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National spams the Beehive

Written By: - Date published: 8:48 am, November 27th, 2017 - 90 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, bill english, David Farrar, democracy under attack, dpf, national, Parliament, Politics, same old national, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags:

Her Majesty’s opposition is doing what it said it would do and creating more tension and more pressure in Parliament for the Government.  Bill English said it was not National’s job to make Parliament run properly and the last week has shown that National is It has lodged a multitude of questions, 6,254 to be precise, through the parliamentary written question system.

MPs are clearly doing this to stress the system. Ministers’ offices with brand new or even skeletal staffing are meant to produce pristine responses in a short time frame to some pretty naff questions.  Like how many papers has the Minister has read in the past seven days.  Or how many phone calls did they make or receive in a three week period.

Each question needs to be considered properly and the relevant information needs to be screened to see if there are valid reasons to withhold any piece of the information.

It would be one thing if there was even a remote possibility that the questions would unearth information that would let the opposition do its job properly of holding the Government to account.  But so far the quality of questions is poor and apart from clogging the system up there appears to be no reason for the questions.  Even National’s pollster agrees that the  questions seem silly, and are over the top.

But National is complaining that Labour, and in particular Trevor Mallard did it too and asked 8,791 written questions in July 2010. He did but if you have a look at the questions many of them were discrete questions asking for the roles of each school and the expected total operational funding for each school.  It is easy to imagine what use the information could have been put to.

Besides even if National’s criticism is correct it does not justify their behaviour.  Labour did it too is the sort of excuse a primary school kid would use.  And if the behaviour is stupid it does not matter who is doing it.

The current batch of questions appear to be revenge for Labour fobbing off originally poorly drafted questions.  The system relies on sharp precise questions being asked.  But many of the original questions were in the form of “what reports, briefings, memos, meeting notes or aide memoires if any did the Minister receive between 23 October 2017 and 13 November 2017 by title and date”.  Talk about a fishing expedition.

If they want the information then they can use the Official Information Act.  Then in a more measured way their requests can be answered.  But using the short cut Parliamentary question system to clog up Ministers’ offices shows a complete disregard for the intent of the system.

And instead of the opposition trying to get its head around how for instance it should respond to the proposal that there should be a political consensus on how child poverty should be addressed it is designing scores of questions so that Ministerial staff are too busy answering stupid questions to doing anything meaningful.

If this keeps up it is going to be a long three years.

90 comments on “National spams the Beehive ”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    National are down, and trying to get up. The best way to kick them back down again – and keep them there – is start passing the legislation needed to repair their malicious vandalism.

    Once a full accounting has occurred, there will be plenty of ways to expose this vandalism. The Prime Minister has already made reference to the school property portfolio and no doubt there are many other examples.

    The sooner the government realises that the National Party is the NZ equivalent of the Tea Party the better. Drag them screaming into the sunlight.

  2. alwyn 2

    Why don’t people who are actually interested in the facts read this item by Graeme Edgeler on his Legal Beagle blog.
    https://publicaddress.net/legalbeagle/questions-but-no-answers-with-thanks-to-david/
    It is, as is usual with Graeme, a reasonable and accurate review of the situation.
    Can you really justify the attitude of the current Ministers?
    Actually that is probably a silly question. The current Ministers can do anything they like because they are OURS.
    Idiots perhaps but still OURS.

    • mickysavage 2.1

      Que? Edgeler appears to be agreeing that the system should be used for short concise questions and not fishing expeditions. And you ignore the fact that the various Ministers are just setting their offices up and do not necessarily have the staffing ability to answer hundreds of questions.

      • Matthew Whitehead 2.1.1

        No, my reading of Edgler’s position across blogs and twitter is that diaries should be proactively released and National shouldn’t even have to resort to written questions, (although they should be able to ask about diaries in written Qs if they can’t wait for the normal release timetable for some reason) as they were under previous Labour governments. It’s ridiculous and unfair that National got away with refusing to publish their own ministerial diaries under Key, (there is literally a written question where Joyce outright said “I don’t see any public interest in answering questions about my ministerial appointments”) but Labour honestly should have pulled this stunt themselves years ago, because there is no reason why Ministerial diaries shouldn’t have been proactively published this whole time, like they used to be.

        Now we have a Labour government that has promised to be better on open government and more transparent, but it’s being slow on releasing its ministerial briefings, has been trolling National to be more specific in their questions about meetings, and has no immediate plans to reform the OIA. None of these are an acceptable start on this issue- I have a half-drafted post about the OIA and keep getting overwhelmed when I look at it.

        Labour should just announce a plan to proactively release diaries on a reasonable delay and form-answer all these questions with that plan. Then if the question spam continues after that, it will be very clear that the problem is National. This “the other side did it too!” nonsense is no excuse.

        • Bill 2.1.1.1

          That was my thought too.

          Publish all appointments/events attended and be done with it.

          • Matthew Whitehead 2.1.1.1.1

            Yep. Then if they keep spamming questions after that you can totally slam them in the media and/or adjust the rules to put a maximum number on questions for each member so they have to use them effectively.

          • mickysavage 2.1.1.1.2

            I agree with that as a proposition. My comments were addressed at the general criticism of the Ministers response, not to the specific proposal that their diaries should be published.

            The questions are much wider than who Ministers are meeting with.

            • Matthew Whitehead 2.1.1.1.2.1

              They are? I had been relying on coverage of the questions which focused exclusively on the ones being spammed being about meeting times. What else are they spamming?

          • mpledger 2.1.1.1.3

            All appointments and events from all MPs, not just ministers.

        • Carolyn_Nth 2.1.1.2

          That’s an informative explanation. And publishing diaries seems like the way to go.

        • John up North 2.1.1.3

          Yep, we were promised better transparency then the previous nats government (the most transparent govt eva! JK).

          Best to be pro-active otherwise the opposition will run them around putting out fires.

          Good summary by Edgler and Matthew hits it on the head with para’s 2 and 3.

    • Ad 2.2

      Edgler: “By rights, they should have asked more.”

      Really? Rights? In parliament? What a beltway tosser to suppose such nonsense.

      By rights from the Ministers being asked, they are doing the right thing requiring the requester to be specific.

      Questions should be about a matter relevant to the portfolios for which they are responsible.

      National have taught Labour for 9 years on this topic, and are going to have to figure something smarter out.

      If National think Labour are going to hang themselves by their own rope of virtuous disclosure, exposing the day to day goings-on of their diaries, they have got to be kidding themselves.

      Labour should have their information streams ruled as tightly as a South Canterbury dairy farm irrigator system. And most of that will also be bullshit.

  3. roy cartland 3

    Surely the Speaker can make some kind of ruling? As in areas of law, ‘frivolous or vexatious’ behaviour ought to be punished for being so. These are highly paid representatives for Chrissake.

    • David C 3.1

      Roy ,
      You want Mallard to rule that National asking a few silly questions is vexatious when Mallard himself filed over 300 vexatious questions a day for a month?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1

        Were Mallard’s questions vexatious? Or did he originally ask: “what are the budgets and roles of all schools?”, and was told he had to ask for each one individually?

        I suspect the latter.

        • David C 3.1.1.1

          …and Labour is playing that same game and here we have a post whining about National asking questions in response to that.
          Of course this is after Labour and the Greens campaigned on openness and honesty.
          Hypocrisy much?

          • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1.1.1

            I expect them to pay more and better attention to OIA requests than the equivalent of:

            “How tall are you? Where is your hat? Where is your other hat? Where is your third hat? Where are your red socks? Where are your blue socks? Where are your shoes? Where are your kidneys? When did you last blow your nose? Who haven’t you seen today? How about yesterday? Why is the sky blue? How many footsteps do you take between your office and the toilet? What is your favourite colour?”

            As the “story” says, the government should simply respond by making all Ministerial diaries public.

          • Samwise 3.1.1.1.2

            What questions didMallard ask tat were “vexatious”, David. It’s easy to make that claim without backing it up.

        • alwyn 3.1.1.2

          You may be right. If so there should be such a general question on the Parliamentary website at some date before the specific questions about each school in turn.
          I can’t find any such thing although someone with a better knowledge of searching the website may be able to.
          Have you tried looking for such a question?

          Trevor had obviously not gone to much trouble when he created the questions of course. He simply merged a list of school’s names with a standard request and generated the lot.
          Thus you got a set of questions where the word “school” was often there twice.
          I wonder whether he ever read the answers?

      • roy cartland 3.1.2

        Not at all. I want The Speaker of the House to put an end to trivial and vexatious behaviour that so obviously and expensively wastes parliament’s time.

        • Patricia 3.1.2.1

          Agree, Roy. Lots of work to get through by the Government without these infantile questions taking up valuable time and money. About time that National MPs got cracking on some real work and earned their money.

        • Baba Yaga 3.1.2.2

          You mean the same speaker who alone asked 7,000 questions in one month in 2010? Despite Mickey’s heroic attempts to spin Mallards antics…

          “Labour is getting off to a poor start on transparency. ”

          https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/99254200/labour-promised-transparency-in-government-but-they-seem-to-be-buckling-on-that-early

          • Otto Mann 3.1.2.2.1

            “You mean the same speaker who alone asked 7,000 questions in one month in 2010? ”

            Citation please?

            • Baba Yaga 3.1.2.2.1.1

              The citation is the link I provided, from which I quote:

              “In July 2010 Labour asked 8791 questions in a single month.
              More than 7000 of those questions came from MP Trevor Mallard alone.”

              • Unfortunately, that Fairfax article is meaningless because it doesn’t tell us what those questions were about.

                Considering it was the year of National’s second tranch of tax-cuts, they may well have pertained to economic/fiscal issues.

                Or 6,000 questions on how long is a piece of string.

                We don’t know.

                So your reference to Fairfax’s statement is meaningless because the statement itself is meaningless.

                • Baba Yaga

                  “Unfortunately, that Fairfax article is meaningless because it doesn’t tell us what those questions were about. ”

                  Irrelevant. If it’s spamming by national, it was spamming by Mallard.

        • James 3.1.2.3

          Perhaps by ordering that they answer the question in the first place ?

          • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.2.3.1

            Cynical move, eh: end the practice of publishing Ministerial diaries, then exploit the rules you changed once in opposition.

            “I don’t see any public interest in answering questions about my ministerial appointments”

            The Right Honourable Stephen Joyce.

            Does it bother you at all, being so transparent?

  4. David C 4

    Labour are sagging and near breaking point and its only a couple of months into a three year term.
    Openness and honesty have gone out the window with Labour failing to live up to the ideals that the Greens campaigned on.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/99254200/labour-promised-transparency-in-government-but-they-seem-to-be-buckling-on-that-early

    • Carolyn_nth 4.1

      Seriously! These same KB troll lines were floated yesterday on open mike and debunk. Mallard’s questions were very specific on an issue.

      How is openness helped by asking questions to block up the system and suck up people’s time, contributing towards openness? Openness requires good faith questions by the Nats, aiming to hold the government to account on specific issues. Not clogging up the system with spam.

    • Matthew Whitehead 4.2

      Labour aren’t sagging, this is normal teething problems for a government, it’s just the first time we’ve had both huge technical coverage of government and an energized opposition at the time of a new government. This is a problem that was originally caused by National shutting off publication of the information they are now making shrill noises about trying to get.

      Labour supporters, however, need to be asking them to get out of their own way by fixing National’s dumb changes to the rules and going back to proactively releasing ministerial diaries.

      • David C 4.2.1

        Mathew.
        Sounds like a bunch of amatuers that dispite having 9 years in opposition to prepare have been caught with their pants down.

        “oh fuck…you mean I have to do some work now?”

        • Carolyn_Nth 4.2.1.1

          Seriously?! Do you recall when the Nats came into government in 2008?

          They had expended all their efforts on strategies to topple the Clark government, from spin to dirty politics, they were totally unprepared for office.

          They had no detailed policies or plans, and had to focus on soft news PR, to cover their asses.

          And we got the Jobs Summit as an event to make it look like the Nats were doing something – eventually we got a cycle-way, but little improvement on jobs across the board.

          John Key was not ready for the hard questions. He didn’t perform that well in the House initially, but was pretty good with the infotainment media spots. He was carefully managed as to which interviews he was allowed to do. His speeches were a bit laboured.

          In contrast, the Labour-led team have plenty of well worked out policies to put into action. They just are not as good at the devious game-playing that the Nats are into.

          • Muttonbird 4.2.1.1.1

            That’s right! The cycleway was the flagship policy of the new government. Pretty much sums up Key’s legacy right there.

          • Baba Yaga 4.2.1.1.2

            “Labour developed a coalition through negotiating around policies and principles, ”

            No. Labour were simply the recipient of the preference of a politician who holds to old adage ‘revenge is best served cold’.

            I have been following politics for 40 years, and I’ve never seen a government to rival this one for the number of flip flops, lies and sheer incompetence in such a sort period of time.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2.1.2

          🙄

          Keep up the bitter whining at your defeat. The electorate loves whingers.

          Enjoy watching legislation being enacted and try not to weep.

          • David C 4.2.1.2.1

            OAB.

            defeat? LOL.

            National won the election and chose to lose the post election lolly scramble, you left wing nut jobs need to stop thinking like its FPP.

            Labour and the Greens sold their souls to Winston. Good luck with that.

            • Carolyn_Nth 4.2.1.2.1.1

              Oh dear. So much losers’ misinformation.

              No one wins the election til they can form a majority – and that’s MMP, more than FPP, which also requires a majority one way or another.

              It was the Nats that tried to get NZF support by chucking lollies baubles and trinkets at them. Labour developed a coalition through negotiating around policies and principles, and, in realtion to that, ministerial positions in keeping with the proportion of MPs and party votes.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2.1.2.1.2

              Enjoy watching legislation being enacted.

              Tomorrow’s order paper includes the Healthy Homes Guarantee bill, parental leave and employment protection, amendments to trusts and financial services, conservation infringements, social security and family violence, to name but a few.

              …and all you can do is weep and watch and spew your bitterness on a blog. 😆

              • David C

                OAB.
                Sorry I cant reply at length…between work demands (bloody accountants!) and rolling around on the floor laughing at the latest GreenMP to be outed as a liar and hypocrite I just cant focus.
                Have a great day. I am 🙂

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Yawn. Without defence lawyers, there can be no valid prosecutions at all. You really need to wipe David Farrar off your amygdala.

            • Psycho Milt 4.2.1.2.1.3

              National won the election…

              Please do continue with this line. Tell it to everyone you know, especially people who are potential swing voters. Be as vehement about it as possible, and you’ll really be helping (well, not helping National, but helping all the same).

              I was thinking about this “We wuz robbed by Peters!” thing that National has going, and it could use a name. Fortunately the Germans have one that fits: “Dolchstoßlegende.” I expect to be using that term quite a bit in future.

            • greywarshark 4.2.1.2.1.4

              David C
              Apparently then, if Winston was looking for souls, he didn’t find any in the National camp. I think that pretty well sums up the political truth.

              • David C

                grey.
                Yes you are spot on.
                Winston didnt find any souls for sale in the National camp.

                • greywarshark

                  No we do not agree on this point David C. You added the words ‘for sale’ referring to National. I made the point that were no souls to be found in the National Camp. Your choice of skewed words shows your type.

            • roy cartland 4.2.1.2.1.5

              He just said “stop thinking like its FPP”. Brilliant.

            • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.2.1.6

              National won the election

              No they didn’t – they lost it. If they’d won it they’d be in government and they’re not.

              Labour and the Greens sold their souls to Winston.

              No they didn’t. They negotiated a coalition.

        • Ad 4.2.1.3

          Chippie should HTFU and start figuring out how to win in the House other than through sheer majority.

        • Matthew Whitehead 4.2.1.4

          Carolyn’s reply took the words out of my mouth.

          Also, my name has two Ts. 🙂

      • cleangreen 4.2.2

        yep Matthew

        Labour need to remind national that they are “public servants” and are there paid by us to work to make Government work better for our interests not their own pea sized brains, so 100% to Matthew’s proposal.

        “Now we begin” said Jacinda four weeks ago.

        This is not the waty to make our lives better you bloody idiots nat’s.

        ” Like how many papers has the Minister has read in the past seven days. Or how many phone calls did they make or receive in a three week period.”

    • Tanz 4.3

      I can’t believe how unprepared and disorganised Labour are, also arrogant.
      Good on National for being a brilliant Opposition so far, no wonder they won the popular vote! Three years? Heck, the new govt is shaky already, I feel like we have children in charge.

  5. Et Tu Brute 5

    It is a tough one. On the one hand you want parliament to operate smoothly. On the other you do not want to limit in any way the opposition’s ability to get information out of government. Of all means to hold government to account, information is the safest (as opposed to more blunt tools like filibustering or general games in the house). The thing with a lot of questions like this is, we don’t know what they’re after until the show’s over. And the opposition shouldn’t have to explain to the government what they’re on the tail of until they’ve caught it (for obvious reasons). That said, this episode shows the current system is open to abuse. If they were to limit the number of questions, wouldn’t that just turn the MPs over to official information act requests? No easy answer.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      The National Party ceased the practice of making Ministerial diaries public. The solution is obvious, and so is their “game”.

  6. Anne 6

    Each question needs to be considered properly and the relevant information needs to be screened to see if there are valid reasons to withhold any piece of the information.

    It may be appropriate in the normal course of events but in this case its spam. They’re not genuine questions so the ministers and their staff can ignore them. I saw a list submitted by Chris Finlayson yesterday. It was infantile rubbish. Let em howl with rage cos the ministers are ignoring their questions, then release copies of the questions for public consumption. Once the public get to see what they’re actually doing and the puerile nature of the questioning then it will backfire big time on the Nats.

  7. Samwise 7

    Their desperation to remain relevant is making them look pathetic.

    • james 7.1

      Are you saying that opposition parties are not relevant?

      Or a party that received approx 44% of the vote of not relevant?

      Or is it just parties you do not like that are not relevant?

      • roy cartland 7.1.1

        Are you admitting that they’re desperate? Or is that a fully acknowledged thing now?

      • NewsFlash 7.1.2

        James

        NO

        YES

        NO

        Define relevancy connected to the QUESTIONS

      • Tricledrown 7.1.3

        The National Party ran out of relevance when they sat in their own bed now they have to lie in it.
        Winnie the Pooh has had his revenge after National have stabbed him in the back 4 times.
        Bungling Bill English’s dumb comment of saying he was a Maverick was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
        But Dirty deeds put an end to National.

  8. Peroxide Blonde 8

    Civil Servants are the people having to cope with the extra burden. They will get UTU in the most subtle ways.
    National will suffer.

    • Ross 8.1

      The Government might have to employ more public servants to help answer the questions. Then National will complain about a bloated public sector. They’d complain if their collective arse was on fire, they’d complain if it was put out.

  9. infused 9

    No different than when Labour spammed thousands.

    • All indications are that it is different. Labour actually asked pertinent questions while National aren’t.

      In other words, National are wasting our time and money because they’re upset that they lost.

      • infused 9.1.1

        Spin it how you want. Both sides play this game.

        • Anne 9.1.1.1

          Spin it how YOU want. But the winners used to ask pertinent questions. They won. The losers can only indulge in spam. They lose.

          • infused 9.1.1.1.1

            Until next time, rinse, repeat.

            • adam 9.1.1.1.1.1

              That you Gosman??

              • cleangreen

                Yes Gosman, and his trolls are all over the place.

                A diversion is going on here, as Natioanl know labour are now conducting a deep investigation of the financial books and finding some very stark ‘anomonies ‘ in the last administration’s (National) activities using public funds.

                So expect some fiireworks on this as most National MP’s were so used to rorting the public purse because they never thought other new Government MP’s would be able to capture the treaury benches.

                But alas Labour are invesigating them.

                In response national are using their legion of trolls to “disrupt us ‘ at the time that their national MP’s are under intense scrutiny with the financial audit of their activities in the beehive over the last nine years.

                National PM’s are freaking out as they sit there waiting for the phone to ring as it may be the Government auditor or revenue minister requiring them to come to the ninth floor for an investigation.

                • James

                  “Natioanl know labour are now conducting a deep investigation of the financial books and finding some very stark ‘anomonies ‘ in the last administration’s (National) activities using public funds.

                  So expect some fiireworks on this as most National MP’s were so used to rorting the public purse because they never thought other new Government MP’s would be able to capture the treaury benches.

                  But alas Labour are invesigating them.”

                  You put this as a statement of fact – back it up – please name some of the stark ‘anomonies‘ in the use of public funds that labour have found?

                  Or are you simply a liar ?

            • Tricledrown 9.1.1.1.1.2

              3 time looser Bill English.

        • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1.2

          No, only National plays this game.

      • James 9.1.2

        Citation needed – anything to back up that labour’s 6000 plus questions in a month were all pertinent?

  10. Jilly Bee 10

    +1 @ Ross. I was going to submit a similar post – you beat me to it. I watched Simon Bridges on Newhub last night, sheesh he’s pathetic and he sure could do with a few elocution lessons. I keep wondering what on earth he would have been like in the Courtroom arguing the case for the prosecution back in the day. If he’s making his pitch for the Nats leadership people will soon tire of his incessant bleating.

    • Puckish Rogue 10.1

      “he sure could do with a few elocution lessons. ”

      I think both john Key and Jacinda Ardern have shown that elocution isn’t all that important

  11. mary_a 11

    In attempting to hinder the democratic process of governance, what the vindictive behaviour from Natz MPs is achieving is making complete fools of themselves. Their petulant aim will backfire on them, as public begin to finally realise the caustic, unscrupulous side of the Natz opposition.

    • Tanz 11.1

      It’s what a decent Opposition does, instead of all the in-fighting and backstabbing Labour did during their nine years. Also, National know they are the rightful government, the government that 44 per cent of people voted for, rather than
      a mere 36 percent. They are the biggest Oppostion in thirty five years, and they have most of the electorate seats. Speaks volumes…

  12. AB 12

    Ignore it. Get on with passing legislation that permanently reduces the relative wealth and power of their supporters. This is what they dread, this is why they are bleating that they ‘really’ won. Give it to them with both barrels.

  13. Seaweed 13

    I have a question for the national party that I would like answered sooner rather than later… Feel free to deluge them if you get the urge…

    Dear Name of Politician,
    Please tell us what knowledge you had, or what part you played in the national party’s Conspiracy to Obstruct, Prevent, Pervert or Defeat the Course of Justice in the Barclay illegal recordings matter….

    A.Voter

  14. mpledger 14

    We can all play at information overload.

    https://fyi.org.nz/request/6892-cost-of-requests-made-to-government

    I was thinking of doing it question by question but that just seemed mean.

  15. cleangreen 15

    Very true AB & mary-a,

    As the parliamentary sitting period is about to end this week, and regarding national’s attempt to close down the new labour coalition Government by jaming them with 6200 spam questions, and stoping the “100 day pledge to pass 17 goals” I offer the answer.

    Either extent the sitting time this year to deal with the emails and the 6200 emailed questions or; Jacinda needs to quicky show Government “leadership” and need to rush through an urgency bill to reverse the national party changes they (national) placed to allow this attempt to close down the new government, and restore the former system preventing this “tea party style” abuse of our parliamentary system..

    http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2017/11/how-the-government-s-tracking-on-its-100-day-plan.html

    “The Government is going all out to tick off all 17 goals on its 100-day plan.

    A hundred days. Just over three months. It sounds like plenty of time until you blink and realise a month has passed since the Government was sworn in. They have until February 3.”

  16. cleangreen 16

    This morning we are hit with a very ugly scene on Radio NZ;

    Guyon Espiner is gleefully presenting his now standard pactice of being a ‘soft antaganist’, – and not acting with a “balanced fair independant” policy but rather turning into another national clingon” byn only interviewing the opposition party and not the Government Ministers in an even handed manner with “broadcasting neutality.”

    The new Minister of Broadcasting Claire Curran must remove Guyon Espiner, and the CEO of RNZ now, as the front theme planners for RNZ.

    This can be done easily as Hon’ Claire Curran reforms our “publically funded broadcasting media RNZ/TVNZ to become a “balanced, fair, presenter of public affairs” under the Broadcasting Act.

  17. mac1 17

    Further frivolous and vexatious information seeking got a short reply of thanks but no thanks from the GCSB. Bill English might be in a ‘hard place’ in Opposition, but is he a ‘rock’?

    http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2017/11/gcsb-refuses-to-provide-proof-bill-english-is-not-a-rock.html

    This response seems a fair way to deal with similar vexation from the National party spamming.

    Another response might be to limit written questions to those which are firstly written by the MP in longhand, in blue or black ink, on proper letterhead issued by the party Whip who has to sign out the paper and account for it, (as do supervisors in National’s beloved NZQA exams), and secondly signed by the MP.

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