Every now and again infighting gets so bad in the Nats that some gems are delivered to me. In this case it is a set of their Board and Board committee minutes.
Except they were “leaked” to numerous people, not just Trevor. As I understand it they were posted to numerous journalists, and a few MPs.
And as I understand it, there was no leak. Just a theft. One board member never received his board documents in the mail, and it was his copy that got posted to various people. So it looks like someone took them from his letterbox. This is very plausible as his name was on them, and you would never leak documents with your own name on them. So no, there isn’t someone leaking to Trevor. Just a politically motivated theft.
Trevor is very excited by the negative references to Simon Lusk. This is amusing as just a year ago Trevor was insisting that Simon was actually working for Campaign Chair Steven Joyce, and was a loyal National Party servant. Trevor’s theories never seem to worry about consistency.
One item in the leaked minutes which I found interesting was that the Young Nats signed up 715 members on Auckland tertiary campuses over Orientation weeks. That’s a huge achievement.
David Shearer went for the Prime Minister’s jugular when he brought up a past quote, in an attempt to prove John Key’s hypocrisy for not sacking John Banks.
But he missed by a mile – it turns out the quote was from National-leaning blogger David Farrar.
Mr Key had never uttered the words and David Shearer had to return to the House last night to apologise.
This is first I knew of this. Looking at Hansard it seems the exchange was:
David Shearer: Does he stand by another of his statements: “The issue has never been one of legality as much as ethics. The criminal code is the bare minimum standards for society. For MPs we expect behaviour well beyond that.”, and if so, how is he applying that standard to John Banks?
That quote is indeed mine.
DAVID SHEARER (Leader of the Opposition): I seek leave of the House to make a personal explanation to clarify a question that I made earlier in the day.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Leave is sought for the honourable Leader of the Opposition to make a statement. Is there any objection to that course of action? There is none.
DAVID SHEARER: During question time I attributed a quote to John Key in one of my questions. In fact, that quote was actually made by David Farrar, and I would like to apologise to them both.
I think the PM would be more offended by the mix-up than me!
Mr Mallard this morning told RadioLIVE he was to blame.
“It’s a terrible mistake and I take responsibility for that,” says Mr Mallard, who still managed to get in a dig at the Prime Minister.
“We confused David Farrar with the Prime Minister – they both say the same things all the time, and the quotes got shuffled.
Yes, it annoys me also when the PM steals my lines
I should point out that Labour happily quote me in the House when I do say things critical of the Government.
Labour seem to have an obsession with Simon Lusk. Trevor Mallard has been blogging on him for over a year, and then in a rush of blood to his head (or somewhere) decided he was the secret leaker in the ACC saga. Never mind that the ACC Minister hasn’t spoken to him once in the past year.
As Trevor’s defamation defence will be based on proving his wild theories had a semblence of credibility, he set his assistant defence counsel Chris Hipkins to work. Chippie filed no less than 259 written questions to Ministers on Mr Lusk. Putting aside the cost to the taxpayer of their paranoia, his fishing expedition was very wide. He asked every single portfolio Minister the following:
Has he or his representatives had any written communication with Simon Lusk within the last six months in his Ministerial capacity; if so, on which date or dates and what was the nature of the communication?
Has he or his representatives had any oral discussions with Simon Lusk within the last six months in his Ministerial capacity; if so, on which date or dates and what was the nature of the discussion or discussions?
Has he or his representatives met with Simon Lusk within the last six months in his Ministerial capacity; if so, on which date or dates and what was the nature of the discussion or discussions?
One or two Ministers are yet to reply, but from what I can see 100% of the responses are “No”. So Trevor’s defence strategy is looking pretty shaky.
Plus anyone who knows Simon knows that at this time of year the last thing he worries about is politics. His main activity is being out on a grassy knoll with a high powered rifle looking for venison to go in the freezer.
ACC Minister Judith Collins has promised to quit if she or her office is found to have leaked an email at the centre of a spat over an ACC claimant as the auditor-general launches an investigation into governance at the state insurer.
So will Mallard and Little resign if their allegations it was Collins are found to be untrue?
Mr Little, along with Green MP Kevin Hague, earlier asked Auditor-General Lyn Provost to look into aspects of ACC’s governance that would not be examined by the investigations already under way by the privacy commissioner and being considered by the police.
Ms Provost said yesterday she would hold an inquiry examining aspects of ACC’s governance.
“The inquiry will examine how ACC manages a range of risks at the board level of the organisation. It will also examine how any matters relating to ACC claimant Ms Pullar that came to the attention of the board or individual board members were dealt with,” she said.
As well as this inquiry, Ms Provost intended to develop an audit proposal on ACC’s general operations, with a focus on its case management.
A spokeswoman for Ms Collins was unable to say whether the minister had asked for Crown funding but did say the matter would cost the taxpayer nothing if Mr Mallard apologised or backed up his remarks with evidence.
Wellington lawyer Graeme Edgeler said that while there were instances of the Crown paying legal costs for ministers who were the target of defamation proceedings, he could not recall ministers receiving taxpayer funding when they were the plaintiffs.
Furthermore, “this doesn’t really seem government-related at all”.
“This is an offence to Judith Collins’ personal reputation.”
Even though any damages and costs awarded if the suit was successful would go back to the Crown, the case was “really for her personal benefit”.
My view is that when the Minister is a defendant, then the Crown should pay the legal costs. But I am uneasy with the notion of the Crown paying legal costs for a Minister as a plaintiff to sue other MPs and a media outlet. It may be permissable within the Cabinet Manual rules, but that doesn’t make it a good idea.
Apart from anything else it would allow Mallard and Little to portray themselves as martyrs with the resources of the state being used to try and silence them.
If it is privately funded, then it is a very different matter in terms of how the public will view it.
Salient have kindly added me to their distribution list, and have just been reading their first few issues. Had a good laugh at a satirical article on Trevor Mallard’s scalping, which they have on their website also. An extract:
In a shocking turn of events, it has emerged that the sell-out sales to this week’s O-Week events was not due to popular student demand, but was rather the result of a new business venture by Labour Party politician and entrepreneur, Trevor Mallard MP.
Salient understands that the MP had bought all 1,000 tickets to the Mt Eden and Roots Manuva shows, set to be held as part of Victoria University’s O-Week 2012, in an attempt to scalp them on Trade me for a negligible to modest profit.
In a written statement to Salient, Mr. Mallard stated that the initiative was part of a broader fiscal scheme to bolster his personal income.
“The pay down at Parliament is bloody dire, to be honest,” he said.
“I mean, for fuck’s sake, what else was I meant to do?” …
In the face of these accusations, Mr. Mallard has refused to capitulate to demands to return the tickets to the student body, vowing to fill the venue himself.
“It’s a matter of honour now,” he said, “But it’s all good. I’ll bring my Parliament bros along. Trev and the boys can always bring the party!”
Mr. Mallard claims he may just be able to scrape together a half-capacity crowd. All he needs to do is round up in one room everyone who wanted Phil Goff to be Prime Minister.
Heh, very good. Even better was Michelle A’Court on the same topic Seven Days on Friday night. I won’t quote her exact words, but let’s just say it was very funny.
Did my $1,000 donation today, as promised for the Mallard-Slater race. I said I’d donate $1,000 to CCS if Mallard won or $1,000 to the Mental Health Foundation if Slater won. So CCS Disability Action got the donation.
Sadly it looks like there won’t be a sequel boxing match for me to sponsor/donate to
Hon GERRY BROWNLEE (Leader of the House): When the House resumes on Tuesday, 6 March the Government will progress a number of bills on the Order Paper, including the Committee stage of the Search and Surveillance Bill, …
Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South): I am sorry. I missed the very first part of the Minister’s comments. I am not going to ask him to read the whole thing again. The question I have got, though, is I am seeking an assurance that the Search and Surveillance Bill will not proceed to its Committee stage until we have had the Supplementary Order Paper for at least 48 hours. I think there is general agreement across the House that it would be good if we could have at least a bipartisan approach on this, rather than have legislation that only just goes through and because I know that there is still a bit of a gap between the major parties I would just like an assurance that we will have at least 48 hours to look at that before it does come back in.
Hon GERRY BROWNLEE (Leader of the House): One of the new requirements under the Standing Orders that apply to this Parliament beyond is that the Government does indicate bills that possibly could come up for Committee stage ahead of time. I am sure that any undertakings that have been made, any understandings that relate to any of these bills, will be honoured.
It is good the Government has indicated the committee stage is next week for the Search and Surveillance Bill. However Mallard’s request for any SOPs in advance is a reasonable one – not just for Labour, but for the public also. The bill deals with fundamental issues of powers of the state and civil liberties. Any amendments which are non-trivial should be tabled as soon as possible to allow for consideration and feedback.
Wayne Mapp’s commercial legal experience is limited to three years assisting one John Collinge, former President of the National Party who is better known for activity on the the table at the London High Commission than legal expertise.
He spent thirteen years at the University of Auckland but was unable to obtain a chair or a position in the Law School. He then became an undistinguished MP and a lacklustre Minister.
Mapp got the push from the National caucus but has been given a job at the Law Commission – a role normally reserved for distinguished lawyers.
An incredibly nasty and spiteful post by Mallard, who continues to remind people of all that is bad within Labour. He doesn’t just attack the appointment of Dr Mapp, but denigrates his entire career.
I have no issue with people having a go at appointments not made on merit, due primarily to their political links. for example the appointment of Brian Neeson to the Human Rights Review tribunal was rightly criticised by many (including me).
The most outrageous crony appointments was when Mallard’s Government appointed Labour MP Di Yates to four separate boards – to Food Standards Australia New Zealand, Trust Waikato Community Trust, education book publisher Learning Media’s board and the board of the Waikato Institute of Technology. The appointment to FSANZ was justified in the press release on the basis Yates was from Waikato which is “arguably the food bowl of New Zealand”. Yes, seriously, that was the only rationale they could come up with..
But anyway back to Dr Mapp, his appointment needs a fairer appraisal than Mallard’s nasty denigration. I’m surprised he has such venom for Mapp, because in fact Wayne was one of the least partisan MPs in Parliament. In fact he was a member of the Labour Party for many years, before he joined National. He even stood against Phil Goff for the Labour nomination for Mt Roskill in 1981 (when Wayne was in his 20s). Most Labour MPs would be far more generous towards Wayne, and probably be mortified by Mallard’s nastiness towards him. However they allow Mallard to remain their public face.
Wayne has always had a great love of policy and the law. I first met him before he was an MP, when he was Northern Region Policy Chair, and I was the Young Nats policy person. He would happily spend hours debating policy and law with me and others. He’s exactly the sort of person you do want on the Law Commission – he won’t be partisan, he has huge intellectual curiosity (which is what you need on the Law Commission) and a passion for good law and policy. I think his appointment is an excellent one – and it is useful to have someone with actual parliamentary experience on the Law Commission, in my opinion.
As for his legal background, so denigrated by Trevor Mallard who has a BCA (and an assault conviction). Wayne has an honours degree in law from Auckland University, a masters from the University of Toronto and a PhD in international law from Cambridge. He spent 12 years as an academic in commercial law, and left as an Associate Professor before he became an MP.
The suggestion he got the push from the National Caucus is also a typical Mallard lie. Wayne’s decision to retire at the last election took everyone by surprise. His primary motivation for leaving Parliament was to open doors for his wife Denese Henare, whose activities as a lawyer had to be somewhat restricted while he was an MP. Denese, incidentally, has served on the Law Commission herself and I am confident that Wayne’s contribution will match her own distinguished record.
I couldn’t work out why Trevor would regularly buy tickets for Homegrown. I did have suspicions he was in it for the profit. But this photo from the Dom Post suggests that possibly Trevor’s interest is not entirely financial
Q: Is there any actual evidence you can provide to show that this item has ever existed
Q; Doesn’t Trademe rules state that the item must be in your possession? I don’t think anyone anywhere has Trevor Mallard’s credibility in their possession. In fact, research is ongoing to find proof it ever existed, as far as I am informed.
Q: While at face value this looks like a bargain, do you have any way of verifying that the product actually exists? I am somewhat dubious, as I have not seen any recent evidence of the existence of “Trevor Mallard’s credibility.”
Q: How damaged is this item? Will there be a refund available if it doesn’t pass muster?
Q: Is there a buy now? or will you let the auction take it’s course?
Labour MP Trevor Mallard says he didn’t know how to set a “buy now” option on Trade Me – despite being a member since 2005 and on-selling tickets to Homegrown and the Wellington Sevens in the past.
Under fire for ticket scalping after selling four tickets to the sold-out Homegrown festival at a $276 profit, Mr Mallard told Radio Live this morning that he hadn’t been aware he could put a “buy now” price on the auction.
However, his TradeMe account shows he has been a member of the online auction site since 2005, and has sold plenty of tickets in the past.
Did not know how to set a buy now option? Really? Well in case Trevor needs a hand in future, I’m happy to assist.
If you are selling tickets to a concert on Trade Me, this is the screen you will see.
As is obvious, setting a buy now price is incredibly simple. You just enter the price you want in.
Labour MP Trevor Mallard has been accused of scalping tickets to a Wellington music festival.
The tickets to Saturday’s sold-out Homegrown festival have a face value of $95 each.
Whitireia music student Laura Signal, 19, and her three friends were desperate to attend so they bid for four tickets on Trade Me, paying a final price of $656.
Miss Signal was surprised when the trader turned out to be the Hutt South MP, who used his parliamentary email address for the auction.
You wonder how Trevor finds the time to be an MP in-between cycling and scalping.
The students said they asked Mr Mallard about a “buy now” price during the auction, but he replied that he would let the auction run.
Some may condemn Trevor forcing poor struggling students to pay more, so that he makes a profit on top of his $170,000 or so parliamentary remuneration, but I think it is great to see a Labour MP show his commitment to free markets and profits.
In November 2006, Mr Mallard initiated legislation – now the Major Events Management Act 2007 – to protect event sponsors from people making money out of major events with which they had no formal association.
He said at the time: “When there is bulk-buying of tickets to such events simply for the purpose of profiteering, scalping is a ripoff that could deny many people the opportunity to see an event.”
No, no, no. Scalping is not a rip off. What is wrong with a 60% return on capital?
Mr Mallard told The Dominion Post yesterday that the sale was neither scalping nor dodgy. He bought the tickets last year but now had another engagement.
“I’m slightly surprised if promoters with whom I spend several hundred dollars a year on tickets complain when I sell some I can’t use to someone who wants them using a Kiwi-based online auction.”
He listed the tickets at face value, but let the auction run above $500 because he “knew that they were worth more”.
I purchased ten tickets for the Sevens this year. Two people in our group pulled out a few days beforehand. I sold the tickets at face value via Facebook as I didn’t want to make money out of them – just get reimbursed for the cost.
He believed the students had breached his privacy by revealing him as the ticket trader.
Hmmn, threatening the students. Perhaps Trevor could specify what part of the Privacy Act he alleges they have breached?
The Herald story on the same issue finds Trevor also scalped tickets in 2009 and 2010 for the same event.
UPDATE: A thought has occurred to me. It is curious that for three of the last four years Trevor has been auctioning tickets for Homegrown on Trade Me. It is possible he does not in fact buy the tickets, but they are complementary tickets given to local MPs? Can any other local MPs clarify whether they get complementary tickets?
The National party are up to their old tricks – appointing people very close to them to positions in a way that is not appropriate.
Trevor’s view of appropriate is sacking Madeleine Setchell because her boyfriend took a job with John Key, and defaming Erin Leigh because she was a whistle blower.
First Sir Wira Gardiner. Very talented. Appointed by the previous government to do some tricky tasks.
I’m glad Trevor mentions that. A quick search reveals Labour appointed Wira to the following:
independent Board of Inquiry to consider the proposed National Policy Statement for Renewable Electricity Generation, by Trevor Mallard
interim chair of of Te Mangai Paho, by Parekura Horomia
the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission, by Parekura Horomia
facilitate hui on seabed and foreshore, by Michael Cullen
Crown facilitator for Central North Island Forests Land Collective Settlement, by Michael Cullen
But he is married to a Cabinet Minister. He should not be appointed by any Minister in the current government to paid employment. John Key and Bill English have appointed him to sell their asset sales process to Maori.
As usual, Trevor is lying. Wira was selected and appointed by Treasury, not by Cabinet or Ministers.
If you claim that is a conflict, then you are also saying Peter Davis should not have been employed in the health sector.
Labour got Madeleine Setchell sacked because of whom her partner was. Thankfully National does not do the same.
And to make it clear, it is my view that there is no reason whatsoever to sell these farms offshore. To anyone.
That’s an interesting view, but that is like me having a view on who Sam Morgan should have sold Trade Me to. Labour do not own the Crafar farms. The Government does not own them. The taxpayers do not own them.
The reason the farms may be sold offshore is because someone offshore offered the owners more money for them.
Landcorp could probably hock off a couple of its non core farms and then buy Them all using its very strong balance sheet to raise debt finance for the balance.
Yes they could. And all they have to do is offer more money than any other bidder. Nice and simple, and that way the owners do not end up out of pocket, just so politicians feel better.
The Overseas Investment Act has criteria on which a sale to non-residents should or should not be approved. The Crafar farms are a small fraction of the farm land sold to non-residents and approved under the last Labour Government. One can have a sensible debate about amending the criteria, but a poling of banning all sales is just appealing to xenophobia and racism. I can guarantee you if it was an Australian farmer bidding for the farms, we’d be rolling out the welcome mat.
Euthanasia is a conscience vote in parliament. In Hutt South all candidates from parties that got into parliament said they would support the first reading of a bill.
My view has firmed on the issue over the last decade and unless evidence to a select committee highlighted something I am currently not aware of, or if there was a major drafting error I would support a bill through all stages.
Not that I will get a vote, but if I did I would also vote for such a bill through all stages, so long as it was drafted competently.
Also like Trevor, my views have firmed up over the last decade. Coming from a medical family I used to have serious reservations about any change that may see doctors have any role apart from prolonging life. But we already see passive euthanasia on a daily basis.
The turning point for me, was Rodney Hide’s newsletter about the death of Martin Hames. The cruelty of what Martin was forced into doing, made it clear to me that the status quo was not acceptable.
This means you could have a cabinet of 12. The Speaker looks after Parliament, and one Minister per major agency. One could have associate ministers outside cabinet who get delegated some of the specialist areas within an overall portfolio.
New Zealand has a ridiculous number of Ministers for a country our size.
It had got slightly worse under MMP but this government has taken it beyond absurd with 80% of the non National confidence and supply partner members bought off with a Ministerial post, and the final one on a promise of getting one during the term.
It would have been nice to have Trevor speak up when he had influence. I’ve long said we should have a smaller Ministry. It was in fact Helen Clark who increased the size of the Executive to 28. Key has just maintained it at that size.
I spent three years as a whip which included cabinet committee experience in the 1980s and the nine years as a Minister in the Clark government.
I saw lots of weak, and some frankly useless Ministers. Most, but not all, were in the second half of the rankings. They often caused more work than they added value. There was an enormous amount of time wasted explaining what was either obvious or buried in papers that if they had been read hadn’t been understood.
Trevor should name names!
I tend to divide Ministers up into three camps – leaders, administrators and bumblers.
The ideal Minister leads their portfolio and ministry. They impose the Government’s policy agenda on the ministry, listen to officials but do not always follow their advice. The number of “leader” Ministers in a Ministry does tend to be rarely more than a dozen.
Hence why I’d restructure the state sector into 12 super-ministries as advocated in my linked post. That way each super-ministry is likely to have a “leader” Minister who will apply strategic leadership to the portfolios within. Also there are probably only a dozen great CEOs in the state sector, so you get benefits at the CEO level also. Finally it reduces Cabinet from 20 to 12, which makes it a more effective decision making body.
The “administrator” Minister is probably the most common type of Minister. Unlike Trevor I would not call them useless. Their problem is more they just do what their officials tell them to. They do not apply external political judgement to issues, and hence as Trevor alludes to they need rescuing from time to time.
If there were just 12 Ministers in total, I think the paperwork would be too much. It is not that Ministers are not busy. Hence I’d have all full portfolios held by one of 12 Cabinet Ministers but maybe still have say eight Associate Ministers outside Cabinet who get delegated specific areas. This makes them a good training ground for becoming a full Minister, but still reduces the Ministry by eight or so.
I think we don’t need more than ten or a dozen Ministers. They should all be in Cabinet. And to trial talent we should use three or four Under Secretaries who report directly to the relevant Minister.
We broadly agree, but I’d call the Under-Secretaries Associate Ministers. Maybe could do it like the UK – Secretaries of State are full Ministers in Cabinet and Ministers of State are Ministers outside Cabinet.
It will be interesting if any of Trevor’s former Ministerial colleagues agree with his description of them as useless. To spare the competent ones, he should name those he meant!
More importantly, he should lobby David Shearer to announce a policy to reduce the Ministry from 28 to 12 Ministers. That would be hugely popular.
Trevor Mallard has got all excited. he has blogged a tweet from @NZNational stating (falsely) that the mock town hall meeting in National’s opening address was a real one.
The only problem with Trevor’s “gotcha” expose is that @NZNational is a fake account, probably run by one of his activists.
Now I’ll give Trevor the benefit of the doubt, and assume he didn’t know it was a fake account, rather than the alternative which is he was deliberately setting out to deceive.
But so Trevor doesn’t make himself look foolish in future, here’s some things to look at, to work out a fake account.
Check their full description on their homepage.
Look at some of their recent tweets. Do they look like the tweets you would expect from that person or organisation
Check out how many followers they have. As this one had only 91 followers, pretty obvious it is a fake.
It’s not that hard to work out real and fake accounts. The only time I had difficulty was working out the difference between the parody Catherine Delahunty account and the real one.
UPDATE: I have had it pointed out to me that Mallard in fact knew the account was not rea as he had been told multiple times on Twitterl, so it was a deliberate attempt to deceive. Nice to know Labour’s campaign manager continues high normal high ethical standards. It’s a silly strategy because it means the public and journalists will distrust stuff on Red Alert.
I blogged on 27 September on the review of Parliament’ standing orders. A fuller list is at that post, but some of the changes include:
The Clerk to record and publish attendance of MPs
A Bill of Rights analysis to be supplied not just at first reading but also for substantive SOPs amending bills. This is something I have advocated several times.
Provision for extended sitting hours without going into urgency by sitting on either a Wednesday or Thursday morning, if necessary. Again something I have strongly advocated, as it should reduce the need for urgency so much.
Also provision for extended sitting hours on a Thursday evening and Friday morning, but only if the Business Committee agrees, which means basically the Opposition consents to it.
Ministers moving urgency in future will need to state the reason for the urgency. Good.
Business Committee determinations to be published on the Parliament website. These proposals give a lot more power to the Business Committee, so this is good. The BC needs near-unanimous consent to make decisions, so it is about encouraging parties to work together more.
These changes were passed by the House last week, and will apply to the next Parliament. They were passed on a voice vote with no parties or MPs dissenting. Considerable credit goes to Speaker Lockwood Smith who chaired the Standing Orders Committee.
But I also want to acknowledge the role Labour, and its rep Trevor Mallard, played. Generally changes that make the House more efficient are not necessarily a good thing for the Opposition. Take as an example the new ability to have extended hours without going into urgency. This allows the Government to pass more laws without using urgency, which means the Opposition will lose the opportunity to complain as often about use of urgency.
Labour presumably agreed partly because they plan to be in Government again one day themselves (when they will benefit from it), but partly also I think because they do want the House to operate more effectively. So it is worth acknowledging their constructive role in these changes. I’d like to quote from Trevor Mallard’s speech on the new standing orders:
Although it might cause him some embarrassment, I also acknowledge Rodney Hide and the work he has done within this. I was surprised at the number of occasions when we agreed as we progressed through the Standing Orders, and I think that having someone who has had a period as a poacher, and who, to a certain extent, has turned gamekeeper, was useful. It was useful having his view on the importance of Parliament and where the balances lie. People who look carefully at this report will see that it is one that very slightly tips the running of Parliament in favour of the Government, but provides some safeguards to that. Those of us who have been involved on both sides of the House think that that is something that could be useful going forward.
It does tip the balance a bit but there are stronger incentives now to gain consensus through the Business Committee.
Although I am less comfortable with that change, I am probably more comfortable than many of my colleagues with the set of arrangements around the extra hours—the extended sittings—of the House. I have had a role in Government business before. I know that things do not work neatly, and that therefore it is too easy for Governments to move to urgency in order to get through business that, of itself, is not urgent. Urgency has too often been used as a House management tool rather than as a tool to progress urgent business. I think the extended sittings give the right compromise there: select committees cannot sit at the same time as the House, except with leave; notice is given; bills are not taken through more than one stage at any one time; and the extended sitting occurs only once a week, unless the Business Committee agrees. In my opinion, that will give the Government a bit more power, but will move it back from using urgency in a way that I consider to have been inappropriate of Governments for just about as long as I can remember.
What I am pleased about is that a few months ago I co-operated with Labour MP Grant Robertson to publish an analysis of the use of urgency over the last few terms of Parliament. It didn’t win me a lot of friends in certain quarters, but I felt it was important to highlight the trend. I was nervous that Labour would be all rhetoric on reducing urgency, but not actually agree to changes such as the above, which would allow more business to be conducted without urgency. There had in fact been a sessional order asking for this sitting on the order paper for a couple of years, but which had not progressed due to lack of support.
So I was pleased to see Labour actually agree to changes (and Trevor suggests not all his colleagues were that keen to do so), to make a substantive move to back up the rhetoric. And the changes should mean that any future uses of urgency for non-urgent business will attract sustained criticism (with some limited exceptions such as post-election policy implementation).
There is, I think, quite a lot of extra power going to the Business Committee. Again, I reiterate my surprise at how well that committee is working. Frankly, Mr Brownlee, and especially Mr Power, with whom I have worked more often on that committee recently, have been open with the committee as to their intentions. The meetings have been slightly better planned, maybe, than at some stages in the past. You, Mr Speaker, in the way that you have chaired the committee, have also tried to seek consensus, although there has been an occasion or two where you have been the only person who has had a particular point of view. It is probably fortunate for the other members of the committee that you do not represent a party on that committee.
That’s a nice recognition of Gerry, Simon and Lockwood.
There are times when the House looks very juvenile. General Debate is a typical example. But there are also times when they rise above squabbling, and the review of the standing orders debate was one of those.
They weren’t the most important events of the past week. In fact, in a world racked by economic crisis and intractable conflict, they weren’t important at all.
But, as is so often the case with small, seemingly trivial events, they were highly instructive. They told us why John Key’s National Party will have to work very hard to lose the forthcoming election, and why – barring a miracle – Labour hasn’t the slightest chance of winning it.
So what is Chris referring to?
The first event involved a visit by the Prime Minister to Canterbury University. …
Except for the sign that fourth-year mechanical engineering students had stuck to the “Mech Suite” window overlooking the PM’s arrival-point.
“John, mate,” read the sign, “come up for a yarn with your country’s future engineers.”
The Prime Minister spotted the sign and, yep, you guessed it, to the whoops and hollers of the (mostly male) students he came up.
But wait, there’s more. Not only did the PM come up, but he also agreed to match one of his larger and more terrifying DPS bodyguards against the students’ massive arm-wrestling champion, “Mad Dog”. …
What matters is that a) John Key was up for it, and carried it off with considerable aplomb. And b) The whole event is now available to the electorate via the internet. Just three days after it was first posted, more than 13,000 people had watched the YouTube clip.
Which is quite a lot for a 10 minute video.
And the other event?
In a posting headed “Bill English Funds Bryce Edwards”, the Labour caucus’ chief election strategist, Trevor Mallard, launched a vicious attack on the young Otago University academic Dr Bryce Edwards for his, at times, highly critical assessments of the Labour Opposition’s performance. …
It is difficult to know where to begin with this outburst.
That it was made by the caucus’s chief strategist raises a whole host of questions about the nature of the election campaign Labour is intending to run.
Does Phil Goff sanction this stuff? We can only hope that he does not endorse the sort of crude ad hominem arguments featured in Mallard’s posting.
We must hope, too, that Labour’s appeal to the electorate is fuelled by emotions considerably less disreputable than the petty spitefulness and partisan hostility which it displays.
To be fair, it is not all in Labour who act like this. But they sit back and enable it by having Mallard as their “chief strategist”.
And this is how they act in Opposition. It is worse when they are in Government, when they can actually use the powers of office to strike back at those who dare criticise.
All elections have a “tone”: a mode of address to the voting public which (largely unconsciously) “cues” their response to the competing parties.
If we compare and contrast the tone of the YouTube clip of the PM’s visit to the Mech Suite, with the tone of Mallard’s Red Alert posting, picking the election result becomes a cinch. Sometimes, little things generate big consequences.
I recall Chris wearing a red Labour rosette in the lead up to the last election. Now Labour probably dismiss him as a member of the VRWNLLWC.
The United States has mad conspiracy theorists on the right and the left. Those on the left are the truthers who are convinced Bush and Cheney blew up the Twin Towers and blamed it on poor old Osama. Those on the right are or were the birthers who were convinced that Obama was born in Kenya, and that his grand mother placed a fake birth notice in Hawaii in August 1961 just in case one day he decided to stand for President.
Back home we don’t have truthers or birthers, but instead the Labour Party Campaign Manager Trevor Mallard. He blogs:
Interesting disclosure from David Farrar yesterday. He, along with Matthew Hooton, and (waste of members money) PSA are bankrolling Bryce Edwards, one of the few remaining supporters of the Alliance, to provide the political commentary which mainly attacks Labour and the Greens from the looney left. The guy makes Margaret Mutu look like a well balanced academic.
As we all know the majority of Farrar’s income comes from the taxpayer via a “research” arrangement.
I wonder if Bill English signed the deal off or whether it was just a nod and a wink.
So Bill English secretly instructed me to secretly fund Bryce Edwards, so Bryce would attack Labour. With such insight, Trevor could apply to join either the birthers or the truthers.
First it is interesting to note his portrayal of Dr Edwards as more unbalanced than Margaret Mutu (who called for a ban on white immigration). This may come as a surprise to his many colleagues who have been interviewed by Dr Edwards for the OU Vote Chat series. His attack on Dr Edwards may remind readers of his attacks on Erin Leigh and others, and are perhaps a salient reminder of what awaits people if Labour gets back into Government.
I do wonder what Trevor’s colleague, tertiary education spokesperson Grant Robertson, thinks of Trevor’s attacking of an academic for his political views.
I should point out at this stage that Dr Edwards is what one would call left-wing. Like John Pagani, he used to work for the Alliance in Parliament around 10 years ago. It is of course very unusual for an academic to be left-wing. Almost unheard of.
Now let us get to Trevor’s discovery of this big secret, the sponsorship of NZ Politics Daily. It was a closely guarded secret until I revealed it in Stuff yesterday. Oh except for the fact that every single issues for the last few months has said:
New Zealand Politics Daily is produced independently by Bryce Edwards, Department of Politics, University of Otago, with the help of a research assistant who is paid for by the sponsorship of: Curia Market Research – the place to go if you want to know what New Zealanders are thinking Exceltium Ltd – New Zealand’s most successful corporate and public affairs consultancy PSA – the public sector union advocating for strong public services and decent work.
On top of this daily disclosure by Dr Edwards, I blogged on the sponsorship back in June. The $100/week Curia pays doesn’t go to Bryce but to a research assistant who compiles the scores of stories included in the e-mail edition. I find the compilation incredibly useful as it lists every political story and major blog post for the day, and often discover stories I would have missed through it.
There is absolutely no input or influence over what Bryce writes as an intro summary to the daily bulletin. I would say I disagree with Bryce’s take on things probably twice as often as I agree with one! To give an example of some of Bryce’s recent summaries which in Trevor’s fantasy world Bill English is paying for:
This could be the year of the Greens – finally they might crack the 10% mark that has eluded them in every general election so far. And with the popular demise of Labour and the ideological confusion of Mana, the Green Party might end up being the real success story for the leftish side of the political spectrum.
With patience to delve through this analysis, anyone should be able see that the Police modus operandi and the Government’s attempts to help the Police out are rather outrageous.
The politics-free zone of the Rugby World Cup was supposed to deprive the Opposition parties of any significant media publicity in the main period leading up to the general election – but it might not quite work out as National intended. … Of course, the RWC opening night debacle has tarnished National’s competency reputation … Labour and the Greens are not just basking in National’s woes, however, but seem to be proactively attempting to get their messages out to the public while National has its mind on other things. During the last day or so, Labour and the Greens have been announcing all sorts of policies and campaigns. Labour’s policy on the Christchurch rebuild, in particular, might gain it some real kudos
There is no doubt that the National Government deserves the pressure that is currently being applied over the shambles of the Rugby World Cup opening night. …But the fiasco has certainly taken the shine off the National Government’s general appearance of competency. Murray McCully’s days as a minister suddenly seemed numbered.
National needs to be reminded that most people believe that we have governments and collective responsibility so people can feel protected from these bolts from the blue.
Another chapter in the saga of malicious bungling by the Police has come to a ridiculous end with charges being dropped against 11 of the accused in the Urewera ‘terror’ case
Another chapter in the saga of malicious bungling by the Police has come to a ridiculous end with charges being dropped against 11 of the accused in the Urewera ‘terror’ case
The National Party list for the 2011 general election is disappointing and boring.
John Key hasn’t let the fact that he has not actually read Nicky Hager’s book stop him from voicing the same arrogant dismissiveness we saw in evidence in his initial handling of the Israeli spy allegations and the work of journalist Jon Stephenson on Afghanistan.
Apparently there will be a ‘welcoming committee’ there to greet the National Party ministers and thank them for all that they’ve done to start to rebuild the city. Unfortunately for National, this sarcastic ‘thank you’ will be in the form of a protest against the way that the city is being rebuilt
I don’t mind Trevor’s mad conspiracy theories involving me and Bill English. They are at least amusing, even if often copied from Whale Oil.
But I do think he owes Dr Edwards an apology for impuging his integrity.
UPDATE: I’m relaxed about Trevor’s defamatory comments and have better things to do than talk to lawyers, But I understand others who were named are not so forgiving and have consulted their lawyers. No parliamentary privilege for Red Alert. Could be an expensive exercise for them as not only is Trevor liable but so is the Labour Parliamentary Party as the blog publisher.
It is a brave woman who takes on a government alone.
But with her professional reputation in tatters and a successful communications career hanging by a thread, Erin Leigh felt she had few options left.
It also takes a rich woman to challenge the establishment and, despite a recent Supreme Court ruling in her favour, Ms Leigh has had to abandon her defamation suit against the Environment Ministry and former deputy secretary Lindsay Gow. …
Ms Leigh has been caught up in the Christchurch earthquakes and felt financially unable to carry on the legal battle.
While happy with the result, she regretted not being able to carry on her own fight.
We should all remember the Leigh case in future, in case Labour tries to position itself as a champion of whistle-blowers.
Ms Leigh says his claims of her incompetence were completely untrue. She also laughs at accusations of being a National lackey.
“I’d always been a Labour Party voter. The first MP that I voted for was actually Trevor Mallard.
“It was beyond my imagination at that point that they would actually make up a whole lot of stuff that wasn’t true.”
That was the culture of the times. If you spoke out, you were dealt to.