Without wanting to perpetuate too many racial stereotypes, it sounded like a middle-class, white bloke making an earnest attempt at speaking te reo.

Indeed it was. Trevor Mallard, Speaker of the House, was reciting a karakia on Radio NZ's Morning Report.

Parliament now opens with a prayer which mentions God, but not Jesus Christ.

Mallard says the Jesus reference was a Christian one, and, in instigating the change, he wanted the prayer to acknowledge other religious beliefs.


About 400 people protested at Parliament yesterday at the edit.

Pastor Ross Smith was one of them, and in protesting Mallard's attempt at religious tolerance, was steadfastly intolerant himself.

New Zealand's parliamentary system was based on Christian values and beliefs, he told Morning Report's Guyon Espiner.

He warned that "when governments ignore God completely, they place themselves in the role of God". "If you are going to take the name of Jesus Christ out but leave God there, then which God are we talking about?"

Mr Smith said that Muslims could potentially identify the reference to God as a reference to Allah. "The next step is what, Sharia (Islamic) law) - is that what we want?"

"Which God are we talking about, is it the God of the Muslims, are we talking about Buddha ... who are we talking about?

"When the Government puts themself in the place of God, and doesn't recognise that there is a higher authority .... that's when you end up with a North Korea syndrome - the man himself thinks he is God, he is not accountable to anybody."

It's early days, 100 to be exact, but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has so far shown little political or behavioural resemblance to Kim Jong-un, and neither has Mallard.


Which God is it? Well, it's whichever God you want it to be.

For many yesterday, the greater sin within the karakia was not the removal of Jesus Christ's name, but the complete absence of a rolled "r".

Could one of the Northland MPs take Mallard aside for a te reo lesson?

Kia ora.