Parliament is possibly the only place in modern life where a tie is mandatory dress for men. The tie's disappearance from business suits happened remarkably quickly a few years ago and inevitably, MPs are beginning to wonder if they should follow suit. Would it matter?
Labour's deputy leader, Grant Robertson, believes is is time to unbutton in the chamber. Trevor Mallard agrees, and he aspires to be Speaker if Labour leads a majority after the coming election. Current Speaker David Carter wants to maintain the standard of mandatory jacket and tie.
Politicians have a strange tie habit. They feel the need to wear one in public almost all the time, until it comes to an election campaign. Then the tie comes off and the shirt collars are loosened to be a "man of the people". Unless it is Winston Peters, who is never seen in less than a suit and tie.
Peters knows what he is doing. Dress matters in those who are invested with responsibility for making law and guiding the fate of the nation. Dress is not just an expression of the wearer's taste and style, it says something about how the person regards the people they are meeting and their job. For all the open necks in business these days, executives will have a tie not far away.
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Parliament's debating chamber is the place where legislation is made in public view. Its decorum is important and not always easy to maintain. Gentlemen, you need the tie.