Speaker Trevor Mallard lays down the law in Parliament on the first day of the National’s front bench reshuffle

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Bishop swapped seats with National’s new finance spokesperson, Deputy Chief Nicola Willis, and Mallard acknowledged that it would be a lesson for Bishop that sitting closer to him meant he could hear more of his interjections.

“But I won’t criticize a minister who doesn’t have specific information that wasn’t asked of him,” Mallard said.

Bishop retorted: ‘I just want to clarify: am I no longer allowed to voice my reaction to a minister’s response?’

Mallard replied, “I judged it to be unreasonably strong.”

The president’s attention then turned to Willis, who used language in his questioning of Finance Minister Grant Robertson that was not authorized.

“Why does he keep enlightening New Zealanders by saying his stats prove…” she said, before Mallard cut her off to try again.

“Why does he keep hanging out with New Zealanders pretending…” Willis tried a second time, before Mallard cut her off again.

Willis succeeded on her third try.

“Why does he keep trying to fool New Zealanders by claiming his statistics prove they are progressing under his government when they know they are not?”

Robertson replied, “I reject the premise of the member’s questions and would point out to him that wages outpaced inflation between 2018 and 2021 and are expected to do so again.”


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