Greens give their Question Time quota to National

The Green Party is handing over most of its allotted question quota in Parliament's Question Time to the National Party.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw says "patsy questions" don't add quality to democracy.

"The purpose of Question Time primarily should be to hold the Government to account," he told Newshub.

"Patsy questions generally get used to make announcements or defend the Governments' position, and we actually have plenty of avenues to do that."

The party has been critical of the way Question Time runs for years.

"We felt it was important now that we're in Government to act consistently with what we said in Opposition."

Mr Shaw says this does not signify any future "Teal Deal" between the Greens and the National Party.

"I am very happy with the Government we've got and I hope it lasts for a very long time."

National Party Leader Simon Bridges says the move will allow the party to better hold the Government to account.

"National will use the Green Party's questions as well its own to continue to focus on the issues that matter to New Zealanders - the economy, law and order, housing, public services and the environment."

James Shaw says the Green Party reserves the right to retain questions for particular issues, but the assumption is that it will be up to the Leader of the Opposition.

"I think one of the purposes of the Green Party has always been to experiment and push the boat out. This is just another way we are taking a bit of an experimental approach and we'll just have to see how it goes: it may become standard practice, it may not.

"I hope the National Party uses these questions to test us at least as much as they test any other MP in Government. And frankly, that's what Question Time ought to be for."


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