Thursday, 26 July 2012


To be fair to Labour, they did manage to take a patsy question in parliament yesterday and turn it into an embarrassment for the government.  It all started off fairly simple, with Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi asking the Minister of Commerce about legislative changes intended to "protect NZ's reputation".

It occurred to me that this may be a way of keeping Russian gangsters, South American dictators and various terrorists and fraudsters from stuffing up National's plans to steal everything it can, but I couldn't find my tinfoil hat.

It all went wrong pretty quickly, with Trevor Mallard asking about how John Banks helped NZ's reputation, and it ended up here:

Grant Robertson: In light of his desire to maintain New Zealand’s reputation as a trusted place to do business, is he satisfied that the Hon John Banks has the required ethical standards to be his Associate Minister of Commerce?
Hon CRAIG FOSS: I do not appoint Associate Ministers.
Grant Robertson: In light of his desire to maintain New Zealand’s reputation as a trusted place to do business, is it his intention to withdraw the delegations of the Associate Minister of Commerce, John Banks, in light of the revelations that he solicited donations from Skycity, Kim Dotcom, and a third party, and then signed a donation return that could not recall those donations?
Hon CRAIG FOSS: These reflections reflect pretty badly on the questioner. I have no responsibility for the delegations or any of the roles. That is at the will of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. You know, and I know, that that Minister signed those delegations—
Mr SPEAKER: Order!
Hon Trevor Mallard: —not the Prime Minister. It is just not true.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! No, order! The member is now questioning the answer. The Speaker has to take the Minister’s answer as it stands. I cannot question whether or not Ministers are giving correct answers; I can only assess whether or not they have provided an answer, and the Minister has certainly provided an answer.
Hon Trevor Mallard: Did he sign the delegation for John Banks as an Associate Minister?
Hon CRAIG FOSS: Yes; the member is correct that this Minister does sign those delegations in consultation with the Prime Minister.

Yes, in the end Mr Foss had the choice of lying to parliament or admitting he was wrong.  I was pleased he chose the latter, however in parliamentary terms this was a Minties moment, and almost as good as when Gerry Brownlee forgot to object to a proposal to urgently debate Stephen Joyce's tertiary qualifications.

The Bleeders - As Sweet As Sin, 2006

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