Speaker Trevor Mallard sparked a fiery debate in Parliament last night after he accused a man of sexual assault – under the safety net of Parliamentary privilege – but police say no charges were filed.
“That man’s life was destroyed when he sexually assaulted a woman,” Mallard said.
He continued: “I believe the police. Now people have to make a choice: Do they believe the victim, the results of the independent internal investigation and the police or do they believe the person on which Mr Bishop relies?"
Police told 1 NEWS the matter the Speaker was referring to last night was fully investigated, the evidence was thoroughly assessed, and no charges were filed.
“If he believes what he says to be true, he will say it outside Parliament,” National MP Chris Bishop said.
When 1 NEWS asked Mallard to repeat his claim this morning, he declined to comment.
“You know what the legal situation is,” Mallard said, as he walked past the camera.
Parliamentary privilege applies to statements made by MPs while in the House, so Mallard is immune from any potential court action for his accusation last night.
In 2019, Mallard falsely accused the same man of rape and later apologised. His defamation proceedings cost taxpayers more than $330,000.
Leader of the House Chris Hipkins said the Labour Party continues to support Mallard as Speaker.
“I sat through the debate last night. I don’t think it reflected well on Parliament as a whole,” Hipkins said.
Both National and ACT are calling for the Speaker to resign.
“ACT agrees if someone behaves the way Trevor Mallard has, they’re not upholding the standard of our Parliament, the right thing to do would be to resign,” ACT leader David Seymour said.
Bishop added: “He is not fit to be the Speaker. He needs to be sacked or he needs to resign."
1 NEWS approached the Prime Minister for comment. She said she would be making a statement later this afternoon.