Chris Hipkins blames 'shambolic' Parliamentary opening on National

National has shown its tactics early on, by making things extremely difficult for Labour to gets its Speaker appointed in Parliament on Tuesday.

The challenge came during the official opening of Parliament, when National's Simon Bridges questioned whether the Government had the numbers to elect its own Speaker - Trevor Mallard.

After some delay, a deal was struck between Labour's whip Chris Hipkins and Mr Bridges and Mr Mallard was elected as Speaker unopposed.

Leader of the House Chris Hipkins appeared on the AM Show on Wednesday and says he didn't expect the possibility of having to use the Government's majority to force the issue.

"It's not a good look for the whole Parliament, it is a bit embarrassing," he says.

"We'd offered the National Party the Deputy Speaker's position in exchange for them supporting Trevor Mallard to be Speaker and they indicated as the vote was beginning that that deal no longer held."

AM Show host Duncan Garner accused Mr Hipkins of overseeing a "shambolic and chaotic start to the Parliament". However Mr Hipkins says he didn't see it coming - but it won't happen again.

"The only reason this was an issue is that we didn't have all of our MPs sworn in," he says.

"They'll all be sworn in fairly shortly, and then it will never be an issue again."

He says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was "very clear" she didn't want the situation to come down to a vote, as it would undermine Mr Mallard's authority and get Parliament off to division.

Due to the deal, National got places on select committees increased to 109. Labour had said it would be reducing numbers to 96 - a move National says limits its ability to hold the Government to account.

Mr Hipkins says Labour was going to have to find "some accommodation" to the issue, and this "obviously brought that forward".

"Yes, we did have to compromise with them, but the Prime Minister was certainly of the view that she didn't want this Parliament getting off to an acrimonious start."

However National MP Simon Bridges denies Mr Hipkin's account.

"There's a bit of post-event rubbish already by Chris Hipkins. It was quite clear to me from the way they acted they didn't know the rules, they're confused about that and they didn't know their numbers and they're confused about that," he says.

"The National Government over the last nine years has been faced with the situation with Gerry Brownlee as Leader of the House or me as Leader of the House, we would resolve this, and we would never have let this become a public issue because we understood that actually it takes Opposition and Government members to tango."


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