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Chaotic question time in parliament

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/06/2017

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During a chaotic question time in parliament opposition MPs fired questions at Prime Minister Bill English about the Todd Barclay scandal - without getting any answers.

Before the session started, Speaker David Carter reminded MPs about debating chamber rules that any questions to ministers had to be about issues involving ministerial responsibility, not about caucus matters.

There were objections to that but NZ First leader Winston Peters and Labour leader Andrew Little gave it their best shot.

They wanted to know why various statements about Todd Barclay made by Mr English were contradictory, and how he could question whether the tapes of secretly recorded staff conversations existed when he had also confirmed that Mr Barclay had offered to play them to him.

Prime Minister Bill English © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Prime Minister Bill English To all the questions, Mr English replied that they didn't involve ministerial responsibility or that he wasn't going to say anything more on the issue because the police had re-opened their investigation.

He also tried to turn questions against Mr Little by referring to the foreign student intern problem the Labour Party is grappling with.

Mr Carter ordered the prime minister to sit down after he had addressed Mr Little as "the leader of the free foreign labour party".

He managed to get one hit in while Mr Little was questioning him about "a potential crime" committed by one of his MPs.

"That member better be clear about the scale of immigration fraud to which he may be a party," Mr English said.

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