The most extraordinary hour of Parliament
If you’ve not seen it, the hour-long debate in Parliament last night on Trevor Mallard is perhaps the most remarkable 60 minutes of Parliament you’ll ever see.
Last night the Speaker used parliamentary privilege to respond to the continued questions from the opposition regarding his 18 month legal battle which has so far cost the taxpayer $333,000. However, rather than the Speaker backing down, he dug in his heels and launched into a fiery exchange with opposition MPs.
Today the Prime Minster has come out stating her “overall support” for the Speaker but mentioned she has “expressed serious concerns to him about the manner in which he conducted himself in the House last night.”
Worth seeing for yourself
National MP Chris Bishop’s response
We seldom reprint an MP’s media release, but in this instance we think Chris Bishop has it spot on:
MEDIA RELEASE: Mallard fails to give taxpayers a straight answer
Trevor Mallard has confirmed he is unfit to be Parliament’s Speaker by failing to answer several important questions relating to the false rape accusation saga that cost taxpayers more than $330,000, Shadow Leader of the House Chris Bishop says.
"Trevor Mallard failed to justify his actions before Parliament last night. Taxpayers deserved straight answers after he cost them more than $330,000 but those answers never came.
"The big question Trevor Mallard repeatedly dodged is: why did he not just apologise once he knew he had wrongly accused the Parliamentary staffer of rape, which in his own words was within 24 hours, rather than letting this drag for 18 months at taxpayers’ expense?
"Taxpayers are also still in the dark as to how much more Mr Mallard’s subsequent behaviour, including his refusal to apologise and the ‘threats’ that followed, has cost them in damages."
Other questions that remain unanswered for Mr Mallard, the Prime Minister and Labour are:
Why did Mr Mallard’s lawyers tell the plaintiff in the defamation case that he intended to plead truth (ie. prove he was a rapist) when he knew that claim was incorrect?
Did Mr Mallard follow through on this threat and plead truth in any statement of defence filed with the court, when he knew that claim was incorrect?
Why did Mr Mallard’s lawyers tell the plaintiff in the defamation case that he intended to defend any claim "vigorously"? In particular, why did his lawyers say to the plaintiff that "the question of his reputation, and his conduct, will be very much the centrepiece of any public proceeding"?
Was the Prime Minister aware that Mr Mallard knew the rape claim to be false but had threatened the plaintiff that he intended to claim it was true anyway?
Did he mislead the Select Committee by stating he had no knowledge of the case when it is apparent he was briefed twice in the issue by his CEO?
"Trevor Mallard behaved in a threatening and bullying way. In any other workplace across New Zealand he would be sacked," Mr Bishop says.
"The Prime Minister might like to reflect on the fact that if Trevor Mallard was a National MP, she would be the first in line to call for his resignation."
Keeping this in the news
Some in the National Party wanted to give this issue up. But with your support, we’ve kept this issue in the media including our full page letter to the Prime Minister and ‘pay it back’ adverts.
By keeping it in the media, we’ve helped set the scene for National Party to continue to pursue this issue in Parliament.
It is clear the Government is feeling the pressure
From the Prime Minister’s comments today, it is clear she now knows this issue is a vulnerable point for her Government.
We will not let it drop.
Jacinda Ardern cannot allow her Speaker to aggressively position himself as a heroic figure in what is ultimately a mess of his own making.
Your humble Taxpayers’ Union is reliably informed the high water mark of the allegations against the falsely accused “rapist” was that he hugged someone from behind. For Mr Mallard to accuse his critics of defending someone guilty of ‘serious sexual assault’ is simply repeating the same behaviour that got him into this mess.
The Prime Minister can not in good faith continue to support Trevor Mallard as Speaker.
We need to put more pressure on Jacinda Ardern. Donate here to help us continue to hold Trevor Mallard to account, and put a stop to the growing legal bills being covered by the taxpayer.