I’ll ask again: Should Sam resign?

Way back in November of last year, I asked; should Sam resign? Those were heady days for the National Party, and in all seriousness I asked if new MP Sam Lotu-liga could handle the workload of being both a City Councillor and an MP.

An article in The Aucklander this week finally provides the answer:

Auckland’s missing-in-action politician is defending his poor attendance record at school, business association and city
council meetings.

Sam Lotu-Iiga draws $200,000 a year as MP for Maungakiekie and ward councillor for the same area with Auckland City Council.

The Aucklander reported on April 9 that Mr Lotu-Iiga had missed 12 of 22 council meetings since he began campaigning as National’s candidate for Parliament in September last year.

I said then that I would be open minded about it, as there is precedent for holding two such jobs. It is now clear that my fears were realised. He can’t do both jobs justice. Being an MP is really hard work, particularly for a back bencher who has a brain, which Sam certainly does.

As I write, Sam’s party is stripping all the Auckland Local Councils of all of their powers, so the point is almost moot. I just wanted to say “I told you so” because by tomorrow, it will be really easy for Sam to do both jobs.

43 thoughts on “I’ll ask again: Should Sam resign?

  1. Yes, kahikatea – as the third official language, you can sign Nz sign language in the House. Ron Mark was using the colloquial kiwi sign language, which from this thread can clearly be interpreted in several humorous ways…

  2. Not while they are wasting my money playing Punch & Judy, I won’t.

    The real Punch & Judy is question time, but I don’t hear you complaining about that though it happens every damn day. This is as real as it gets. What’s happening now may well make a difference to the future of this legislation. Or not. We’ll just have to see where they’re at in the morning for starters.

    Anyway, the planet can’t be in too much trouble for them all to be wasting time on such trifling matters as the organisation of mini-me Sydney….

    Yea, only affects a third of the population and surrounding environment. Trivial.

  3. I thought he was signaling that there was a bird loose in the house, and that no one should flip out.

  4. Nandor Tanczos Says:
    May 15th, 2009 at 9:50 am

    > Only time I ever saw the Maori language used as filibuster was when ACT voted in Maori in the early days of the last Labour govt

    Can MPs vote in NZ Sign? It is an official language, after all

  5. …of course he should resign – how did such a mess occur? Lived in three other countries, none of which would allow such horse-puckery.

  6. >>so get over it

    Not while they are wasting my money playing Punch & Judy, I won’t.

    Anyway, the planet can’t be in too much trouble for them all to be wasting time on such trifling matters as the organisation of mini-me Sydney….

  7. Problem being there are too many Lawyers – used to being paid by the hour, they think there’s Gold in that Verbal Dysentery, and there is, your and my Gelt what?

  8. We elected them to do a job.

    As did we, which is mainly fighting the ones you elected, so get over it.

  9. a dark art perhaps?

    Hugely frustrating I’m sure, but like ‘dragging the chain’, has a purpose of sorts.
    Let’s join Peter Dunne in calling for an end to the practice. Peter could do with some support right now, rankled as he is.

  10. Oh, calling it an “art” gives it a status it does not deserve.

    It’s like saying the ancient art of throwing a tantrum.

  11. Actually BP we have had some fine debates in the NZ Parliament. They tend to be on conscience votes, when people can say what they think, rather than what they are told.

    Don’t know I’d call filibustering an art GF. Then again, Damien Hirsh….

  12. >>were they ‘petulant, whinging activists’?

    Yes.

    I think it is childish, pathetic and above all a waste of taxpayers money.
    They should be above it. Most of the rest of us are….

  13. When the National Party was in opposition and indulged in the ancient art of filibustering, were they ‘petulant, whinging activists’?

  14. Indeed.

    At least the UK house has people brought up in a literary culture, and speeches can sometimes be a worthy event.

    Ours has all the charm and sophistication of a rugby league dressing room….

  15. “These people are supposed to be our leaders, not petulant, whinging activists.”

    Are they? Politicians seem to sell themselves as managers rather than leaders, and I’d guess that’s how most see them.

    Personally, I’d take the toddlers (or maybe six-year-olds) any day. Could we set a maximum age for MPs? Older people who want to be MPs could sign a declaration stating that they have the intelligence/social skills of a six to eight-year-old. That way, at least we wouldn’t be surprised.

  16. >>make things hard for the govt.

    Well stop it. We elected them to do a job. If all you’re doing is making process difficult and drawing attention to yourselves in the process, then please resign. We don’t need this “service”, and if we did, toddlers would be much cheaper.

    These people are supposed to be our leaders, not petulant, whinging activists.

  17. Good, stick to your argument at least.

    Yes, I don’t mind filibustering from either side, and not just because they’ve always done it but because it is a good thing from time to time to make things hard for the govt. Particularly in NZ, where Parliament is supreme with not the checks that many other countries have, there are occasions where such action is warranted. We should have done it before Christmas when the Nats were urgently gutting all that environmental legislation.

    You’d just love the States, where one never has to yield the floor.

    And yes, I rather did like Mr Smith Goes to Washington.

  18. “I don’t know if it’s a Pakeha problem, more of a “too many w@nkers” problem. Ever been to a Marae? They babble on endlessly, too. ”

    Quite agree, but, for the most part, they don’t babble on endlessly while I’m paying them a salary. In this particular case, I was pointing to a specific Pakeha cultural practice that is a pointless waste of time.

  19. Sam’s right of course (that’s Buchanan, not Lotu-Liga).

    “I wonder that parliament ever gets anything done.”

    Some might say the less that gets done in there the better. Under that premise, I guess filibustering is to be encouraged. Myself, I still think the less we expect from MPs, the less we’ll get. The Greens, the Maori Party and UF deserve commendation for generally avoiding such practices and trying to engage substantively with issues when they debate.

    btw on the actual topic of the thread – the Local Electoral Act 2001 says

    8 (1) If, at any elections for the Mayor and a member or members of a territorial authority held at the same time, a person is declared to be elected as the Mayor and that person is also elected to be another member …that person is to be treated as having vacated office as another member.

    Maybe we should have made it the same when elected as an MP.

  20. >>when their core argument is weak

    Filibustering is a waste of time and money. There is nothing weak about my position. I speak the truth.

    You excuse it on the basis they’re always done it, and it draws attention.
    Well, so does a child throwing a tantrum. At least the child isn’t costing us megabucks per hour.

    Your position is the weak.

  21. >>Pakeha conventions

    I don’t know if it’s a Pakeha problem, more of a “too many w@nkers” problem. Ever been to a Marae? They babble on endlessly, too.

    I think it’s got a lot to do with people who think themselves to be born leaders, and the sound of their voice is pure spun gold, and they’re operating on someone else’s dime.

  22. Couldn’t agree more Sam. Then there is the cost of halting the entire Public Service whilst these shining lights wear down the Nation’s Batteries…and the huge cost of the support staff, and look at the expensive Real Estate they’re doing it on.
    They could at least convene in the Urewera’s – and limit their numbers to five or six (and close Ballamy’s too! – that Drug doesn’t help)

  23. Toad, I’d be interested in seeing which Councillors take part in the workshops with staff, and how often. Wouldn’t that be where most of the policy groundwork is done?

  24. “Meanwhile, using Maori to slow things down in the house, at a sitting cost of, what, 30K per hour? ”

    Sure, but hardly unusual – given the level of patsy questions, points of order, insults, interjections, archaic cermonies, inane answers to questions that amount to a refusal to answer, meaningless drivel and idiotic Pakeha conventions (along the lines of “I would like to take this oopportunity to render my thanks to the Honourable member for bah blah blah…”) I wonder that parliament ever gets anything done.

  25. Yeah, we get it. It’s ok if you do it, but not if someone else does it.

    I’ve NEVER complained about filibustering, don’t even remember having discussed it before. Why make things up? And comparing it to what Sam is doing is another ridiculous straw man. These are the sort of tactics people resort to when their core argument is weak.

  26. Kaukapakapa said: They’ll be making it easier for Christine Rankin too – I understand she has a similarly poor attendance record as an Auckland Regional Councillor.

    I’ve just checked it – over the last 12 months. Her attendance at the full ARC meetings hasn’t been all that bad:

    Present for all of meeting: 7
    Late arrival or early departure: 3
    Apologies: 4

    However, at the ARC’s Environmental Management Committee (where much of the actual work is done) her attendance has been appalling:

    Present for all of meeting: 5
    Apologies: 12
    Absent without apology: 1

  27. >>It is a core responsibility of opposition MPs to hold the govt to account and particularly to draw attention to abuses of power.

    Yeah, we get it. It’s ok if you do it, but not if someone else does it.
    There are many ways to hold the government to account. Try thinking a little harder and pick one that doesn’t involve a childish, petulant waste of taxpayers money.

    I guess Sam could rationalise his behaviour too.

    But the bottom line is that it is a waste of public money.

    >>team is building up against Rodney’s Auckland hijack

    Not really. Most of NZ taxpayers couldn’t give a toss.

  28. >>It is a core responsibility of opposition MPs to hold the govt to account and particularly to draw attention to abuses of power.

    Yeah, we get it. It’s ok if you do it, but not if someone else does it.
    There are many ways to hold the government to account. Try thinking a little harder and pick one that doesn’t involve a childish, petulant wasting money.

    I guess Sam could rationalise it too.

    But the bottom line is that it is a waste of public money.

    >>team is building up against Rodney’s Auckland hijack

    Not really. Most of NZ taxpayers couldn’t give a toss.

  29. I don’t recall the Greens ever filibustering for the sake of it when I was an MP.

    And the Greens are certainly not filibustering for the sake of it now, Nandor.

  30. Many things are a waste of public money. This decidedly isn’t one of them. It is a core responsibility of opposition MPs to hold the govt to account and particularly to draw attention to abuses of power. Steam is building up against Rodney’s Auckland hijack and this is part of it. The Nats are on a hiding to nothing by supporting Rodney and if they have any sense they’ll use this time to rethink what they’re doing.

  31. Only time I ever saw the Maori language used as filibuster was when ACT voted in Maori in the early days of the last Labour govt. Listening to Ken Shirley and Owen Jennings butcher even the translation of ‘x votes for / against’ over the course of numerous amendments was painful to say the least.

    I agree that filibustering is the kind of behaviour that politicians mostly see as standard parliamentary fare, while the public sees it for what it is – a waste of their money and a mockery of the privileges of parliament.

    I don’t watch parliamentary TV so don’t know who the above refers to, but I’m assuming it wasn’t the Greens. I don’t recall the Greens ever filibustering for the sake of it when I was an MP. That’s not to say that we didn’t contribute abundantly to a debate when we had a lot to say in opposition.

  32. >>Oh please. A filibuster is a tried and true tool of democracy

    It’s a waste of public money.

    The fact politicians consider it “part of the game” just adds to the contempt people have for them. People don’t get away with this childish nonsense anywhere else, so why parliament? In any case, National has the numbers, so it just delays the inevitable.

    We understand you’re not happy with the bill. Fine. But stop acting like petulant children. Sometimes in life, you just don’t get your way.

    >>Coupla zero’s went missing there I’d think

    Indeed.

  33. Meanwhile, using Maori to slow things down in the house, at a sitting cost of, what, 30K per hour?

    Oh please. A filibuster is a tried and true tool of democracy. If the Nats weren’t trying to ram something through once again, we wouldn’t have to do this. Go take “despicable” to them.

  34. No, they’re working less efficiently. The more time they spend on this work, the less time they spend on other work.

    Suggest you hire a lawyer by the minute, using your own money, who spends the first two days of your assignment playing golf….

  35. How does parliament sitting for longer cost that much more? All MPs are paid salaries as would most/all other staff…. it just means they’re working harder for their pay.

  36. If this is true, the guy should be fired. The thought of politicians wasting our money makes me livid.

    Meanwhile, using Maori to slow things down in the house, at a sitting cost of, what, 30K per hour?

    Despicable.

    People involved should be fired for that waste of taxpayers money, too.

  37. What I found particularly galling about the Aucklander article was Sam’s response to queries about meetings, when he said that he’d made all of them since they last asked him and that five out of five wasn’t bad – it turned out there had only been three meetings, and he had been to all of those and intended to go to the next two, and somehow that equalled having been to all five?!!

  38. They’ll be making it easier for Christine Rankin too – I understand she has a similarly poor attendance record as an Auckland Regional Councillor.

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