Awesome performance from Lockwood

October 15th, 2009 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Claire Trevett covers Parliament yesterday. I have to say I thought Lockwood was in awesome form as Speaker.

First of all he handled a huge amount of complaints from Labour MPs about his decision to now allow signs about an industrial dispute to be displayed on boxes, so they get seen on TV. The rules allow party logos, but not signs or slogans. You could see certain Labour MPs were right on the brink of either walking out, or trying to wallop Lockwood. Even normally good natured Darren Hughes was pushing it, by slapping a box off a desk onto a seat, rather than placing it there.

But no way was Lockwood being partisan. Gerry Brownlee obviously did not want to answer the question about when the Government decided to back or fund a TVNZ bid but Lockwood kept insisting that as the question was set down, and factual, it deserves an answer. Gerry tried arguing that as no amount had been discussed, he could not answer that but Lockwood insisted. Look at this exchange:

10. BRENDON BURNS (Labour—Christchurch Central) to the Minister of Broadcasting: When did the Government decide to offer financial support to a TVNZ-led bid to gain the free-to-air rights for the Rugby World Cup?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE (Leader of the House) on behalf of the Minister of Broadcasting: The Government is committed to the concept of a stadium of 4 million people supporting the Rugby World Cup in 2011. Free-to-air broadcasts of matches must, therefore, have the widest possible coverage. The Government is united in that view. However, the specifics of any costs have not yet been determined.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Point of order—

Mr SPEAKER: I do not need a point of order. The question on notice asked a very straight question: when did the Government decide to offer financial support to TVNZ? Either the Government has or it has not offered support, but the House deserves to hear an answer to the question since it was on notice and it is a straight question.

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: And I gave a straight answer. The specifics of any costs have not been determined.

Mr SPEAKER: The question on notice did not ask what the cost was. The Minister is perfectly at liberty to point out that the Government has not decided to offer financial support, but the question asked “When did the Government decide to offer financial support to a TVNZ-led bid to gain the free-to-air rights for the Rugby World Cup?”. It may be that the answer is that the Government has not decided to do that, but if it has, the question asked about when it decided. It did not ask about how much money is involved. I ask the Minister to answer the question.

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: I raise a point or order, Mr Speaker. You are deciding to interpret the question as being one that is correct. I would love to know where the verification that the Government has made such a determination came from in the first place. I decided—

Mr SPEAKER: I invite the Minister to resume his seat. A perfectly fair answer to the question would be that the Government has not made such a decision. That is a perfectly proper answer, but the Minister did not offer the House that answer. It is a perfectly fair and proper question, and there is public interest in it. I believe that the House deserves to hear an answer. Forgive me; I am not interpreting the question. “When” is a very simple word.

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: The Government has not determined the specifics of any costs that may be required.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Again, I say the question was one of timing, and “when” is a very simple word. I think your office has been supplied with material from the Hon Jonathan Coleman, which I am sure people will be finding for us now, indicating that the Government had made that decision. All—

Mr SPEAKER: I do not want to get into debating the substance of the matter. The question simply asked “When did the Government decide to offer financial support?”. It did not ask about the specifics; it asked when a decision was made to offer financial support. It may be that it is not in the public interest to reveal that, but the question has been on notice for some hours and I think the House deserves to hear an answer.

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: I have said three times that it has not made that determination.

I really can’t recall any previous Speaker being so willing to force an answer out of his or her own party’s Ministers.

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28 Responses to “Awesome performance from Lockwood”

  1. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    i have to agree with you on this..

    lockwood against brownlee was impressive..

    and i have to eat crow (again) over m ypredictions he wd be a lousy/weak speaker..

    he has been just the opposite..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  2. Neil (556 comments) says:

    Lockwood has done well.
    The evidence of a much happier house is that question time has become a good humoured part of the parliamentary process. You get the feeling that most members accept Lockwood’s rulings.
    Much different to Margaret Wilson who seemed intent on annoying the opposition as much as possible. The tone in the house then was truly toxic.
    It’s great to see Lockwood Smith calling even ministers to account and answer the question.
    I too felt Lockwood would be a disaster. I was wrong !!

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  3. virtualmark (1,474 comments) says:

    Lockwood’s found his forte. I think he’s going to go down in history as one of our best Speakers of the House.

    And the abject performance of his predecessor is becoming more and more difficult to explain away, even by her tribe.

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  4. freedom101 (462 comments) says:

    Very good effort from Lockwood and such a contrast to Margaret Wilson who was a loyal member of the government throughout her time as speaker, irrespective of the damage she did to democracy in the process.

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  5. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    Now we just need parliamentary services under the OIA and it will be great, a house that is being run fairly and accountable to it’s funders.
    Go for it Lockwood!

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  6. Inventory2 (10,100 comments) says:

    Agreed virtualmark – not only is Smith going to be judged (on the basis of his first year) as one of the best Speakers we have had, he is well on the way to being judged the least partisan. He most certainly seems to have found his niche.

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  7. fredinthegrass (271 comments) says:

    Philu – positive karma – but have you taken your temperature?

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  8. TripeWryter (715 comments) says:

    I caught part of Question Time yesterday, and witnessed this. He was very impressive. He even admits when he’s made a mistake.

    Since Trevor Mallard sometimes posts in here, perhaps he could explain why he really tries it on with a Speaker who does go a long way to not only be fair, but also be seen to be fair.

    If this is Lockwood Smith’s last term, and he carries on as he is now, he can at least finish knowing that he has served New Zealand democracy well.

    I wonder if John Key sometimes wishes he hadn’t offered Lockwood the Speakership. Heh.

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  9. Philonz (91 comments) says:

    Well done Mr Smith! One of the things that turns people off politics is the pathetic gameplaying and refusal to answer simple questions. It looks like Lockwood may help to get ministers giving better answers in the house and perhaps encouraging the opposition to ask clearer questions.

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  10. pete (428 comments) says:

    He dropped the ball on this question, allowing Nick Smith to avoid answering a simple question.

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  11. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    One of the things that turns people off politics is the pathetic gameplaying and refusal to answer simple questions.

    Philonz is right. Gerry Browlee was being a prat.

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  12. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,797 comments) says:

    I had lunch the other day with a senior Labour insider.

    He confided in me that the party is still in denial as to the real reasons it lost in 2008. He also boasted of the fabulous talent in the new line up of Labour MPs. ‘National hasn’t got anything like it.’ I told him they wouldn’t be any good to the party for at least ten years and he agreed! ‘Oh, they are in training, you know.’

    He’s better tell them them yesterday’s petulant and childish behaviour in the house will ensure their party’s ratings continue to decline.

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  13. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    adolf..the ‘petulant and childish behaviour in the house’ came from national..in particular..brownlee..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  14. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    adolf..the ‘petulant and childish behaviour in the house’ came from national..in particular..brownlee..

    Missed the tanty’s from Labour for not being allowed to display their slogans I take it.

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  15. big bruv (13,311 comments) says:

    Lockwood IS, a fucking disaster.

    Why the hell should the Nat’s let the opposition play the game with a fair ref?

    First we suffered under that fat, pompous wanker Hunt, then we were subjected to the corrupt Margaret Wilson who did nothing but run interference for the equally corrupt Labour govt.

    So what does Neville Key do when it is his turn to appoint a speaker?, he bends over backwards to make life fair and even for the wankers from the left.

    It seems that National party cheer leaders are indeed still set in the “born to rule” mindset, they see the past nine years as an aboration, obviously they assume that the people of NZ have now come to their senses and we will have nine to tweleve years of “normal service”, they have not yet accepted that the hard left needs to be crushed and by appointing Lockwood Smith to the speakers chair the Nat’s have played right into the hands of Labour and the Greens.

    One day the Nat’s might learn that the left have to be destroyed, one day they might learn that they are running the show and they need not play by Klark’s rules any longer, National should make partisan appointments and tell those who piss and moan about it from the other side of the house to go and get fucked.

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  16. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    BB you fail.

    Swing voters are much more impressed by a party living by what they stated the country should be run like, rather than taking vengance and continuing on the petty actions of their predeccessor.

    Many people were disheartened by Wilson’s abymsal rulings, much like the EFB. Its why the swing voters, like myself, voted Labour out (your vote never changed and accordingly didnt change anything).

    The way National is ruling at present, and I give special mention to Key and Lockwood as two great members of parliament at the moment, will ensure they get my vote in 2011.

    As for the readers of KB, the only place you can go is Act, and like it or lump it the only place they can go is National.

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  17. Kevin James (6 comments) says:

    Anything is better than that heinous Lesbian unionist feminist Margret Wilson shrieking.

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  18. big bruv (13,311 comments) says:

    Jeff83

    “Swing voters are much more impressed by a party living by what they stated the country should be run like, rather than taking vengeance and continuing on the petty actions of their predecessor.”

    How did I fail?

    You clearly state that you voted for Neville because you were “impressed by a party living by what they stated the country should be run like” (whatever the hell that means)

    How has he done this Jeff?, he has broken almost every promise he made prior to the election, so please tell me how.

    The fact that you felt safe enough to change votes should send a shiver down the spine of anybody who cares for this country, you felt safe enough to vote for Neville because you knew fuck all would change.

    Jeff, you are clearly an idiot if you think this rapidly emerging third world nation can continue to borrow 1 billion dollars a month just so Neville can keep your vote.

    Do us all a favour and piss off back to Labour.

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  19. LUCY (359 comments) says:

    Lockwood has been the exception to the rule. He has proved to be a very capable speaker with loads of integrity.

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  20. RightNow (6,668 comments) says:

    I have to chip in with the awesome performance by John Key on Tuesday in response to questions by Howling at the moon King:

    “When the Government announced last year the most comprehensive response to the P problem in this country, I was somewhat surprised that we did not get the support of the Labour Party. Well, I am not actually surprised, because in 9 years Labour did absolutely nothing about that problem. When it comes to talking tough, Clayton Cosgrove talked tough about boy racers, but when legislation is before the House to do something about it, he runs for the hills faster than the boy racers drive”

    and in response to questions about Melisaa Lee and the NZ On Air funding:

    “Anybody who read the statement put out by NZ On Air when it was looking at the spurious allegation made by Labour would have seen that NZ On Air made it quite clear that it was looking at some other, technical issues. Although it is true that 2 weeks ago my office was made aware that there were some other issues, I was not personally made aware of that until I saw it on the news last night. Maybe that reflects badly on NZ On Air, which thinks that the way that it should respond to these things is by leaking them to the Labour Party, without having the courtesy of sending the letter in the first place to Melissa Lee.”

    Nice shot at NZ on Air there.

    I think the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society must be a branch of Labour as well:

    Key: “I am more than happy to meet with the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society. In fact, from time to time I have seen its representatives. When the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society does come to see me, as I am sure it will, in the latter part of the year, it will say that it was a disgrace that Labour let emissions rise by 24 percent over the time it was in Government.”

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  21. Paul Williams (876 comments) says:

    i have to agree with you on this..

    lockwood against brownlee was impressive..

    and i have to eat crow (again) over m ypredictions he wd be a lousy/weak speaker..

    he has been just the opposite..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    I too have to eat crow. I thought him a very odd appointment. He’d not previously impressed in the Chamber. But I was wrong. He’s proven to be an excellent Speaker. He may well end up achieving real improvements to the way the House operates. What I think he’s doing particularly well is to not be dissauded from his view that the point of Parliament is to provide insight and information for the public benefit.

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  22. Graeme Edgeler (3,267 comments) says:

    He’d not previously impressed in the Chamber.

    Although Taito Phillip Field is in prison.

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  23. Rex Widerstrom (5,266 comments) says:

    virtualmark suggests:

    I think he’s going to go down in history as one of our best Speakers of the House.

    Well I’ve been listening to Parliament for 30 years and he’s the best I’ve heard in that time. And he’s reached that level in less than a term. To say I’m impressed would be an understatement.

    And while I didn’t actually voice an opinion that he’d be no good I admit to having thought it and so am happy to join Phil for a meal of crow.

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  24. Angus (536 comments) says:

    Obviously a refreshing change to the last 9 years with the Minister of Wine & Cheese and the Wicked Witch from the Waikato Law School at the helm.

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  25. tvb (4,208 comments) says:

    I do not doubt that Lockwood has the implicit support of the Prime Minister in all this. John Key seems to want to carve a new politics and Lockwood Smith is an important part of that over the way Parliament is run. Margaret Wilson took things as far as they could go regarding being partisan and that ended up in a shreeking mess. I think John Key is ready to try something new and I have no doubt that he and Lockwood are communicating about how the house should be run.

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  26. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    “How has he done this Jeff?, he has broken almost every promise he made prior to the election, so please tell me how.”

    Just cause you invented in your head what you wanted him to do didnt make it a promise. JK was pretty clear that he was not going to be making changes like selling assets, WFF, etc this term. He promised it. The fact you and KB readers are gutted he is not breaking his promises is your own problem.

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  27. Paul Williams (876 comments) says:

    Although Taito Phillip Field is in prison.

    Not sure I follow Graeme? Field’s never impressed me in any forum, parliamentary or otherwise.

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  28. Graeme Edgeler (3,267 comments) says:

    Not sure I follow Graeme?

    It was Lockwood who was asking all the questions about Field is the House, as opposition immigration spokesperson. Lockwood impressed in the chamber then.

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