Māori Party walk out of Parliament over stoush around speaking slot

Māori Party co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer walked out of Parliament over a stoush around a speaking slot in the debate that responds to the Speech to the Throne. 

Your playlist will load after this ad

The party was unable to respond because it has less than six MPs. Source: 1 NEWS

Waititi stood to make a point of order in te reo to ask for a 15 minute speaking slot, however this was denied. 

Waititi and Ngarewa-Packer then walked out of the second day of Parliament's new term, prior to National leader Judith Collins and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's speech. 

"It’s the tyranny of our democracy for minority parties," Waititi said. 

Your playlist will load after this ad

Covid-19 and climate change led the debate today. Source: 1 NEWS

"We’re determined to fight and we’re determined to make sure Māori have a voice in this place."

According to Parliament's standing order rules, address in reply debate speeches for leaders are for those with parties of six or more MPs

"We asked for 15 minutes to ensure the Māori voice could participate in the Address in Reply debate," Waititi said in a Facebook live after. 

"You've got four other parties which are predominately Pākehā and dominated Pākehā run parties, speaking in the House as we speak and the Māori voice was silenced. 

"There is no way we would ever allow our people to sit in a room and be silenced. We walked out for you."

At the end of Parliament, Speaker Trevor Mallard said that "when there is a motion on the floor you cannot get up and start moving another one".

"There’s processes to go through."

He said there had been discussion this week "whether the co-leader of the Maori Party could have two speeches in the address and reply debate".

"It’s been made clear the current rules don’t allow for that."

"The offer was made for each of the co-leaders to have 15 minute speeches starting now, recognising both their maiden status and the fact they are leaders of non-specified parties.

"That was not acceptable and therefore I presume that was a reason the members walked out."