Who will be the next Speaker?

Isaac Davidson at NZ Herald reports:

National MP Tau Henare has put his hand up for the job of when Lockwood Smith leaves to become High Commissioner in London later in the year.

Mr Henare confirmed he was interested yesterday and said he had raised it with Prime Minister John Key.

He would not say what the response was – and Mr Key has also approached Maurice Williamson and David Carter.

Other names I hear mentioned are Anne Tolley and Peter Dunne. I do not believe Dunne wants the job. I also hear that David Carter’s preference is to remain a Minister, but will serve if needed.

If a Minister becomes Speaker, it is thought likely Nick Smith will be reappointed to the ministry. If Carter or Tolley become Speaker, then the vacancy would be in Cabinet. If Williamson becomes Speaker, then the vacancy would be outside Cabinet – and that might be seen as unsuitable for an MP of Nick’s experience.

Mr Henare is an outside chance – but believed he could do the job, including controlling the “argy bargy” of Parliament. Asked whether he had ever added to that “argy bargy” he admitted he had, but said that was valuable experience.

“I’ve spoken to people who’ve said, ‘That’s like giving the keys of the bank to the robber.’ I laughed at that, and I thought, ‘They might be right, but who better than someone who knows about how people operate in the House and enjoys the cut and thrust of the Debating Chamber.’

“What we are looking at is somebody who can handle the argy bargy, who can bring an amenable style, who enjoys the House and can see the serious side, but also the lighter-hearted side of the House as well.”

Tau is obviously campaigning on the poacher turned gamekeeper theory!

It would be nice if multiple candidates actually stood, so the House has a genuine election. But I suspect the National caucus will have an internal vote on a preferred candidate and all vote for that person.

Whomever does become Speaker will certainly have huge shows to fill. Lockwood had made a massive change in the way Parliament operates – and for the better. He will be missed.

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