National MP Nick Smith's comparison of Parliament to a "Nazi establishment" as he was being removed from the House last night was ill-advised and unacceptable, says his leader Todd Muller.
By Benedict Collins and Anna Whyte.
The Nelson MP says he regretted making the comment and that it was over the top, but he was frustrated because the Speaker would not say when he could return to the House.
A Serjeant-at-Arms, a person responsible for maintaining order at Parliament, was called to remove Dr Smith from Parliament's debating chamber yesterday evening after he had already been kicked out earlier. It is thought the last time the Serjeant-at-Arms was called to remove an MP from the House was for Sir Robert Muldoon in 1986.
"At least give me the courtesy of telling me when I'm allowed back in... What kind of Nazi establishment is running the place?" Dr Smith said as he left.
Mr Muller said that making a comparison with Nazi establishments was unacceptable.
"I've had a conversation with him and reflected that back to him, he understands that."
However, Mr Muller said people could understand the frustration of Dr Smith - "being kicked out, not being told when he could come back in, he's a politician of 30 years' experience in my view he deserves more respect."
Dr Smith is the longest continuously serving MP, having been first elected in October 1990 - giving him the title of Father of the House.
"Despite that intense frustration it was a very ill-advised thing to say and I've told him so," Mr Muller said.
Asked what she made of Dr Smith's comments, Labour's Marja Lubeck said, "if my grandparents were alive he could talk to them and find out what a Nazi establishment really is".
National's Nicola Willis said she "used to be a school and university debater, one of the rules of thumb was to never talk about Hitler".
Green Party's Golriz Ghahraman said comparisons to Hitler and Nazism "never, ever go down well because they're always exaggerated and often insulting quite frankly to the victims of mass crimes".
Dr Smith was first kicked out of the House yesterday in the afternoon by Speaker Trevor Mallard during Question Time and not told when he could return.
Subsequently, his colleague Gerry Brownlee was also kicked out during Question Time after arguing with the Speaker over skipping Dr Smith's question.
"Not much point in staying in this Chamber," Mr Brownlee said.
Mr Mallard said he was yet to decide how long Dr Smith would be kicked out for and that Mr Brownlee would be "out for as long as Dr Smith".
Mr Brownlee told 1 NEWS he was allowed back about 4pm, and was back in the House that evening.
But when Dr Smith came back during the second reading of the Equal Pay Amendment Bill, Labour's Michael Wood brought it to the attention of Assistant Speaker Adrian Rurawhe.
"You will leave the Chamber immediately," Mr Rurawhe said.
"When you're sentenced to prison, we're told how long (you're there) for," Dr Smith said.
Mr Rurawhe called the Serjeant-at-Arms.
"For goodness sake, at least give me the courtesy of telling me when I'm allowed back in," Dr Smith said.
"What kind of Nazi establishment is running the place? Seriously? Is it not just a fundamental right to know when the time is?"
Mr Mallard told 1 NEWS today Dr Smith was not suspended, but was not allowed in the House until the end of today.