Recently there were questions around a tweet sent by Trevor Mallard. This tweet prompted the Speaker to refer the issue to the Business Committee, who have found that there is an issue of privilege that needs to be addressed. It is an issue that needs to be looked at, however, from what the speaker has said so far, which I am still trying to get hold of, it isn’t looking good for what will be allowed to be said on Twitter. Julie Anne Genter has alluded to this already:
I do note, that apart from Tau Henare, most National MPs have been rather quiet about this, which does not give me hope for what might come of the Privileges Committee consideration of the issue.
This is concerning. Sure there is a need for clarification around what can be said and what can’t. However, Twitter makes NZQT much more interesting to watch, and allows people to engage directly with what is happening in the house. The rules around the use of Twitter shouldn’t be based on all MPs behaving like some MPs do. Most MPs are pretty good when it comes to Twitter, just like most MPs are pretty good in the House.
The statement made by the Speaker, from what I can remember of it, sounded pretty vague and as Holly Walker has said “dubious”. I can see some good things coming from this review, but I can also see some very very bad things coming from it.
I will be looking into the possibility of making a submission on any debates that surround this.