A prompt request for a ruling from the Standing Orders Committee over the neckwear of Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi was the right outcome for a debate over dress codes in Parliament.
Few would disapprove of a high standard of presentation in our House of Representatives. Any challenges to what is accepted must be met with due consideration for the dignity of the institution's sake.
Pragmatically, however, a hei-tiki would seem to be no less appropriate an accessory for the House than a paisley Windsor knot, a Mexican bolo, a polka dot bow-tie or a Scout's woggle for that matter.
Cowboy-hatted Waititi declared the neck-tie a "Colonial noose", and that may be how he truly feels, but the strip of cloth is largely considered as simply a show of respect when attending a formal occasion.
The neck-tie is credited to be of Croatian origin, introduced to the court of French King Louis XIII by Croat mercenaries. Incidentally, these men - who lent "la cravate" to the apparel industry - may have felt under Napoleonic Rule more kinsmanship with the Te Paati Māori than the rest of our Parliament. Colonialism in the tie of the beholder, perhaps?
The more cynical might suggest this is a handy deflection from the ongoing criticism Mallard faces after a legal dispute arose from his claiming an accused rapist was working in Parliament.
Mallard's failed attempt to defend the defamation action stemming from the allegation and its eventual settlement cost the taxpayer more than $333,000 in an ex-gratia payment and legal fees. As part of the resolution, Mallard publicly apologised for the comments, but the Opposition has vowed to have him removed as Speaker.
Once again, it's unlikely Mallard has contrived the dress code dust-up to divert attention, but perception is a big part of politics, and he knows this. Coverage of the first few days in Parliament this week was big on Waititi and his neckwear and little of Mallard. The Speaker may well have been relieved, if not happy, with the results of day one, in particular.
But it doesn't disguise that Mallard's situation remains an impediment to the second term of Government for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
National leader Judith Collins has said her party plans to raise repeated motions of no confidence in him as the year rolls on. "It's this week, and it will be next week, and some weeks to come," she told media.
On this, Collins is correct. His actions over the rape allegation raise too many questions about the judgment of a man charged with holding New Zealand's third most important office, constitutionally, after the Governor-General and the Prime Minister.
As political reporter Claire Trevett pointed out this week, National's chances of success appear unlikely, but that is not the point.
For a government needing acute focus on recovery from a pandemic and a stated desire for transformation, continuing in the role is untenable. It is time for the Prime Minister to prise loose Mallard's hold on the position.