Trevor Mallard, Chris Hipkins clash over Government's delayed replies

Speaker Trevor Mallard has gone on the warpath over the Government's failure to respond to written questions.

Addressing Parliament on Wednesday, the former Labour attack dog turned on his own party, raking them over coals over the delay - with replies due from as far back as May last year.

"At present, there are 172 written questions that have not received a final reply," he said.

"It appears that written questions are not working as they were supposed to as an accountability mechanism. So I intend to award the Opposition 10 additional supplementary questions each day until the end of the sitting block or until all questions due last year have received their final replies."

Labour MP and Chris Hipkins was quick to jump to his feet with a point of order, blaming Mr Mallard for not telling him which questions still needed answering.

"I was told by your office you would not supply that information," he complained.

"It's very difficult as Leader of the House to follow up and ensure that those questions are answered if you will not supply me with that information.

Then Mr Mallard rose to his feet and laid down devastating counter-fire.

"I do not regard it as my responsibility to ensure that ministerial officers are well-managed," he said.

"I indicated through my office to the member's office that were many ministers involved - very close to the majority of ministers involved - and that the warning to get up to date should be a general one.

"If ministers' record-keeping systems are not good enough to know that they have overdue questions then I think the Minister in charge of Ministerial Services should do some sort of review of their officers to make them more efficient."

Mr Hipkins then asked again how he was supposed to know which questions hadn't been answered satisfactorily, but that was easily dealt with by an imperial Mr Mallard.

"Go into your inbox and see which of them have had a final reply," he said, and then moved on.