(Open Letter to the
Leader of the Opposition)
Dear Mr. Bridges,
I am writing to you about Mr. Trevor Mallard's personality cult.
Although one of my complaints about him is that he has not replied
to a letter which I sent him, I do not expect you to reply to this
open letter. Apart from anything else, the Speaker might consider
it unparliamentary of you to reply to a letter that criticised him.
The "barnyard noise" incident
I will start by referring to the
so-called "barnyard noise" incident, in which the Speaker
accused you of making a barnyard noise. I happened to be watching
Parliament live on television when that happened. I did hear that
noise, although I could not see who made it. It was a strange
sound and I could see how someone could describe it as a "barnyard
noise," although that must be a subjective judgment and it seemed
to be a spontaneous sound, rather than a deliberate provocation by
you. I don't know whether permitted types of noise are covered in
Standing Orders or Speakers' Rulings, although I doubt it.
I cannot, therefore, comment on whether Mr. Mallard's reaction was
justified, in the Parliamentary context. What I can do, however, is
compare that incident to what happened when I watched live, on television,
as the Minister of Finance started to present this year's Budget.
What I heard was a very loud chorus of -- mainly or totally female
-- cheers from what seemed to be all the female Labour Party Members
of Parliament. That noise was much louder than your so-called "barnyard
noise" -- yet the Speaker made no comment about it whatsoever.
That seems to me possibly to be a sexist and/or political double standard
on the part of the Speaker, although I am not knowledgeable about
Standing Orders or Speakers' Rulings.
Next, in the following exchange, the Speaker seemed to be exhibiting
bias against you:
"Hon Simon Bridges: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.
Excuse me, sir, why did you give that look when I asked for a legitimate
point of order, when you've just had three from the other side?
SPEAKER: Because I was just living in the vain hope that we
might be getting on with question time."
He seemed to be treating your point of order as a mere interruption,
rather than as your right to raise. A bit later, he says, "The
member, earlier, made a barnyard noise of the sort that would not
be accepted in a junior classroom, and I remonstrated with him for
it," and gives that as the reason for treating you as a
"naughty boy," as you put it. I am not an expert on Parliament's
procedure, but it seems to me that, once the Speaker had dealt with
your so-called "barnyard noise," he should have put it behind
him and not let it affect how he treated you subsequently. If that
is what you meant by the Speaker being unprofessional, I agree with
Babies on Laps
I know of two recent occasions when there has been a baby on the
floor of the debating Chamber (as opposed to the Gallery, where the
visitors are). I am not sure if the Speaker had the Prime Minister's
baby on his lap while sitting on the Speaker's Chair (Throne?), but
did have Tamati Coffey's baby on his lap while sitting on the Speaker's
Chair and presiding over a debate.
I find that highly offensive and highly reprehensible. This should
be placed in the context of the recent discussion of the levels of
MPs' pay-rates. You people all do a very important job, for which
you get paid what appears to be a large amount of money and I feel
that the Electorate deserves to be sure that all of you have your
minds on the job. If the Speaker was feeding a baby, then he could
not have had his mind fully on the job of presiding over the debate.
At any time there could have been some crisis with the baby which
took his attention fully off the debate at some crucial time. Alternatively,
he would have had to ignore the baby and concentrate on the debate
-- with detrimental effects on the baby. I think that his salary and
the interests of the nation require him to have his mind fully on
his job at all times. And his attempt to "multitask" shows
how child abuse can happen.
Mr. Mallard may have an ulterior motive. He may be paving the way
for female MPs to breastfeed and change nappies on the floor of the
Debating Chamber. New
Zealand apparently has a poor productivity rate and this kind
of carry-on may be part of the explanation. Given his apparent inability
to criticise women who were making a racket in the Debating Chamber,
he may be totally subservient to women in that way as well!
I think it is inappropriate that the Speaker is carrying out stunts
such as feeding babies, when he should be doing his paid job of presiding
over debates. He has apparently become an internet star, when that
that is the role of random individuals -- not of one of the highest
officials in the country! He is responsible to and for Parliament
and the people of New Zealand. The internet as a whole is not where
he should be focusing his ego.
He has introduced the innovation of directly addressing the nation
on Parliament Television. Although he has succeeded (I suppose) in
making Parliament more understandable to people, I am unhappy with
the possible constitutional implications of the Speaker having a direct
relationship with the Electorate, rather than solely with Parliament,
which I think is his proper sphere for personal relationships. Will
he apply to become King of New Zealand?
Bias against Me
On 17 July 2019 I wrote to the Speaker about
apparent political corruption in the Ombudsman's office, listing
seven complaints about how it had handled one of my complaints, but
I have had no reply. The Ombudsman is an Officer of Parliament, so
I had no one else to complain to. On 7th August I phoned the Speaker's
office and complained that I had had no reply or acknowledgement.
The woman in his office said just, "Right" (after I had
said who I was) and "Acknowledgement", leaving me with the
impression that I would be sent an acknowledgement.
The way she said "Right" indicated that she placed me
on the Right of the political spectrum and would treat me accordingly.
That is totally unacceptable in a Democracy. Once, when Margaret Wilson
was Attorney-General, I phoned her office, identified myself and got
hissed at by a female! And, during the period of the current Government,
I once rang Andrew Little's office and spoke to some male whose voice
clearly showed that he was angry at me. So I think my interpretation
of the word "Right," in that context, was correct.
If you do reply to me, I would like to have some guidance as to
what I am supposed to do about being treated unfairly by the Ombudsman's
office. I have been dealing with that office for some years and have
never had this degree of mistreatment from them. The current Ombudsman
(former Principal Family Court Judge Peter
Boshier) , who is a Leftist, has instituted the
slogan, "Fairness For All," as the motto for his office,
so it is all the more galling to be treated unfairly. Just as in the
case of Speaker Trevor Mallard, we have here a Leftist who has instituted
mushy public relations AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR real
fairness and professionalism.
The only lawyer I have ever had on a Men's Rights issue (being called
"sexist" by a Feminist newspaper editor without justification)
Kos, now a Justice on the Court of Appeal. He stated to me that
the Family Court was corrupt. He was not referring to any specific
individual and it was before Peter Boshier became Principal Family
Court Judge, but it is significant that such a senior legal figure
as Stephen Kos had that opinion about the Family Court, from which
Peter Boshier has ascended to become Ombudsman!