14 Feb 2011

Compromise reached over Gillard speech to MPs

8:23 pm on 14 February 2011

New Zealand's Green Party has objected to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard addressing Parliament during sitting hours, leading to a compromise on the timing of her speech.

Ms Gillard arrives in New Zealand on Tuesday for a two days and will address MPs in the debating chamber at 11am on Wednesday, outside normal sitting hours and therefore not technically a sitting of Parliament.

The Greens say allowing Ms Gillard to speak during a sitting session would have set a precedent and led to pressure from other foreign leaders to do the same.

Prime Minister John Key says his first preference would have been for Ms Gillard to address MPs during a normal session of Parliament and the earlier time is a compromise reached because of the objection.

Mr Key says it is a matter of semantics and Ms Gillard will still be the first foreign leader to speak in the New Zealand Parliament.

Greens co-leader Russel Norman says if the Australian Prime Minister was to address a sitting session of Parliament other foreign leaders would want to do the same, which could cause problems in the future.