Interesting exchanges from the House yesterday.
Gerry almost gets away with calling Labour a "bunch of thieves". He had to withdraw and apologise eventually.
Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: Dr Smith should get a big-print version for himself. What, in fact, that also means is that again the Auditor-General is relying upon the previous Solicitor-General's legal opinion, which is heavily contestable, as Jack Hodder's legal opinion appended to the Speaker's report makes clear.
Gerry Brownlee: Who's he?
Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: "Who's he?", asks Gerry Brownlee about Jack Hodder! He is just one of this country's leading lawyers. Gerry Brownlee has never heard of him. I tell members that long after Gerry Brownlee is dead and gone, Jack Hodder will have some influence on this country.
Gerry Brownlee: Just a Government lackey!
Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. That is not what we say about people outside. Mr Brownlee has just called Jack Hodder a "Government lackey". I suggest he talk to his colleague Chris Finlayson before he continues that kind of stupid commentary about a very, very good independent lawyer.
Gerry Brownlee: We have a report in front of us produced by the Auditor-General, an Officer of Parliament. We have a report in front of us produced by you, the Speaker of the Parliament. We have had various other institutions of the State, including the Chief Electoral Officer, express opinions on this. Apparently we are to put it all aside because the Labour Party's own lawyer has a different view. Dr Cullen should not come in here and have a go at me over that. That is the sort of reason why his party is in trouble. Labour members are a bunch of thieves; pay it back!
Bob Clarkson follows Tau Henares lead the other day and calls someone a liar and refuses to withdraw and apologise. The strange thing is that it is unparliamentary to call someone a liar even when they are lying which by the way isn't unparliamentary.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: As Mr English has brought the question of Bob Clarkson to issue here, is the Minister aware that at the court Mr Clarkson denied knowledge of working with the Exclusive Brethren, yet just 3 weeks ago admitted he did?
Madam SPEAKER: I think that question is asking an opinion of the Minister on a matter that was raised, but I do not think the Minister has ministerial responsibility for that.
Hon Chris Carter: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. I heard a very unparliamentary comment from the member for Hamilton East, which I think he should withdraw and apologise for.
Madam SPEAKER: Would the member please withdraw and apologise.
David Bennett: What for?
Madam SPEAKER: I did not hear what the member said, but would the member please-
David Bennett: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. What was the comment?
Hon Chris Carter: When Mr Peters was speaking I heard him yell out "liar".
Madam SPEAKER: I am sorry but that is unparliamentary. [Interruption] It was Mr Clarkson who said "liar", was it? Members, please, whoever made that unparliamentary comment, which was obviously heard by members, would he or she please withdraw and apologise.
Bob Clarkson: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. I tell the truth, and he does not.
Madam SPEAKER: So you are calling the member a liar, and you are refusing to withdraw and apologise?
Bob Clarkson: Definitely.
Madam SPEAKER: Would you please leave the Chamber.
Bob Clarkson withdrew from the Chamber.