silence… nothing to see here. Why some on the Left are more upset at the Greens than this beggars belief.

    • red-blooded 32.1

      I guess that’s remotely (but only remotely) related to the topic under discussion…:)

      I don’t know the intricacies of the employment relationship for the Defence Commander. i do know that Ardern would have to work through Ron Mark – the Minister of Defence, though. Part of the joy of a coalition government… Of course, she’s also probably waiting for the results of the Attorney General’s Investigation (ordered mid Feb) before progressing this further. That would make sense.

  32. Adrian Thornton 33

    If I had known that the Greens would make this ridiculous move, I sure as hell would not have voted for them.

    I know Sue Bradford would not have done this….now there was a missed opportunity to have a serious progressive party in NZ, not like the piss poor, half arsed ‘left’ parties we have to put up with today…what a disaster.

    I would say they are a joke, except it isn’t funny.

  33. Obtrectator 34

    If this experiment doesn’t work out, they can always bring it to a stop. Can’t they?

    (And a non-patsy question for the whole Green party: when ARE they going to get the new co-leader appointed? Six months or more, for gosh sakes. Get a move on!)

    • weka 34.1

      I haven’t seen anything to suggest it is binding, but I guess there would be some fall out if they stop. It’s their intention to do this for the rest of the term.

      Co-leader will be chosen and announced by April 8th.

      Timeline announced for Green Party Female Co-leadership election

    • veutoviper 34.2

      In terms of not giving their questions to National – yes they could unless they have signed their rights away in some form. Would not surprise me.

      Re start asking patsy questions of one another – NO. They have basically cut off their nose to spite their face in that respect.

      I had someone say to me and others present just a few days ago that they thought it ridiculous that the Nats had been able to sort their leadership restructure out basically in just a week, while the Greens a much smaller party are taking months to choose a new Co-leader when they should be hard at work as they are now part of the government as opposed to Opposition. There were a number of others who agreed with this perspective and said they were sick of hearing about the Co-leader campaign and the focus should be on their parliamentary work not their internal administration.

      That is how perception works – especially when people are not hearing what the minor players in the government are doing and achieving.

      • solkta 34.2.1

        while the Greens a much smaller party are taking months to choose a new Co-leader

        Fucking ridiculous that democracy shit.

        • veutoviper

          No – I was simply pointing out how ‘perception’ in the big wide world out there works.

    • “Get a move on!”

  34. McFlock 35

    As far as I can tell, the only motive behind this is that the Greens couldn’t see the point in asking unremarkable questions of themselves to plug achievements in a format that would never get msm coverage without conflict or spectacular implications.

    They can publicise their achievements better, elsewhere.

    And asking non-patsy questions would simply result in the attack dogs howling “coalition in chaos, snap election around the corner!!!” even when the questions weren’t remotely confrontational.

    The worst thing that can happen from this is that the nats actually ask some challenging questions that expose genuine shortcomings which embarrasses the government into sorting itself out in that regard. In which case it’s a good thing those questions were asked.

    • weka 35.1

      so are questions being given to the Opposition ones that the Greens can only ask themselves? i.e they can’t be asked of Labour Ministers?

      • McFlock 35.1.1

        They can be asked of anyone in govt, I believe.

        Let’s run through that:
        Green: What is [Labour minister] doing to address [issue minister has dropped ball on]?
        Minister: [fumbles answer]
        Media response: Greens bringing down government from inside! Coalition in flames! Will Winston jump to National!? Own goal by Greens knifing ally in back!!!
        Later National party questions: Given her coalition is in disarray, how can the Prime Minister[…]


        Green: What is [Labour minister] doing to address [issue minister has done well with]?
        Minister: [smug answer]
        Media response: Labour doing well, Greens are toadies and lickspittles.

        Either way, the Greens lose.

        Leaving the questions to be divvied up amongst the other parties gives Labour and NZ1 more patsy questions.

        If the Greens really want to ask a question, taking it back off the nats makes it a bit more important and newsworthy. Yes, the media will still go apeshit, but it’s a one-off that would actually underline the issue they were trying to draw attention to.

        • weka

          pretty much. Shaw has said that there is almost zero coverage of patsy questions, so they’re a waste of time (presumably including for the Green staffers who have to prepare them).

          Green: What is [Labour minister] doing to address [issue minister has dropped ball on]?
          Minister: [fumbles answer]
          Media response: Greens bringing down government from inside! Coalition in flames! Will Winston jump to National!? Own goal by Greens knifing ally in back!!!
          Later National party questions: Given her coalition is in disarray, how can the Prime Minister[…]

          Yes, but, 1) the govt who fumbles the answer needs to up their game, and 2) is democracy to be held hostage to the MSM acting like they’re in a sandpit? 3) ditto National holding democracy hostage.

          In other words, I think the Greens are quite capable of asking questions of Labour (or NZF) in such a way that holds them to account but doesn’t just troll or attack them. I guess we will see how they manage that when they do eventually use one, and then how the MSM respond.

          • McFlock

            1) true, but the Greens asking a challenging question would be the bigger story;
            2) yes;
            3)no because they’re incompetent wraiths sucking the life out of the country.

            If the greens ask a valid hard-hitting question, then the fact it’s the Greens asking it takes up half the column space and it’s in the interests of every other actor except Ardern to have as much of the story about the Greens as possible.

            If the nats manage to ask a valid hardhitting question, the minister bears the brunt of it and has more of an incentive to get their act together.

            And if a question needs to be asked but the nats are ignoring it, the Greens can take one back.

            • weka

              so the Greens hold onto their cards until they really need to play them, and then when they do they need to have a good strategy for how that will play out.

              • McFlock


                Not that I even think it’s a cunning plan as such – I suspect that they were divvying out the patsy questions one day and someone said “what the hell are we bothering bothering with this for?” Then rolled it around, looked at it from different angles, and cleared up a solid half hour of meeting time every week for other matters.

    • alwyn 35.2

      ” nats actually ask some challenging questions “.
      It isn’t going to have much effect on the number of questions that National ask.
      At the moment they get about 63.5% of around 23 in a normal 3 sitting day week with questions every day.
      That will go up to 24 or 25.

      • McFlock 35.2.1

        So no downside whatsoever then.

        • alwyn

          For the Greens, no, I don’t think so.
          By the way I did like your comment at 3.04pm.
          Summed the whole matter up rather well I thought.
          I think you got it rather better than the somewhat rosy view of Weka.

          It will be just about impossible to actually ask any for the rest of the term but nobody really pays any attention to Government questions do they?

          Actually, when I gave some examples yesterday I just picked out the Primary question to mention. I didn’t even bother to look at the answers I decided I knew quite enough about patsy questions to be able to predict the tone of the Supplementary ones . I looked today at the Hansard which gives the Supplementary ones.

          God it must be hell to be forced to put up those questions. Look at the poor woman who had to pose the Supplementary ones to the question about the Census. You will get laughed at when it really isn’t your fault.

    • Robert Guyton 35.3

      Well described, McFlock.

  35. Pete 36

    Don’t want to ask patsy questions, can’t think of goods ones so gives them away?

    It’s like a rugby team giving the ball to the opposition saying “Here, you have the ball, we can’t think of what to do with it. Good luck, we know you’ll us it well.”

    • Carolyn_Nth 36.1

      Politics is not a game. In a democracy it’s about so much more. Reasoned debate, representation of all groups in society, working for the good of all.

      And at the moment, question time is too much about game playing, and very little about democratic debate.

    • veutoviper 36.2

      That’s brilliantly simple!

    • Robert Guyton 36.3


      • Pete 36.3.1

        It’s really interesting to sense some tetchiness about ‘game’ and ‘rugby’ being used in describing politics.

        Weird that it takes something like that to get people roused when the bullshit of Parliament, the way Question Time is used and the festering sore that much of politics in New Zealand is.

        I know it shouldn’t be a game. I know it should be about reasoned debate, representation of all groups in society and working for the good of all.

        It shouldn’t be about brutal macho game playing but the reality is something worse than that. The desperation is far worse that simple eye gouging and kicking people in the head.

        Simple examples:
        1 Simon Bridges goes to Northland in a by-election campaign and when polls look problematic suddenly comes up with double-laning bridges. That wasn’t about reasoned debate, representation of all groups in society and working for the good of all. That was him playing a game.
        2 Collins-Oravida: It might have looked different than a brutal macho game but a Minister of Justice, an area necessarily built over hundreds of years on tenets of honesty, and necessarily reliant on truth, stands there and lies to us.
        The brutalising of everything she should have stood for and what we should all expect as minimum and essential was there. If it was only some insignificant brutal macho game to entertain the masses.

        • weka

          The irony there is that Greens are the party dedicated to not operating in that way and to reforming how politics is done.

          • Pete

            Absolutely, and they are to be commended for their forward thinking and confidence.
            But it could be like someone saying all dogs are nice especially pit-bull terriers and keeping one to prove their theory. Then watching the dog rip their toddler’s face off.

            • weka

              The Greens have been like this the whole time they’ve been parliament.

              It’s not an issue of saying that all MPs are decent, it’s about saying the system needs to be reformed so that we can get decent MPs.

              Got to start somewhere. It’s been a real eyeopener for me seeing so many people defend the parlimentary status quo via TINA arguments.

            • tracey

              Except these are people not dogs. Your “it sucks but we are all helpless before it” is a copout. A frail.justification to let stupidity and on other things, injustices, continue.

              Change happens because someone/s demand a change or force a change. Change rarely happens from “meh it is just the way it is”.

              To continue your sport analogy… many malehockey players ised to spit alot. When artificial turfs were used the spit could sit and gather more germs so those who slid coukd get infected. New rule was that if you spit you get carded. Next game of hockey you watch, see how many men are spitting?

              Tennis and swearing and bad behaviour a la Nastase, Mcenroe etc… lose a point etc… now recalcitrant behaviour is rare a la Kirios

        • Ankerrawshark

          So therefore Carolyn at 36.1 the greens giving national their questions is not going to enhance democracy as mr Shaw seems to be saying (given question time is about the game)………

          IMO it makes the greens look naive.

    • tracey 36.4

      How has this politics of winner take all, all that matters is winning, its not how you but that you win working out for our vulnerable, our disabled and all those under the median wage?

      It may be easier for you to understand it this way but this attitude has and is wrecking alot of real lives.

      • Pete 36.4.1

        I don’t have to be told how to understand it – I see it every day. One of the current symptoms illustrating our generations of bereft approaches is the assaults/robberies of dairies.

  36. monty 37

    If you look about the current slide of Greens in the polling, this is a very simple way to attract votes back, from the switch voters. It appears the majority party sucks the oxygen from its coalition partners and they start to fade.

    Perhaps the Greens believe that they need to find a way to keep some separation and appeal to other voters so they are changing things up. Only time will tell if this works.

    Most people aren’t interested in QT and it is appearing to a good chunk of the public (I am making a generalisation and it is just my opinion) to be for politicians like winston/collins etc to get in hits on each other.

    The Greens won’t form a Govt with National completely their choice and understandable, but this may have turned some people off from voting for them.

    By doing this it could show they are pragmatic and open to new ideas, this will attract voters.

    The tribal voters might be disappointed but there is a long way to go to the election and this will be a side note.

    The public it could generate some good will and move those who waiver in loyalty to any one party to the Greens, this would include blue/green voters.

    • tracey 37.1

      It wont win them votes the way it is being presented by Shaw and framed by tge media.

      Hard as it is to believe not everything the Greens do is first and foremost about getting the punters to change sides to them.

      • Monty 37.1.1

        Getting punters to change sides is the reality for political parties as they need them to survive. You can have all the ideals and best policies but if you can’t get into parliament then you can’t act of them and make change happen.

        That is the reality of the current political system.

        I like Shaw and think he is doing a good job. Once his co leader is elected hopefully JAG they can get more exposure.

        • weka

          MMP came about from activism to change our parliamentary system.

          • Monty

            No offence but so what. It means nothing if you don’t get into parliament to at least have a voice.

            • tracey

              But parties have got into parliament that wouldnt under FPP. So the move for change was warranted

            • weka

              I’m saying that getting votes isn’t the only way to effect change, and the parties that vote chase above doing values-based politics are shit for NZ (and the world). So yes, the Greens need to stay in parliament, but it’s ok for them to do that via their principles. This is a classic example.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          One way to get people to change sides is to keep your word, especially when it comes to points of principle.

    • red-blooded 37.2

      To be honest, I doubt that this will win or lose the Greens many voters. Only the very politically plugged-in will care about it and by the time of the next election it won’t be discussed anymore – it will just be. That doesn’t make it a smart move, though, and I doubt very much that it will have any noticeable effect on the way other parties ask or answer questions. It will simply mean more attack questions directed at Labour, NZF and the Greens during question time.

  37. Robert Guyton 38

    I/S says:
    “Good. The purpose of Question Time is not for the government to praise itself or attack the opposition through patsy questions, but to hold the government to account. And that’s a necessary task, whether you like the current government or not. Governments which are not held to account get lazy and incompetent, which is bad for everybody.”

    • tracey 38.1

      Exactly. But some here would only agree with that when Labour was in Opposition…

    • DS 38.2

      We already have a designated Opposition that holds the Government to account. That does not justify the Greens doing this – unless they consider themselves part of the Opposition too, at which point what are those Green Ministers doing?

      (And note that these National questions will be attacking Green Ministers too).

      • Robet Guyton 38.2.1

        That’s a simplistic view, DS; that the Greens “consider themselves part of the Opposition”. Still, easily tested; ask them if they do; they’ll answer truthfully. I think your supposition is completely wrong and that you are unable to see what’s plain to others.

        • DS

          If they don’t consider themselves part of the Opposition, they shouldn’t be doing National’s job for it (as though the Nats have any interest in asking questions about climate change or inequality).

  38. Colville 40


  39. Ankerrawshark 41

    I can’t believe the greens have made this call.

    I could be wrong but it reminds of the materia Turei strategy.

    It’s important to be strategic about the game, even if you are in parliament for yours principles. Very poor timing to I might aid when there has been a lot of negative publicity for Labour and new leader bridges reaching out to greens.

    Do they really believe democracy will be improved by getting rid of patsy questions? Really? It has been improved by having a PM who operates transpantly and by getting rid of dodgy lying Nats

  40. red-blooded 42

    Anyone who’s interested might like to check out this article from The Spinoff in 2015 which has various people ranging from Gerry Brownle and Judith Collins to Andrew Little, James Shaw, the retiring Clerk of the House and various political commentators all giving their opinions on how QT could be improved. Little (the Leader of the Opposition) favours some kind of public input, Collins and Brownlee think things are pretty much fine but there should be less focus on “Gotcha” moments and questions like “Does the Minister stand by all his/her statements..?” should be outlawed. Shaw doesn’t address the issue of patsy questions at all (some others do) – he just says Ministers should have to answer the question (not just “address” it, which under the Speaker of the time – David Carter – got pretty loose). David Seymour thinks ministers should get to question the questioners!

    It’s an interesting read.

    • tracey 42.1

      Thanks for this.

      Will be interesting to see what happens when the Greens propose changes to Standing Orders

  41. SPC 43

    I presume it is the Greens way of

    1. being above point scoring politics
    2. believing in the accountability of government to parliament and demonstrating this while having to put up with the coalition agreement’s waka jumping legislation.

  42. UncookedSelachimorpha 44

    National Party stooge Brigitte Morten exploits the situation to peddle the BlueGreen fantasy that the Nats and Greens have much in common:

    Kind of predictable.

    • Muttonbird 44.1


      But our interpretation differs. This is the line they will take to the bank. Aren’t you surprised that the Nats haven’t used this insane move by the Greens to launch a full scale attack on the government falling apart?

      No, they haven’t because this is better than anything they could have hoped for. It’s an actual, concrete move by the Greens away from their social justice policy and into environmental only policy which is a prerequisite for a Blue-Green government.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 44.1.1

        I don’t see this move by the Greens an indication they are abandoning social justice! It is more to do with the mechanisms of parliamentary debate I think.

        I agree the Nats would love to see “…move by the Greens away from their social justice policy and into environmental only policy which is a prerequisite for a Blue-Green government” – but I continue to hope that the Greens remain much better (and wiser) than that!

        • tracey

          Agree. Bridges started talking about this being a sign they can work together BUT still the Nats say nothing about what they woukd concede

          • UncookedSelachimorpha

            The Nats only see the Greens as being wrong, and can they get them to abandon their wrongness and join the National way.

      • tracey 44.1.2

        How is it a move away from social justice to environment when it is about QT ?

        The Greens believe that people and the environment sit equally in decision making. Have done for over 20 years.

  43. Muttonbird 45

    And here we go. Nats insider, Bridgette Morten, in her first paragraph lays out the real benefit for National – the beginnings (and history) of working relationships with National.

    She suggests movement on both sides is required but really it’s just movement on one side and that’s for the Greens to drop their social policies for good while accepting pragmatism on environmental issues with respect to business.

    Sad times for the Greens giving up social justice for which Metiria Turei was sacrificed. And also a massive about face from Shaw who thought that policy was good, but has now abandoned it.

    Ironically, with the election of this coalition, there is now less of a voice for the disenfranchised than there was before.

    • red-blooded 45.1

      I think that’s going too far, Muttonbird. For starters, while I think the Greens have made it possible for this narrative to be spun, don’t let’s take this one (foolish) move as proof positive that they’re giving up a central tenet of their belief system. Morten is, after all, a Nat not a Green. She would say that – it doesn’t make it true. Plus, don’t let’s discount Labour as a voice for the disenfranchised. The Greens are not the only party with social justice concerns.

    • weka 45.2

      It beggars belief that left wing people buy this RW narrative and do the Nats’ job for them. The Greens have no intention of going into coalition with National in 2020. Go listen to what the female co-leader candidates have said about this recently. It’s blatant as fuck. National know this. The point of the lies you are repeating is to undermine the Greens and drive away voters. If they drop below 5% the left can’t form govt. Seriously, stop and think about what you are doing here.

      Also, bollocks on Shaw’s position. Everything I have seen him say since the election says that social justice is still a priority for him personally and the party as a whole. Stop telling lies.

      • tracey 45.2.1

        Exactly. The moves to pressure the Greens from public opinion to settle back down into their environment box serves who?

    • … the real benefit for National – the beginnings (and history) of working relationships with National.

      Or, not…

      Corin Dann interviews James Shaw and asks about the parliamentary questions:

      CORIN And how did National feel about it? Can this be interpreted as – let’s be careful with how we phrase it – an olive branch? A little step towards National?

      JAMES No.

      Don’t think National will be feeling the love there…

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 45.3.1

        That interview is excellent – essential reading for anyone wanting to understand what the Greens are doing here, and what Shaw is thinking about it. It is quite reassuring actually.

    • tracey 45.4

      Sorry but why does Mortten know more about the Greens than the Greens?

  44. Ross 46

    The mainstream media aren’t congratulating the Greens on their decision. Given that the msm are hardly flag bearers for the Left, that tells me that this decision by the Greens is the right one. If right wing commentators were applauding the Greens, I’d be worried, but they’re not.

  45. Al 47

    Doesn’t help any chance Greens have of getting my vote – Maori party in a similar vein due to their apparent support for National. Helping National is NOT a way to improve democracy

    • tracey 47.1

      Who will you prefer?

    • Ross 47.2

      So who does get your vote…Labour? You do of course realise that Labour needs partners.

      If you think the Greens support National you are living in fantasy land.

      • tracey 47.2.1

        Agree. Given National hold treasury seats much more than Labour dealing with QT and patsy questions etc seems like a savvy move not the naive one being attributed

  46. Pat 48

    Chris Trotter’s rationale for the decision…..tend to agree until his conclusion…which dosnt explain Shaws apparent difficulty expressing support for the decision…or maybe it does?

    Bizarre…(the decision…and possibly the appraisal as well)

    • weka 48.1

      Trotter patently doesn’t understand the principle here. He is basically arguing that we should have better democracy so long as it advantages the left. That is the trad Labour/Green divide right there.

      • Pat 48.1.1

        20 March 2018 at 10:48 am
        I think he covers ‘the principle’ well and truely in the first half of his argument …so disagree there….the conclusion however suggests that the Greens leadership has little control of its MPs…..that may or may not be so, i dont know.

        Either way I doubt in the grand scheme of things it will assist the Greens in any of their goals….except perhaps if Trotter is entirely correct…and even then its hit and miss.

        • weka

          Well he kind of covers it but he is still saying that politics is war and the left should only increase democracy if it serves them, hence he argues against the principle.

          The rest of his argument is based on the idea that the GP gave away all their questions. They didn’t. So wtf is he on about (rhetorical question).

          • solkta

            WTF is he ever on about when talking about the Greens? It is like watching a chimpanzee study an internal combustion engine.

  47. stever 49

    Just watch Question Time today and see the Nats make complete fools of themselves.

    More questions = looking more foolish.

    This is the Greens “give them enough rope” strategy 🙂

    • weka 49.1


    • Ross 49.2

      Yesterday Simple Simon asked the PM why the Government hadn’t planted any trees. Her response was: “I would hope the member would know enough to know that planting in the middle of summer is not a good idea.”

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    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    2 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    3 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    5 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    6 days ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    7 days ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    7 days ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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