Parliament upset by empty urn

  • 20/08/2015
Sue Moroney (Photo: Supplied)
Sue Moroney (Photo: Supplied)

A Labour MP has upset parliament by bringing an urn into the debating chamber - because some members of parliament thought it might contain someone's ashes.

Sue Moroney had it with her when parliament on Thursday resumed the debate on workplace health and safety laws.

A party spokesman told NZ Newswire the urn was empty and Ms Moroney had been asked to take it in by the family of Lincoln Kidd, a forestry worker killed in December 2013 by a falling tree.

"It was symbolic," the spokesman said.

Ms Moroney didn't display it on her desk but others knew she had it with her.

"It feels like we're speaking at a tangi," said the Maori Party's Marama Fox.

Education Minister Hekia Parata also protested about the presence of the urn.

MPs are allowed to display "visual aids" when they're speaking but Ms Moroney said she wouldn't do that.

"If parliament doesn't wish it to be displayed, it won't be," she said.

The families of workplace accident victims converged on parliament earlier this week, urging MPs to strengthen safety laws and saying the government's reforms are inadequate.