Problems in the house with the speaker’s actions

Parliament is turning nasty and open warfare between the speaker and National has broken out, and not without good reason either: Quote:

The National Party has?issued a strident letter?to Parliament’s referee Trevor Mallard, demanding he explain his role in a story about an alleged sexist remark.

Mr Mallard, who is Speaker of the House, insists he heard a National MP call the Prime Minister “a stupid little girl” in the debating chamber two weeks ago.?End quote.

He’s been at pains to say that it’s hard to hear on that side of the house because he is deaf in one ear… yet, miraculously, he allegedly heard that??Quote:

The remark was first reported last week by?Newshub?but no source was given. Mr Mallard confirmed on Wednesday those were the words he heard.?End quote.

With his deaf ear??Quote:

The audio recording of the incident is unclear and National’s MPs have denied saying any such thing.

National MP Gerry Brownlee said it was unacceptable for the Speaker to promote stories about unverified events.

None of us heard it and none of us said it,” he said.

The only person who says he heard it is the Speaker and we are concerned about why some days after it had been dealt with, it’s now back in the media.

Mr Brownlee said the Speaker had to be completely neutral in parliament and to support the Opposition in its efforts to hold the government to account.

“The Speaker’s job is the hardest in parliament … but there is an expectation the Speaker will behave in a neutral fashion and we’re having a little trouble seeing evidence of that.

The letter sets a deadline of 2pm on Thursday for Mr Mallard to respond.

“All we want is a clarification – did he brief the media about this issue? And if he did, then he’s shown himself not to be in a neutral position.

National said its confidence in the Speaker had been “severely shaken”.?End quote.

His rubbish deducting questions here and there needs to end too.?Quote:

A spokesperson for Mr Mallard said he would not be making any comment to the media about the story.

The letter also expressed frustration at the way Mr Mallard ran Question Time in Parliament.

Since becoming Speaker, Mr Mallard has introduced a new system of discipline, awarding and deducting questions from MPs who interrupt proceedings.

National’s deputy leader Paula Bennett stormed out of the debating chamber this afternoon in protest after having five questions deducted.

“When you’re in there it doesn’t seem very fair and doesn’t seem at all predictable,” she said.

Mr Mallard said, to date, National MPs had actually been awarded 22 more questions than they otherwise would have had. End quote.

I don’t think Paula handled that particularly well. There is a better way. Let’s see if National don’t try that next time.

Mallard isn’t doing that well and his rather anachronistic defence of Jacinda looks a bit sexist in and of itself. She’s a big girl and shouldn’t need the speaker to protect her.

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