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: alfred ngaro, melissa lee, todd muller
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.