Standing orders apply, even to the Maori Party

The Herald reports:

In a highly unusual move, the Speaker has released correspondence between himself, the Clerk’s office and Māori Party MPs over the row that blew up in Parliament.

Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard and the Māori Party are accusing each other of grandstanding after the Māori Party’s two MPs walked out of the first session of the new Parliament yesterday.

Co-leader Rawiri Waititi raised a point of order in te reo Māori when seeking to participate in a debate but was overruled by Mallard.

He was given a brief opportunity to convince the Speaker to hear him out, telling the House “Kei te mōtini te pāti Māori kia riro i a mātou, 15 miniti ki ngā kaiarahi o te pāti Māori i roto i tēnei wāhanga whakautu kōrero”, roughly translated as “to pass a motion so that the Māori Party leaders can have 15 minutes to speak in the Address in Reply”.

But the Speaker cut him off, which prompted Waititi and co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer to leave the chamber, in a dramatic start to the Māori Party’s return to the halls of power.

Under the rules, party leaders with more than six MPs get 30 minutes to speak and smaller parties would only get the chance if time allowed before the House rises at 5pm.

However, because Waititi and Ngarewa-Packer are new MPs, if they spoke in the Address in Reply debate that would constitute their maiden speech and these were not scheduled until at least next week.

Waititi tried to secure a speaking slot based on a standing order that such decisions do not discriminate against a minority party.

The problem the MPs had is that they tried to move a motion while another MP was speaking. You can’t do that. They can complain all they want about it, but their best bet would be to have a staffer experienced in parliamentary procedure who can assist them.

Waititi replied: “The only Party being banned from the Address in Reply debate is Te Paati Māori … all other 4 Party’s are Pākeha led and dominated. These Party’s get 30 minutes speaking time, Māori get nothing”.

Actually all four other parties have a Maori leader or co-leader or deputy leader.

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