National’s being accused of spamming Parliament, its MPs lodging more than 6000 parliamentary questions in the last month.
Nearly 6300 questions have been submitted, with the majority asking what events or meetings a minister had attended on a particular date.
Now I actually agree that National’s questions seem silly, and are over the top. You do want to use written questions to gather useful information, but I can’t see what value these questions are. Also one could gather much the same info with an OIA request covering the entire month, rather than a question per day.
In contrast, Newsroom says only 964 were submitted by the Labour-led Opposition in the month following the 2014 election.
Labour Leader of the House Chris Hipkins says the Opposition’s got its priorities wrong.
“What we’ve seen from the National Party in the last few weeks is the parliamentary equivalent of spam mail, and as a result I don’t think they’re going to get much useful information out of it,” he told Newshub.
Mr Hipkins says while Labour pushed the boundaries when it was in Opposition, National’s behaviour is unprecedented.
Not at all. Labour in fact has asked more questions in a month. In July 2010 when 8,791 questions were asked.
Over 7,000 of those questions came from a single Labour MP – Chippie’s mentor – Trevor Mallard.
Maybe Chippie could complain to the Speaker if he thinks National are asking too many questions!
UPDATE: National MP Brett Hudson comments:
The volume of questions is purely being driven by Ministers and their offices refusing to answer more generalised questions, such as something along the lines of ‘Who has the Minister met with with since being sworn in?’
A very reasonable question. It not only helps to identify who might be influencing government, it also helps to target further information requests.
Ministers’ offices have been responding along the lines of ‘The minister meets with many people on many topics. We can respond to more specific questions.’
No wonder they then face the same question repeated in separate questions for each individual day.
This is very helpful to know and explains why National is asking such specific questions. Basically Labour are refusing to reveal who they have been meeting with, forcing National to ask specifically about every day. So the media ran Chippie’s spin without realising Labour self-inflicted this on themselves.
I doubt few would say it is not legitimate to reveal who a Minister has met. The Greens used to campaign on demanding such information.