Parliament

Cunning, cunning Winston

Winston Peters knows that people dislike MMP. He also knows that they generally dislike MPs….except him of course.

That makes his latest suggestion to cut costs of parliament a very cunning move.

NZ First leader Winston Peters has come up with a cost-saving solution to Parliament’s looming space problem: cut the number of MPs to 100 instead of spending millions on a new office block.

Parliament’s Speaker David Carter has proposed building a new office block on Parliament’s grounds to house MPs and staff after the lease on Bowen House ends at the end of 2018.    Read more »

Is anyone else done with Dunne?

I’m over Peter Dunne, the man is a grandstanding bouffant tosspot.

Now he is whining about snooping on MPs when there was none.

An MP who had fallen victim to Parliamentary Service’s snooping before was “shocked” by revelations it was up to its old tricks.

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne had his email conversations with then-Fairfax journalist Andrea Vance wrongly handed over to a ministerial inquiry by Parliamentary Service in 2013.

The then-head of Parliamentary Service, Geoff Thorn, resigned amid the fallout.

Dunne had already quit as a minister prior to the ministerial inquiry after refusing to hand over his emails for an investigation into the leaking of a Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) report.

Dunne said he was “shocked” and “outraged” to hear Parliamentary Service was defending its computer security that is screening and blocking MPs emails if they contain words like “sensitive” or “classified”.

The Privileges Committee made “very clear statements about the privacy of MPs communications” at the time of the ministerial inquiry into why Dunne’s emails were handed over, he said.

“They appear to have fallen on deaf ears as far as the Parliamentary Service is concerned.”

Peter Dunne wasn’t a victim, he fell for the glad eye of Andrea Vance. He let his little head do his thinking.  Read more »

By the time that useless appendage Dunne can take the high road, things are getting seriously poor

The government and John Key need to take a serious look at the management of the house.

It has been a fiasco that has enabled that pontificating prat Peter Dunne to claim the high ground.

The two-day, 17-hour debate under urgency on the government’s housing bill was a $700,000 waste of money, United Future leader Peter Dunne says.

The debate ended late on Wednesday night when the bill was passed, after Labour and the Greens had used nearly all of it to talk about their own policies.

They were able to effectively hijack the bill because it was omnibus legislation, which meant they could put up amendments to add new parts to it.

All their amendments were defeated.   Read more »

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 »

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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.

Read more »

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.

Read more »

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 »

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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.

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