Seymour compares outgoing President Trevor Mallard to Trump

ACT leader David Seymour has compared incumbent President Trevor Mallard to former US President Donald Trump – saying Mallard ‘tackled the President’s office and the institution that gave him an enchanted life’ .

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a “minor” cabinet reshuffle on Monday following the resignations of Mallard and Minister Kris Faafoi. Mallard will hold a diplomatic post in Europe.

The President made headlines around the world in March following his controversial handling of the Mandate protests after taking the decision to turn on the sprinklers in Parliament and blast the music in a failed attempt to deter the protesters, followed by the issuance of trespass notices to former politicians.

This is not the only controversy centered around the president after his 35 years in parliament. He was prosecuted after he falsely accused a member of Parliament staff of rape in 2019.

Mallard, along with all MPs involved in the reshuffle, have been invited to appear on Breakfast. All refused.

While Seymour had lobbied the National Party for Mallard to be removed from office over his handling of the protests, he called the president’s departure a “sad thing” in an interview on Breakfast.

“I call him Trevor Trump. The thing about Donald Trump is that he profited immensely from his growth in American democracy, and then he trashed the institutions that gave him the life he had. Trevor Mallard has benefited enormously from Parliament, it looks like he’s going to get one last victory lap as an ambassador of sorts,” he said.

“He ransacked the President’s Office and the institution that gave him an enchanted life.”

Seymour wished Mallard “all the best on a personal level for himself and his family, but the way he conducted himself in the president’s office is going to take a long time to recover.”

Adrian Rurawhe, currently vice president, has been named to replace Mallard as president.

“I wish Adrian Rurawhe all the best in trying to restore the dignity of the Bureau, because it will be a big job,” Seymour said.

READ MORE: Speaker Trevor Mallard and MP Kris Faafoi retire from politics

He called Rurawhe “a good guy and he’s honestly not a jerk, that’s what we need right now.”

“I think Adrian Rurawhe will do a good job, but let’s see who else runs first.”

In a statement Monday, Mallard said he had informed the governor general of his intention to step down as president.

“I had the honor of being unanimously elected three times by the Chamber as session president. It has always been interesting and above all deeply satisfying.

“I informed the Prime Minister in 2020 that I would prefer to move on during this legislature. I asked Adrian Rurawhe to follow me and deputize for me extensively inside and outside the House. He did a superb job.

“I will not be commenting further on my future role at this stage, but announcements will be made as appropriate,” Mallard said.

Also on Monday, Ardern said Mallard would complete his term as president in mid-August.

“After the 2020 election, Trevor told me he wanted to step down as president in this term to give someone else the opportunity and take on new challenges himself. He worked closely with Adrian to this end. He will leave the chair in mid-August and take up a post in Europe from the beginning of 2023.

“Trevor will be the third of our last five presidents to represent New Zealand overseas in a diplomatic post.”

National MP Chris Bishop told Breakfast that the president “has smeared the very prestigious office that is the presidency”.

“We’re not sorry to see him go.”

Political commentator Matthew Hooton said on Breakfast that “the Trevor Mallard situation had to happen”.

“He’s just too much associated with the division; he’s too much associated with the Labor Party. The chairman has to be neutral and the best people are and even if they were very partisan people.”

He said then that he hoped Mallard “could have followed that and been slightly biased towards the opposition – I think the Speaker should be slightly biased towards the opposition – but he just couldn’t do it”.

“He remained a Labor supporter.”

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