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House of Representatives
20 December 2011
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Election of Speaker

[Sitting date: 20 December 2011. Volume:677;Page:2. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]

Election of Speaker

The CLERK: Honourable members, the House must now proceed to choose a Speaker. Are there nominations?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE (Leader of the House) : Madam Clerk, I nominate Dr The Rt Hon Lockwood Smith for the office of Speaker.

Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South) : Madam Clerk, I second the nomination of Dr The Rt Hon Alexander Lockwood Smith for the office of Speaker.

The CLERK: Are there any further members wishing to nominate others for election as Speaker? There being no further nominations, Dr The Rt Hon Lockwood Smith is declared elected.

  • Dr The Rt Hon Lockwood Smith was elected as Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER-ELECT: My colleagues, I am deeply honoured that you have elected me to be your Speaker for a second time. I want to particularly thank those of you who were in the last Parliament for the extraordinary courtesy that you extended me. To you goes great credit for the better-natured tone and the effectiveness of that last Parliament.

For the Speaker it is not always easy telling senior colleagues on either side of the House to desist or resume their seat when they are in full flight delivering some telling political point that happens to be just out of order, but to me the standard was set by a Speaker at the House of Commons at Westminster many, many years ago, when in 1642 Charles I forced his way in and demanded that the Speaker assist him in locating some senior members of Parliament whom he wanted to arrest. Speaker William Lenthall not only bade the King desist but sent him packing with the immortal words: “May it please your Majesty, I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but as the House is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am here.” To me that is the key—that as Speaker I am the servant of this House. If you like, I am Parliament’s person. I will not always get things right, but I will do my utmost to be impartial and fair.

As before, I today commit to upholding the rights and privileges of this House for all its members and to strengthening the effectiveness of this Parliament for those we represent. As Speaker-Elect I will, at 2 o’clock, comply with the request and go to the Governor-General to seek his confirmation and to lay claim, on your behalf, to the rights and privileges of this House. Again, I thank you all.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister) : Mr Speaker-Elect, on behalf of this House can I be the first member to offer you my congratulations and the congratulations of all members of this House. You came into this Parliament in 1984, and in that time you have represented the people of Rodney very well. You have been an outstanding member of Parliament, and a Minister in previous Governments. I think in that time you have shown New Zealanders that you are a person with good judgment, of great wisdom, and someone with the courage to fight for the causes that you believe in and to represent this Parliament and the people of New Zealand extremely well.

In the 49th Parliament you were elected the Speaker of this House. In that time you proved that you would be a person of great impartiality and that you would restore the respect to the New Zealand Parliament, and I believe that you served this House with great distinction and represented us with great pride. So can I take this opportunity to congratulate you on your election in the 50th Parliament, and to wish you all the very best for the challenges that lie ahead.

We are, of course, the recipients of the Rugby World Cup, and so at that great moment can I take this opportunity to throw in the analogy that the Speaker of the House is somewhat like a good rugby referee. We saw in the final between the All Blacks and France Craig Joubert using his great judgment not to blow up the game too often, to allow the free flow of the sport, and to not award the penalty in the last 9 minutes, which I can honestly describe as being the worst 9 minutes of my life.

Mr Speaker, we wish you all the very best for your time ahead, and we wish you, of course, all the very best for a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

DAVID SHEARER (Leader of the Opposition) : Mr Speaker-Elect, on behalf of the Labour Party can I also extend my congratulations and our congratulations to you on this position, and welcome you back to the role in which you conducted yourself so well in the last term. As you said, being fair and impartial is the most important thing, and you showed that in your last term and we very much appreciated it. I think we appreciated also the way that you, when a question was considered and a tight question was asked, insisted on the other side, the Ministers, actually giving a proper answer, and I hope that will continue. I also want to acknowledge the management that you showed to the shadow Leader of the House. I might come and meet with you and get some advice on how I can do that better, as well. Once again, from the Labour Party, congratulations and thank you very much.

METIRIA TUREI (Co-Leader—Green) : On behalf of the Green Party I want to congratulate you, Mr Speaker-Elect, on your re-election, surprise as it was, and to say we do also look forward to working with you further in the future.

You and I have not always agreed on all issues to do with the management of the House and Parliament, but where we have we have worked together and achieved a great deal. I want to acknowledge, particularly, your reform for transparency that you were part of as part of your last term as Speaker. I certainly look forward, and the Green Party does too, to your continuing work to reform the parliamentary process to make it more transparent, to recognise and respect our history, to honour and respect the Treaty of Waitangi, and to reform towards a state of modernisation that perhaps better reflects the 21st century, modern, progressive nation that Aotearoa New Zealand has become. I look forward to working with you closer on those issues in the future. Congratulations, Mr Speaker-Elect.

BARBARA STEWART (NZ First) : On behalf of New Zealand First I would like to congratulate you, Mr Speaker-Elect, on your role and on reluctantly accepting it, and to tell you that we look forward to working with you in the future. We know that you honour and respect Parliament, and we will be doing the same. Thank you.

Hon Dr PITA SHARPLES (Co-Leader—Māori Party) : Ā, tēnā tātau. Kai te Rangatira, he hōnore māku ki te mihi atu ki a koe kua whiwhi i tēnei tūranga ki a koe i tēnei wā. Harikoa te ngākau o tō mātou pāti, arā, te Tōrangapū Māori.

[Greetings to us. Mr Speaker-Elect, it is an honour indeed for me to acknowledge this role that has been bestowed upon you at this stage. Our party, the Māori Party, is ecstatic about it.]

I join the other members and leaders of the parties on behalf of Mrs Tariana Turia, me, and the party to congratulate you, Mr Speaker-Elect, once again. I think your acknowledgment of Māori pronunciation and things Māori in this House and getting the translation automatic have been wonderful. So kia ora. Thank you.

HONE HARAWIRA (Leader—Mana) : Kia ora tātou. Hoi anō, hai kōrero tuatahi me mihi atu ki a koe e te Kaiwhakawā o tō tātou nei Whare i tēnei rā. Tautoko ana au i ngā mihi katoa kua tukuna atu ki runga i a koe me te mea anō hoki, tautoko anō hoki i te kōrero a Metiria, kia noho tahi tātou ā tōna wā kia kōrero i ngā kōrero mō tētahi oati pai e pā ana ki a tātou o roto o Aotearoa i tēnei wā.

[Greetings to us. Indeed, the first thing for me today, Mr Speaker-Elect of this House of ours, is to acknowledge you. I endorse all the acknowledgments bestowed upon you, and support Metiria’s statement as well for us to sit down together in the near future to discuss a more fitting oath that is relevant to us of New Zealand at this point in time.]

Congratulations, Mr Speaker-Elect, on taking on that most onerous of tasks: trying to keep that side and this side acting in the best spirit of the House. I look forward to the opportunity to sit down with you and others in the very near future to talk about the way in which we might advance the notion that the oath better reflect who it is we are in Aotearoa, our Treaty, and the people we represent. Tēnā koe, huri rauna, kia ora tātou katoa.

Hon JOHN BANKS (ACT—Epsom) : On behalf of the ACT caucus can I congratulate you on your reappointment. We have known each other a long time, and I am very grateful for that. Your mother and father would be very proud of you today, Dr Smith, that in this exalted role you have done so well and served the country so well. You have brought a lot of grace and dignity to the role of Speaker and to this place, for which the whole country is grateful. While in exile I got a lot of opportunity to witness this place in action. You have done a remarkable job.

Finally, can I thank you for the enthusiastic welcome that you gave me when I arrived back here this morning. It was surpassed only by a security guard on day one, when I arrived here 2 weeks and 2 days ago, when he said: “It’s so good to see you again, Winston.”

Hon PETER DUNNE (Leader—United Future) : Mr Speaker-Elect, as one of the now dwindling band of fellow 1984 intake members, may I congratulate you, Mr Speaker-Elect, most warmly on your re-election to the most elevated post in this Parliament. You showed in your first term that you were prepared to take on the challenge of treading the very fine line between upholding the standards, dignity, tradition, and history of this place, and starting to modernise and make more transparent and open many of the processes by which we operate. You succeeded admirably in that task, and I think that for those who doubted your resolve, your determination, and your dedication, you also showed very quickly that you were not going to be trifled with on that score. I think most members of the House would acknowledge the huge contribution you made in that respect.

A new Parliament has been elected, and with it come new challenges. The composition of the House has changed somewhat. Those of us who are familiar with your ways will no doubt slip comfortably back into cooperating with you and acknowledging you, as appropriate. There will be others who will have to be guided and educated. I am sure that we who have been here for some time will stand by, ready to assist you in that process. But I suspect that our assistance will be superfluous, because your ability to win the confidence of the House to impose a standard of order and conduct that befits this place was well established in the last term.

Like the House has unanimously, I have confidence that you will continue to impose that same standard and that same level of performance during the coming term. My warmest congratulations.

Mr SPEAKER-ELECT: My colleagues, thank you so much for those very kind comments and for the confidence you have shown in me. I just hope I can live up to that confidence you have shown in me today.