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Mr Answerer

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 pm, February 20th, 2013 - 70 comments
Categories: Hekia parata, Parliament - Tags:

Oh dear. Lockwood Smith was by common consent one of the best Speakers we have had. David Carter seems be heading in a different direction. Lockwood Smith required Ministers to give direct answers to direct questions. Today in the House Carter answered a question for Hekia Parata, interpreting her words in such a way as to  get her off the hook. He may well have put himself on it, and Hekia as well.

Watch this and judge for yourself. Carter clearly says his interpretation of Parata’s answer to Hipkins’ question was  “that there was no guarantee given that the schools would remain open.” Parata was not willing to say that, because as Trevor Mallard pointed out, she knows it was wrong. Certainly principals and parents from the affected Christchurch schools are clear that such an assurance was in fact given.

Carter’s assertion that all too often “particularly opposition members” seek answers they want is fatuous. Patsy questions from National members do not get answers they want? And Hipkins’ question to Parata was closed – did she give an assurance, or not? – to which the answer has to be yes or no. No issue of an answer he wanted – it is a question of fact.

Carter’s interpretation of a Parata’s answer means that she is unaccountable in the House. His intervention let her fudge. Not a good start.

70 comments on “Mr Answerer ”

  1. vto 1

    Carter is no genius. Pretty average actually, in all forms. Don’t expect much.

    More fool the Nats for installing him – it will come back to bite. But the pixcture is clear, you see? That is the silly egg-headed nat/right approach to things, basing judgment of skills and wisdom on the basis of name and school.

    … duuuh …

    • Tom Gould 1.1

      Carter is a life-long arch-Tory. What do you expect? He can’t help himself. As he sees it, his job is to use the rules to assist his party and his government and to thwart the opposition parties. I doubt whether he has even heard of Westminster, unless it’s a brand of sheep dip.

  2. xtasy 2

    Mike Smith – It must be the very first time I can wholeheartedly agree with you.

    Today I watched Parliament’s question time twice, I listened in on radio after 2 pm. What a shocking performance by the new speaker. I think he must be lucky that the whole opposition did not stage a resolute, common walk-out in protest.

    David Carter did so many stuff-ups, and he clearly showed his incompetency today, letting off a smart alec John Key, ridiculing the whole rule system, answering with words that never addressed questions properly, even ridiculed questioners, did not get disciplined by the speaker, while Carter threatened Metiria Turei to be thrown out, because she (justifiably) questioned a decision by the speaker.

    She was NOT alone, there were many, from our peculiar “operator” Mallard, to Peters, even Shearer, Parker and Norman, if I miss any, tell me, they ALL raised issues with the speaker and his decisions and interpretations of answers by the PM.

    It is the first time ever, that I heard a speaker interpret and try to justify the answers by the leader of a government being John Key.

    It is showing now, that this speaker, who never wanted the job, is NOT FIT and capable for doing the job, and John Key, the very PM, the leader of the government, who pushed Carter into the job, he has something much bigger to answer now.

    He manipulateds administrations, the Attourney General decisions, the operation of government, he determines who should be speaker (no consultation), he dodges honest questions and answers, and he is indeed behaving like the king in the castle there, where we are supposed to have Parliament.

    I cannot believe it, we live in a defacto banana republic now, where all this gets away without consequences, and most of the shit media even looks away, and does NOT do its job. Well they do not do their job anyway, for years now.

    God damn, what bloody next?

  3. Yes, I too was horrified by the performance at question-time today. It makes Mr Lockwood Smith look like a paragon of neutrality (however my memory serves me well enough to recall I was getting fed up with the bias and leniency toward Nat bad behaviour when he was speaker too).

    Whilst recovering from the horror-show of bias and in order to be fair (why I bother, its not that these people would), I was trying to remind myself Mr Carter hasn’t had time to settle into the job of speaker, so I thought I had better cultivate some patience. I, however, will not be holding my breath on the matter, as I consider that would be fatal.

    This choice of speaker and manner in which they conducted the decision process really is more of the same old disregard this government is showing toward everything; New Zealanders interests, democratic process, respect for the purpose of law, respect for the privilege they hold, for what they are entrusted with…the list is endless.

    I hope that the opposition pull together and make a concerted effort at putting a stop to the lectures that Nacts have been prone to make at the end of most of their answers.

    I note that I thought Mr Shearer did a good job in his line of questioning today and view that Mr shonKey was suitably rattled. I consider this a “win” for Mr Shearer & Labour. Well done.

    • xtasy 3.1

      bl I gave Carter some grace for the first week or so, and I expected him to be a bit more in tune this week. Sadly he got worse from the start he made, which seemed then to be ok for a newbie. So I and others will watch that space.

      Shearer seems to be getting a bit better with his words, although he still is wooden and struggling. Damn, he must be feeling like one of those Korean students I met, who feared their parents and others for their expectations, to deliver and succeed, or vanish from their face and existence.

      Asian students face incredible pressures, and I am now worried about the mental health of dear David, the Shearer. Do not push a man beyond of what he can handle, I would say. He still is not the right leader, I say this for his health’s sake!

      • Adele 3.1.1

        Tēnā koe, Xtasy

        Doh to Shearer if he cannot handle the pressure – you would think, in those circumstances, he would think; “Gosh, I have an ultra-nervous bladder, perhaps, I should stick to playing deliverance on the guitar instead of playing at being leader of the largest party in opposition – and directly at loggerheads with Mr Keys to Heaven himself.”

        The voting public is still enamoured with Key – he could suck the blood out of granny and they would think, “Key is such an awesome guy – he has just helped that little old lady eat cake.”

        However, Shearer’s response to that is likely to focus on the wrong thing entirely. He will call attention to there being ‘no cake’ – and miss completely the observation that Key is sporting fangs and has just murdered granny.

        I am being too harsh but I can’t help but think Shearer is simply a Goff unplugged.

        • Actually, I really think opinion is quite divided on John Key, but he’s popular with everyone on the Right still. The issue is not that he’s popular, it’s that Shearer is NOT popular.

  4. felixviper 4

    That’s nothing. Take a look at this clip from question 1 last thursday: http://inthehouse.co.nz/node/16996

    At 4:40, Robertson asks a supplementary, Banks totally avoids it and waffles a bunch of stuff. Hipkins complains that the q wasn’t addressed.

    Speaker says given that the question was about why was the minister scared of something, the question was adequately addressed.

    Thing is, the speaker was referring to a completely different question. Robertson points this out, and the speaker reiterates as if nothing had happened.

    In other words, the speaker may as well have ruled that Banks’ answer would have been adequate to address any question.

    Watch it, it’s gobsmacking. Carter will go down as a disgrace.

  5. chris73 5

    So know lefties can understand the issues the right had with Margret Wilson…

    On a different note can anyone here think of a way to make sure we get a better chance of having a neutral speaker?

    • Daveosaurus 5.1

      Are you saying David Carter is a woman? Because that seemed to be the biggest complaint “the right” had about Wilson.

      • chris73 5.1.1

        I was referring to her bias as speaker…how Labour only had to “address” the question not answer it

        • tracey 5.1.1.1

          …And you indicate that the opposition of the time was unhappy, and its supporters? But now that it is getting benefit from the inadequacy it’s all good. THIS is why we are in the shit we are in.

          “They did it first”… and we wonder why our kids seem selfish and irresponsible sometimes…

          And NO I didn’t like it when Wilson was a patsy either. And said so. It was one of the things I thought Key was referring to in 2008 when he went on for about 8 months about his ministers and mps being held to a higher standard than labour.

          • chris73 5.1.1.1.1

            I’m not saying it makes it right, the speaker should be replaced by someone more able to handle the job. I was just pointing out that now you lefties finally understand what we were saying about Wilson being hopeless

            • alwyn 5.1.1.1.1.1

              You are being quite unkind to Margaret Wilson.
              There were some things she was very good at. Well actually there was one thing she was very good at. When H1 or H2 told her to do something she obeyed them and did exactly what she was ordered to do. Mostly that meant protecting the hapless members of a collapsing Government. Never was a minister to be required to answer anything.
              I am disappointed in Carter. He is about average fo Speakers of the last fifteen years I guess.
              He is way, way below Lockwood, a bit better than Jonathon and much, much better than Margaret. About average on the latest lot of Speakers.

    • @ Chris73

      “On a different note can anyone here think of a way to make sure we get a better chance of having a neutral speaker?” ~Chris73

      This is a good question.
      My thoughts on the matter.

      Perhaps it is not easy to get perfect impartiality, we all have a bias, however some people do take pride in attempting to achieve impartiality.

      If one takes a look at the purpose of this question and answer session, (and that of opposition parties in general), it is about holding the current government to account, keeping them on track; a balancing of the perhaps corrupting influence that holding power can have. I believe that this function is to everyones advantage; whether of left wing views or right, the “safety net” that this function provides serves us all.

      Therefore, I suggest that the speaker of the house be selected from an opposition party, perhaps the main one OR the other option is to select the speaker of the house from someone trained in the area of court processes (with the assumption that such have the intelligence to understand the purpose of and know the benefits of adhering closely to the rules of the house; which will have been devised to achieve some semblance of impartiality).

      RESULT
      If this were the case, the government of the day, knowing they could receive a severe grilling every time when in the house, might make more effort to conduct less dodgy behaviour.

      Purpose achieved: The government of the day is held to account.

      • chris73 5.2.1

        the other option is to select the speaker of the house from someone trained in the area of court processes (with the assumption that such have the intelligence to understand the purpose of and know the benefits of adhering closely to the rules of the house; which will have been devised to achieve some semblance of impartiality).

        – this idea could be a goer

      • Lanthanide 5.2.2

        The obvious solution is to amend the rules so that the Speaker does not have to be an elected MP, then they can appoint any experienced Beehive staffer to the position and will have a much better chance at getting neutrality than you could ever hope from an MP.

        • Lanthanide 5.2.2.1

          Can’t edit:

          This would also mean election of the speaker could be an actual genuine election, instead of the government simply appointing someone as it is now.

          • RJL 5.2.2.1.1

            It will still be a mere appointment by government of the day — as presumably MPs would still vote along party lines.

            It also opens parliamentary process up to the possibility of capture by a cadre of unelected “Beehive officials”. As only those somehow deemed “qualified” would be eligible for appointment. On the other hand, it still doesn’t really increase the chance of improved neutrality. “Beehive officials” may still be potentially biased, and MPs will just vote in a candiate whoose bias they approve of.

  6. higherstandard 6

    Lockwood Smith was an anomaly, back to business as usual.

    • tracey 6.1

      sadly, I agree. He was the highest common denominator of ONE.

    • felixviper 6.2

      Lockwood wasn’t that good.

      He was terrified of the PM and almost never held him to account.

      He was very good at taking a hard line on trivial issues, but very protective on anything that could really damage the govt and especially the PM.

      He just knew how to put on a good show.

      • higherstandard 6.2.1

        Don’t know why you’re addressing this comment to me, perhaps you should take issue with the person who wrote the article.

        • felixviper 6.2.1.1

          Because I disagree that Lockwood was that much of an anomaly.

          Sheesh.

          • higherstandard 6.2.1.1.1

            Well stop tr0lling and speak to the person who wrote the following in the article.

            “Lockwood Smith was by common consent one of the best Speakers we have had.”

            …oh and nice to see you’re still going all out with the lies and smears

            • felixviper 6.2.1.1.1.1

              Nah, I was replying to your comment. Pretty sure that’s still allowed.

              Where are these lies you keep accusing me of hs? I’m quite happy to apologise if I’ve got something wrong.

              • higherstandard

                I’ve pointed them out to you many times before – use the search function that’s what it’s for.

                • @ Higher Standard

                  Mr Lockwood Smith, may well have been more impartial than what we have now, however I agree with Felixviper here:

                  “He was very good at taking a hard line on trivial issues, but very protective on anything that could really damage the govt and especially the PM.

                  This is a point of debate and I do not see how you can refer to it as a comment of trolling, nor lies and smears.

  7. karol 7

    Just had time to see the first questions in question Time yesterday.

    It was a cringe-worthy performance by Clark who is clearly out of his depth.

    On the issue of tabling the RNZ transcript, which resulted in a threat by Clark to throw Turei out of the House, it seemed like Clark was making precedents on the fly, that contradicted earlier standing orders. Clark at least agreed to look at that outside Question Time.

    Then there’s the issue Peters raised about the government during Turei’s qestion, offering Sky City TVNZ land before the TVNZ board knew about it. Peters’ later press release elaborates on it.

    If Lockwood was the best the House have seen as speaker, that doesn’t say much about the quality of them all. He was pretty good at protecting the government & Key on some significant issues. He was clearly just smarter about it, and everything else, than Carter, who comes across as a bit sluggish in the brain-power department.

    We need better political representatives.

    • karol 7.1

      Something wrong with the edit function – link to the Peters’ Press Release.

      • lprent 7.1.1

        Yep. Decided to stop working a few days ago, probably due to an upgrade on several other plugins. It will probably be out until the weekend when I’ll have time to debug it.

    • r0b 7.2

      “Clark”?

    • David H 7.3

      Sorry Karol don’t you mean Carter, and not Clark? And I do agree he is a disgrace. One would think that he would at least attempt some semblance of neutrality, but he does not.

    • ianmac 7.4

      Specially liked Trevor’s Point of Order: Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Could you please issue to members both of the two rulings that you have just given and indicate which previous Speakers’ rulings will be cut out as a result of them?
      Mr Speaker will look into the matter. Wanna bet?

  8. vto 8

    I can’t believe how corrupt this government is…

    Ecan dictatorship and Carter’s lies… SkyCity backroom deals …. appointment of Speaker … it just goes on and on

    It is the partners of these politicians that the welfare-bashers should be targeting. It should be possible to criminally prosecute Bronagh Key for benefitting from John Key’s corruption.

    So how about it? A new criminal offence where the wives and husbands and partners of politicians are liable to 6 months in jail or minimum fine of $500,000 for benefitting from the lies, cheating\, deception, corruption of the politicians.

    It is only fair, is it not?

    You know, this governments ways are beginning to be mirrored in society. People have less regard for the law, less regard for due process, and far less regard for authority in the Chch rebuild. It’s happenning. If you can get away with it, then why not? – that seems to be the leaders way, and lookie there, that’s what is happenning.

    so very sad

    • chris73 8.1

      A new criminal offence where the wives and husbands and partners of politicians are liable to 6 months in jail or minimum fine of $500,000 for benefitting from the lies, cheating\, deception, corruption of the politicians.

      – I agree

    • SpaceMonkey 8.2

      Given they are NZ’s highest paid beneficiaries from the public purse, it seems entirely appropriate

    • Northshoreguynz 8.3

      How about Rod Petricevic’s wife?
      Apparently ignorance is no excuse.

      • North 8.3.1

        The Parnell and other leafy suburbs gals caricatured as “The Ladies Lunchalot” should of course be personally called to account for their living high on the hog when their spouses are shown to have ripped off (or destroyed value) to the tune of…….forget about 2 lousy hundy a week at tops……..bloody billions of dollars collectively.

        What is it, 160 odd finance companies down the tubes in very recent years ?

        Business class and better airfares to Sydney and beyond for shopping and then on to the Melbourne Cup. Big noting art purchases, visits to the face surgeon and the botox clinic etc etc etc. To say nothing about the King’s fees and the family skiing holidays in the French Alps. The list goes on. While hundreds and hundreds of thousands of these “thieving bennies” endure poverty and ill-health.

        “Yes, yes of course I sympathise darling, but I’ve got to say, many, many of them just don’t want to work !”

        And for good measure routinely extend back in time the Official Assignee’s clawback on trusts.

        I’m not sure of the limitation on prosecution of offences under social security legislation but except in a couple of strange instances (if at all) there’s no time limitation on Crimes Act prosecutions.

        Make it the same for recovery and to hell with this incitement to moral if not legal criminality in the monstrous misnomer of “trust”.

  9. tracey 9

    Nats internal polling must be interesting that they needed to get a patsy in the chair…

  10. Adrian 10

    Robertson couldn’t call Key “corrupt” even tho he wanted to as it not able to be used to descibe another Member, but the Nats used the other not allowed word “hypocrisy” in relation to opposition members and Carter let it stand. He is a idiotic disgrace.

  11. Rosie 11

    Oh dear. That was painful to watch. Feel slightly sorry for him, he didn’t want the job in the first place. I think I’ve missed something.What were shonkey’s motives for pushing him into it?

  12. tracey 12

    He’s looking at the long game… a knighthood and a post in London. I know, it’s hard to countenance, an MP in it for self interest!

  13. DavidW 13

    There is obviously a concerted campaign to de-stabilise the speaker. It started beforee even the first question of the first question time with Winston having a first crack and has continued with Mallard and Robertson leading the charge, assisted by Shearer and also Chippy from the back seat. Having said that, it was to be expected and will take a while to work its way through which will result in either a substantially weakened speaker or some spectacular prat-falls from the Opposition.
    Certainly Chippy might have been a bit unwise with some of his tweets which could make him vulnerable to legal action.

    All-in-all though, it is as much “games people play” as it is a determinant of the state of the country.

    • felixviper 13.1

      You’re high.

      There’s a concerted campaign to get the speaker to do his fucking job. And yeah it began right from the start because everyone who follows the goings-on in the house knew that Carter was a terrible choice of speaker and would not be up to it.

      • Te Reo Putake 13.1.1

        Yep, his incompetence was the very reason he was given the job. No chance of the PM and his ministers being forced to actually answer questions now. The repeated squeals of “are you questioning my ruling?” are designed to shut down any opposition MP who wants the speaker to actually do his job.

  14. “Carter’s interpretation of a Parata’s answer means that she is unaccountable in the House. His intervention let her fudge. Not a good start.”

    Sums up Labour’s misfortune that they can’t make anything stick, even to Parata.

  15. mac1 15

    I can understand a Speaker getting into the role and making mistakes whilst doing that, but (and it’s a huge but) the sycophancy which Carter showed the PM, John Key, whilst suggesting that Key “had not been helpful” in adding his political jibes, a very common ploy of Key’s, was damning. He looked like the slave in Roman times who had the role of whispering in the triumphant general’s ear “memento homo” whilst dreading the repercussions the next day.

  16. Thanks for this post Mike Smith.

    • The Al1en 16.1

      Indeed! Add the content to Labour’s expansive catalogue of failures to land a decent hit on an appalling government.

      • blue leopard 16.1.1

        @Al1en
        I didn’t perceive that what occurred was an example of Labour failing at all.

        Labour MPs (& others) made it very clear what their point of concern was re Hekia and Mr Carter answering for her. What occurred reflected poorly on the speaker, not Labour.

        • The Al1en 16.1.1.1

          “What occurred reflected poorly on the speaker, not Labour.”

          Toothless attack. Been the same since ’08.
          No point claiming moral victories despite the bias of a twat speaker, when they haven’t actually done anything at all.

          Any scalps, even with the highly regarded, but full of shit lockwood smith as speaker?
          Nope.
          Worth, Wong, Heatley and Smith, all self inflicted and they won in 2011.
          Define success.

  17. tracey 17

    It’s a job you need to be qualified for before you take it up , not one you learn as you go, which is why experienced MPs, usually whips, get it because they actually have a working knowledge of the rules.

    • alwyn 17.1

      I am curious about the idea that they were “usually whips”
      I’ve had some knowledge of the recent Speakers and I can’t remember any of the ones in the last twenty years who were ever a party whip, EXCEPT for David Carter.
      That list includes Tapsell, Kidd, Hunt, Wilson and Smith.
      David Carter on the other hand was a whip from 1996 to 1998.

  18. tracey 18

    “Carter clearly says his interpretation of Parata’s answer to Hipkins’ question was “that there was no guarantee given that the schools would remain open.” Parata was not willing to say that, because as Trevor Mallard pointed out, she knows it was wrong. Certainly principals and parents from the affected Christchurch schools are clear that such an assurance was in fact given.”

    Could Parata have corrected the Speaker? That she did not, is she now deemed to have answered as the Speaker suggests? If yes, do any parents of principals have the guarantees (alleged) in writing or on tape?

    • Pascal's bookie 18.1

      Not sure how she could. You can’t litigate a finding!

      But if his finding was that she had answered it in way that is later found to have misled the house…

      Interesting precedent jobby for someone praps?

  19. David Carter is terrible speaker who does not perform Shearer is looking better in the House and better as Leader I look forward to his Reshuffle and think a few in top 20 need to go. I would like Little Wall Moroney Clark all come through into the top 20. Good Luck Mr Shearer keep up the good work.

    • Craig Glen viper 19.1

      “Good Luck Mr Shearer keep up the good work.”

      What did he do, did I miss something?

  20. fenderviper 20

    I think it’s a shame that this fool of a ‘speaker’ can make a beautiful piece of Maori craft look like a toilet seat when he wears it.

  21. Rogue Trooper 21

    David Carter IS an incompetent control freak it appears

    • xtasy 21.1

      Yes, to a degree, and watch his hands and fingers, when he nervously fumbles around with a pen or so, when the pressure builds up!

      He is a very biased control freak at the same time, and clearly incompetent as well.

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