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High jinks ?in the House

Opinion Piece

Politicians behaving badly, a name choice for the newest member of the royal family, and the Israel Folau saga — the past news week had something for everyone.

House Speaker Trevor Mallard, famous for trading blows with his political opponents in the past, found himself in a new role that was more akin to a Super Rugby referee.

First there was a red card for the usually mild-mannered Simon Bridges who was told to leave the debating chamber, then National’s 30-year veteran Nick Smith was given an actual suspension.

Was it a sign of rising tensions as next year’s election approaches?

Coming on top of Willie Jackson”s intemperate remarks about Paula Bennett, events in the House last week did not do the image of the country’s politicians any good.

After accusations of bias, Mallard will want to re-affirm his reputation as a good adjudicator who has opened up Parliamentary debate.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was literally flying above the ruckus on her way to France, where she and President Emmanuel Macron will try to find ways to get hateful posts out of social media.

Back in NZ Bridges told National’s Mainland Conference that time was on their side and the Government’s profile was built on the personality of one person. Unfortunately for him that person has soared in the polls while he flounders.

Royalists already gaga over the birth of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s son were left to ponder the unusual name choice of Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. At least somebody was happy — Archie was paying £100 with some UK bookmakers.

Sports fans were following the inevitable exit of Israel Folau from Australian rugby. After a three-day hearing, a panel found him guilty of a high-level code of conduct breach for his social media posting about homosexuals and fornicators. The questions now are around the sanctions that will be imposed.

Folau still has some support within the rugby world, particularly among his fellow Pacific Islanders.

Members of the Reds and Rebels Super Rugby teams formed a huddle and prayed together after their Friday game, something that would not have been missed by Australian rugby’s hierarchy.