National MP Chris Bishop called for the resignation of Speaker Mallard during a speech in Parliament today, accusing him a gross abuse of power, while Mallard was in the chair.
Leader Judith Collins has also stepped up National's campaign against Mallard, saying he is a bully, a disgrace and unfit for the job.
Collins wrote to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last week about Mallard after receiving court documents related to a defamation case Mallard has settled with an apology and payout for accusing a former parliamentary staffer of rape.
The cost to the taxpayer has been about $333,000.
Mallard told a parliamentary committee last year that he realised his mistake "probably within 24 hours" of making the original comments in media interviews.
The staffer has been the subject of complaints from two women but the complaints were not of rape.
Bishop said the court documents, a statement of claim from the former staffer, contained new material that made an overwhelming case for Mallard's resignation of Speaker.
He said they showed Mallard persisted with the allegation of rape even after learning from the Parliamentary Service general manager Rafael Gonzales-Montero that the staffer had not been accused of rape.
The original comments about rape had been made in media interviews on May 22, 2019, after the release of the Francis report into bullying and harassment at Parliament.
Bishop said the despite having had that corrected within 24 hours, when the former staffer's lawyer sought a retraction, and apology and damages, Mallard he responded by saying his statement had been covered by the defence of truth, or honest opinion or qualified privilege.
"Mr Mallard said he planned to prove in court the plaintiff was a rapist, He intended to do this knowing it was false," Bishop said.
"The consequences of this are severe," he said. "Mr Mallard was either planning on misleading the court or he has misled Parliament. These are not the actions of someone fit to be Speaker."
Bishop also quoted from the statement of claims to accuse Mallard of having "threatened" the former staffer.
Mallard had said in his reply to the former staffer's lawyer that if he pursued litigation, "the question of his reputation and his conduct will be very much the centre-piece of any public proceeding."
Bishop: "Mr Mallard said he would prove the man was a rapist, knowing it to be untrue, if the plaintiff sued to protect. This a gross and disgraceful abuse of power…He threatened to put the man on trial. This is a man who should resign."
Mallard said the whole speech was out of order – pointing to ruling which says " the one and only proper form for attack on the chairmanship of the House is by notice of motion."
"But because I was involved, I thought it was not appropriate to stop the speech."
He said he would look forward to hearing of the Estimates [on Parliamentary Service spending] "where the truth will be told."
Collins asked Ardern as Prime Minister and Labour leader to support National's motion of no confidence in Mallard, which has been sitting on the agenda for some time.
"Mr Mallard has, in my honest opinion, and that of the National Party caucus, acted as a bully, in contradiction of the standards that he, as Speaker, has set for Members of Parliament," she wrote.
Talking to Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking this morning, Collins said Mallard was a disgrace.
"He needs to go … It goes to Trevor Mallard's personality and he is unfit for the job.
"It is not that he lacks any intellectual rigour. It is the fact he is a bully and you see this day in, day out and you see this with this former staffer."
Ardern has previously said that any issue National has with Mallard was a matter for Parliament, not for the Prime Minister and she reiterated that today.
The issue was aired again at a select committee earlier this month when the Parliamentary Service general manager appeared before it.
Under questioning from National's Michael Woodhouse, he said he was unwilling to settle an employment with the former staffer.
"I am not willing to settle with anybody that I believe has done something wrong," he said. "If we get taken to court and we lose, I'd rather lose because we have done the right thing."
He said he had been contacted in December by one of the two women who had complained about the former staffer after Mallard had been grilled about the defamation suit.
"I was approach by one of the complainants, who was extremely upset about the rhetoric," he said.
"The question was 'why is everybody interested in this person who created so much pain for us but nobody's actually looking into what they did?"
The Herald approached Mallard for comment earlier today.
He said he was still bound not to comment outside parliamentary proceedings by a mediation agreement but added that he was "surprised that Judith Collins was still pursuing the matter in light of recent revelations following select committee questioning by Michael Woodhouse."