Another day and social media tragics of all political persuasions are watching National’s latest efforts and scratching our heads and wondering what they are doing.
Two days ago Parliament’s Standing Orders Committee met and by a distinct majority decided that the compulsory tie wearing rule for male MPs is anachronistic. In other words ACT told National to stop being so silly.
Mallard complied and announced the change yesterday. Good on him.
The overwhelming majority of the country agree. By all means have a dress code but the compulsory intricate wearing of an intricately knotted long skinny piece of material around your neck should not be required if your preference is that employees of an institution work at peak performance.
But this did not stop National backbench MP with the largest majority who has aspirations of being the next leader Simeon Brown from stirring the issue up. From Lana Andelane at Stuff:
The National Party MP Simeon Brown has condemned Speaker Trevor Mallard’s “disappointing” decision to make neckties optional in Parliament following a highly-publicised dispute in the House this week.
On Tuesday, Māori Party co-leader and Waiariki MP Rawiri Waititi substituted a traditional tie, formerly a requirement under the parliamentary dress code, for a hei-tiki – a large pounamu pendant considered to be taonga, a treasured possession, by Māori people.
In the debating chamber, Waititi was twice prevented from asking a question by Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard, who warned the MP he would not be able to enter the House again without wearing the correct attire. The second time Waititi attempted to pose a question, Mallard ejected him from Parliament.
Waititi later wrote an impassioned piece on social media, comparing the tie to the assertion of Pākehā power.
Following a meeting of the Standing Orders Committee and a submission from Te Paati Māori on Wednesday, Mallard announced that ties would no longer be a requirement under the parliamentary dress code for male MPs.
Later that evening, Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown publicly opposed the decision, branding it as a “lowering of standards”.
“The Speaker has changed his decision regarding wearing ties in Parliament and now they are optional. A lowering of standards,” Brown, 29, wrote on social media.
This is really funny. The only lowering of standards that I think MPs should be worried about is the lowering of living standards for our poorest kids or the lowering of our environmental standards. Nothing else matters. And thinking that creating a battle in the ongoing culture wars about whether or not employees should wear a tie shows that you are stuck in a time warp that is 50 years old.
Fresh from this complaint about the lowering of standards National then really went low. Their meme working group, which claims to have no relationship to the party even though its title says it is the National Party Meme Working Group posted a heavily edited version of Labour MP Anna Lorck’s speech to Parliament about the Food (Continuation of Dietary Supplements Regulations) Amendment Bill.
The bill was not contentious. All parties supported it. Lorck chose to take a short call and talk about supplements that her great-grandfather and she had taken. The speech was light hearted. It occurred during Wednesday evening well after most people in the country had stopped working. It was also mercifully short. MPs should resist the temptation to take up all of their speaking time during debates where there is consensus which is what Anna did.
But here is the thing. Imagine putting up a doctored video of the speech especially when it is in breach of Parliament’s standing orders requirement that excerpts not be misleading but on the same day complaining that not wearing a knotted piece of material around your neck is an affront to Parliamentary standards. What sort of standards do you have?
The video has more than a hint of misogyny about it. It is really noticeable that National tends to focus its attacks on Labour’s female MPs.
And if you want the definitive response to Parliament’s dress code here is Jeremy Corbyn in 1984 wearing a jumper that his mum knitted.
Go Jeremy Corbyn!