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Time for Mallard to step down

16 February 2022

by Chris Leitch, Leader

We support the National Party in its lodgement of a motion of no confidence in Trevor Mallard as he has brought the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives into serious disrepute.

He has displayed the same childish behaviour his predecessor Kerry Burke did when Social Credit occupied Committee Room 219 in 1988 in protest at the Labour Government’s backslide on a referendum on proportional representation.

His actions are like those of a ten year old – putting whoopee cushions on someone’s chair or tying their shoelaces together.

It is not over the top to say he has made a mockery of a weighty office, constitutionally the third most important in the country, and one tasked with upholding the grand traditions of hundreds of years of constitutional democracy.

He is a laughing stock, not just in New Zealand, but internationally and he should step down now.

Similar tactics were deployed in 1988 when twelve hand-picked Social Credit party members barricaded themselves in the committee room directly overlooking the lawns where the current protest action is taking place and stayed put for several days.

During the 1987 election campaign, Labour’s Prime Minister in waiting, David Lange, made a promise on television that Labour would hold a referendum on proportional representation if it was elected.

That promise was based on significant voter unrest over a series of minority governments and the spectacle of Social Credit gaining 20.65 percent of the nationwide vote in 1981 yet only 2.17 percent of the seats in parliament.

Social Credit got 372,000 votes, well over half of what National got, yet it ended up with just two seats while National became the government with 47 seats.

Under the current MMP voting system Social Credit would have had 19 seats.

The thousands of voters who supported Social Credit naturally felt cheated.

Once in government Labour rapidly backed away from that election commitment, prompting Social Credit (the under the name Democrats) to take action.

Speaker at the time, Kerry Burke, had all the power to the committee room disconnected in the hope of shutting down Leader Garry Knapp’s communication with the media through cell phone batteries being unable to be charged.

That tactic was foiled when the group found a power point that was still live.

The speaker also directed bright lights into the room.

Neither of the juvenile tactics worked and none of Trevor Mallard’s have either.

It’s time for him to go.