The Speaker has reprimanded Housing Minister Phil Twyford for some of his answers to National MP Judith Collins. Trevor Mallard said they showed "contempt for the accountability" the minister had.

Mallard ordered Twyford to provide more informative answers to Collins and awarded National an extra 20 questions next week, saying it had been denied the opportunity to use written questions to scrutinise the Government in a timely manner.

"The answers are an abuse of the written question process. In my view they should a contempt for the accountability which a Minister has to this House."

He said ministers should make a serious attempt to provide an informative answer. "These questions do not come close to meeting that standard."


The answers Twyford was reprimanded by the Speaker for related to the KiwiBuild programme -a policy the pair regularly spar over.

In one, Collins asked if KiwiBuild home owners would be able to rent out rooms for profit. Twyford replied she would have to wait for an announcement "but if the member is volunteering to peek in the windows of her constituents, I will take that under advisement".

In others, Collins had asked how many staff would be employed by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development. Twyford replied that was a decision for the chief executive, but added "if the member is on the lookout for work, she should keep an eye on the classifieds".

Leader of the House Chris Hipkins said he agreed the "flippant comments" used by Twyford did not reflect well on the House, but pointed the Speaker to the tone of some of the questions, saying they invited such an answer.

The example Hipkins used was Collins asking how many more "sleeps" were required before a decision was made on the eligibility rules for KiwiBuild.

Collins had asked that question on June 7, and referred to Twyford's comment in Parliament two weeks earlier that there were "only a few more sleeps" before those rules would be clear.

Twyford's reply had been "It depends on how frequently the member sleeps".

Mallard said because Collins had been quoting Twyford's own term, it could not be ruled out of order.

Video will play in
Play now
Don't auto play

Never auto play
Transport Minister Phil Twyford admits he used a cellphone on an Air NZ plane after the doors were closed. / Mark Mitchell

The Opposition has a chance to ask a limited amount of questions to ministers in Parliament at Question Time on sitting days, but can also put in written questions for ministers to answer.

It is the third time in the past few months that Twyford has faced a telling off - he admitted to using a cellphone after the airplane doors closed, a confession flushed out of him by Collins putting in a series of written questions about it.

Twyford was also scolded by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after dismissing Treasury analysts as "kids fresh out of university" because he disagreed with their analysis.