As I indicated would happen in my post this morning on the Labour reshuffle, Mallard made a run for speaker today.* He and the Labour leadership tried to keep the fact he was running secret right to the last moment. Why not run an honest, open campaign? Because a vote on speaker can only be made by MPs physically present in the chamber. No proxies. Let me explain.
Mallard’s plan was to stay quiet so National MPs wouldn’t think there was a competition and, so, wouldn’t bother to show up to the chamber – with no question time today ministers would book other appointments and MPs would head back to their electorates. To try to keep it secret, the old guard went so far as to not even tell their own caucus until last night, despite having told the support parties days before.* (ouch!)
If it had gone to plan, with all the Labour, Green, and NZF MPs would have been present, National would have been short and Mallard would have the numbers to sneak in.
Mallard and the old guard seem to have thought that would be a mighty clever trick. But did they stop to think how it would have looked?
Mallard could never have had any legitimacy as speaker in the eyes of the House or the public. And it never would have lasted – the Nats would have just voted him out when next they had a majority present, or refused to accept his rulings. Labour would have got all pain, and for only temporary gain for Mallard’s ego.
Can’t they focus on stuff that matters to the people they want to vote Labour, rather than this bullshit? All it would have done is further tarnish Labour’s image and make them look like under-handed sneaks who are more interested in their personal elevation then the interests of ordinary New Zealanders – but, then, Trev and the rest of the old guard have being doing that for years.
*oops, when I let the cat out of the bag this morning, I didn’t realise it was such a huge secret because it was going around the traps long before most of Labour’s MPs were allowed to know.