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Gumming up the works

Written By: - 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.

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.

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.

The press conferences clearly irk National.  Wellington based Ardern gets the chance to calmly explain to a limited number of Wellington based reporters and to the country what is happening, why decisions have been made and urges the team of five million to keep going.  This is political leadership as good as I have ever seen.  Comparing this to the full blown return of Parliament and the regular travel of a third of the country’s MPs from a Covid hotspot is complete and utter bonkers.

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.

53 comments on “Gumming up the works ”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    This is one post that just needs a “like button”. Totally agree with Micky’s view.

    Mr Bishop’s obstructionist attitude is straight from the US Republican manual.

  2. Patricia Bremner 2

    Micky, there is according to rumour a big split in National? Is Bishop positioning? This is pathological behaviour and indicative of a "win at all cost" mentality.

  3. Morrissey 3

    National: Not Fit to Govern.

    • Ross 4.1

      Now, now, Mike. You need to read the memo – be kind.

    • Morrissey 4.2

      I miss this old fellow's semi-deranged, choleric takes on RNZ's light chat show The Panel. Why is he never on any more, I wonder?

    • Anne 4.3

      Oh, you got in before me. Right on cue eh? Daddy and Chris got together and produced one of the crappiest 'opinion' pieces I've ever seen.

      And talk about re-writing history:

      "They accept (because there is no current counter-narrative) that the Dawn Raids were handled badly. They are old enough to remember that, in the 1970s, the thousands of overstayers were regarded as law-breakers, because they had promised to leave after a period stated on their entry visas and then didn’t.

      The Bewildered wonder why those actions are now praiseworthy, and why the prime minister delivered such a cringing apology at a well-choreographed ceremony. . Is New Zealand really on the right path, they wonder?"

      And lets be clear… the embedded clip is wrong. The writer claims both Labour and National targeted Pasifika overstayers. “Homes were raided late at night and people were stopped in the street.” Yes, it is true the third Labour Govt. did start the targeting of overstayers but it was not until the Muldoon govt. came to power that the late night raids and appalling treatment of Pasifika peoples began.

    • Ghostwhowalksnz 4.4

      Shadow Kiwiblog writer and Taypayers Union éminence grise

      Previously Prebbles chief of staff for Act.

  4. Ross 5

    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?

    The House is slated to be sitting from August 30…right in the middle of a pandemic!! But Micky, I take your point about zoom meetings. Can we expect MPs – especially Government MPs – will travel less often in the future, now that they've discovered the benefits of such meetings? That'll be a win/win as it will save money and lessen our carbon footprint.

    • nzlemming 5.1

      Schedules are set down well in advance. That is why the government sought an alternative, because the schedule is not easily changed.

  5. Gabby 6

    No how can the nats spin themselves into the harddoneby victims in this?

  6. peter 7

    Stuff carries an article about the reshuffle of portfolios in the National caucus. Muller having roles taken from him features.

    Interesting to reflect that since Muller hasn't been attending caucus meetings he could not have been the one behind the leak which was the basis of Coughlan's piece earlier in the week which talked of Collins going off her head.

    Woodhouse the shadow leader of the House? Lovely, given his record with shadowy people getting into inner city MIQ. 😊

    • Graeme 7.1

      Interesting in that Stuff article, the interviews for the re-shuffle were undertaken by Zoom

      Collins has met with her caucus one-on-one via Zoom in the week leading up to the announcement to discuss their contributions.

      My ironometer is making strange noises

    • Patricia Bremner 7.2

      Shadow mandevil

      Well shadow… !!

  7. “But if the Beehive theatrette can be full every day for a press conference, then Parliament can meet in person,” Bishop said."

    I read the other day, I think somewhere on The Standard, that the press now are social-distance seated (so the theatrette is not full) and must wear masks at these Jacinda press conferences.

    • Marcus Morris 8.1

      While the cameras were waiting for the Prime Minister to appear at the daily press conference recently, they panned the audience. It was clear that the reporters were social distancing and I think most were wearing masks.

  8. Ad 9

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    Every major contract bid in this country that requires an interview is done on Teams.

    National need to catch up with how business is done here.

  9. Incognito 10

    Collins has reshuffled Bishop. Check, mate.

    • mac1 10.1

      The thing with bishops is that they can't change colour. They're for the length of the game confined to being black or white. That means they can't even see things in black and white- life and vision is monochromatic.

      They can't take players on a different coloured square- all they can do is block a file to impede progress.

      An analogy of some merit regarding Bishop's political moves.

    • What happened to "keeping your friends close and your enemies closer". Its a mistake by Collins….her days numbered.

  10. Adrian 11

    The fundamental so-called christians not happy with Bishop so you have to protect the income stream.

  11. Janet 12

    Did the New Zealand government parties work this way through the two world wars too ? I liken the Pandemic to a war and this warring between the parties at a time when we all need to work more together has greatly disappointed me .

    • fender 12.1

      Yes it's a shame the opposition are so immature, spiteful, self-absorbed and unprofessional.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 12.1.1

        …the opposition are… unprofessional.

        Spot on. Our opposition National party MPs are politicians by profession, yet their individual and collective behaviours are unprofessional, and recent poor leadership (English, Bridges, Muller, Collins) has a lot to do with it.

        Once they select a leader who can at least paper over, if not heal the deep rifts between party factions, they'll be back. Think 'male', 'rich' and relaxed/confident enough to lie without raising an eyebrow – that's the key I reckon.

    • Anne 12.2

      Did the New Zealand government parties work this way through the two world wars too?

      My understanding in WW2: elections were suspended and the two parties formed a coalition government under the leadership of Peter Fraser who was Labour PM at the time war broke out.

      • Dean Reynolds 12.2.1

        Janet & Anne, in WW1 there was a coalition government between the governing Reform Party & the Liberal Party opposition, (the Labour Party wasn't formed until 1916, half way thru WW1). In 1936, the remnants of Reform & Liberal became the National Party.

        In WW2, the National Party opposition was led by a bumptious Muldoon- like prick called Sid Holland who opposed everything the Labour Government did, so Peter Fraser, the Labour PM refused, correctly, to form a coalition government. He did however, form a War Cabinet which included 4 Nat MP's, including Holland & Gordon Coates, (Coates, an ex PM, was the best PM the Nat's ever produced). Holland was out of his depth in the War Cabinet, picked a fight & stormed out with 1 of his MP's. The other 2 Nat MP's stayed, including Coates & did useful work until the war's end. The election scheduled for 1941 was postponed until 1943 because of the war – Labour easily won re-election.

      • Ghostwhowalksnz 12.2.2

        Earlier than WW2

        Election suspended during depression too ( mainly because they knew they would lose)

        1931 and then 4 years later in 1935

  12. Pete 13

    Bishop saying that the job of the opposition was to gum up the works to stop Governments from governing reminds me of the famous radio panel with Michelle Boag the morning after National was beaten in an election.

    Boag was with Kerri Woodham and Oliver Driver. Boag said the opposition's role was to oppose.

    Driver kept on about the election being done was the time for everyone to work to make the country the best it could be. Everyone should be working together for that aim.)(paraphrased.)

    Boag was having none of it. Their job was to make everything not work. (paraphrased.)

    Driver was in, "I don't believe this!" mode with the implication that the seeming aim of a major party in Parliament was to undermine the country.

    It was the first time I'd heard "fuck' on air. Driver's exasperation at Boag's attitude had him say something like "How fucking stupid" or "I don't fucking believe this."

    Silence. Then gentle music, then apologies and an explanation that the time delay thing wasn't switched on.

    Step on down Chris Bishop. Just what we need cretins with that expressed attitude. The next chapter will be about how they can be, he can be trusted to do what is best for the country.

  13. Pete 14

    Christopher Bishflap@bishflap

    When she summoned me and told me it was "her intention to strip me", I had most of my clothes off before she added "of my Shadow Leader of the House role"


  14. Stuart Munro 15

    Old failed parties do not go quietly into that good night,

    But rage, rage, ineffectually against the media 'blight'

    that is the PM doing a better job than they could even imagine.

  15. Ad 16

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    He's going for it.

    • fender 16.1

      Thanks, but no thanks!!

      (A vote against from the Kapiti Coast)

    • Marcus Morris 16.2

      David Shearer is being courted by the "other side". I would think that Shearer would win in contest between he and Mitchell.

      • Ghostwhowalksnz 16.2.1

        I guess they are going for a Law n Order candidate, using an ex policeman and ex Iraq mercenary.

        The policing is a government issue- vaguely as the cops dont get dictated to by politicians but that doesnt matter as the wolf whistle is all they are after.

      • Ad 16.2.2

        Between Shearer and Mitchell it would certainly be a "no brainer" contest.

    • Patricia Bremner 16.3


  16. Lindsay Algra 17

    Its not just about members of parliment, there is an entire cohort of staff that support them, further more if you recall Simon Bridges during the intital lockdown complained about how poor his internet was. Now i know for a fact there are new devlopments in NZ inwhich the speed of the internet hardly performs better then dial up, but is still charged out at full rates.

    There are many many reason that zoom meetings are not suitable for extremely high level talks. Jacinda maybe fine with calling up international partners and collaborating but thats not parliment. Parliment is about challenging, and we just need to look at the likes of facebook who censors, bans and mutes any challenge to the accepted norm.

    I have watched the House of Lords in the UK and all the issues they have running Zoom call in, it wouldn't surprise me that if NZ resorting to governing the country with zoom meetings, we would quickly find members of parliment kicked out of the meeting, unable to join the meeting and arange of other issues like DDOS attacks and more.

    Keep in mind, Labour is in power, they are the authority for government departments including cyber operations. If the PM says to disable someones computer or deny them access, they would do it with no questions asked. What would they do then? further more whos to say that someones not just watching porn while they mute the meeting.

    There are too many variables to suggest this is a solution, the entire nation would be better served if the PM concentrated on dealing with the biggest threat to NZ, then trying to get her little pet projects through parliment.

    • mickysavage 17.1

      You do understand she is responding to National’s complaints for Parliament to resit. From your logic you seem to be saying she should just ignore National.

    • Incognito 17.2

      Yes, we all know how Simon Bridges toughed it out in Tauranga in the previous L4 lockdown: https://thestandard.org.nz/two-bubbles-bridges-big-day-out/.

      How many DDoS attacks has the House of Lords in the UK experienced? I think you made that up.

      If the PM says to disable someones computer or deny them access, they would do it with no questions asked.

      What kind of dictatorial fantasy world are you living in? Obviously, you don’t live in Aotearoa-New Zealand; perhaps stop watching those Netflix movies? I think you made this up too.

      I do like your little ‘porn’ dig though laugh Watching porn is more boring than being in Zoom meetings but maybe you have some tips for better porn?

      I cannot tell if you are just an ignorant simpleton or a troll. I have a feeling that your next comment here will be telling.

    • Pete 17.3

      Simon Bridges complained about how poor his internet was during the initial lockdown? Yes.

      This man of influence, in the 5th biggest city in the country with all his connections in the business world, with Parliamentary Services no doubt teed up to help him do his job, could not find a good spot in some high-powered company's building.

      What happened to 'where there's a will there's a way'?

  17. JustMe 18

    Chris Bishop is doing an excellent job at demeaning the NZ National Party.

    But him threatening to 'gum up the works' just beggars belief that this person is an adult!!!!!

    Why can't during a time like this i.e the COVID pandemic National works in harmony with the government instead of serving ONLY THEMSELVES? Because all I notice is how self-serving National and its various MPs truly are.

    I can hardly take a lowly National MP of a now minor political party all that seriously. To me their negativity has become BORING, REPETITIVE, TIRESOME and OTT. And so because of their barrage of negativity I have completely switched off listening to anything any of them says in the media.

    It does seem a bad habit by National that everytime one of their MPs speaks or even posts on Twitter that 99.999% of their words are absolute rubbish. And because of that I view them as a gross waste of NZ Taxpayers money.

  18. Patricia Bremner 19

    Lindsay, what "little pet projects" do you have in mind? To suggest that Jacinda Ardern would interfere with a person's private internet says more about your morals than hers.

    Some of the allusions you make verge on trolling past events. ("watching porn') As for "removing people's rights and denying service" lol!! This Government has replaced rights and many services. Stop trying to paint Jacinda as Stasi (secret German Police).

    You are trying to say it is not the Pandemic forcing a rethink, but a desperate PM. Well to then say using Zoom gives the PM more powers is ridiculous over reach on your part, when it is to keep parliamentarians safe from a hugely infectious variant of covid.

    We have not reached the plateau of this curve yet, and you want people flying round NZ? Putting many others at risk. Or are you one of those "we have to live with covid" fools, who are comfortable for others to get sick and perhaps die? This may be 4 to 6 weeks of your time, then our fairly normal life could resume.

    So here is my take, which is about as valid as yours.

    You want parliament to convene, even if covid could spread, and you want the opposition to have more influence to undermine the current position. imo

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