Clifton on Parliament

May 27th, 2010 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Jane Clifton writes:

It’s probably safe to say that yesterday was the first time in history – possibly anywhere in the world – that a male Speaker of Parliament has found it necessary to defend his masculinity before the House.

Speaker ’s unexpected intervention came after Energy Minister , unconsciously reverting to a habit formed when Margaret Wilson was speaker of the last Parliament, referred to him as “Madam Speaker”. Dr Smith boggled somewhat, but politely waited until Mr Brownlee had finished his answer – which Mr Brownlee clearly considered to be a particularly witty riposte to pesky questions from the Greens – before asserting his manhood.

Unfortunately, hardly anyone except Dr Smith had noticed the garbled “Madam”, so the general air of shock can be imagined when he suddenly announced to Mr Brownlee: “I need to assure him that I have never had a sex change.”

MPs turned agape to Dr Smith, while a staggered Mr Brownlee struggled with his composure, clearly trying to think how his clever answer about mining could have been interpreted as a slur on the Speaker’s gender.

“I expect not!” he said, floundering. “Or there would have been a statement to Parliament.”

“It’s just that I’m not Madam Speaker,” Dr Smith explained, to everyone’s relief.

Heh classic.

You can see it below on the video from . I have to say I think is a world class service. Being able to find and embed videos from the House within a few hours of proceedings in Parliament is excellent.

13 Responses to “Clifton on Parliament”

  1. dad4justice (7,896 comments) says:

    Appalling that the struggling tax payer funds this deranged circus of misfits.

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  2. Auberon (810 comments) says:

    What’s your address d4j, I’ll see if I can arrange a refund cheque?

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  3. Nomestradamus (5,209 comments) says:


    I’ll save Big Bruv the bother and ask you now: are you on a social security benefit, or are you receiving taxpayer funding for your court case? 🙂

    On a more serious note, Parliament is a pretty sterile place, so I can’t blame them for enjoying a bit of light-hearted banter. Having said that, I do despair at a lot of the dross that passes for debate. Case in point: I remember reading through the transcript of debate that followed the last budget handed down by Michael Cullen. It was obvious that most of the Labour MPs had no clue what they were on about, and simply had some talking points written down for them to parrot. Or, in some cases, simply stood up and said they loved the budget, then sat down.

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  4. Peter (2,094 comments) says:

    If there was a “best imitation of a pompous school mistress” award, Delahunty would win it.

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  5. hj (8,596 comments) says:

    “As a Green I am very comfortable with an open dialogue under Te Tiriti which recognises that participatory decision making and consensus as well as a place for voting improves social harmony and quality decision making. You only have to be in Parliament to see that robust debate is actually abuse and that the power of numbers dominate in unhelpful ways. ”

    “I am very excited that we are moving into a more sophisticated era under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and we are moving beyond the limited concept of conservative Pākehā that one man, one vote is the only manifestation of democracy possible in Aotearoa.’

    We must debate a more vibrant participatory solution to the constitutional issues. Microcosms exist in the legendary two house models used in organisations such as the Tangata Whenua Community/ Voluntary Sector and the Women’s Refuge movement. Not to mention the three houses of the Anglican Church.

    My choice would be that a reforming Bill of this natures upheld

    “I explained that as a Pakeha I had a very limited relationship with the foreshore and seabed but “loved the beach” generally. This did not compare well to the 1000 years of whakapapa and site specific responsibilities that Betty and her hapu maintain to this day. Yet she had been refused a chance to speak. I also waved a copy of Te Tiriti around in a flamboyant manner.

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  6. Rex Widerstrom (5,113 comments) says:


    I really should apologise because for a moment there I thought you were one of those commenters who makes stuff up, but provides links to impenetrable screeds of text hoping no one will notice.

    Surely no one could lack self-awareness to such an extent that they would write of themselves that they’d “waved a copy of Te Tiriti around in a flamboyant manner”, I thought. And surely no one would enter Parliament and then describe its debates as “abuse”, thus managing to achieve naivete and hyperbole in but one simple word?

    But no, you’re right. There it all is, more proof (if ever any were needed) that MMP’s Party Lists are producing the lowest quality of intellect ever to grace the NZ Parliament in our name… and that’s saying something.

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  7. Jeremy Harris (323 comments) says:

    I heard there was some kind of disturbance in the gallery on the same day..?

    Any body know if there was any truth to that..? Or did I mis-hear..?

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  8. Inventory2 (12,376 comments) says:

    Did anyone else pick up Annette King’s little slur yesterday afternoon?

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  9. peteremcc (325 comments) says:

    In The House is not just world class, it is the best in the world.

    SO glad they went with YouTube in the end!

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  10. side show bob (3,476 comments) says:

    It’s not as much fun as watching the Korean parliament, man do they enjoy a good debate.

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  11. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Krazy Katherine should be forced to sing her questions in parliament. Same with Queef and Garfy and Mateerea and the rest of her shit party. I might then be able to take them more seriously.

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  12. nickb (3,765 comments) says:

    Heh. mad cath is partial to spontaneous waiata alright.

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  13. jims_whare (497 comments) says:

    It seems an unintended consequence of MMP for our left leaning ‘friends’ is that Labour and the Greens have tended to elect yes (she)men/wimin and never-say-boos which, when they had a strong leader, (read tyrant) gave an impression of strong unity and leadership in the party. Not because there was necessarily, just that the rest of the mob were either too dumb or scared to voice a contrary opinion to whatever line Ms Clark was running. (One Queen and 8 pawns in chess speak)

    However when you cut off the queen in chess all the pawns run around trying to turn themselves into ‘queens’ but very few have the intellectual capacity or character to take the bull by the horns, develop the leadership. and present the voter with a credible opposition chock full of new ideas and plans to lead NZ on.

    Goff is like a Englishman trying to commandeer a German U-boat; he is trying to run a party with policies that he truly doesn’t believe in. Unfortunately though over 9 years of HC her stifling underhand ways have rubbed off on Goff so though he doesn’t necessarily disagree with what National do he uses her unethical ways of trying to harm the government.

    The votors aren’t always stupid and I reckon people have picked up that Goff is a phony and that is why under his leadership Labour, and him personally, will never do well.

    To be honest he has had a long career in politics and he should have bowed out at the last election or only agreed to the leadership for a period of 1 year or so. If he had the voters (those who remembered him) would think of him fondly as a guy who was a good steady MP and Minister who put NZ ahead of his own aspirations.

    Now however he is synonymous with the culture of entitlement and frustrated ambition that is the current Labour party.

    Its as shame really but a natural consequence of the unethical, power at all costs, group of individuals in the labour caucus currently.

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