Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi struts stuff in fashion show as Speaker suspends him from Parliament

The co-leader of Te Pāti Māori has been handed down one of the harshest punishments in Parliament, being suspended by the Speaker.

Rawiri Waititi was sanctioned for appearing to breach name suppression in an active court case last week.

But Waititi wasn't even there to hear his punishment because he was on the catwalk at Fashion Week.

Waititi was strutting his stuff as one of the stars of fashion designer Kiri Nathan's opening show at Fashion Week.

But walking the walk meant he missed his punishment for talking the talk.

"I consider that in his comments Mr Waititi's conduct was grossly disorderly," said Speaker Adrian Rurawhe.

Waititi last week shocked Parliament when he used his privilege to make claims about an active court case. We can't publish his claims as they could breach a court-ordered suppression.

"I can't believe frankly what I've just heard," David Seymour said at the time. 

And neither could the Speaker.

"It is a contempt of this House to knowingly make reference to a matter suppressed by an order of a court," said the Speaker. 

The problem with breaching suppression is that even discussing the suppression could breach the suppression.

The Speaker was carefully tiptoeing around it as he ruled on Waititi's comments.

"Investigating it could be inconsistent with the order if one exists," said Rurawhe. 

The matter's off to Parliament's court to establish rules around discussing actual court.

"Asking to consider how the House should deal with cases such as this," Rurawhe said. 

Waititi got a big telling-off

"I name Rawiri Waititi and call on the House to judge his conduct," said the Speaker. 

National's Chris Bishop said being named is a "fancy parliamentary way of saying basically he has been a very naughty boy". 

Seymour said: "It is a really serious matter to basically start a fight between the Parliament and the courts".

Naming MPs as a punishment dates back to before MPs used names in the House. It's one of the harshest punishments a Speaker can issue. The last MP to be named was National MP Nick Smith in 2019.

Waititi was suspended too for 24 hours.

"It's pretty hard to suspend someone that's off trying on suspenders somewhere else, isn't it," said Seymour.

Waititi was away from doing his time. His focus currently is fashion design.