The Taxpayer’s Union has launched a petition to recoup the public funds used to pay for Trevor Mallard’s expensive misspeaking:
A written Parliamentary question has confirmed the Taxpayers’ Union’s understanding that the Speaker paid a six-figure settlement to a staffer he accused of rape.
Responding to the news, Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says:
“Taxpayers should not have to cover the bill for Trevor Mallard’s careless accusations. It’s not like making defamatory allegations is part of his job description.”
“Trevor Mallard must commit to paying back the taxpayer money handed over to the accused staffer and the Labour Party’s law firm.”
The Union has launched a petition calling for the repayment at www.taxpayers.org.nz/trevor.
“The Speaker is paid a taxpayer-funded salary of $296,000, so we’re sure he can work out a payment plan with Parliamentary Services.”
“As a gesture of goodwill, if Trevor Mallard repays the money the Taxpayers’ Union will stop hassling him for spending $572,000 on a slide outside Parliament.”
Forgoing the hassling over the slide is a very magnanimous offer by the TU.
The speaker needs to have the confidence of parliament. He was unpopular in the first term and this is a very bad start to his second.
National has lost confidence in him:
National has lost confidence in Speaker Trevor Mallard following revelations that more than $330,000 of taxpayers’ money was spent on settling the legal dispute he created by falsely accusing a former Parliamentary employee of rape.
The Speaker has revealed to National, in answers to written parliamentary questions, that the total amount of public funds spent as a result of his media comments from May 2019 that resulted in a public apology for “distress and humiliation” was $333,641.70.
Of that, $158,000 was an ex-gratia payment to the former staffer to settle a legal claim, $171,000 was paid in fees to Dentons Kensington Swan and $4641.70 went to Crown Law for advice to the former Deputy Speaker.
“This is unacceptable behaviour from the Speaker of the House. This sheer size of this pay-out illustrates how serious the matter is,” Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins says.
“It is the Speaker’s job to set the standard of behaviour for everyone at Parliament but he has been reckless with his words, resulting in taxpayers footing a bill of more than $330,000 to clean up this mess.
“There has been no formal apology to Parliament for this, despite the National Party encouraging the Speaker to do so on the final sitting day this year.
“Because Mr Mallard has not lived up to the high standards of behaviour that he has set for Parliament, we believe he is no longer fit to hold the role of Speaker.
“The people who work at Parliament, and the taxpayers of New Zealand, deserve better.”
The written answers are here.
Labour has an outright majority so losing National’s confidence might not worry Mallard. But this behaviour ought to worry Labour.