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. 

'Saying it's a train wreck for Maori and Pasifika is an understatement' - Maori Public Health boss warns NZ can't hit 2025 Smokefree goal

Health sector leaders have told politicians today there is no way the government's goal of being Smokefree by 2025 will be achieved.

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The chief executive for Maori Public Health Lance Norman told a combined Health and Maori Affairs Select Committee this morning: "We will not hit Smokefree 2025 New Zealand… categorically I'm saying that out the front".

Mr Norman told the MPs that's because the rates of smoking remain stubbornly high.

He said 35 per cent of Maori smoke, 25 per cent of Pasifika and 12-13 per cent of all other ethnicities.

"The target is 5 per cent and we are nowhere near that.

"We are currently sitting at about 16 per cent for total population. But when you look at it by ethnicity saying it's a train wreck for Maori and Pasifika is an understatement."

The health leaders gave recommendations on how to lower the rate of smoking, which included making cigarettes illegal by 2025.

Mr Norman said there needed to be an "aggressive supply reduction strategy" which would require legislation to be passed now and cigarettes to be phased out. He suggested dairies should be the first to see them gone.

Some of the other suggestions included fast-tracking better access to vaping and e-cigarette products, and a public awareness campaign around smoking alternatives.

The study found youngsters whose parents smoke can have nicotine levels so high they may as well be smokers.
Source: 1 NEWS


Watch: Gripping timelapse shows storm, lightning lashing Oriental Bay last night

Wellington has endured a wild and wintry evening as thunderstorms saw a plane struck by lightning, surface flooding in the CBD, and large hail battering some suburbs.

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A time-lapse video of Oriental Bay overnight captures the storm hitting and repeatedly lashing the city.

The storm which hit the capital yesterday evening moved north to drench much of the North Island overnight. 

Check the full forecast for the upcoming wintry week across the country.