- Date published:
9:05 am, August 28th, 2021 - 53 comments
Categories: act, chris bishop, covid-19, health, jacinda ardern, labour, national, Parliament, parliamentary spending, same old national, trevor mallard - Tags:
There was some activity on Twitter on Thursday night. A record of Chris Bishop saying that the job of the opposition was to gum up the works to stop Governments from governing was posted.
Chris Bishop says he wants to make the country ungovernable during a pandemic
— Aotearoa Aotearoa (@rugbyintel) August 25, 2021
There were claims the comment was taken out of context and predated the Delta outbreak but the comment did display a spectacularly narrow minded approach to leadership,
Then last night Trevor Mallard chose to release details of negotiations for the resumption of Parliament in a digital form after some details had been leaked to the media.
1/6 these documents for the business committee were leaked today. Subsequently @NZNationalParty and @actparty blocked a proposal for a “virtual @NZParliament” which would allow extensive additional questioning of PM and Ministers. pic.twitter.com/oY4NFLhpyd
— Trevor Mallard (@SpeakerTrevor) August 27, 2021
In subsequeent tweets he laid out the proposed structure of the Parliament and it is clear that a great deal of work had been done by Parliament’s Business Committee.
National and Act chose to veto the idea and in leaking details to the media and trying to put their particular spin on the proposal wanted to play political games with the issue.
This is bonkers. Who in their right mind in the middle of a pandemic would insist on MPs and staff from throughout the country gathering together on a regular basis and then dispersing when a properly run zoom meeting can achieve the same?
Yet it is exactly what National wanted and if you need confirmation this article from Thomas Coghlan at the Herald provides it:
National leader Judith Collins was not happy with the idea and wants MPs to meet in person.
“Let’s see what happens out of the business committee but our view is that needs to happen, we need to have a physical sitting of Parliament,” Collins said.
Collins wanted to have Parliament return as well as the Epidemic Response Committee, which she would chair.
“It is very important that we accept that Parliament is an essential service,” Collins said.
And Chris Bishop perhaps unwittingly laid out the real reason for National’s stance, pure political jealousy:
National’s shadow leader of the House Chris Bishop said that if Ardern could hold press conferences each day during the pandemic, then Parliament could meet.
“But if the Beehive theatrette can be full every day for a press conference, then Parliament can meet in person,” Bishop said.
He said that Parliament had met before under level 3, using social distancing to reduce the number of MPs in the chamber.
National had been insisting on the Epidemic Response Committee being resurrected and the Government had not agreed. But why this would be a better response to a digital version of question time has not been explained.
Meanwhile the select committees have continued to meet and Ministers have made themselves available for questioning.
In a time of crisis some form of bipartisanship leadership is important. But National’s clear intent to gum up the works of Government and the functioning of Parliament during a covid pandemic clearly signifies that the Government may as well continue to do what it is doing now, and that is fighting rather successfully a pandemic that has laid waste to most of the advanced world.