The Māori party co-leader Rawiri Waititi has resisted the order to wear a tie in the New Zealand parliament’s debating chamber – and was quickly removed by the Speaker.
MP Rawiri Waititi said as he left the chamber that it wasn’t about ties, it’s about cultural identity.
Earlier, exchanges over the dress code between MP Rawiri Waititi and the Speaker of the House, Trevor Mallard, had grown heated, with Rawiri Waititi saying he’d chosen to wear cultural dress – “Māori business attire” – to the chamber, with a pounamu or greenstone necklace in place of neckwear.
Trevor Mallard said that Rawiri Waititi would not be called on to speak if he was not wearing a necktie, and when Waititi proceeded to speak, he was removed from the chamber.
Rawiri Waititi has previously described ties as a colonial noose and last year he was removed on the same grounds.
Trevor Mallard last week decided to keep the requirement that male MPs wear ties in parliament’s debating chamber, after inviting members of parliament to write to him about what constituted suitable business attire in the House.
Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer decided to wear a necktie, despite not being required to as a woman.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she had no particular objection to ties not being worn in parliament, and she believed there were more pressing matters to address in the debating chamber, such as how to resolve the housing crisis.
She said that she didn’t think that New Zealanders cared about ties.
The new parliament is the country’s most diverse and inclusive, including 48 per cent women, 11 per cent LGBTQI, 21 per cent Māori, 8.3 per cent Pacific, and 7 per cent Asian New Zealand members, and 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.
Trevor Mallard said that in deciding on mandatory formal wear, he had sided with the majority of those who had written to him wanting the status quo to continue, and Trevor Mallard said that a significant preponderance of members who responded opposed any change to dress standards for the debating chamber.
He said that having considered those views, he concluded that no change in current standards was warranted. Business attire, including a jacket and tie for men, continued to be the required dress standard.
But it’s not about ties or culture because whether a person wears a tie or not, it should have no bearing on a persons ability to work, and Rawiri Waititi looks quite respectable, very appropriate and smart, and is still classed as formal dress and expresses his culture.
And since when did wearing a tie make that person a better politician? It doesn’t.
Does wearing a tie help you put your point across in a debate? It doesn’t, and it’s an outdated concept – it’s all to do with image and nothing more, and as long as MPs are clothed properly, there should be no pressure on wearing ties.
Neckties are a ludicrous concept and they serve no end goal, and it’s utterly bizarre that a piece of clothing seems to maketh the man, and members of parliament who threw their toys out of their pram just because he wasn’t wearing a necktie just smacks the old boy’s club trying anything that will discredit an outsider.