“Today’s announcement that disgraced Speaker of New Zealand Parliament Trevor Mallard will be taking up a cushy diplomatic posting in Ireland is an outrage,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“To send someone with such a lengthy political rap sheet and zero diplomatic ability is an insult to our friends in Ireland.
“This is a man who has falsely accused a staff member of rape, who inflamed the Parliamentary protest with his immature behaviour and who refuses to be held accountable for his actions.
“He took the Office of the Speaker only to have the worst approval rating of any politician in modern history. Now he’s being rewarded for his bad behaviour.
“This appointment goes to the heart of the Ardern Government’s rotten values. The message to New Zealanders everywhere is bad behaviour gets good rewards under the Ardern Government.
“To all those people who toil away, fearful of losing their jobs for poor performance, getting a five year post on light duties in Dublin after screwing up year after year is unfathomable. People might come to the conclusion, why bother?
“The cynical timing of the announcement, 15 minutes before the 6pm news amidst another scandal speaks for itself.
“If ACT were in government, we would show a lot more respect to Ireland and appoint somebody more appropriate to be a diplomat.
“The Prime Minister and her colleagues should have shown leadership and integrity and not given in to Mallard’s petty demands for an overseas posting.
“The only theory we can come up with is that Jacinda Ardern wanted to get rid of him and at least the Irish have a sense of humour.”