10 Feb 2021

Rawiri Waititi allowed to speak in Parliament without neck tie

4:58 pm on 10 February 2021

Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi was allowed to speak in Parliament this afternoon, despite not wearing a tie.

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Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi (file photo) Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

He was kicked out yesterday after being repeatedly told he could not speak in the House without a neck tie.

He returned in the same attire today - wearing a hei tiki - but was allowed to stand and ask a supplementary question without comment from Speaker Trevor Mallard.

Waititi said he was pleased the Speaker had changed his stance and that it was a big win for Māori.

"This is a huge win for the future of our mokopuna. They can come into this space feeling comfortable about who they are and to express their cultural identity, without discrimination and without prejudice."

The Standing Orders Committee is meeting tonight to discuss male MPs having to wear ties.

Mallard said he had a discussion with co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer and they agreed a truce until the committee had met.

"I did have an undertaking that he wouldn't be speaking, that he'd only be present, but we're going to deal with these matters at 7.15pm".

Mallard recently considered the requirement for male MPs to wear ties in the House, but ultimately ruled that the dress standard would remain as that was the will of the majority of MPs.

Today he said he had sought advice from the committee on the issue.

"I think I'm likely to get more balanced advice from that than I did from an earlier survey."

However, he said he did not want to pre-empt the outcome of tonight's meeting.