There were dramatic scenes in Parliament today as Speaker Lockwood Smith refused to swear in new Mana Party leader Hone Harawira after he would not deliver his affirmation as dictated by law.
The former Maori Party MP was to be sworn in as MP for Te Tai Tokerau, but he attempted to read out an oath in which he swore allegiance to the Treaty of Waitangi rather than the Queen.
As Harawira left the debating chamber, supporters sung from the public galleries in defiance of Smith's ruling for them to cease.
Harawira had earlier sought to speak in Maori after approaching the Speaker to take the oath.
Smith interrupted him and informed him he must leave the Chamber and "return on a sitting day when he is determined to make the affirmation according to the law of this land".
There were calls of "shame" and "no respect" as Harawira left.
The Speaker informed MPs that he had advised Harawira prior to his affirmation that the law of New Zealand required the affirmation "to be [delivered] in a certain way".
An attempt was made by Labour MP Trevor Mallard to get leave from Parliament for Harawira to return and read the affirmation but other MPs objected.
Smith later told Parliament he felt bad interrupting a waiata and would not ask the security guards to remove the members of the public who had defied his ruling for order.
Outside Parliament a large crowd of supporters gathered to perform a haka as Harawira prepared to address them clad in a traditional feather cloak.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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