Did Ron Mark just say that? video

INTHEHOUSENZ/YouTube

Ron Mark has been caught on camera swearing to a loud opposition during question time.

MP Ron Mark uttered a barely audible swear word in the House, but viewers watching Parliament TV's sign language interpreter were left in no doubt about what was said.  

The NZ First MP is known for having a mouth that can out-run his brain at times, and it appears he momentarily forgot the cameras were pointed his way when he decided to tell the jeering Government benches to "shut the f*** up". 

Anyone who could lip read could easily catch what Mark muttered, but for those left wondering they need only watch the interpreter making a guest appearance as part of Sign Language Awareness Week.

MP Ron Mark swore during Question Time in Parliament - and the sign interpreter (top right corner) translated.

MP Ron Mark swore during Question Time in Parliament - and the sign interpreter (top right corner) translated.

Flipping the bird might technically mean "get stuffed" according to New Zealand's only deaf MP Mojo Mathers, but it can also be used to express disgust at the fact others are speaking.

During Question Five in Wednesday's Question Time, things got a bit heated when Labour finance spokesman Grant Robertson asked Finance Minister Bill English about the likelihood of a surplus at Thursday's budget. 

It's the rare occasion where the Minister can (at least) openly dodge a question in the house, telling Robertson he'd have to "wait one more sleep to find out". 

Ron Mark gives the finger to Tau Henare in Parliament during a previous appearance.
supplied

Ron Mark gives the finger to Tau Henare in Parliament during a previous appearance.

After three supplementary questions - all inviting similar answers - the opposition took issue raising a point of order. 

The behaviour of the House then descended into an angry round of bureaucratic speak, which Mark took upon himself to fix. 

The faux pas went unnoticed by Speaker David Carter at the time, but tweets - many hashtagged #STFU - brought it to attention.

Mark voluntarily apologised at the end of Question Time. Talking to media later, he said he did not know it was audible.

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Mark said he was "totally frustrated" and he thought most New Zealanders could understand how "robust" things could get on occasion.  

"You know, the first thing was I realised I shouldn't have said what I said and so I withdrew and apologised, but I guess it was just born out of total frustration."

After six years out of Parliament, Mark said he had returned to find the House operating in a different way to when he was last an MP.

"The smugness that is apparent on the face of some of the Ministers and the arrogance and the smirking when the Speaker rules against an Opposition member - some of those questions are put and put and put, and you try to raise a point of order and it becomes very, very frustrating, and even when you're raising the point of order someone chips in over the top when they know they're meant to be silent."

He added: "People out on the street probably don't pay a hell of a lot of interest to Question Time anyway, but when they do see questions asked, they expect answers to be given," he said.

"And what's unfolding right now is very, very frustrating, that's all I can say."

While it might be a statement some would love to deliver to their local MP, it is unlikely to fit within "parliamentary language".

An MP hasn't been able to call a fellow member a "silly old moo" since 1977, so a certain four-letter word is most definitely considered "unparliamentary". 

It's not the first time Mark has got into trouble. He was famously caught on camera flipping the bird to National MP Tau Henare across a crowded debating chamber.

Nor is Mark the only MP to indulge into name-calling - a parliamentary tradition that goes way back.

In 2007, former Labour MP Steve Maharey came under fire for saying 'f*** you' to now Health Minister Jonathan Coleman in the House. He apologised shortly afterwards.

Rob Muldoon was famous for his put-downs, his most enduring being the description of Bill Rowling as a "shiver looking for a spine to run down".

Hansard is scattered with contributions from former Labour Finance Minister Michael Cullen.

He labelled Don McKinnon a "born to rule p***k"; and National leader John Key a "scumbag" and "rich p***k".

Cullen's description of National MP Murray McCully was notably cutting - "he looked like someone left out in the rain overnight".

 - Stuff

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