11 Sep 2012

PM sounds out Cabinet ministers about Speaker's job

3:04 pm on 11 September 2012

Prime Minister John Key says he has sounded out a few Cabinet Ministers as a possible replacement for the Speaker's position in Parliament should it become vacant.

Mr Key said on Tuesday there is a possibility that Lockwood Smith will take up the role of High Commissioner in London sometime during this term, but nothing has been officially confirmed.

Dr Smith stepped aside from the Rodney electorate at the last election to become a list MP to avoid a by-election if he does leave Parliament this term.

National list MP Tau Henare has indicated that he wants the job, saying he is confident he would make a good Speaker, having been in Parliament for five terms and held ministerial positions.

But Mr Key says he is not so sure. He says he has spoken to a few Cabinet ministers, and whoever he potentially puts up for the role would also have to have the support of most political parties.

Primary Industries Minister David Carter is also among those talked about as a potential replacement and says he would consider the job if the opportunity arose.

Labour MP Trevor Mallard says Tau Henare would be an interesting nomination.