MPs weigh in day after ties officially scrapped from Parliament dress code

Source: 1News

MPs have weighed in on the tie debate after it was announced last night that it would be scrapped from Parliament's Debating Chamber dress code.

A meeting of the Standing Orders committee was held yesterday to discuss the issue and hear a submission from Te Paati Māori - House Speaker Trevor Mallard said last night in a statement.

"The committee did not reach a consensus but the majority of the committee was in favour of removing the requirement for ties to form part of ‘appropriate business attire’ for males," he said.

"As Speaker, I am guided by the committee’s discussion, and therefore ties will no longer be considered required as part of 'appropriate business attire.'"

It follows Mallard's announcement last Monday that jackets and ties would remain a staple for male MPs in the Chamber following a review in November.

Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi said outside the Debating Chamber today that he was "really elated that we’ve finally come to a resolution, get on with business”.

“We’ve got better things to do and to remember that I never went in there and talked about ties - we went in there to ask supplementary questions and to be part of the debates and fortunately, we’re here now and we can get back into business,” he said.

He said it was never about ties or hei-tiki, but "cultural expression and identity in our democracy and that’s all that was".

"If other cultures are allowed to do that in Aotearoa, I’m sure tangata whenua are allowed to do that as well as long as we dress respectfully in Parliament – and I think we do that.”

Waititi was booted from the Chamber on Tuesday over his continual refusal to wear a tie.

In December, Waititi was told he would not be allowed to speak in Parliament again until he wore a tie, something he referred to as a "colonial noose".

Labour Party MP Andrew Little said he would continue to wear a tie in Parliament despite the rule change.

“I still regard having a tie as business attire so I’m coming wearing a tie,” Little said.

“The tie is on for now - these things are subject to review.”

Labour MP Kris Faafoi said he would continue to wear a tie "for the rest of my parliamentary career" because "that’s what my mum expects of me".

"I don’t like wearing a tie - I’d rather not - but if mum saw me on TV without, I’ll be in trouble,” he explained.

Labour MP Kelvin Davis was reluctant to wade into the debate, saying there was "more important things for us to be talking about, more important things for Māori to be discussing than ties".

Davis said he would continue to wear a tie in Parliament, however.

"I think it’s important that we look professional, even as a school principal up north, I wore a tie to work," he said.

"I just think it’s a standard that we should set."

Labour MP Willie Jackson said he was "not into ties" and has "never been a person who wears ties," he also believed there were more pressing matters to focus on. 

"Our focus this week has been on Māori wards. No disrespect to the Māori Party – I can see where their priority lies – but we’ve been waiting 18 years for this Māori wards kaupapa," he said.

"That focus has been the Māori caucus’ focus this week, not the tie kaupapa, but I can see it’s an important one and well done to Rawiri and the Māori Party."