‘It may well be that there is nothing in standing orders specifically forbidding knitting during debates,’ Opposition Leader Bill English told the New Zealand Parliament in Wellington.
‘But a Minister knitting baby bootees while presiding over her Department’s legislation smacks of contempt. These needles could be interpreted as dangerous weapons and should be banned.’
Perhaps had he read Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities and its story of the revolutionary women of France knitting names of traitors to be later executed, into their seemingly innocuous patterns, he might have thought twice about his intemperate outburst.
Judith Tizard, Minister of Commerce demurred.
However retired MP Marilyn Waring objected to the Speaker’s ruling that knitting was not allowed from the Minister’s chair.
‘I have knitted in this House for nine years – thirty two garments including a three-piece suit. I can say without fear of contradiction that this was the most productive output of all the debates I have ever witnessed here!’