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The stoush between Rawiri Waititi and the Speaker of the House is absolutely absurd. If Waititi wants to wear a hei tiki shaped taonga around his neck into Parliament for goodness sake, he should be able to.
This stoush has been brewing for some time. Late last year, Waititi was warned that he faced being ejected from the House if he did not wear a tie, after refusing to wear one.
Well, after refusing to wear what Mallard deems to be a tie. Peter Dunne was allowed to wear that absurd foppish bow tie in the debating chamber. It seems Green MP Ricardo Menéndez March, who is of Mexican descent, is allowed to wear a Bona bolo tie. These are as much ties as hei tiki.
The origin of the tie appears to have come about after Louis XIII hired Croatian mercenaries during the 30 year war in France. They wore red scarfs around their necks and Louis liked the look so much, he appropriated it and thus the cravat was born, and from there came the tie.
Ties came about because a French fop wanted to jazz up his wardrobe. It has nothing to do with a mark of respect or gravitas or dignity.
Late last year, Mallard said he was open to relaxing the rules around ties in the House. He had asked all MPs for their opinion as to whether or not MPs should be wearing ties in Parliament.
That feedback came back in the affirmative and the rule stayed.
"A significant majority of members who responded opposed any change to dress standards for the Debating Chamber," Mallard said.
"Having considered those views, I have decided that no change in current standards is warranted. Business attire, including a jacket and tie for men, remains the required dress standard."
But as I mentioned above, Mallard is open to interpretation as to what a tie should look like. A bow tie? A piece of string? But not a hei tiki?
Mallard is the problem, not the co-leader of the Māori Party. What if Labour needed the Māori Party to govern in a cobbled together coalition? You can bet your bippy then the Speakers version of what a tie looked like would include a hei tiki.
Also, as we mentioned yesterday, the Speaker of the House has done more to sully the integrity of the House than Rawiri Waititi.
Besides, is this really what we pay our MPs to do? Engage in personal power struggles wasting valuable time and energy that could be spent on issues that really matter? Get back to work like the rest of us had to do weeks earlier than you lot.
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