With all the fuss about fracking and housing, Phil can be forgiven if he has become scratchy

April 19, 2012

Alf’s good mate Phil Heatley, back in Opposition days, enjoyed watching Chris Carter wriggle at Question Time in Parliament. Alf enjoyed watching him wriggle, too.

Carter, you might recall, was Housing Minister before he came unglued within the Labour Party hierarchy.

And on more than one occasion our Phil had the bugger on the back foot – for example, when he asked how come a person could be allocated a State house in Māngere while owning a holiday home in Russell.

If you are going to dish it out in Opposition, you have to be able to take it in government, of course.

And when he became Minister of Housing, it looked like Phil was a feller who did not mind hard questioning.

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Alas, the questions that need asking about Jim Anderton’s mayoralty prospects may not get an airing

September 7, 2010

Alf is more than a tad miffed.

It seems the buggers who decide these things have agreed we won’t have Question Time in Parliament tomorrow.

Alf picked up the news from Radio NZ, in an item about the PM cancelling his trip to Europe to stay at home and deal with the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquake.

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Mallard gets his just deserts

May 28, 2009

Bruiser Mallard can lay claim to being the first MP this parliamentary term to be tossed out of Parliament’s debating chamber by Speaker Lockwood Smith.

Deservedly so. He went too far while questioning Education Minister Anne Tolley about the importance of literacy and plans to set up trade academies around the country to give young people practical training opportunities while at school.

Mallard pathetically challenged Tolley to spell “academies” and asked how she could promote higher education standards, yet put out a signed document on the issue “riddled with spelling errors”.
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Playing Hide and seek over restructuring costs

May 7, 2009

Gotta say Rodney Hide is shaping up as much too gung-ho about the Auckland restructuring, and not half as concerned about the implementation costs as his track record on accountability would have us believe.

This is the bloke who demanded rigorous cost and benefit data on the matter of the emissions trading scheme (for which Alf applauded him).

Now he is playing funny buggers with the super-city implementation costs, which is very odd, for someone who was so strong on accountability in opposition days.

This is very disappointing to Alf. When super-city plans were unveiled a few weeks ago, this blog observed there was an absence of cost-benefit numbers, but expressed confidence Hide would come up with them.

Not only is he fudging the issue. He is giving Labour’s Phil Twyford a bloody firm platform for political grand- standing. Letting a Labour lightweight look good is unpardonable.

Giving the Speaker good grounds to rebuke him for failing to answer a straightforward question wasn’t smart of Hide, either
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Cullen bows out with flair

April 30, 2009

Most Labour MPs are drones, apt to quickly put Alf to sleep in the House.

Michael Cullen was an exception (as was Richard Prebble, both in his Labour days and as ACT’s leader).

The nuggets from his valedictory speech have already been given an airing on radio and on other blogs. But they are worth repeating:
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Barnacle Bennett not easily bowled

April 8, 2009

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).
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Pity we didn’t hear what Nick had to say

April 3, 2009

Dunno what Nick Smith thought he was up to in Parliament yesterday.

David Bennett was doing splendidly, giving away bugger all in response to Labour’s best efforts to winkle out information about formalities surrounding the sacking of Ross Wilson as chair of the ACC, the appointment of John Judge, and Smith’s appearance in place of Judge at a select committee hearing.

As Alf noted the other day, Bennett is like a barnacle, bloody hard to dislodge. A barnacle, come to think of it, would be much more loquacious.
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