Barnacle Bennett not easily bowled

Barnacle David Bennett is still at the crease at Question Time in the House, batting stubbornly and resisting Trevor Mallard’s best efforts to bowl him.

Mallard is trying to flush out who instructed whom to do what, when ACC Minister Nick Smith turned up at a committee hearing into the ACC’s finances, who the chairman should have been at that time, and so on.

He seems to harbour the suspicion that Smith was out of order (although a lot of people harbour that suspicion).

Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South) to the Chairperson of the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee: Who advised him that John Judge was not available to attend the committee meeting held on 12 March 2009?

DAVID BENNETT (Chairperson of the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee): I did not ask Mr Judge to attend the meeting of 12 March, so it is not about whether he was available to attend. It was agreed, however, that the Minister for ACC would attend the meeting, and Mr Judge made quite clear at the select committee last week the reasons for his unavailability.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Was the Minister for ACC speaking on the chairman’s behalf when he advised the media that he—the chairman—had been advised that Mr Judge was unavailable?

DAVID BENNETT: I think the question goes to whether Mr Nick Smith was speaking on my behalf—is that what the member is asking? Well, in that case, Mr Smith cannot speak on behalf of the committee or the committee chair.

Barnacle Bennett is is being aided and abetted by a frail memory, too.

Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South) to the Chairperson of the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee: Did he phone the Minister for ACC on 10 March 2009 and discuss the matter of who should attend the financial review of ACC; if so, was it at the request of the Minister or the Minister’s office?

DAVID BENNETT (Chairperson of the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee): I cannot recall any phone calls made at that time, but there were discussions between the Minister and me around that time.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Did he call Dr Nick Smith or not?

DAVID BENNETT: I cannot recall any phone calls being made at that time, but we did discuss the issue.

Watch this bloke. We have a Minister in the making.

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