Analysis: National bombs government with 6254 written questions

LATEST: National responds

Newsroom correspondent Sam Sachdeva notes on Twitter, "There have been a whopping 6254 written questions submitted to government ministers by the Nats in the last month; for comparison, there were 964 during the equivalent period after the 2014 election."

From samples posted by Sachdeva and others, many of the questions seem to be trivial and repetitive (you can see the full list here).

It seems Labour pulled the same jape while in opposition.

Occasional NBR contributor Ben Thomas recalls from his time as press secretary to Chris Finlayson that the previous government was hit with more than 1600 written questions one December (Thomas's suggested response was to highlight the cost of each question to the taxpayer).

Then, and now, it's a childish tactic.

Every government needs a strong opposition that asks probing questions about its policies.

This is just schoolboy stuff and a PR gift to Ardern & co.

POSTSCRIPT
It's been suggested that the opposition is on a fishing expedition to expose government dealings with lobbyists. If so, it should get a bit more specific. We're a small country, with not that many people in the lobbying game.

The carpet-bombing approach allows ministers to brush off queries, e.g. this reply to Goldsmith:

And the endless questions about appointments are just part of the 6542 questions. There's also Shane Reti asking multiple variations on questions around what steps the government is taking to stop rugby league World Cup players taking mumps back to the islands, Brett Hudson asking the ICT and Broadcasting Minister what issues are in her portfolio and so on.

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