Greens in surprise Question Time deal with National

Shaw: will hand most of his party's quota of questions to Simon Briges

Should other parties follow the Greens' lead and say no to corporate hospitality?

Yes
78%
No
22%
Total votes: 693

The Green Party says from this week, most of its allocation of questions for Question Time will be handed over to the Leader of the Opposition to use.

The surprise deal with National is aimed at “patsy questions” in Parliament, which are usually asked by a backbencher or support party when the government wants to brag about an achievement.

National leader Simon Bridges quickly accepted the offer.

Green leader James Shaw says the move will strengthen the ability of Parliament to hold the government of the day to account. 

Mr Shaw says the only exception is if the Green Party wishes to use a question to hold the government to account on a particular issue, consistent with the party’s confidence and supply agreement with Labour, which acknowledges the ability for the parties to agree to disagree on certain issues.

He does not expect other parties to follow the Greens' example.

The Greens will press for further changes to Question Time, he says.

“The Canadian government has recently trialled changes to Question Time after Justin Trudeau campaigned to do so. This shows parliamentary systems are not set in stone and should be open to regular review and change to ensure our democracy is healthy and well-functioning."

This is the second time this month that Mr Shaw has challenged the status quo, and in a manner that many mainstream voters are likely to consider common sense.

On March 3, Mr Shaw announced a ban on Green MPs accepting corporate hospitality. He also pledged that Green ministers would publish their diaries every three months.

The move was strongly supported by NBR readers but was met by vague, watery responses from other parties. 


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36 Comments & Questions

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Between Peters' gaff on Russia, and the Greens exerting principled independence, Labour has it's hand full. Imagine Peters being now PM for 3 months. Grab the popcorn folks.

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I suspect Peters being PM soon is why the Greens timed the announcement for now.

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The entire Government will become an omni-shambles. Mr.Peters will be making sure he has a full, overseas travel itinerary for the duration of the PM's absence. He won't want to be seen as the ring master of the current circus.

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Watching the train being revved for a monster smash
Only thing funnier is all those climbing on board

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Good moral move by the Green Party. Might just make the Green Party a more credible party, and attract more mainstream voters . Perhaps even replace NZ First , and rebrand that as NZ Last ?

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Totally agree. Very credible move by Greens.

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Credible? Rubbish! Greens are manipulating everyone. They want a bob each way for 2020. Greens are the least credible party in parliament. Leopards don’t change their spots.

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A bob each way is a lot better than last few elections where they were wedded to Labour.

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Good on them no point being Winstons serf.

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So do you people all go to the same shop for your woolly jerseys and sandals. or do you make them yourselves? It should be called the La La shop, in keeping with the people that vote for them.

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Start of much-awaited Blue-Green coalition for 2020??

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With UnitedFuture and the Maori Party pushed out of Parliament, National's coalition options start and finish with David Seymour.

So it wouldn't hurt to establish better relations with the Greens, with an eye on a possible confidence-and-supply deal in 2020.

This could be a baby-step towards that goal

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The Greens could actually do quite well in coalition with National. As there are a lot of environmental policies that they could get passed into law, which would involve minimal government spending. Which would keep Green voters happy. And which National could spin as pro business.

Sure, some of the hard left Green voters might not be happy, but they could only switch to Labour anyway. So not an actual loss for the Greens.

The Greens are testing the waters, to find out exactly how many of their voters are there for environmental reasons. Vs for socialist reasons.

And the other test for the Green party in 2020, will be how many of their policies have actually been implemented. And if they were in coalition with National, would the answer be any different? As they have to be mindful of the rise and fall of the Maori party. Their voters got fed up with nothing being done to help the average Maori, despite being in power under both National and Labour.

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I think a good test of the 'red' vs 'green' aspect of the party will be determined by who is elected the co-leader.

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Agree entirely. One could argue the effectiveness of the Maori Party being in power with both National and Labour, but there is no argument as to the complete ineffectiveness of Greens being in opposition for the last 20 or so years. Their strategy should be clear for all to see - we'll coalesce with anyone, but it comes at a price - protect the environment. That is why this move is very shrewd indeed - it sends that signal.

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Here in Canterbury, National showed their willingness to corrupt democracy to forward their anti-environmental priorities by dissolving the elected ECan council in favour of appointed commissioners to ensure that their very very dodgy "Canterbury Plains Water Scheme" would go ahead despite widespread popular and environmental condemnation.

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Shuush Dave. Those 9 years of complete environmental irresponsibility are behind us now. National have turned over a new fig leaf.

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Yes - but is that sort of thing more or less likely if the Greens are in Coalition with National? SOrting that isn't a particular priority for the the Labour/NZF government.

I think the green party's agenda, whatever it is, is more likely to be pushed in a coalition deal with a single major party that needs it to govern, rather than as the third wheel on a black and red bike.

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And even if the Greens don't ultimately go with National, simply opening talks would give James Shaw & co. more leverage with Labour. It's a no-brainer.

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So, they've got a taste of power and like any smack addict, they rather like it! This somehow has an air of desperation about it. It certainly is a strong vote of no confidence in the Labour-appointed government, that's for sure. And after the debacle that was last week for Labour, who can blame them.

The Greens clearly fear that National will start to strip all the Green from the watermelons, i.e., taking genuine environmental policies and concerns and incorporating them into National's own policies, something that I have advocated that National should do for some time now, leaving the Greens with nothing but a rabid left-wing rump of malcontents, weirdos, misfits and benefit cheats. Better to throw National a bone now, than to face its bite later on.

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National's pro-corporate agenda and total dependence on "growth" for all its economic policy (dependent on Trickle Down Economics for any of its favoured constituents' "success" to get to 99% of NZers - sadly, it would appear that TDE is completely fictional: http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/15/news/economy/trickle-down-theory-wrong-imf/). Their policies are fundamentally about exploiting everything in the Commons - society and the environment - to privatise profit and socialise costs (e.g. pollution, social inequity). National's primary constituents are precisely those doing the most damage to the planet, and National would get no votes at all if it revealed how duplicitous and detrimental to all of NZ their policies really are. At best, it'll make empty promises about "seriously great environmental goals" that'll never be actively pursued, or "gradually doing better" but excluding the worst (e.g. farmers) from any obligation to make good on any restrictions... Nah, a principled environmental party must also be focused on maximising societal equity, not decreasing it as National have done throughout their existence.

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I'm always wary of those self-proclaimed "Holier than thou" type of people; especially, when it comes to pollies.

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Especially when the personal cost of such sanctimony is zero. Which it almost always is.

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Greens might stop harping on about house Envy politics and get on with smoking the Green stuff !

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If the Greens Indicate they will be getting into bed with national, they will go the same way as the Maori party; and they should know this.

Being a minor party is a dangerous game, especially when you have to rely on the popular vote, rather than a candidate vote.

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The Greens are already in bed with Labour and Winston first so do you accept that the same fate awaits them ?

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Question time in NZs Parliament. Reminds me of a pre school childrens romp. Ever since Mallard became so called Speaker,the credibility of the Peters selected "Government" at question time is a comedy and a re-run of Playschool, a Childrens Television Programme.

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Very true.

Sometime in the future, NZ on Air or Hollywood for that matter, will end up making a movie about this parliamentary term, called "Once were Worriers".

It will be a blend of Dumb and Dumber, Black Adder, and Fawlty Towers.

Dumb and Dumber - because the two leading and misguided characters seek to return a case of money (tax) to it's owners (NZ public), and in doing so spend all the loot themselves.

Black Adder - because the main characters are only interested in their own money and power, resort to back stabbing, blaming others, and going back on promises. Add in paying off selected people/groups with bribes to gain favour and votes, and no-one gives a damn about the general populace.

Fawlty Towers - An absence of principles and standards, and when a mistake or something potentially publicly embarrassing occurs, they often go to great comedic lengths to cover it up.

That movie will add new meanings in NZ slang dictionary for terms such as "turnpike", "piker" etc.

Along with existing definitions, such as "A committee is a cul de sac down which good ideas are lured and strangled to death".

It also spark another movie: "Committees, yawn of the dead".

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I'm waiting to hear when Ron Mark orders up a RNZAF helicopter to take him to the supermarket

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Got to be a PB (personal best) for parliament

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National clearly need all the help they can get

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The Nats should use this extra question to ask the Greens if they expect their new Dep Leader to last longer than NZF deputies.
And then ask curly questions about what might be in a certain 33-38pg document.

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if it wasnt known before it is now that everyone in parliament needs bodyarmour to the backs of their blouses and shirts.The power is floating around at the moment and who knows where it will settle.

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Excellent strategic move by the Greens. They are letting National know that they might have screwed up by not going with them after the elections, and also letting Labour know they won't be a pushover anymore nor support policy that goes against their values. Shows some serious maturity.

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"...Shows some serious maturity."
It perhaps shows some remorse on his part, but is only a small step. Or perhaps he is too afraid to ask the real questions in case of falling foul of Jacinda and Winston, and prefers to let National take the heat.

Maturity is not only having remorse or the right thinking, but acting on it. If Shaw genuinely had serious maturity he would:
(A) Use that question time himself to ask the hard questions.
(B) Be filing divorce papers to get out of the Coalition of Losers and force a snap election.

This minor gesture may be good, it may not. Let's see what becomes of it.

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Pretty sure the Greens are like a neutered dog in this coalition of losers and they have info enough to implode Labour & NZ First. Get the Nats to ask the questions and light the fuse on the Greens behalf, stand back and watch the train wreck and then do a deal with the Nats

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