Clarke Gayford, Chris Bishop clash on Twitter over legislation numbers

Chris Bishop and Clarke Gayford.
Chris Bishop and Clarke Gayford. Photo credit: Getty / Newshub.

Clarke Gayford and National MP Chris Bishop have clashed on Twitter over whether the number of pieces of legislation passed so far this year is the highest in a decade.

On Sunday, Gayford - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's fiancé - tweeted: "In making NZ a better fairer place, a big congrats to the NZ Government for officially passing/changing more legislation in the last 7 month period than any government has FOR THE LAST DECADE."

"Imagine if the jobs was full time eh," he said - likely a reference to National leader Simon Bridges' criticism of Ardern and her Government as working "part-time".

However, that tweet caught the attention of Bishop who shared it and said that Parliament had passed and given Royal Assent to 41 Bills since January this year. He said in the same period in 2017, 44 Bills had assented.

Bishop provided a list of years and the number of pieces of legislation that had been assented in each, including 104 in 2010.

"Should also make obvious point that using 'Bills passed' as some sort of proxy for government achievement is absurd; but even on that metric, this government is just as incompetent and useless as we say," he tweeted.

Chris Hipkins - Leader of the House - then weighed in, saying that Bishop was "counting divided Bills" each listed as having been assented. Hipkins said "based on Bills that had a Third Reading, Clarke is absolutely correct".

One example is the Statutes Amendment Bill (no. 4) in 2015, which was divided into 34 pieces. 

"So one Bill going through the House could end up being several or more. We don't do that anymore," Hipkins said.