The role of Speaker of the House requires a level head and sense of authority. A bit of mana, it commands respect.
And that’s why I’m finding the hot-headed unprofessional behaviour of Trevor Mallard increasingly frustrating.
In fact, it’s beyond frustrating; it’s actually just downright rude.
He is a law unto himself and is abusing his power.
His outbursts and the tone he is setting inside Parliament are beyond the pale. Even the PM has said so. Which, by the way, is a first, a sitting PM criticising a sitting Speaker has never happened before, that’s how serious this is.
But her expressing concern is not enough, he needs to go. And can she have it both ways? Express concern over him, but then still give him her confidence. Which is it?
National have been saying he should go for a while now, Chris Bishop says he’s “a bully displaying petulance and contempt,” and it’s hard to argue with that. But when you have the PM and senior ministers also wading in, you know you’ve gone too far, surely?
So why won't Mallard go? Why is he like this? Does Trevor Mallard think he is beyond reproach? Does he think because he’s so cosied up to the PM and in her tight little clique that he can literally get away with any amount of slander?
Does he think democracy loving New Zealanders are just going to put the blinkers on this one and pretend it’s not happening? That we’re all asleep at the wheel and just don’t care?
I hope that’s not the case, because we should care. This is reprehensible recidivist behaviour, from someone who not only should know better, but who has already apologised for this very behaviour, then repeated it. It’s unhinged.
Hipkins said he didn't like the “tone” of how things went, but it’s one thing to dislike the tone, it’s another to do something about it.
Why is Labour standing by him? How can you expect to set the tone of how MP’s should behave, yet in the same breath still endorse Mallard’s behaviour?
Because this is what stinks; how low do you have to go? This is a party which campaigned on kindness, does not believe in punching down, is allegedly against name calling and wants to be seen as harmonious, woke and inclusive.
Yet, here they are, standing by someone who is repeatedly flouting all of those values and appears morally bankrupt.
The tone of parliament, if Labour MP’s are truly worried about that, is dictated by the speaker.
If the Labour party truly wants that addressed and fixed, then Mallard has to go. You can spout all the morals and virtues you like, but if you’re not prepared to live by them, then it makes you a hypocrite. It’s all just hot air. Until Labour acts and agrees a vote of no confidence in Mallard as speaker, they’re just as bad as he is, and none of us should be having a bar of it.