Justice Minister Kiri Allan was given the wrong speech to read. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Labour Cabinet Minister Kiri Allan read the wrong speech at the third reading of a freedom camping bill in Parliament last night.
She re-read almost word for word a speech given at the Self-contained Motor Vehicles Legislation bill’s second reading.
The bill is not Allan’s, but belongs to Tourism Minister Peeni Henare, who was not able to be in the House. Allan was roped in to speak on the bill at the last minute and Labour whips gave her the wrong speech to read.
National MPs Joseph Mooney and Simeon Brown spotted the error and noted Allan’s speech referred to potential changes that would be made to the bill in the Committee of the Whole Stage, which had already been and gone.
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Allan told the Herald she was “handed the wrong speech”.
“I understand the whips have provided some further information about what happened and I’m pleased the Bill was able to pass,” Allan said.
Labour’s chief whip Tangi Utikere took responsibility for the mistake.
He said Government Whips “co-ordinate Minister’s speeches in case Ministers are unable to give their speech on their Bill”.
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“In this case Hon Kiri Allan was in the House and gave a speech on behalf of Hon Peeni Henare who was unable to be present. Unfortunately, she was handed the wrong speech, ultimately this is the responsibility of the Whips Office and is our error,” he said.
“This had no impact on the passage of the Bill through the House,” he said.
Shadow leader of the House Michael Woodhouse said the episode was “embarrassing” and “incompetent”.
He said the episode was indicative of Labour “starting to fall apart”.
“The minister read a speech talking about making amendments to the bill. She should have realised it was the wrong speech, the wrong reading,” he said.
This is far from the first time MPs have read the wrong speech in Parliament.
In 2010, an almost identical mix-up occurred when duty minister Jonathan Coleman gave the wrong speech on a tax bill on behalf of Revenue Minister Peter Dunne.
The speech was two years old.
In 2020, when the Government introduced and passed the wrong piece of legislation, creating a multi-billion dollar loan scheme that it expected to announce a short while later.