Here comes the protection

Photoshopped image credit: SadButTrue

Good on Simon Bridges, for pointing out what is patently obvious to anyone who ever listens to parliamentary Question Time. Trevor Mallard, a former Labour MP himself, is the most biased Speaker since… probably Margaret Wilson, also a former Labour MP. There is a pattern here. Whether the whole thing was staged or not doesn’t matter – Bridges has put it on record that Mallard frequently steps in to protect his Princess. And we all know this to be true.

Even Audrey Young sees it. quote.

Parliament’s Speaker, Trevor Mallard, has an inbuilt bias against National Party leader Simon Bridges and a soft spot for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

That much has been clear since Mallard took the chair just over a year ago. Bridges gets under his skin. end quote.

It is more than a soft spot, Audrey. He protects her from those mean, nasty, ugly capitalists on the other side of the house. To quote the?Rt. Hon. WINSTON PETERS: ‘On behalf of the Prime Minister, can I say “compassionate” and “kindness” are her middle two names’. Clearly, she needs protection. It is a bit sad, really, that she is not tough enough to be prime minister, and has to have bully boys on either side of her to give her safe passage. quote.

It was during questions to the Government about the Karel Sroubek case that Bridges accused Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of “ducking and diving”.

Such a description is not unusual in the cut and thrust of politics, and barely raised anybody’s eyebrow ? except Mallard’s.

Mallard stood up to object ? we don’t know whether he was about to make Bridges withdraw and apologise and put him on a final warning.

But before he could mete out punishment, Bridges said: “Here comes the protection.”

That was the offending phrase and that got him ejected from the House ? and for that there can be no objection. end quote.

Although it was apparently okay for Mallard to call Simon Bridges a ?smart-arse? the day before. Can there be an objection to that? quote.

It crossed a line. It can be easily argued that Mallard was too quick to leap to the defence of Ardern after she was accused of ducking and diving ? not that she requires any help from Mallard in the chamber. end quote.

Well, obviously she does need help in the chamber, Audrey. She was certainly not answering Simon Bridges’ questions yesterday. quote.

After Mallard had ordered Bridges out, Brownlee interjected that it must have struck a nerve, and Mallard ordered Brownlee out too, creating a walk-out of most MPs except those which had questions to ask.

It was not an isolated incident. National has long objected to Mallard’s unfair practice of taking questions off National as a punishment for a transgression.

He did it yesterday when Melissa Lee and Louise Upston sighed during a ruling from Mallard – after first making them stand and apologise.

For as long as that egregious rule is applied, there will be wounded relations between the Speaker and the Opposition because that is the Speaker playing God. end quote.

Does he do this to Phil Twyford or Winston Peters? Not often. quote.

Mallard’s intolerance was on display yesterday when he referred to Bridges’ questions as “smart-arse” which is also an appalling lapse by a Speaker to the Leader of the Opposition.

And during an exchange with Brownlee, he basically agreed that tighter standards apply to Opposition questions than to answers by Government Ministers. end quote.

Mallard openly admits his bias. That is truly disgraceful. quote.

The sadness of Mallard’s speakership is that he had hopes of inserting himself less into Question Time than other Speakers, but he is doing the exact opposite.

On Newshub this week, Winston Peters tried to suggest that Mallard was not behaving like a Labour MP, but that is not true. It is impossible to take the politics out of the politician. end quote.

Well in Mallard’s case, it is impossible. We all shook our heads when Mallard became Speaker. Although he had coveted the role for a long time, it was evident he was never going to hide his obvious bias. As is shown above, he doesn’t even try. He goes with the government all the way, every time.

Mallard has brought the role of Speaker into disrepute and has turned Question Time into a farce. This is supposed to be the opposition’s chance to hold the government to account, and to ask questions, the answers to which are then clearly on the record. This government obfuscates all the time, ducking and diving in exactly the way that Bridges claims. The fact that the Speaker allows them to get away with this is a sad indictment on our parliamentary process, and a huge black mark against Mallard himself. He should be sacked immediately.

It won’t happen though. This government needs all the help it can get and a biased Speaker is an asset they are not going to let go without a fight.