Minority Report

Written By: - Date published: 9:06 am, August 28th, 2009 - 25 comments
Categories: climate change, maori party, national/act government - Tags: ,

National is attempting to re-write the Emissions Trading Scheme. The new version it has come up with through the special select committee would be weaker than the already weak version Labour passed.

But they’ve got a numbers problem. ACT won’t ever vote for doing anything about climate change, the Greens, the Progressives and Labour won’t vote for the significant weakening that National wants, and the Maori Party wouldn’t vote for the first ETS because it wasn’t strong enough. That leaves just National and Peter Dunne supporting the changes – not a majority in the House.

ACT won’t back down on their idiotic principles but, fortunately for National, they have a coalition partner who is much more willing to bow and scrape. The Maori Party.

This is where is gets a bit technical. Last Thursday, the special select committee agreed its final report back to Parliament on the new ETS. The four parties opposing it (the Progressives weren’t on the committee) had until 5pm that day to submit their ‘minority reports’, which are basically statements that they don’t agree with the committee’s main report and why. The Maori Party submitted one of those reports within the deadline. Since then, they have been leaned on by National. Peter Dunne, chair of the select committee, has given them time to change their minds, refusing to do his duty by publishing the committees reports (including the minority reports) as soon as possible.

Now, despite having just been screwed over on the supercity Maori seats, the Maori Party decided they would get into line behind National and support the weaker ETS despite having previously thought the existing ETS was too weak. So, they’ve decided they want to withdraw their minority report. But you can’t do that. There’s no provision in the rules for withdrawing a minority report after the time for submission has ended.

Labour spent half an hour of Question Time yesterday trying to get Speaker Lockwood Smith to force Dunne to publish the report as he is required to or allow Labour to publish it instead. Lockwood, who was clearly way out of his depth when it came to the rules, backed his party. Fortunately, the Clerk of the House (one of those ‘bereaucrats’) knows the rules and has refused to budge – the Maori Party’s minority report stays in (unless Peter Dunne can find a loophole before the house next sits).

Why does getting the minority report out matter so much? If it stays it puts the Maori Party in an untenable position – they want to vote for National’s ETS when it comes before the House but everyone will be able to see that they wrote a report damning that very ETS before they were bought off. They’ll look like spineless hypocrites, like they did when Sean Plunket (in one of those interviews that makes you remember how good a powerful interview can be) ripped Rahui Katene apart on the issue this morning (Katene skewered.mp3).

How’s that mana enhancement coming?

25 comments on “Minority Report”

  1. r0b 1

    Two thumbs down. Disgraceful.

  2. Red Rosa 2

    Mana enhancement now surely a bit below par.

    Principles aside, in practical politics the Maori Party has now been rolled without a whimper on several serious issues. And each time they lose, their chances of getting anything out of the F&S review look slimmer.

    What has happened to these people? Stomp around all infuriated with Labour, then meekly take it on the chin when worse arrives from National?

    Maybe I am missing something.

  3. lukas 3

    I agree that The Maori Party need to come clean on what happened and release the minority report to the public domain as mentioned here

  4. Ianmac 4

    I had to admire the persistence of the Opposition in trying to persuade Lockwood to act. Brave stuff. A pity that the Maori Party couldn’t negotiate 2 Maori seats in Auckland for modified report. More likely “Do what we say or we will kill the Seabed and Foreshore.”
    Catchpa: divisions

  5. “when Sean Plunket (in one of those interviews that makes you remember how good a powerful interview can be) ripped Rahui Katene apart on the issue this morning”

    I heard that interview and my impression at the time was that Plunkett was quite rude and needlessly aggressive, and wouldn’t let the interviewee speak.

    Plunkett’s generally a good interviewer, but sometimes he gets carried away. I’m not a big fan of combat interview techniques, unless the other person is a real rogue and deserves a smackdown.

    • Bright Red 5.1

      She was trying to avoid answering the questions. Plunket, when he wants to, is the best out there for not letting politicans get away with avoiding answering the question. At least he just doesn’t sit there and let them spin the public, he tries to get answers fro us (unless he’s softballing like he does for Key most of the time)

      I mean, listen to the interview, he asks straight questions and she tries to avoid it:

      Plunket: “are you planning to supoprt National’s changes to the ETS?”
      Katene: “we’re planning to support the environment”

      Plunket: “are you planning to supoprt National’s changes to the ETS?”
      Katene: “if it supports the environment we can support…”

      Plunket: “and do you consider currently it does?”
      Katene: “we….. um….. in their eyes I’m saw they think it does”

      Plunket: “do you consider that it does?”
      Katene: “we don’t consder an ETS supports the environment as much as it should do, that’s always been our position”

      Plunket: “and if it was stronger you would vote for it?”
      Katene: “if it was stronger we could certainly vote for it”

      He exposes her as shifty, we can all see what it is she is trying not to say, and he gets a confession out of her, they don’t consider the ETS as it stands strong enough and would need something stronger, not weaker like National wants, to back it. So, if they do back a weakening, they’ve broken their word and abandoned their principles.

      • marty mars 5.1.1

        actually, whilst i don’t agree with what has happened and i think the maori party have looked naive around this issue, those answers are pretty good – standard polly answers to questions you don’t really want to answer… haven’t we heard plenty of them before from across the political spectrum?

        • Tigger 5.1.1.1

          Scott – I thought Plunkett was actually very kind. His style is brusque but I felt he was pretty nice to her all things considered (I mean, their position is ludicrously embarassing and indefensible). She was a literal deer in the headlights. He could have utterly ground her to a paste and he didn’t – he played the ball (the facts), not the person. I’m not a Plunkett fan but after this I take my hat off to him – he did his job as a journalist – and did it very well. This is the fourth estate working as it should.

        • felix 5.1.1.2

          those answers are pretty good standard polly answers to questions you don’t really want to answer

          Maybe on paper, but did you listen to it? Zero conviction, totally unconvincing. She didn’t believe a word she said and it was obvious.

          Should’ve sent Dr. Pita, at least he tries to put on a brave face and a smile to sell the party line.

  6. BLiP 6

    What do you mean “ACT won’t back down on their idiotic principles” ?

    First of all they have no “principles”, I’m sure you meant “position” and, second, ACT has already shown its so-called principles are as frim as jelly.

  7. the sprout 7

    it’s just one humiliation after another for the Maori Party. if it weren’t for Hone they’d look like complete saps.

  8. lprent 8

    I’d have to agree with blip. That change of act’s position on climate change after Gibbs (noted ccd) donated to act points to a lack of principle. There are other ones, like the blatant pandering to sst. Etc

    they look like political opportunists

    • So Bored 8.1

      ACT do have principles…..Accounting principles, working out what belongs to us and taking it off us. Sort of inverse Robin Hood principles.

  9. lprent 9

    The Maori party on the other hand just look political virgins getting done over by a snakeoil salesman.

    Still I suppose is is one way of learning. Hard lessons will hopefully stick for the next attempt at a Maori based party

  10. outofbed 10

    Perhaps they should just read their own website

    The Māori Party is committed to keeping our natural resources and environment healthy, safe and intact for everyone and for future generations.
    The Māori Party believes in the efficient use of water, the conservation of energy, and the need for sustainable environmental management.
    The Māori Party is also committed to assisting whanau, hapu and iwi, as tangata tiaki, to take whatever measures are necessary to ensure the wellbeing and future good health of the environment.

    * We promote the appropriate development of renewable energy resources, including geothermal and hydro, wave, wind and solar, in order to protect and preserve limited resources such as oil, gas and coal.
    * We support the Department of Conservation in working with local hapu and iwi to transfer the kaitiakitanga role back to tangata whenua.

    We aspire to work together to make the economy great but not at the expense of our environment. Climate change affects us all and the biggest emitters must take responsibility to change the way they do business. Any cost they pass on to consumers must encourage environmentally responsible choices. The principle must be that polluters pay.

    We want sustainable development. We must reduce our dependence on oil by strategies to reuse, recycle, repair, respect, replace and trade local.

  11. QoT 11

    Good gods, that interview is embarrassing. I feel sorry for Katene, getting sent up against Plunket with such horrifically poor lines.

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