Speaker Trevor Mallard has cost the taxpayer more than $333,000 after a parliamentary staffer he accused of rape pursued legal action, and the National Party now says it can no longer support Mallard in the job.
The figure, revealed to the National Party in a written parliamentary question, includes a $158,000 settlement payment from the Speaker to the staffer, $171,000 to cover legal fees, and $4641.70 for Crown Law advice to the former deputy speaker.
Sometimes defamation suits are unavoidable in politics, especially for Ministers.
But this case seemed highly avoidable. The Speaker over-stated the case massively against a Parliamentary Service employee, and it has cost taxpayers $333,000.
It’s good that the information on cost has been released.