Movin’ on up

Things will be a bit sketchy around here at frogblog, as I help the parliamentary team pack up their office and shift further up in Bowen House. With our newer, bigger caucus, we’ll be inhabiting two floors now instead of one.

The views from level 8 were lovely. At almost twice the height, they will be magnificent. I wonder if I can talk some one into giving me a window seat?

I understand that over 700 people will be shifting over the weekend, with the new Ministers taking over the Beehive, the new opposition taking their offices and a massive shuffle across Bowen House.

I will personally inspect Winston’s fridge for anything chilled he may have left behind. ๐Ÿ˜‰

28 Comments Posted

  1. The Green Party isn’t very good at transparency – which is rather problematic when the party likes to grandstand so much about transparency.

    As Andrew asks above, it’d be useful and telling to read a disclosure about whether taxpayers pay in any way for Frogblog. But I imagine that Frog isn’t up to that challenge. Our amphibian friend has been rather slippery on this indeed. So far Frog refuses to deny that the Green media unit has been centrally involved in running, hosting, writing for, etc the blog. But as is well known around Parliament, this is exactly the case. Perhaps Frog has been taking lessons on political finance and media liaison from Winston Peters!

    Sadly Frog claims to like to rib, but doesn’t seem to like being ribbed… ๐Ÿ˜‰


  2. i don’t want to nitpick & i don’t care myself, but i think what is being asked is who pays for the internet resources (as opposed to the blogger’s time); e.g. who’s paying the isp & stuff

  3. Bryce – it wasn’t an underhanded dismissal of your conspiracy theory at all. It was an outright, public dismissal. I cannot speak for my predecessors, nor do I plan to. But as I said in an earlier comment, I am not employed by either the party nor the parliamentary office of the Green party. I do this for love, and of course, to rib people like you!

    So no, frog is not run by taxpayer funded parliamentary media staff. That is simply untrue. But nor do we hide the fact that this is an outreach organ of the party. There is no ambiguity here. No twisting and turning. No truth to hide. Whether or not parliamentary media staff contribute in the future, after my tenure as frog has passed, who knows? Does anyone really care?

  4. Frog seems to be doing the usual spinning that the Green Party media professionals are so good at. ๐Ÿ˜‰ By labeling any critique or revelation of internal Green Party operations as “conspiracies” is a classic way of shutting down debate or underhandedly dismissing such arguments. (Of course Nicky Hager unfortunately gets labelled with the ‘conspiracy’ tage all the time too).

    But what is most telling about Frog’s reply to the statement about Frogblog being run by taxpayer-funded parliamentary media staff is that he avoids actually giving a denial of this. Instead Frog twists and turns like a slippery amphibian to avoid letting the truth out!


  5. Frog

    I think a more appropriate word for you would be ‘webbing’, though you may disagree if you really want to ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Dave S – I never noticed the “from” rather than the “of” the Green Party. Very interesting. And yes, as I typed my missive I debated whether I was toeing or towing the GP line! Can frogs toe?? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. “While not bound to completely tow the party line” is exactly the thought that led to my enquiry (though I was more thinking if sticking to – as in toeing, more than dragging along – towing, lol)

    It has often puzzled me that this is a blog “FROM” rather than “OF” the green party, and it’s just about explained ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Enjoy the new floor, I hope the view is spectacular.

    PS Good job about the extra MP as the “further funding from Ministerial Services, because of the Greensโ€™ responsibilities in the Labour-led Government” will now be missing.

    Go well.

  8. Bryce – Oh the conspiracies! I write now, and have always contributed to frog in the past, for love, not money. Who says that I am one person? Who says that I am not 10 persons? Who says that I am not like Dr Who, changing face and personality whenever I look into the heart of the Tardis?

    This is the Green Party’s blog. Always has been, always will be. While not bound to completely tow the party line, I have never shied away from the fact that I am here to communicate on behalf of the Greens.

    As Valis said, “At least the Greens claim Frogblog as their own, while the closeness of affiliations of blogs like The Standard or Kiwiblog can only be guessed at.” Here, here!

    Back door funding? Back door my ass! I’m in it for the love! (Just read the fourth comment on this post.)

  9. Roy – the swearing in of MPs has not happened yet. That comes in the first sitting week. The only swearing in was of the ministers, in order to formally change over the executive. I personally understand Key’s haste in wanting to make it to Peru for APEC as a sworn in PM. I would have wanted to do the same. Waiting a week would simply have delayed the inevitable. I want the MPs working. All of them, from all parties. Now they can, and the process of getting all the newbies sworn in doesn’t have to wait another week.

  10. eredwen – plenty of room. He was planned for from the start, including the extra staff that his presence (and financial resources) will bring to the caucus. Party time!

  11. Well its official!
    I hope the new Green offices in Parliament have enough room for our newest Green MP Kennedy Graham (from Ilam Electorate in Christchurch) who, as of 2pm today, is officially Movin’ on up.

    Go Kennedy!!

  12. Bryce, in your article you say:

    “In the 2008/09 year the party is budgeted to receive $864,000 in Party and Membersโ€™ funding. On top of this, the party also receives further funding from Ministerial Services, because of the Greensโ€™ responsibilities in the Labour-led Government.

    Such backdoor state funding has become crucial for this minor party. Therefore the Green Party is probably the most โ€˜efficientโ€™ user of the funding that it obtains from the Parliamentary Service. It uses the funds in the most political way that it can get away with, and diverts the funds, where possible, for use in activities to organise the extra-parliamentary party.”

    Of course all small parties benefit greatly from being in Parliament. With possibly the exception of Act, they receive more funding from Parliament than the parties can raise on their own. Such funding would certainly be crucial to the Greens in getting their message out, just as it is to the others. So why single out the Greens as if they are somehow unique? In fact, the Greens probably have a more active grassroots than most of the other small parties, so it would seem more logical that they rely on Parliamentary funding less, relative to the others.

    And why is it backdoor funding? Disseminating policy is a Parliamentary purpose. It is a big reason the money is made available. About the only thing that can’t be done with it is blatant electioneering and fund raising. If Frog is a member of the Greens media staff, what exactly is wrong with that? The media staff’s job is to get the Party’s message out and they’re known for being creative. What’s the difference if they write a media release for an MP, or do a blog post? At least the Greens claim Frogblog as their own, while the closeness of affiliations of blogs like The Standard or Kiwiblog can only be guessed at.

    You say that the funding is crucial for the Greens and “Therefore the Green Party is probably the most โ€˜efficientโ€™ user of the funding…”, but that conclusion doesn’t logically follow from the premise. You also say that funds are diverted to organise the party outside Parliament and cite the auditor general, but it is known that he changed his interpretation of the rules after the fact, putting almost all parties off side, not just the Greens. There was huge controversy over this at the time, but you present it as though it is straightforward evidence that the Greens routinely misuse money.

    There is no way to define all Parliamentary purposes as being exclusively that; e.g. policy dissemination is also a role of the Party organisation outside Parliament. This leaves a lot to interpretation, meaning you can always find something to point to as misuse if you want. When is an MP not campaigning for your vote? The only sensible answer is never, which I think is a big argument for the public funding of parties. I agree there are downsides with this idea too, but at least it would end the charade that all parties must go through every three years.

  13. OutinFront Says: Hopefully the ACT share of the vote will go down and they will lose a seat.

    Not a chance.

    I looked at the numbers (as I’m sure lots of others have), and the only remotely likely shifts are one of:

    National -> Labour (requires a very small swing)
    National -> Greens (requires a much larger swing, but not impossible based on past results).

    Neither has any effect on majorities – I’m not disputing the makeup of the government, just surprised at the haste of it.

  14. My goodness, there is some desperate clutching at straws from the left in this thread.

    I guess the old saying about the left being desperate for power has a lot of truth about it.

  15. Strings – it’s fairly well known that Frogblog is produced by Greens media staff from the Parliamentary Service budget.

    I wrote briefly about this, in my in-depth blog post on ‘The finances of the Green Party’. See:

    There’s been no disagreement from the Greens about this element of the analysis of the party’s use of resources. Of course I’m willing to be corrected on this (or anything else).

    Although Frogblog would be viewed as a ‘party political’ activity or basic electioneering by the public, the Parliamentary Service rules are written in a way to allow such backdoor state funding of the Green Party permissible (or at least unclear enough to avoid problems).


  16. Good luck!

    Does this mean I get to ride in the lift that goes “whooosh!”, when I next come to visit? Oh, swoon …
    I’m going to have fun remembering which floor – I occasionally asked for the pre-2005 floor, recently.

    LOLZ, a question fishing to find out how many full time paid staff contribute to Frogblog. You wish .. I can say quite categorically, anything I’ve contributed to the blog has been done for the love of it, not filthy lucre. ๐Ÿ˜€

    PeterMcC – go back to your user-pays, lightly blue-rinsed lair!

  17. the election night results are missing a whopping 10% of all votes cast – theoretically enough to change the result (i.e. the government).
    although statistically that seems unlikely, it does seem that the new government was formed in unholy haste.
    since the maori party made its agreement with national the governor general was able to determine that key had the confidence of the new house regardless of whether labour/green/nz1st should defeat national/act/united future in tomorrow’s official results
    another reason key was keen to sew the maori party up & why the latter still had some negotiating power

  18. frog wrote: “So why not swear them in and get back to work?”

    I suppose for me it’s a process issue – it seems premature (more for the formal swearing in than the offices, where doing it now does make sense if there is wriggle room for changes) not to wait the few days for all the votes to be counted and the result to be official. It doesn’t actually make much difference this time (unless NZF pulls off a miracle), but wasn’t it 1999 when then Greens missed out on any real chance of a coalition by being a few days late to the party? Admittedly, I don’t think the swearing in happened on that occasion until after final results.

  19. Truth in advertising – I currently work for neither, at least in terms of a remunerated position. I am, however, donating a bit of time to the purge and shifting of the parliamentary office. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Roy – to answer your question – The Green parliamentary office will have just enough space should we get the 9th MP. Likewise with Labour. We don’t have to wait for the specials to get our respective houses in order. FYI, the specials will be announced on Saturday at 2 pm.

    National is as keen as we are to get the room assignments in order. Whether they lose one MP or not, they still have a comfortable margin to govern the House. So why not swear them in and get back to work?

  20. Quick question: why is this all being decided/happening a day before the final election results get announced? It seems quite possible that the Greens or Labour pick up another MP at the expense of National, which surely has the potential to change office plans?

    It also seems bizarre that a government can be formally sworn in before we have the actual results (or have they been announced and I missed it?)

    It still beats the American model of electing a president then waiting two months.

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