Making Clem the Speaker

September 25th, 2005 at 3:39 pm by David Farrar

I think the first challenge for National should be to get Clem Simich made Speaker, instead of Margaret Wilson. Simich is well liked by most MPs and seen as scrupulously fair, so this is not an impossible task. However National needs to start pushing his candidacy before Labour signs minor parties up to agreements which include a requirement to vote for Labour’s nominee for Speaker.

Wilson will be guaranteed 51 votes from Labour/Progressive. And despite all their noble squeals about MMP and independence, the Greens will vote for a partisan Labour speaker over a neutral National one any day. So that is 57 votes.

National and presumably ACT will vote for Simich which is 51 votes. So the parties to target are NZ First, United Future and the Maori Party.

The fact Clem is technically part-Maori may help with the Maori Party. But the stronger argument to make to them, is that voting Simich for Speaker will be a perfect way of showing to their voters that they will not be Labour’s lapdogs. And a neutral Speaker will help them in the House as they ask questions to the Government. So if Maori Party on board that is 55 for Clem.

NZ First will probably need little encouragement to vote for Simich over Wilson, especially with the antipathy between Peters and Wilson. It also needs to be sold to them as a way to be seen as independent, despite voting to keep the Government in office on supply and confidence. So with NZ First you have 62 for Clem and 57 for Wilson.

If you get NZ First and Maori Party then you don’t need United Future. However would be best to talk to them at an early stage and try and persuade them to not include voting for Speaker in any support agreement with the Government. Labour need the minor parties more than they need Labour, so this should not be hard to achieve.

If Greens pick up a seat off National, and United Future did decide to vote for Wilson, you could have a 61:61 tie. In that case I would expect a deal to be done to have Simich made Speaker.

No tag for this post.

27 Responses to “Making Clem the Speaker”

  1. Cadmus () says:

    Yes a good call. Labour gave National Dr Peter Tapsell as speaker some years back. But will Clem Simich want the job? He is known as bit of a lazy bugger.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Paul W () says:

    I don’t know DPF, Simich for Speaker… he’s one of the most anonymous MPs in the National party caucus and didn’t exactly set the world on fire as a Minister (and he isn’t well enough regarded to make the Opposition front bench).

    Though he’s no Ian Revell, I don’t think he has the standing to be seriously considered – If you want to honour the spirit of MMP, put up someone of genuine standing (Tapsell, by comparison actually had been a Minister of real repute).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. baxter () says:

    And would Clem be expected to undertake the same onerous duties as Johnathan Hunt performed i.e. leading
    extravagant junkets to the four corners of the earth on fact finding missions.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. David Farrar () says:

    Clem has been low profile, but he has been Assistant Speaker and seen to have done very well there, especially with Hartley as Deputy Speaker getting flustered most days.

    Also Clem has picked up quite a bit of goodwill from Labour MPs with his support for civil unions etc.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Rob Hosking () says:

    He’s a damn good deputy speaker. Pretty fair but doesn’t take any shit. Never seen him get rattled either.

    Its an extremely good idea. The main issue I’d forsee is the Nats won’t want to forgo Simich’s vote.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Paul W () says:

    Interesting, I didn’t know about his civil unions position – surprises me frankly but there you go – you can’t judge a book by its bespoke jacket!

    It has been a while since a non-government speaker but I suspect Labour will want to be cautious and will look to either reappoint Wilson or maybe do a deal with Dunne – Dunne as Speaker perhaps?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. David Farrar () says:

    Rob – you’re making same mistake Don did. The Speaker does get to vote under MMP, so it is no disadvantage to have one of your MPs speaker anymore.

    Paul – a party leader copuldn’t function as Speaker. If he had an experienced MP then a UF MP could be a goer but he doesn’t.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. mikey bill () says:

    Mr Invisible as Speaker? Would he be able to take the work load?

    My parents live in his old electorate, are staunch National supporters and loathe him as the worst MP they’ve ever had to deal with, and they’ve been involved with the party quite a bit over the years. He’s the a time-serving gravy-train rider.

    So yes, Speaker would be perfect for him, look at Hunt…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Peter Metcalfe () says:

    If Clem gets to be Speaker, what on earth will Helen do with Margaret Wilson?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Pete () says:

    Yep, clems a good guy, but i think the greatest chance he has got in getting the position is if National dont run around crowing about what a coup it would be for him to get it and thus allow Labour the wriggle room to do it without loss of face. Though when has that type of humility ever been displayed in politics?
    Otherwise id assume Labour will play it safe

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Whig () says:

    Why doesn’t National just do a deal to become the government? ;o)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Adolf Fiinkensein () says:

    Yes Whig. Is there anyone within National who possesses the smarts of Joh Bjelke and a bloody big pile of prawns?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Adolf Fiinkensein () says:

    Let’s see Whig. Waka jumping is on again. Who in the sorry Labour line up might be induced to have a sudden rush of principle and concience? It would only take one to slip across the great divide either to Gnats or Te Bros. Would you care to hazzard a guess? I’d like to see a genuine Honky decide to become a Hori and join up with Tariana and Pita.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Graeme Edgeler () says:

    DPF said: “a party leader copuldn’t function as Speaker. If he had an experienced MP then a UF MP could be a goer”

    Surely the appointment of Margaret Wilson disposes of this rationale?

    Though one might add that Standing Order 30 (“Party leader or whip not to be presiding officer”) does prohibit Dunne becoming a Deputy or Assistant Speaker.

    Also, in the event of a tie nominations are sought again (S.O. 18, S.O. 19(2)). If it hasn’t been sorted out by this time then watching Parliament on its first day could be fun.

    It is also useful to remind everyone that in the event that, say, Winston decides to do his own thing and have someone from his own party nominated, that this wouldn’t split the “anti-Wilson” vote – the speaker requires “the votes of a majority of the members voting” (S.O. 19(1)(d)).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Paul W () says:

    Graeme/DPF – good work on the Standing Orders – thanks for the advice. There was a time when I was more conversant with them… but alas no more.

    I wonder if there might come a time where SO’s might permit leaders of minor parties to be the Speaker – it could become the sort of bipartisan position that government’s trade instead of Select Committee chairs (could someone tell me if any SC chairs are allocated outside of coalition and non-opposition parties?).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Logix () says:

    Wilson got monstered by Prebble and Peters, so much so that other MP’s kinda joined in. Nor was I especially impressed with her partiality.

    Just for once I agree … it might be a good time to try someone else and see if Simich handles the “Old Boys” better than Wilson.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. GeniusNZ () says:

    maybe we shoud get rid of the “speaker can vote” (in the first round) provision – not because it would make national win (give the role to Clem anyway) but because it makes a neat way to prevent hung parliments like the 61-61 divide that could potentially happen now.

    Why did we get rid of it?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. David Farrar () says:

    We got rid of it, because it upset the proportionality that MMP was meant to deliver.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. Graeme Edgeler () says:

    What’s wrong with a 61/61 Parliament?

    What would happen with a Parliament with only one overhang if the Speaker couldn’t vote? It might be 60/60.

    DPF might know – does the Speaker still get a casting vote?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Ed Snack () says:

    Logix, I personally was very impressed by Wilson’s partiality, pity that the position demands some degree of impartiality which she seems utterly incapable of delivering.

    She wins my vote for the worst speaker or the modern parliamentary era, and also the one who most brings the office into disrepute.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. Michael () says:

    I’d like to see McCully as speaker. Actually, I reckon Simich would do the job well. He can’t be feeling too well-disposed towards the Nats in any event, after the way they’ve treated him.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. Gareth Robinson () says:

    Graeme – No, the Speaker does not get a casting vote. If the motion ends in a tie, the motion is lost.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Graeme Edgeler () says:

    Gareth: are you sure (I’m not, which is why I asked) under the old system (and if you’re telling me it has changed then thank you) the Speaker’s deciding vote was cast by convention to preserve the status quo or continue debate.

    This categorically did not mean that every motion in which the Speaker’s vote was cast failed. If someone moved an amendment to a bill it would be defeated; but the Speaker used to cast his vote to favour giving a bill a first reading or second reading, or to send it to a select committee.

    The Speaker aimed not to change the law (i.e. he would never vote to give a bill a third reading), but to allow debate to continue (by letting a bill pass the first reading, or by rejecting a closure motion).

    It is distinctly possible that this changed after MMP, are we sure that it did?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. Gareth Robinson () says:

    Standing Order 154 – In the case of a tie on a vote the question is lost.

    Speakers lost the casting vote in 1996.

    Graeme – The best description of the conventions pre-MMP is by Speaker Harrison in 1982, when he broke a tie (New Zealand Parliamentary Debates. Vol. 448 Pg. 4918-9):

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Gareth Robinson () says:

    And my choices for the speakership: I’m happy with either Simich or Ross Robertson.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. Paul W () says:

    Simich or Robertson – sheesh, it used to be that the Speaker’s position had mana and prestige, based on these two, it looks to be a bit of a booby-prize.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote