8 Nov 2017

Fractious exchanges over Assistant Speaker election

2:47 pm on 8 November 2017

The election of Labour's Poto Williams as Assistant Speaker has once again resulted in fractious exchanges in the House.

The election of Mr Mallard "descended into farce" yesterday after National faced Labour down over having a majority in the House.

Trevor Mallard

Speaker Trevor Mallard has asked for an apology from the National Party after they stalled Parliament for the second day in a row. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

In order to avoid a vote - that the government would have won - Labour agreed to boost select committee positions.

The election of National's Anne Tolley as Deputy today went smoothly, but National raised questions about Ms Williams' election, on the basis she had not been sworn-in yesterday.

Those objections were shut down by the Speaker Trevor Mallard who said Ms Williams could be elected, but could not carry out the duties of Assistant Speaker until officially sworn-in.

Earlier, Prime Minister highlighted New Zealand's peaceful democracy in a speech at the State Opening of Parliament.

Jacinda Ardern told the reception at Parliament that the new Labour-led government's legislative programme for the next three years had been spelt out by the Governor General this morning.

Ms Ardern said there will be plenty of time during the 52nd Parliament for those policies to be discussed and debated but she said today is about celebrating democracy.

"We celebrate the freedom to debate ideas openly and without fear.

"The freedom to choose our own path as a people, the peaceful transition from one government to the next, it is a democracy that I'm sure none of us take for granted."

Ms Ardern also spoke about Parliament needing to do a better job of representing young New Zealanders.

"We are quick often as politicians to also talk about our young people being our future - there's something about that sentiment I've always found disempowering.

"Yes, young people are our future but our here and and our now as well, this Parliament should not just be a place for those who are eligible to vote, democracy needs to extend well beyond that," Ms Ardern said.

"I hope all young people see this place as their place and this government as their government."

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