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What happened to Tim Van De Molen?
Tim van de Molen, a National MP, was removed from his position for contempt of Parliament following his threatening actions against Shanan Halbert, a Labour MP. The MP was removed from office by national leader Christopher Luxon after the Parliamentary Privileges Committee found him to be in contempt and recommended that he be censured. The committee concluded that van de Molen had intimidated Halbert and prevented him from carrying out his responsibilities. Early this month, Labour’s Rachel Boyack reported that Van de Molen had threatened or intimidated Halbert during a Transport and Infrastructure Select Committee meeting in June, leading to his referral to the committee. Other lawmakers surrounded the Labour MP who chairs the transport committee after he was accused of standing over Halbert.
The committee hired independent barrister Wendy Aldred to look into the situation because the facts were contested. Van de Molen may not have tried to intimidate or threaten Halbert, but the committee’s report, which relied on the barrister’s conclusions, found that his actions were “objectively threatening” on Thursday afternoon. “Mr. van de Molen’s actions in this instance cannot be excused as usual or appropriate. We accept his assertion that he didn’t mean to frighten or threaten Mr Halbert. However, the circumstances surrounding this event including Mr. van de Molen’s physical posture, his spoken and toned language, and his refusal to move aside when requested support a determination that his actions were objectively threatening.
The committee recommended that the House publicly condemn him for acting in a threatening manner towards an MP, especially for the presiding officer. High-profile MPs from both parties make up the Privileges Committee, which examines and reports on issues of privilege pertaining to Parliament and MPs, such as transgressions of the rules of the House. Powers and immunities known as privileges guarantee Parliament’s independence from the Crown and the judiciary.