Even stupid questions should be answered

September 17th, 2009 at 6:08 am by David Farrar

John Armstrong reports:

Opposition MPs were aghast and Government members agog in yesterday after Energy Minister broke with convention and refused to respond to a question from Greens co-leader .

Brownlee had simply had enough. He had already answered five questions from Turei on National’s intended “stocktake” of mineral resources on Conservation land. He had repeatedly told her the Government had no intention of plundering or pillaging national parks or other valued parts of the Department of Conservation estate.

But Turei’s questions – which might more accurately be described as political statements masquerading as questions – just kept on coming.

So what was the actual question Gerry refused to answer:

Metiria Turei: When the Minister said in his speech that “… New Zealanders need to know that this country is also well endowed with natural resources.”, is it not the case that Kiwis already know how blessed we are, already know that our magnificent conservation places are like gold to the New Zealand economy, and are aghast at his attempts to plunder those areas for fool’s gold and dirty coal?

As Armstrong said, it is a political statement more than a question. But so are many questions. Brownlee explained later:

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: In answering questions this afternoon I have made it clear that the Government has no intention of mining high-value conservation land. From the member’s question, she does not seem to want to accept the answers given. It is no wonder that she gets no answers to her questions.

However I think it is a bad look not to answer, even the most stupid loaded questions. If the Greens want to waste all their supplementaries getting more and more hysterical over a stocktake of minerals, then let them and swat their questions back at them, rather than refuse to answer them.

There is a precedent it seems though:

However, Parker was trumped by United Future’s Peter Dunne, who had found another ruling which stated a minister was not even obliged to seek the call when asked a question.

In Dunne’s view, such a practice was unusual, and even undesirable. But there was a clear precedent for Brownlee’s refusal.

And words of wisdom from the Speaker:

Saying he was not about to turn these past rulings on their heads, the Speaker still had something to say about Turei and Brownlee.

The former would be “well advised” to reflect on the wording of her questions. She promptly ignored him and asked another highly loaded question which went down the same track as its predecessors

As for Brownlee, the public would make its judgment. “Ministers would be very unwise to refuse to answer them, because in the court of public opinion a minister would be condemned for refusing to do so,” Smith said.

In other words, Brownlee should not make a habit of it.

Indeed.

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58 Responses to “Even stupid questions should be answered”

  1. reid (15,904 comments) says:

    Perhaps Turei hasn’t yet cottoned onto the fact that now we finally have a Speaker who’s disinclined to allow the govt to get away with saying any old thing, Question Time has at last returned to its rightful place as No. 1 tool in the Opposition’s arsenal.

    Greens are always a bit slow, aren’t they.

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  2. Graeme Edgeler (3,262 comments) says:

    Yes, MPs were able to point to a previous occasion on which this had happened. It is recognised in Speaker’s Ruling 162/5:

    It is not obligatory on a Minister to answer a question. It is certainly customary but there is no sufficient reason to say it is binding.

    However, Lockwood has turned previous rulings on S.O. 377(1) on their head. I very much doubt that the above Speaker’s Ruling survives. When S.O. 377(1) says “An answer … must be given…” it should now mean exactly that.

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  3. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,787 comments) says:

    The real message seems to have evaded everyone, including John Armstrong.

    Don’t try to use Question Time to play silly buggers.

    The Speaker first dealt to the gummint, much to the glee of the opposition which now appears to be too dumb to recognise that now it, the opposition, is being dealt to by a remarkably intelligent and fair Speaker.

    Good on Brownlee, I say. The question received precisely the answer it deserved.

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  4. big bruv (13,200 comments) says:

    Well done Mr Brownlee, it is about time that somebody stood up to the left, it is about time that somebody gave them a dose of their own arrogance.

    The question was stupid, it got the answer it deserved.

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  5. PaulL (5,872 comments) says:

    It is a win-win situation. The average Green supporter will believe that Brownlee doesn’t care, and this will be evidence of it. The fact he already answered a bunch of similar questions will go entirely over their heads. So Green supporters are happy. The average National supporter will be happy the Brownlee stood up to those evil Greens, and refused to answer their stupid questions. So National supporters are happy. The only loser from this exchange is the average voter, who had their taxes wasted on grandstanding when the government should have been doing something useful. Such is the price of a democracy.

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  6. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    This is religion for the Greens. To them, every single tree is sacred and if we could earn $100billion from mining 5 hectares on the edge of the Tararuas, then the Greens would be opposed. Of course they’d be quite happy to cover 1000s of hectares of that same land with windmills, along with their access roads and enormous concrete bases, because “Green Power” is of even greater religious significance.

    Brownlee can’t win this one in parliament because Turei is arguing from the basis of this Green religion. It’s like trying to convince a Seventh Day Adventist who has knocked on your door that god doesn’t exist.

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  7. toad (3,668 comments) says:

    Graeme Edgeler said: When S.O. 377(1) says “An answer … must be given…” it should now mean exactly that.

    Yes, the most recent Speaker’s Ruling on this was 162/4 from Speaker Wilson:

    A Minister must give an answer “if it can be given consistently with the public interest”. The Minister is instructed under Standing Order 377(1) to consider the public interest in framing a reply. In considering consistency
    with the public interest, the Minister may address such principles as privacy, commercial sensitivity, or national security. But, ultimately, the judgment of whether a particular reply is consistent with the public interest is for the Minister to make. It is not a matter for the Speaker to judge. Nor is it a matter for the member asking the question to suggest that because that member considers the matter to be a matter of public interest, the question should be answered in a particular way.

    Lockwood appears to have overturned that in relying on the much earlier ruling by 162/5 from Speaker Jack:

    It is not obligatory on a Minister to answer a question. It is certainly customary but there is no sufficient reason for saying it is binding.

    and 163/1 from Speaker Harrison:

    A Minister is not obliged to seek the call in answer to a question if the Minister does not intend to answer it. In these circumstances the Minister is treated as having refused to answer. There is no obligation to give reasons for a refusal to answer although it is preferable to do so. To avoid a series of supplementary questions it may be preferable to indicate the refusal to answer on a point of order.

    Of course it is within any Speaker’s prerogative to overturn a previous Speaker’s ruling, as Speaker Wilson did in 162/4. But I would have thought Lockwood should at least have addressed 162/4 in making his ruling.

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  8. david (2,531 comments) says:

    What wasn’t commented on was Turei’s initial supplementary in which she offered a definition of “stocktake” which went something like “Does the Minister consider that a stocktake, which is definecd as the preparation for sale, ……?”

    Now one does wonder where Turie worked before she entered Parliament, where she went to school or even whether she realised what tripe she was talking in making that statement. Of course it does demonstrate the desperation to find something relevant on which to vent some faux anger and outrage but in reality all she was doing was contributing to the image of the Greens as pet poodles who are nice to have around and throw the odd scrap to but who don’t actually contribute anything meaningful to society.

    Noun 1. stocktake – an instance of stocktaking; “the auditor did not attend the stocktake or check the valuations”
    stock-take
    inventorying, stock-taking, stocktaking, inventory – making an itemized list of merchandise or supplies on hand; “an inventory may be necessary to see if anything is missing”; “they held an inventory every month”

    Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2008 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.

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  9. david (2,531 comments) says:

    Why Toad?, Speaker Wilson left nothing of value in Parliament in spite of all her shrieking and partisan approach to the role.

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  10. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Adolf said “Don’t try to use Question Time to play silly buggers.”

    Well what the f*ck is the point of question time then?

    a) i-phone surfing
    b) cleaning finger nails
    c) a leisurely game of pocket billiards
    d) doing your shopping list
    e) sleeping

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  11. chrishipkins (10 comments) says:

    I think in Question Time the general rule should be that ministers give as good as they get. Ask a loaded political question, get a loaded political answer. Ask a straight question, get a straight answer. This seems to be what Lockwood is saying he wants, and I think that’s a fair call.

    Where I have a problem is where opposition MPs ask a straight question with no ‘political’ charge and the minister then answers that, but includes a long rant about the person asking the question. Key tends to do this a lot. That leads to a very one-sided question time.

    I have seen Lockwood shut down ministers when they attack the questioner rather than answer a straight question, but his willingness to do so seems to depend very much on who the minister being questioned is.

    As for Brownlee, he could have avoided all of this simply by standing up and saying “I don’t agree with the assertion put forward in the question”. That would have been that!

    [DPF: I tend to agree.]

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  12. ryank (1 comment) says:

    All questions in the House are loaded. Some questions are more loaded than others. They should all be answered, otherwise why bother having Question Time?

    Of course a stocktake is a precursor to sale. There’s no other reason to do it.

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  13. lyndon (330 comments) says:

    Yeah, I would have though the rather unambiguous most-recent ruling would apply and he should answer.

    Still it did lead to some novel hansard transcribing:

    Metiria Turei: —speechless—

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  14. lukas (36 comments) says:

    Who let the Ginga out?

    Seriously though Chris did you ask Trevor before making a public comment?

    The question was politically loaded crap that we should now expect from the “green” Party.

    Members should be made to answer questions, so long as the standard of question is also raised… perhaps no more questions from the “green” party would help this :D

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  15. pentwig (240 comments) says:

    Toad

    How the hell could you call that twat Wilson a Speaker?

    She did more to denigrate parliment than any other politician I can recall.

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  16. frog (84 comments) says:

    Everyone loves to forget that the Minister is not talking about generic ‘conservation land’ for mining, most of which can be mined right now, but Schedule 4 land. This was land that the National Party put aside as too sacred to mine in the 1990s! It is a very small portion of the conservation estate, and as the World Bank shows, doesn’t contain much at all in terms of New Zealand’s natural wealth.

    Doing a stocktake without the intention to mine is a waste of money. A bit like holding a referendum with a confusing question, eh? ;-)

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  17. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    Brownlee sat on his big white arse and refused to answer a question from a Maori woman, in public, while being televised. Some of you are arguing that it’s a victory for him. I applaud your ability to maintain your delusions.
    Turei has had him cornered yesterday and has the advantage over him from this point on. Roll on the next Question Time and Gerry, do it again, pleeeeeezzzzzzzzzzzzzeeeeeee!

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  18. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    A ban on ‘politically loaded questions’?

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !

    Brownlee’s sluggish refusal to stir was symptomatic.

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  19. david (2,531 comments) says:

    frog, just as you would consider a “stocktake” of talent and contribution to the nation’s welfare among Parliamentarians without an election to be a “waste of money. It seems that we are averdue for one given the abject dumbness of the questions asked by the Green’s co-leader.

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  20. david (2,531 comments) says:

    CHipkins and Toad. Do you think that cutting and pasting a comment across multiple blogs is just a wee bit lazy and tacky, and indicative of a lack of respect for the argument?

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  21. s.russell (1,558 comments) says:

    Green philosophy:

    Every tree is sacred,
    Every tree is great
    If a tree is wasted,
    Gaia gets quite irate.

    Let the loggers chop theirs
    On to the dusty ground.
    God shall make them pay for
    Each leaf that can’t be found.

    As logical as Monty Python.

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  22. big bruv (13,200 comments) says:

    Frog

    We are going to be mining these resources, get used to the idea.

    Most of NZ will applaud it, most of NZ are perfectly happy with selective mining to help our economy.

    Once again you have a real problem with democracy.

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  23. Brian Smaller (3,981 comments) says:

    Brownlee can’t win this one in parliament because Turei is arguing from the basis of this Green religion. It’s like trying to convince a Seventh Day Adventist who has knocked on your door that god doesn’t exist.
    .

    Try answering the door to the religo-door knockers stark naked. Of course I am not saying that Brownlee should try that tactic. The Green members might try to roll him back into the sea and Turei might try to ride him.

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  24. toad (3,668 comments) says:

    david said: Do you think that cutting and pasting a comment across multiple blogs is just a wee bit lazy and tacky, and indicative of a lack of respect for the argument?

    Not at all. The threads here and at The Standard were on the same topic, and the comment I made on both (which largely quoted Speakers’ rulings) was therefore relevant to both. Not lazy or tacky at all imo – just using my limited time efficiently.

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  25. Zapper (925 comments) says:

    village idiot

    September 17th, 2009 at 10:04 am

    F**k off you racist c**t

    [DPF: 20 demerits]

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  26. Sam Buchanan (502 comments) says:

    “Once again you have a real problem with democracy.”

    I don’t recall National saying “we’ll mine the conservation estate” before the election.

    Question time seems to have become an opportunity for those asking questions to grandstand and those answering to demonstrate petty point scoring and childish evasions. A plague on them all and their taxpayer-funded houses.

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  27. david (2,531 comments) says:

    Sam – what an idiotic thing to say. You may as well claim that no candidates promised to keepm breathing after the election so they should all close their mouths and hold their noses till they drop. Oh wait …. now there is an idea to think on !!!!

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  28. PaulL (5,872 comments) says:

    I don’t recall Labour saying “we’ll ban smacking” before the election either. We are a representative democracy, that means we elect people we’d like to be our representatives, and we give them the right to make decisions on our behalf.

    If the requirement you are seeking is that every proposition is ratified by a majority of the population, then what we need is something closer to the Swiss model where many things are decided by referendums. I’m actually OK with that as a model, but we’d need to accept that government would have to do a lot less – if every decision is ratified by “the people”, and we want those people to be relatively well informed, then we’re probably only going to make 4-5 decisions a year. Which, of course, is the reason for having a representative democracy.

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  29. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    brian> Try answering the door to the religo-door knockers stark naked.

    I was collared by an Adventist woman (??? The Watchtower people) in a park near Melbourne a few years ago. I was in an argumentative mood and took the line that there had been thousands of gods over the years and I, along with most people, don’t believe in Thor or Zeus or most of the rest any more. So I believed in 0 out of 1000 gods, while she believed in 1 out of 1000 gods, and therefore she was only marginally more faithful than I was. Her reply was that these other gods had all existed in the past, but that Jehovah had killed them all. Which is an odd and bloodthirsty idea that I suspect isn’t supported by scripture.

    Clearly I wasn’t going to change her mind. I wasn’t going to yield the park bench I was sitting on. And she wasn’t going to stop pestering me. Then… A miracle happened! It started raining. I managed to depart the scene without it looking as if I were running away from an activist god botherer. So I ended up believing in god… but a kindly god who saved me from his hectoring minion.

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  30. Sarkozygroupie (189 comments) says:

    In answer to a question above, Meteria Turei was a very young single mother on the DPB with no qualifications and no direction. She was then given advice by someone that if she got a job in the public service she’d have a job for life. So she went and got a law degree and became a public servant lawyer. Then she became an MP. Oh and while running around getting her degree she became very political and was in the anarchist camp (among others) before becoming all green-like.

    You can expect to see her around for a very long time if she intends to follow through with her public-service-job-for-life plan.

    She should at this point stop with the vexatious questions and stop wasting taxpayers money at question time, and start contributing some intelligent discussion to the running of this country – if she can indeed manage that. I have my doubts.

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  31. nickb (3,658 comments) says:

    If you are going to waste taxpayers time and money continuing to ask questions you already have, when the questions are more of a neat little slogan for your political party then a real policy question, then don’t expect a proper answer

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  32. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    DPF says:

    ” Even stupid questions should be answered”.

    Yes. They should. So should ‘pointed’ questions and ‘political’ questions.
    Brownlee failed to stir his bloated self to answer a question put to him in the public arena.

    Odds-on, he won’t do it again, but I’m hoping he makes a habit of it. Metiria Turei has him by the dewlaps.

    Zapper – If you are able to string a coherent sentence together, tell us how my comment was racist.

    Odds-on, you can’t.

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  33. tvb (4,192 comments) says:

    repititous questions seeking the same information and are essentially there to make a political point need not be answered and should be ruled out of order.

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  34. toad (3,668 comments) says:

    …by the dewlaps, village idiot!

    Shouldn’t that be on the Feds & palm kernel thread?

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  35. big bruv (13,200 comments) says:

    What world do you live in Greenfly?

    Met Tooray looked like a complete dickhead yesterday, she was rightly put in her place by the speaker.

    Perhaps if she was smarter she would know how to ask a question, but then again……she is a green.

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  36. Right of way is Way of Right (1,129 comments) says:

    Meritiria Turei asked questions relating to New Zealands “highest value conservation land”.

    Gerry Brownlee replied that the land in question was schedule 4 land where the conservation value was low, but the potential mineral value was high. He reiterated this reply 3 times, he quoted Ms Turei’s press release on the relocation of endangered snails, confirmed that there were no plans to mine in national parks, and did so repeatedly.

    Ms Turei kept on asking questions about mining in National Parks!

    What does this prove to me? That Greens do not listen, and anything that does not fit with their own interpretation of facts is simply static!

    What is the point of answering questions, when the answers are ignored in favour of the questioner’s pre determined point of view. That’s either intellectually dishonest, or just plain dumb pigheadedness. It achieves nothing!

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  37. MT_Tinman (2,983 comments) says:

    The “question” was not only both stupid and not a question but the sheila used it to tell, at best, half truths in the name of all New Zealand people.

    Good on Brownlee, I hope many more government ministers learn from his actions.

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  38. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    sarkozygroupie>while running around getting her degree she became very political and was in the anarchist camp

    Anarchist? So the correct response if she asks a stupid question half a dozen times is not to refuse to answer, but to whip out some spray paint, tag her, and then set her on fire?

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  39. PaulL (5,872 comments) says:

    The correct response would have been to say “I have already answered that question, please refer to my previous answer.” That would have made the point without being petty, and without all this noise. To be fair, Gerry Brownlee isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, he’s probably either surprised at how much noise this has created, or (even worse) proud of himself for it.

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  40. Sarkozygroupie (189 comments) says:

    davidp,

    I could agree but then Sue Bradford might call the cops on me for death threats or some such;)

    But seriously I did not suggest such a thing so conflating the fact that she was an anarchist and therefore I think responding to questions should be done with a flamethrower is disingenuous on your part. Its not exactly secret that she was anarchist in her student days. In fact I think she was something like an anarcho-communist if I remember her own quote correctly. I was merely providing background in response to a question above.

    What I do really care about is that she should stop wasting taxpayers time and money by asking repeated vexatious questions that had clearly been answered 5 times before by Brownlee. She had her answer already from him and refused to let it go. What a waste of everyone’s time.

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  41. toad (3,668 comments) says:

    Right of way is Way of Right : Gerry Brownlee replied that the land in question was schedule 4 land where the conservation value was low…

    Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act includes only lands that are National Parks managed under the National Parks Act 1980; nature and scientific reserves managed under the Reserves Act 1977; wilderness areas managed under the Reserves Act 1977 or the Conservation Act 1987; wildlife sanctuaries managed under the Conservation Act 1987; wildlife sanctuaries managed under the Wildlife Act 1953; wetlands protected under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance; specified ecological areas (predating the framework of the Reserves Act 1977); any islands around the Coromandel Peninsula and Hauraki Gulf held or managed by DoC, excluding the Mercury Islands; any Conservation land in the northern part of the Coromandel Peninsula; and Marine Reserves.

    In each case there has already been a rigorous assessment process that has determined that the land is of high conservation value for it to meet one of those criteria, and therefore be scheduled under Schedule 4.

    So Brownlee is talking nonsense when he says there is land under Schedule 4 that is of low conservation value. If the land is of low conservation value, it wouldn’t have met the criteria of any of the categories under Schedule 4. That will be why Metiria kept talking about National Parks – they are one of those categories.

    Which categories under Schedule 4 do you think should be mined?

    [DPF: The last Govt added a lot of land to Schedule 4. It was previously not deemed high enough conservation value, so it is obviously subjective. A Northland Mayor told me last week that some of the Schedule 4 land in Northland is simply gorse]

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  42. big bruv (13,200 comments) says:

    “Which categories under Schedule 4 do you think should be mined?”

    What ever categories the government WANT Toad.

    You are no longer part of the gov’t, your opinion is not wanted or relevant, get used to it.

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  43. labrator (1,742 comments) says:

    For a party leader that likes to call the home town of over 1/4 of New Zealand’s population “Dorkland” I have to question if she is just in parliament for a laugh or is she actually serious about trying to make New Zealand a better place for Kiwis now and in the future?

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  44. PaulL (5,872 comments) says:

    Toad – not all of the land included in each of those National Parks is equally valuable. You’re taking a classification that was applied to a large block of land, and arguing that every square millimetre within that area is equally deserving of the classification. There is land within schedule 4 that was classified that way because the surrounding area was too. It would not be the end of the world for it to be mined.

    I cannot tell you today which bits, because we don’t have a stocktake of where the valuable minerals are that we could even start to work out whether there is alignment between where the minerals are and areas of lower conservation value. So National are doing the right thing in having a stocktake, which will then allow us to discuss whether those particular areas could be candidates for mining, or whether they have conservation values that should prevent mining. There is no harm done in moving the assessment to a case by case basis instead of a blanket ban, unless your assertion is that (again) every square millimetre within schedule 4 is of immense conservation value. And if you’re arguing that, I reckon you’re out of step with most NZers.

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  45. toad (3,668 comments) says:

    @labrator 1:28 pm

    Hide’s Local Government (Auckland Council) Bill was passed this morning. So it is “Dorkland” now, labrator! Get used to it.

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  46. pentwig (240 comments) says:

    Toad asks “Which categories under Schedule 4 do you think should be mined?”

    I say all Toad. Anything that provides wealth and employment to NZ’ers is an absolute must.

    A no brainer really.

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  47. PaulL (5,872 comments) says:

    toad @ 1:40. You’ve lost me. Making Auckland into a super city, a process started by the last government, that had a royal commission, and is now being completed by National, Maori and ACT, has passed the first step of legislation. So we should now start calling Auckland Dorkland? I’m sure you’re trying to be funny somehow, but I don’t get it – is there a significance to the word dork that I’m missing? Either it’s just a lot less funny than you think, or I’m missing the point.

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  48. Sam Buchanan (502 comments) says:

    “Sam – what an idiotic thing to say. You may as well claim that no candidates promised to keepm breathing after the election so they should all close their mouths and hold their noses till they drop.”

    …and you say I’m making idiotic comments. One of these is a significant change in political policy, the other is not. See the difference?

    “I don’t recall Labour saying “we’ll ban smacking” before the election either.”

    Exactly.

    “We are a representative democracy, that means we elect people we’d like to be our representatives, and we give them the right to make decisions on our behalf. ”

    Actually people largely vote on the strength of the policies made public by various political parties. People seldom vote on the basis of the individual they like best. I recall a Wellington mayor justifying a major u-turn on the basis “I’ve been elected so I can do what I like”. I would imagine it would be difficult to get elected if a candidate fronted up with “I don’t feel at all beholden to the policy statements I’ve made”. (But then I believe in participatory democracy – I see “representative democracy” as oxymoronic – at least as it’s currently practised.

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  49. Zapper (925 comments) says:

    Brownlee sat on his big white arse and refused to answer a question from a Maori woman, in public, while being televised. Some of you are arguing that it’s a victory for him.

    Never was there a more appropriate name than village idiot. No doubt your racism is of the guilty middle class type but it is racism nonetheless. His colour and her race are irrelevant (to non-racist people).

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  50. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    “His colour and her race are irrelevant (to non-racist people).”

    Then why do you make reference to it? It’s irrelevant, right?
    In truth, it’s factual. Brownlees nether regions are, I’m pretty certain, large and untanned.
    Metiria Turei, when I last looked, is Maori. He’s male, she’s female. He’s Tory, she’s Green.
    He’s slow-thinking, she’s a quick-witted, he’s sluggish, she’s active.
    I chose only a couple of features to highlight, but I could go on.

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  51. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    Big Bruv – it shows rather, that Greens are asking the awkward questions in Parliament, and catching duplicitous Ministers flat-footed (or in Brownlees case, fat-footed).

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  52. Johnboy (14,857 comments) says:

    “Ministers flat-footed (or in Brownlees case, fat-footed).”

    While you are mocking people for their physical appearance tosser I suggest you take another look at Metiria without your rose tinted specs on. She looks like she should lay off the KFC as well and stick to the lentils instead.

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  53. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    She’s hot.

    Brownlee’s not.

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  54. PaulL (5,872 comments) says:

    But then I believe in participatory democracy – I see “representative democracy” as oxymoronic – at least as it’s currently practised

    And there is your problem. You can’t judge things based on some arbitrary baseline that you just made up. We have a representative democracy. Things that aren’t explicitly in the manifesto don’t have a commitment either way. Circumstances change even for things that are in the manifesto. In either instance, we elect our representatives to make decisions for us, based on them spending their full days reviewing all the information and making decisions. We don’t elect them to do exactly and only what is in their manifesto – if that were the case we wouldn’t actually need to elect them, we’d just vote on the policy platform and then have a bunch of salaried public servants who would carry out exactly and only what we’d just voted on.

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  55. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    pent-up-wig says:

    “Anything that provides wealth and employment to NZ’ers is an absolute must.”

    Good-oh, it’s down into one of Gerry’s mines for you lad! Strap on your carbide headlamp and off you go! Hi Ho!

    Prostitution makes some people wealthy too penty – wanna see that trade encouraged as well?

    Selling human organs – good returns there (don’t offer your brain m’lad, you’ll only be dissapointed!)

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  56. Inventory2 (10,086 comments) says:

    Until yesterday, I was beginning to think that Metiria was nothing more than a figment of the Greens’ imagination. Where on eart has she been since becoming co-leader?

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  57. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..His colour and her race are irrelevant (to non-racist people)…”

    are you lost..?

    you seem to be in the wrong place..

    you won’t find many of your sort here..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  58. Sam Buchanan (502 comments) says:

    “You can’t judge things based on some arbitrary baseline that you just made up.”

    Nothing arbitrary about it.

    “We don’t elect them to do exactly and only what is in their manifesto.”

    No, but some general hints as to the direction of the government are required, otherwise we have no idea what we are voting for. I suspect the problem is that Brownlee doesn’t see this as significant, as he doesn’t really give a toss about the conservation estate, whereas I, and a number of other New Zealanders, do. And Brownlee seems the type who considers anybody who has a different opinion to him to be irrelevant.

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