Question time with Simon Bridges

The transcript of Wednesday's question time in the House is not yet available via Hansard. Fortunately, I am able to roughly recreate it below (with some possible inaccuracies, although minor in nature).

Russel Norman: To the Minister of Energy and Resources. Is he any good at his job?

Hon Simon Bridges: Yes. I am very good at my job. Very, very good. You have no idea just how good I am. For instance, in my time as Minister, New Zealand has seen the largest expansion of oil, gas and coal production in its entire history. There is good reason that we now are called "a mix of the Norway and the Alberta of the Southern Seas". Except, of course, that no-one really knows where the real Alberta is. And Norway still hunts whales. Which we would never do. At least, not while Chris Finlayson is on the case.

(Whispers) Nobody tell Chris about the bit in Tim Grosser's TPPA giving McDonald's the legal right to sell its new "McBlubber Burger" over here.

Russel Norman: Supplementary question, Mr Speaker. If the Minister is so good at his job, why was he not aware, until informed by a TV3 reporter, that last week he had opened up the 200,000 hectare Victoria Forest Park on the South Island West Coast for mining exploration, and how can he justify putting this untouched jewel, this unspoiled wilderness, this last remaining vestage of the ancient and sacred realm of Gaia, at risk of devastation, destruction and general all round not-nice-things happening?

Hon Simon Bridges: Mr Speaker. It is quite simple, really. A man such as myself with a keen analytic mind and supreme grasp of detail does not concern himself with trivialities such as "place names". I deal in block numbers and legal descriptions. Had the journalist asked the question using the correct GPS co-ordinates, then of course I could have given her a complete and detailed answer. But I cannot be responsible for the fact that the standard of journalism in this country does not come up to my exalted level, as was more than demonstrated by my commanding performance on the John Campbell show.

As for why this Government is permitting prospecting in the area of land concerned - well, we're just doing what has happened in the past. One wonders if the member had heard of the four permits when he was last in government for coal mining in the Victoria Forest Park, including for open cast coal mining in the area he now purports to be concerned about.*

Grant Robertson (Shadow Leader of the House): Point of order Mr Speaker. The Minister is quite wrong to claim that Russel Norman has ever been in government. As he well knows, we shafted the Greens throughout the 00's in order to get Peter Dunne and Winston Peters on board. What is more, there's every chance we'll do it to them again after the next election. So any suggestion that Russel Norman was, or ever will be, responsible for anything a New Zealand Government does is quite misleading.

The Speaker: Than you. Ordinarily I would regard a member misleading the House as a serious matter. However, in this case it is a National Party Minister who is doing so, and so I'll follow my usual precedent and ignore it. Supplementary question, Russel Norman.

Russel Norman: Is the Minister aware that the Victoria Forest Park is in the South Island, less than 1000 kilometers away from Fiordland, where there have been reported traces of Moose still living; and if so, what precautions has he taken to ensure than no Moose will be harmed by any mining activities in this untouched jewel, this unspoiled wilderness, this last remaining vestage of the ancient and sacred realm of Gaia?

Hon Simon Bridges: Should prospecting in this area show any signs of economically valuable mineral deposits, there will of course be very stringent environmental impact studies done before any mining activities commence. (Pause as widespread laughter around the House drowns out further speech.)

The Speaker: Order! Order! We all have a sense of humour, but I'd thank the Minister to treat question time with a little more respect.

Hon Simon Bridges: Certainly, Mr Speaker. Furthermore, I would point out that when the member was in government, he personally signed off on a regime allowing the hunting of Moose in Fiordland from helicopters using M-50 machine guns and air-to-surface missiles. So I find his concern for Moose now just a little hard to take.

Hon Peter Dunne: Point of order, Mr Speaker. I would like to point out that because I have hitched my political wagon to that of a bunch of hunters and shooters, I would never allow Moose to be killed from a helicopter. All Moose hunting with M-50 machine guns and missiles should be done on foot, as nature intended.

The Speaker: How is that a point of order?

Hon Peter Dunne: It isn't really. It's just I don't get noticed very much.

The Speaker: (Rolls eyes) Point of order, Meteria Turei.

Meteria Turei: Mr Speaker, the Minister is doing it again. Claiming that the Greens were in government is an outright lie. That's just not what we do, as everyone well knows.

The Speaker: Even though you are quite right, I'm going to have to pretend I didn't hear you because you used the "l" word. The member knows full well that she has to pretend that such activity just does not happen in this place. I'll invite the Minister to finish his answer.

Hon Simon Bridges: The Greens were in government. Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah.

Winston Peters: Point of order, Mr Speaker. Never before in all my years in this place has such a young whippersnapper of a shoddy excuse for a Minister ever said anything that has been so outright unrelated to the actual facts of the matter before us and it is incumbent upon your good self to uphold the honour of this place and take action to make sure it is not replicated again.

The Speaker: (Sighs) Oh, enough already. Would the Minister care to answer the question again?

Hon Simon Bridges: (Remains seated, sticks tounge out at Russel Norman.)

The Speaker: Next question ...


* This bit is an actual quote of what Simon Bridges said, as you can see if you read the advance transcript from parliamentary services (I was lying at the start when I said this "wasn't available" - they actually do a great job of very quickly turning out a record of events!)