Isaac Davison

Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

New Speaker's question time 'more chaotic' - Greens

Speaker, David Carter. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Speaker, David Carter. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Greens co-leader Russel Norman has urged Speaker David Carter to make sure ministers properly answer questions in the House out of concern that question time is becoming more chaotic.

Dr Norman wrote an open letter to Mr Carter demanding that he revert to previous Speaker Lockwood Smith's rules, which meant that ministers were required to answer direct questions, not just "address them".

He said this rule led to a more orderly and effective question time in Parliament, and would allow MPs to fulfil their job of holding ministers to account.

"Your current approach of only requiring Ministers to "address" the question means that ministers now know that they don't need to answer questions in question time.

"This is causing disorder in the House as opposition members attempt repeatedly to get ministers to answer questions."

He added: "If you continue down your current path question time will continue to be disorderly, increasingly so, and the House will rightly be viewed as no longer serving its democratic functions."

Dr Norman became frustrated yesterday at ministers' vague answers, eventually saying to the Speaker: "Question time doesn't make sense if it isn't also answer time".

Mr Carter took over from Dr Smith on February 1.

- NZ Herald

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