NRT: David Carter must go

Written By: - Date published: 10:06 am, March 28th, 2013 - 51 comments
Categories: accountability, Parliament - Tags: ,

I/S at No Right Turn with a full and frank assessment of The Speaker…


David Carter must go

Parliament has descended into a farce for the second day in a row, with two MPs thrown out for demanding that the Speaker enforce Standing Orders and stop John Key from summarily abusing questioners. Its been apparent since his first day in office that David Carter is simply not up to the job of Speaker, and this week simply confirms it. He needs to go. The question is “how”?

Parliament’s Standing Orders contain no formal provisions for removing an incompetent Speaker. Which means that informal methods must be used to make Carter’s position socially untenable. One option would be for the opposition to formally move a motion of no confidence, on the basis that the Speaker requires their confidence to be able to do their job effectively. Another would be for someone to devote a General Debate slot to the Speaker’s failure to manage the House. Alternatively, opposition members could simply repeatedly seek leave for a vacancy to be declared in the Speakership and an election be held. Finally, there is the option of a walk-out, a simple refusal to attend until the Speaker resigns.

All of these are “nuclear options”, in that they will irreversibly destroy the relationship between the Speaker and the opposition. But given how bad things are, that actually looks like the best course of action.

Alternatively, we could all just cross our fingers and hope that Carter grows a brain, buys a copy of “Speaker for Dummies”, and becomes less of a partisan hack. But how likely is that?

51 comments on “NRT: David Carter must go”

  1. grumpy 1

    No Speaker could keep up with the standard Lockwood Smith set. However, Carter is light years fairer and more reasonable than that awful Margaret Wilson. Didn’t hear much criticism from Labour and Greens then.

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      This is a case of “don’t know what you’ve lost till it’s gone”. Lockwood set good standards and kept them, now that he’s gone it’s obvious what a good job he was doing.

      If Margaret Wilson was doing a shit job, it seems that her approach wasn’t too dissimilar from her predecessor.

      • grumpy 1.1.1

        True, they all pale in comparison to Lockwood – a class act!

      • freedom 1.1.2

        The previous Speaker in comparison to Carter was not terrible. Excepting Lockwood’s habit of continuously interpreting a Minister’s answers so anything that exposed reality was expunged,
        so, apart from that . .

        Dear Lprent, the html tags do not appear to be working 🙁
        well the bold worked yesterday on the one time i tried but strikethrough certainly seems to have something screwey going on. First entry/reply with tags failed and on edit the tags did not even show up as part of the text body, just the words that were to be struck appeared.

    • UpandComer 1.2

      We are agreed. Wilson was so arch I’m surprised she did break her back. Carter is indeed needs to work on his manner. Lockwood now seems a paragon

  2. karol 2

    Well said, I/S. The video of the debacle yesterday shows how slanted Carter is towards protecting the PM. The PM was clearly trying to use his clown act to divert attention from his cronyism by nastily smearing Robertson’s intellect.

    As Peters pointed out the sanctions threatened against himself were far tougher than the Speaker’s wet bus ticket efforts to stop the PM.

    Mallard and Hipkins were clearly prepared to be thrown out of the House on the issue. After about 7 minutes on the video, Hipkins is obviously staging a protest by continuing to say “Point of Order” while the Speaker was standing and asking for order.

    It would not surprise me if several opposition MPs are prepared to go further and use a “nuclear option” if Carter doesn’t improve significantly.

  3. Herodotus 3

    With all but a couple of speakers that were competent (and from past history would mallard be any different) perhaps it is time to go against convention and appoint a judge or some other professiona or kindy trainee teacherl that can use the standing orders to build up a history of how parliament operates.
    But then outside a few who take notice does anyone really care ?
    And all the media is after is a good 10 sec sound bite or someone throwing their toys out.

    • erentz 3.1

      Actually quite interested in hearing more on this line of thought. Given the role of the speaker, why isn’t it a position that’s appointed neutrally, as you say someone from the judiciary perhaps, hell even a rotating position on a yearly basis with a random Supreme Court justice required to serve or something. Call it jury time for them.

      Isn’t some sort of constitutional review underway? Perhaps time to consider this seriously…

  4. quartz 4

    Having watched that debacle I’m wondering whether the opposition should just boycott the house in protest.

    • Chris 4.1

      Been thinking that for a while. It just gets worse each week and our esteemed pm minister of dirty tricks is even worse when he is showing off for rich people in the gallery.He is an embarrasing fool and doesn’t know when enough is enough.

  5. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5

    I get the sense that the Nats were royally fucked off when Lockwood raised the standard of answers required of ministers. Witness the frequent clashes between Brownlee and Lockwood. Having suffered the years of Wilson’s horrid and shrill partisanship, I suspect that they were looking forward to a bit of pay-back.

    And that’s what this is. It is a farce that I do not defend, but no more of a farce than we had under Wilson.

  6. Watching 6

    This will eventually bite Labour in the bum with that 4-8% of soft Nats voters.

    1. People are too busy with their lives to give a f*** with what happens at QT. Labour is coming across as someone with no alternative message, and rather than being an elected members of parliament we will just yell and scream.The problem for Labour is that this type of message will become boring.

    2. The Greens are not getting thrown out of parliament – yet they are the party of protesters. They understand the difference between when you protest and when you need to get a message across. OT is a two hours session during work time/picking kids up from school time etc – those voters may see 1 minute on TV, and Labour comes across as the person at the meeting who doesn’t get their own way before kicking the chair & storming out.

    3. If there is a Labour/Green government in 2014 the Nats could still be the biggest party. The Labour speaker (if anything like Wilson) can expect a hard time dealing with those numbers. The problem maybe that Lockwood Smith has set a standard that I cannot see any of the Nats or Labour MP’s from the current lot capable of fulfilling the speaker role.

    • UpandComer 6.1

      You are correct. Witness the difference between Russel Norman’s reasonable criticism of the speaker on standing orders, the tenor of which was such that Carter had the PM withdraw. Compare to that Mallards absolutely appalling blatant disrespect, contempt and insult. Imagine the furore if a National MP had spat at Wilson to sit down when he was speaking and then sworn at her face after.

  7. felix 7

    I think Key has fucked up here. He appointed Carter with instructions to give the Nats an easier ride than they had under Lockwood, but I think he failed to see just how good he had it.

    Lockie was very clever at maintaining a veneer of impartiality – and often real impartiality – while still closely protecting the PM from any real harm. His generally deserved reputation for fairness actually allowed him to let Key get away with a lot, and largely under the radar.

    Anyone who watches parliament knows a lot about Key’s true nature that most of the public don’t. Most don’t get to see the nasty, spiteful, slurring, hissing, sneering Key that we all know and love, and if Key were smarter he’d want to keep it that way.

    The last thing he’d be doing is making parliament something worth showing on the news, but by installing a certified imbecile to run the joint, that’s just what he’s done.

    Pass the popcorn.

    • @ Felix,

      Yes, I very much agree with your comment. The protection of any truth or relevant information being heard is simply more obvious under Mr Carter, not any different from Mr Lockward-Smith’s protectionism. (Different style not effect)

      I am pleased that this is becoming more apparent.

      I am pleased that it seems to be putting fire in Labour M.Ps bellies. This was sorely lacking under very similar levels of information protection and schoolboy boorishness occurring last year.

      I am pleased to see the opposition parties working together on opposing the poor level of information coming out of Nat Government, ….and objecting to boorish school boy antics.

      Bravo, keep up the good work opposition parties.

      Mr Carter you are a star

  8. Epping Road 8

    Seriously, labour think they can win an election by turning parliament into a circus? Key walks all over Shearer every time Shearer tries to score a point, and labour complains to the speaker about that? It’s the speaker’s job to apply the rules, not to make sure the outcome of the fight is even. Chippie and Mallard were lucky they weren’t thrown out earlier. Pair of crybabies, both of them.

    • felix 8.1

      Labour haven’t done any such thing.

      ps you can’t in one breath complain about Labour turning parliament into a circus, and in the next praise Key for abusing the procedures and order of the house to make cheap personal attacks on his opponents.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        Apparently, Epping can.

      • UpandComer 8.1.2

        I’m sorry but Lockwood had it correct. If Shearer is going to lambast key on enforceing a standard of conduct in the executive re ‘human error’ then I think under Lockwood’s standards regarding fair political play in the house, Key should be able to bring up Shearer’s singular human error regarding his half million dollar bank account that he forgot about for 3 years.

        • felix 8.1.2.1

          Half a million? I heard it was a hundred gazillion.

          Also, what? The standard of conduct in the “executive” is governed by the cabinet manual and Lockwood hasn’t been Speaker since last year.

          Looking sideways at you.

      • Epping Road 8.1.3

        “Cheap personal attacks”? Parliament is a political place. Opposition makes jibes about Ministers all the time. Ministers don’t jump up and cry to the speaker for him to bail them out every time the Opposition make political digs at them.

        It isn’t the Speaker’s job to force Ministers to give the answers that the Opposition are seeking. It’s bullshit that Lockwood required this.

        If there is any valid criticism of Carter it’s that he has let the Opposition get away with far too much trifling with the Speaker’s rulings. Lockwood never put up with that nonsense and he would have chucked more of them out of the House for doing so much earlier. Lockwood pounced on every sign of disrespect that an MP made towards his rulings, even insincerity in a withdrawal would result in a severe flogging.

        Mallard, Hipkins, Peters and Cosgrove have shown contempt for the Speaker from the beginning. It’s abuot time they got their beans.

        • felix 8.1.3.1

          Oh darling. I was going to reply to each of your sentences but it’s just too sad.

          You simply have no idea what you’re talking about.

          • infused 8.1.3.1.1

            As if. You can never be bothered, as if your comment some how bares more weight. Epping is correct.

            • felix 8.1.3.1.1.1

              Nah, it’s just that I assume people can read and understand what’s being discussed and don’t need every sentence explained for them. But seeing as you’re special…

              Is Epping correct that parliament is a political place where rough-and-tumble and personal digs are the norm?

              Or is Epping correct that Labour have turned parliament into a farce by showing disrespect for the hallowed processes of the great institution?

              Can’t be both.

            • deemac 8.1.3.1.1.2

              how seriously do I take someone who doesn’t know the difference between “bare” and “bear”? Not very!

  9. The Al1en 9

    The speaker looks just like I do when I’m at work.
    He clearly doesn’t want to be there and looks for the world he’d rather be doing something else.
    His job would really suck if he didn’t have the salary, the car, the air travel and a fluffy jacket.

  10. freedom 10

    anyone else having sporadic audio loss on the stream today?
    especially when points of order are being discussed

  11. Is it not time that the Speaker was a none political appointment.? A speaker that is appointed from outside parliament . Perhaps a judge or Lawyer. The present system is open to abuse from both sides..

    • granted 11.1

      That sounds like a great idea full of common sense. Unfortunately that persons level of professionalism would be far too high for the MP’s to adhere to.

    • prism 11.2

      And both sides abuse very well.

  12. tinfoilhat 12

    What we need is one of the Greens or Maori party as speaker.

  13. freedom 13

    Bryce Edwards is havin’ a laugh right ? right ? please tell me he is havin’ a laugh

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10874224
    “But clearly there is a rising anger in the Debating Chamber, especially over the role of new Speaker David Carter. According to one blogger, blame lies on all sides – see Pete George’s Speaker troubles – Key’s and Shearer’s responsibility.”

  14. TheContrarian 15

    Despite my better judgement I actually feel sorry for Carter. He didn’t even want the fucking job in the first place but now he is in it and hopelessly inept at it. He has painted himself into a corner and I get the feeling he knows he is hopeless but is unable to do anything about it. If I were him I would have to resign.

  15. Peter 16

    Why don’t the opposition walk out? (Serious question)

    • Chris 16.1

      I think it could happen if carter doesn’tpull finger and do his job properly and fairly.It is so obvious that key doesn’t worry at all about his malicious abusive behaviour as it will just be overlooked.The sight of him slouching back in his chair with that foolish little sneer/grin,knowing that he will not be censured must be very galling to the Opposition. The man can’t even sit up straight,never mind lie in bed straight. Caught a little bit of Carter yesterday and he seemed to be trying to do better.Wonder how long that will last before he is pulled back into line.

  16. RedBaronCV 17

    Bring back Clem Simich who was so far down the Nact list that he didn’t give a damn and was a surprisingly good speaker in between smoker’s coughs?

  17. logie97 18

    The meme of the National Party, (aided by their mates in the beltway and started when in opposition) has been to undermine the institutions of government and parliament has been a major target. (Key, and Brash before him, were not career politicians but plucked from commerce, to change the place). And the worst thing that could have happened to reasonable debate and order in the house was the demand from commercial television to have the cameras in the chamber.

  18. Tanz 19

    Spiteful, slurring Key, yes, he is so like that in the House. Pity the media don’t pick up on it more often.glossy.

  19. dave 20

    i heard peters on q+a today i think they will take the nuclear option i think oposition are really going to go after this speaker, As for the prime minister (aka teflon john) hes being caught out all over the place the honeymoon is well and truely over i wouldnt worry to much about david shearer hes only going to get better the only way is up! but biggest fear is national is going to leave a real shit heap to be cleaned up record high national dept public and private AKA HIGH HOUSE PRICE EQUAL HIGHER DEPT SINCE HOUSEING IS A PONZI SCHEME AND RECORD UNEMPLOYMENT. just wait to the bond market melts down it will make 2008 look like a blip

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