National burying Parliament in 'spam' - Hipkins

National's being accused of spamming Parliament, its MPs lodging more than 6000 parliamentary questions in the last month.

Nearly 6300 questions have been submitted, with the majority asking what events or meetings a minister had attended on a particular date.

In contrast, Newsroom says only 964 were submitted by the Labour-led Opposition in the month following the 2014 election.

Labour Leader of the House Chris Hipkins says the Opposition's got its priorities wrong.

"What we've seen from the National Party in the last few weeks is the parliamentary equivalent of spam mail, and as a result I don't think they're going to get much useful information out of it," he told Newshub.

Shadow Leader of the House, National MP Simon Bridges, says so many questions are being asked because Labour's not giving them good enough answers.

"We're not getting answers in Parliament or outside of it from new ministers. If they answered our questions… we wouldn't have to ask so many," he told Newshub on Sunday morning.

"We have a right to ask questions, we have a right to get answers. We're not getting them at the moment, and that's leading them to yet more while we try and work out how we can get good answers to these, we think, reasonable questions."

National burying Parliament in 'spam' - Hipkins
Parliament's Hansard website has hundreds of pages that look just like this one.
Parliament's Hansard website has hundreds of pages that look just like this one. Photo credit: Hansard/Newshub.

Mr Hipkins says while Labour pushed the boundaries when it was in Opposition, National's behaviour is unprecedented.

"All New Zealanders, regardless of whether they voted for us or not, want the Government to be effective. I don't think they want a Government that's bogged down with trivialities and time-wasting. If the Opposition want to focus their energies on that, we'll just get on with the job of delivering for New Zealanders.

"At the end of the day, questions like this don't really serve the public interest. They simply soak up huge amounts of time, and that's time and money and energy that could be put into serving the public."

Mr Bridges says what National is doing is "no different" to what previous Oppositions have done in the early days of a new Government.

National MP Michael Woodhouse says the Government's doing some time-wasting of its own with the housing crisis stocktake.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford commissioned the review after accusing the previous Government of hiding a nationwide shortfall of 71,000 houses.

Mr Woodhouse says it's just a time-waster.

"This is just another in a long line of committees and inquiries that are there to advise the Government on what it should be doing. I would have thought after nine years in Opposition, they would have had a much clearer plan for what to do."

Mr Woodhouse says the information the minister wants is already available from Treasury and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Ironically, earlier this month National forced Labour to increase the number of seats on its committees from 96 to 109, political commentators suggesting that would make the select committee process less efficient.