Barry Soper: Key biffed from the bear pit

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It says something about the leadership styles of the current Prime Minister and his predecessor.

It was certainly a red letter day in Parliament on Wednesday, June 22, 2005, when Helen Clark committed the mortal sin of interjecting when a National MP was asking a question.

Her buddy Margaret Wilson, who was a bit like a Sumo wrestler - not in stature but in her ability as Speaker to throw participants out of the ring - wasn't of a mind to be trifled with. A grumpy Clark was red carded, sent to the sin bin, and was later followed by the mellow Don Brash who for once got a bit noisy.

A shocked Clark reluctantly walked, she wasn't used to taking orders, and looked thunderous while Brash, who obviously liked being whipped into line, left smiling like a Cheshire cat.

So it's been a long time between unexpected drinks in Parliament's bear pit when it comes to Prime Ministers. John Key had an early cuppa yesterday when he was sent packing for defying Speaker David Carter, who got to his feet roaring like a grizzly, demanding order.

Key could be forgiven for not noticing him though as he blazed at the Greens beneath the deafening din, with his back to Carter. But he too had committed a mortal sin, continuing to yell while the Speaker was on his feet.

When order had finally been restored, Key was told he was no different to any other Member of Parliament. He'd been warned about the standing rule, which meant he had to sit down. He'd unwittingly defied it, and was biffed out.

A shoulder shrug, a smirk, and off he went.

READ MORE: PM John Key thrown out of debating chamber by Speaker

Key was doing what he loves to do in the bear pit, riling his opponents. They were robbed though of what he rarely gives in that place, an apology, for saying Greenpeace was the beneficiary of a trust in the infernal Panama papers.

He knew full well a trust called Greenpeace was fingered in a search of the papers, but it wasn't the real one. It was a scam, put in place to get the cheaper tax rate for charities. He might have been factually correct but he kept needling the Greens, which led to the cacophony.

Key maintains he was making the point that just because you're named in the Panama papers it doesn't necessarily mean you're guilty of something, even though by implication he says that's the impression being conveyed by some media. It's hard to argue with that, but it's not going to stop them.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- NZME.

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