Anyone seen my Glock?

Oh dear, how embarrassing.

Police are investigating how an officer left a loaded gun in a bathroom at Parliament.

Superintendent Chris Scahill said they retrieved the weapon as soon as they were told someone had found it.

He said the incident was regrettable, and acknowledged the potential risk it could have posed.   Read more »


Taxpayer funded Sky TV for MPs and Councils

Apparently Parliamentary Services hasn’t heard of the internet, and that’s the reason why MPs need expensive corporate Sky subscriptions to keep abreast of news and current affairs…days late.

Taxpayers shelled out $56,000 so MPs could watch Sky TV – but the beancounters insist the politicians have to get “special permission” to see the satellite broadcaster’s more exclusive stations.

Central and local government agencies are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on Sky TV subscriptions. This emerges at the broadcaster announces plans to merge with telco Vodafone, creating a media behemoth.

Figures requested under the Official Information Act show that a wide variety of state-funded agencies, from hospitals and universities to councils and government departments, believe the pay TV service is an operational cost.

Data obtained by the Taxpayers’ Union shows that $682,525 was spent on Sky subs during the 2014/15 year, with more than $200,000 spent by local councils.

The list was topped by the University of Otago at more than $60,000, followed by KiwiRail and Auckland Council, both just under $50,000.

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Don’t forget, he’s the “Smiling Assassin”

The PM didn’t care and why would he, getting booted from the house is hardly a punishment. It’s more of a reward.

If winners are grinners, it wasn’t hard to see who was claiming victory after Prime Minister John Key’s ejection from Parliament on Wednesday.

Far from looking chastened at being booted from the house, Mr Key was smiling. By Thursday morning he was laughing about the incident on More FM, saying his wife had told him to write lines in penance: “I’ve done my lines, I wrote 500 out.”

To be fair, he seemed rather pleased with himself even before the Speaker took action, but the punishment apparently did little to dampen his mood.

His first ejection from the house as prime minister (a fate also suffered by predecessors Helen Clark and David Lange) was administered as he answered, with typical hammy brio, a question from Greens co-leader James Shaw, who wanted him to apologise for having dragged Greenpeace and Amnesty International into debate over the Panama Papers.

Apparently unable to contain his enthusiasm for the fray, he carried on counter-punching when Parliament’s referee had effectively called “break”, thereby earning himself an early exit.

This was all too neat for critics on social media who reckoned he had got himself thrown out to avoid answering more questions about those problematic Panama Papers.

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Sledge of the Day

John Key sledges out Grant Robertson.

It’s a bit rich of Robbo to moan about juvenile politicking as he’s one of the worst.   Read more »

I bet that wasn’t fun Stu

Stuart Nash stood in the House yesterday for Question 11…and with some trepidation asked some questions of Judith Collins.

Unfortunately it didn’t go so well for Stu.

Police Minister Judith Collins says she has delivered a “very firm” message to the police commissioner that a greater proportion of burglaries must be solved.

However, she will not reveal what improvement she wants in resolution rates that have fallen into the single figures in many parts of the country.   Read more »

3 weeks to go

Three more parliamentary sitting weeks lie ahead before we all go our separate ways for a while and forget the problems of the world.    But judging by the last two weeks, Labour have decided to make a lot of noise on the way out.   So much so, Andrew Little is facing suspension from parliament.

Richard Harman reports

Labour Leader Andrew Little and the party’s Chief Whip Chris Hipkins face suspension from Parliament after they both criticised the actions of Speaker David Carter saying he was politically biased.

Both MPs have been referred to the Privileges Committee for breaching privilege by committing contempt of Parliament.

Whilst theoretically, the Committee has the power to recommend that they be imprisoned by Parliament’s Sargent at Arms (which would mean incarcerating them in Parliament Buildings) suspension is a more likely punishment.

It could be for a day , a week or even longer.

Significantly on three separate occasions when MPs have criticised the Speaker over the past 40 years, suspension has been the punishment.

The relatively fascinating thing is that this appears to be part of the larger plan.   By undermining the speaker and going for National’s jugular with repeated staged walkouts, the left appear to be heading for… Read more »


Term limits for MPs…what a good idea

Rodney Hide suggests there should be term limits for MPs. 

Reports of Phil Goff running for mayor of Auckland remind me of the desperate need for term limits.

In a nation of just four million we have made politics a career much like butchery, accountancy or law. People choose politics at a young age and then work at it their entire lives. They are professional politicians, a breed apart.

Mr Goff joined the Labour Party at 16 and became an MP in 1981. He has been a politician his entire life. The key to his political survival is his excessive caution and extreme flexibility.

Mr Goff has never made a do-or-die stand and, indeed, has travelled the entire political spectrum and back again. He has been against free trade, for free trade and now he’s against again.

There’s no leadership, no principles, no underpinning philosophy or view of life. Professional politicians are party functionaries bobbing about on the sea of public opinion.

They are institutionalised and their interests align with government rather than with the citizenry.

We need the simple rule that an MP can only serve a maximum of four terms. That one change would transform politics. We would have citizen politicians again.

They would represent us rather than themselves.

Read more »

Seems MPs are just a little less precious about themselves

MPs finally arrive in the modern era, and lose a little bit of their preciousness.

It is not OK to satirise and mock them…which I have, of course, been doing for ever despite the rules.

A rule banning the use of television footage from the debating chamber to ridicule or satirise politicians should be ditched, the Speaker has been told.

Official television coverage cannot currently be used for “satire, ridicule or denigration” – a limitation that both the Parliamentary Press Gallery and Clerk of the House want removed.

Parliament’s Privileges Committee has now agreed, and has included the recommendation in a new report on the use of social media to report on proceedings in the House.

“This rule has never been used and risks making Parliament seem out of touch and wary of criticism,” the report stated.    Read more »


Green killjoys bitter over Parliamentary rugby team

What a bunch of killjoys the Greens are opposing the traditional Parliamentary rugby tour.

The Greens are objecting to a corporate-sponsored trip for MPs to play in the Parliamentary Rugby World Cup.

Corrections minister Sam Lotu-Iiga, his colleague Commerce minister Paul Goldsmith and NZ First leader Winston Peters are among those who will skip parliamentary sessions in lieu of the September junket.

They’ll also be at the Rugby World Cup, which runs alongside the tournament.

Also on the team are Labour’s Damien O’Connor, Stuart Nash, Peeni Henare and Kelvin Davis, and National’s Alfred Ngaro and Mark Mitchell.

“If there are corporate lobbyists going, they have privileged access to ministers,” Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says.

It is not dissimilar to the Cabinet Club approach where there are select few who get to spend extended time with ministers and MPs.

“This isn’t the first time this has been raised.”

She added: “This is a trip to the Rugby World Cup, there is no point try to pretend that’s not what it is. And the fact that it has now been sanctioned as a parliamentary trip raises real concerns.”

In 2007, then-Prime Minister Helen Clark called for an inquiry into the Parliamentary rugby team after a trip to France.    Read more »

Labour lies about door and Judith shanks them

Judith Collins has shown that she still has the goods, shanking Labour hard over the $30,000 door between offices that they have insisted on.

Audrey Young has the story:

National MP Judith Collins tonight released emails that show a $30,000 door that will separate Labour MPs from National MPs sharing a floor in Parliament House was opposed by the National Party.

She and six other National MPs were consulted about the door by National senior whip Tim Macindoe in January this year.

Mr Macindoe’s reply to her and the six other MPs he consulted says: “I have now heard from all of you in response to my request for your thoughts about installing an extra security door on Level2 and I’m pleased that you are all of the same view…Thank-you for replying and for the helpful reasons you provided for not wanting the door.”

Mr Macindoe said he had told Jim Robb, the Parliamentary Service group manager of precinct services, that National wanted to the status quo to be maintained.

Labour whip Chris Hipkins said yesterday the door had been proposed by National MP Gerry Brownlee after last September’s election, but omitted to say parties had been consulted in January to say whether they really wanted it.

Read more »