Women MPs walk out of Parliament

  • 11/11/2015
The Green Party's Metiria Turei (Getty)
The Green Party's Metiria Turei (Getty)

Women MPs have walked out of Parliament after Labour and the Greens failed to force an apology from Prime Minister John Key for his "you back the rapists" comment.

Mr Key made the comment yesterday when he was answering questions about New Zealand detainees in Australia, and today Opposition MPs asked Speaker David Carter to order the Prime Minister to apologise.

Mr Carter said Mr Key was wrong to make the comment, but he didn't hear it properly at the time and MPs didn't immediately call for an apology.

"Had I heard it properly I would have ordered an apology," he said.

"I can't ask a member to withdraw and apologise subsequent to the event."

Labour and the Greens didn't accept Mr Carter's ruling and five women MPs said they had been victims of violence and were seriously offended by Mr Key's comment.

The Green Party's Metiria Turei, Jan Logie, Catherine Delahunty and Marama Davidson said they were victims.

Labour's Clare Curran began to identify herself as a victim but couldn't finish speaking before Mr Carter ordered all those who had spoken in defiance of his order that the issue was over must leave.

It was the second walk out since Mr Key made the comment.

Yesterday, nearly all Labour's MPs left after Mr Carter wouldn't order an apology.

Mr Key had faced hostile questioning over the treatment of New Zealanders in detention in Australia awaiting deportation.

They wanted to know why there were delays in getting them home after Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull gave an undertaking that they were free to leave and appeal their visa cancellations from New Zealand.

"Some of them are rapists, some of them are child molesters, some of them are murderers and these are the people the Labour Party is saying are more important to support than New Zealanders who need protecting when they come back," Mr Key said.

And in response to further questions, he shouted "well, you back the rapists".

Mr Key's office followed that up by releasing official Australian figures showing there were 585 Kiwis in the deportation pipeline.

Of those, 34 had been convicted of child sex offences, 22 for murder and 16 for rape and sexual offences.