Monday, May 22, 2006

Where's Rodney?

People were justifiably outraged in the 1996 Parliamentary term, when Alliance MP Alamein Kopu notoriously abandoned her party mid-term, gave her proxy to the minority national government, and was never seen around parliament again (despite continuing to collect her MP's salary). Now, it seems to be happening again - and the culprit this time is the perkbuster himself, Rodney Hide.

Going through Hansard, it appears that Rodney has only been present in the chamber for two of the seven sitting days so far available on the web - and on one of them, he was only present for Question Time. Heather Roy is of course off training for the Territorials, with the Speaker's permission. But Rodney has no such excuse. And his absence causes some problems for ACT - because as a small party with only two members, when he's not there, they can't vote. As a result, ACT has failed to vote on at least seven pieces of legislation, including the Criminal Procedure Bill (which would allow majority verdicts from juries, and allow them to be dispensed with altogether in some cases) and the Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Paid Parental Leave for Self-Employed Persons) Amendment Bill (which I'd have thought would have been of some interest to ACT's business-backers). Going back further, while there wasn't much Parliamentary business in April, ACT did manage to entirely miss the Appropriation (2004/05 Financial Review) Bill - which as a matter of confidence, you'd have thought they'd consider to be important.

In addition to not voting, so far as I can see, Rodney hasn't taken a speaking call on legislation so far this month. He's participated in Question Time (to the extent allowed by ACT's diminished allocation of questions and supplementaries), but he has failed to exercise his entitlement to speak on legislation. So much for "mak[ing] sure [Epsom's] views are heard in Parliament"...

And all of this is so he can "raise his profile" by participating in a TV game-show...

But the most ironic point of all (given Rodney's proclivity for "perk-busting") is that we're paying him for this. As far as I am aware, Rodney continues to collect his Parliamentary salary, in spite of the fact that he says nothing and hardly ever votes. If that's not a perk that deserves busting, I don't know what is.


a very reliable source tells me that mr. hide is in possession of a rather expensive sony camera and tripod.

it was paid for with a requistion order of some kind, but i've not been able to find out if mr. hide paid for said camera with his own, or the public's money.

the camera is naturally so tat mr. hide can film himself dancing, as practice mind you.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/22/2006 07:24:00 AM

Maybe he can send his constituents footage of what he's doing rather than representing them, then.

Oh wait, he's already doing that, isn't he?

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 5/22/2006 08:33:00 AM

Laughable isn't it. Considering DPF having a go at George Galloway for participating in Celebrity Big Brother his support of Rodders in this pap is hypocritical...

"Yes that is George Galloway in the front. If any NZ MP ever thinks about boosting their profile this way well you have been warned!"

Posted by Anonymous : 5/22/2006 12:14:00 PM

IS - I know you are quite well researched, so I just want to ask that you are sure of the facts as you have stated them on this?

Don't get me wrong, I think Hide has erred in going on the show at the expense of parliamentary politics, but I would just hope that your facts are right.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/22/2006 12:17:00 PM

Anon: Hansard is available on the web here, and I invite everyone to check out the details (more people should pay attention to what our politicians are doing anyway). The above conclusions were drawn from the records between May 2nd and 16th, with some delving further back (for example, that confidence vote in April). I note that since I posted this last night, the Clerk's office has added the Hansard advance for May 17th, which shows Rodney was present for Question Time, and that he voted on the Dog Control (Cancellation of Microchipping Requirements) Amendment Bill and the Easter Sunday Shop Trading Amendment Bill (though not on the Marine Reserves Bill which was also dealt with that day). So now he's three for eight, rather than two for seven. I still think this is an appalling attedance record for a party leader, particularly in light of his absenteeism resulting in ACT not even voting on so many bills.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 5/22/2006 12:47:00 PM

Listen here you bastards. I do more work in a day than the whole Labour caucus does in a week.

And don't forget the money I'm raising for charity in the process.

Posted by Rodney Grub : 5/22/2006 01:51:00 PM

I don't know much but I do know this. There is lots of work to do and places to be for ACT and how our MPs use their time and resources should suit the goals they're in parliament to achieve. Having a perfect attendence record in "class" is a meaningless priority.
You become a parliamentarian to ACT, not to have your name marked off on a bloody roll call.

The continuity of Rodney's pronounced impact and presence in the house is doing very nicely thankyou very much. And the ACT MPs outclass many a Government member- both the known and the unknown ones.

Posted by Rick : 5/22/2006 02:48:00 PM

Rick: Absolutely there's a lot for MPs to do besides being in the House. But considering and voting on legislation is at the core of it. And Rodney is neglecting this fundamental duty horribly - and disenfranchising his whole party in the process.

For example, I'm sure ACT members have strong views on Jeanette Fitzsimons' Resource Management (Climate Protection) Amendment Bill - but thanks to Rodney's absence, those views were not expressed. Ditto on the continuation of this government. You might be happy with being rendered voiceless by an absent party leader, but if it was my party, I'd be bloody pissed off.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 5/22/2006 03:12:00 PM

Mark: Its difficult to track individuals' voting records, as most votes are party votes, and MPs can always use proxies (which is what usually happens). Rodney's however is easy to track, as when he's not there, ACT does not vote at all.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 5/22/2006 03:15:00 PM

Frederick: No. Proxies can only be exercised by a party's leader or whip. Independent or solo MPs have an exception in SO 156, and can give their proxy to another party.

So basically, Heather can give her proxy to Rodney, but if he isn't there, neither can vote. Which is why his attendance is rather important.

The smaller parties could seek a change in Standing Orders to allow them to proxy to others, but United Future doesn't seem to have any trouble at all turning up to vote. It's only Rodney who seems to be too slack to do it.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 5/22/2006 03:40:00 PM

Busted Rodney. He always has come off as a hypocrite to me.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/22/2006 07:03:00 PM