Speaker stands firm

June 2nd, 2010 at 10:11 am by David Farrar

John Armstrong writes:

Chalk another one up for . Parliament’s Speaker yesterday secured a small, yet potentially significant, victory in his continuing campaign to get Cabinet ministers to answer opponents’ questions in the House in an informative and meaningful manner.

It followed a confrontation between Smith and Finance Minister Bill English. This was no Mexican stand-off. Smith was always going to win. His authority would have been seriously undermined had he not done so. Which begged the question why English chose to defy the Speaker’s requests that he make a better fist of answering what was a pretty straightforward question of little consequence in the grander scheme of things.

But that is by-the-by. Alongside imposing greater transparency on MPs’ expenses, Smith’s drive for proper ministerial accountability during question-time is the best thing that has happened to Parliament for a very long time.

I think almost everyone is pleased at the changes that Lockwood has instituted.

It will be interesting to observe one day, whether a future Labour Speaker will continue with requiring Ministers to actually answer questions.

Tags:

32 Responses to “Speaker stands firm”

  1. big bruv (13,884 comments) says:

    “It will be interesting to observe one day, whether a future Labour Speaker will continue with requiring Ministers to actually answer questions.”

    I asked myself the same question yesterday as I watched coverage of question time.

    The answer is of course not, because they are pinkos and because they are control freaks they will appoint another Wilson like lackey who will be at the beck and call of the PM.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    I think Lockwood is setting the example that they all should follow.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Jeff83 (745 comments) says:

    I certainly hope so. Lockwood Smith really has set the bar high on this one, he seems to be loving it as well.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. JeffW (326 comments) says:

    Little chance that a future Labour Speaker will continue the path that Lockwood has set – after all, they know best and should not be questioned in the first place.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. alex Masterley (1,517 comments) says:

    Will a future Labor speaker require Ministers to actually answer questions?
    I doubt it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    Smith has certainly shown how partisan the previous incumbant was in that role. Margaret Wilson should hang her head in shame.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. James Stephenson (2,173 comments) says:

    @slightlyrighty. Except that everyone knows that Labour pollies have none of that particular commodity.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. m@tt (629 comments) says:

    The problem isn’t the speaker, it’s MP’s and their deceptive, duplicitous attempts to weasel out of answering questions.
    In an ideal world the speaker wouldn’t have had to call English on his pathetic performance. I know they are all guilty of it and I am not going to dispute that Labour MPs can be just as bad, but honestly, all English had to do was say ‘No’. What a tool.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Repton (769 comments) says:

    It will be interesting to observe one day, whether a future Labour Speaker will continue with requiring Ministers to actually answer questions.

    It will be interesting to observe whether a future National Speaker will continue with requiring Ministers to actually answer questions!

    It seems that an effective speaker is always something that the government (whoever the government may be) dislikes. But the government are the ones who appoint the speaker (I think?). So we got lucky this term, but I’m not optimistic for the future..

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Hagues (703 comments) says:

    Persoanlly I think he did answer the question. But I agree with the general consensus that Smith is miles ahead as a speaker than the previous one (actually the previous two).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    “It will be interesting to observe one day, whether a future Labour Speaker will continue with requiring Ministers to actually answer questions.”

    Are.you.mental?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Inventory2 (10,337 comments) says:

    Smith has proved to be an inspired choice as Speaker. Who knows; we may even be able to forget the Hunt/Wilson years of partisan Speakership.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Only with therapy.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    I felt that English actually answered the question.

    If you look at the question….

    Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE to the Minister of Finance: Does the Government’s online budget calculator use the Treasury’s forecast inflation rate of 5.9 percent for 2011; if not, why not?

    Cunliffe was looking for a yes or no answer, English went directly to the explanation as to why not. English should have started his answer with “no” and there would have been no problem.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    That might be relevant if you were the speaker. If my grasp of the set up right hes the one who gets to make the judgment call and he doesn’t operate with a video ref.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Positan (390 comments) says:

    re big bruv: It was Wilson’s seemingly complete lack of personal substance that was her problem. Like Anderton, she’d been Labour’s party president prior to entering politics in 1999 – obviously so imbued with her appreciation of her own importance, she’d felt that as Speaker, others would naturally accord her the respect the office was due – irrespective of her performance. She was politically advantaged in her friendship with Clark – whereas Anderton had to “leave” Labour to make headway.

    It didn’t work out the way she’d figured and she went on to render the worst known performance of any of our Speakers, probably as bad as anywhere in any other democracy – a screeching harridan at times who abandoned any chance of gaining respect either for her person or her office. Even worse, she was Clark’s stooge and she prostituted both her office and established parliamentary principles. As big bruv put it so excellently, she was nothing but “a pinko control freak.”

    Like Geoffrey Palmer, she finally demonstrated a total lack of understanding of what constitutes personal substance in accepting a national honour for having occupied the office – irrespective of the hash she’d made of it.

    Lockwood Smith has set an example that will be a benchmark for following Speakers to copy. The keywords would have to be honesty and impartiality.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    What Positan said :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. david (2,557 comments) says:

    To Smith’s credit he has also tightened up on the Opposition and both the asking of questions and the tabling of documents although he is still inclined to allow a long rambling explanation of the contents of a document rather than just its source and title before putting leave to table.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    The reality of socialist theory is that power is the means to ends (and because the ends can never be met, power becomes the end). Conservative theory (and I guess liberal theory too (true liberal)) is that constitutional systems and conventions require balances of power to keep society governed in a just way over a long period of time. Thus, Labour is unlikely to put in place a speaker like Lockwood Smith because that would get in the way of securing power. In fact the role and position of speaker is anathema to them – though I doubt many of them know why this is.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. fatman43us (166 comments) says:

    The other thing Lockwood has achieved is an end to the inane tabling of very spurious documents on all sides. Under Hunt and Wilson, this became a complete farce, and one wonders how much money was consumed in filing all the trivia placed thus on the table.

    The next thing I would like to see Lockwood have a go at are the continuous barrages of interjections from all sides. A fast finish to the day for some of the worst protagonists – Mallard and Annette King – would be of value.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    DPF>> I think almost everyone is pleased at the changes that Lockwood has instituted.

    Not ex-Labour speaker Jonathan Hunt… He thinks nothing has changed since he was speaker.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. Viking2 (11,467 comments) says:

    Well when are we going to see all the expenses on line. About 3 months overdue now. Or is it that the Nats are caught in an issue of their own making??

    Next move for the Speaker. 1. Open more windows to the light.
    2. Remove whipping in accordance with the Human Rights Legislation for all other Kiwi’s.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    Will Labour continue the with the changes Lockwood has implemented ?

    I think the member has answered the question, lets move on.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. freethinker (691 comments) says:

    slightlyrighty (1395) Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 10:28 am

    I would prefer it if you hung her head from a lampost!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. freethinker (691 comments) says:

    Positan (43) Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 11:02 am

    I object to your comparison – not even a disheveled drunk would pay her as a prostitute, I agree with the rest of your comments wholeheartedly though!!!!!!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. wreck1080 (3,905 comments) says:

    If an MP refuses to answer a question, is there any real penalty?

    Margaret Wilson was a shocker, it would have been more partisan having helen clark as speaker.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. Positan (390 comments) says:

    Freethinker (569) says “I object to your comparison – not even a disheveled drunk would pay her as a prostitute, I agree with the rest of your comments wholeheartedly though!!!!!!

    I, too, would uphold both the clarity of his outlook and the obvious respect he maintains for his body parts. However, the dictionary does permit the act of “prostitution” to be further defined as “putting oneself or one’s talents to an unworthy or corrupt use or purpose for the sake of personal or financial gain.”

    I thought such a definition was eminently suited to describing the circumstances in which I’d applied it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. tom hunter (4,809 comments) says:

    It will be interesting to observe one day, whether a future Labour Speaker will continue with requiring Ministers to actually answer questions.

    David, I do hope you’re not thinking of trying to use shame as an influence on the Left?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. Paul Williams (878 comments) says:

    Wilson applied the standard as it had been for ever under many previous Speakers, National and Labour.

    Lockwood’s innovating and parliament’s far better for it. I’ve said before I’m surprised by his performance but I agree he’s quickly established himself as easily one of our finest Speakers.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. john.bt (170 comments) says:

    It really is hard to say how good Lockwood is when all we have to compare him with is his predecessors. The one thing that I know must really piss Hunt off is that Helen would not let him be a Sir! The pompous old twat would have loved that.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. pq (728 comments) says:

    This is a cross reference from Tumeke.

    Video of English being his smarmy arrogant self.

    “Blogger FruitNZ said…

    Question on YouTube thanks to InTheHouse! Find it here:

    http://inthehouse.co.nz/node/3060

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. kiwi in america (2,441 comments) says:

    Not a chance of that happening David …sadly.

    Clark and co deduced (correctly) that the average Labour voter was uninterested in the minutiae of Parliament and its procedures. As a control freak she needed as much of the political world to be under her control. Margaret Wilson was, for them and her, the perfect choice. She was too inexperienced to be trusted with any meaningful Cabinet portfolio but she is a card carrying member of the sisterhood and was close enough to Clark and her inner circle to be relied upon to act in the interests of their agenda at all times.

    This meant on a day to day basis her loosening the requirement to answer the question to a mere addressing of the question. For years Labour Cabinet ministers were able to avoid undue scrutiny in Parliament this way. The pledge card rort was so smelly that its stench wafted outside the chamber and excercised the left leaning press gallery enough that Joe 6 pack Labour voter began to realise that something was up. Taito Phillip Field, the EFA and finally Winston’s shennanigans made it much easier for the media to stick the boot in and so Wilson’s contortions, stonewalling and failure to hold Clark to account became too obvious to ignore.

    Like all true lefties, Wilson would be comfortable in her performance because the left’s ends always justify any means and so she will be utterly unrepentant. Having been part of legislating pretty much the entire agenda of the famous Women’s Liberation Conference in Wellington in 1972 where the radical feminist left’s agenda was laid out, Clark and Wilson and their fellow travellers are thrilled that they pretty much have achieved all that they set out to achieve and NZ society is eminently the worse off for it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote