Youth MP speaking about friend's suicide reduced to tears by National MP Anne Tolley - 'I'm so sorry if I upset anyone'

Senior National MP Anne Tolley has apologised after she told a teenager to stop reading from her notes while she was speaking about a friend's death by suicide and mental health during a Youth Parliament debate yesterday.

Seventeen-year-old Lily Dorrance was speaking about mental health in the school curriculum when Tolley, who was chairing proceedings, told her off for reading from notes.

"Put your notes away and tell us what you think we need," Tolley said.

Another MP leapt to Lily's defence, but her pleas of leeway were shut down.

Dorrance told the NZ Herald she started crying when she sat down, and said the experience was "humiliating".

Other Youth MPs had debated the merits of using notes with Tolley earlier.

In a statement to the NZ Herald, Tolley said:

"I'm so sorry if I upset anyone and certainly apologised to a couple of people," she said.

"I was trying to get them to speak 'from' their notes rather than just 'read' them in the general debate which, as you know, is a robust debate in Parliament."