Open revolt - Opposition MPs were in open revolt last night against speaker Trevor Mallard's running of question time. Paula Bennett walked out of Parliament during question time yesterday after Mallard took five questions off the Opposition. He has been docking questions from either the Opposition or the Government if one of their MPs is disorderly during question time.
Bennett said she was losing confidence in Mallard and that the practice of removing questions was dangerous for democracy. "When you're in there it doesn't seem very fair, and doesn't seem at all predictable, which is dangerous," she told reporters, adding she was sick of being treated like a child.
Tension has been building after Mallard told media last week he heard a National MP describe Jacinda Ardern as a "stupid little girl" in an interjection during question time. National MPs deny any one of them said it. Mallard has said he cannot find the comment in tapes of the incident, but stood by his view.
The dispute culminated last night in an angry letter from Shadow Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee to Mallard, saying his practice of removing questions was limiting the Opposition's ability to hold the Government to account.
"Promoting stories about events that cannot be verified and which reflect badly on the opposition is unacceptable from the Speaker," Brownlee added, saying the Opposition's confidence in Mallard had been significantly shaken.
Double referendum? - Justice Minister Andrew Little has raised the prospect of a double referendum on the legalisation of marijuana and euthanasia. "If you're gonna do one, you might as well do a job lot. It would make sense to not have to spend a lot of money on a succession of referenda," he was reported as saying. ( Newshub )
Maybe. Maybe not - US President Donald Trump said overnight his planned June 12 summit with Kim Jong Un may not go ahead, saying he would know more next week. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said America was prepared to walk away if an acceptable deal could not be reached. The White House was caught off guard when, in a dramatic change of tone, North Korea last week condemned the latest U.S.-South Korean air combat drills, suspended North-South talks and threatened to scrap the summit if Pyongyang was pushed toward “unilateral nuclear abandonment.” ( Reuters )
Fewer stars? - Italy's Five Star movement and the Northern League formed a Government in Italy overnight with the naming of a politically inexperienced law professor, Giuseppe Conte, as Prime Minister. The anti-establishment parties have already threatened to scrap deficit reduction plans and challenge the fiscal rules that Germany would prefer are kept.
Financial markets have heavily sold-off Italian stocks and government bonds at the prospect of an inexperienced, eurosceptic government. So far, the new Government has stopped short of calling for an end to the euro, but some fear the creation of another Greek situation where Germany has to face down an indebted Euro member. But Italy's debt is much bigger than Greece's. ( Reuters )
Also see this New York Times analysis for more background on the Italian risks.