Labour fails to have numbers for Speaker so caves in on select committees

Stuff reports:

The Government have had to cave to the Opposition’s demands on its first day in the House after it failed to have the numbers to comfortably elect its new Speaker, Trevor Mallard.

That is a new level of incompetence – not to have made sure you have enough MPs around to elect the Speaker.

National and Labour have been clashing for days over the Government’s plans to cut opposition MPs out of select committees.

Leader of the House Chris Hipkins had proposed the number of committee seats be reduced to 96, meaning 11 National MPs would miss out.

So a good outcome from Labour’s stuff up. All backbench National MPs now get the chance to serve on a select committee.

But what a stuff up from Labour. To have five Government MPs away from Parliament on the day the Speaker is elected.

The shambles began when Labour MP Ruth Dyson rose to nominate Mallard for the Speaker role.

Bridges immediately raised a point of order asking for clarification about whether absent MPs, who hadn’t been sworn in on Tuesday morning, had a vote on the Speaker role.

As the House took a break to work out the order, Bridges taunted the government with shouts of “where’s Winston when you need him?”

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Trade Minister David Parker have both already left for APEC in Vietnam and several other government MPs including, Labour’s Poto Williams and Priyanca Radhakrishnan and the Greens’ Gareth Hughes, were also absent.

That meant National could “assume the majority”, leader Bill English said.

During the commotion in the House it became apparent National’s nomination for deputy speaker, Anne Tolley, could end up as Speaker.

I commented a few days ago that Hipkins had a huge workload as Education Minister, Tertiary Education Minister, State Services, Ministerial Services and Leader of the House. To almost end up with an Opposition MP as Speaker is a bad way to start a Government.

Comments (196)

Login to comment or vote

Add a Comment