Parliament's tribute to three dead Kiwi soldiers has been marred by acrimony which led to NZ First leader Winston Peters being ejected after parliament's Speaker accused MPs of behaving like spoilt brats.
Speaker Lockwood Smith ordered Mr Peters out after a series of exchanges following a tribute to three kiwi soldiers killed in Afghanistan on Sunday.
Dr Smith said Parliament had just paid tribute to the soldiers who had lost their lives.
"And we carry on like spoilt brats."
After Mr Peters left, Dr Smith said he had received "numerous complaints" in recent days from people concerned about the behaviour of MPs in the house.
The exchange occurred during normal parliamentary business and question time after MPs delivered speeches honouring the dead soldiers. Mr Peters was disputing the way Prime Minister John Key had answered a question.
Mr Peters called a press conference following his ejection from the House.
"The New Zealand public, I think, is entitled to answers," he said.
NZ First was seeking clarification about the Crafar Farms issue.
Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson should admit that he misled Parliament, Mr Peters said.
"We don't stand around excusing incompetent behaviour in this business, surely?"
Williamson last week had to correct himself after earlier telling Parliament legal action against Crafar farm bidders Jack Chen and May Wang was over.
It is not.
Peters said Prime Minister John Key should consider sacking a minister who could not answer "basic questions" like Williamson.
And Speaker Lockwood Smith's behaviour today was "appalling".
Peters said his own behaviour was not inappropriate.
"I've been pursuing this issue now for considerable time."
He said Smith was being pedantic.
CALLS TO BRING TROOPS HOME
Earlier, there were calls to bring New Zealand troops home.
Just a week after Parliament mourned the deaths of Rory Mallone and Pralli Durrer, MPs again broke from their usual business to mourn the deaths of Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31, Corporal Jacinda Baker and 21-year-old Private Richard Harris.
Prime Minister John Key told Parliament the Government was committed to withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan in the first part of next year and would continue to work toward the best way to do this.
When our troops left it would be done "in a way that honours the sacrifice and effort" New Zealand soldiers had made for "a country that is not their own", Mr Key said.
Labour leader David Shearer said MPs had never imagined they would be back just one week after mourning Lance Corporals Mallone and Durrer to honour three more dead.
"It is not right or fair but we must put those feelings aside."
The three soldiers killed Sunday would never get the chance to fulfil the promise of their young lives.
"The loss is so great it is difficult for families, friends, colleagues and our nation to bear; we ask ourselves whether it is too high a price."
Afghanistan was a better place for the efforts of New Zealand soldiers and that contribution would never be forgotten.
"We have done all that has been asked of us by the international community. And as a small nation we now have done all we can. It is time to hand the country back to its own people."
Mr Shearer acknowledged it may take months to complete the handover and it had to be done in an "orderly" fashion.
"But it is right, after almost a decade, for the end of our commitment in Afghanistan to be firmly in sight."
Earlier, Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said he would be seeking an urgent debate in Parliament to bring New Zealand troops home earlier.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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