Clare Curran, a member of the New Zealand Parliament representing Dunedin South, was asked to leave the debating chambers yesterday after arriving in a Highlanders jersey to show her support for the rugby club's original colors. The Highlanders have announced plans to adopt a green jersey, which has rather offended its fan base's dedication to the colors blue, maroon, and gold.
Speaker Lockwood Smith made the request from the floor:
The House does have a dress code. If the member is wearing the top of a sports team, I can imagine an occasion where the Speaker's permission might be sought to do that... But if it is a sports top the member is wearing, I'd ask her to leave the chamber and come back dressed consistently with the standing orders of the House.
Curran responded with a point of order (the only one Smith accepted), and requested that Smith explain the actual contention with the dress code, and was told that she, along with the rest of Parliament, are not permitted to advertise anything within the chamber. The official code calls for female MPs to wear "business attire." The MP has asserted on Twitter that she wore the jersey as a way to (sic'd) "[represent] my consitutents," and that "tradition is important." Smith would likely point out that tradition in debating chambers is similarly important, but Curran and other female MPs have already called his ruling a double standard; they say that male MPs regularly wear scarves, ties, and badges demonstrating their team allegiance and are never removed from the chambers for it.
We're not what we'd consider experts on the New Zealand political front, but we'll guess that this might be analogous to Maxine Waters showing up at the Capitol in one of those Phil Jackson "X" hats — with the necessary "I" added on — to protest the hiring of Mike Brown, and getting dismissed for it. But there's not a whole lot at stake here. The dismissal is mostly justifiable (even if Smith does merely look absurd up on his podium, with that meaningful red fabric draped over his shoulders, wagging his finger at a lady in a "sports shirt"), and it only helps to make Curran look like the coolest kid in the debate chambers.
Rugby jersey red-carding 'an over reaction' [Otago Daily Times]