Red Alert

OK for pansy to fundraise but not for oppos to talk about banking

Posted by on July 29th, 2009

The Speaker has made a big mistake denying the use of parliamentary rooms for the Lab/Prog/Green Banking inquiry when he had approved Pansy Wong running a $100/head fundraiser on 10 February in the parliamentary dining room.


29 Responses to “OK for pansy to fundraise but not for oppos to talk about banking”

  1. Harry Renouf says:

    Are you sure this isn’t an error at a staff level? Lockwood Smith is the most impartial Speaker in recent memory.

  2. Brendon Stone says:

    I don’t think it is likely that this is a staff error. It has been raised in the House at question time the last 2 days, and on neither occasion did the Speaker indicate that it was a staff level problem that he would redress.
    [On past practice Trevor will probably delete this as "off topic" but it's worth a try]

  3. bikerkiwi says:

    Perhaps he just knew that the Lab/Prog/Green Banking inquiry is simply a tootless waste of time and as such left the room available for better use.

  4. Tim Ellis says:

    Mr Mallard, to your knowledge did Labour ever run fundraising events in Parliament?

    I think the difference was that the banking “inquiry” attempted to subvert a select committee decision not to hold an inquiry, and somehow claim de facto parliamentary status.

  5. Trevor Mallard says:

    Brendon possibly for the first time on Red Alert is correct in the substance of his comment and because it is on topic and not offensive it won’t be deleted.

  6. Hmmm – given that it is not an ‘official” enquiry and has limited status perhaps the Speaker wanted to avoid causing confusion to any submitters who may be led to believe it would make a difference to legislation if held in parliament.

  7. Trevor Mallard says:

    Tim – Not to my knowledge – I certainly haven’t run or been to one.

  8. bikerkiwi says:

    Trevor – I note that Labour are calling Patsy Wongs dinner “dodgy” inferring that there was something ‘not honest’ about it

    from scoop: “…… than a dodgy fundraising dinner sponsored by Pansy Wong,” said Chris Carter.

    What proof do labour have of this being being dodgy? I find that a real insult to the New Zealand Chinese Business Chamber who had orginized the dinner.

    If you really want to see dodgy fundraising dinner – look back at Mike Williams having dinner on Owen Glenns boat. Kinda puts dodgy fundraising dinners in perspective.

  9. Tim Ellis says:

    Mr Mallard, it’s a bit crude of Mr Carter to refer to the fundraiser as “dodgy”. It wasn’t a fundraiser for Ms Wong. It was a fundraiser for the Chinese New Zealand Business Assocation, which is part of EMA Northern.

    I note that from a quick google search, Shane Jones hosted a function at parliament for fulbright scholars. Mr Jones also hosted a dinner for the Institute of Building.

    It appears that the Government has always hosted the Asia Forum Annual Dinner at Parliament. According to google, Margaret Wilson hosted the function in 2005. I don’t know if you attended that one, Mr Mallard, but guests paid to attend that function. The header of Ms Wilson’s speech reads:

    Celebrating New Zealand’s Partnership with Asia
    Hon Margaret Wilson
    Speaker of the House of Representatives
    Asia Forum of Wellington’s annual fund-raising dinner
    Grand Hall, Parliament Buildings
    Wellington
    1 December 2005 at 7.00pm

    Were they all dodgy dinners for the Labour Party as well?

  10. Brendon Stone says:

    Trevor – none of my posts have been offensive. And the only one which you think was off topic directly responded to a point raised int he message above it. The reality is you delete them because you disagree with them.

  11. Monty says:

    I have been at a fundraiser in Parliament. – Under Janathan Hunt – who gave permission for the Chef to run a simple 2-3 hour cooking class for a Wellington Kindergarten. It was a wonderful event and being able to visit Parliament was appreciated. I hope that simple fundraisers when appropriate can be run from Parliament.

  12. Trevor Mallard says:

    Monty I agree. While I think political fundraising events are not appropriate those for charity are. But the important point is that events should not be blocked because the Speaker does not approve of the political direction.

  13. Trevor Mallard says:

    And Brendon – I have been tougher on those who are supportive than those who are not. This is not the penguin/blowhole blog and we are determined not to go that way. If you don’t like it – don’t comment.

  14. Jared says:

    I agree with Bryan, why would the speaker approve parliamentary rooms be made available for a faux “government” inquiry when allowing it would imply that the inquiry some how had substance? Have you got numbers on banking representatives attending the “inquiry”? i.e are any banks actually going to attend? Other than Kiwibank and TSB…

    It seems more like a cheap shot at trying to criticise banking practices that customers agreed to when they signed up for, particularly, Mortgage break fees. Its hypocritical to agree to terms of a contract, then disagree with them when it is convenient.

  15. Tim Ellis says:

    Mr Mallard, Pansy Wong hosting a fundraiser for the Chinese Business association is really no different from Chris Carter hosting a fundraiser for the Islamic Association, which I understand he did every year in Parliament while he was Ethnic Affairs Minister. You might not have attended those, but Helen Clark and I believe Mr Goff did frequently. Mr Choudhary was also there. No National MPs were invited, by the looks of the photos on the FIANZ website.

    Both organisations are about as charitable as each other.

    The difference with the pseudo inquiry that Mr Cunliffe was holding was that already it was looking to have some official status, which it was never going to have unless Dr Smith allowed it to take place in Parliament.

  16. Trevor Mallard says:

    Tim – there was no question of it not being allowed to be held in the complex – it was just whether it was in an easily accessible well set up room with video links ie select committee room – or whether it was in a caucus room which is identified with one party not three and involves access issues.

    There are hundreds of precedents for both single and multiple party use of common areas. I’ve launched education policy here in legislative chamber while in opposition.

  17. Jared says:

    Education Policy isn’t a pseudo inquiry Trev, considering you would be hearing from the public, in a Select Committee like style, it would be unwise to hold it in Parliamentary Buildings so as to not confuse the poor disenfranchised public you would be hearing from.

    I’ve been doing some reading on your proposed “inquiry” and all I can seem to find is that it would look into banking practices. Can you elaborate on what you would be discussing?
    You might like to read this opinion piece from Time about our emotional reaction to those dastardly banks
    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1881581,00.html

  18. Tim Ellis says:

    Mr Mallard, the early suggestions for resources by Mr Cunliffe included specialist technical advice, which would have raised the pseudo inquiry to the status of a select committee.

    There is a difference between a policy launch and an “inquiry” that might in the public’s mind have the status of a select committee. I don’t think it’s appropriate for Parliament to facilitate the inquiry to that level. That is a debateable point, and it is possibly a line call by the speaker, but to say that the speaker’s motivation is political on this is pretty rough in my view.

    There might be access issues by having it in a meeting room, but without specialist advice, and without having departmental evidence (which I don’t think a pseudo inquiry would get, from the reserve bank or Treasury or anyone else, since it isn’t officially sanctioned by Parliament), and with most of the major banking experts saying it will be a waste of time and they won’t appear, I don’t see what added value having a select committee room might bring.

  19. Jared says:

    The value Tim that Labour hope it will bring, along with their other poster children is to put a face to the problems facing the country. They tried to put a face to the Recession with Bruce “Ive got 3 house but no job” Burgess, and with the removal of TIA funding with Natasha Fuller and Jennifer Johnston. And lets not forget about Neelam Choudhary. Pro-tip, find someone that doesn’t have baggage and the public might actually buy your spin.

  20. Hi everyone, David Cunliffe here. Time to (hopefully) help to clear up some questions raised in the string above:

    - First, the Speaker’s interim ruling not allow the Banking Inquiry to be held in a select committe room was not a staff error. He is in many ways a good Speaker, and I believe he would have taken some advice on the matter – but he has made an interim judgement call that I hope he will reflect further upon.

    - Second, the multi-party Banking Inquiry is very clear that it is not a “pseudo select committee”. There are many differences, which I wont go into here. That does not mean it is not capable of making a useful contribution to the public interest, by providing a forum for the banks and the public to have their say and put their case. It will also produce a high quality report that will contribute to further work on the issue of short term interest rate pass through, an issue the RB itself has identified needs further work.

    - Clearly, if it were irrelevant it would not have the Beehive in a lather trying to shut it down. Rather I suspect Mr English is well aware that he is on the wrong side of the issue and has a position that is laughably self-contradictory: “naughty banks, but I’ll look the other way”.

    - Fourthly, we all need to get our heads around the idea that the legitimate roles of MPs, and parliament itself, includes activities undertaken outside the chamber and select committees. There are many examples – caucus committees, contributing to media and public debates, engaging with stakeholders and so on. These are all necessary and legitimate examples ‘parliamentary business’ without which we wouldn’t be doing our jobs. A public forum such as this Inquiry is just another way of doing that.

    - Finally, if some folk don’t want to participate in the debate with their own information, no one is forcing them to do so (unlike Paula Bennettt on welfare, it might be said. But those who don’t want to have no right to try to suppress those who do. At least not in a free and open democratic society. One that is glad Muldoonism is over. One with room for bloggers, and trolls.

    My commitment is to a fair, open and transparent process, and a high quality report asisted by well qualified experts. Judging by the level of interest already expressed, I have no doubt at all that can be achieved.

  21. Jared says:

    As previously requested, what points will be discussed in this inquiry, and what banks have already committed to attend, if any?

    I don’t doubt a substantial proportion of the population are pretty pissed at the banks currently considering many are locked into mortgage rates that they agreed to, but I am struggling to understand the merit of the inquiry, that existing avenues cannot already address, i.e the Banking Ombudsmen. You noted the issue of short term interest rate pass through, i.e how quickly banks are passing lower OCR rates, are you ignoring the fact that almost all banks source their lending capital predominately from offshore sources which aren’t always impacted by a lower OCR?

  22. gingercrush says:

    Trevor please be nicer to Lockward. Sometimes I don’t think you realise how lucky Labour are that National/John Key didn’t choose someone similar to Margaret Wilson. Sure Lockward isn’t perfect and it’d be better if he listened more when people wish to table documents (too abrupt) but in my view Labour are able to get more information out of National than National ever did out of Labour. Some of that may well be that Labour would always perform better as a opposition. But undoubtedly a fairer and less bias speaker has a lot to do with it as well.

  23. brendon stone says:

    Trevor – you say ” This is not the penguin/blowhole blog and we are determined not to go that way.”
    Why then the concerted ad hominem attacks on someone who makes considered, polite and on topic comments? seems very whaleoil like to me

    But I’ll take your advice. You obviously don’t want considered, polite on topic comments, so i’ll desist.

    Apart from your recent bullying this is a great blog. Good luck with it.

  24. David Nathan says:

    Trevor/David – this is a stunt – you know it so stop pretending it’s anything else

    Brendon stone – cry me a river.
    We’re all sick of your whiney lefty junk anyway.
    Why don’t you go back to the standard where you’re lot are tolerated.

  25. bikerkiwi says:

    @ Trevor – again – why do your party refer to the New Zealand Chinese Business Chambers dinner there as dodgy fundraising?

    This is important – is there any accusation of improper behavior that can be backed up? – or do your party make accusations like this willy-nilly without proof?

    It would be nice to see carter back up his accusation.

  26. LabRat says:

    @David Cunliffe, I don’t believe anyone is trying to shut this down as per your statement:
    “Clearly, if it were irrelevant it would not have the Beehive in a lather trying to shut it down. Rather I suspect Mr English is well aware that he is on the wrong side of the issue and has a position that is laughably self-contradictory: “naughty banks, but I’ll look the other way”.”
    That may be how you see it yourself, or how you want it to be seen, but another viewpoint is that Mr English has actually done enough investigation to realise that government can’t interfere unreasonably in the practices of privately owned corporations.
    Like any business if a bank is acting outside the law there are avenues of recourse such as the commerce commission. Yes the banks make high profits but the consumer ultimately has the right to stay or go. If they don’t believe they get fair value for the fees they pay then they can stop using the bank’s services.
    Apart from that the obvious question is why now? Why not have an enquiry sometime in the last 9 years of a Labour government? At least then you could have held an actual select committee.

  27. stargazer says:

    “really no different from Chris Carter hosting a fundraiser for the Islamic Association, which I understand he did every year in Parliament while he was Ethnic Affairs Minister.”

    um what? chris carter held an event to celebrate eid-ul fitr at parliament. there was no charge for entry. no mention of money was made during the event, no payments of any kind were made. mr carter held similar events to celebrate diwali and chinese new year, with no money changing hands. they were simply events to recognise the diversity of kiwis. so can you plesae explain how these are fundraisers?

    please check your fact before commenting mr ellis.

  28. Jared says:

    Just a reply to Raymond Huo’s posts regarding the banking inquiry. Of all people, the Labour Party should not be distorting the banking industry by asserting that an OCR decrease should correlate with a decrease in the interest rates charged by banks. Banks source much of their lending capital from offshore sources unaffected by economic conditions in NZ, THAT is why interest rates have not followed OCR cuts. More misinformation from the Labour Party

  29. The Gnat Exterminator says:

    Trevor, there is precedent for the Opposition Banking Inquiry – ACT did an ‘inquiry’ into the NCEA in 2002 using a Select Committee room and invited all and sundry to turn up.

    Speaker Jonathan Hunt warned them to be clear that it was not official, but let them use the room for meeting with the public.