Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Brownlee Explains National Vs Greens Scrap

Brownlee Gives Scoop Lowdown On Nats Vs Greens Scrap

National's Deputy leader Gerry Brownlee

**********

Over the last few weeks parliamentary duels have been thin on the ground. However Nationals' Deputy leader Gerry Brownlee has not spent all holidays enjoying the warm Canterbury sun – he's been hounding the Government and the Green Party over arrangements for Green Party liaison positions paid for by Ministerial services. Scoop rang Mr Brownlee in an effort to discover why he was hot under the collar over the two positions - one advocating buying NZ made goods the other working on energy efficiency proposals.

*********

Scoop: What is your main bug bear regarding the two positions? Is it that the Greens are being paid through ministerial services and they are not in formal coalition with Labour?

Gerry Brownlee: It's kind of an evolving story. Firstly, ministerial services advertised in November for persons to fill two positions accounting to the Green Party – either Jeanette Fitzsimons or Sue Bradford - as they discharge their portfolio responsibilities. Now, why do people who are outside of Government have portfolio responsibilities and why are ministerial services paying for their salaries and how does all this work? There is a Public Finance Act that prohibits exactly what they are proposing to do.

Scoop: What section [of the Public Finance Act] does this arrangement contravene?

Mr Brownlee: You'd have to clear that with the Auditor-General. The Auditor-General is looking into it. They confirmed to me on the 21 December that they think it is an unacceptable arrangement and they are going to be looking into it. Internal Affairs are now describing those jobs as ministerial liaison positions. The most recent evolution is that the Greens Chief of Staff [Deborah Moran] will be half time. She will be working for the Public Service half the time and working for the Greens the other half.

That bends State Service rules about what you can and can't do as a civil servant. All around it is a very shonky arrangement headed by Helen Clark and Michael Cullen in order to shore up support.

Scoop: You don't buy the argument that this situation is just MMP evolving?

Mr Brownlee: No I don't. If that is the case then the Government of the day would be able to buy off anyone in their position. There's another word for that!

Scoop: Umm…nepotism?

Mr Brownlee: A one party state! We still have a Westminster system where the Crown is still the head of the state. The idea is that you have collective responsibility when it comes to advice given to the Crown and that advice is contested by the Opposition. Until that constitutional arrangement is formally changed then all of our laws bind the Government to that position. Helen Clark and Michael Cullen deciding they want to step outside that is not acceptable.

Scoop: Do you think this could be a bit of a storm in a teacup over semantics. What if there was a Green liaison position funded from the ministries responsible for implementing the respective policies?

Mr Brownlee: Why would they do that. Why don't they have liaison positions for every party. This [arrangement] is about maintaining numbers and it is using taxpayers dollars. In NZ there are some strong acts which bind the way the Government can spend taxpayer dollars. This sits well outside that and it would be wrong to simply accept it.

Scoop: Does the arrangement contravene the Cabinet Manual?

Mr Brownlee: I think the Cabinet Manual got tossed out the door as soon as the Winston Peters coalition arrangements were announced. It is an important document that they have just dismissed. It is just another chink in the constitutional armour

Scoop: What if the Auditor-General comes back and says to the Government 'no - you can't do this.' Would that be a concern should you be in power sometime in the future?

Mr Brownlee: The fact is in New Zealand you claim constitutional authority by having numbers in Parliament– if you can use taxpayers dollars to buy those numbers then I think the country is in some trouble.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news