Parliamentary questions about Peters

by frog

I thought it was funny, after all the outrage that circulated around the various Winston Peters donation scandals over the weekend, that in the end it was the Greens asking the toughest questions in Parliament today. Tim Selwyn at Tumeke! Described the half hour of questions this afternoon thus:

Winston’s crew were up and down one after another again today to spout off at their leader’s prowess. Ron Mark was batting questions down implied even any hint of potential corruption. The PM was backing him all the way. John Key had his especially thick woollen mittens on when he asked some rather lame questions – not of Peters, but of Clark. If they both acted in concert to sink him – he would be gone most likely.

The problem of course is that neither Labour nor National wants to let their sharks take a bite until they’ve got proof that the blood in the water is a corpse not just a flesh wound.  Because they both might still need that fish after the election. (In fact Labour’s reticence may be even more genuine than that.  They seem to have found Peters a very loyal and capable Minister in the last 2 and half years, a better performer in the house than many of their own, and a good safe investment for the price of not much more than a few baubles.)

In the meantime there was Sue Bradford:

Sue Bradford: Does the Prime Minister have confidence that the Minister for Racing acts at all times with the interests of the whole racing sector at heart, or does she have any sense, as some in the racing industry do, that his actions tend to favour those at the high end of the industry, which, incidentally, is the same end from which New Zealand First has received substantial donations?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: Obviously, I do not have any independent information about where donations come from, but I can say to the member that I have had absolutely no advice or, indeed, even any suggestion of the issue of preference that she has raised.

Metiria:

Metiria Turei: Does the Prime Minister think that the Government’s failure to get the numbers to progress sustainability measures like the Marine Reserves Bill and the Fisheries Amendment Bill may have anything to do with the large financial contribution to the party of her Minister of Foreign Affairs from Vela Fishing, which is involved in serious-

Ron Mark: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. That is the very implication that I raised in my point of order-that the Minister is involved in corrupt practice. I ask that that question be ruled out of order.

[...a long debate about a the point of order before Metiria is invited to reframe the question...]

Metiria Turei: Does the Prime Minister think that the Government’s failure to get the numbers to progress sustainability measures like the Marine Reserves Bill and the Fisheries Amendment Bill through the House may have anything to do with the relationship between her Minister of Foreign Affairs and other fishing interests, particularly, for example, those of Vela Fisheries, which is involved in seriously unsustainable fishing practices, including the fishing of orange roughy, tuna, and Antarctic tooth fish?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: If I were for a moment to accept that, in respect of New Zealand First, I would have to accept it in respect of every party that was unsympathetic to those particular law changes-not least, of course, the New Zealand National Party.

And Russel:

Dr Russel Norman: Do any of the Prime Minister’s Ministers receive donations from industries they are meant to be regulating and taxing; and does she expect any Minister, including her Minister of Racing, who finds himself or herself negotiating tax breaks for party donors to bring that to her attention?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: I do think there was in that question exactly the implication that Mr Mark objected to before. I can say, in respect of Ministers, that they are not expected to receive donations from industry, at all. But I will also make the obvious point that when a Minister is appointed in charge of a portfolio, there is a legitimate expectation from sectors relating to that portfolio that they will be able to put a case to that Minister-whether it is fisheries, forests, agriculture, health, racing, or whatever-so that they can have their requests considered. That is the normal business of Government.

The normal course of business of course, but I think what Russel was asking was did the PM see a difference between putting a case and putting a case and an envelope?

frog says

Published in Justice & Democracy | Parliament by frog on Wed, July 23rd, 2008   

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