New Zealand parliament makes tie optional after Maori MP controversy

Sydney, Australia, Feb 11 (efe-epa).- The president of the New Zealand Parliament said that starting Thursday, wearing a tie would be optional in the chamber after the controversy that arose this week with Maori MP Rawiri Waititi, who said wearing the garment is a cultural imposition.

“As chairman, guided by the decision of the (ordinance) committee, the tie will no longer be deemed necessary as part of ‘formal attire,'” Trevor Mallard said Wednesday night.

The controversy arose Tuesday, when Mallard prevented Waititi from speaking and later expelled the Maori Party MP from the session, after he appeared in a suit and a Maori pendant instead of a tie.

Mallard stated that although he thought the tie was anachronistic, he had to enforce the rules. The Maori MP said at the exit: “This is not about ties, it is cultural.”

The next day, the Speaker of the House declared a truce by allowing Waitiri to return to the room wearing the “hei tiki,” a traditional pendant, while consulting with the Parliament’s ordinance committee, who finally agreed to make the tie optional.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Labor government has set out to boost the recognition of indigenous culture with measures such as the official recognition of the Maori New Year, which will be a national holiday from 2022.

Maoris currently represent 17 percent of the more than 4.9 million inhabitants of New Zealand, which became a colony of the United Kingdom in 1841, and progressively became independent between 1907 and 1945. EFE-EPA


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