The Māori party co-leader Rawiri Waititi has defied the order to wear a tie in the New Zealand parliament’s debating chamber – and was promptly ejected by the Speaker.
“It’s not about ties it’s about cultural identity mate,” Waititi said as he left the chamber, local media reported.
Earlier, exchanges over the dress code between Waititi and the Speaker of the House, Trevor Mallard, had grown heated, with Waititi saying he had chosen to wear cultural dress – “Māori business attire” – to the chamber, with a pounamu or greenstone necklace in place of a necktie.
Mallard said Waititi he would not be called on to speak if he was not wearing a tie. When Waititi continued to speak, he was ejected from the chamber.
Waititi has previously described ties as a “colonial noose” and last year he was ejected on the same grounds.
Mallard last week decided to keep the requirement that male MPs wear ties in parliament’s debating chamber, after asking members of parliament to write to him about what constituted appropriate business attire in the House.
Māori party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer decided to wear a tie, despite not being required to as a woman.
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern said she had no personal objection to ties not being worn in parliament, but she thought there were more important issues to discuss in the debating chamber, such as how to solve the housing crisis.
“I don’t think New Zealanders care about ties,” she said.
The new parliament is the country’s most diverse and inclusive, including 48% women, 11% LGBTQI, 21% Māori, 8.3% Pacific, and 7% Asian New Zealand members. There have been growing calls for members to be allowed to wear cultural interpretations of formal wear, in addition to men being allowed to remove their ties.
Mallard said that in making a decision on mandatory formal wear, he had sided with the majority of those who had written to him wanting the status quo to remain.
“A significant majority of members who responded opposed any change to dress standards for the debating chamber,” Mallard said.
“Having considered those views, I have decided that no change in current standards is warranted. Business attire, including a jacket and tie for men, remains the required dress standard.”
The post 2021-02-09 03:46:00 | Māori MP Rawiri Waititi ejected from New Zealand parliament in necktie row | New Zealand
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