At the same time Speaker Trevor Mallard was being sued for defamation, he changed the rules so other MPs could also have theirs covered by the taxpayer without disclosing it publicly.
National and Act leaders yesterday said they no longer had confidence in the Speaker after he revealed he'd cost the taxpayer more than $330,600 settling a case after incorrectly calling a former Parliamentary staffer a rapist.
It has also now come to light that the rules for when MPs can claim legal costs when they're being sued were expanded by the Speaker in August so damages and settlements can come from the public purse.
Those applications have to be signed off by the party leader, the Speaker and chief executive of Parliamentary Service.
It brings the rules for ordinary MPs in line with ministers however only ministers are subject to public disclosure rules under the Official Information Act. Other MPs and Parliamentary Services are exempt from having to disclose when legal costs are claimed.
Mallard's case was handled by Deputy Speaker Anne Tolley and it was considered that because the Speaker is the Minister responsible for Parliamentary Services, the same rules should apply as for ministers.
The process for Mallard's legal costs were signed off by Tolley rather than Cabinet.
Two opposition parties are now calling for Mallard to stand down, saying they've lost confidence in him.
National leader Judith Collins said Mallard had been "reckless with his words" and taxpayers had to foot the bill to "clean up this mess".
"Because Mr Mallard has not lived up to the high standards of behaviour that he has set for Parliament, we believe he is no longer fit to hold the role of Speaker."
Act leader David Seymour said the "real shame is that he doesn't recognise his behaviour requires him to go".
"I would have thought that after 36 years, Parliament's been very good to him and he'd have more respect for the institution."
Given Labour's majority in the House, a vote of no confidence would not pass.
Mallard refused to answer questions about the settlement and referred the Weekend Herald to the public apology he made on Tuesday.
In the statement, the Speaker said that some of his comments gave the "impression that allegations made against that individual in the context of the Francis Review amounted to rape".
"Trevor Mallard accepts that his understanding of the definition of rape at that time was incorrect and that the alleged conduct did not amount to rape (as that term is defined in the Crimes Act 1961) and that it was incorrect of him to suggest otherwise.
"Trevor Mallard apologises for the distress and humiliation his statements caused to the individual and his family."
The day after the Francis Review into bullying and harassment in Parliament was released Mallard said he believed a man who was responsible for three serious sexual assaults was still working in the building.
His comments - called shocking by some parliamentary workers - sparked a series of turbulent events that led to a historical assault complaint and a parliamentary staffer being stood down.
Mallard then said that a threat to safety had been removed from the premises.
The staffer later brought a case of defamation against Mallard seeking damages of $400,000 and exemplary damages of $50,000.