'Twat': National MPs storm out of Parliament after a row with Speaker

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 24 Feb 2021, 2:30PM
Speaker Trevor Mallard. (Photo / NZ Herald)
Speaker Trevor Mallard. (Photo / NZ Herald)

'Twat': National MPs storm out of Parliament after a row with Speaker

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 24 Feb 2021, 2:30PM

Senior National MPs Simon Bridges and Paul Goldsmith have stormed out of Parliament after an argument with the Speaker.

Goldsmith was arguing with Trevor Mallard, pushing back strongly on his decision not to let him continue his line of questioning of Education Minister Chris Hipkins in the House.

After a few minutes of back and forth, Mallard told Parliament it was time to move on.

During the exchange Mallard told Goldsmith he needed to listen "by using your ears", to much laughter in the House.

Goldsmith, who said he still had one question left, stood up and stormed out - yelling something at Mallard as he left.

Bridges, who was not involved in the argument, then followed his fellow MP out.

National has been at odds with Mallard this year, including attempting to move a no-confidence motion with the Speaker.

It is understood that shadow leader of the House Chris Bishop will attempt to move the motion again after Question Time today.

But - like last week - the motion is doomed to fail as Labour has a majority in the House.

National want the Speaker gone, after it was revealed last year that Mallard cost $300,000 of taxpayers' money to settle a defamation claim, after he falsely claimed an accused rapist was working at Parliament.

More than a year later, Mallard apologised to the staff member in question, through his lawyers, in a public written apology.

Although any no confidence vote is doomed to fail, as Labour holds a majority in the House, Bishop had said that this was a "matter of principle" for National.

"We're very clear that his behaviour is not up to the job of the Speaker," he said earlier this month.

"It's just simply not appropriate to have the Speaker of the House besmirching the dignity of Parliament in the way that he has and failing to uphold the standards of the House that he himself is in charge of enforcing."

It's likely National will continue to lodge no confidence motions in the coming weeks and months.

"We have about 200 sitting days this year, which I'm sure that the Speaker will have notices of motion in there for many of those," National leader Judith Collins said earlier this month.

Collins said the no-confidence vote will be lodged "on the basis that we think we should".

Asked if National planned to continue moving the motion over the coming weeks, she said: "Hopefully, it won't be needed. Hopefully, the Prime Minister will take this matter seriously."

But Jacinda Ardern had previously said that Labour would continue to support Mallard in his role as Speaker.

In December last year, she admitted that Mallard had "made a mistake".