Tuesday, June 5, 2018


The revelation here that the decision to ban new oil exploration announced by St Jacinda on 12 April was a unilateral one made in the absence of any cabinet paper being written on the proposal or cabinet voting on the matter takes decision making by this government to an entirely new (low) level.

Seems rule by fiat has trumped executive decision making.

The ascertain by Simon Bridges that he had been told by 'oficials' that they had been expressly directed NOT to provide advice on the matter is especially worrying.

Still, you get what you pay for and pay for what you get and NZL got the COL so what did you expect.


Gerald said...


The Veteran said...

Gerald ... not sure the BTIM has to do with this post unless you are arguing that in was proper for the decision to be made on the basis of this document rather than through the cabinet process. Pretty long bow.

Noel said...

"The decision not to offer future offshore oil and gas exploration permits was made between the three coalition parties, and the Minister [Woods] was simply notifying Cabinet of that decision as well as noting that future cabinet decisions would be required to implement that decision.

Perhaps you can explain.
All parties were in agreement with the decision but it will go to Cabinet to be implemented.
Which part of the Cabinet Manual has been breached?

Psycho Milt said...

From your linked article:

The spokesman added that there was no requirement for the Cabinet to make a decision, but a Cabinet paper would be developed on implementing the decision.

So, Shane Jones will get his chance to plead for further fossil fuel exploitation, not that it will get him anywhere.

On the plus side, why this decision was a good one: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jun/04/carbon-bubble-could-spark-global-financial-crisis-study-warns. Also a handy insight into yet another way the current government is more competent than the previous one.

Paranormal said...

PM, I guess we can treat this prediction as accurate as all the other Gorebul Warming predictions. In that case we urgently need to reinstate oil exploration.

Gerald said...


Psycho Milt said...

Well, yeah it would be great if National did go from just dog-whistling climate change denial to making it explicit, but unfortunately they're not that stupid.

Anonymous said...

"unilateral one made in the absence of any cabinet paper being written on the proposal"
Probably learnt from previous leaks.

Johno said...

This fiasco is a breach of the cabinet manual s5.12:


Specifically sections a, b, g and j.

The Veteran said...

You got that Noel ... s5.12. An absolute breech. It was a rushed announcement designed for St Jacinda to parade on her European odyssey as proof of her 'Green' credentials and bugger the cabinet manual.

The creation of a super cabinet with the ability to function outside due process raises some interesting constitutional questions.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...


You need to understand this silly little girl looks up to Moscow and seeks to emulate her mentors from the Soviet Union.

David said...

The Cabinet Manual is an authoritative guide to central government decision making …

So, a guide, not black letter law.

...raises some interesting constitutional questions.

What would they be? I haven't memorised the NZ Constitution, but I don't recall it mentioning a cabinet, a cabinet manual, or any restrictions on how MPs can come to a decision.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Come now David. Do you think the cabinet manual is a nineteen fifty-two Kombie van with a stick shift?

David said...

You need to understand this silly little girl looks up to Moscow and seeks to emulate her mentors from the Soviet Union.

Still fighting the Cold War, I see. Read a newspaper, the communists left Moscow and the USSR dissolved a generation ago.

Her "mentors" must have go to her very young, she was 11 years old when the USSR collapsed.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Oh silly me, David. So they all died on the day the wall came down?

I guess that's how you lefties see the world.

Shelldrake said...

It was either a case of sheer ignorance on the part of inexperienced ministers and their advisors or it was a deliberate act.

Did DPMC provide advice based on the Cabinet Manual or were they simply ignored. I find it hard to belive that the Head of DPMC would have failed to provide appropriate counsel, but then he could have been complicit

The Veteran said...

David ... the cabinet manual is definitive and ministers can be disciplined for breaching it.

You will observe I used lower case when referring to 'constitutional' questions. I suspect you know as well as I do that New Zealand does not have a written constitution as such. Our 'constitution' is not found in one document. It has a number of sources including crucial pieces of legislation, several legal documents, common law derived from court decisions as well as established constitutional practices known as conventions. The cabinet manual is one such convention.

New Zealand has an executive comprising an inner and outer cabinet. All ministers are bound by cabinet decisions (except where any coalition agreement provides otherwise). New Zealand does not have a super-cabinet comprising the leaders of the constituent parties empowered to make decisions outside of the established cabinet process and the cabinet manual is quite clear on that.

The 'constitutional' question ... does this cabal of Party leaders have the authority to take decisions outside of due process. Many would say no but clearly for those who don't care about due process the answer is yes.

David said...

Adolf’s Office Art.

David said...

the cabinet manual is definitive and ministers can be disciplined for breaching it.

But by whom? The party. There is no legal impediment, there can be no prosecution for breach.

...established constitutional practices known as conventions.

As Adolf pointed out in another thread, these can be easily broken with no legal repercussion.

When Bert Millner died the convention was that the Senate seat would be allocated to a person nominated by the party that had held the seat. The ALP nominated Mal Coslton, and convention said he would be approved by the QLD government. Bjelke Petersen defied convention and appointed Albert Quisling Field instead. As it was convention, not law, there was nothing the ALP could do.

in 1975, when the Liberal controlled Senate denied supply to the government, convention was that the GG would take advice from the PM. John Falling Down Drunk Kerr refused to see Whitlam until he had commission Fraser as PM.

Convention is only useful when all parties lay by the same rules.

In the once great USA, Trump violates long-standing norms and established rules, tells so many easily disprovable lies from the presidential podium, because he knows that no one will stop him. It is only convention, after all, not law.

David said...

Another try - Adolf's Office Art

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Poor David, who has more links than the Queen Mary's anchor chain, forgets the most notorious breaker of political conventions was his hero the Bilious Bitch herself.

Psycho Milt said...

I guess the people who are feeling such outrage at the government deciding on some permit renewals without taking it to Cabinet could mount a legal challenge, at which time the court will once again find that a NZ government can and does do whatever the fuck it likes as long as it has the numbers in Parliament. Wouldn't spend my own money on that though, same as I wouldn't flush it down the toilet.

The Veteran said...

David ... thank you for your dissertation on Oz politics. This is New Zealand and 'we'(normally) function a cut above Oz.

PM ... the selective morality of the left knows no bounds. If National did this there would be wall to wall outrage from you and yours. But if the 'left' does it ... nothing to see, move on. Heh ... keep up the 'good' work. Oppositions don't win elections; governments lose them and your lot are demonstrating an arrogance that will only cause to hasten the inevitable.

Will talk about that in another post shortly..

Psycho Milt said...

Meh - it would be great if we got ourselves a constitution and governments were no longer able to just do whatever the fuck they felt like, but turkeys don't vote for Christmas.

I get that National needs to try and get the news focus off the fake "meth contamination" scandal they presided over, but "hey, that decision didn't go through a full and proper process" is really not going to do it for them.

The Veteran said...

Milt ... somewhat mendacious in arguing that. The National government received advice on the meth contamination issue and acted on it. I agree it is unfortunate that advice was apparently not fit for purpose. Turn that around ... if the advice had been kosher and National had declined to act then it would have been rightly pilloried. Hindsight is a great invention.

But to cut to the chance ... in deciding to cancel oil exploration permits a cabal of Party leaders acted in the absence on any advice ... no cost benefit analysis ... nothing ... except a wish to engage in virtue signalling. The outlook is bleak indeed if this is indicative of how the COL does business.

Psycho Milt said...

Sure, National's cabinet ministers were only following orders when they caused families to be made homeless and beneficiaries to be billed large amounts for unnecessary cleanups. How could they be expected to have thought twice about overseeing that?

Re the oil exploration permits, you're entitled to your opinion on it and to vote accordingly. However, to this voter the decision was a no-brainer and the outlook is a lot less bleak now that we have a government willing to take the environment seriously.