Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Ministers struck by March Madness

Roger Sowry Shadow Leader of the House

30 March 2001

Ministers struck by March Madness

A pattern of inaccuracy is emerging from the Beehive with four Ministers having to retract answers given in the House because they got it wrong, and that's just in the last two weeks, Shadow Leader of the House Roger Sowry said today.

"The Ministers seem to have been struck by March Madness. What's next, April Fools?

"Four Government Ministers, including the Prime Minister, have given incorrect answers in Parliament and then apologised or corrected themselves later.

* Pete Hodgson, when under fire from Nick Smith about using clear-felled African timber in the Beehive, claimed anegre timber was also used in Te Papa. He apologised six days later when the story had died down.

* Trevor Mallard tried to deflect criticism of Peter Davis by drawing spouses of two National MPs into his reply and later circulating a dirt file on MPs spouses. He later apologised for getting his allegations wrong.

* Mark Gosche was under pressure when it was discovered a state house tenant earns $125,000 a year. He said it happened under National but when the truth was revealed via questioning of officials in a select committee (the tenant was placed in February 2000) Gosche apologised to Parliament.

* In an attempt to hide a golden handshake at the Historic Places Trust, the Prime Minister lumped together payouts from different departments. She later corrected the figure in the House blaming officials for providing the wrong information. The Government is still hiding behind confidential clauses in an attempt to keep the payout secret.

"In addition to these incorrect answers in the House, the Government is also developing a habit of saying the wrong thing outside of it.

* Michael Cullen got it wrong when he blamed Quotable Value for 'inadequate' advice over the issue of taxing compensation to farmers for paying higher Maori land rentals. Quotable Value were contracted to provide valuations, not tax advice and the allegation is commercially damaging.

* We have another apology in the pipeline from George Hawkins as it looks like he gave the wrong answer in response to a written question from David Carter about the use of volunteer Firefighters when paid Firefighters stayed in their station watching the Rugby Sevens.

"When the Government comes under pressure they resort to inaccurate statements in an attempt to shut down a story. A few days later once media attention has died down they fess up, but try to absolve themselves of blame by blaming staff or officials.

"They don't seem to realise that in politics, the buck stops with the Minister," Mr Sowry said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Sir Michael Cullen’s Tax Reform

To ordinary wage and salary earners who (a) watch a slice of their gross income being taxed every week via PAYE and who also (b) pay GST on every single thing they buy, there has been something quite surreal about the centre-right’s angry and anguished reactions to the Tax Working Group’s final report... More>>


89 Cents An Hour: Govt Plans Fix For Minimum Wage For People With Disabilities

IHC is delighted that the Government is looking into replacing the Minimum Wage Exemption (MWE) with a wage supplement to ensure people with disabilities are paid at least the minimum wage. More>>


Te Waihanga: New Independent Commission To Tackle Infrastructure Issues

The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission – Te Waihanga – will be established as an Autonomous Crown Entity to carry out two broad functions – strategy and planning and procurement and delivery support. More>>


Auckland Action Against Poverty: Motels Profit From Housing Crisis

A single motel which charges up to $1,500 per week per room has received over $3 million worth of Government funds to provide emergency assistance, despite never having a Code Compliance Certificate – an offence under the Building Act – and receiving a series of longstanding complaints from occupants... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Alleged China Relations Crisis

If New Zealand’s relations with China are ‘deteriorating’ then you still need a microscope to detect the signs... More>>


Environment: Government To End Tenure Review

“Tenure review has resulted in parcels of land being added to the conservation estate, but it has also resulted in more intensive farming and subdivision on the 353,000 ha of land which has been freeholded. This contributed to major landscape change and loss of habitat for native plants and animals,” said Eugenie Sage. More>>


Bell Tolls: Big Changes, Grand Mergers Planned For Vocational Training

“At a time when we’re facing critical skill shortages, too many of our polytechnics and institutes of technology are going broke... More>>


Sallies' State Of The Nation: Progress Stalled In Reducing Inequality

The report shows a lack of tangible progress in key areas including record levels of household debt and a growing gap in educational achievement between poorer and more well off communities. More>>





InfoPages News Channels