Lloyd Burr: What was David Seymour thinking with urgent debate over Kiri Allan's resignation?

ANALYSIS: David Seymour's decision to call for an urgent debate into the resignation of Justice Minister Kiri Allan was one of his poorest political judgements to date.  

Why on Earth did he think it was a good idea to capitalise on Allan's downfall, capitalise on her mental health challenges, and capitalise on what is a public, tragic, and sad fall from grace?  

It was a parliamentary stunt that backfired and made him look like a heartless, unempathetic, and even cruel political operative.  

The reason it's so surprising is that Seymour's tone in commenting on this saga has been perfectly balanced. He's read the room well, he's navigated the complexities with aplomb, and his tone has been respectful.  

But that was yesterday. Today it all went out the window.  

While he didn't target Allan personally in his speech, he used her situation to score a cheap hit on the Government. 

He used the toughest moment of her life as a hook to lay it on Prime Minister Chris Hipkins as proof his ministers were out of control, out of depth, and not fit to govern.  

While these comments definitely have a place in our political discourse - and we'll hear them constantly over the next few months - it's not acceptable to shout them while dancing on the fresh political grave of someone still in a mental health crisis. 

Seymour was told to rein it in twice by the Speaker after a complaint by Finance Minister Grant Robertson. The Speaker told Seymour he'd strayed too far from the topic in which he'd called the debate, and to focus on Allan's resignation specifically.   

But Seymour couldn't bring himself to lay it on Allan thick, and instead tiptoed around the edges to avoid looking completely heartless.  

The damage had already been done though. He saw Kiri Allan's disintegration as a means to a political end and went for it.  

It was a rare lapse in his usually sharp political instinct, and voters will see it for what it is.  

Lloyd Burr is a Newshub political reporter.