Malcolm Harbrow on Hipkins’ abuse of process

Chris Hipkins Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The government is all at sea in the house at the moment.

On Wednesday the Greens ‘forgot’ to file a question in time for question time and then Chris Hipkins moved the house into urgency to complete some bills they’ve dawdled over progressing.

Normally urgency isn’t such a big deal but in this case it is simply because they’ve stuffed up their timings.

Malcolm Harbrow at No Right Turn calls what Chris Hipkins then did a “childish trantrum”: Quote:

That’s the only way to describe?events in Parliament last night. Faced with the opposition filibustering two time-sensitive bills, the government?moved urgency, then attempted to?amend the instruction to the committee to prevent any debate on what was being voted on. The urgency isn’t problematic – the bills?are?time-sensitive, and need to be passed this week if they are to come into force on time on July 1. They could have been completed under urgency with the budget, but the government unusually didn’t take that opportunity at the time (something which I was happy to see, but it did set them up for this problem later). But the motion to forbid debate was an affront to our democracy. While it was?withdrawn this morning?- saner heads having prevailed – the fact that it was moved at all is obscene.

Oppositions exist to oppose. This will be inconvenient to the government, and that’s the point. The way governments respond under this pressure illustrates their character. And Labour has exposed itself as authoritarian and intolerant of dissent (who’d have thunk it) – not values I want to see in a government. Chris Hipkins’ childish tantrum actively undermined our democracy and the stature of our Parliament. And someone who does that is not fit to be Leader of the House. End quote.

Speaker Mallard pointed out that this situation is all of the government’s own making: Quote:

While I?m on my feet saying how things should work, in?Speakers? Rulings?there?s a very good Speaker?s ruling from one of the previous Assistant Speakers in the last Parliament on how Parliament should work during the committee stages. What that says is, effectively, if reasonable questions are asked, the Minister should answer them. That will not lengthen the debate; that will shorten the debate.?My view is that if Ministers had done that, this debate would have finished on Tuesday, and we wouldn?t be here in this situation now.?End quote.

The media seem a bit distracted to try to cover this. They are more concerned with photos of the princess and the so-called first baby to worry about trivialities like a government who can’t control their own agenda in the parliament.

Chris Hipkins is added to the list of incompetent ministers, which seems to grow longer day by day.