The former Parliamentary staffer who sued the Speaker Trevor Mallard for defamation has an ongoing employment case at taxpayers' expense.
Speaker Trevor Mallard has come under intense questioning at a Select Committee meeting into a costly defamation case.
The defamation case cost taxpayers $330,000 after Mallard wrongly claimed an accused rapist was working on the premises.
A staffer, who was stood down shortly after, then launched defamation proceedings.
National's Michael Woodhouse asked if there were any more money to be paid, to which Trevor Mallard confirmed his case was sorted and no further money would be paid.
However, Parliamentary Service chief executive Rafael Gonzalez-Montero confirmed at the meeting that there was a separate open employment case still ongoing with Parliamentary Services.
The new case had cost taxpayers about $37,500 so far, he said.
Mallard faces intense scrutiny
The National Party is demanding Mallard apologise and tender his resignation.
The Speaker started the proceedings by repeating his apology.
"I'm acutely aware of the need for the Speaker to be above reproach, I made a mistake and for that I unreservedly apologise to the House and to New Zealanders," he said.
Mallard said it was his duty as Speaker and Minister for Parliamentary Services to ensure as far as possible the safety of all those who worked for Parliamentary Service.
"From early on as the job as Speaker, it was clear to me that there was widespread bullying and abuse at Parliament and a culture of covering it up."
He said his view was that the HR practices were not consistent with the 21st century, and change needed to occur to ensure that Parliament was a safe place for people to come to work.
The comments made in error were made in relation to serious concerns being raised about staff, he said.
"My error has diverted attention away from their stories and the good work that has been done subsequently to change the culture at Parliament and that is something I regret."
The Speaker also clarified why he released his statement on a costly legal case hours after the release of the Royal Commission report on the Christchurch Mosque Attacks.
He said he had agreed to release the statement on a sitting day, to ensure public transparency and putting it out on the last sitting day would not have been acceptable.
"Because that first sitting day coincided with the release of the Royal Commission into the mosque attacks, out of respect to the victims and their families I waited until journalists were released from the lock-up and the debate in the House had concluded," he said.
"I believe this was the most respectful and appropriate thing to do."
National Party MP Chris Bishop grilled the Speaker on why it took from May 2019 until December 2020 to accept he made a mistake and why it was not settled earlier.
Mallard said he accepted he made a mistake a lot earlier than that.
"It was a matter of trying to get to a point of having settlement that did not involve $450,000 being paid to the plaintiff, because that was the amount that was being asked for," he said.
Mallard said he realised "probably within 24 hours" that he had made a mistake, after making the claim.
Bishop asked why Mallard didn't do something once he realised he had made a mistake, to which Mallard reponded it was because he did not wanted to interfere with an employment matter.
Bishop said that MPs misspoke all the time, but normally they tried to clear it up.
"Particularly in this circumstance, there are very few worse things to call someone in such a public way, with such a public forum with all the media scrutiny, I just don't understand why - if you realised you made a mistake - after 24 hours you just didn't clear it up," Bishop said.
"It would have saved the taxpayer the better part of 330,000 bucks probably."