The next Speaker

October 22nd, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

writes:

The worst-kept secret in Parliament is that the present , Dr Lockwood Smith, is retiring at the end of the year and heading to London to become our high commissioner there.

The assumption is that the new Speaker will be a National Party MP, because for some odd reason it has been an accepted convention that the Speaker should come from the ranks of the party that is in government.

It isn’t an odd reason. It is the norm in almost every country.

Why shouldn’t long-serving MPs with vast political experience who are not members of the Government, such as Annette King, Winston Peters and Phil Goff, be selected as the next Speaker?

I’m not against an opposition MP being Speaker. in fact in 2008 I suggested Michael Cullen would be an excellent Speaker. But Peters would be the worst Speaker ever, and you’d have to be demented to suggest him. Goff is far far too partisan to ever be accepted. I’d have no problem with Annette King as Speaker – she’d be pretty good.

But I expect the Government will vote for a National MP, because at the end of the day, why wouldn’t they?

In 1992, former Clerk of the House, Sir David McGee, recommended that, once selected, New Zealand Speakers should remain in office, regardless of any change in government, until they retired from Parliament.

That’s not a terrible idea, unless they are a terrible Speaker.

In 1999, three former Speakers recommended that Speakers should sever their connections with any political party, and remain in office, (usually unopposed in their electorate) as long as the House was satisfied with their performance. The Speakers also questioned the idea that the Speaker’s appointment should be seen to be at the disposal of the prime minister, and as serving the purposes of the government.

This is a more silly idea, as it means only electorate MPs could become Speaker.

Surely it’s time, in 2012, to take up these ideas, and stipulate that a Speaker, once appointed, should sever links with their political party and become an independent MP. Perhaps future Speakers should also be selected by secret ballot, and be required to give up their right to vote, other than to exercise a casting or a conscience vote.

I quite like the idea of a secret ballot, so that the vote is truly an independent one.  The suggestion though that they give up their right to vote undermines MMP and proportional representation as it means the party they came from gets one less vote.

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25 Responses to “The next Speaker”

  1. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    The last two speakers from the left were truly appalling. Wilson was the worst, but it could be argued that was a reflection on the PM who appointed a friend with so little experience.

    One is left wondering if this will become a long term trend or whether the left can produce a referee of similliar quality to Lockwood Smith.

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  2. thedavincimode (6,591 comments) says:

    Bring back Peter Tapsell.

    Cullen, apart from being a dreadful little prick, has an ego the size of the planet and would make the role all about him. And I wouldn’t trust the smarmy snearing bullshitting little prick to be any better than Wilson. His behaviour in Government was demonstrably dodgy; why would he have been any better as Speaker?

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  3. Redbaiter (8,039 comments) says:

    Lockwood was an excellent speaker, but does it really matter?

    Whoever is speaker, the National party will continue its appeasement strategy. Continue to suck up to racists. Continue to fail to challenge socialism. Continue to dance to the left’s tune.

    Wilson was a horrible speaker it is true, but she wasn’t really the problem. The problem is that whoever is speaker, the bankrupt of ideology Nats will continue to surrender to separatists and Marxists.

    We need a good speaker, but first we need a party that will take NZ in a different direction and not just squabble with Labour over who is best at leading a virtual one party totalitarian socialist state.

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  4. backster (2,124 comments) says:

    Well why have an MP as speaker if we can have these highly paid boffins in charge of Childrens, Families, or all sorts of other Commissions why not have one appointed Speaker. There would be no increase in energy required. Just make sure the appointment wasn’t a lawyer or retired Judge, they lack commonsense, procrastinate too long, and their final judgement satisfies no-one except the transgressor.

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  5. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Lockwood Smith is tedious. He favours his own party and bores everyone senseless with his endless interpretations.

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  6. bereal (3,137 comments) says:

    Who would get the prize for the worst, most partisan, most useless Speaker of the House in living memory ?

    Would it be Jonothan Hunt , (“order, order, the member must begin his question with a question word.”)

    or would it be Margaret Wilson. (“Scream, scream, scream, order, order.”)

    For my money, Wilson was even worser than Hunt.
    Talk about rising to your level of incompetence.
    Wilson excelled in proving the Peter Principle.

    Question. Can anyone imagine Labour appointing a speaker who wasn’t a labour member ?

    Lockwood Smith has exposed both these previous partisan non entities.

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  7. bereal (3,137 comments) says:

    joana,

    you might have found his judgements tedious but that is how he showed he considered all aspects
    before rendering his ruling.
    He may have annoyed you but he got it right.

    Usually joana you have it right but in this case, where you state that he favoured his own party
    you have it wrong, very wrong.

    Smith was a breath of fresh air in that regard.

    Wilson and Hunt were both partisan. Smith was fair.
    Even Labour would agree that he was fair.

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  8. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    The worst Speaker in recent history is the horrible, abominable, loathsome, Margaret Wilson.

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  9. bereal (3,137 comments) says:

    Correct Manolo @ 4.18 well said, and most would agree with you.

    We can only assume that joana either didn’t watch Parliament when Wilson was Speaker,
    or what ?
    To say Smith favoured his own party is a risible statement when you compare him to Wilson.

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  10. RF (1,348 comments) says:

    Manolo… and in addition as she sat there scowling she gave her Govt a free hit against anything National tried to put through. As for Hunt.. the Minister of Wine & Cheese – Dear God …… Another Labour misfit.

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  11. Steve (North Shore) (4,524 comments) says:

    David Shearer for the new speaker, yeah!

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  12. calendar girl (1,203 comments) says:

    Why should we jump to a conclusion that the present system’s broke, simply because the irrelevant Sue Kedgley says so?

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  13. RF (1,348 comments) says:

    Calendar girl… Sue who. Well beyond her use by date but still seeks public recognition… she should just go away and look after her composting toilet.

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  14. Nigel Kearney (922 comments) says:

    I don’t agree that resigning from their party would turn a partisan into a non-partisan. Probably they would continue to be as partisan as before, maybe more because it would be less embarrassing to the government. If we are going to go down this track at all, why not just appoint a judge or someone else from outside Parliament?

    David, you appear to have left the quote marks off the mention of Winston Peters. The next paragraph makes it clear you didn’t write that, but people may have spat their coffee already by then.

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  15. Barnsley Bill (982 comments) says:

    Lockwood may be a preening peacock consumed with the sound of his own voice but he is a massive improvement on Wilson who rammed a supreme court up our dry unsuspecting shitters and the fat kiwi version of Jimmy Saville who preceded her.

    It will be a national mp. One who has reached the top of the career arc and who can be trusted to not fuck it up.

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  16. Graeme Edgeler (3,277 comments) says:

    The stay as Speaker until they retire from the House thing was how the British used to do it. The other parties would not contest that electorate.

    It also used to alternate between Labour and the Conservatives, I believe.

    I do like the process they use now, however, of a secret ballot, however, the suggestion we should give the Speaker a tie-braking vote, or remove their vote from their party strength is a poor one while we have MMP and the party whip.

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  17. Graeme Edgeler (3,277 comments) says:

    Barnsley – why was the Supreme Court thrust unsuspecting upon us?

    It was in the Labour Party manifesto.

    [DPF: IIRC the manifesto merely said they would look at it - did not say they would do it]

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  18. Cactus Kate (549 comments) says:

    The simple fact you linked to anything by Sue Kedgely earns you maximum VRWC demerits David.

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  19. Kevin (1,122 comments) says:

    Sorry, Why would anyone read something sue kedgley wrote?

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  20. Whaleoil (766 comments) says:

    He is long gone from the VRWC…can’t demerit the demerited

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  21. Barnsley Bill (982 comments) says:

    Graeme, you are possibly rarer than rocking horse shit in the fact that you are probably the only person to know that. Not that I am doubting you but I would certainly like to see that document.
    Testament to its complete failure is the fact we are importing left wing dudley doorights from Canada to award money to murderers.
    And we have a supreme court of hard left maori sympathisers put in place to poo finger non left govts until the day after the end of time.

    What Cactus said.
    David you are starting to make John Minto look like Pinochet.

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  22. bereal (3,137 comments) says:

    Firing the Privy Council and establishing the Supreme Court was part of the Labour manifesto
    in the same way that shitting on the ANZUS Treaty was.

    Labour mantra, “we won the election, we have a mandate. ”
    Lying socialists.

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  23. axeman (251 comments) says:

    …. I’d have no problem with Annette King as Speaker – she’d be pretty good.” WTF! You recommend Full Moon as speaker?

    I can stiill hear her screaming out SCUMBAG at the top of her voice during Question Time in the House.

    Nice choice Mr Farrar :-(

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  24. tvb (4,260 comments) says:

    It will be a national mp who is broadly acceptable to the other parties. I do not know who that could be but that seems to he the best formula.

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  25. RandySavage (202 comments) says:

    Unlike you Cactus, Sue actually got out there and put her principles on the line.
    keyboard jockey

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