Seymour compares outgoing Speaker Trevor Mallard to Trump

Source: 1News

ACT leader David Seymour has compared the outgoing Speaker, Trevor Mallard, to former US president Donald Trump - claiming Mallard "trashed the Office of the Speaker and the institution that gave him a charmed life".

Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern announced a "minor" Cabinet reshuffle on Monday following the resignations of Mallard and minister Kris Faafoi. Mallard will be taking up a diplomatic post in Europe.

The Speaker made headlines around the world in March following his controversial handling of the mandate protests after he made the decision to turn on Parliament's sprinklers and blast music in a failed bid to deter the protesters, followed by issuing trespass notices to former politicians.

It’s not the only controversy centred around the Speaker following his 35 years in Parliament. He was sued after falsely accusing a Parliament staffer of rape in 2019.

Mallard, along with all MPs involved in the reshuffle, were invited to appear on Breakfast. All declined.

Trevor Mallard.

While Seymour had lobbied with the National Party to have Mallard removed from his role over his handling of the protests, he called the Speaker's departure a “sad affair” in an interview on Breakfast.

“I call him Trevor Trump. The thing about Donald Trump is he benefited enormously from growing up in American democracy, then he trashed the institutions that gave him the life he had. Trevor Mallard has benefited enormously from Parliament, looks like he’s going to get a final victory lap as an ambassador of sort," he said.

“He’s trashed the Office of the Speaker and the institution that gave him a charmed life.”

Seymour wished Mallard "all the best on a personal level for himself and his family, but the way that he has behaved in the Office of the Speaker is going to take a long time to recuperate".

Adrian Rurawhe, currently the deputy Speaker, has been nominated to replace Mallard as Speaker.

"I wish Adrian Rurawhe all the best in trying to restore dignity to the Office because it’s going to be a big job," Seymour said.

READ MORE: Speaker Trevor Mallard, MP Kris Faafoi to retire from politics

He called Rurawhe "a good guy and he’s, frankly, not a dick which is what we need right now".

"I think Adrian Rurawhe will actually do a pretty good job but let’s see who else is running first.”

In a statement on Monday, Mallard said he had advised the Governor-General of this intention to resign as Speaker.

“I have had the honour of being unanimously elected three times by the House as a presiding officer. It has always been interesting and mainly deeply satisfying.

“I informed the Prime Minister in 2020 that I would prefer to move on during this term of Parliament. I asked Adrian Rurawhe to shadow me and to deputise for me extensively both in and outside the House. He has done a superb job.

“I won’t be commenting further on my future role at this stage, but announcements will be made when appropriate,” Mallard said.

Also on Monday, Ardern said Mallard will end his time as Speaker in mid-August.

“After the 2020 election Trevor told me he wanted to transition out of the role of Speaker over the course of this term to allow someone else the opportunity and to take on new challenges himself. He has worked closely with Adrian for that purpose. He will leave the chair in mid-August and take up a post in Europe from early 2023.

“Trevor will be the third of our five most recent Speakers to represent New Zealand abroad in a diplomatic posting."

National MP Chris Bishop told Breakfast the Speaker "besmirched the very prestigious office that the Speakership is".

"We're not sorry to see him go."

Political commentator Matthew Hooton said on Breakfast the "Trevor Mallard situation had to happen".

"He’s just too associated with division; he’s too associated with the Labour Party. The Speaker has to be neutral and the best ones are and even if they were very partisan people."

He said while he had hoped Mallard "could have followed that and kind of been slightly biased towards the Opposition – I think the Speaker should be slightly biased towards the Opposition – but he just couldn’t do it".

"He remained a Labour partisan.”