Smart move from the Greens

The Herald reports:

The Green Party will give its questions during Question Time to the Opposition to help it hold the Government, which it is a part of, to account.

co-leader James Shaw announced the move today, saying it was an end to ‘patsy’ questions from the Greens. Patsy questions are ones designed to allow an answer on how great the Government is.

“We think patsy questions are a waste of time, and New Zealanders have not put us in Parliament to do that; we’re there to make positive change for our people and our environment,” Shaw said.

“Question Time is a key avenue for the opposition to interrogate the Government, so this move is a small step we can take to live up to the values we stated in opposition now that we are part of the Government.

“Using Question Time to ask ourselves scripted, set-piece patsy questions does nothing to advance the principles of democracy and accountability that are very important to us as a party.”

This is a smart move from the Greens, for a number of reasons.

  1. It allows them to try and distance themselves from Labour and NZ First
  2. Their backbench MPs probably hated asking patsy questions
  3. It doesn’t really disadvantage the Government significantly as National is so large they had eight out of 12 questions already. Having nine out of 12 isn’t a huge difference.
  4. It sends a slight signal to Labour and NZ First not to take them for granted
  5. Goes down well with their supporters

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