Ardern stymied as parliament resumes

Judith Collins. Photo: Getty Images
Judith Collins: "Why should I expect police officers, people who stack shelves in supermarkets, people who work at the airlines to go and do their jobs ... (while I) stay at home?" Photo: Getty Images
Parliament will today return under lockdown, but against the wishes of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

On day 14 of a national lockdown to squash a Covid-19 outbreak, parliament is being recalled due to the wishes of opposition parties.

It did not sit last year during the heightened level 4 lockdown, which Auckland remains in.

The Greens and the Maori Party are boycotting, labelling it unsafe and reckless given the opportunity to convene a virtual sitting.

However, National party leader Judith Collins, who has travelled from Auckland insists it's the right thing to do to keep Ms Ardern's government accountable.

"I would much rather be home with my family. And they would rather that I was home with them," Collins said on her return to Wellington.

"But why should I expect police officers, people who stack shelves in supermarkets, people who work at the airlines to go and do their jobs ... (while I) stay at home?

"That's actually not what we expect from our leaders."

Ms Collins - whose National party trails Ms Ardern's Labour government significantly in the polls - insists her return to Wellington is to hold the government to account.

It also allows her to interrupt the blanket coverage enjoyed by Ms Ardern during the pandemic, which many see as the bedrock to her huge 2020 election win.

Throughout the pandemic, opposition leaders in Australia and across many jurisdictions have been relegated from the limelight during COVID-19.

Ms Collins said she refused the virtual sitting as it had not been tested by Speaker Trevor Mallard, and Ms Ardern's government had refused to reconvene an opposition-controlled committee.

"We actually worked really hard on a solution to allow a virtual version of the House," Ms Ardern said.

"What was presented was an option that allowed the opposition to access any minister, and allow them to make statements, to ask questions ... a greater level of accountability even than a general Question Time offers.

"Unfortunately that was rejected by the opposition."

Ms Ardern suspended the parliament last week, but was unwilling to do so for a second week.

When the House does sit at 2pm for Question Time, just a handful of MPs from Labour and National, as well as minor party ACT will be in the chamber.

Comments

Ahhhh ... point of order Mr Speaker !!

Has the leader of the opposition not broken level 4 travel restrictions by crossing the Auckland border, thereby placing all Wellingtonians at risk of her bringing the Covid Delta virus, knowingly or unknowingly, into a level 3 region ??

I have heard absolutely nothing in the media of her being in isolation for 14 days or returning a negative test for Covid Delta before undertaking this "unessential" travel.

Still ... I suppose she believes she is above the LAW, which she is not, and obviously not a team player in attempting to get the team of 4,999,999 (haven't counted her) into a position which no other country has managed to be after having the same virus ... Delta free !!

I am however, looking forward to seeing her in the greatest catfight NZ politics has ever seen in the debating chamber and can only hope that this will be screened on TVNZ and not PPV on SkyTV - Sports ... although, it's probably going to get far more viewers than a AB's test match against Aussie !! Let the games begin !!

A government can still be held accountable even if the MPs are actually at Parliament. We are in the 21st century with all sorts of technology available with which to communicate.

"Ardern stymied ?! Maybe in Judith Collins dreams. Reality ..."Judith scores own goal.....hoist on her own stymy : )

Don't be Top Down all the time. Our representatives are elected. We might prefer they be safe.

 

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