9 Jun 2011

Parliamentary exchange attracts Speaker's criticism

8:27 pm on 9 June 2011

Parliament's Speaker Lockwood Smith has described the conduct of Labour MPs as "petty and pathetic" during an exchange about Government money allocated to parenting courses.

Labour had been questioning Finance Minister Bill English during Question Time about $2.4 million allocated to Parent Inc.

Labour's social development spokesperson Annette King asked why the contract had been awarded without going to tender.

Mr English defended the record of Parent Inc and said it wasn't unusual to award contracts in that way.

Ms King suggested the Government was awarding money to its friends while Mr English questioned whether she was telling the truth.

The exchange then became bogged down in a series of points of order from Labour MPs until Dr Smith stepped in to halt proceedings, describing the behaviour as petty and pathetic.