Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Ministerial Accountability

According to The Press, Winston Peters will be refusing to answer questions about his relationship to the government, with a spokesperson saying that

the minister would not tolerate a repeat of the questioning he received at Apec

This is simply absurd. Ministers are formally accountable to Parliament, but they are also accountable in a wider sense to the New Zealand public - who do actually have an interest in weather their Foreign Minister is doing his job, or misrepresenting his own party's policies (on, say, defence and immigration, both of which he may be called upon to discuss) as those of the government. Or running his own foreign policy irrespective of what Cabinet wishes - which is what he seemed to be doing when he reportedly promised more troops for Afghanistan.

By refusing to answer questions about his contradicting the government, Winston is trying to evade that accountability. And that is something we should not tolerate.


I think Winston's position is that he shouldn't be asked questions at international conferences that aren't related to the conferences.

Which is still screwed, of course.

By the way - police re Benson-Pope: will not prosecute but find a prima facie case. On Scoop.

Posted by Lyndon : 11/23/2005 04:49:00 PM

I wonder if the rest of the media at CHOGM will take kindly to being told what lines of questioning a little pissant like Peters will "tolerate"?

He might find himself being handed a very big reality check if he thinks the Australian and British media in particular are going to swallow his usual line of bullshit.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 11/23/2005 10:42:00 PM

BTW, Lyndon, I think it's entirely relevant to ask Foreign Affair Minister Peters what exactly his status is in the Cabinet he's not a part of, and how that affects his ability to speak for the New Zealand Government on the world stage and (more importantly) behind closed doors.

Especially when, as I/S points out, we've had a string of statements from Peters that have been promptly contradicted by a combination of the Prime Minister and/or the new Trade Minister (who also chairs the Cabinet External Relations Committee Peters doesn't even attend, let alone belong to).

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 11/23/2005 10:49:00 PM