19 Sep 2019

Labour MP Ruth Dyson accepts apology from Maggie Barry

10:55 am on 19 September 2019

A Labour MP says the way National's Maggie Barry shouted at her in Parliament was "totally inappropriate" but she accepts her apology.

National MP Maggie Barry sat on the justice committee

Maggie Barry (file photo) Photo: RNZ / Jane Patterson

Ms Barry, a vehement opponent of the End of Life Choice Bill, was repentant towards Labour's assistant speaker Ruth Dyson for yelling at her.

Ms Barry said the bill's supporters were trying to rush it through Parliament last week by shutting down the voluntary euthanasia debate too early.

She said it was a "highly emotionally charged situation" and she acknowledged she was "over-zealous in expressing my disappointment with the way things were progressing".

Ms Dyson said when she ended the debate it triggered Ms Barry to start shouting at her.

"She basically yelled at me from her chair ... about the fact that I had finished the debate and we were now moving to voting.

"People around were pretty shocked and surprised [by Ms Barry's behaviour].

"I took the call [to just carry on] and not exacerbate the situation by calling her to account at that particular time.

"But I know that she knew how shocked I was and how shocked other members of the House were."

Ms Dyson said Ms Barry's behaviour was particularly stark compared to what was an otherwise improving culture in Parliament.

"She issued an unreserved apology for her behaviour, she knows that it wasn't appropriate and we should all learn from that.

"It's human to make a mistake, it's a good thing to acknowledge it and apologise for it."

ACT party leader David Seymour's member's bill - to be treated as a conscience vote - will get its third and final reading in Parliament later this year.

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