My post yesterday on John Key’s non-answer to some of my written parliamentary questions certainly got the Key apologists worked up. When Key does finally front up with the answers I’ll post the info here and people can then judge whether they were fair questions to ask.
The Key apologists seem to have forgotten that National MPs used to routinely ask tricky questions of the then Labour government. One of their favourites was to ask about staff Christmas parties and presents. Most government departments do some sort of end of year function for their staff, so National’s questions were basically intended to find examples of where they’d gone a bit over the top so that they could shout from the rooftops about “waste”.
This is a red herring. I have not once said the Opposition should not ask questions. It is an important right. But responsibilities go with rights. And you look like a whining wally when you file 4,000 questions in one day, and then complain they are not all answered within the five day target.
Incidentally I am told staff in the Office of the Clerk were forced to work until 11 pm to get all the 4,000 questions asked by Labour MPs onto the website. This would not have happened if they were organised or considerate enough to lodge them over a period of time.
Chris again fails to mention he and his colleagues have asked almost as many questions to the Minister of Ministerial Services in two weeks, than Helen Clark had over three years. And he commits further truth abuses.
Interestingly, they aren’t so keen to answer now that the shoe is on the other foot. I asked a written question of each Minister that’s almost identical to one Brownlee, McCully etc used to ask and they have all come back with the same answer: “The question the member asks relates to an operational matter which is the responsibility of the Chief Executive.”
Interesting to note that when Labour was the government and National was the opposition the questions were OK, but now that National is in government they seem to think a lower standard of accountability should apply.
Chris must think people are stupid and/or do not know how to do searches of the PQ database.
Searching the 2005-2008 Government for the phrase “responsibility of the Chief Executive” finds Ministers used it 745 times. So when Chris tries to lie that there is some “lower standard of accountability” he is being a prize hypocrite.
For those who like percentages, the 2005 to 2008 Labour Government used that response to 1.4% of questions. The National led Government has used it 162 times, which is 0.7% of questions. So Labour used that response twice as often as National.
But it gets worse when you look at the Prime Ministers. John Key has not used that response once, for the 739 questions he has had (all portfolios).
Helen Clark got asked only 569 questions over three years (around one quarter of the number asked of Key per annum) and used the phrase Chris Hipkins complains about on 25 occassions, which is 4.4% of the time.
At this point I must mention that before he became an MP, Chris Hipkins worked in Helen Clark’s office. He in fact probably wrote or approved the very answers that he is now complaining about.
How lucky we are not in Parliament, so people can use the H word.
Now again to keep it simple, here are the percentages for parties and PMs in using the “responsibility of the Chief Executive” dodge:
- Helen Clark 4.4%
- Labour 1.4%
- National 0.7%
- John Key 0.0%
I do so hope Chris carries on whining like this. It is such fun pointing out the facts.