National has lots of questions

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, January 12th, 2019 - 38 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, democracy under attack, Gerry Brownlee, Judith Collins, national, Parliament, Politics, same old national - Tags: , ,

Answers to written questions in Parliament have a very specific role. Questions are meant to be concise and answers are meant to be provided within 6 working days.

But for some time National has engaged in what can only be described as a full scale fishing expedition and have stretched Ministerial resources to their limits in answering thousands of questions. From Jason Walls at the Herald:

Opposition MPs asked ministers more than 40,000 written question in 2018, with just three National MPs contributing more than a quarter of that total figure.

National’s Alfred Ngaro, Melissa Lee and Paul Goldsmith asked a combined almost 12,000 written questions over the course of 2018.

Asking roughly 4500 questions, Ngaro – National’s children, community and voluntary sector and Pacific peoples’ spokesman – lodged the most questions in the year.

Almost a quarter of all Ngaro’s written questions were lodged on just one day.

Just 300 questions behind Ngaro’s total annual question count was Paul Goldsmith, spokesman for economic and regional development. Many of his questions related to the Provincial Growth Fund.

Lee, spokeswoman for broadcasting and ethnic communities, asked roughly just over 3000.

Judith Collins, Gerry Brownlee and Todd Muller all asked roughly 2000.


National claims that it is because the Government is not being sufficiently transparent. But the questions being asked would tend to refute that.

For instance Ngaro asked a thousand questions in just one day. How do you do that? How much do you want to know?

It appears this happened because Ngaro asked a separate question for each day during a given period. Why not ask one question for a period of time? Asking one question for each day seems somewhat excessive.

And if you have a look at the sort of questions being asked I am sure that you would agree that this is a colossal waste of time.

Maybe Labour should do what the Greens have implemented and proactively release all ministerial diaries to show who they’ve met with and why. And while they are at it they should confirm that they will not accept corporate hospitality, such as free tickets to events unrelated to their work.

And maybe the Taxpayers Union should look into this. Clogging up Ministerial Services with a whole load of make work questions seems rather weird for a party that claims to be opposed to the waste of Government resources.

38 comments on “National has lots of questions”

  1. Pat 1

    So many questions and no answers

    • Robert Guyton 1.1

      So many questions, so few reasons for asking them.

      • Pat 1.1.1

        Id suggest not a few. there is only one overriding reason for asking, one motivation.

        • Dennis Frank 1.1.1.1

          Yeah, obviously a political strategy. Ask so many questions that civil servants spend most of the time looking for the answers instead of doing their job. Or perhaps it is designed to provoke the govt into creating a new class of public servants: question answerers.

          Perhaps we need an Information Ministry? To stymie the strategy, the govt ought to engage gear with their best propagandist. If Winston, then he ought to call for public debate on the cost of that. Getting public service advice on the annual cost of answering National’s 2018 questions seems like the essential basis upon which to proceed. He could, at the press conference, call upon the Taxpayer’s Union to provide an independent audit to provide comparative costing!

          • greywarshark 1.1.1.1.1

            But. says the wondering child, do National Party ever learn anything from the Answers to their Questions?

            • alwyn 1.1.1.1.1.1

              It was very hard to learn anything from the Minister’s answers. You see they simply refused to give any answer at all.
              Brett Hudson, a National MP commented on this in November 2017. I realise that it was on Kiwiblog but if you actually have a genuine interest in the subject you will go there and read it in full.
              An extract of what he said is.

              “The volume of questions is purely being driven by Ministers and their offices refusing to answer more generalised questions, such as something along the lines of ‘Who has the Minister met with since being sworn in?’
              A very reasonable question. It not only helps to identify who might be influencing government, it also helps to target further information requests.
              Ministers’ offices have been responding along the lines of ‘The minister meets with many people on many topics. We can respond to more specific questions.’”
              https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2017/11/hipkins_crying_over_what_he_used_to_do.html#comment-2085533

              Thus the questions have to be made ever more specific.
              Micky knows this of course but some people reading this probably aren’t aware of the tactic.
              So much for “Open and Transparent” eh?

      • Robert Guyton 1.1.2

        Simon whatsisname asks a lot. He’s the Kweschiner in Chief. Each of his are fresh and new; he makes them that way, not by changing the wording, but by subtle inflections in his voice; first, he croaks them, then he gurgles them; lastly, well down the track, he chokes on them. He’s KiC.

        • OnceWasTim 1.1.2.1

          Then there’s all those ‘Poynaordas Mr Spoika’ from the backup team.
          It’s no wonder Chris Finlayson began to look utterly disinterested during the last Parlyarmint season and left most of it to that brick of principle and ethics Gerry and the pompous stuffed shirt Wodehouse. Meanwhile Nafe was finding it a bit hard to keep up, Smith was forever lamenting what might have been, and Paul was focused on her next re-imaging project. Oh and Crusha was wondering what the best knife to use might be or whether to just go for broke and use a machete

          • Tricledrown 1.1.2.1.1

            Fillibustering technique. National are well behind on MP numbers so this is all they have got.

        • greywarshark 1.1.2.2

          Perhaps Bridges is pretty much NZs Tom Waits.

          (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TDSDRb-I6Y

          This is good video – nice art work.
          (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBiR2PGiBPc

        • mary_a 1.1.2.3

          Ha ha thumbs up to that Robert (1.1.2)

  2. James 2

    Funny how quick you forget.

    Labour asked 4000 questions in a single day right before Xmas.

    https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2009/12/more_question_abuse.html

  3. Blazer 3

    there is only one question=why?

  4. JustMe 4

    So many written questions i.e more than 40,000 by National MPs makes me want to ask them some environmental questions and they are: Was the paper National wrote their ridiculous questions on made from re-cycleable paper???!!!! If not then did National add to the air pollution in our environment by having the paperwork burnt?

    It is obvious National MPs are overpaid and underworked if the best they can do is ask repeated questions again and again and again with absolutely no intent of looking at problems which are MORE important to NZers than the National MP obsession(lets call it OCD)on asking the same question too many times!

    The Day of the Repeat Question by say 1000 as had by Alfred Ngaro; is a waste. Asking mostly same questions albeit 1000 times or 40,000 times shows National don’t have any significant let alone credit worthy policies in mind as we head towards Election 2020. Instead they are intent on silly and childish point scoring(aka Upmanship). And so National MPs asking the same question again and again up to say 1000 time is, in my opinion, a indication that the question should have been consigned to the National Party Furnace after the question had been asked 5 times over say one year.

    Why don’t we ask National MPs these questions: Did the previous National government decide against a Register in regards to overseas mostly Chinese/Asian millionaires who entered into NZ and received residency due to a ‘donation’ made to NZ? Where did these ‘donations’ really go? Did they go into say a political party bank account instead? Will National MPs ever admit they have made mistakes whilst in government or will they, as per usual, blame everyone else but themselves for THEIR mistakes???!!!!

    So many questions NZers would like to ask National but be assured we will never ever get any intelligent answers from them. They will waffle on and on and confuse everyone with their verbal gymnastics aka avoiding telling the truth.

    • Kevin 4.1

      For what it’s worth, pretty much all paper these days is either recycled or from FSC sustainably harvested sources. When it comes to your garden variety photocopy type paper, I would be very surprised if there was any imported that was not 100% recycled.

  5. her 5

    Does the member stand behind every statement they have ever made?

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    And if you have a look at the sort of questions being asked I am sure that you would agree that this is a colossal waste of time.

    Many of those questions could be easily answered – if the government published them on a decent website that everyone could view.

    BTW, linking to the top of the question list probably isn’t going to show what you want. When they’re asking ~100 questions per day it’s going to be fairly active and they will get round to asking some good questions.

  7. JustMe 7

    Perhaps we should congratulate ALL the National MPS for demeaning the NZ National Party further and further especially merit goes to those who repeatedly ask questions in a feeble attempt at say ‘upmanship’ or looking important to the NZ voting public.

    Now I don’t know how many National MPs bother to read The Standard. But because The Standard is considered a Leftest media outlet then it’s unlikely any National MPs would read postings because they(National)just don’t like being questioned indepth especially by journalists like John Campbell(and the former Campbell Live team).

    And so whilst National MPs will ask the most silliest, childish, immature and repeat questions I doubt we can have ever had any transparency let alone accountability by National MPs especially whilst they were in government.

    Mentally I don’t think any National MPs or their supporters in the main stream NZ media are capable of answering questions rationally. They resort to ‘waffle, waffle and more waffle’ in the hope their ‘answers’ come across as being intelligent.

  8. The ChiNational party.

    Water and swamp kauri theft , river pollution , slave immigrant labour , rampant housing speculation , impoverished rural community’s , trade union suppression , children dying in moldy cold homes , stagnant unrealistic wages , American style population surveillance , endorsing having an ex Chinese trained spy in their cabinet , – AND admittance to donations buying their way into their party ,…

    Oh yes , I’m sure there’s many , many questions to be asked of the ChiNational party…

    4 – Under the News Radar 2018 – China tried to buy 2 MPs on …
    https://thedailyblog.co.nz/…/4-under-the-news-radar-2018-china-tried-to-buy-2-mps-…

  9. cleangreen 9

    Yes to all that Micky,

    As myself not a green party member, I still are ready to applaud the Greens for being first to show r-e-a-l transparency here and all parties should do so also.

    Our 20yr old volunteer Community NGO, has sent 64 emails over the last 13 months to eight of the cabinet Ministers seeking answers for responses and requests for a meeting.

    Since then we have to date NO responses to our questions or a meeting with any ministers except other than the ” PA for Minister of Transport Phil Twyford who said he was to busy”

    So are National just ‘jamming up the system for many thousands of phony questions’?

    Is this in an attempt to make Labour hated by the public?

    Are National wanting to cause labour Coalition to become ineffective at working with community groups and public volunteer agencies???

    Jacinda Ardern and her cabinet now must now act before her labour coalition becomes more unpopular micky.

    I requested in late November a request under the OIA for Phil Twyfords office for them to confirm that Mr Twyford has been in receipt and review of those 64 emails and that this has actually made!!!!!!

    As of at 12/1/2019 today our NGO has still not received any response.

    In August 2014 we requested the same OIA request for receipt and review from PM John Key’s office and 28 days later we got an official response from PM John Key’s “Chief of Staff” Wayne Eagleson 18th September 2014 which said; quote;

    Wayne Eagleson; “Please find the attached list of emails identified as being received by this office to the scope of your request”

    Sadly he omitted the second part of our (most important) request which was; – “did PM John Key receive all our 105 emails and review or respond to any of them.”

    We have asked the same question of Phil Twyford also, and have not received any reply to date after request from 19th November 2018!!!

    So you can see that the dramatic affect of the complete “loss of public interest communication is now affecting the Government,”

    Labour coalition now must make it a priority to stop this “political terrorism going on by the National Party against the people of NZ and their elected government.

    “Maybe Labour should do what the Greens have implemented and proactively release all ministerial diaries to show who they’ve met with and why. And while they are at it they should confirm that they will not accept corporate hospitality, such as free tickets to events unrelated to their work.

    And maybe the Taxpayers Union should look into this. Clogging up Ministerial Services with a whole load of make work questions seems rather weird for a party that claims to be opposed to the waste of Government resources.”

  10. Chris T 10

    I heard on the radio Mallard alone asked 20,000 in 2010.

    Not that I think Nationals are fully justified.

    Just stones and glass houses and all that.

    • James 10.1

      As I linked to before labour asked 4000 questions in a single day right before Christmas- but so many on here a blinded by their politics that they refuse to see that and it’s all national “bad”.

      • Dennis Frank 10.1.1

        Well, I agree with you guys on this. Nobody ought to be doing this crap. Hard enough to make democracy work well as it is, without the system getting constipated as a result of gratuitous question overload.

      • cleangreen 10.1.2

        “Two wrongs don’t make it right” –

        National must learn this; – as they are now just harming the NZ public now with their jamming the communication with these ‘frivolous’ attempts to impede the NZ voters and public interest to communicate with the government.

        So if national keeps on and persists!!!! – then labour must wipe the thousands of those frivolous questions off the front of the list; – and place the public questions in front to provide a reasonable service the voters requests and not play the games that national wants firstly now.

        • Chris T 10.1.2.1

          No

          They just have to answer all the pointless questions in a timely manner like National had to do and Labour before them.

          I ain’t like they lack the staff

          • Robert Guyton 10.1.2.1.1

            Key gave pointless answers, it’s true but hardly a genuine question was answered, let alone answered in a timely manner, consequently National Party lackeys like you, Chris T, wouldn’t recognise a real answer if one alighted on the tip of your nose and sang Sweet Adeline.

  11. Kat 11

    National……..well, questions arn’t really questions if you know the answers too.

  12. Bryan 12

    Recently I was searching for some information and Google gave the answer to one of the Nat’s written questions. When I reviewed the answers to all similar questions about briefings etc received I found that the Minister’s responses went from full and detailed very early on to now contain many “A paper the title of which is not in the public interest to disclose at this time”
    Open Government – bollocks!!!
    Labour needs some transparency lessons. The junior coalition partner can no doubt help them.
    If you wish to have a look yourself at some less than satisfactory answers and of course the undeniable huge number of questions being asked in these opposition fishing expeditions they are available on:

    https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/order-paper-questions/written-questions

    • Sacha 12.1

      “the Minister’s responses went from full and detailed very early on to now contain many “A paper the title of which is not in the public interest to disclose at this time””

      It’s almost like they are .. retaliating.

  13. Ant de Villiers 13

    Who knows the answers?

  14. Liminal 14

    This is a deliberate policy by National to try and overwhelm ministries and agencies with work so that they can also say at some point how “inefficient” they are at doing their main tasks. My wife has worked as a contractor for the last couple of years specializing in OIA work in several ministries and it is common knowledge that this is National’s game. Even when important ministerial briefings are developed and presented (under tight deadlines) these were sometimes ignored by the honourable [sic] minister. Indeed, it has been noted several times that one of the Natszi crew, who was in charge of the agency my wife currently works for, just used to chuck them in his bin unread! Charming.

  15. Rob 15

    Quck , alert the press – news break “Political Opposition asks many questions of current Govt and presents them in a series that Govt nor its supporters are happy with!”

  16. Jenny - How to get there? 16

    This extraordinary amount of requests seems to indicate that National are deliberately engaging in an organised and malicious analogue, real world version, of a Denial of Service attack

    From Wikipedia;

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial-of-service_attack

    Denial of service is typically accomplished by flooding the targeted machine or resource with superfluous requests in an attempt to overload systems and prevent some or all legitimate requests from being fulfilled.[1]

  17. Jenny - How to get there? 17

    Because of the deliberate abuse of the parliamentary Questions and Answers, by the National Opposition Party, the Green Party, need to rescind their granting of extra question time to National, as a gentle warning, not just for this, but also for Todd Muller’s unprovoked lying attack on the Government.

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/on-the-inside/352880/what-the-greens-national-deal-reveals

    National now has an extra question each day to hold the Labour and NZ First Ministers to account.

    National have shown that they can’t be trusted not to abuse this gift.

    New Zealand needs a Government that understands climate change

  18. Jenny - How to get there? 18

    How can we explain the bloody-mindedness of the Nats?

    Steve Bannon, care of Mike Moore, gives us an insight into the mind set of Right Wingers.

    “…..Our side, we go for the head wound. Your side, you have pillow fights.’ ”

    https://pagesix.com/2018/09/14/steve-bannon-was-supposed-to-appear-in-michael-moores-fahrenheit-11-9/

  19. Tricledrown 19

    A lot of Fundamentalist Christians in the National Party want to take us back to the Dark Ages Inquisitions!

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