Peter Dunne weighs in to row between Speaker Trevor Mallard and National MPs
Former MP Peter Dunne has weighed in to the parliamentary rancour swirling around Speaker Trevor Mallard’s rulings, accusing him of “compromising the presumed impartiality” of his role.
Dunne, who was a minister in Labour and National governments, said Labour member Mallard seemed “hell-bent” on changing the role of Speaker from its traditional independence from political bias.
Mallard declined to comment when approached by the Herald this morning. Expressing his opinions in a political column, Dunne notes National has labelled Mallard a bully following the speakers ejection of Opposition Leader Simon Bridges from the house this week and the sanctions imposed on National MP Nick Smith.
“Mr Mallard revelled in being Parliament’s resident bully boy when he was in Opposition. And he was good at it.
“But trying to reprise the role from the Speaker’s chair to protect the Prime Minister and batter the Opposition is not acceptable. If he carries on this way, he will achieve the dubious honour of being remembered as the Speaker who brought Parliament into disrepute.”
Smith was suspended from Parliament for 24 hours after Mallard “named” him following a dispute over the release of a report on testing drivers for drugs.
Mallard had ejected Smith for disorderly behaviour. The departing Smith shouted abuse at Mallard, prompting the Speaker to order him back in to face a naming motion.
Dunne said Mallard had overreacted, as he had over the “barnyard” noise Bridges was alleged to have made but had denied uttering.
Being “named”, Dunne said, meant an MP was suspended, initially for 24 hours but in rising amounts if the offence was repeated, and deprived of salary and the House’s resources.