Most watched video: 'Nah, I'm leaving' – exasperated Paula Bennett ditches Parliament after spat with Speaker Mallard

Note: This story was first published on Wednesday May 23 

Question Time ended early for National Party deputy Paula Bennett today, after she walked out over a disagreement with Speaker Trevor Mallard over supplementary questions. 

"Nah, I'm leaving," Ms Bennett said to Speaker Trevor Mallard after a heated discussion about the adding and removal of supplementary questions. "What a waste of time."

The exchange began earlier, when Ms Bennett asked Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, "Can she confirm as a result to the delay to the implementation of the Winter Energy Payment, superannuitants will be around $300 worse off this year than they would have been following National's proposed tax cuts?"

Ms Ardern said the tax cuts were cancelled to invest in low and middle-income New Zealanders. 

Ms Bennett asked how the delay was justified over the introduction of the tertiary fees-free policy.

"Making the largest changes to the welfare system in over a decade can be a complex exercise," Ms Ardern replied. 

Ms Bennett asked why the fees-free policy, calling it a "bribe", was more important than Labour's promises on health, education and police.

Speaker Trevor Mallard made Ms Bennett rephrase her question, not using the word 'bribe'. 

Ms Ardern answered the question, calling it a "narrow view" of the policy, then added, "If it's a bribe, will you reverse it?"

The National deputy highlighted the PM's use of the word, to which Mr Mallard said, "the Prime Minister could well of been reflecting the inappropriate comment of the Member."

National MP Gerry Brownlee made a Point of Order, after a disagreement over the removal of an Opposition question, asking if the question would be reinstated. 

Mr Mallard said no, then before Ms Bennett begins speaking again, voices could be heard in the background. Mr Mallard stood up again to say the Opposition lost five questions.

He then made Mr Brownlee stand, withdraw and apologise.

Ms Bennett said the taking away and gaining of supplementary questions "does question our ability as the Opposition to put the government on notice". 

Mr Mallard said supplementary questions were at his discretion. He said National had done "very well" out of that approach. 

Ms Bennett tried to make a Point of Order. Mr Mallard did not allow it, and said if she wanted another supplementary she could take it. 

"Nah, I'm leaving," Ms Bennett said. "What a waste of time."

She has since returned to the chamber. 



'She was extraordinary' - Jacinda Ardern hails mother as 125 years of women’s suffrage celebrated

Hundreds of celebrations are taking place across the country to mark 125 years since Kiwi women received the right to vote.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern marked the historic occasion from Auckland's Aotea Square this morning, where she acknowledged her mother as just one of New Zealand's many inspirational women.

Acting Minister for Women Eugenie Sage also acknowledged the work of women such as Kate Sheppard, Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia and others who tirelessly campaigned for women's suffrage.

The Electoral Act, signed into law on September 19, 1893, gave women over the age of 21 the right to vote in parliamentary elections - the first country in the world to do so.

The PM spoke about New Zealand’s inspirational women in central Auckland today, including one close to her heart. Source: 1 NEWS


Trump says Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh 'anxious' to testify over sexual assault allegations

President Donald Trump says it's "terrible" that Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California didn't raise allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sooner but says he's "totally supporting" his nominee.

Trump says he wants everyone to have the chance to speak out and Kavanaugh is "very anxious" to testify in his defense. He says, "we want to hear both sides."

A psychology professor named Christine Blasey Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her decades ago when they were teenagers. Kavanaugh has denied it.

Trump also says the FBI shouldn't be involved in investigating the Kavanaugh allegation "because they don't want to be involved."

He adds he's "totally supporting" and "very supportive" of his nominee, calling him an "outstanding" person.

Democrats have criticised the Kavanaugh nomination process.

The US president told media he is “totally supporting” his nominee, who he called “outstanding”. Source: Associated Press

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Supporters call for fair trial for Sri Lankan university student held on terror charges in Australia

Family members, human rights activists and civic groups have gathered in Colombo to demand a speedy and fair investigation of a Sri Lankan student detained in Australia on suspicion of terrorism.

The New South Wales police website says Kamer Nizamdeen was arrested in Sydney on August 30 for allegedly planning to attack targets in the city and assassinate prominent people. Police say they found the alleged plans described in a notebook.

A support group, United for Kamer, planned a silent protest today to support their call for a fair trial for the 25-year-old student.

The group says Nizamdeen was working for the University of New South Wales and has been kept in solitary confinement since his arrest.

It says Nizamdeen denies what police say he wrote in the notebook.

A statement from the family read out at the protest said Kamer was allowed to contact one family member immediately after the arrest but thereafter denied access to legal counsel or family members.

The protesters silently held placards and banners with slogans about Kamer's innocence as well as the investigation.

Kamer Nizamdeen was arrested in Sydney last month for allegedly planning to attack targets in the city and assassinate prominent people. Source: Associated Press


South Auckland charity The Aunties takes home top Women of Influence Award

The founder of a South Auckland charity group dubbed The Aunties has won the top honour at the Women of Influence Awards.

Jackie Clark set up the not-for-profit organisation six years ago to help vulnerable women and children who've experienced domestic violence.

The group's primary aim is to provide material needs to those they support.

"The Aunties believe everyone has the right to be safe, to have shelter, to be fed, to be loved, to dream, to read, to write, to have their say, and to be heard," the group proclaims on its Givealittle page. "Where any of those things are missing, the Aunties mission is to help provide them - the practical things, and also in terms of advocacy and pastoral care."

The group says it believes in manaakitanga - protecting the mana of the people they help so that they can find their way towards living independently, and with dignity and joy.

"Jackie and her fellow Aunties give without seeking anything in return and without judgement," said Westpac NZ chief executive David McLean, whose company co-sponsors the Women of Influence Awards. "She, and her core of other Aunties, ask vulnerable women what they need and then set about making it happen, in a completely selfless way.

"They have made an enormous contribution to our local communities at grassroots level."

The award ceremony was held last night at SkyCity in Auckland.

Here's the full list of winners:
Supreme Winner: Jackie Clark
Lifetime Achievement: Theresa Gattung
Arts and Culture: Miranda Harcourt
Board and Management: Dr Farah Palmer
Business and Enterprise: Angie Judge
Rural: Rebecca Keoghan
Public Policy: Charlotte Korte
Community/Not for Profit: Jackie Clark
Innovation and Science: Professor Wendy Larner
Diversity: Sarah Lang
Global: Sarah Vrede
Young Leader: Maddison McQueen-Davies

Jackie Clark set up the non-for-profit six years ago, which aims to help vulnerable women and children who have experienced domestic violence. Source: Breakfast


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