Author of own misfortune

December 21st, 2009 at 5:43 pm by David Farrar

Labour MP Chris Hipkins blogs:

On the 8th of December I lodged a number of Written Parliamentary Questions to John Key in his capacity as Minister Reponsible for Ministerial Services. They all involved spending on services provided to ministers (eg. self-drive cars, VIP cars, ministerial housing etc). I had assumed that given the “Double Dipton” debacle they’d be keen to be seen as open and transparent.

So far John Key has replied to all of them with the same answer: “I am unable to provide the member with the information requested in the timeframe available. I will provide the member with the answer as soon as possible.”

All of the questions were lodged on the 8th of December, so he’s already had several weeks. In almost all cases there are examples of similar questions having been asked of Helen Clark in the past. I’m sure John Key isn’t going to argue that he should be subject to a lower standard of accountability than his predecessor, so I’ll look forward to getting his answers before he takes off for his holiday in Hawaii.

A snide wee post from Chris where he laves out certain key information. And we won’t even touch on his assertion that a period of 12 days is “several weeks” except to comment this proves the case for national standards in numeracy.

Now the first big omission from Chris is how many questions Helen Clark got as Minister of Ministerial Services. Over an entire three year term from 2005 to 2008, she got 150 – an average of one a week.

And how many have Chris and his mates submitted in just December 2009? 128!!!!

I am all for Ministers answering parliamentary questions – they are important. But frankly you look like a wally if you file 128 questions in the weeks before Xmas (and during a time when the PM is known to be overseas) and then complain that you don’t get replies promptly.

Also important to note is that many of the questions are not ones seeking just one item of information – ie something one staffer can do in under an hour. Some examples are:

How much office or administation area was leased by Departments, Ministries or Crown Entities for which they are responsible in the 2008/09 year listed by department/ministry/crown entity, building name, total area leased and rental cost?

How many days sick leave was taken by staff in each of the Departments, Ministries or Crown entities for which they are responsible for each month in 2009?

What was the total cost to date of petrol for ministerial self-drive cars received by their minister on or after 19 November 2008 and how does that figure break down by month?

Just imagine the scores and scores of hours it will take to compile that sort of information for 128 questions.

Now I am a firm defender of the right for the Opposition to ask these questions and gain the info. But frankly they should not expect to get 128 replies within a couple of weeks and have only themselves to blame for not asking earlier, or spreading them out more evenly.

Again remember, Chris and his colleagues have almost asked more in two weeks than Helen Clark got in three years for this portfolio – a piece of information he forgot to mention in his little snideness.

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27 Responses to “Author of own misfortune”

  1. Gooner (995 comments) says:

    It’s easy in opposition isn’t it, thinking up useless and pointless questions to justify the existence of a bloated bureaucracy.

    I wonder if Hipkins went home and told his mummy all about how he had asked a question of the prime minister; of how proud he was; and of how proud he is to be a Labour stooge wasting people’s time.

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  2. johnbt (90 comments) says:

    I believe the expression is “smarmy tosser”.

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  3. starboard (2,492 comments) says:

    ..Labour..huh ??…chris who ??…

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  4. Inventory2 (10,181 comments) says:

    Hipkins is another ginga – what else could we expect from him?

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  5. Elijah Lineberry (306 comments) says:

    Perhaps Hipkins merely wanted to create work for his constituents who are all useless civil servant leeches who cannot get a proper job; as you say scores and scores of hours work to answer 128 questions.

    http://www.nightcitytrader.blogspot.com

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  6. budgieboy (107 comments) says:

    What a useless socialist prick!!!

    No longer in power the idiots must be struggling like hell with the fact that they aren’t able to waste our money carte blanch as they did for nine years… so they dream up this kind of BS and cost us money from the opposition benches … wankers… total bloody wankers the lot of them!

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  7. kiwirights (48 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  8. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Key is overseas you numbnuts.

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  9. kiwirights (48 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  10. Pongo (371 comments) says:

    Is there anyway anyone can find out how many questions he has asked this year, the cost of answering these questions and what they were ? Makes one yearn for FPP when politicians had electorates to answer too. 128 in one go is verging on him needing to be sectioned

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  11. Rich Prick (1,635 comments) says:

    Labour is irrelevant. And this sort of nonsense just proves it more by the day. Did they not learn from Goff’s fuck up over Worth? If they didn’t learn, which seems to be the case, they have no business being in government in 2011. Keep it up fuckwits.

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  12. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    I’ve posted to Hipkins at Red Alert but he won’t reply even though he is replying to others.
    Silly boy doesn’t he know that a file save gets all the awaiting moderation posts as well as those in between in time order.
    If he doesn’t reply, I am going to enjoy going to one of his public meetings and asking the questions again, whilst handing out printouts to all who want one.

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  13. Rich Prick (1,635 comments) says:

    Good on ya Mike, these fuckwits need to be questioned.

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  14. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    If an MP deliberately lies in a public forum, does that bring the house into disrepute or do they have to do it actually in parliament or it’s chamber?
    If they bring the house into disrepute does it have to be another MP who brings it before the speaker or can a member of the electorate do so?

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  15. NX (603 comments) says:

    How much office or administation area was leased by Departments, Ministries or Crown Entities for which they are responsible in the 2008/09 year listed by department/ministry/crown entity, building name, total area leased and rental cost?

    How many days sick leave was taken by staff in each of the Departments, Ministries or Crown entities for which they are responsible for each month in 2009?

    What was the total cost to date of petrol for ministerial self-drive cars received by their minister on or after 19 November 2008 and how does that figure break down by month?

    ^ Yes they’re detailed questions.

    My hope is that by answering these questions, procedures and systems are put into place so they don’t have to be asked again.
    A well organised Excel spreadsheet, a few macros & a bunch of pivot tables should do the trick.

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  16. dime (9,675 comments) says:

    what a horrible little bastard. a ginga? that would explain a lot.

    labour still hate the fact that JK has a place in hawaii. idiots.

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  17. tvb (4,255 comments) says:

    These questions are a gross abuse of process. Hipkins knows this the PMs Office know this and the smarmy little twerp thinks he is being so clever wasting the time of the PMs Office with useless questions that are purely designed to take up the resources of the PMs Office. Find a way not to answer them. Let Hipkins lodge his complaint and then lets have an inquiry on just what are these questions designed to prove. What is the public interest in answering them.

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  18. radvad (704 comments) says:

    Why is anyone so surprised? This is straight from the lefty playbook. Anyone who poses a threat to them having absolute power becomes a target and they will go after them by using the system maliciously. For example read Sarah Palin’s book to see what happened to her is Alaska.

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  19. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    I have a few questions for Chris.

    How much taxpayer money was wasted in getting the answers to your 128 obviously nuisance questions.

    Do you thing this was a reasonable use of our money?

    Do you think you are being clever?

    Based on what evidence?

    By all means take 12 days to answer.

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  20. david (2,554 comments) says:

    Its all part of a clever plot. You see the ultimate question becomes “How many FTE’s have been on the PM’s staff at the end of each month over the last 10 years? all the while knowing that he has been a major contributor to employing drones to answer stupid questions.

    NX — what a stupid thing to say. The number of potential stupid questions is almost unlimited so the number of “simple spreadsheets” is equally large. Would you like to see a small army of drones employed to maintain thousands of spreadsheets counting everything from the number of squares of toilet paper used per civil service employee broken down by Ministry, region and site, to the number of tyres replaced on Ministerial self-drive vehicles broken down by an electorate topographical index and road surface category?

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  21. Countess (157 comments) says:

    Go look at the telephone books of questions asked by National in their last year in opposition?
    THats what oppositions do.
    Helen didnt get many , but hey we have found since then the standards expected of the ministers has dropped.

    Funny they have time to feed DPF ‘some ‘ answers from before Key was PM.

    And all the outrage , none of the questions have been answered, when maybe the could have done the easy ones first.

    Thats right Key is overseas, so he has to see if he likes the answers before releasing them, he delegates everything else, this should be a no brainer.
    BTW hasnt the plane returned from Copenhagen or is their a ‘stopover’ somewhere we dont know about yet.

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  22. david (2,554 comments) says:

    I did read a report in the herald that Annette King and TRevor Mallard were top of the list in questions submitted, each asking in excess of 2000 in the past 12 months. This seems a staggering amount and it would be interesting if someone who has a concept of the overall time (staffer, supervisor, manager, Minister, Comms advisor, double checker, political advisor etc etc) spent on answering the “average” question. If you drill right down to the irk who does the research and then count back up the line covering everyone who makes sure they haven’t lit the fuse on some sort of time bomb that will go off at a later date it must be a few man-hours which means that we are actually employing a bunch of FTEs committed to this task.

    So the question then should be asked, does the NZ public get value for money in this exercise? To me it is worse than any perks story because they were relatively well known and it blew up as a pure envy thing, this is abuse of a privilege which inevitably happens when privileges get confused with rights.

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  23. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    How many did Labour actually answer with their patsy speaker running interference for them countess?

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  24. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    Perhaps what we need is a “vexatious and frivolous” question category, ruled on by say, the Privileges Committee.

    When a ruling is given, the cost of answering that question is taken out of that party’s Leader’s budget and given to the Leader’s budget of the party that answered the question. Such additions of which are exempt from the EFA.

    They’d dry up overnight. It’s just a shame such a measure is apparently needed.

    Liarbore really are truly dreadful. Firstly when in govt they obstruct, obfuscate and drag their feet at every opportunity: e.g. remember how long they took to answer questions and recall that when they eventually did only because they were forced to by constitutional rules even they couldn’t change, their Speakers would let them get away with maximum obfuscation. Then in Opposition, they waste everyone’s time and our money by clogging up the system with screeds of utter worthless crap. Lefties are the worst people in the world.

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  25. hylton mars (9 comments) says:

    Hipkins is not a real person — he is just a cardboard cut out, with brains to match — and Labour rate him as an ” Up amd comer”
    Please God.

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  26. Countess (157 comments) says:

    These are written questions for answer. Not oral ones in the house.

    All oppositions ask thousands every year. ! National did it .

    Whats new is the obstruction and reluctance to answer , when they got answers when labour were in government.

    [DPF: As usual you lie. The total number of questions is up around 50% and they asked 4,000 question on one single day in December. That is just being a wanker and has nothing to do with accountability]

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  27. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    What an utter load coming from the appologist for the left. Worst speaker ever and there was some stiff competition.

    You’re a myopic hack. Or are you another one thats just being paid to troll the party line here.

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