Mallard loses the plot protecting Labour’s inept ministers

Trevor Mallard is proving to be a bad Speaker. He started so well, but is now resorting to form and is now conducting debate in the house with all of his usual bombast and bullying.

It seems leopards really can’t change their spots.

He seems to be trying to make a mark, but that mark is simply adding him near the top of list of bad speakers. I believe he has now surpassed Margaret Wilson for awfulness and is now approaching Gerald Wall in the poor Speaker stakes.   

11. Hon Dr NICK SMITH (National—Nelson) to the Minister of Forestry: Does he agree with the statement in the Speech from the Throne, “This government is committed to a new planting programme, planting 100 million trees a year to reach a billion more trees in 10 years”?

Hon DAMIEN O’CONNOR (Minister of Agriculture) on behalf of the Minister of Forestry: Yes.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Will the Government be counting, in its 100 million trees new planting programme, the 50 million trees currently planted each year to restock forests that are harvested each year?

Hon DAMIEN O’CONNOR: The targets laid down by the Government were always targets to be worked through in collaboration with industry. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

Hon DAMIEN O’CONNOR: As good as this Government is, I don’t think we ever thought that we would be solely responsible for the planting of a billion trees. We were always going to work with industry to do that.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. My question asked, very simply: was the replanting of areas that are logged each year included in the 100 million target? The Minister made no attempt—

Mr SPEAKER: The member did address that question.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Will existing annual tree planting for restocking be counted towards his promised 100 million new planting programme?

Hon DAMIEN O’CONNOR: The Government’s target of one billion trees over 10 years was always going to include the existing initiatives of landowners, of farmers, of foresters—and we are very happy to work on an aspirational target that addresses issues around afforestation, climate change, improving water quality, and regional employment.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. My question was not whether the trees were planted by the private sector or the public sector. It was a very straightforward question and that was—

Mr SPEAKER: And it was addressed. Further supplementary?

Hon Dr Nick Smith: The question has not been addressed.

Mr SPEAKER: Thank you. Next question.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Supplementary, Mr Speaker?

Mr SPEAKER: No. Question No. 12, Dr Parmjeet Parmar.

Hon Simon Bridges: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I just want to raise the point of order—it’s highly unusual. The member’s calling for it, so we haven’t moved on. I’m just—I’m clearly seeking to understand what’s gone on here.

Mr SPEAKER: Yes, and to make it absolutely clear, the number of supplementary questions are entirely at my discretion. I have decided, because of the interjection from Dr Smith, I will not allow any further Government or Opposition supplementaries on this question. I’m not taking away—if the members want to use them on the next question, they can, but not on this one, because of Dr Smith’s behaviour.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think there are some very important questions that should be asked in this. I’m sorry that you’ve taken this. One of the new pieces of information that the Minister managed to give the House was the new collaborative way that the Government wants to work with all sectors, to see if they can meet the target, and I think it would have been appropriate if there had been an opportunity to ask him if he’ll put out a list of suitable species for home gardeners to put on their list of tree plantings to help the Government with their target.

Mr SPEAKER: Sorry; as a result of that frivolous point of order, another one of the supplementary questions for the National Party has been lost.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. It’s a very reasonable request. When the Government’s most important flagship programme is around these billion trees—

Mr SPEAKER: No, Dr Nick Smith will resume his seat. He will resume his seat now. I have ruled that we are moving on to question 12 because of an inappropriate interjection by Dr Nick Smith when he had been called for a supplementary. If Dr Nick Smith intervenes again, on that question, it will result in further loss of supplementary questions to the National Party.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. What was the comment that I made, that, as a consequence, has—

Mr SPEAKER: The member will resume his seat.

That episode is an absolute disgrace and reflects poorly on someone who has hankered after the role of Speaker for at least 12 years.



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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.