Monday, March 19, 2018

Holding the government to account

Over the weekend, the Greens announced they would be turning their primary questions in Question Time over to the National Party:

The Green Party has today announced that, from this week, most of its allocation of questions for Question Time will be handed over to the Leader of the Opposition to use, in order to limit the prevalence of “patsy questions” in Parliament and to strengthen the ability of Parliament to hold the Government of the day to account.

The only exception is if the Green Party wishes to use a question to hold the Government to account on a particular issue, consistent with the party’s Confidence and Supply agreement with Labour, which acknowledges the ability for the parties to agree to disagree on certain issues.

Good. The purpose of Question Time is not for the government to praise itself or attack the opposition through patsy questions, but to hold the government to account. And that's a necessary task, whether you like the current government or not. Governments which are not held to account get lazy and incompetent, which is bad for everybody.

While National won't be asking the sorts of questions the Greens would ask, and will ignore establishment issues, they will at least be approaching things from the outside and a position as a critic - which is something the Greens simply cannot do any more as a support party with Ministers outside Cabinet.