Tie debate U-turn: Trevor Mallard allows Rawiri Waititi to speak in Parliament despite lack of tie

Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi has been allowed to stay in Parliament after againwearing a hei-tiki rather than a Western-style tie.

Mallard sighed when he called Waititi, after the Māori Party co-leader stood to ask a question. But he allowed him to speak.

Mallard booted Waititi out of the House yesterday after the pair clashed over Waititi’s refusal to wear a tie.

Instead, he wore a traditional hei-tiki – telling media that as far as many New Zealanders were concerned, “this is a tie”.

Mallard didn’t agree and ejected him from the House after previously warning him not to speak again unless he was wearing a Western-style tie.

The rules are expected to be debated later tonight.

A spokesman for the Māori Party earlier confirmed that Waititi would again be wearing the hei-tiki in the House today.

The party had one supplementary question today and Waititi planned to use it.

In an email circulated to media by the Māori Party this morning, Waititi told Mallard that the matter “sits squarely with you as the Speaker”.

“It is Te Paati Māori (the Māori Party) view that you are the sole arbitrator of a number of matters before the House.

“As you have indicated, you are the sole arbitrator of time even.”

Waititi said that the wearing of a hei-tiki by a Māori Member of Parliament representing the Māori Party and unashamedly Māori must be allowed to wear his cultural statements of identity.

“Any action to not give Māori equality of rights in the House to adorn themselves with their cultural positions, must be seen to be discriminatory, unfair, unjust and unequal.”

Yesterday, speaking to media after being ejected from the chamber, Waititi said that forcing him to wear a tie was “forcing indigenous people into wearing what I described as a colonial noose”.

He said that Mallard’s conduct was “uncontainable”.

Mallard was keen to relax the rules around male MPs wearing ties in the House, but after consulting with MPs the majority said they wanted to keep the rule.

“Having considered those views, I have decided that no change in current standards is warranted. Business attire, including a jacket and tie for men, remains the required dress standard,” he said.

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