Hipkins on Lockwood

January 24th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

blogs at Red Alert:

At some stage over the next few weeks, possibly as early as next Thursday, parliament will elect a new Speaker. As an opposition MP I never thought I’d find myself saying this, but we’ll be sad to see go. As Speaker, he has raised the bar in terms of ministerial accountability in the House. His most significant ruling, that when asked a straight question ministers should give straight answers, has changed the whole nature of Question Time. That ruling will remain in place long after his departure, although whether the new Speaker has the ability to implement it with the same precision and diligence is yet to be seen.

Just before Christmas, Lockwood raised the bar again, this time relating to ministerial accountability outside the Debating Chamber. Under parliament’s rules MPs are also allowed to ask written questions of ministers. There are a lot more of these and they don’t always receive the same level of attention questions in the House do. But they’re a vital information channel for the opposition, and they’re another way we can hold ministers to account for their performance and the performance of their departments. …

But the effect of this ruling will extend well beyond this one instance. If the new Speaker maintains this new high standard, the improved level of accountability we’ve seen at Question Time will extend beyond the walls of the Debating Chamber. That’s a good thing.

I’ll blog more fully on Lockwood’s achievements and legacy when he steps down as Speaker, but I thought this post by Chris Hipkins was worth highlighting. It’s not often the Senior Opposition Whip would be so laudatory of a Speaker.

I agree that Lockwood has done an excellent job in improving accountability of the Executive.

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14 Responses to “Hipkins on Lockwood”

  1. tvb (4,199 comments) says:

    Question time almost never gets beyond a silly farce. I have watch my fair share of question time and rarely have I been enlightened. Ministers are hardly ever put under pressure and can easily slide away from answering questions. In Australia Ministerial answers are even worse with Ministers making long political speeches way off topic as their answer.

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  2. slightlyrighty (2,496 comments) says:

    Margaret Wilson used the speakers position to protect the government.

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  3. duggledog (1,340 comments) says:

    tvb

    I care about your mental health mate so please don’t watch Question Time. It’s just not good for you

    “Ignore what politicians say. Pay very close attention to what they do”

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  4. All_on_Red (1,341 comments) says:

    Don’t worry Chippy. We are sure that if Labour/ Greens get in, that the bar will be lowered considerably- on everything. Corrupt and venal that you all are, you won’t be able to help yourselves.

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  5. scrubone (3,044 comments) says:

    Lockwood got a lot of stick cracking down on media who reported the man who jumped down into the chamber.

    A lot of bloggers (on the left mainly) attacked him for that, without reporting the actual reason that rule was in place. As it turns out, it’s so that people don’t decide to “get famous” by making a scene in the chamber, knowing it would be reported.

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  6. scrubone (3,044 comments) says:

    People might care to flick through the “Offensive Content” pages on my blog (it’s a kiwiblog index of the Labour years – sadly not yet complete) for examples of the behaviour of the speaker during Labour’s term. A lot of damage was done over those years.

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  7. David Garrett (6,350 comments) says:

    Lockwood Smith will go down as the finest Speaker in living memory. A very hard act to follow.

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  8. Parlyguy (22 comments) says:

    Agree with All_on_Red. How much will Chippie laud these high standards once Lairbour return to the Treasury Benches…he won’t as QT will quickly return to the Hunt/Wilson days of…”The Minister has addressed the question…”

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  9. GPT1 (2,087 comments) says:

    One hopes that the next Labour speaker reads this blog post.

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  10. stigie (898 comments) says:

    Yes, David is correct, Lockwood was the finest speaker we have ever had unlike that last skeeching women before him.
    I would imagine a lot of Liarbore members would have to agree.

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  11. Judith (7,530 comments) says:

    Lockwood has set a very high standard and will be a hard act to follow.

    Hopefully the next speaker will have benefited from the example given by Lockwood and will attempt to ensure it is similarly upheld.

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  12. bc (1,332 comments) says:

    Nice comment from Hipkins.

    He has certainly benefitted from Lockwood Smith’s insistence at question time that Hekia “top communicator” Parata actually make some attempt to answer his questions rather than say the same sentence over and over again.

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  13. Tom Jackson (2,458 comments) says:

    It’s a shame he’s leaving now that they’ve found something he’s really really good at.

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  14. Red Sam (122 comments) says:

    His years of practise as host of University Challenge and It’s Academic gave him the voice for the Speaker’s chair. At least we no longer had to endure the ranting and barking that Lockie sometimes used to include in his speeches.

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