Opposition parties, led by National's Judith Collins and Act's David Seymour, called the Labour Government out this week by demanding it return to Parliament.
Parliament's Speaker Trevor Mallard relented to convene a skeleton sitting, with the level of attendance limited to just 10 MPs: five from Labour, three from National and one each from the Greens and Act.
The press gallery couldn't watch proceedings from above. Mallard's ordered closed signs on the access doors. However, everyone was "treated" to proceedings via Parliament TV.
Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins called the resumption of Parliament "the Pantomime of Question Time" and he's not wrong. Sadly, his party is contributing to the Punch and Judy show as much as any.
In the general debate, Finance Minister Grant Robertson kicked off by railing at the "vanity and ego of the Opposition" for requiring Parliamentary staff be recalled. Collins called Robertson's words "contemptuous and smug".
As Herald political editor Claire Trevett pointed out, Labour's MPs – and the Speaker – appeared to go out of their way to highlight that Collins travelled from Auckland.
"They also seemed hellbent on making sure the sitting of Parliament seemed as futile and useless as possible, presumably to try to prove a virtual Parliament would be more worthwhile."
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Under some intense questioning, Defence Minister Peeni Henare admitted he did not have details on the number of Afghan interpreters and people who worked with the Defence forces who did not escape Afghanistan. This was hardly surprising as neither does the US, who were running the whole crapfest.
Whether Parliament should be sitting or not is now moot. It is there, albeit in a reduced capacity, and it needs to be used judiciously for what it was been warranted for - to air and challenge the solutions to our most important matters. That is not whether the Opposition leader has commuted 640km to the House; nor whether our Defence personnel were caught on the hop, exactly as all our allies had been.
We are in a Covid-19 coronavirus Delta outbreak. If our leaders can't get on with that, Auckland may well end up looking like Kabul.