Update: Chris Trotter recounts being told recently, “There’s a big pot of money out there to get Peters this time – big money.” More food for the conspiracy theorist!
Yesterday’s antics in Parliament can be viewed in at least two ways:
Rodney Hide’s attempts to expose corruption at the core of NZ’s democracy were ruthlessly crushed by the outrageous actions of the Speaker of the House.
Rodney Hide’s attempts to gain milage out of airing accusations that he has probably already given to the appropriate authorities — and certainly should have — fell foul of the longstanding (and necessary) parliamentary convention that matters that are sub judice should not be raised in Parliament.
Needless to say, the former view is the accepted account on the right-wing side of the blogosphere. I’m betting that many left-wing bloggers — the party hacks at least — see things largely in terms of the latter view.
Rodney Hide was using question time to air his allegations. But the misuse of question time in that way is fairly common practice. I’m not a party to his motives. He may be concerned that the allegations should be dealt with before the election. However, since he has built his entire political career around cheap scandal-mongering (just don’t mention Fiji, anyone), I could be forgiven to taking a more cynical view.
In the end Hide’s motivations don’t matter. These matters need to be aorted before the election, so that the “court of public opinion” is an informed “court of public opinion.”
But this still doesn’t excuse Hide’s throwing a dummy and challenging this Speaker’s authority in an unprecedented way. I’m no great fan of Margaret Wilson, but I felt for her when I read the transcript. The right-wing bloggers might think that we should jettison established parliamentary conventions — hey, why not undermine the courts? — whenever their parties’ can get some advantage, but good on Wilson for sticking by the rules.
Hide got off lightly.
There’s another side to this whole Peters saga that of course the media aren’t about to report, as they have played a key part in it. Astute observers will have noticed Cullen’s interjection and withdrawal.
As well as learning the truth about the elaborate funding mechanisms that peters has operated, and whether Peters has lied about any aspects of these operations, the voters deserve to know who is behind the campaign to eliminate Peters and their motivations.
[Note: I was going to copy the entire (uncorrected) Hansard transcription, but Chris Trotter has beaten me to it.]