Either the Speaker, ex PM and PM Mark Brown are extraordinarily dense and genuinely do not understand the Standing Orders (in which case the former should not even be there) or they do.
If the latter, and because government does not want to even entertain an alternative to chlorination, it is prepared to weather criticism of its corruption of the meaning of the Standing Orders in order to prevent the concerns of petitioners even been heard and, with it, any possibility of a disruption to its commitment to chlorination.
Seizing upon the fact, and building their hopes, around the defeat of the motion that the petition be read as being sufficient to achieve its undemocratic objective is an exercise in self deception.
A motion that a petition be read is precisely that. If it is defeated it is a reflection of the will of the House that it does not want, or need, to hear what the petition is all about. That is the job of the select committee to which the petition is to be ordered to go whether the petition is read or not.
There would be every good reason to read a petition having wide public support and, or, appeal but, despite Government attempts to brainwash us otherwise, nothing hangs on it.
Our Standing Orders in this respect are exactly the same as NZ’s where Parliament receives literally hundreds of petitions so one can understand that there would be many instances where Parliament would not want to waste time hearing each one read comforted in the knowledge that it would receive appropriate attention in committee.
The Speaker should resign if she will not – seek proper advice; be the impartial person she is supposed to be; uphold the Standing Orders and stop obliging the Government all the time.