Nelson MP Nick Smith has admitted that he regrets likening Parliament to a ‘Nazi Establishment’ last week, but says that he was frustrated, and that the comments came after a week of being ‘unfairly targeted by the speaker.’
Parliament’s Serjeant-in-Arms removed National MP Nick Smith from the house late on Thursday evening, last week.
Nick was asked to leave the house that afternoon by Speaker Trevor Mallard after he raised a point of order, saying that the government was unfairly attacking the opposition.
When Mallard said “That is a problem for me to deal with, not the member,” Nick replied, “But you don’t.” He was then asked to leave.
Nick returned to the house in the early evening, again being asked to leave, before returning for the third time just before midnight, while the House passed laws under urgency throughout the night.
Assistant Speaker Adrian Rurawhe called the Serjeant-at-Arms to remove Smith.
“What sort of a Nazi establishment is running the place, seriously?” Smith said as he left the house.
National leader Todd Muller said that the comment was unacceptable and that he had spoken to Smith about the incident.
“Despite that intense frustration, it was a very ill-advised thing to say and I’ve told him so,” Muller said.
On Monday, Smith said that he regretted making the comment, but that he was frustrated because the Speaker would not tell him when he would be allowed to return to the house.
“I do regret making that comment,” Nick says.
National MP Gerry Brownlie left the house as well, and was told he could return at the same time as Dr Smith.
Smith said that despite phoning the Speakers office and the office of the Whips several times, and was left without an answer as to when he could return.
Smith claims that speaker Trevor Mallard is out to get him.
“The previous week I had asked about how much the slide in Parliament cost, which was $572,000, for a slide! That caused some embarrassment for the speaker.”
Then, on Tuesday last week, Smith questioned the cost of Trevor Mallard’s defamation case, which has cost the taxpayer nearly $80,000.
Mallard faces legal action after saying last year that a rapist was working at Parliament.
Smith was further frustrated that Mallard released a statement to the press on Friday about his costs, rather than answering Dr Smith’s question directly.
“My view is that the unfair treatment that I received from the speaker was directly related to his grumpiness of me for asking him an uncomfortable question, countered by removing me from parliament,” Smith says.
“In my view, it was an abuse of power.”