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Posts Tagged ‘speaker’

So much for Hekia Parata’s word…

Posted by on February 20th, 2013

Today in Parliament I questioned the Minister of Education Hekia Parata on her decision to close Branston Intermediate School in Christchurch. I singled out Branston because Parata had given them a specific commitment that they wouldn’t close before the end of 2014 and she has now reneged on that commitment. Here is an excerpt from the Hansard (video):

Chris Hipkins: Did she, or her officials, give Branston Intermediate School an assurance that any students enrolled for 2013 would be able to finish their 2 years at Branston Intermediate School before any closure?

Hon HEKIA PARATA: I did not.

Chris Hipkins: Did she write to Branston Intermediate School on 28 September stating that she had made “a proposal about the closure of Branston Intermediate School to be implemented for the end of 2014.”, and did she tell a public meeting at Branston Intermediate School that the school would definitely be open in 2014, as parents have written in to say she said; if so, why is she now changing that proposal so that students who have only just started school this year will have to change school next year?

Hon HEKIA PARATA: I did provide Branston Intermediate School with a proposal, and in the meeting with the Branston community I repeatedly said it was a proposal and that they were free to make submissions on it, as indeed they can on the proposal they now have.

Chris Hipkins: At the public meeting with Branston Intermediate School did she give them an assurance that Branston Intermediate School would still be open in 2014?

Hon HEKIA PARATA: I made it clear, repeatedly, that it was a proposal, that they had the opportunity to give a submission on that proposal, and I got their submission, and they now have a further opportunity.

At that point we then had a lengthy series of points of order about whether or not Parata’s answer actually addressed the question. Ultimately, the public will be the judge of that, but I can’t imagine she would’ve gotten away with that under Lockwood Smith.

Hekia Parata can try to hide behind the words “interim decisions” and “proposal” all she likes – but the fact is she has gone back on her word. Her word is worthless.

Is it any wonder that 71% of those polled in Canterbury want Hekia Parata sacked as Minister of Education? They don’t trust her, and don’t want her anywhere near the education of their children.

Minister calls speaker “stupid sanctimonious dwarf”

Posted by on July 3rd, 2010

Some people think our parliament gets rough. We have a Westminster system but are positively gentle compared with them. Our speaker has tried hard to get John Key to address the chair but has to date been unsuccesful. But to be fair to Key he hasn’t gone this far in his response . :-

Last updated at 12:20 AM on 30th June 2010

A minister was involved in an extraordinary public spat yesterday after branding Commons speaker John Bercow a ‘stupid, sanctimonious dwarf’.
Simon Burns stunned MPs and angered Mr Bercow’s wife Sally with the insult, which came during health questions in the Commons.
The Health Minister was also last night facing calls to apologise from dwarfism charities, who said his remarks were ‘derogatory and offensive’.
Mr Burns’s comments came after Mr Bercow twice asked him to address the despatch box rather than Government backbenchers.
The Speaker pointed out that other ministers had been similarly warned and had managed to fully ‘understand’ the instruction.
Apparently enraged by the reprimand, Mr Burns shook his head and mouthed the words ‘stupid, sanctimonious dwarf’ at the Speaker, who claims to be 5ft 6in.
At the same time, the minister ostentatiously lowered his hand to indicate Mr Bercow’s short stature.
The minister has made no secret in the past of his loathing for Mr Bercow and was one of the few MPs to refuse to shake his hand when he took the oath.
Mr Burns was rebuked by the Speaker after turning to answer a question from Liberal Democrat Duncan Hames.
With several Labour MPs shouting that they could not hear, Mr Bercow said: ‘I have just had Members complaining that they can’t hear. You must face the House  –  it’s a very simple point, I have made it to others and they have understood it.’

Filed under: parliament

Speaker says PM can lie when he is answering a supplementary question

Posted by on August 26th, 2009

Some will remember this post on 4 August:

When John Key told Parliament that he had rigorous costings on the cycleway he was lying. He had none.

His own staff proved him a liar (PDF). Thanks Wayne.

The matter has been refered to Speaker (PDF).

Thanks to Idiot Savant for the legwork.

And here is the response from the Speaker (PDF).

What this means is that Ministers have carte blanche to lie as long as they are not answering a primary question or leading a debate in the house. No referals from a committee stage of a bill.

The ruling is astounding. It means that the only way someone who is not a Minister can get refered to the Privileges Committee is if they lie when making a personal explanation.

The Speaker’s reasoning is unbelievable. Brings the House into disrepute. Almost bad enough to get refered to the Privileges Committee until recently.

Speaker changes mind on Banking Inquiry rooms

Posted by on August 7th, 2009

Yesterday we announced that the Speaker, Dr the Hon Lockwood Smith, had changed his mind on whether or not to allocate Parliamentary space for the multi-party banking inquiry.

We had initially requested the use of Select Committee rooms, as these were well set up with tele-conferencing facilities and were an appropriate size and format. He declined that request because he didn’t want to give the impression it was a Select Committee inquiry, he said, and further argued that a multi-party inquiry was not, in his view, part of the business of Parliament.

Jim Anderton, Russel Norman and I took this up with him in discussion. We provided him with past precedents from when the Committee rooms had been used on many occasions by everyone from lobbyists to Parliamentary friendship groups to multi-party announcements to who knows what, including private social functions. We argued based on recent Business Committee decisions, that legitimate Parliamentary business is broader than just the meetings of the House in full session or its Committees.

MPs are rightly accountable to the public for their work around the country in their electorates and on issues of public policy and importance, whether it is inside the Chamber or out. There is no doubt that the issue of bank interest rates is of significance when up to a billion dollars is at stake and it raises important questions about monetary policy and supervision of the system.

We are pleased that on reflection Speaker Smith has changed his mind and now allocated some excellent space on the second floor of the Beehive, which will be ideal for our purpose

Thank you Dr Smith. Your decision has saved a more extended debate on the constitutionality of Parliamentary business at this time.

Lockwood’s rehearsal

Posted by on July 8th, 2009

Thanks to Michael Morrissey for this [YouTube link] which was a threadjack in the comments.

Mike Moore was in the House one day and sung the song. It was broadcast through the Speaker’s live mike. I got the blame from lots of people who had never heard me sing.