Charles in Charge Part II

October 10th, 2011 at 12:24 pm by David Farrar

On Friday I blogged on how sent one or more e-mails out to lawyers asking them to send in letters to the Dominion Post praising him, and insulting a press gallery reporter who didn’t praise him enough in an article.

That was Part I of a three part series on the lengths Charles will go to, to bolster his image. Part III will be tomorrow.

For today, I want to focus on the Police video surveillance bill. Now I’m one of those on the record as having said I thought Labour and Chauvel did well to insist on a select committee process and get some changes to the bill. But there are some very interesting timings with the bill.

The Video Camera Surveillance (Temporary Measures Bill) had its first reading on Tuesday 27 September, and was referred to select committee the same day. Submissions were due by end of Wednesday 28 September and it reported back on Monday 3 October 2011.

Now first a bit of a lesson on how select committees work. They generally first hear initial advice from officials in private, and then hear submissions from the public in public. After public hearings they meet and discuss the bill in private, go through any report from officials and signal potential amendments.

Inevitably the ranking Government members on the committee will brief one or more Ministers on the deliberations. They will outline the nature and tenor of the public submissions, the views of the Government members on the select committee and the views of the opposition members. They will discuss what changes the opposition wants, what changes they think are desirable and where a deal can be struck. The Government generally has the choice of either trying to pass it without co-operation from the Opposition, or compromising aspects to get wider agreement.

Now this sort of negotiation is always done in private. You need to give MPs room to explore compromises freely and frankly. This is fundamental to the success of our select committee system. The Standing Orders actually make leaking deliberations a contempt, SO401(p):

divulging the proceedings or the report of a select committee or a subcommittee contrary to Standing Orders

And the Speaker in Speakers Ruling 187/4 has noted:

The deliberations of the members of a committee and any draft report are not available for release and any unauthorised disclosure of them is a breach of privilege. This is not a mere technical rule. It is essential, if members are to work well together on a committee, that the integrity of the process be maintained by respecting each other’s confidences. Furthermore, the House is entitled to the first advice of the conclusions of one of its committees in a report rather than individual members of the committee taking it upon themselves to communicate committee decisions to individual journalists.

That was Speaker Kidd in 1997 talking about the importance of integrity in the process. Speaker Grey in 1993 in SR 187/3 noted:

Parliamentary privilege exists to protect the integrity of the parliamentary process. In that process members of select committees deliberate amongst themselves on the evidence that they have heard, and draw up a report to the House that embodies their conclusions. This process is seriously undermined if drafts that are to be submitted to the committee for inclusion in its report can, with impunity, be released to all and sundry …

It is one thing for members to say in advance of a select committee meeting that they intend to argue for inclusion of a particular point of view in the committee’s report. That is quite acceptable. But it is another thing altogether for members to draw up a document that purports to embody the views of a minority on a select committee—views that are clearly put forward as those members’ contribution to the drafting of the committee’s report—and that are in fact subsequently laid before the committee.

Such a document is clearly one that should be conveyed to the committee first, so that it can consider it in its deliberations. To release it prior to its consideration could pre-empt deliberation and prejudice the proper functioning of the select committee process. Anything that has a tendency to prejudice the select committee process can be regarded as a contempt of the House.

Essentially this says a member of a select committee can express a public view before deliberations begin, but not during deliberations.

Now I want people to focus on two press releases by Charles Chauvel. The first was issued at 4 pm on Thu 29 September, and set out four bottom lines for tthe bill to proceed:

Having heard the evidence, Labour now sets out its position on the Bill and the amendments that National will be required to agree if it is to have Labour support to pass the House next week:

And five days later Chauvel puts out a further release:

Charles Chauvel said the Bill made the four major changes that Labour required in setting out its bottom lines last Thursday following the hearing of evidence in the select committee.

So the narrative from Charles is the brave Labour Party setting down their four bottom lines, holding fast to them, and forcing the Government to agree to them.

There are two issues here. The first is that the first press release from Chauvel was done after deliberations had started on the bill. It is a clear breach of privilege. The House has risen so it is not possible to have a complaint considered by this Parliament and anyway amazingly Chauvel is actually Chair of the Privileges Committee.

But undermining the integrity of the select committee process is only part of Chauvel’s efforts to promote himself. The actual truth is even more incredible.

I understand the press release from Chauvel setting out Labour’s four bottom lines was done around 60 minutes after Chauvel had been briefed on what changes the Government had agreed to. He already knew the Government’s position when he wrote that press release.

So you may ask yourself what sort of MP would breach standing orders just so they can put out a press release laying down bottom lines on a confidential negotiation, when they already knew what had been agreed to? One obsessed with making himself look good is the answer. There is a pattern here.

Note this blog post where Chauvel complains:

We saved the right to silence, and stopped the Government from being able to try people in absentia.  We got the usual level of credit – none –  from the media, and from left-wing commentators. …

If we get legislation that complies with the four points I just summarised, the Nats will have lost big time in a major attempt to interfere with our human rights.  And it won’t be because MPs from a couple of minor parties stood clear of the debate and held their noses.  It will be because Labour pushed the envelope as far as possible given the numbers in the House.  In most democracies, that would be regarded as a pretty significant achievement given the right:left imbalance in Parliament right now.  Here, expect us to get the usual level of credit.  Ah well.

Now recall that when he writes about how National will have lost big time, and how it is unfair he doesn’t get enough credit for stopping them, he already knew what the Government had agreed to, and his four bottom lines were released after he had been told what had been agreed to.

It’s the sort of thing you would expect from someone who, well, writes letters to the editor praising himself and asks others to send it in, in their name.

Part III tomorrow.

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32 Responses to “Charles in Charge Part II”

  1. Elaycee (4,064 comments) says:

    Oh oh – “…..Chauvel is actually Chair of the Privileges Committee.”

    This could be fun… it’ll be very hard to run a defence on this one.

    Cue Popcorn…. :D

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  2. RightNow (6,337 comments) says:

    Chachi REALLY loves Chachi

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  3. Paulus (2,292 comments) says:

    Typical arrogant socialist rorter – perhaps should be porker – he looks that way in his photos.

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  4. tvb (3,938 comments) says:

    Thank you for bringing all this to our attention. You certainly make chauvel look like a creep. That can obviously be factored in when dealing with him.

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  5. Fisiani (851 comments) says:

    This is comedy gold. The arrogance and self importance of Champagne Charlie knows no bounds.
    Next we look for his well leaked reports that he is destined to be the first openly gay leader of the Labour Party.

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  6. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    Two thoughts.
    1. Can a Parliament censure an MP from a previous Parliament? Viz – can the Privileges Committee have Chauvel up on this after 26 Nov?
    2. Chauvel is a big fat camp trougher. Not surprised.

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  7. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    I mean FFS! Imagine if a National or ACT MP did this. In Govt or Opposition.

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  8. Pete George (21,798 comments) says:

    And it won’t be because MPs from a couple of minor parties stood clear of the debate and held their noses.

    He has been clearly targeting his oponent in Ohariu, Peter Dunne, as was obvious from my exchanges with him on that thread.

    Charles based his accusations on nothing other than his “good judge of character”.

    Charles Chauvel says: Dunne rolled over on day one. I’ll post the link if you like.

    Me: Big claims Charles. I’m interested to see how you back your claims with such certainty what Peter doesn’t do. Do you use covert video surveillance?

    Charles Chauvel says: I don’t need video surveillance. I’m just a good judge of character – or lack of it in this case. Someone who is so desperate to keep a ministerial limo will do anything to curry favor. At least Hide and Boscawn have backbones.

    So he didn’t have the link he claimed, just his “judgement”.

    I wonder how he judges his own character.

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  9. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    Once again the Parliamentary Press Gallery show us how valuable they are. Not.
    The next time I hear one of them talk about the ‘chilling’ affects of Lockwood Smith’s 10 day ban, I’ll be thinking ‘get bent’.

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  10. homepaddock (429 comments) says:

    If Labour MPs can’t be trusted in opposition they definitely can’t be trusted in government.

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  11. Auberon (816 comments) says:

    To be perfectly honest I was surprised not to see some coverage in the MSM over the weekend about Friday’s post. Did any of the papers pick it up, even as a passing comment? I only glanced through them, and certainly didn’t notice anything.

    Asking people to send letters like the one Charles apparently authored is pretty low behaviour, even for an MP! I thought this would have sparked the interest of someone in the gallery.

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  12. ben (2,385 comments) says:

    Brilliant, David.

    Have you heard from Chauvel or Labour on these matters? If they ask for a right of reply would you give it?

    [DPF: I've heard nothing. Funnily enough someone on Twitter said that they emailed Chauvel and he denied having sent any such e-mail but then in an interview with Gay Express he accuses me of intercepting his private e-mails]

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  13. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    Its that vast right wing and everyone who isn’t labour conspiracy in action again.

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  14. lilman (659 comments) says:

    Left leaning gay poofter I would say,

    [DPF: 20 demerits. His sexuality is not the issue here and people who carry on about it feed his belief that he is targeted because he is gay, not because he is a shameless self-promoter]

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  15. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    Well thats very constructive and a compelling political argment lilman.

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  16. reversespin (65 comments) says:

    Auberon – “To be perfectly honest I was surprised not to see some coverage in the MSM over the weekend about Friday’s post. Did any of the papers pick it up, even as a passing comment? I only glanced through them, and certainly didn’t notice anything.”

    +1

    I thought this would have been covered by the Dom on Saturday, too. Especially since it involved an attack on one of their journalists. But no, I read the Dom on Saturday and didn’t see anything. Friday might not be the best time for the gallery!!

    This is the most dishonest behavior we have seen from an MP for a while. Compounded with this second revelation, it would astound me if the MSM don’t jump on it. Maybe it has been chucked in the “too hard basket”.

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  17. Martin Gibson (204 comments) says:

    Labour needs to get rid of all that negative female energy before they have a hope of getting back into power, and Charles Chauvel seems to have been groomed by Darien Fenton on how to be a phallic woman. The clue should have been the en masse abandonment of Labour by men. Unfortunately for Phil Goff, once you get that sort of culture in an organisation, its practitioners dig their claws in and tear everything apart before you can get them out. It’s going to get sooo ugly, the masks are going to keep slipping, and New Zealanders are going to be running naked down the road to get away from them.

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  18. thedavincimode (6,102 comments) says:

    Quite. Ease up on the tautology lilman. No need to clutter up the ether unnecessarily.

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  19. thedavincimode (6,102 comments) says:

    This New Zealander will be remaining fully-clothed Martin.

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  20. Pete George (21,798 comments) says:

    Yeah Marty, talking about certain people and then nakedness is not a good look. But then, neither are certain people.

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  21. RightNow (6,337 comments) says:

    I appreciated the reference Martin. Run or be buggered!!!

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  22. DJP6-25 (1,229 comments) says:

    Maybe the ‘Greens’ will only have to harden up a little if they want to become the second party. Labour isn’t making it hard for them.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  23. Bob R (1,250 comments) says:

    I live in this guys electorate. I will be distributing this post.

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  24. BeaB (1,945 comments) says:

    What a self-important, pompous tosspot. Is there no depth to which these guys won’t sink?

    If Goff is complaining about a remark by Key, why can’t Nats complain about Charlie?

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  25. Blue Coast (165 comments) says:

    BeaB

    If the Nats complain then wouldn’t they will also be breaching the same rules Charlie has. They will be in effect releasing information which should be confidential to the select committee.

    Charlie would certainly know this and that is why he knows he cannot be touched.

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  26. Mick Mac (1,091 comments) says:

    Thank you for this david.
    I now know a little more about Charles Chauvel, poser.

    I thought he was a registered lawyer so was bound to some sort of ethics?

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  27. lastmanstanding (1,154 comments) says:

    Good grief Yet another MP with an outrageous ego and opinion of themselves. Whats with these people. And across the Parties.

    Richard Worth was a notable I could go on. I remember Rodney Hide telling a story to a group of us just after he eas elected. he was in the House gents standing doing what gents do and a l long time pompous MP walked in and took up position next to him.

    As Rodders finishes the business and walked away he says to the other guy ‘work here do you”.

    Rodders said the guy almost misfired at that.

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  28. reid (15,513 comments) says:

    I thought he was a registered lawyer so was bound to some sort of ethics?

    How many lawyers have you met, Mick?
    . :)

    In most democracies, that would be regarded as a pretty significant achievement given the right:left imbalance in Parliament right now. Here, expect us to get the usual level of credit. Ah well.

    Interesting how lefties really think across the board that its some sort of media conspiracy if they don’t get credit, even when they KNOW that the credit isn’t due. They probably think the reason voters currently really hate their guts is because the media don’t give them good press. They’re like a burglar who gets pissed off at you because YOU came home and caught him burgling YOUR house and he’s getting sentenced next week.

    Perhaps the Welly DHB needs to give Liarbore MP’s some counselling on how not to expect the world owes you something.

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  29. NX (597 comments) says:

    I’m very surprised slightly.

    I suspect the MSM haven’t run with this because it requires understanding of some parliamentary procedures. I also suspect Charlies was counting on this.

    Thank god for Kiwiblog.

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  30. reid (15,513 comments) says:

    I suspect the MSM haven’t run with this because it requires understanding of some parliamentary procedures.

    You mean it’s too complicated and boring for the average Herald/Dom Post punter NX? Yes I was thinking the same thing.

    Pity the fact it’s their job to explain these “complicated” things to the public escapes these journos isn’t it. Or perhaps it’s their editors who think if they publish that, they’ll get less circulation over time and eventually they’ll get into trouble from Accounting.

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  31. lilman (659 comments) says:

    Did I tell a lie ????????????

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  32. Dave Stringer (182 comments) says:

    This is an interesting man. He recently attended a formal dinner wearing a track-suit. His leader and deputy leader were also in attendance, so I hope one of them explained basic etiquette to him. He lost at least 400 labour “regulars” with that little slight!

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