Veteran National MP Nick Smith has narrowly avoided being "named" in Parliament over comments that saw him ejected twice yesterday.
Leader of the House Chris Hipkins today brought to the attention of Speaker Trevor Mallard the fact that Smith was asked to withdraw and apologise for comments he made in Parliament yesterday before being ejected. He then told reporters he stood by his comments and repeated them.
Smith interjected during question time yesterday, accusing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of lying while discussing affordable housing.
Smith was ejected from the House a second time yesterday evening for making similar comments, "in fact eight or nine infractions on the Standing Orders", Hipkins said.
Shadow Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee put to the Speaker that what might be considered unparliamentary in the "genteel confines of this delicate chamber" might not be considered anything other than reasonable comment outside Parliament.
"It would be unfortunate if the Speaker was to determine what members are or are not able to say outside in the large wide world," Brownlee said.
Mallard said there would have been a matter of privilege to be considered if it had been raised in writing before the House sat at 2pm.
"It can't now because it is out of time. As far as the later behaviour is concerned, I watched it. I think it's fair to say that the Assistant Speaker in the chair at the time is a more tolerant person than I am and the behaviour certainly met the disorderly criteria for naming. It's my expectation is that at some stage, if that sort of behaviour continues, the member will be named."
Naming is a form of discipline rarely used in Parliament and involves the named member being suspended from the House for 24 hours.
As the longest continuously-serving Member of Parliament, Smith is the Father of the House.