The first week of question time

February 10th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

In my Herald column I look at the first week of question time. I praise Winston first:

Winston is back in , and had a good first week in the House. His chosen issue of wasteful spending under the whanau ora programme is a good one for him (and one I approve of). Labour and Greens are reluctant to go there, as they worry that they may be seen as being against the aims of whanau ora, which is seeking to improve the lives of whanau.

But also note:

There has been a fascinating series of exchanges between the Speaker and Peters. Peters complains that the PM has not answered his question, and the Speaker points out it is totally unreasonable to expect the PM to be able to answer a supplementary question on details of a small grant, when the primary question did not refer to the grant in question. Despite being told this on Tuesday and Wednesday, Peters persisted with this approach, and again on Thursday got the same reply from the PM. If he is smart, he will take the advice of Mr Speaker, and start providing details of the alleged wasteful spending in the primary question. But maybe secrecy is so ingrained with him, he can’t bear to reveal his target in advance.

I also look at the Greens and Labour.


26 Responses to “The first week of question time”

  1. PaulL (6,060 comments) says:

    DPF, you’re assuming that Winston actually wants an answer. Perhaps he just wants to ask the question, get no answer, then go to the media and claim that the PM is refusing to answer. He might be smart enough to know elections aren’t won in the debating chamber.

    (and I would have commented over there, but they require registration and far too many details on that registration form)

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  2. davidp (3,866 comments) says:

    I thought question time was a disaster for Peters. He scored exactly zero points on anyone, looked like a confused incoherent old man, and hijacked Labour’s questions thereby stopping them scoring any points.

    But my favourite question this week was Hughes banging on about dolphins. Asking if the minister will guarantee that not a single other dolphin will ever die was stupid. Asking if the minister was happy to be held responsible for the extinction of all dolphins was doubly stupid. It was the sort of argument that a 12 year old girl would use. If my 12 year old niece had tried those sorts of arguments on me I would have laughed at her, then I would have told her to get a grip, and she would have burst in to tears and told me I shouldn’t be so mean. That sort of sums up Hughes.

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  3. bereal (3,137 comments) says:

    Agree with everything you have said except your conclusion that,
    ‘Winston had a good first week in the house.” That is totally wrong.

    Winston had a prick of a week in the house. Agreed that whanau ora is a fair and good target, but,

    Winston has totally ballsed it up to put it politely.

    His method of going about his attack has been ridiculed by many.
    He has had the embarassment of the Speaker labelling his supplimentary questions, “Unintelligable.”

    Other pundits have rightly questioned if he was pissed or not.
    And even when the Speaker took the trouble to point out to him why his method was flawed on Wednesday Winston
    couldn’t get it and persisted on Thursday with the result that Brownlee wiped him like a dirty arxx.

    Check the video of his absolutely pathetic, cringeworthy attempts at supplimentary questions.

    What did he achieve ?

    How the fxxx that was a good week i don’t know.
    i’d hate to see what a bad week looks like then.

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  4. bereal (3,137 comments) says:

    Well there you go, seems like davidp agrees that you got that wrong big time DPF

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  5. Peter (2,095 comments) says:

    Winston chose the right target, but his repetitive approach was cringeworthy. Other pundits have questioned his state of mind.

    Hughes, at the other end of the age spectrum, demonstrated that embarrassing high school level debate has found it’s way into parliament. This is not a good thing.

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  6. BeaB (2,512 comments) says:

    I agree with bereal. Winston appeared to me to be confused, rambling and inept. The old focused attack seems to have disappeared and National and Lockwood made mincemeat of him. I wonder what his fellow NZ First MPs thought as no doubt they expected to be learning from the master. Not that I think he’ll give them a question to ask.

    Sadly, I think he has lost it and it was interesting to read the link between cigarette smoking and dementia in aging men.

    I wonder when the MSM will stop their hero worship and start to see him as the doddery old codger he has become.

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  7. bereal (3,137 comments) says:

    Hey Peter,
    Good point.
    Maybe Hughes and Jacinda Ardern could unite in the future.
    They seem to have a similar grasp.

    Problem for Labour but, is that Jacinda is now their front bench attack weapon.
    Now is that a joke or not ?

    Maybe some thought Jacinda had a good week too.

    ‘Point of order Mr Speaker, I made a fair statement”

    Sorry Jacinda, you need to ask a question, get it dear ?’

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  8. bereal (3,137 comments) says:

    Don’t misunderestimate the effect of the piss on ageing men.
    To quote “Dub ya”

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  9. BeaB (2,512 comments) says:

    True – ciggies and booze and all that spleen. Awful combination for an oldie.

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  10. Yvette (3,027 comments) says:

    I watch the first two items on Parliament TV OnDemand that I saw involved Peters–
    Both show Winston to be incompetent in even asking an initial question to get him anywhere.
    Each require him to be put-down by the Speaker.
    The second ends in laughter at Peters’ expense.
    Peters’ should give up his so obvious simple ambition to be a national hero scoring a king-hit on the Prime Minister, and ask a simple detailed question of the appropriate minister – if he does actually in fact have an example of wrong use of public money by Whanua Ora.

    Winston and Penny Bright suffer the same problematic mental disposition, with symptoms being beliefs in conspiracies and beliefs that their destinies are to save us uncaring unintelligent masses from Corporate evils.

    Is there a Parliament TV clip, DPF, that supports your estimation that Winston had a good first week in the House?
    The two I cite were a little painful to view, to want much more.

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  11. joe bloggs (126 comments) says:

    David are you channeling Claire Trevett???

    IMHO Mr Jan Trotman had a shocker of a week – unintelligible babbling, incoherent pseudo-questions, completely pwned by Tariana Turia, bitch-slapped repeatedly by the Speaker of the House – if ever there were a reason to ditch MMP, Mr Jan Trotman being pisshed-ash-a-newt in charge of a seat in the house is it.

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  12. Pete George (24,828 comments) says:

    From what I saw of WP before and during the election campaign he conjures up and laps up media attention, and he feeds them the sound bites they want – when he’s given a soapbox.

    But under any sort of pressure or examination he can look very shaky.

    Some of the media are trumpeting him as the real leader of the opposition. If he doesn’t manage to sharpen up and pace himself over the next three years he could leave a real vacuum in the opposition camp, especially if the vacuum keeps hoovering up media attention through the term.

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  13. bereal (3,137 comments) says:

    Thank you for those links.
    They are self explanitory.

    Just joking but,
    Maybe DPF rates his chances with Claire Trevett,
    the NZ Herald political editor and cheerleader for Winston (see her effort yesterday)

    Why else would our host have got it so wrong ?
    David declares that it was a good week for Winston.

    Guess what David ?

    Some people can think for themselves .

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  14. bereal (3,137 comments) says:

    Maybe joe bloggs is on to it.

    Is there any other explanation for how our host has got it so, so, wrong.

    Seems in all the MSM Claire Trevett is the most strident fan and the most biassed reporter
    in favour of Winston.
    Why then does DPF go to bat for her ?

    In the light of all the comment here today, tell us how you feel you can justify your statement that,
    “Winston had a good week ?”

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  15. barry (1,234 comments) says:

    Well he certainly is putting a bit more edge on the place than anyone else has. So he may have had a whisky or two too many for lunch – at least hes raising points that no one else will

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  16. plebe (271 comments) says:

    Good one Winnie , the money market dealer”key” is going to work hard to (earn????) another $5000000 this year from the sweat of the workers browother than selling it, um i wonder what the FBI donated to national for raiding .com????? FBI on our soil,sickning.

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  17. Dick (80 comments) says:

    In my Herald column I look at the first week of question time. I praise Winston first…

    Stopped reading right there.

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  18. bereal (3,137 comments) says:


    “Winston had a good week.” ?? FFS So wrong.

    Based on anything, even in your wildest dream, how did Winston have a good week ?
    Any evidence whatever except your statement ?

    C’mon mate, how have your correspondents got it so wrong and you and Claire Trevett got it right ?

    There must be sumsing go in ong.

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  19. reid (21,429 comments) says:

    Thanks for those videos Yvette. Together with Whale’s last night which is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen Winston do, I have two hypotheses:

    1) Winston doesn’t care about the House rules since all he wants to do is throw some innuendo into Hansard which he can then convince tame repeaters to take up the next morning. I’m surprised he tried such an idiotic topic in this first week but that’s probably topical since he wants to help Hone with his hating and wrecking inside the Maori electorate by helping him destroy the best hope Maoridom has of putting real runs on the board: i.e. the Maori Party. And since he’s bright enough to work this out (unlike Hone himself) then this shows how much he cares about his fellow Maori which in turn shows his willingness to sacrifice all principle for the sake of winning the game, as he sees it. This makes him very dangerous.

    2) He genuinely hasn’t worked out Smith isn’t Wilson or Hunt therefore he can’t do in the House what he was allowed to get away with under those two and he therefore hasn’t worked out those tactics he used to use now seem, thanks to Smith’s integrity and skill, ridiculous to all, when in Wilson’s or Hunt’s times such tactics were merely de rigeur, they happened all the time and the Speaker never said anything. Quite why it took him three sessions and he still hasn’t worked it out is possibly because in Whale’s one he was pretty pissed so maybe in his view of things he was actually winning and the others weren’t laughing, they were applauding him.

    Unfortunately I don’t think he’s gone senile. That would be good, but I don’t think it’s really happened. If I was Key I would assign McCully to devise a permanent, long term sleaze campaign to expose, as opposed to paint, Peters for the lying scum he really is. Joyce would be no good at it, you need someone like Machiavelli on this and McCully as close as the Nats have, but McCully and Pita and Tarianna could probably between them come up with some real good stuff to throw back for that has to be done. This guy will just lie back and find a pseudo-scandal and throw innuendo after innuendo until some or other repeater bites and once it dies out he’ll find another pseudo-scandal and do it again, constantly.

    The only way to fight this guy is to use his own tactics against him, personally. If you did that properly like Machiavelli, you could undermine his public credibility in no time and thereafter anything he said would be laughed at and that’s what has to happen and once he’s undermined you have to keep him down. If you leave him alone to do what he does he will be like a corrosive cancer to the govt all through this term.

    His support base is the elderly and I don’t mean you undermine him in those people’s eyes. No. Firstly that can’t happen and I digress to explain why so I won’t but secondly because they don’t matter. It’s not to get rid of him though ulimately yes but primarily to neutralise him during this Parliament. Therefore you aim the attacks at the public generally – at the mass market.

    Importantly once you start making inroads there, you can then drill down to those Mana people who just think Winston’s terrif and get them laughing at him, and this undermines him in Hone’s eyes too see. That would really piss him off.

    Of course a bonus of all of this is it wipes of Andrew Williams smirk as he sits there behind Winston for Question Time after Question Time as Winston becomes more and more like the Clown of Cambell’s Bay. And as a matter of fact if I were the troika committee, I’d be targeting his association with Peters as one of weak links on the fast road to ridiculous city, Arizona, baby. I mean two pissheads, one old bladder and one carefree one, plus a tree, put that in the public’s mind. History.

    But active defence is required here, whatever the tactics. If the Nats don’t do something, they will lose the next election in a landslide and we’ll have a Gween-Mana-Liarbore -NZF coalition with the Gweens in a very strong No.2 spot. That can’t happen, ever. Can it. That’s it, if it does. Game over. Lights out. So Winston’s made his first move and thank fuck it went very badly indeed. I can’t understand where your head is at sometimes DPF. I mean being objective is one thing which naturally – duh – maintains credibility which you need since its your profession. Understood. But crikey.

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  20. barry (1,234 comments) says:

    Oh Reid – you dont understand.
    Everyone has tried to paint Winston into a corner and theyve all failed. Even when hes caught red handed with his non payment after the 2008 election, they still couldnt land a knock-out punch…… but they keep trying and they keep failing.

    When you find yourself on a dead horse – its time to change horses.

    The way to deal with him is to say “Yes – there are some problems in Whanua Ora and we are going to sort them out”

    You see – there are problems with it and they wont go away by suggesting that Peters is pissed or senile. Peters et al arent the ones on trial – its the government who is always on trial.

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  21. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    McCully expose someone else…What a joke.

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  22. hj (8,596 comments) says:

    Winston is like a great white circling National waiting for his chance to rip off a piece of flesh dripping in blood. Winston can sniff out Nationals achillies heel,and that is that it (while once being the farmers party) is now the party of the Rat Bags of Real estate (a.k.a The Good Old Boys of Capital Gain).
    See Heatly Hop to the Developers Ditty

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  23. Tautaioleua (431 comments) says:


    Thank God for our Winston, he has restored the LIGHTS in parliament.

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  24. bka (135 comments) says:

    Whanau Ora isn’t going away, there is plenty of time to ask detailed questions to the relevant minister later on. If he has something, or the shadow of something, it is more effective to drip-feed it. For the time being he has put the general area he wants to go for in the heads of a few journalists, bloggers and the govt.
    There is nothing at all unusual in an MP deliberately asking too broad a question for the primary, it gives the questioner more control over what information comes into the House. There is nothing more broad, as Winston would know, than asking the PM if he has confidence in all his ministers. He gets scolded by Lockwood, but it’s the first step in a dance.

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  25. Paulus (3,567 comments) says:

    Winston does not care a damn what people say about him. He only cares that he gets the publicity irrespective of what he says.
    Labour do not have to contribute anything, which is what they are doing, as they let Winston attack the government (particularly John Key) on anything and everything he feels can get him the media attention.
    As I read today in the Herald the media honeymoon is over following the illegal tapes. How dare Key dissaprove of anything the media do.
    It’s Media war on Key now until the next election. The media lost the last election and are making sure they do not lose the next.
    Any opposition is welcome, irrespective of its provenence, including Winston, who is very welcome.

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  26. KevinH (1,751 comments) says:

    Whilst I would agree with DPF that there has been a fascinating series of exchanges between Winston and the Speaker of the House I would not go so far as to credit Winston with a good first week in Parliament.
    Perhaps DPF awarded this accolade upon Winston for attacking DPF’s pet hate the Maori Party, but the reality is Winstons question at Oral Question time was plainly ridiculous and offensive to the integrity of the members within the House. For instance:
    ” Does he still have confidence in all his ministers”
    That was a nonsense question from a cynical individual and should of had him expelled from the House forthwith, allowing him to cool his heels and be a little more pragmatic with his questions.

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