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Not wearing ties bad, denigrating MPs and breaching Standing Orders fine

Written By: - Date published: 7:29 am, February 12th, 2021 - 24 comments
Categories: national, Parliament, same old national - Tags:

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!

24 comments on “Not wearing ties bad, denigrating MPs and breaching Standing Orders fine ”

  1. NZSage 1

    Hey if National want to waste oxygen on the issue of tie-wearing then go for it I'd say.

    Then the grown-ups in parliament can carry on working on the important stuff.

    • Gabby 1.1

      I take it that Simpleton is perfectly free to wear a tie if he wants, as tight as he likes, probably not as tight as I'd like.

  2. Johnr 2

    Glad to see common sense prevailing with tie wearing in parliament being optional. Hell, with today's modern clothing they aren't even useful for holding your pants up.

    As for mr brown. As one commentator said "Does his mother know where he is?"

  3. Robert Guyton 3

    Shaun Plunkett will be furious that he can't take this issue and flog it all day on talk-back radio!

    Oh how he could have whipped-up anti-Mallard/Labour feelings amongst his willing listeners!

  4. alwyn 5

    "The overwhelming majority of the country agree."

    I would love to know where you managed to get your evidence for this claim?

    • Phil 5.1

      I would love to know where you managed to get your evidence for this claim?

      When was the last time you walked into literally any office building in the country?

      Aside from stuffy old lawyers and most real estate agents, pretty much every white collar industry has abandoned the neck tie in favour of more interesting fashion accessories.

      • alwyn 5.1.1

        He didn't make the claim as an opinion, such as saying "I think the majority of ….."

        Ii was given as a statement of fact which traditionally requires evidence.

  5. Enough is Enough 6

    Remind who raised the issue of wearing ties in Parliament?

  6. Stuart Munro 7

    Pretty cynical about the tie stoush – the man could've worn a tie under his tiki – he has done so before.

    It was a piece of cynical manipulation typical of talkback radio – creating a polarising issue instead of addressing those that arise from the people an MP is supposed to represent.

    The man's a Trump.

    • Sacha 7.1

      Have any media asked the people in his Waiariki electorate what they make of it? Certainly seems to match the kaupapa of his party.

      • Stuart Munro 7.1.1

        The success of his deceit does not magically transmogrify it from manipulation into advancing the enlightened best interests of his constituents.

        • Sacha

          How do we know what those interests are?

          • Stuart Munro

            We must use the powers of reason our species has developed, as far as we may. And it is fair to surmise, that wearing ties, or not wearing ties, is not the burning social justice issue that confronts our cultures, but a manufacturable point of difference that proponents may seek to display for political advantage. Some forgettable Gnat (the presciently named Simian Brown apparently) is presently doing the same thing from the other perspective, only with a little less success.

            • Sacha

              You seem to be saying that a Māori electorate like that MP represents can only be concerned about what you believe counts as a 'social justice issue'.

              Structural racism and colonial symbols sound like fair game – but how about listening to the relevant people. Maybe someone who has also done the job.

              • Stuart Munro

                It is a good rationalization, as far as it goes, but it is after the fact.

                This is merely part of a consistent rhetorical stance we have seen from Rawiri Waititi, trying to beat up any issue at all he can then call racism upon.

                He was, after all, part of the committee that passed the rule on wearing ties in the first place, without so much as a peep.

                He is a Trump – a lying demagogue – unfit for office and beneath contempt.

  7. tc 8

    Brown, Penk, Bishop etc are all reasons why Nationals vote was so low IMO.

    You can fool all the people some of the time as Key showed but the harsh reality of the pandemic showed reasonable kiwis how batshit crazy National can be….and still are.

    Collins could’ve crushed the deceitful outbursts from Ngaro during the campaign but choose to endorse his opinions instead. Says it all really.

    • Stuart Munro 8.1

      Brown, Penk, Bishop etc are all reasons why Nationals vote was so low IMO.

      I think the long-held illusion of National's economic competence has finally found its way into the dustbin of history where it belongs. Brown, Penk and Bishop are mere skirmishers – not capable of making a direct attack, but hoping to turn up an exposed flank. Even the dirty politics they play has been upstaged by the ranting lunacy of Billy TK and others of the Trumpian school. They are placeholders as their party slides into irrelevance, and neither Collins nor Luxton have the chops to save it.

  8. Treetop 9

    Maybe a clothes designer could design a different business shirt to be worn with a suit that does not require a tie. The collar is where I would start.

    The next debate will be whether or not the top button of the shirt needs to be buttoned up.

    Have a shirt made which has a picture of a tie where a tie is usually placed.

    • Cole 9.1

      I have never come across a shirt that actually requires a tie. Take the tie off, and it still works perfectly well as a shirt, every time. To be honest, I've never even figured out what exactly the tie is supposed to be doing in the first place. I certainly do not want to be represented in Parliament by anyone who would wear anything so ridiculous as a tie!

  9. Sacha 10

    Ex-MP Metiria Turei on the meaning of parliamentary attire. https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/11-02-2021/metiria-turei-why-the-parliament-necktie-fight-is-so-much-more-than-some-petty-squabble/

    So while this seemingly meaningless squabble over whether to wear ties or not in the parliamentary chamber seems facile, in fact, it is a discussion about who exercises power and how that power is presented to the benefit of the individual MP and their constituency. Men’s suits are the ubiquitous visual representation of a man wielding authority and his tie is an essential element of that uniform. A suit rarely, if ever, performs this function if the person is not also wearing a tie.

    The Māori Party approach is unique in relation to the neckties business. Some might believe it to be a misuse of cultural norms but in fact, the whole question of a dress code in parliament is a cultural question – whose culture is being represented by a business attire dress code, and in the 21st century, what the hell is business attire anyway?

    It seems more than timely to abandon the culturally bound and frankly lazy concept of business attire which is simply code for Pākehā visual symbols of authority. A suit and tie is a visual proxy for power and authority in New Zealand’s western mainstream culture. The Māori Party argument is that taonga is the Māori cultural status symbol.

    • Phil 10.1

      A suit rarely, if ever, performs this function [visual representation of a man wielding authority] if the person is not also wearing a tie.

      I agree with Turei's overall view that business attire is largely an outdated concept, but take minor issue with this claim.

      A tie might be the finishing touch to an overall projection of authority, but my experience here in New Zealand is that all too often the tie undercuts any authority the wearer seeks to project – whether it be tied too tightly, not tightly enough, stained or dirty or worn, askew, mismatched to the rest of the ensemble.

      For all fashion choices, the success of any attempted projection is less about the items of clothing themselves and more about the comfort and presence of the individual wearing them.

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