No knitting in Parliament. Not by government ministers overseeing debates, anyway.
The new rule was announced after Associate Commerce Minister Judith Tizard pulled out knitting needles and wool while lawmakers debated a trade bill Thursday.
As the minister responsible for the law's passage, Tizard was in Parliament to answer questions and debate the bill.
Opposition leader Bill English accused Tizard of showing the "contempt and arrogance" of the Labor-led government toward Parliament.
Tizard retorted that she had knitted in the chamber before without any problems.
After a heated debate, Speaker Jonathan Hunt, a 33-year veteran of Parliament, ruled that "knitting is permitted in the house but is not permitted from the minister's chair."
Tizard was not the first lawmaker to knit at work.
Retired lawmaker Marilyn Waring admitted to knitting 32 garments during nine years in Parliament. She said in her autobiography it was the only productive thing she had accomplished in the debating chamber.