Bridges kicked out of House over 'barnyard animal' noises

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
Politics,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 7 May 2019, 3:14PM

National Leader Simon Bridges has been kicked out of the House for fighting with the Speaker after being accused of making "barnyard animal" noises.

But speaking to media outside of the chamber, Bridges denied he made any such sound.

He said the way he was spoken to by Speaker Trevor Mallard in the House made him feel like a "naughty boy" and told reporters outside the House that his comments were "unprofessional".

During Question Time today, Bridges took issue with points of order raised by Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, which he said were "ridiculous".

He brought this up with the Speaker in the House and complained about the way the Speaker was treating the Opposition's points of order.

Mallard, however, took issue with Bridges' conduct in the House.

"The member earlier made a barnyard noise of the sort that would not be accepted in a junior classroom," the Speaker said.

In response, Bridges said: "I made no such noise and it is entirely unfair for you as a Speaker to say that sort of unprofessional comment."

Mallard then ordered Bridges to leave the House.

Upon a closer listen to the video taken in the House, it is clear Bridges makes a loud sound of sad disapproval in response to an answer given by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

"We all know the Speaker's, shall we say, inimitable style," Bridges told media after being kicked out.

"But I think every so often he [Mallard] does have to be called on the fact that bad behaviour from one side is, in his view, charming and what isn't even bad behaviour on the other side is reprehensible – that's what happened today."

Asked if the Mallard was biased, Bridges said he "didn't want to get into all those words" as he said it was not worth it.

He said when Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, for example, does "ridiculous things" he is not chastised by the Speaker.

"When on our side, actually frankly nothing bad even happens, there is a very different, heavy response."

He said the Speaker wanted him to feel like a "naughty boy".

"I don't feel like one; I don't think there was anything wrong that happened today, [or] frankly most Parliaments from me."

He said comment from the Speaker that he had made a "barnyard animal sound" was unprofessional.

"From time to time, the Speaker does need to be reminded that it's Parliament's House; that it's for all members of Parliament and the Opposition has an important role to play."

He said it was "impossible" for the Opposition to hold the Government to account if its leader is being kicked out of the House.

 

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