A select committee hearing has descended into acrimony after Labour MP Trevor Mallard appeared to threaten the job of a senior police officer.
Mallard abruptly left a select committee after an exchange of angry words with Police Minister Anne Tolley after he questioned the decision of Deputy Police Commissioner Mike Bush to speak at the funeral of former police officer Bruce Hutton.
Hutton was found by an inquiry to have planted evidence that led to the wrongful conviction of Arthur Allan Thomas in 1971.
Bush delivered a eulogy in which he said Hutton had been described as a police officer whose integrity was beyond reproach.
Asking questions during Parliament's law and order committee today, Mallard asked police commissioner Peter Marshall if it was his decision to allow Bush to speak at the Hutton funeral.
Marshall said he supported "absolutely" his deputy.
"You have to remember this was a funeral service attended by grieving family, by grieving friends and associates of the deceased and he made those comments in the context of the particular set of circumstances," Marshall said.
"I have been on public record in terms of supporting him in the context of that particular setting on that particular day."
After Mallard attempted to question Bush on the issue Government committee members objected that his questions were out of order.
But Mallard hit back and appeared to threaten Bush's job.
"We're deciding whether or not to continue his salary, that's what we're deciding now," he said.
Mallard then got embroiled in an exchange with Tolley who said that was not his decision before Mallard abruptly left the committee.
This is Aaron Gilmore-esque behaviour from Mr Mallard, effectively threatening Deputy Commissioner Bush's ongoing employment.
Trevor Mallard is hardly a novice at this sort of stuff. He effectively forced Erin Leigh out of the public service. He labelled the Exclusive Brethren "chinless scarf-wearers", and railed against a mystery "American bag-man" apparently collecting donations for National back in the mid 2000's. That allegation has yet to be substantiated. He made homophobic interjections against Christopher Finlayson during the current government's first term in office, and infamously ended up in Court after an altercation with Tau Henare. As recently as last Thursday he accused Speaker David Carter of being corrupt, and stormed out of the House before he could be ejected. He apologised for that yesterday at the start of Question Time, to his credit.
But now he has had a go at New Zealand's second-highest ranking police officer, with some sort of inference that he had the power to have him fired. Plainly, that is a nonsense, but Mr Bush will doubtless be looking over his shoulder should Labour ever come to power during his tenure. He will doubtless remember former Commissioner Peter Doone, hounded out of office after a leak to a journalist by former PM Helen Clark.
Mr Mallard has made a career out of being a bully-boy. He had plenty to say by way of interjection and via social media when Aaron Gilmore's grandstanding became a public issue, so he ought not complain if he is on the receiving end as a result of this latest blot on his copybook.