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


Confidence in Parl't not restored by Field ruling

26 July 2006

Public confidence in Parliament not restored by Field ruling

While the Green Party accepts that the Speaker is responsible for deciding what constitutes a breach of privilege, the lack of sanction for Mr Field's behaviour will only fuel the public's scepticism about Parliament's reluctance to police its standards, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"The Ingram enquiry has established that Mr Field did not mis-use his position as a Minister. The problem is that a legalistic approach cannot address the widely held concerns about Mr Field's behaviour. On the evidence, Mr Field lobbied the Immigration Minister on behalf of his constituents, without paying them properly for the services they rendered to him in return.

"Such behaviour falls short of the standards expected of MPs both in their dealings with the people they represent, and in their working relationships with Ministers. The business of this House begins every day with a prayer that members should "set aside all personal and private interests" and clearly, Mr Field has not always followed that rule in the way he has conducted his political affairs.

"No doubt, the Speaker is correct in citing the legal distinction that exist between the narrow business of the House and the behavioural standards of MPs in their work outside the House. Yet public confidence in the behaviour of MPs is essential both to the workings of the House, and to public respect for the laws that it passes.

" Public perceptions that privilege has been abused do matter, just as much as whether that abuse has been proven in a narrow legalistic sense, to the standard required in a court of law," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"In future, as the Speaker indicates, it is up to Parliament to devise and pass a code of conduct for its members, in line with those already in place in similar Parliaments overseas. However, such a development cannot apply retro-actively and address the case of Mr Field. All it does is identify a legal loophole that evidently allows Mr Field, for now at least, to escape any Parliamentary sanction for his actions.

"Given the lack of any other meaningful way of addressing the damage to perceptions of Parliament's integrity, the Green Party would support any motion for select committee scrutiny of the various issues raised within the Ingram report.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Werewolf: What Does Winston Peters Want His Legacy To Be?

A lot of people in New Zealand seem to resent Winston Peters and the power that he appears to have. “Appears” being the operative word. In reality, Peters will have power only up to the point that he uses it.

By next week, he’ll have become just another junior player in an MMP governing arrangement, battling to hold onto the gains he was promised. More>>


Rising Toll: Road Safety Needs To Be A Higher Priority

Official advice released to the Green Party under the Official Information Act shows that the previous National Government dismissed an option to make road safety its most important transport priority after being told the road toll was rising. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election