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Hide on his way to Privileges Committee?

Written By: - Date published: 5:32 am, May 8th, 2009 - 44 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, corruption, democracy under attack, Parliament - Tags:

From Wednesday’s Question Time: 12. PHIL TWYFORD (Labour) to the Minister of Local Government: Has he costed the Government’s super-city proposal outlined in Making Auckland Greater: The Government’s decisions on Auckland Governance; if not, why not?

Hon RODNEY HIDE (Minister of Local Government) : Yes.

From Thursday’s Question Time: 11. PHIL TWYFORD (Labour) to the Minister of Local Government: How much will the Government’s super-city proposal cost to implement and to run annually?

Hon RODNEY HIDE (Minister of Local Government) : The Government is proposing one mayor and 20 councillors. At present there are seven mayors, one chair, and 108 councillors. That alone will be a considerable saving. Implementation costs will be minuscule compared with the present costs of running the various Auckland councils, whose combined operating budgets are $2,000 million for the financial year. The future operating costs of the council will be up to Auckland. As Minister, I am committed to making the operating costs of councils transparent and giving Aucklanders—and, indeed, all New Zealanders—a real say about the cost of local government.

Phil Twyford: How can the Minister reconcile his statement in the House yesterday that the Government has costed its super-city proposals with the statement in the New Zealand Herald today that a spokesperson for Mr Hide said that the cost of creating the Auckland council and 20 to 30 local boards under it was unknown?

Hon RODNEY HIDE: Because I answered the member’s question yesterday accurately. The members asked me yesterday whether I had ‘costed the Government’s super-city proposal outlined in Making Auckland Greater: The Government’s decisions on Auckland Governance; if not, why not?’ My answer was that we had costed it. The member did not ask me what the cost was.

Phil Twyford: Is the reason the Minister will not release the costing that he is worried that if Aucklanders really knew how much it will cost, his plan would lose the little support that it has?

Hon RODNEY HIDE: No, not at all. In fact, I am interested that the member is so concerned about the costs, because I would have much preferred it if the previous Government had set out in the terms of reference the member’s concerns about the cost of the transition and concerns about the cost of running Auckland after the change. That was never set out in the terms of reference that the previous Government set up and spent $4 million on researching.

Phil Twyford: What is the cost of the Government’s super-city proposal to implement and run annually?

Hon RODNEY HIDE: I am sorry; I did not actually hear the question.

Mr SPEAKER: I invite the member to repeat his question, because there was a lot of noise. I ask members to please show a little more respect to the member who is asking the question.

Phil Twyford: How much will the Government’s super-city proposal cost to implement and run annually?

Hon RODNEY HIDE: The first thing is that this is a different question from one that the member asked yesterday. I think he wants to be very clear about saying that I did not answer a question in a particular way when he keeps shifting the question.

Hon David Cunliffe: You’re running scared! Come on!

Hon RODNEY HIDE: Is that not great—running scared from that member’s party, when Mr Phil Twyford was not even allowed to put his name forward in Mt Albert.

Hon Darren Hughes: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. We have just witnessed a little show there, where a member very simply put a question: ‘What is the cost ‘—that is all that the question was. The Minister started to waste a lot of time by explaining how he was going to answer it and how it would be different from yesterday’s answer, then, once he was asked to answer the question, he started to bring extraneous material in. All that we want is an answer to the question.

Mr SPEAKER: The senior Labour whip was sitting very close by. The Hon David Cunliffe, by interjection across the House, accused the Minister of running scared. Naturally, the Minister responded to such an interjection. I could have risen to my feet and told the Hon David Cunliffe to withdraw, but I let the House run on for a moment to let off a bit of steam. But that is what provoked the answer from the Minister. If members do not want that kind of reaction from Ministers, then they should not make that kind of interjection.

Hon David Cunliffe: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Your recollection of my comments was indeed correct. Let me rephrase, if I may, the point of order made by my colleague the chief Labour whip. The Minister did not respond to yesterday’s question, other than to say that he had a costing. That was later contradicted by a staff member. The member could not have put it more simply in his final supplementary question: ‘What was that costing?’. The Minister made no attempt to address that question.

Mr SPEAKER: I believe that the Minister was on his way to answering the question. I invite him to do so.

Hon RODNEY HIDE: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Let me make quite clear why we have this difficulty. The member asked me a question yesterday, and let me read it out, because I think it is important: ‘Has he costed the Government’s super-city proposal outlined in Making Auckland Greater: The Government’s decisions on Auckland Governance; if not, why not?’. I answered that we had. I had a great deal of trouble understanding what the question was; I said that at the time. I am happy to answer that question, because it seems to be about the cost of the proposal. What the member has asked today is—

Mr SPEAKER: I accept the point the member has made in good faith. To sort this matter out, I invite the member Phil Twyford to repeat his question. I believe that it was a reasonably straightforward question. Let us have it answered.

Phil Twyford: How much will the Government’s super-city proposal cost to implement, to establish, and to run annually?

Mr SPEAKER: Let us have just one question, please.

Phil Twyford: How much will the Government’s super-city proposal cost to implement?

Hon RODNEY HIDE: The implementation costs will be miniscule compared with the Auckland Council’s combined operating costs of about $2 billion a year. This is about getting good governance, and I wish that Mr Phil Twyford could deliver proper questions in the House—

Mr SPEAKER: That is unnecessary. The question on notice today was ‘How much will the Government’s super-city proposal cost to implement and to run annually?’. The Minister pointed out why the cost of running it annually is not a matter the Minister can answer. But the fundamental question has been repeated. It is how much the proposal will cost to implement. If there is no estimate of that, that is a fair answer, but I believe that the House deserves an answer to the question.

Hon RODNEY HIDE: And I have given an answer, Mr Speaker; I will repeat it if you like.

Mr SPEAKER: I have made it clear that to say the cost is miniscule is not a satisfactory answer to a question that was on notice. The Minister has had 2 hours for the officials to advise what the estimated cost of implementation is. It may be that it is not possible to have an accurate estimate, and that would be a perfectly reasonable answer. But the question was on notice. It was not just a supplementary question—it was on notice. Officials have had time to provide the Minister with information. The matter is of public interest, and I believe that the House deserves an answer.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I ask you to look at the question that was set down. There is an increasing problem. Given that you are being very strict about the sort of answer you want, I think it is only reasonable that the questions should be quite precise. This question asks how much the Government’s super-city proposal will cost. Firstly, where does the term ‘super-city’ come from? Secondly—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

Hon Gerry Brownlee: —it relates to a ‘proposal cost to implement’; to implement something is a one-off cost. Then the member wants to know the cost with regard to it being ‘run annually’—

Mr SPEAKER: I do not need this help. I invite the—

Hon Members: Point of order—

Mr SPEAKER: No, I do not need more help. I explained in my ruling a moment ago that the second part of the question on notice, as the Minister explained in his original answer, was not something the Minister can estimate. That was absolutely fair and reasonable. I accept that ‘super-city’ may not be the preferred terminology of the Government, but authentication of the Minister’s having used that language himself was provided as part of the authentication process. So that matter was dealt with as part of the authentication process. All I am asking the Minister to do, because the question was on notice and because the matter is a matter of public interest, is to answer the question. If there is no estimate, then that is a perfectly fair answer, but to simply say the cost is minuscule compared with something else means that the Minister must have some information on the estimated cost, and I believe that the House deserves to hear it.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think there are two other factors—and they are partially in support of your request, but I think they also work somewhat against it. The Minister indicated both yesterday and again today that the proposal had been costed, so I think that for you to say that he could answer by saying that it had not been costed or that the costings were not available is not an option, because he would be breaching what he told the House less than 5 minutes ago and yesterday.

Mr SPEAKER: I have invited the honourable Minister to answer the question.

Hon RODNEY HIDE: The Government actually does not have the cost of implementation, but it is minuscule compared with the cost of $2 billion—

Hon Members: How do you know if you haven’t got it?

Hon RODNEY HIDE: Of course, it is going to be—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: The Minister is answering a question. I have insisted on an answer and it is—

Hon Trevor Mallard: He’s on his way to the Privileges Committee.

Hon RODNEY HIDE: Ha, ha!

Mr SPEAKER: We will hear the answer.

Hon RODNEY HIDE: It is minuscule compared with the $2 billion operating costs, compared with the more than $1 billion that is spent on capital in a year, and also, in particular, compared with the royal commission’s concern about the cost of not reforming Auckland governance. I invite members opposite, before they get overly excited, to refer to the question on notice that Mr Phil Twyford asked yesterday.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. We have had, I think, three times today the deliberate mispronunciation of a member’s name by that Minister. He knows how to pronounce the member’s name, and he should do it properly.

Mr SPEAKER: We all make mistakes from time to time with each others’ names, including me as Speaker, and I apologise for that when I have done it. The member is indicating it was a mistake. If it was a mistake, then I just ask the member to try to get Phil Twyford’s name correct in the future.

Hon Darren Hughes: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I want to return to the point the Minister of Local Government made to the House before, when he said he had costed the proposal. He then criticised—

Mr SPEAKER: The member will resume his seat. The member will sit down. The member has been a Minister; he is an experienced member of this House. Matters to do with the quality of an answer are not matters that the Speaker can deal with as a point of order. I required the Minister to provide an answer, which the Minister did. It is rather unusual for a Speaker to do that; I think the honourable member will acknowledge that. But I cannot get involved in debate about the quality of an answer. Whether or not the Minister’s answer was accurate is not a matter of order in this House. It is not a matter that can be dealt with through points of order, and the shadow Leader of the House should know that.

Phil Twyford: Why did the Minister tell the House yesterday that the Government had costed its super-city proposal, when it has not?

Hon RODNEY HIDE: The answer yesterday was accurate. What the member failed to do yesterday was to—

Hon Trevor Mallard: What about today? Costings are changing overnight.

Hon RODNEY HIDE: With the greatest respect to the Hon Trevor Mallard, the question today is a different question. The question yesterday was about what the proposal cost. The answer, if the member had gone on to ask what the cost was, would have been that the proposal cost $4 million for the royal commission, and that the proposal the Government provided in response cost nothing, because the proposal was provided for within existing departmental baselines.

Hon David Cunliffe: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am loath to raise another point of order, but I believe that the Minister is crossing a very dangerous boundary here in trifling with your earlier rulings.

Mr SPEAKER: The member will resume his seat. As Speaker, I am perfectly capable of making that assessment myself. The Minister gave a perfectly proper answer to that final question. He pointed out that the wording of the question yesterday was different from today’s question, and he answered it accordingly. If members want to get the answers they expect, they need to be more careful about the wording of questions.

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44 comments on “Hide on his way to Privileges Committee? ”

  1. felix 1

    It was only ever a matter of time for Wodney.

  2. Graeme 2

    Rodney was very clear that he had not misled the House.

    On Wednesday, Phil Twyford (or Twif-ford as Hide insists on calling him) asked Hide whether “he has costed the super-city proposal outlined in [the government’s report]?’. Hide replied simply “Yes’.

    And then Twyford never asked “how much?” Had he done so, he’d have gotten then answer there and then … $4 million for the Royal Commission, and nothing for the Government response, as it was covered within existing budget lines.

    On Thursday, Twyford asked Hide “How much will the government’s super-city proposal cost to implement and to run annually?’ Hide’s answer: “Implementation costs will be minuscule compared with the present costs of running the various Auckland councils.”

    Different question, different answer. Annual costs will be up to the people of Auckland and their elected council (… and finally) implementation costs are uncosted, but are miniscule compared to the figure $2 billion.

    There is no way this is going to the privileges committee.

    • lyndon 2.1

      If you say something in the full knowledge that everyone will understand it to mean something that’s not true, it counts as a lie. I’m not saying the committee would want to concern itself with that, but if the house (those who didn’t already know the actual answer) was in fact mislead, I think he has a case to answer for misleading the house.

      Whether he has an internally coherent argument isn’t critical to that.

      But mostly I’m angry with for trifiling with rationality. The Standard will remember that style of argument from trying to nail him down on climate change.

    • lyndon 2.2

      Just for clarity, a significant point here:

      I’m open – though sceptical – about Rodney’s version being a possible interpretation of the question, but emphatic that it’s not a sensible one.

      It’s not a sufficient defence for a minister to claim he was answering some question that was not in fact asked.

      In this case I imagine the speaker and the committee might consider it dangerous to involve themselves in the philosophy of language.

      On the bright side, nothing Rodney has said could remotely be a defence on the charge of being a dick.

      And, as DPF notes, it was quite the novelty to see the speaker actually force an answer out of him, which allows us to have this argument. (Personally I got the impression Lockwood got the same idea from Rodney’s earlier answer that we did, but caught up quite quickly)

  3. vto 3

    Ah, the other side of the story perhaps Graeme?

    Egg on face for someone in the end – hide or the standard it seems?

  4. Eddie 4

    Graeme we all know you’re a tory but you’re also a lawyer and should be above try to make the words dance to match what you want them to mean.

    The question on Wedneday clearly related to the cost of the supercity, not the cost of coming up with the proposal. The questions are not differnt in any substantive manner. Any reasonable person would see them as the same inquiry using a different form of words.

    It’s clear from the transcript and the audio that a) everyone believed Hide was talking about the supecity itself, not the proposal, on Wednesday and b) that he himself knew that it would be bad for him to admit the truth, that’s why he was so evasive.

    Listen to the speaker and the other members, are they misled? Sounds like it to me.

    • Graeme 4.1

      I’m not making the words dance, I’m relaying Rodney’s argument.

      That argument was enough for the Speaker yesterday, and will be enough if an allegation of contempt of Parliament is laid.

      This isn’t a matter of privilege. It is a political matter from which you and Labour can make political capital. Do that instead.

      • Maynard J 4.1.1

        Pointing out that it is very misleading is making political capital, Graeme. So is calling for it to go to the privileges committee. Sometimes I see where you come from in a legal standpoint, but it’s sometimes incredibly naive from a political standpoint. Especially when you’re defending National.

        In this case, you’re wrong. Both questions related to the cost of the implememntation, not the proposal. “costing a proposal” does not and has never meant costing how much the proposal itself cost, since costing is an estimated cost of action, and you don’t do costings of things you’ve already done.

        • Graeme 4.1.1.1

          In this case, you’re wrong.

          I’m prepared for a wager, if you like. My statements in reply to the subject of the post have been:

          “There is no way this is going to the privileges committee.”

          and

          “That argument was enough for the Speaker yesterday, and will be enough if an allegation of contempt of Parliament is laid.”

          $20? I’ll even give you odds. Your $20 to my $50?

          • Graeme 4.1.1.1.1

            Before you decide, it seems only to proper to note the following view expressed by the Speaker yesterday:

            The Minister gave a perfectly proper answer to that final question. He pointed out that the wording of the question yesterday was different from today’s question, and he answered it accordingly. If members want to get the answers they expect, they need to be more careful about the wording of questions.

          • gobsmacked 4.1.1.1.2

            Graeme

            Genuine question: can you explain in simple terms what “Misleading the House” means in practice?

            e.g. when Paula Bennett said in the House a while ago “I meet with the Finance Minister every day”, obviously that was literally false (check their diaries!), so was it misleading? If ‘common sense’ is applied, how is it done, and who is it applied by?

            Cheers.

          • Maynard J 4.1.1.1.3

            When I said you were wrong, it was in reference to your defence of Rodney, not your predictive statements. I appreciate your wry attempt at humour – that you’ll do for yourself (dance on the head of a pin) as equally enthusiastically as you will for the tories.

          • Graeme 4.1.1.1.4

            In simple words – no, but various Speaker’s rulings give some insight:

            1 Where a member is accused of a breach of privilege by misleading the House, the misleading must be deliberate. There must be an intent to mislead, and the facts before the Speaker must lead to that possibility. The Speaker must consider the evidence and decide whether the facts alleged indicate, not a remote possibility, but a reasonable possibility.
            1980, Vol. 433, pp. 3673, 3761. Harrison.

            2 In an allegation of breach of privilege by deliberately misleading the House, there must be something peculiar to the making of the incorrect statement that can be reasonably regarded by the Speaker, on the face of it, as indicating that the member may have been intending to mislead the House. Remarks uttered in the hurly-burly of debate can rarely fall into that category; nor can matters about which a member is likely to be aware only in an official capacity. Usually only in situations in which the member can be assumed to have personal knowledge of the facts contained in a statement, and when that statement is made in a situation of some formality in the House
            (for example, by way of personal explanation), can a presumption that the member intended to mislead the House arise.
            1986, Vol. 476, p. 5961. Wall.

            3 The contempt of deliberately misleading involves the conveying of
            information to the House or a committee that is inaccurate in a aterial
            particular and which the person conveying the information knew was
            inaccurate at the point at which it was conveyed, or, at least, ought to have known was inaccurate.
            1998, Vol. 570, p. 11042. Kidd.

            4 There is a point where strictly accurate replies can be misleading by
            suppressing relevant information.
            2001, Vol. 592, p. 9620. Hunt.

            [all from page 186 of the current edition]

            Common sense is most certainly applied – by the Speaker in deciding whether a question of privilege arises. I’ve been looking for a copy of the Speaker’s decision on David Benson-Pope to give you a concrete example, but haven’t yet had any luck. The closest I can get is this from Rodney Hide:

            The quandary is that David Benson-Pope stood in this House and emphatically denied that he had done anything wrong. In particular, he denied that he had ever tied up a pupil’s hands and stuck a tennis ball in his mouth. Under the rules of Parliament I have no option, nor does any other member, but to accept the Minister’s word, which I immediately did. However, the following week the man who was the former pupil came forward, and so did two witnesses, and said that indeed this had happened. Specifically, they said that the Minister had lied here in Parliament. That puts us in a difficult situation, because a citizen outside this House is saying that in this House a Minister lied.

            ref: http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Debates/Debates/Daily/b/8/0/47HansD_20050607-Volume-626-Week-91-Tuesday-7-June-2005.htm

            If saying that you did not do something that a bunch of other people swear affidavits to say was either done to them personally, or they personally saw being done doesn’t raise a question of privilege, I can certainly suggest that it’s not as clear-cut as some here seem to believe.

      • Eddie 4.1.2

        We’re aware of Hide’s argument, Graeme. It’s in the post and it doesn’t hold water. You know it.

        He set out to mislead the house and the house was misled. He tried to avoid coming clean.

        If you of all people can’t come up with a decent argument that this isn’t a breach of privilege it just confirms that was.

        • Graeme 4.1.2.1

          How would I know it?

          This is not Rodney Hide talking, but the Speaker:

          As Speaker, I am perfectly capable of making that assessment myself. The Minister gave a perfectly proper answer to that final question. He pointed out that the wording of the question yesterday was different from today’s question, and he answered it accordingly. If members want to get the answers they expect, they need to be more careful about the wording of questions.

          Perfectly proper answers do not give rise to contempts of Parliament.

          • Eddie 4.1.2.1.1

            Yes but that perfectly proper answer was in direct contrast to the earlier answer.

            You know perfectly well Graeme that it wasn’t Hide eventually (when forced) coming clean that was the breach of privilege it was the earlier misleading answer.

            Are you going to say that you don’t think Rondey Hide set out to misled and in fact did misled with his answer on Wednesday (and, additionally, with his ‘miniscule’ comments)?

            Because I don’t see how that argument can be made with any intellectual honesty, which is why I think you’re avoiding making it and running diversion instead

          • Graeme 4.1.2.1.2

            Then this bit then, also from the Speaker: “He pointed out that the wording of the question yesterday was different from today’s question, and he answered it accordingly. If members want to get the answers they expect, they need to be more careful about the wording of questions.”

  5. Nick 5

    It’s improper to call Graeme a ‘Tory’. That he may be, but he is also very objective and reasonable as is obvious from his writings.

  6. At last a short concise question in question time. I hope that Goff and the others take note.

    My impression is that Hide’s response is cynical in the extreme. Graeme suggests that there is wriggle room in the words used, there may be but you would have to be a worm to fit.

    The most important words are “super-city proposal outlined in [the government’s report]?’.

    Hide suggests that the cost of this is $4m, being the cost of the Royal Commission. The proposal outlined in the Government’s report is not the Royal commission, and can only refer to the cost of the new structure. It is clearly referring to this and not to the historic cost of the commission. After all it is considerably different to the Commission’s proposal. But the phrasing is not ideal and Phil’s Thursday question is phrased much better.

    The wriggle room may be sufficient to avoid a Privileges Hearing. I bet there is a slew of OIA applications going in right now however. There is no way that the Government would not have costed the proposed changes. Hide’s refusal to release the figures will only mean that the story will get further momentum until the figures are released.

  7. Pascal's bookie 7

    Off Topic:

    Dum-de-doo, checking the blogs, ooh what’s this?

    http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2009/05/unimpressed.html

    naughty minister? Where does this sort of behaviour get dealt with? Purely political I suppose, but it’s a doozy.

    • Ello, ello, ello

      Just goes to show how important it is to be careful with the words that you use. Collins being a lawyer ought to be especially sensitive to this.

    • the sprout 7.2

      far out!
      that’s quite remarkable Pb

  8. enzer 8

    ‘”How much will the government’s super-city proposal cost to implement and to run annually?’ ‘

    Twyford ought to have asked just the first question.The second one allowed Hide to…hide.

    One would expect the implementation to have been costed…and that it is a figure that perhaps he feels Auckland ratepayers will baulk at.

    Still, they have an airport and ‘stuff’ they can sell to make ends meet. *g*

  9. burt 9

    Eddie

    The standard is a rich source of links from the time Winston was censured. You know all the good stuff about how the censure is the punishment and there is no need to resign etc.

    For the record, I think that if Rodney is taken for a talking to and censured that he should resign. That’s what I said for Winston as well.

    What do you think should happen if he is censured Eddie ?

    • Eddie 9.1

      can you show some of those links? I don’t recall any posts defending Peters and I certainly didn’t write any.

      I think that ministers who mislead the House should do the right thing and offer their resignations. Like Lianne Dalziel did after the ‘lie in unison’ scandal http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lianne_Dalziel

      • Pat 9.1.1

        “I don’t recall any posts defending Peters”

        Geez you better get a check-up, Eddie.

    • lprent 9.2

      I wrote comments saying that the braying pack looked like a lynch mob to me.

      Looking at the evidence rather than what people were saying, it looked like Winston and NZF were lousy book-keepers and that they should be told off. Windson was also showing signs of appalling political timing about when and how he released information. There was nothing illegal in what they’d done.

      Guess what – no charges laid so it wasn’t illegal. Winston and NZF got told off in the privileges committee for being slow to explain their sloppy bookwork – by a partisan vote. So I guess I was right.

      I also said If they were ‘guilty’ then so were National and Act with their anonymous donations. But since that was all legal in 2004 and 2005 then so would Winston’s and NZF’s turn out to be as well.

      All of the above is still my opinion, including that I thought people engaging in the lynch mob were displaying some of the most disgusting behaviour I’d seen looking at politics – including you.

      • gingercrush 9.2.1

        The Greens are hardly partisan. Most importantly Jim Anderton abstained on that vote which means he saw much in wrong with Winston Peters. If anyone is being highly partisan it is you. You of course have an opinion. But so do the rest of New Zealanders and people clearly voted to say Peters had done much wrong. Not only that but political commentators from allover the political spectrum said Winston Peters was in the wrong.

        Labour completely mishandled the situation and I believe cost them some votes. That you still feel Peters has done no wrong suggests you are completely missing the point. But of course you completely missed the point on the EFA as well.

        • Pascal's bookie 9.2.1.1

          God love you ginger, but you sure do say some shit that needs more detail.

          The Greens are hardly partisan.

          A non partisan party. Rightio. On it’s face that don’t make a lick of sense, but let’s assume you meant that the Greens did not vote in a partisan manner in this instance. Would that mean that it would have been in the Green party’s interest to vote the other way. How so? Seems to me getting rid of Winston is good for the Greens, partisan wise. Or are you labouring under the misapprehension that partisanship for the Greens would mean voting in the interest of Labour? That might make sense, but only if you think that one can only be partisan towards the left as a whole, rather than being able to also have partisan interests within the left. Have you been asleep the last few weeks and years?

          If anyone is being highly partisan it is you. You of course have an opinion. But so do the rest of New Zealanders and people clearly voted to say Peters had done much wrong.

          It’s fair enough to say that the voters determine the political reality, or the ‘results of the game’ as it were. You are running a numbers game as an argument from authority, ‘the voters can’t be wrong’ sort of thing, ‘they are the judge’.

          That’s perfectly legitimate, but let’s have a little look at some election results and apply the same yardsticks to different actors in the drama shall we?

          New Zealand First Party 95,356 4.07%

          ACT New Zealand 85,496 3.65%

          Ain’t that a funny thing? Please note that I’m personally not defending Winston here, no one much is. But who do the people of NZ on aggregate prefer, seeing that was the metric you introduced?

          Nobody argues that Labour handled the situation well. Straw. The argument is that there was a partisan witch hunt the like of which we don’t see very often, and that it worked. But only just. And yes, it was highly partisan.

        • lprent 9.2.1.2

          PB said it for me. I saw much that was ‘wrong’ with NZF and Winston. In fact it would be safe to say that I detested his policies and style.

          However I detest the type of pack animal behavior of bloggers and a lot of journalists even more. Mass hysteria is a pretty disgusting sight.

          Of course now that type of thing has been brought into the political spectrum, I guess that Act will be in the target. Low percentage, poor performance, and we only have to dislodge Rodney from Epsom rather than go for a country wide… ummmm

  10. the sprout 10

    that’s one very good hit on Hide.
    Strike ONE!

    btw, this is gold, National are losing the grey vote already: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10571066

    in the words of Mr T “I pity the fools”

  11. Pat 11

    National are losing the grey vote? Your Herald link goes on to say:

    “Had English read the full report, he would have had a happier time. Grey Power described him as “very pleasant”, and Senior Citizens Minister John Carter as “one who can be trusted to get things done, rather than just talk about what needs to be done”.

    But the real killer English needed to take the wind out of King’s sails came in their verdict of the PM: “I found John Key much easier to talk to than the previous Prime Minister”.

    • gingercrush 11.1

      Yes the authors here seem to have a great problem reading the rest of a newspaper article. What is more important? A minister or the Prime Minister? I would thought the latter.

      • gobsmacked 11.1.1

        Of course he’s easy to talk to. He smiles and nods and says ‘Yes’ to everybody.

        So?

        • gingercrush 11.1.1.1

          It means John Key is invested in the grey vote. Something that is important to get your party in government. Or do you not think that vote is important is Gobsmacked? Of course didn’t you predict the falling of this coalition government by now? Didn’t you predict the polls would show the Labour Party leading? Your predictions haven’t been very good to date.

          • gobsmacked 11.1.1.1.1

            Always nice to meet a fan! I don’t recall all my predictions, as I don’t stalk myself, but I’d hazard a guess that some are right and some are wrong. Who’da thunk it?

            Back on topic (less creepy):

            If you think Grey Power are going to ignore economic policies affecting senior citizens, just because the PM is “nice”, you must have missed the 80’s and 90’s. The old folks are a hard bunch to bullshit.

      • lprent 11.1.2

        They didn’t say that they were happy with what he had to say. He’d have said essentially nothing because that is what Key does. The ministers do things and periodically get English to say that Key can’t do something.

        It is what people do rather than what they say that the grey’s look at. Believe me when I say that I’ve had that chapter and verse from my seniors..

  12. jarbury 12

    I remember someone saying that John Key is usually a very big supporter of the most recent idea that he’s heard. Sounds about right.

  13. Pat 13

    “The old folks are a hard bunch to bullshit.”

    Winnie did it successfully for years.

  14. Ari 14

    Rodney’s pretty open for an fork-of-no-return now.

    Either he’s too incompetent to realise one doesn’t cost something that’s already been paid for, and that costing a proposal refers to implementation and/or ongoing costs, and he’s thus pretty unfit to be a minister- or he intentionally misled parliament with his earlier answer.

    What I find interesting is that the Speaker is willing to shelter Hide from this at all and not just immediately make it clear he violated privilege, given how there is no reasonable way to interpret the question as he did.

  15. gingercrush 15

    I also have to laugh in that you ask for a legal opinion and then when you get that legal opinion you dismiss it. You didn’t actually care what someone with a legal opinion had, you just wanted people to confirm what you had to say.

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