Greens sick of asking 'patsy' questions - Bridges

Simon Bridges says he understands why the Greens have given up some of their Question Time privileges.

They "hate the patsies", the National leader told The AM Show on Monday.

The Greens made a surprise move at the weekend, saying they'll give up most of their allotted questions in Parliament's Question Time to the Opposition.

"The purpose of Question Time primarily should be to hold the Government to account," leader James Shaw told Newshub on Sunday. "Patsy questions generally get used to make announcements or defend the Governments' position, and we actually have plenty of avenues to do that."

Mr Bridges said it was a "great" move from the Greens, who are usually more strident in their opposition to National Party policies than Labour.

"We go from something like seven, eight questions a day to eight, nine, possibly 10 on occasions. I think what we'll try and do is respect what the Greens have done and the spirit in which they've done it by asking serious questions on the issues that matter."

Which means not asking patsy questions. AM Show host Duncan Garner asked Mr Bridges what the worst question he ever asked in Parliament was.

"Probably something along the lines of, 'Minister - why are you so good, and what are you doing that's so good?' That sort of thing.

"I think they do have a role - I'm not trying to be cute here - I think they do have a role for the big party. I see where the Greens are coming from. They get not many every week, and they were feeling silly asking them."

But that doesn't mean we should expect the fabled 'teal deal' to happen between the Nats and the Greens. Even with his renewed emphasis on environmental issues, Mr Bridges says the Greens are still "red-green", rather than "blue-green".

"I know James Shaw would emphasise that even more than me."

While in Opposition, National is the largest party in Parliament.

"We've gone from the most questions for an Opposition in history, to even more. That helps us do our job... to hold the Government to account."


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