The real cost of Speaker Trevor Mallard’s ill-founded smearing of an innocent man has cost taxpayers dearly, $333,000 dearly.
Worse still, he finagled the system in order to have the taxpayer foot the substantial legal bills for his serious defamation of an innocent man. Previously he would have been left to carry the can but some of the legal bills were for Crown Law to advise Anne Tolley, as Deputy Speaker, on changing the rules to make sure Mallard would have his bills paid by the long-suffering taxpayer.
Speaker Trevor Mallard’s false ‘rape’ claim about a Parliament staffer has cost taxpayers more than $333,000 to resolve and National says it has now lost confidence in him.
The bill included a $158,000 ex-gratia payment to the former staffer to settle the defamation claim – and more than $175,000 was spent on legal fees.
Mallard issued a public apology to the staffer this week, which was released the afternoon of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Christchurch terror attacks.
The Speaker said that some of his comments gave the “impression that allegations made against that individual in the context of the Francis Review amounted to rape”.
“Trevor Mallard accepts that his understanding of the definition of rape at that time was incorrect and that the alleged conduct did not amount to rape (as that term is defined in the Crimes Act 1961) and that it was incorrect of him to suggest otherwise,” the statement said.
“Trevor Mallard apologises for the distress and humiliation his statements caused to the individual and his family.”
The staffer was stood down in May after Mallard’s comments but an investigation later found no wrongdoing.
The man then sought to sue Mallard for defamation, seeking damages of $400,000 and exemplary damages of $50,000.
The $333,641.70 cost of settling the defamation case settlement were released to National in answers to written parliamentary questions.NZ Herald
Unsurprisingly, National has lost confidence in the Speaker and called for his resignation.
What people may not realise is that Trevor Mallard used the vast sums of taxpayers cash to continue to bully this poor bloke using lawfare, with several attempts to out him publicly. That clearly failed and so Mallard then sought to bury all this on a big news day.
That’s hardly the “kindness” that the Prime Minister professes to believe in.
It is despicable behaviour from a man with a despicable history of bullying, assault and defamation. He is not fit to be Speaker of the House.
National leader Judith Collins said the party had now lost confidence in Mallard.
“This is unacceptable behaviour from the Speaker of the House. The sheer size of this pay-out illustrates how serious the matter is,” Collins said.
“It is the Speaker’s job to set the standard of behaviour for everyone at Parliament but he has been reckless with his words, resulting in taxpayers footing a bill of more than $330,000 to clean up this mess.
“There has been no formal apology to Parliament for this, despite the National Party encouraging the Speaker to do so on the final sitting day this year.
“Because Mr Mallard has not lived up to the high standards of behaviour that he has set for Parliament, we believe he is no longer fit to hold the role of Speaker.
“The people who work at Parliament, and the taxpayers of New Zealand, deserve better.”NZ Herald
Yes we do. This episode is unbecoming from someone in the role of Speaker. If Jacinda Ardern lets him continue in his job then that says a great deal about just how committed she is to the “kindness” schtick she clings to.
If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck then this duck should be for the high jump.
Barry Soper, the sole journalist who pursued this has called for Mallard’s sacking:
Trevor Mallard should resign from The Speaker’s job before he faces a vote of no confidence when Parliament resumes sitting in February.
National’s lost confidence in him and Labour, the party that preaches well-being and kindness, surely will have no choice but to vote against his continuing in the role.
It’s been confirmed that the almost $334,000 in legal costs have been paid out by the taxpayer. Why? Well Mallard had the rules changed after he made his outrageous comment to protect him from having to pay the bill for something he clearly knew would go against him.
The tragedy in all of this is that the man he accused of a terrible crime, who spoke exclusively to me after the Mallard allegation last year, has suffered serious health issues since he was sent packing and it looks as though he will get nothing from the settlement.
The $158,000 made to him is for the payment of his legal bills and $171,000 has been paid to Mallard’s lawyers at Dentons Kensington Swan. A further $4641 went to Crown Law for advice to Parliament’s then deputy Speaker Anne Tolley who Mallard delegated to have the rules changed to protect him.
Mallard slapped down any attempt on the final day of Parliament by National MPs to have him make a statement to the House on the issue, hopefully at the very least an apology for the way he had behaved. He used the excuse that confidentiality was part of the legal settlement even though he’s on record as saying that when it comes to taxpayers’ money there should be no secrecy.
He did apologise to the devastated Parliamentary staffer for the distress and humiliation his statements caused to the man and his family.
Mallard used a lame excuse that he didn’t understand the definition of rape when he used the term, now saying the accused’s behaviour didn’t amount to rape.
In reality he’s alleged to have cuddled a female colleague from behind. She laid a complaint two years after the incident, after their relationship soured. A Parliamentary Services inquiry into the incident found it was unsubstantiated.NewstalkZB
I wonder what people on low wages think of contributing more of their hard earned money to a man who earns $300,000 a year.
How many people in poverty could have been helped with $330,000?
Where is the “kindness” now?
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