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PM Jacinda Ardern expresses 'serious concerns' to Speaker over his conduct in Parliament

The Prime Minister has "expressed serious concerns" to Speaker Trevor Mallard over his behaviour in the House last night.

Jacinda Ardern and Trevor Mallard - file. Source: 1 NEWS

Mallard used parliamentary privilege last night to accuse a man of sexual assault, and a debate followed around the allegation. The new accusation comes after Mallard incorrectly accused the same man of rape in 2019.

"That man's life was destroyed when he sexually assaulted a woman," he said yesterday in the House. "I will support the woman and what she said..."

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Ardern said the "serious issue of alleged sexual assault and harassment at Parliament was poorly managed and inappropriately politicised last night".

"The tone of the debate did not reflect well on Parliament as a whole."

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The House Speaker accused a man of sexual assault, after previously apologising to the same person for falsely accusing him of rape. Source: 1 NEWS

Ardern spoke to Mallard this morning. 

"He retains my overall confidence, however I have expressed serious concerns to him about the manner in which he conducted himself in the House last night. It did not meet the standards I expect.

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Mallard accused a person of sexual assault, having previously apologised for accusing the same man of being a rapist. Source: 1 NEWS

"Nor do I consider it to have met the needs of the victim in this situation. The Speaker acknowledges he did not meet his own standards either."

Ardern also said she believed the behaviour of the Opposition "was inappropriate".

"Issues of this serious nature should not be litigated in Parliament in such a manner. It was wrong."

National leader Judith Collins wrote to Ardern today calling again for Trevor Mallard’s resignation as Speaker. 

"Trevor Mallard displayed all of the complaints we’ve had about him last night. He used parliamentary privilege to further, basically, to destroy a man," Collins said on Breakfast this morning. 

"Trevor Mallard is simply unfit for the role because of his temperament and his inability to rise above a situation."

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Collins: Mallard’s 'unfit' to be Speaker after 'shocking display' accusing man of sexual assault

Ardern would be writing to the Speaker and Deputy and Assistant Speakers "asking them to reconvene the cross-party working group to consider how the behavioural standards can be given practical effect when MPs are dealing with sensitive staff conduct matters such as sexual assault".

"Parliament must continue to maintain its right to hold Government ministers and the Speaker to account for actions. However, this can be done in a robust and appropriate manner."