Trevor Mallard

Trevor Colin Mallard[2] (born 17 June 1954) is a New Zealand politician and member of the Labour Party who is the 30th and current Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives. Currently a list MP, he formerly represented the Hutt South electorate from 1996 to 2017; he represented Pencarrow from 1993 to 1996; and Hamilton West from 1984 to 1990. Following the retirement from Parliament of Nick Smith in June 2021, Mallard became the longest continuously serving MP, known as the Father of the House.

Trevor Mallard

30th Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives
Assumed office
7 November 2017
MonarchElizabeth II
Governor GeneralDame Patsy Reddy
Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern
DeputyAnne Tolley (2017–2020)
Adrian Rurawhe (2020–present)
Preceded byDavid Carter
41st Minister of Education
In office
10 December 1999  19 October 2005
Prime MinisterHelen Clark
Preceded byNick Smith
Succeeded bySteve Maharey
13th Minister for the Environment
In office
31 October 2007  19 November 2008
Prime MinisterHelen Clark
Preceded byDavid Parker (acting)
David Benson-Pope
Succeeded byNick Smith
Assistant Speaker of the House of Representatives
In office
21 October 2014  7 November 2017
Preceded byRoss Robertson
Succeeded byAdrian Rurawhe
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Labour party list
Assumed office
23 September 2017
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Hutt South
In office
12 October 1996  23 September 2017
Succeeded byChris Bishop
Majority709 (1.83%)[1]
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Pencarrow
In office
Preceded bySonja Davies
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Hamilton West
In office
Preceded byMike Minogue
Succeeded byGrant Thomas
Personal details
Born (1954-06-17) 17 June 1954 (age 67)
Wellington, New Zealand
NationalityNew Zealand
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Stephanie (divorced)
Jane Clifton
RelationsBeth Mallard (daughter)

Mallard was a Cabinet minister in the Fifth Labour Government of New Zealand (1999 to 2008) holding the portfolios of Environment, Labour, Broadcasting, State Owned Enterprises, Rugby World Cup, Education and Associate Finance.

Early life

Mallard was born in Wellington, and attended Onslow College.[3] After gaining a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration degree from Victoria University of Wellington in 1974, he trained as a teacher at the Wellington College of Education, gaining a Diploma in Teaching in 1976. He subsequently held a number of teaching jobs in Wellington and the King Country.[4] While teaching, Mallard became involved in the PPTA, the national secondary school teachers' union. He was secretary of the PPTA's King Country branch from 1979 to 1984.[citation needed] In 1984, he gained a Diploma in Continuing Education from the University of Waikato.[4]

Member of Parliament

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
19841987 41st Hamilton West Labour
19871990 42nd Hamilton West Labour
19931996 44th Pencarrow Labour
19961999 45th Hutt South none Labour
19992002 46th Hutt South 12 Labour
20022005 47th Hutt South 12 Labour
20052008 48th Hutt South 8 Labour
20082011 49th Hutt South 14 Labour
20112014 50th Hutt South 9 Labour
20142017 51st Hutt South none Labour
20172020 52nd List 33 Labour
2020present 53rd List 11 Labour

Mallard joined the Labour Party in 1972, while still at university.[citation needed] In 1983 he contested the Labour nomination for the new Tongariro electorate but was unsuccessful, losing to Noel Scott.[5] He held a number of internal party positions until the election of 1984 when he was elected as the party's Member of Parliament (MP) for Hamilton West. Although he was re-elected in the 1987 election, he lost his seat in the election of 1990. Returning to the Wellington area, he contested the seat of Pencarrow in the 1993 election and was successful. He retained the seat until 2017. It is now known as Hutt South.[6]

Mallard served in a variety of Ministerial positions during the Fifth Labour Government including education and state services (1999–2005), sports (1999–2007), and associate Minister of Finance (1999–2008).[4]

Fifth Labour Government (1999–2008)

When Labour won the 1999 election, Mallard was appointed to Cabinet. He became Minister of Education, Minister of State Services, and Minister for Sport and Recreation. In connection with his Education role, he also became Minister Responsible for the Education Review Office, and in connection with his Sport role, he also became Minister for the America's Cup (New Zealand held the America's Cup at the time). In 2004, Mallard also became Co-ordinating Minister for Race Relations, and Minister of Energy.

In September 2006, Mallard was implicated in the resignation of National Party leader Don Brash after interjecting with an allegation in the House that Brash had engaged in an extramarital affair.[7]

In an October 2007 cabinet reshuffle, he was reassigned to be the Minister for the Environment, the Minister of Labour, the Minister of Broadcasting, the Minister for State Owned Enterprises and the Associate Minister of Finance.[8]

In October 2007, Mallard punched National Party MP Tau Henare in a scuffle that took place outside the debating chambers. It is speculated that this was a result of comments Henare made regarding a new relationship Mallard had formed. Mallard quickly apologised for his part in the altercation.[9] He also publicly revealed that the woman with whom he had entered a new relationship was former world champion rower Brenda Lawson.[10] Police declined to investigate but Graham McCready launched a private prosecution. Mallard pleaded guilty to fighting in a public place and agreed to pay $500 to the Salvation Army's Bridge drug and alcohol programme.[11]

In May 2008, Mallard was warned by New Zealand's Chief Electoral Officer Robert Peden that signage on his electorate vehicle breached provisions of the controversial Electoral Finance Act and ordered him to update the signage to include an authorisation from party officials. However, the Chief Electoral Officer did not refer the matter to the New Zealand Police to prosecute as the matter was considered inconsequential.[12]

Minister of Education

Mallard's handling of the education portfolio was strongly criticised by teachers' unions, including the PPTA. In his first term as minister, he was strongly criticised by teachers during a long-running strike action over salaries.[13]

In his second term, he was criticised for a program of school closures, that involved almost 90 schools across the country.[14] The program was eventually stopped after it faced heavy criticism from parents and teachers.[15][16]

Minister of Sport and Recreation

In April 2002, Trevor Mallard made crude comments about inserting beer bottles into "uncomfortable places" of International Rugby Board chairman Vernon Pugh and Australian Rugby boss John O'Neill during a radio interview about following the withdrawal of co-hosting rights for the 2003 Rugby World Cup. He later apologised saying he mixed up his passion for rugby with his role as Minister of Sport.[17]

Minister of State Owned Enterprises

In 2006, Mallard announced that the government would introduce a policy that encouraged state owned enterprises (SEOs) to expand into new business areas and diversify in order to build wealth for the country.[18]

In 2007, Mallard said that the government was likely to be more stringent on state owned enterprises in relation to social responsibility. Mallard explained that social responsibility is one of the core functions of SEOs but not enough was being done. The announcement was made following a number of incidents by SEOs, including a power disconnection by Mercury Energy that resulted in the death of Folole Muliaga, an individual who relied on an oxygen machine.[19]

Minister of Labour

In 2008, Mallard implemented a new tool to help small businesses manage hazards. The goal of the project was to improve workplace health and safety.[20]

Minister of Broadcasting

In July 2008, Mallard was critical of a TVNZ report into an assault by sports broadcaster, Tony Vietch, saying that the report lacked key details, such as not mentioning that an assault took place.[21]

Fifth National Government (2008–2017)

Mallard in 2011

Although Labour was defeated in the 2008 general election, Mallard retained his seat. In Opposition, he served as Shadow Leader of the House and Opposition spokesperson on Education, Labour, and Sport and Recreation.[6]

In February 2012, Mallard was accused of ticket scalping on Trade Me when he sold four tickets to the Homegrown music festival for a $246 profit. The MP had in 2006 initiated legislation, the Major Events Management Act 2007, prohibiting ticket scalping for major events (although Homegrown wasn't classified as a "major event" so wasn't covered). He later offered to refund the money he received for the tickets.[22]

In July 2016, Mallard announced that he would not contest Hutt South but would run as a list-only candidate with the intention of becoming Speaker of the House.[23] During the 2017 general election, Mallard was elected to the 52nd New Zealand Parliament on the Labour Party list.[24]

Sixth Labour Government (2017–present)

Mallard wearing his speaker's robes

Following the formation of a Labour-led coalition government with New Zealand First and the Green parties in October 2017,[25][26] Mallard was elected as Speaker of the House on 7 November following some contention from the opposition National Party over whether several of the new MPs had been sworn in.[27][28] He also serves as Chairperson of several committees including the Business and Officers of Parliament select committees, and the Parliamentary Services Commission.[6]

In November 2017, Mallard announced that the New Zealand Parliament would be becoming more "baby friendly" while posing for a photo with fellow Labour MP Willow-Jean Prime's baby Heeni.[29][30] Such policies have included opening an atrium near the parliamentary chamber accessible to MPs' children, giving carers and spouses the same security clearances as MPs, opening the Parliamentary swimming pool to the families of MPs and staff, updating the family room to have baby-feeding and changing facilities, and a proposed play area on Parliament's lawn.[31][32][33] On 22 August 2019, Mallard attracted media attention in New Zealand and abroad when he fed Labour MP Tamati Coffey's infant son Tūtānekai Smith-Coffey during a parliamentary debate.[34][35]

In December 2019, it is claimed by former Auditor-General Martin Matthews that MPs from the Officers of Parliament committee, including former Speaker David Carter and current Speaker Trevor Mallard, had acted out of "political convenience". Effectively undermining the office of the Auditor-General.[36]

During the 2020 New Zealand general election, Mallard was re-elected to Parliament on the Labour Party list.[37] When the new Parliament assembled on 25 November, he was re-elected as Speaker without opposition.[38]

After canvassing the views of Members of Parliament in late 2020, Speaker Mallard decided that Parliament would not revise its business attire dress code which required male Members to wear a jacket and tie,[39] as there was "very little support for a change," though he "personally loathed" ties.[40] On 9 February 2021, Mallard ejected Māori Party Co-Leader Rawiri Waititi from parliamentary proceedings after he defied Parliament's business attire rule by wearing a Māori hei tiki neck tie instead of a formal necktie.[41][42] On 10 February, Mallard announced that ties were no longer compulsory in Parliament following a Standing Orders Committee meeting where the majority voted in favour of the Māori Party's submission calling for the elimination of neckties as part of Parliament's business attire.[43]

Rape allegation remarks, 2019–2020

In late January 2020, Mallard was sued by a Parliamentary worker who alleged that the Speaker had defamed him by claiming in May 2019 that a rapist was working at Parliament. The plaintiff has described these remarks as defamatory and untrue. The Parliamentary worker has hired Matthew McClelland QC and is seeking NZ$400,000 in general damages, NZ$50,000 in punitive damages and court costs. Mallard has hired the services of a Queen's Counsel from Kensington Swan.[44][45]

On 8 December 2020, Mallard apologised to the parliamentary staff member whom he accused of rape. Both parties now consider the matter closed.[46][47] On 11 December, The New Zealand Herald and Stuff reported that Mallard's defamation case involving the parliamentary staff member had cost NZ$333,000 (including an NZ$185,000 ex-gratia payment to the former staffer and more than $175,000 on legal fees). In response, National Party leader Judith Collins stated that her party had lost confidence in Mallard as Speaker of the House while the New Zealand Taxpayers' Union called on Mallard to reimburse taxpayers.[48][49]

On 16 December, Mallard appeared before the Governance and Administration Select Committee where he apologised for calling the former parlimentary staffer a rapist. It was reported that the staffer was pursuing an employment case against Parliamentary Service, that had cost NZ$37,500 in legal fees so far. A member of the Taxpayer's Union dressed in a pig's mascot costume also held a mock invoice during the proceedings before being asked to leave due to an objection by Labour MP Duncan Webb.[50][51]

On 9 February, the National Party unsuccessfully attempted to move a motion of no confidence in Speaker Mallard over his involvement in the rape allegations against the Parliament staffer.[52] In early May 2021, Mallard drew controversy and media attention when he used parliamentary privilege to claim that the parliamentary staffer whom he had falsely accused of rape committed sexual assault during an exchange with National MPs Chris Bishop and Michael Woodhouse. Prime Minister Ardern criticised Mallard's actions as "totally inappropriate" but rejected calls by the National and ACT parties to dismiss him from his position as Speaker.[53][54]

Personal life

Mallard announced his separation from wife Stephanie in June 2007 after 33 years of marriage.[55] He has three children, one of whom is a Black Fern, Beth Mallard.[56] On 29 December 2014, Mallard married journalist Jane Clifton.[57] He is interested in outdoor recreation, including rugby and mountain biking.


  1. At 2014 election
  2. "New Zealand Hansard – Members Sworn [Volume:651; Page:2]". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
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  5. "Labour ex-MP disputes selection". The Evening Post. 19 October 1983. p. 26.
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