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Trevor Mallard criticised for being 'protective' of PM

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Thursday, 6 December 2018, 7:23a.m.
Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard kicked National Party leader Simon Bridges out of question time. Photo / Mark Mitchell

A political commentator says National Party leader Simon Bridges shouldn't have criticised Speaker Trevor Mallard, even if he was right.

The National Party leader was kicked out after muttering "here comes the protection" when Trevor Mallard interjected during a question to the Prime Minister.

Bridges was asking Jacinda Ardern if she was "ducking and diving" on the Karel Sroubek case when he was kicked out.

Shadow leader of the House Gerry Brownlee was also ordered to leave after saying Bridges seemed to have struck a nerve.

They were followed by most National MPs who staged a walk-out in protest.

Political commentator and former National Party press secretary, Ben Thomas, told Kate Hawkesby Bridges shouldn't have made the comment.

"You can't be that blatant in the criticism of the Speaker [but] that doesn't detract from the fact that he was right."

"Bridges really should have exercised a bit of self-control there. He had to know that that would lead to his ejection."

"If he did know it was going to lead to his ejection, he should have organised a faster walk out to make the point better. You really need to have these things coordinated in advance or they can look like a mess."

However, he said Bridges was correct that the Speaker is very protective of the Prime Minister.

"Jacinda Ardern is an extremely strong performer in the House and I think there is a bit of unfortunate paternalism about her in some quarters of politics and the media."

"It's seen as a bit beyond the pale to even question the Prime Minister hard in some case."

"I think a lot of people actually had high hopes for Mallard as Speaker of the House, probably including Mallard himself."

"That was based on this idea that he had sort of fallen into the fringes of the Labour Party a bit, it's always better for Parliament when the Speaker has a slightly antagonistic relationship with the leader of their own party."

"If he had been the Speaker under Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, David Shearer, you know guys that he wasn't really in the inner circle with, perhaps be would have been a more impartial Speaker than he has been."

Newstalk ZB political editor, Barry Soper, told Larry Williams any suggestion the Speaker is biased is taken seriously.

"The Speaker, of course, has a lot of weight as an impartial member of the house above anyone else."

he said Mallard had no choice but to throw out the leader

"You can't accuse the House Speaker, who is supposed to be impartial, of being a protector. I think even Simon Bridges will admit the action was warranted."

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