9 Nov 2017

Parliament gets off to stumbling start

7:37 pm on 9 November 2017

It was a shaky start for some of the new Labour Party government ministers this afternoon, as opposition MPs launched into the first question time of the new term.

Trevor Mallard

Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard joked he didn't hear National's interjections because he is slightly deaf in his left ear. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The formal ceremonies to mark the start of the new term are over and it's back to business, with everyone getting used to the new government and opposition arrangements.

Labour's Kelvin Davis - number three in the government - found himself as acting Prime Minister, with Jacinda Ardern and her Deputy Winston Peters out of the country for APEC.

On his way into the House he confessed to being a bit nervous, but said it was an honour.

"I think my cousins up north though will give me a bit of ribbing for this and it will probably cost me a bit of a shout at the RSA next time I'm up there."

The new Speaker of the House, Trevor Mallard, was taking no prisoners, including with his own Labour colleagues.

In response to interjections from the Labour Party - sitting to his right - he started handing out extra questions to the opposition.

Some minutes later, Labour's Chris Hipkins asked for equal treatment, when the National Party was interjecting.

Mr Mallard was not playing ball.

"I think as the minister is aware I'm slightly deaf in my left ear so I didn't hear any objections," he replied to surprised laughter from the opposition benches.

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