Tracy Watkins at Stuff reports:
There were dramatic scenes in Parliament today as Speaker Lockwood Smith refused to swear in new Mana Party leader Hone Harawira after he would not deliver his affirmation as dictated by law.
The former Maori Party MP was to be sworn in as MP for Te Tai Tokerau.
As Harawira left the debating chamber, supporters sung from the public galleries in defiance of Smith’s ruling for them to cease.
Harawira had earlier sought to speak in Maori after approaching the Speaker to take the oath.
Smith interrupted him and informed him he must leave the Chamber and “return on a sitting day when he is determined to make the affirmation according to the law of this land”.
There were calls of “shame” and “no respect” as Harawira left.
The Speaker informed MPs that he had advised Harawira prior to his affirmation that the law of New Zealand required the affirmation “to be [delivered] in a certain way”.
The Speaker does not have discretion on this issue. The oath is not a requirement of Standing Orders or the Speaker. It is a legislated requirement of the Constitution Act 1986. S11(1) states:
A member of Parliament shall not be permitted to sit or vote in the House of Representatives until that member has taken the Oath of Allegiance in the form prescribed in section 17 of the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957
And S17 says:
The oath in this Act referred to as the Oath of Allegiance shall be in the form following, that is to say:
I, …, swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her [or His] Majesty [Specify the name of the reigning Sovereign, as thus: Queen Elizabeth the Second], Her [or His] heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.
One can affirm instead of swear, so cut out the God reference. You can also say it in te reo. But what you can not do is change the wording as it seems Hone tried to do.Tags: Hone Harawira, Parliament