Claire Trevett, writing in the NZ Herald, has joined Audrey Young by getting into the Christmas spirit with some Bah Humbug nonsense of her own. Her reporting on the Mallard select committee hearing was about as accurate as Mallard’s answers to National Party questions. Claire dons her rose-tinted glasses to try and make the best of probably the worst situation any Speaker has ever got himself into.

Claire starts her comment by making a clever little statement that Speaker Trevor Mallard has given, witnessed and demanded a fair few apologies in his political life so he should well know how to draft one. She says his apology at a select committee hearing for his 2019 comments linking allegations against a former Parliamentary staffer as “rape” was fulsome [sic] and bereft of conditions. He apologised to the man in question, to Parliament and the rest of New Zealand. He said he realised his definition of “rape” was incorrect and had apologised for that.

One could be forgiven for thinking this man spent his whole life apologising. I don’t believe he has an apologetic bone in his body. The apologies Claire referred to are the very least he could and should do. They were hardly fulsome and as for bereft of conditions, one would certainly hope so. Mallard has basically ruined this man’s life and left him in poor health, something Claire conveniently left out of her article. Didn’t it suit the narrative, Claire?

Mallard said that some of the behaviour staff had reported was of a very serious sexual nature, and in his view “amounted to rape”. Well Claire, the man is not a lawyer and if he was he most certainly wouldn’t be mine. Maybe if he’d counselled himself wisely he would have kept his views to himself and sought advice from someone with more intelligence in these matters. I doubt such a person would be hard to find. Mallard admitted he had realised within 24 hours that he had made a mistake when he used the rape comment – a comment he had not moved to clarify despite extensive questioning about it.

Claire was at least honest enough to say that his answer as to why he had not clarified was complete tripe. He claimed it was because there was an employment process under way and he didn’t want to interfere with it. Yeah, pull the other one Trev, it plays Auld Lang Syne.

Instead of quickly correcting the record Mallard let it drag out for eighteen months and for $333,000.

It may end up costing even more – the Parliamentary Services chief executive also revealed the man was taking a separate employment case against Parliament, which had already cost about $37,500 in legal bills.

Conveniently again, Claire omitted to report that directly prior to that admission Mallard was asked if we were to expect any more monies having to be paid that we were unaware of. Mallard replied there were none. So what amounted to the Speaker possibly misleading Parliament, Claire chose to omit in her commentary. Again, it doesn’t suit the narrative.

Claire went on to say that being a combat politician, Mallard also knew how to distract and defend himself to try to even the ledger. Yes, and that would have been his main aim, Claire, to even the ledger. All the apologies you talk about were made only because he had to.

A combative politician is one, in my opinion, most unsuited to the position of Speaker. Mallard has given us plenty of evidence of this. In terms of protecting his own, and therefore showing terrible bias, he would probably rate as the worst Speaker in the history of Parliament. He is the first Speaker known to have faced a defamation suit and, as National claims, it besmirches the reputation of Parliament. National will move a vote of no confidence next year which will revive the issue with the voters.

Cartoon credit: SonovaMin

Ardern might have a few sleepless nights over the holidays wondering how much political capital it will cost her to hang on to her protector. Some will believe this is nothing more than a beltway issue but if the amount involved continues to climb there maybe some kickback. The Ihumatao payment and resulting consequences can also be added in. She has much to reflect on over the holidays so her silent nights may be few and far between.

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JC

A right-wing crusader. Reached an age that embodies the dictum only the good die young. Country music buff. Ardent Anglophile. Hates hypocrisy and by association left-wing politics.