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.