Government open to changing oath of allegiance new MPs swear as they enter Parliament

The Government is open to changing the oath of allegiance new MPs swear as they enter Parliament, after the Māori Party re-entered Parliament with a splash, refusing to swear the oath to the Queen alone.

But before any MPs can pass law, they must swear an oath. It can be alone or in pairs, in English or Māori, but it must be an oath either on the Queen or on the Queen and the Bible. 

The words can't be changed and the Māori Party says it fails to acknowledge the Treaty of Waitangi partnership. 

"It's very unfair at this particular time to be swearing an oath to one partner," said Māori Party co-leader and Waiariki MP Rawiri Waititi. 

The Māori Party will introduce a Bill to officially incorporate the Treaty, but before they can do that they had to swear in on the Queen. 

Waititi found a way to swear in on Te Tiriti too, delivering a wero before swearing in on the Queen. 

Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer carried her allegiance with her, in form of a mere (pounamu club) and wearing it with her korowai and hat. 

"Our kuia used to really, really rate top hats," she explained. 

The Greens are unhappy too with the oath on the Queen, so new MP Elizabeth Kerekere brought in a 30-year-old copy of the Treaty signed by her East Coast ancestors. 

"I thought about how I make this something really meaningful for me."

Some MPs liked the idea so much they borrowed it, including re-elected Speaker Trevor Mallard.  

"Trevor Mallard, who just happened to be sitting behind me, came up behind me and asked if he could take one as well," Dr Kerekere said. 

With Labour interested, change could well happen. 

"I'm certainly open to a debate about whether we could make some of those ceremonial proceedings more New Zealand," House Leader Chris Hipkins told Newshub. 

It's not the only tradition the Greens want altered.

"If you are looking at further reforms, I wonder if we could take a look at the rule that requires gentlemen to wear ties," Green Party co-leader James Shaw requested of the Speaker with a grin.

Ties are just one of many rules governing behaviour in the chamber. 

Taking photos is not allowed but MPs couldn't resist. The moment is too special not to capture. 

Now that Mallard has been re-elected Speaker, debate on changes like these can kick off.