Speaker backs off as tie-less Waititi returns to Parliament

By Te Ao - Māori News

Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard today appeared to ignore his own ruling that male MPs must wear ties in Parliament's debating chamber as Maori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi again appeared in the House without a tie but sporting a heitiki.

Yesterday, when Waititi did that, Mallard refused to recognise him (which meant he was not permitted to speak) and pointed out that most MPs who commented on whether ties should be worn had supported keeping them. When Waititi insisted on speaking, the Speaker required him to leave.

The Waiariki MP remained staunch earlier today and was determined to wear the heitiki as cultural attire, allowable under parliamentary rules.

Nevertheless he came under fire from other Māori MPs, who told him just to get on with the job of representing his people.

This afternoon Waititi appeared in the House without a tie again and spoke, with Mallard appearing to ignore the absence of the tie.

His co-leader, Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, will appear at Parliament's standing orders committee tonight to continue to push for the ability for members to wear Māori adornments as an accepted form of business attire in the debating chamber.