10 Nov 2010

Tensions rise between Government, Speaker

9:03 pm on 10 November 2010

Tensions between the Speaker Lockwood Smith and the Government emerged in Parliament's question time on Wednesday as Dr Smith frequently pulled up National ministers and MPs.

Dr Smith has a reputation in Parliament for demanding ministers answer questions from MPs, and on Wednesday would not let Finance Minister Bill English get away with obfuscating in reply to Labour Party questions about the wage gap between New Zealand and Australia.

Dr Smith also pulled up Labour MPs over their loud behaviour when one minister rose to answer a question.

He then reprimanded National MPs for applauding an answer from a minister to a pre-arranged question from a National MP, saying it was not a good look.

The leader of the House, Gerry Brownlee, said it was not a good look either for the Speaker to have a go at the Government over the sort of questions it posed to its ministers.