MPs tweeting and privilege

May 21st, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The MP whose tweet caused the Speaker to refer the issue of to the does not resile from his description of the Speaker as a “Mafia don”.

The Speaker has referred the use of Twitter and other social media by MPs in Parliament to the Privileges Committee to consider how social media use affects Parliament’s rules, such as contempt and privilege.

It followed concern from National’s Gerry Brownlee about an MP using Twitter to criticise the Speaker. He did not name the MP, but Labour’s had just objected to a decision by the Speaker, tweeting: “2nd week in a row where the Speaker looked like Mafia don running his @NZNationalParty protection racket.”

In his ruling, Mr Carter said MPs needed to be clear about the rules, which should be reviewed. Tweets were actionable in court and could result in findings of contempt in Parliament.

“Accusations that the Speaker has shown partiality in discharging his or her duties have in the past been judged very seriously, given the special position the Speaker holds.”

I think that generally what an MPs says on Twitter should not an issue for the House.

But I do think it is unacceptable to have MPs live tweeting from the House, making extremely derogatory comments about the Speaker, in response to his rulings. The place to interact with the Speaker is in the House – not to character assassinate him in Twitter.

The Privileges Committee will consider this issue. I don’t think they should over-reach and try to generally bring MPs tweets under Standing Orders. But I do think there has to be some restrictions around being derogatory of the Speaker during sessions of the House.

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58 Responses to “MPs tweeting and privilege”

  1. Ashley Schaeffer (487 comments) says:

    They ban kids from using cellphones in classrooms.
    Perhaps they should ban kids from using cellphones in the House.

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  2. Igotta Numbum (463 comments) says:

    Make the rules around “what comes off their fingertips” the same as “what comes out of their mouths” whilst in the House.

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  3. Redbaiter (9,080 comments) says:

    Once again we have Progressives implementing regulation as a substitute for plain and simple civil behaviour.

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  4. Keeping Stock (10,342 comments) says:

    Mallard’s tweet last week was petulant, and being done behind the Speaker’s back rather than said to his face bordered on cowardice. Had Mallard accused David Carter in the House of being partisan and a “Mafia Don”, he would have been kicked out, and rightly so.

    There is no justification whatsoever for the kind of sneaky attack that Trevor Mallard made last week. The Privileges Committee, in considering this need not come up with draconian measures, but an MP who makes a derogatory reference such as Mallard did last week needs to be held to account by his peers.

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  5. s.russell (1,642 comments) says:

    Methinks there is a pattern here of a desperate Labour Party reacting to adversity by screaming louder and more angrily about more and more trivial issues with less and less coherence or sense.

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  6. RRM (9,932 comments) says:

    These new social media represent progress. Ipso, only progressives use Twitter anyway. (Isn’t that right, @redbaiter? ;-) )

    Parliament is a meeting, isn’t it?

    How about these clowns just turn their phones off before going into the meeting, like those of us who have to keep paying customers happy do?

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  7. rouppe (971 comments) says:

    I disagree with dpf. The house is a very formal and regimented place, where certain behaviour is expected.

    Imagine a soldier slagging off the commander. Imagine slagging off a judge in court. Imagine a constable slagging off the commissioner. In all these cases there are serious consequences.

    So it should be in the house.

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  8. big bruv (13,923 comments) says:

    I hope they do not stop MP’s tweeting about the speaker.

    If we are ever unlucky enough to have to suffer under a speaker like the Wilson female then I would love to read a tweet that says “The most biased speaker in the history of the NZ parliament is again running interference for the corrupt Labour party”, or “Speaker Wilson is again shrieking like the demented female she is”

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  9. fernglas (157 comments) says:

    Isn’t the more interesting issue whether a tweet from Parliament still attracts Parliamentary privilege once it has been published outside by being tweeted? So if Winston had tweeted his description of Horan, it could be argued that he had waived any privilege. Of course, the TV, Press and Radio all pass the comments on, but they are representatives of the 3rd estate. An individual MP who tweets a defamatory comment can be argued to have effectively made the comment outside the House. Then the trouble begins.

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  10. Redbaiter (9,080 comments) says:

    “Only progressives use Twitter anyway.”

    Another example of how little your average leftist knows about what is really going on.

    The point is Progressives pontificate about their concerns with big govt etc but if you look at who is making all the suffocating riules and regulations we live under these days it is they.

    Just as in this case, simple good manners should prevent Mallard from insulting the Speaker of the House, but no, the Progs who have destroyed almost every vestige of civility in our society, want to regulate as a solution.

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  11. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    What was “Tojo” Cunliffe doing at the Anzac Day service? It seems to be a leeching leftie thing!

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  12. iMP (2,386 comments) says:

    If you were to “say” something derogatory about the Speaker in the HOuse, and it was heard, it would be out of order. Tweeting is publishing comments, and is ‘heard,’ widely. As such, it is “being said” and I think should be brought within standing orders. After all, emails have had a huge impact on Parliament (Brash, Dunne et al, etc) so why not Twitter.

    Live and die politically by what you publish or say. Don’t hide behind non-rules.

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  13. b1gdaddynz (279 comments) says:

    MP’s should not be using Twitter period; If parties must then it should be done by a staffer and limited to actual policy. There is no way they should be using Twitter when they are supposed to working on our coin! There is no way they should be using it to troll, be derogatory or defaming other MP’s especially while Parliament is sitting and they should be concentrating. Is everything they do in New Zealand perfect? No? Then they damn well don’t have time for Twitter!

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  14. Dave_1924 (116 comments) says:

    Tweeting? Is it more appropriate in this instance to be called Quacking? In fact why don’t we name all inconsequential, pointless or just rude tweeting Quacking? Seems a pretty good fit to me….

    On a serious note if Trevor wants to slag off the Speaker whilst he is sitting in the Chamber – maybe he should say it to his face and accept the consequences of those types of abusive outbursts…..

    If you’re in the chamber and posting or texting or tweeting or whatever whilst in there and its derogatory to a fellow MP or the Speaker, it should fall under Standing Orders….

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  15. Redbaiter (9,080 comments) says:

    Do you realise Dave that most tweets probably reach a far greater audience than what your comment on Kiwiblog does?

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  16. RRM (9,932 comments) says:

    Twitter is the new frontline in the war against Cultural Bolshevism.

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  17. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Is Twitter the new home for a movement that will overwhelm the cultural Marxists?

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  18. NK (1,244 comments) says:

    Live and die politically by what you publish or say. Don’t hide behind non-rules.

    I agree live and die politically is a good theory. So why is Colin Craig suing for defamation? Shouldn’t he let Russel Norman live and die politically by what he said?

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  19. iMP (2,386 comments) says:

    Well, isn’t CC enacting the principle? Otherwise Russell (like Winston) just gets away with fantasies and acknowledged untruths.

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  20. NK (1,244 comments) says:

    No. The principle is “enacted” by the voters. They can register their disgust at the ballot box. Craig is enacting “his” principles.

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  21. shoreboy57 (140 comments) says:

    Perhaps a twitter licence for MPs – Learner (can’t tweet without full supervision) / Provisional (only tweet in daylight and fully sober) / Full. At least 50% should be expected to fail at each level and pay and exorbitant amount to resit

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  22. Dave_1924 (116 comments) says:

    Gee Redbaiter – you wit has completely failed to impress me….

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  23. Redbaiter (9,080 comments) says:

    I don’t know why you’re concerned with “wit” idiot. I’m talking fact.

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  24. 2boyz (262 comments) says:

    Anything that twit, tweets, posts online or says should be ignored. The guy is a tougher who was well past his use by date a very long time ago.

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  25. MT_Tinman (3,202 comments) says:

    Dave_1924 (68 comments) says:
    May 21st, 2014 at 2:22 pm
    Gee Redbaiter – you wit has completely failed to impress me….

    Perhaps because it’s only 50%

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  26. tvb (4,430 comments) says:

    Mallard has been let off his leash. He has been told he can rough things up a little bit just see see where the mud sticks and for how long. Labour have figured they have nothing to lose from this tactic. It suggests they are right up against the wall.

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  27. goldnkiwi (1,308 comments) says:

    big bruv (12,457 comments) says:

    May 21st, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Re Margaret Wilson, I had her as a lecturer, I found her unbiased, despite the fact that going in to the course I had made a similar assumption.

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  28. goldnkiwi (1,308 comments) says:

    Quite funny as Trevor wishes to be speaker when he grows up ;).

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  29. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    This whole “Twit” phenomenon should be off limits to MP’s…unless they have changed the rules since I was there you are not allowed to have cellphones in the chamber (although that rule is widely ignored)…but then I guess they can use a laptop? I wouldn’t know….

    despite being distinctly underemployed I have better things to do with my time than make inane observations of less than 140 characters for an audience of equally inane “followers”…..the parliamentary giants of our past must be turning in their graves…

    Does anyone know if this inane nonsense is permitted to UK MP’s?

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  30. Redbaiter (9,080 comments) says:

    ‘despite being distinctly underemployed I have better things to do with my time than make inane observations of less than 140 characters’

    Yes, obviously when it comes to inane observations, you prefer a few more characters.

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  31. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    I’m fully confident the privileges committee will find the behaviour unacceptable and we’ll move on. Sending derogatory tweets will now fall into the big catch all basket of things that are different when Labour do them. Move on.

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  32. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    The hot bed of political comment in NZ is certainly is not redblathers blog.
    I went to the teabagers paradise to see how the sewer of confused wingnuts was progressing. I was surprised at the number of comments he is getting.
    until actually reading them
    They consisted of three commentators all telling redtard how right he is that NZ is a commie state… The most prolific commentator was redtard congratulating each of the three on how right they are to agree with him.
    True blue NZ the country’s leading sycophantic circle jerk.

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  33. dad4justice (8,238 comments) says:

    You would know all about jerks eh gripper.

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  34. big bruv (13,923 comments) says:

    D4J!!!

    When did you get out man?

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  35. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    Yeah I read your comments once in a while.
    …EH …Dick 4 Jerks

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  36. dad4justice (8,238 comments) says:

    Really sad to see the disturbed big bruv still thrives on pathological lies and distorted logic.

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  37. nasska (11,575 comments) says:

    Kris K & we’ve got the trifecta. :)

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  38. big bruv (13,923 comments) says:

    griffith

    You should go easy on old Bedwetter, he lives in a world of his own. Some of the time he thinks he is American, he often talks about taking back the country from the Kenyan and talks about his support for the Tea Party and Sarah (I can see Russia from my house) Palin as if he actually gets to vote for the POTUS.

    At other times you will hear him banging on about his ten year plus war against the left, Bedwetter has claimed many times on this very blog that he has had “many victories” in this war yet when pressed he has never been able to name one.

    He also makes the odd comment about never being a link whore, so imagine how surprised I was to see him link back to his own blog time and time again. One of his other favourite things to do is sign back in with any one of his numerous aliases to give himself an uptick, for some reason he seems to think that matters.

    Of course all that pales into insignificance when you look back and see the number of times he has abused all and sundry here and then gone on to say that he was leaving and would never be coming back.

    So Griffith, take no notice of the silly old duffer, he is the epitome of the angry man with far too much time on his hands. You can tell he is bat shit crazy just by looking at his few followers, when one of your most vocal happy clappers is the equally bat shit crazy dad4justice then you just know that Bedwetter is living in a world of his own (probably in sheltered accommodation)

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  39. big bruv (13,923 comments) says:

    Now now D4J. Let’s not see you lose that famous temper of yours again.

    So, let us know, when did you get out man?

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  40. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    BB read the last comment on yesterday GD
    In it I ask the great El Guava to return to KB as I truly miss his ongoing parody of an totally insane right wing nut job.

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  41. dad4justice (8,238 comments) says:

    Your unhealthy obsession with me big blouse makes my skin crawl. You must get treatment for your fixation of delusions.

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  42. nasska (11,575 comments) says:

    It’s Helen Clark’s fault….she was warned of what would happen with the phasing out of residential care.

    For the completely mad, community care just doesn’t cut it. :)

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  43. big bruv (13,923 comments) says:

    Oh come on now D4J, no need to be like that. After all, it was you who was always going on about how much you wanted to meet me. I seem to remember numerous invitation for me to come to Christchurch, indeed, I think I still have an email from you that says you were so keen to spend some time with me that you were going to pop around to my house.

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  44. dad4justice (8,238 comments) says:

    Get treatment you insane twit.

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  45. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    Community care is fine nasska if all your neighbours/relatives/whanau are sheep! :)

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  46. big bruv (13,923 comments) says:

    D4J

    So come on mate, tell us where you have been for the last couple of years.

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  47. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    BB: that summary of Russell and his obsessions is really very good…but to hell with voting for POTUS…I am pretty sure he thinks he could BE POTUS!!

    But seriously folks…”community care”…aint that just one of the most evil things a government ever foisted on this country? Many people are prematurely dead as a result…those who should have been in residential care and those they killed…

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  48. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    Letting murderers out after a while to supposedly take part in normal social intercourse instead of topping them has always jarred with me DG! :)

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  49. big bruv (13,923 comments) says:

    DG

    I think you and I have discussed this in the past (it may have been with somebody else so if so I apologise) and I agree with you. The whole concept of care in the community is a crushing failure. Possibly the best (worst) example of this is the late Antoine Dixon, while few will shed a tear at the passing of Dixon the fact remains that he should NEVER have been out in the community in the first place.

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  50. nasska (11,575 comments) says:

    Baity, unmedicated with his hand over the red button DG! Scary! :)

    But you’re right about the unbelievable cruelty of closing residential care. The promise of adequate community care never eventuated & too many of those who should have been thus accommodated alternate between prison & the streets.

    A disaster driven by sightless ideology.

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  51. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    A government policy involving proper residential care complete with electrified barbed wire would have seen qualified folk like Penny gainfully employed instead of being tossed on the scrapheap and dispossessed for not being able to pay her rates bill! :)

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  52. nasska (11,575 comments) says:

    She could have knitted the barbed wire surrounds JB. :)

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  53. nasska (11,575 comments) says:

    You wouldn’t have a spare bed or paddock for when she’s made homeless would you JB? :)

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  54. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    Indeed nasska and welded the steel posts to support it. Gainfully employed instead of throwing herself on the scrapheap like she has!

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  55. David Garrett (7,311 comments) says:

    Nasska: Very well said Sir…I recall a friend of mine getting a job at the time “selling” this wonderful new “treatment paradigm” to the people….Our friendship was never quite the same again…She bloody well KNEW it was a bunch of hokum…

    Johnboy: Don’t be naughty….you’ll get me banned…

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  56. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    No. I’m a generous chap nasska but at my age I have to pace myself so I’m saving myself to embed Yvette! :)

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  57. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    Minus must have passed away! :)

    RIP Minus! :)

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  58. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    I think Reds mental health care professional has convinced him that inhabiting KB and engaging with its community has an effect of overriding his meds. It would not be surprising if such a view coupled with a promise to increase his sedation if he continued to expose him self to the laughter he generates is the reason he no longer engages when we play with his mental state debate him. I also believe that minus is a sycophantic cohort, friend of the great one or indeed the old foolman himself.

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