Thursday, May 05, 2016

Correlated contents

Over the past few months, I've noticed a disturbing trend in Question Time of the Speaker being harsh on NZ First MPs. Their questions are interrupted, they can barely open their mouths on a point of order before the Speaker effectively accuses them of wasting his time (creating an adversarial air which is not conducive to the good order of the House), and barely a day goes by without one of them being thrown out for some imagined slight. So why is the Speaker so pissed off with New Zealand First?

Simple: they've vetoed his cushy retirement plan:

Behind-the-scenes jostling between National and NZ First may have dashed Speaker David Carter's chances of a plum diplomatic post to London.

Carter has long been thought the frontrunner to replace current High Commissioner to Britain Sir Lockwood Smith when his term ends early next year.

But it is understood NZ First is demanding that if in a position to get National across the line for a fourth term, then it would want Carter hauled back from the London posting should he have already gained it.


In a speech to students at Victoria University, Peters announced the party would block any "unsuitable" political appointees and require them to return home if it held the balance of power in government.

Like a knighthood, High Commissioner to London is seen as a political reward for services rendered: a few years living fat off the taxpayer and hob-nobbing with bankers and inbreds while making connections you can use in your post-Parliamentary business career. And its a common reward for former Speakers: Jonathan Hunt got it, as did Lockwood Smith. It shouldn't be that way, of course - its a serious diplomatic posting, and should be awarded on merit to a serious diplomat, not a loyal has-been - but that's the way National and Labour have always done it, as part of their corrupt, cosy, two-party arrangement. So, I'm glad to see NZ First saying they'll put a stop to it (OTOH, I'm also cynical enough to suspect that the reason Winston would recall Carter is because he wants that post for himself...)

As for Carter, allowing your decisions as Speaker to be influenced by personal animus over personal gain is inappropriate and debases the office. He should resign.