As Mallard moves on with our good wishes (to become an ambassador), we wonder if Chris Bishop can spell “riddance”

Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard has formally resigned from the role and is being succeeded by  the  current deputy  Speaker, Adrian Ruawhe,  much  to the relief  of  Opposition  parties.

Mallard will be taking up a diplomatic post as New Zealand’s Ambassador in Ireland from January next year.

The Opposition hasn’t been a fan of Mallard’s refereeing of Parliament’s political theatre over recent years.

National MP and  Shadow  Leader of the  House Chris Bishop put out a  statement which recorded his response to the resignation in just one  word:  “Good”.

Suffice it to say that Bishop has  been  the  victim of  Mallard’s  style of refereeing.

Bishop had  more  to  say  on  Radio NZ, criticising Mallard  for playing  favourites and criticising him for  rendering  question time sterile.

But he wasn’t  as bitter  about  Mallard  as  ACT leader David  Seymour.

Here is Seymour’s assailing of  Mallard, the PM and the ambassadorial appointment:

“Today’s announcement that disgraced Speaker of New Zealand Parliament Trevor Mallard will be taking up a cushy diplomatic posting in Ireland is an outrage.

“To send someone with such a lengthy political rap sheet and zero diplomatic ability is an insult to our friends in Ireland.

“This is a man who has falsely accused a staff member of rape, who inflamed the Parliamentary protest with his immature behaviour and who refuses to be held accountable for his actions.

“He took the Office of the Speaker only to have the worst approval rating of any   politician in modern history. Now he’s being rewarded for his bad behaviour.

“This appointment goes to the heart of the Ardern Government’s rotten values. The message to New Zealanders everywhere is bad behaviour gets good rewards under the Ardern Government.

“To all those people who toil away, fearful of losing their jobs for poor performance, getting a five year post on light duties in Dublin after screwing up year after year is unfathomable. People might come to the conclusion, why bother?

“The cynical timing of the announcement, 15 minutes before the 6pm news amidst another scandal speaks for itself.

“If ACT were in government, we would show a lot more respect to Ireland and appoint somebody more appropriate to be a diplomat.

“The Prime Minister and her colleagues should have shown leadership and integrity and not given in to Mallard’s petty demands for an overseas posting.

“The only theory we can come up with is that Jacinda Ardern wanted to get rid of him and at least the Irish have a sense of humour.”

Opposition disdain for Mallard and dissatisfaction with the diplomatic appointment inevitably was picked up  by Irish news media.

The online news site headlined its report of the appointment:  ‘An insult to Ireland’: Controversial New Zealand politician appointed as ambassador

It reported Mallard’s role in incidents dating back to 2002, when he told two International Rugby Board officials he would insert beer bottles in “uncomfortable places” in a row over the co-hosting of the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

In 2007 he apologised after punching an opposition MP outside the debating chamber.

 In 2020 he was blamed for spending NZ$572,000 (€357,300) on a children’s playground in the grounds of the New Zealand parliament, including NZ$243,000 on a slide. The playground was budgeted at NZ$400,000.

Mr Mallard has sought to make the New Zealand parliament more family friendly and to encourage female MPs to bring their children into the chamber if they need feeding.

Last year, he apologised for falsely accusing a parliamentary staff member of rape leaving taxpayers to pay damages and legal fees of NZ$330,000 after the staff member took a case against him.

In February he turned the sprinklers on those protesting against the Covid-19 vaccination mandates outside New Zealand’s parliament in Wellington. He also played loud music in a vain attempt to scatter them.

In June, an opinion poll found that just 17 per cent of New Zealanders approved of him as speaker, 48 per cent disapproved of him and 35 per cent did not know.

At  Point of  Order,  we have  a team member (the author of this post, who spent 50 years in the Parliamentary Press Gallery) who recognises the positive aspects of Mallard’s contribution to the country’s politics.

Mallard was a very effective MP in Opposition who served  in the Clark ministry and demonstrated his  political skills  over a  range of  portfolios – among them, Education, Sport and Recreation, State Owned Enterprises, Labour and Broadcasting.

He  was  respected  as   a  very  responsive  constituent  MP.

He  is  a  man of  conviction  and  clearly  thought  he  raised  standards  within the debating chamber, which if  not  always successful, were  motivated by the  best  of  intentions.

On a personal  note,  Mallard arranged   a  parliamentary  farewell   on  the  (involuntary)  departure  of  this  member  of  the  Point  of  Order  team  when  he  left  the  Parliamentary  Press Gallery.

Point of Order accordingly wishes Mallard well  on  his  mission in Ireland.

Oh – and let the record show that the Irish name for “mallard” (of the duck variety) is “mallard”.

The scientific name is Anas platyrhynchos

Mallard occur in almost all available wetland habitats in Ireland.

Our information comes from BirdWatch Ireland.


2 thoughts on “As Mallard moves on with our good wishes (to become an ambassador), we wonder if Chris Bishop can spell “riddance”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.