Espiner on Mallard vs Lockwood

June 29th, 2009 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

blogs on Mallard vs Lockwood:

Initially Mallard seemed to be suggesting taking a motion of no-confidence in the Speaker, but later said on his blog that Labour would “wait for a better case”.

I think he and his colleagues need to draw a deep breath and wait for a considerably better case.

is the best thing to happen to Opposition parties since Question Time was invented. He is easily the most fair, unbiased, and straightforward Speaker Parliament has had in years.

High praise.

In sports parlance, he’s a ref who plays advantage and isn’t always on the whistle. When Mallard took a frankly pathetic point of order yesterday to complain that Key wasn’t addressing the chair when he was speaking, but had his back to him, Smith shut him down quick-smart, saying he was more interested in what the Prime Minister was saying than how he was standing.

That’s what I like about Lockwood Smith. He doesn’t suffer foolish or pedantic points of order. He’s all but stamped out the tabling of press releases. He requires ministers to answer, not just address the question. And he doesn’t yell “order” every five seconds for some minor transgression.

For years people have used the ability to seek leave to table a document as a method of scoring an additional point. You would say something like “I seek leave to table the Minister’s press release of xx in which he says how poor people should move house”. Lockwood has no power to refuse to seek leave on behalf of a member, but often reminds the MP seaking leave to table such a document that the Standing Orders Committee has noted this is an abuse of standing orders as you should only seek leave to table a document MPs do not alreay have access to.

This has massively reduced such frivolous tablings, which means more time for actual questions and law making.

Overall, Labour should thank its lucky stars Lockwood Smith is the Speaker and quit moaning.

As a result, I think Parliament is a much more smooth-running and frankly democratic place.

Smith has thrown out far fewer MPs so far than his predecessor Margaret Wilson, and it was always odds-on that Mallard would be the one to finally go.

Colin is assuming that the Labour Opposition are glad to have a Speaker that has made Ministers more accountable and increased the public regard for Parliament.

I am not so sure that is a wise assumption. I would go further and suggest many in Labour hate the fact Lockwood is regarded so well by the gallery and those in the public who follow Parliament. Don’t think that Labour welcomed the changes Lockwood introduced. It was not only National Ministers who protested them. Senior Labour MPs on several occasions asked Lockwood to reconsider his new interpretation that Ministers must answer the question if it is a clear primary question with a potential factual response.

Hunt and Wilson were amongst the most partisan and well connected Labour MPs. They were tribal Labour. Imagine how galling it must be to senior Labour MPs to have even some of their own supporters talking about how great Lockwood is doing and by comparison how bad Wilson and Hunt were?

Those senior Labour MPs will also know that Lockwood’s forcing Ministers to answer questions will (ironically) actually help the Government as the sight of arrogant Ministers being asked “How many unemployed people are there” and refusing to actually give an answer is part of what creates the impression of time to go.

Finally the fact it is Lockwood that has proven so popular as Speaker will also chafe some in Labour. They opposed his nomination, and he has always been a target for certain Labour MPs.

So I think Labour are going to actively look for opportunities to try and attack Lockwood, and possible even no confidence him. They, I suspect, would be more than happy to go back to the old days, if they can.

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21 Responses to “Espiner on Mallard vs Lockwood”

  1. LUCY (359 comments) says:

    Yes it is a relief to have a ‘real grown up’ as speaker.

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  2. Cerium (23,602 comments) says:

    I wasn’t a fan of Lockwood. I am now. It may take the troops a while to adjust.

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  3. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Margaret Wilson was Labour’s Speaker.

    When she wasn’t available, her place was taken by the bumbling bad hair stooge Clayton Cosgrove.

    Labour therefore have no right whatsoever to complain about Lockwood Smith.

    Smith is a galaxy ahead of Cosgrove, and light years ahead of Wilson, who IMHO brought the Speaker’s chair into utter disrepute.

    That Labour now have the gall to complain about Smith shows what a bunch of out of touch group think losers they have become.

    One only has to observe the sycophantic echo chamber that is Red Alert, populated by drooling politically stunted yes men (and women), to know how intellectually bankrupt Labour is today.

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  4. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    It must really hurt Labour to see the job done really well for a change.

    From the Speaker, through Government, and changes made in the layers of Red Tape.

    Bet Klark is quietly churning. Anybody got news on how well she is doing?

    She is No3 at the moment. Bet the two above are feeling a cold draught down their backs.

    All she needs is to leak some information on the current UN security chief, and bring the Broad Squad in.

    Won’t be long before we see some major structural changes in the most inept organisation in the World.

    And not necessarily for the better.

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  5. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Cosgrove? Are you sure, Red?

    The Deputy Speaker in the last Parliament was National’s Clem Simich. Cosgrove wasn’t one of the Assistant Speakers either.

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  6. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Cosgrove? Are you sure, Red?”

    I saw him act as Speaker on at least one occasion, and maybe others.

    I remember because I thought at the time what a damn joke it made of Parliament. The point remains, if they’re prepared to put a drooling idiot like Cosgrove there, how the hell can they ever complain about anyone else?

    Maybe Cosgrove wasn’t the regular, but I can only recall seeing Simich the once too.

    (not that I watch Parliament a lot these days. Jerks the lot of them).

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  7. Father Ted (85 comments) says:

    “They were tribal Labour.” These political ideology enforcers were nothing more than fakes who built a reputation on a charade of lies, wine and deception. These Labour Liars are devoid of any integrity and moral fibre.They give the word tribal a bad name when compared to the twelve tribes of Israel. Parliament is a Jerkfest.

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  8. david (2,557 comments) says:

    Ross Robertson got quite a lot of airtime in the Chair during the last Parliament but I don’t recall seeing (or hearing) Cosgrove. He was more known for whining about boy racers and Corrections even as a Minister.
    From Wikipaedia:
    [edit] Cabinet minister
    He was appointed Minister for Building and Construction, Minister of Statistics, Associate Minister of Finance, Associate Minister of Justice and Associate Minister of Immigration (responsible for individual immigration cases) after the 2005 election. At the October 2007 Cabinet reshuffle, he lost his Building and Construction and Statistics portfolio responsibilities; and was given the Immigration, Sport and Recreation portfolios, and ministerial responsibility for the Rugby World Cup. He retained his roles as Associate Minister of Justice and Finance. Cosgrove lost his ministerial position when Labour was defeated in the 2008 election.

    Ptresumably as a Minister he couldn’t act as speaker, or deputy speaker or chairman of the House in Committee.

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  9. Bok (740 comments) says:

    “Initially Mallard seemed to be suggesting taking a motion of no-confidence in the Speaker, but later said on his blog that Labour would “wait for a better case”.

    Now we know that Trevor reads this blog and sometimes comments here. So this is directed directly at you Trevor, though one might be prudent to believe that it would be just a bit much for you to understand.

    The above statement encapsulates everything that we have been laying at your door over the last few weeks. The cowardly bully that is looking for a way of getting even (maybe with a sucker punch such as used on Tau) for personal reasons. “waiting for a better case” just goes to show that you have no interest in the reason why, you just want to get rid of the speaker. Your search for a reason to get rid of, or a way to get rid of the speaker, who the majority admits to being the best in the last decade, further underlines your total unsuitability for the office you hold. You are not there for the betterment of NZ, you are there for Trevor Mallard. And you prove it time and again with your little vendettas and squabbles.

    I used to get angry at the way you and Helen and co, was destroying NZ, now that you no longer have the power to do so, I just feel sorry for you. It must be a terribly nasty feeling, when one day you stand, looking in a mirror and realise that the general consensus that you are a bully with no real value other than doing others dirty work, is in fact right. When you realise that for years the media has called you names like attack dog, not as a mark of respect, but just because it simply is, was and will be the level you operate at.

    As I said I used to get angry, now I must admit, that I just get uneasy. And i’ll tell you why. The way you use gutter tactics and thuggish behavior to score political points, is easier to see when not cloaked by the veil of power (for instants the true level of nastiness of say Kim Yong Ill will be even worse than thought once he is gone) and the level of integrity and character a MP has is more exposed to examination if you sit where you are now. And what makes me uneasy is the calibre of person that can attract votes and in fact enough votes to get into parliament.

    Do NZ a favour trevor. For the last decade you have been looked after, well paid and have had all manner of perks. The last few years that you have left conning those who vote for you, into believing you actually bring something to the table, try and repay NZ and do some work. Repay a bit by getting done what you are paid to do, maybe even get some respect back (though that is a hard road for you). Your job is to present alternatives that forces the government to step up to the plate. To actually have ideas that the public will benefit from. Yes your job as an opposition member is to try and get a better deal for your constituents, not to try and settle personal scores.

    But as I said in the beginning….like an airplane, whoosh….. right over the top of his head.

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  10. Whafe (650 comments) says:

    Well written Bok, but I feel your last line is the one that Trevor Mallard will identify most with…..

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  11. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    I hope the Socialist losers keep on whinging about Lockie. The more they do so they more they will piss off their own supporters and reinforce the perception that they are bereft of ideas and always have been.

    They are a failure as regards carrying out the noble and long standing requirements as Members of Her Majestys Loyal Opposition.

    And long may it continue

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  12. starboard (2,538 comments) says:

    100 % Bok…outstanding…

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  13. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    I bet Lockwood isn’t as fit as the white witch, she spent most of the day exercising.

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  14. Inventory2 (10,342 comments) says:

    When Espiner says “And he doesn’t yell “order” every five seconds for some minor transgression.”, he completely misrepresents the Speakership of Margaret Wilson. She shrieked “Order” at a pitch and decibel level which must have been close to being both a health hazard and a glass-shatterer.

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  15. Whafe (650 comments) says:

    Gotta say, Mallard is someone whom takes the bait off of a hook that doesnt even have bait attached, am somewhat in disbelief that he has not posted here on this thread…….

    Never thought the day would come where by I was surprised byt he actions of the one, the only Trevor Mallard…….

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  16. Inventory2 (10,342 comments) says:

    Mallard’s also been telling porkies about Peter Dunne, so it seems …

    http://keepingstock.blogspot.com/2009/06/dunne-mallards-lying-again.html

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  17. tvb (4,431 comments) says:

    The end of that woman’s shreeks of Order!!! will not be missed. Wilson has the knack of making a highly partisan ruling all wrapped up in legalese. She was actually quite clever at that, which makes her dangerous in any role where independence is required. Dr Smith is showing commendable patience and a subtlety of thought which surprises me but not to those who know him. Yes your comment on requiring Ministers to answer the question may actually help them. But my gosh don’t the Labour Party have this huge expectation they still run things and that their views really count.

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  18. reid (16,513 comments) says:

    “They, I suspect, would be more than happy to go back to the old days, if they can.”

    Liarbore, forever.

    It’s for the cause, doncha know.

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  19. Ross Miller (1,704 comments) says:

    The post by Bok at 9.52 is one of the best ever written on Kiwiblog.

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  20. TripeWryter (716 comments) says:

    I’ve been away a month. But I watched Mallard make a right twat of himself a week or two back by getting himself chucked out of the House for a day by challenging Dr Smith.
    I’ve watched a few Speakers down the years. Lockwood Smith would be one of the fairest I’ve seen for a long time. He bends over backwards to be fair to the Opposition. I don’t understand why Mallard and Darren Hughes try to bait him and take him on. He is their friend.
    Goff needs to exercise leadership — as opposed to indulging in grandstanding elsewhere — and tell Mallard and Hughes to pull their heads in. In the House, the Speaker will always win. It’s his patch.

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  21. jefft (1 comment) says:

    Very impressed with Lockwood Smith as Speaker of the House. Came back from a few years overseas to observe Margaret Wilson shrieking in the House. It is just her style, not her fault, but I found it a bit embarassing in comparison with the Australian and British parliaments. Lockwood brings a sense of order to proceedings, is generally very patient (I don’t know how he does it!) and provides considered and articulate response to matters. He is a credit.
    Pretty clear that Trevor Mallard is seated where he is close to the speaker to stir things up.
    Just wish National were a bit more public transport (train network) friendly for Auckland. But that’s another story!

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