Mallard’s remarkable transformation
Trevor Mallard is on the verge of achieving one of the most remarkable transformations in recent political history.
When Parliament resumes on Tuesday, November 7, the 120 MPs will elect the Speaker of the House and Mallard, who first entered Parliament in 1984, is confident it will be him.
The former Hutt South MP has spoken to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and has her support.
‘‘I have the backing of the PM and that is definitely an advantage.’’
If he does secure the job, it will be a significant achievement for an MP who, in early July, was facing unemployment. With Labour struggling under the leadership of Andrew Little, his position on the party list meant he had no chance of being elected.
‘‘I needed 32 per cent (to get into Parliament on the party list). When we were on 24 per cent, I think that would have given us one list MP.’’
He admits to thinking about packing his bags and looking for a new job.
That is all behind him now, as is, he hopes, his reputation as a hardman who once famously got into a punch up with MP Tau Henare.
Over the last three years, as Deputy Speaker, he has worked hard to show he has changed and is confident he is ready for the job.
‘‘Most people would think I made the transformation from player to assistant referee quite well.’’
National’s Hutt South MP Chris Bishop, predicted his old foe would be good at the job.
Having been an MP since 1984, Bishop said Mallard understood how Parliament worked.
National has 56 MPs and with such a large unified block, Mallard was expecting an interesting time as the new opposition flexed its muscles.
He stood down from Hutt South to chase the role of Speaker and he was disappointed to see his old seat fall to Bishop.
There were a number of aspects of the campaign, however, that pleased him.
Labour candidate Ginny Andersen received 18,113 votes. When he won the seat in 2014, he narrowly beat Bishop with 16,836 votes.
With the election done and dusted, Mallard is focusing on his new job. He believes the lessons learned as deputy should serve him well and he aims to make Parliament a ‘‘better place’’ for all MPs to work in.
Jacinda Ardern hugs Trevor Mallard after the announcement that NZ First would go with Labour. Mallard says he has Adern’s backing to be Speaker.