Speaker Margaret Wilson is encouraging MPs to change the rules that govern Question Time in Parliament if they are dissatisfied with it.

She made the comments at the end of a fractious week in which she was accused of being a disgrace to Parliament by National's Nick Smith as he was thrown out and Greens leader Jeanette Fitzsimons compared Opposition tactics to McCarthyism.

The House is in shock over the resignation of David Parker from the Cabinet for filing false declarations to the Companies Office, and MPs are wondering where the next scandal will spring from.

"I would be delighted if they put on the standing orders committee that we relooked at the standing orders that related to both questions and answers," Margaret Wilson told the Herald.

Since the election, Question Time in Parliament has frequently been toxic.

The swift resignation of Mr Parker was justified on the basis of the facts alone. But some colleagues later raised questions about whether he would have had the capacity to withstand similar attacks to Mr Benson-Pope.

The Speaker is often accused of not making ministers address questions. She says she is not responsible for the quality of the answers.

Dr Smith was ordered from the House on Wednesday after getting into an argument with the Speaker about the wording of his question to Associate Economic Development Minister Dover Samuels on the canning of the Whangamata marina.

Margaret Wilson said she was aware of the criticisms of Parliament and those people who wanted nothing but the question answered - "very boring".

"I'm more of a Winston Peters person," she said. "I think it should be robust debate. You can get a bit precious about who says what to whom, but if members take offence then you've got to take note of that.

"It's how you get that balance and whether the standing orders are helping or not, and I'm almost thinking at the moment that it probably wouldn't hurt to look at the standing orders again in that respect."

She also revealed that after the rowdy barracking meted out to National leader Don Brash following the Prime Minister's statement in February, she had visited the Labour Party caucus to complain about their behaviour - and it had improved.


Question time

* The session each day in Parliament when the Government is held to account for its performance - or lack of it.
* The slow roasting of Cabinet minister David Benson-Pope over his handling of allegations of historic bullying have prompted continuing debate about standards expected of MPs in and outside Parliament and what is an acceptable level of scrutiny by the Opposition.