Jane Clifton writes:
The grandest, steepest ladder in this upheaval which to its ascender feels a lot like a snake, is that extended to outgoing Primary Industries Minister David Carter, who, to make room for the Cabinet “refresh”, has been frogmarched toward the Speaker’s chair.
It is no secret that David enjoyed being a Minister, and especially Primary Industries. And he was well liked and respected in that portfolio. So a few have joked that the traditional (from the days when an angry King might execute a Speaker) reluctance the nominee is expected to show will not be feigned
It also pays well and ends in a knighthood or damehood if one isn’t a republican. But though several Nats – notably colourful old-timers Maurice Williamson and Tau Henare – would practically auction their grannies for the job, and in Williamson’s case probably do a cracking job, it’s an ill-kept secret that Carter’s first love is primary industries.
I think Maurice has the skills, humour and knowledge to be a good Speaker. However the decision is obviously linked to Cabinet renewal also.
But that is not to say that I think David Carter won’t do well. I recall that many people were skeptical of how Lockwood would do as Speaker, and Lockie was been simply outstanding. In one sense, Lockwood has made it harder for his successors.
He’s also not one of those MPs who has a particular fondness or feeling for Parliament as the endearingly idiosyncratic institution it is. A Speaker needs to be fast on his or her feet, and demonstrably even-handed. Carter is affable, but has always been sharply partisan.
I have to rarely disagree with Jane here. I don’t think David is sharply partisan. Certainly not within 100 miles of Jonathan Hunt and Margaret Wilson.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is specially resistant to the Carter speakership, which, given Winston’s genius for parliamentry disruption, is a combustible state of affairs.
Well that is because he sued Carter for defamation and failed. I don’t see why that should be held against Carter. Peters was no fan of Lockwood also – nursing a grudge because Lockwood beat him for the Kaipara nomination in 1983 or 1984.