Topic: Politics

National pushes Speaker to address concerns in-house

By Talisa Kupenga

The response deadline for Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard to answer whether or not he told media National MPs called the prime minister a "stupid little girl" lapsed today.

The cut-off, issued by National’s Gerry Brownlee, was part of a letter that also criticised Mr Mallard of being biased towards the opposition by removing its questions during question time.

The deadline is up and shadow Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee wants answers.

"Did you brief the media [on] the allegation that a National MP called the prime minister a stupid little girl?" he asks.

Leader of the House Chris Hipkins says, "These are matters that should be raised with the Speaker outside of the house and not inside the house".

However, yesterday Brownlee sent a letter to the Speaker citing concerns he had briefed the media alleging a National MP made the unproven remarks.

Brownlee says, "After we had read in various media places that the speaker had acknowledged that he had heard the statement.  If he's the only one that heard it raises the question of how did the statement get in to the media".

Hipkins says, "If members have a concern they can set down a notice of motion and that is the way to raise the matter not through further points of order".

National's Paula Bennett left the chamber yesterday after a fiery exchange around the Speaker's question penalty.  Today she was kicked out of the house.

"When he's standing up and calling one of our members ridiculous and then a number of people including including me say it is ridiculous and he singles me out I just kind of think at some level it's got personal for him,” Bennett says.

So what's next for National?

Brownlee says, "We have a position where we have said to the Speaker 'there is still an issue for you to deal with and we expect for you to deal with it over the next two weeks'".

But if push came to shove would a vote of no confidence in the speaker fly?

Mr Hipkins says "I think it's highly unlikely to succeed".

Green Party Co-Leader Marama Davidson says, "No".

New Zealand First’s Jenny Marcroft says, "We haven’t actually discussed it as a caucus so I'd need to talk with my caucus colleagues about it".

Labour’s Willie Jackson commends the Speaker for doing a "good job".

He says "I'm really annoyed that National keeps moaning all the time it's a waste of time".

Mr Brownlee will revisit the situation in a fortnight.