I think it's about time the PM admitted that her little effort to try and get Mallard in line by giving him the Speaker position when even his own constituents didn't want him any more has failed. The man has been sucking of the teet of the public coffers since the early 1980s, and his behaviour has never been exemplary. But his behaviour in regards to the claims he made that a staffer was a rapist, proven to be false in court, are just too much. The fact that Mallard is now using the Privilege of the house to make the same accusations the tax payer has already had to pay restitution for, is beyond a joke.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has given House Speaker Trevor Mallard a very public dressing down, saying his conduct in the House last night was "totally inappropriate".
But she stopped short of heeding National and Act's call to sack Mallard as she said resignations would not resolve the underlying issues which led to last night's debate.
She said the blame lay with everyone who participated in the session – "no one, last night, covered themselves in glory".
Last night, Mallard used the legal immunity of parliamentary privilege to claim that a worker – who he apologised to for falsely accused of rape – committed sexual assault.
His rape claim previously led to a defamation payout of more than $300,000 to the worker.
The scenes in the House last night were rare, as Mallard was acting in his capacity as Minister of Parliamentary Services, and he was not chairing the session.
Totally inappropriate? That's it? The man has a history of pushing the limits. He's already been put in front of a judge for making this same claim in the past. The tax payer had to fund his legal costs, and then had to pay out the damages that were awarded against him.
But this was only "inappropriate" and not worth sacking him or asking for his resignation.
Our Prime Minister has shown once again that she doesn't have any leadership qualities. The best she can offer is a hug and a tear. A sympathetic look as you give her your sob story. But when she has to actually front up and deal with real issues, she's completely lacking. Mallard should not only be sacked, he should be censured at the very least. He should be required to make a public withdrawal of his comments, and an apology to the man he has once again accused of sexual assault. An accusation a court has already found to be complete defamation.
Mallard was one of the Clark Government's attack dogs. He was openly and proudly the bully when in Opposition during the Key years. He relished the ability to make comments across the house without being held accountable for them. That has never changed. He has no ability to control his mouth. That much is clear.
This is enough. If the PM isn't willing to take a stand and fire this man, then she's completely failed as any sort of a leader. Hopefully the public finally see that and start to push back and make her hold her ministers accountable.