Mal­lard’s re­mark­able trans­for­ma­tion

The Hutt News - - FRONT PAGE - NI­CHOLAS BOY­ACK

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.

HAGEN HOPKINS

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.

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