And Melissa Lee makes the trifecta: embarrasses Winston, Curran and Mallard

When it comes to rating opposition MPs and putting it in a betting sense, then I doubt many would find fault in picking Judith Collins and Jami-Lee Ross as the two stars of caucus right now.

That would pay small odds as a quinella, but if you added Melissa Lee for a trifecta you’d end up a millionaire on the payout.

Yesterday she clubbed not only Winston but also Trevor Mallard along with the Minister for Special Ministers Clare Curran: Quote:? ?

12. MELISSA LEE (National) to the Associate Minister of State Services (Open Government): Has she provided any guidance to State agencies and Government bodies about best practice to achieve open and transparent Government?

CLARE CURRAN (Associate Minister of State Services): No, and that’s because the State Services Commissioner provides leadership to the State services on these matters.

Melissa Lee: How concerned would she be if she were to learn that a Government-appointed body had decided not to minute their meetings because those minutes could be subject to the Official Information Act?

CLARE CURRAN: Well, the State Services Commissioner provides, as I said, leadership to the State services. Some examples of that: guidance is provided on the Official Information Act (OIA) to increase public access to information, there is guidance on providing free and frank advice?

Melissa Lee: Point of order.

Mr SPEAKER: No, the member will resume her seat. There can’t be a point of order yet.

CLARE CURRAN: ?and codes of conduct for staff in ministerial offices, as well as speaking up guidance?so a range of advice on a range of matters. So that’s good advice to the State services, and if there are instances of concern, then I suggest that she raise them with the State services.

Melissa Lee: Is she concerned that the ministerial advisory group appointed by the Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media to decide the future of public media funding in New Zealand has decided not to keep minutes of their meetings because they would be subject to the Official Information Act?

CLARE CURRAN: I’m not aware of that, but what I would say is that that [Interruption]?

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

CLARE CURRAN: ?the ministerial advisory group has provided reports to the Minister, which will be provided in due course publicly.

Melissa Lee: Is it open and transparent for the public media ministerial advisory group responsible for millions of taxpayers’ dollars for public broadcasting to no longer take minutes of their meetings in order to avoid being subject to the Official Information Act?

CLARE CURRAN: I think I’ve already answered that, but I’ll repeat that ministerial advisory groups provide advice to Ministers?that’s what they’re set up to do. That advice is made public to the media in due course as the process goes through.

Winston Peters: Point of order.

Mr SPEAKER: No, I’m sorry?well, OK.

Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. A number of allegations have been made by that member without one shred of evidence, and surely a person coming to this House in a genuine inquiry making an allegation of that level should be required to produce the evidence. She would be if it was a primary question. Why after two or three subsequent questions is she persisting with that line?

Mr SPEAKER: Yes, I do have some concerns in the area, but it is clear to me that if the member is incorrect in the allegations that she has made, there will be a requirement on her to correct in the House. In fact, with repeated allegations it would come very close to being a breach of privilege, if the member, in fact, knew that they were not correct. I will say, however, to Clare Curran, that she was asked a?within the question there was a very specific question which she did not address, and I’m going to ask Melissa Lee to ask the question again, preferably in a slightly shortened form, with the guts of it clear so we can get it addressed.

Melissa Lee: Is it open and transparent for the public media ministerial advisory group responsible for millions of taxpayer dollars for public broadcasting to no longer take minutes of their meetings?

Mr SPEAKER: That’s enough.

CLARE CURRAN: I’m unaware of any allegation of that sort. My understanding is that my ministerial advisory group is providing reports to me which will be made public in due course. I’m unaware of that matter that that member is raising.

Melissa Lee: I seek leave to table a letter dated 19 June 2018 from Te Manat? Taonga, which is the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, and the 27 February 2018 minutes of the public media advisory group, released from the Minister’s office under the OIA.

Mr SPEAKER: Is there any objection to those documents being tabled? There appears to be none.

Documents, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.

Melissa Lee: Will the Minister be asking the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage to encourage her department, who are providing secretarial services to the advisory group for public broadcasting, to specifically advise the group that deciding not to keep meeting minutes fails to meet expected standards of openness and transparency?

CLARE CURRAN: I’ll certainly be looking into the matter. End quote.

The set up on that was beautiful and the execution was simply perfect. Sucking Winston Peters in was a work of art and Mallard copping it as well was brilliant. The funny thing is both Mallard and Winston will admire that. Clare Curran, not so much.

Curran knew she was screwed the moment that the supplementary question was asked. You can see her confidence pop like a ‘Cyst Saturday’ video. Melissa Lee acts clinically like Dr Pimple Popper on this boil of the Labour party.

It seems that Clare Curran continues to exist as a minister to make Melissa Lee look good. The reality is that Melissa Lee is actually doing the work that an opposition MP is supposed to do and making older more-experienced hands look lazy and inept.

Now what is obvious with David Clark’s actions in phoning people, and what has been revealed in this matter, is that Labour have resolved to seek, dishonestly, to pervert the intent of the OIA. So much for a more open and more transparent government.