Regional | Debbie Ngarewa-Packer

Speaker of the House and the Māori Party go head to head

Phot o/ File

The Māori Party’s co-leader,  Rawiri Waititi, issued a traditional wero before he was sworn in this week, challenging the need to swear only to the Queen and not the Treaty of Waitangi.

His wero was not acknowledged at the time but it appears this is the first of many challenges to come from the Maori Party.

Yesterday Waititi and his co-leader Debbie Ngarew-Packer walked out of the House in protest at Waititi being cut off from making a point of order in Maōri.

Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard told Te Ao Mārama that he had offered the Maori Party leaders a speaking slot at 4.30 pm and 4.45 pm yesterday following the other party leaders for the Address in Reply debate.

However, taking that spot would mean Waititi would have to sacrifice his maiden speech.

Party Co-leader Rawiri Waititi said, "All we were asking was for māori Party to be able to speak in the Adress in Reply...the maiden speech is a time to share what own story."

"Waititi presented his case in Māori. We asked why the Speaker didn't call for a translation but he said. It wasn't needed. "No one is allowed to interrupt a member's call with a point of order in order to move a motion." No further detail was required to ascertain that the point of order was itself out of order. Waititi has an issue with this."

Waititi told Te Ao Mārama, "The Speaker is required to listen to the point of order ... I heard him pray in te reo and destroyed the language and now since then he's all of a sudden a fluent speaker."

"The Speaker is reported to be feeling frustrated over the incident. The question whether the Māori Party was right or wrong seems less significant and the burning question is why is it so hard for Parliament to change and to include every parliamentary party? There's definitely more to come on this and we'll be following closely."