Christopher Luxon has said his new Government has not committed to a referendum on the Treaty principles bill, in his first Question Time as Prime Minister this afternoon.
Asked about the Treaty principles legislation, Luxon appeared to suggest National would not allow the Act’s Treaty Principles legislation to proceed beyond select committee.
He said a bill would be supported to select committee, as said in the coalition agreement, but “that’s as far as it will go”.
Luxon appeared to be speaking about Act’s Treaty principles bill. He may also have been speaking about a NZ First Treaty principles bill, although National has promised to pass this through all stages.
At the outset of Question Time, Labour opted for a pop quiz tactic with the new National Government - with some success.
Opposition leader Chris Hipkins nearly had his first question gazumped by a surprise debate on the new Government calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, which Hipkins thought would happen later.
Hipkins raised this in the House, expressing his concern that the Government had decided to move a debate on the ceasefire today, trumping his question on the same subject.
He fought back, however, asking Prime Minister Christohper Luxon whether he could tell the difference between things like a ceasefire and a humanitarian pause. Luxon, apparently not knowing the difference, did not address the question.
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters bailed Luxon out, coming to the rescue with a supplementary question - a patsy - whether the Government had put its name to a recent United Nations statement on Gaza. Luxon answered in the affirmative.
New PM’s first Question Time
Christopher Luxon’s first Question Time in the House as Prime Minister will feature much debate about his Government’s approach to the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
It comes after hundreds joined Brian Tamaki for a rally in support of Israel on the front lawn of Parliament this morning.
The Destiny Church leader and his wife Hannah held the demonstration in Wellington, calling on the government to stand with Israel following the October 7 attack by Palestine militant group Hamas.
Foreign Minister Winston Peters called on all parties involved in the conflict - including countries with influence in the region - to “take urgent steps towards establishing a ceasefire”.
In the House today, the Green Party and Labour Party challenged the Government over a motion calling for steps towards a ceasefire in the war. MPs debated the motion ahead of Question Time.
The first Question Time of the new Government will begin after debating has finished. It was due to start with a question to Luxon from Labour leader Chris Hipkins on one of the Prime Minister’s previous comments about calling for a ceasefire.
Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Labour leader Chris Hipkins lead MPs into the debating chamber during the State Opening of Parliament. Photo / Mark Mitchell
While he was caretaker PM, Hipkins last month called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
The caretaker Government had previously talked with National about calling for a ceasefire. National did not agree to that so Hipkins decided to go it alone and call for a ceasefire as Labour leader, rather than Prime Minister of the caretaker Government.
Party leaders Marama Davidson (Green Party) and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer (Te Pāti Māori) also have questions for Luxon today, but it wasn’t clear whether they would attempt to debate the conflict.
Green MP Golriz Ghahraman was set to ask Peters whether he would “join the United Nations Secretary-General, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the majority of New Zealanders according to a recent poll to call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza”.
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