Thursday, 4 June 2020

‘Grandpa’ unparliamentary, ‘bloody loser’ acceptable: Mallard


Winston Peters was the sole objector to David Seymour asking him more questions about his failure to get the country to Level 1 in a skirmish that saw the Speaker eject Seymour from Parliament.

Seymour simply asked why the Deputy Prime Minister had failed to persuade the Prime Minister to move to Level 1 immediately.

Speaker Trevor Mallard objected to Seymour questioning Peters after Seymour called him ‘grandpa’ in response to Peters calling Seymour ‘sunshine’.

The Speaker first asked if Seymour used the term deliberately. Seymour said it wasn’t, but the Speaker said he’d lose his last remaining question even so.

When Seymour pointed out that the Speaker frequently allows members to ask questions despite minor breaches, the Speaker appeared to say that different rules applied because the questions were given to Seymour by another member, Jami-Lee Ross.

Later in Question Time, Stuart Nash called Nick Smith a “bloody loser” without sanction.

Seymour asked the whole House for permission to keep questioning Peters and no one objected except for the man who’d have to answer the question, Peters himself.

“Given the chance, I would have asked why Peters failed to even get a move to Level 1 onto the Cabinet agenda. People need to hear the full extent of his failings.

“There is a convention that MPs should not criticise the Speaker, and I respect that. On the other hand, I believe the public watching this exchange will see someone making it up as they go and avoiding accountability through any means necessary.”