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Maharey sorry for swearing in chamber

Published: 7:10PM Wednesday April 04, 2007 Source: One News

The broadcasting and education minister, Steve Maharey, has been forced to say "sorry" for swearing in parliament.

Maharey has been caught out live on air using the ''f'' word in the debating chamber.

It has been labelled an extraordinary outburst, particularly from a Cabinet minister, with even the longest-serving staff in parliament saying many MPs may often think it, but they just don't say it.

Maharey made use of his extensive vocabulary saying "" to National broadcasting spokesman Jonathan Coleman.

"Sorry, I said I'm fed up with you...fed up with you," Maharey added.

"The Minister of Broadcasting made a highly insulting and unparaliamentary remark across the chamber. I either invite him to repeat it now, or to withdraw apologise," said Coleman.

"If it causes offence, I withdraw and apologise, obviously," Maharey responded.

The row blew up over claims the Broadcasting Minister threatened Radio New Zealand that he would complain to its board if it didn't retract a suggestion that he had made a racist comment about Botswana in an interview.

"I think it is entirely reasonable for the Minister of Education to take exception to being called a racist and I would do it again now," Maharey said.

That comment attracted plenty of outrage.

National MP Katherine Rich said one man was sitting watching Question Time with his children and he is "utterly disturbed" by Maharey's language.

"He may as well be telling the nation to do what he told Jonathan Coleman to do," said National MP Gerry Brownlee.

National leader John Key called on Maharey to apologise to the people of New Zealand. "He knows what he said."

And it's not the first time Maharey has been in trouble for swearing. Former Work and Income New Zealand chief executive Christine Rankin gave evidence in her 2001 employment court case that he had used the "f" word at least four times and had referred to people as "pricks".

"I may well have sworn but let me be equally clear it is not my practice to swear in professional meetings," said Maharey.

The minister says he's sorry this time and it was just a slip of the tongue in the heat of the moment.

And that's where the matter ends, for now.

While ONE news attempted to mask the word, viewers are warned that there are expletives in the related video.