Former United Future leader Peter Dunne calls Trevor Mallard an 'embarrassment' for Government, says he doesn't deserve diplomatic role in Europe

Former United Future leader Peter Dunne has labelled outgoing Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard an "embarrassment" for the Government and says he doesn't deserve his overseas diplomatic role. 

It comes after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed her reshuffled Cabinet on Monday which included several changes and two resignations. 

The main announcements were Kris Faafoi and Trevor Mallard are leaving politics, while Poto Williams is being replaced as Police Minister. 

The shuffle came after consistent criticism of Mallard's response to the Parliament protests earlier in the year. It's understood Mallard is taking up a diplomatic role in Europe. 

Dunne told AM on Thursday he doesn't believe Mallard is the right person to send for any diplomatic role overseas.

"I said to another outlet, I would give his appointment the charity of my silence. I don't think he's the appropriate person to send for any sort of diplomatic role but bigger than that it raises a more serious question," he told AM Ealy host Bernadine Oliver-Kerby. 

"Diplomatic roles and jobs overseas of that nature aren't there to be political rewards for long-servers. There have been a few of them over the years from both parties I know, I just think it brings that whole question into starker relief that you don't use a plum appointment overseas as an excuse to bump someone off the scene domestically, that seems to be what has happened."  

Mallard's performance as Speaker of the Hosue has been heavily criticised this year and Dunne said he's been an "embarrassment" for the Government for a long time.

"Absolutely and that's the interesting thing about this. On the one hand, Poto Williams has moved aside as the Minister of Police because she hasn't performed well in the portfolio but here in the Mallard case, you've got someone who theoretically isn't part of the Government and is an embarrassment to them for a long time and gets rewarded, it's bizarre."   

Former United Future leader Peter Dunne.
Former United Future leader Peter Dunne. Photo credit: AM

Dunne hasn't been the only politician criticising Mallard, with National Party leader Christopher Luxon welcoming the move for the Speaker of the House to leave his role. 

"I think [Mallard's resignation] is a good move frankly. I think it's a good move for Parliament, it's time that we move on and I think Adrian will be a good Speaker and he will have our full support," Luxon told AM's Melissa Chan-Green on Wednesday. 

Even with heavy criticism from the opposition and other political parties, Ardern has stuck by Mallard. 

When announcing her cabinet reshuffle on Monday, Ardern chose her words carefully when asked about Mallard's job performance.

On Monday, AM host Ryan Bridge suggested the Prime Minister was at odds with half of the country in thinking Mallard was doing a good job. But the Prime Minister didn't confirm she thought he was doing well, instead saying, "I think he's doing a hard job." 

"I think that gets missed out. When you're a referee of a bunch of politicians, that is not an easy job and it's often a very politicised job," she told AM on Monday. 

"So do I always agree with the Speaker? No, but I do and have supported him in the role that he has continued to do."

Newshub contacted Mallard for an opportunity to respond to Dunne's claims but his spokesperson said: "the Speaker won’t be commenting on Peter Dunne’s comments". 

Watch the full interview with Peter Dunne above.