Friday, December 11, 2020

Barry Soper: Trevor Mallard should resign for his disgraceful behaviour


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 the 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 a $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.

As to his lack of understanding about rape it runs counter to a comment he made ten years ago about rape reform legislation and what it was meant to achieve.

This whole issue has been a travesty on so many fronts.

Mallard clearly knew his rape claim was false last year, but waited until after the election and much litigation, to apologise. If he'd done it last year he would have faced a no confidence vote in Parliament and would likely be gone, with New Zealand First unlikely to support him.

It's difficult to fathom why he unsuccessfully demanded the man's name be made public, other than to cause embarrassment.

It demeans the inquiry into bullying and harassment Parliament launched with great fanfare by Mallard and consultant Debbie Francis. The silence of Francis was deafening, when a claim of rape was made which she must have known to be untrue.

It shows how the powerful can ride roughshod over the powerless. If the Parliamentary staffer hadn't spoken to me, this would have been swept under the carpet.

Barry Soper is a New Zealand political journalist, and has been featured regularly on radio and television since the 1970s. Currently, Soper's main role is political editor at Newstalk ZB, a radio network in New Zealand.


Lindsay Mitchell said...

Mallard is 66. He grew up with the definition of rape as something brutal, physical and forceful. If he was 26 and confused I might understand.

Adrian Reinhard said...

Admittedly Soper exposed the issue at the time it happened, however, unlike like ponytailgate he did not follow it up for weeks and weeks afterward

Robert Mann said...

Te Empress doomed us to trouble by appointing the Wainui-o-mata bovver boy to be Speaker.
He soon tampered with Parliament's prayer, which needed no change.
A less suitable Speaker we've not suffered from for decades if ever.

Peter Bacos said...

Haven't we been here before with this lout? Doesn't he have a conviction for criminal assault of Tau Henare in the corridors of Parliament? Please correct me if I'm wrong.

DeeM said...

What a surprise! A politician who preaches one thing then practices another. When's that ever happened?
I would imagine Trev thinks $334k a mere trifle after wasting about $600k of taxpayers money on a slide for the Beehive playground.
Looks like Trev is on the slippery slide now...hopefully into political oblivion. As well as sacking him, he should also be made to pay it all back. Interesting to see how the Kind Leader will deal with this doubt she's hoping Covid makes a comeback to cover her tracks.

Richard McGrath said...

Re the comment at 12.51, Mallard was convicted of fighting in a public place, rather than of assault. The latter would have been a more serious conviction.