Thursday, November 23, 2017

ON THE TOXIC COALITION

When I walked into the debating chamber at Parliament last week something didn't look right.    A picture is worth a thousand words so go here and be amused.

Ever since I can remember the senior party in government occupied the seats closest to the Speaker's Chair with its support partners occupying positions to their right.   Happened in the Bolger, Shipley, Clark, Key and English coalition governments.

Not any more.   Such is the enmity and level of distrust between Winston First and the Greens that NZ First members are seated immediately to the right of Speaker with Labour reduced to playing 'piggy in the middle' separating them from the Greens.      Hardly an advert for collegiality of purpose.

One can be forgiven for asking what Duncan Webb, Labour, Christchurch Central,  has done wrong.   Estranged from his colleagues and forced to sit in the nether regions on the National side of the House.  


24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thou talkest in riddles to common folk..

Lord Egbut Nobacon

Anonymous said...

Who was Clarke ?

Wilbur said...

Worse still is the opposite side of the chamber where Mr 44% was left desperate and dateless on the night of the promenade dance.

Noel said...

Aren't the acoustics great in the Chamber no matter where you sit?

The Veteran said...

Gueez ... that has the apologists out early ... no attempt to address the substance of the post either.

Noel said...

Doesnt the Speaker allocate the seats?

Gerald said...

You saying the Speaker isn't impartial with that allocation?
PM is in the correct seat defined by tradition.

Anonymous said...

Maybe all the past Speakers weren't impartial? ROFL

Dennis said...

The seating arrangement seems logical.

NZF is the senior Party, not Labour. Winston Peters formed this Coalition Government, as evidenced by his announcement to the nation before the Parties that had been in discussion with Peters had been informed of his decision.

Cabinet Ministers are seated around the PM and Deputy PM.

Under MMP numerical strength is immaterial. Governments are a coalition of the willing, not popular support.

The Coalition agreement is between NZF and Labour. The Greens are subsidiary to Labour, and correctly placed in the seating arrangement.

The spillover into the "nether regions" is inevitable as soon as there are more than 50% of members sitting on the Governing side. New intake members are traditionally seated alphabetically, thus the "honour" fell to Webb

Noel said...

Makes sense Dennis.
"One can be forgiven for asking what Duncan Webb, Labour, Christchurch Central, has done wrong."
There's your answer Veteran. LOL

The Veteran said...

Noel/Dennis ... NZF the senior Party. That's a particularly inventive 'spin' and against whatever has happened before. Noel ... Mr Speaker determines seating in consultation with the parties. That's what NZF sought and Labour agreed to it.

Doesn't alter the fact. Winston First is clearly uncomfortable in being associated with the Greens but the reality is that they are ... they're part of the same government and one can legitimately wonder how the dynamics of this will play out.

With respect Dennis your comment about new intake MPs being seated alphabetically doesn't stand scrutiny unless your accept that in Labour's lexicon 'P' (Prime) comes before 'A' (Allan) and 'R' (Russell) before 'C' (Craig) ... need I go on ... there's more.

Poor Mr Webb with no-one to talk to but himself.



November 23, 2017 at 11:54 AM Delete

Dennis said...


@ The Veteran:

Quite so.

"Traditionally" was the qualifier I used in my earlier comment. Just what other yardstick Labour used is anybody's guess. Webb "might" have volunteered (or been volunteered as you suggest).

"No one to talk to"? Maybe Webb is conversational, maybe not overly dogmatic, maybe happy to be exposed to opinion from "across the divide".

My comment was essentially about NZF being the senior partner (in my view). Even if not the case, NZF would still have been included together within the Cabinet Minister range.

"Doesn't alter the fact. Winston First is clearly uncomfortable in being associated with the Greens but the reality is that they are ... they're part of the same government and one can legitimately wonder how the dynamics of this will play out." Absolutely no argument from me!

There will be many changes this term. Already the Speaker has advised he will not call each MP, or Minister, by name when they are asking supplementary questions. Not so helpful if one is listening on the radio.

Why did you imagine my earlier comment involved spin? And to whose advantage?

Dennis said...


Just looked at the diagram showing the Parliamentary seating arrangement. National appears to have maintained the traditional new-intake alphabetical seating arrangement.

The Veteran said...

Dennis ... your assertion that NZF was the senior party in the coalition and that justified their placement was, to say the least, an 'interesting' comment. Some might even call in spin ... to whose advantage? ... good question. I guess it allows NZF to maintain the charade that their commitment is to Labour rather than the three party coalition whereas the reality is that the coalition will collectively swim or sink together.

I agree National has maintained the 'alphabetical' tradition. Have to wonder why Labour didn't but, at the end of it, no big deal ... except for Mr Webb.

Speaker Mallard has certainly rewritten the rule book ... some good things such as the awarding of additional supplementary questions in response to interjections made during the reading of primary questions and some not so good ... changes to the Parliamentary prayer done without consultation.

Paulus said...

Who is Duncan Webb - what has he done ?

Gerald said...

THE CURRENT PRAYER:

Almighty God,

Humbly acknowledging our need for Thy guidance in all things, and laying aside all private and personal interests, we beseech Thee to grant that we may conduct the affairs of this House and of our country to the glory of Thy holy name, the maintenance of true religion and justice, the honour of the Queen, and the public welfare, peace, and tranquillity of New Zealand, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

PROPOSED VERSION:

Almighty God, we give thanks for the blessings which have been bestowed on New Zealand.

Laying aside all personal interests, we pray for guidance in our deliberations, that we may conduct the affairs of this House with wisdom and humility, for the public welfare and peace of New Zealand.

Amen.

Dennis said...

@ The Veteran:

Is Webb the last alphabetically?

If so, after that, maybe the others had compatability, gender, ethnic, electoral majority considerations taken into account. Maybe Labour is too new and inexperienced to know what was traditional. Or maybe they don't care.

The Veteran said...

Gerald ... personal statement ... I have morphed into a being a 'soft' republican with the HUGE caveat that the President should enjoy no more power that the current GG does ie ... that Parliament should remain supreme. But that's not my bitch ... Mallard went ahead with 'his' new prayer without consultation and he compounded his error my editing out any reference to the Queen from the prayer ... ignoring the fact that right now 'she' is our sovereign and the person to which 'he' and all other MPs pledged allegiance.

Somewhat strange from a member of a Party that opposed changing the flag with all its symbolism to GB and the monarchy.

Gerald said...

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/99170336/national-party-up-in-arms-about-changes-to-the-parliamentary-prayer

Anonymous said...

Not a great deal of original thought has gone into this. We inherited the link between state, church and the monarchy where Her Maj is nominal head of both. Remove the monarchy and you can remove the prayer which in this day and age is an anachronism we could well do without.

The French senat is secular and has managed to do without payer for a couple of hundred years and I do believe time spent at ANZAC ceremonies would be better spent in reflection than prayer which discourages people(including me) fro attending.. We are a multi religious country now and no religion should have precedence over the other. The irony is the Pakeha New Zealanders are the least religious of the lot.

Lord Egbut

pdm said...

What compounded Mallards actions were his attempts to recite (well read) the prayer in Maori and he was so awful it was an embarrassment.

Trevor - if you are not fluent don't attempt it in Maori ever again.

Noel said...

Gee that old prayer certainly needed replacing. Thanks Gerald.
If it placates them by all means leave the Queen until she goes but "the I demand Jesus" takes it right back to "maintenance of true religion" crap.

Anonymous said...

You fluent in Maori PDM?

pdm said...

No anon and as I have no wish to be so I do not attempt to speak it other than being able to fluently say the longest place name Taumata............etc - plus the many place names and words in common usage in my daily life.