11 Dec 2012

Henare drops bid for Speaker of the House

5:00 pm on 11 December 2012

The National Party MP Tau Henare says he is dropping his bid to be the next Speaker of the House, claiming the Maori Party has reneged on a deal to support him.

Prime Minister John Key has said there is a possibility that the present Speaker, Lockwood Smith, will leave Parliament to take up the role of High Commissioner in London this term, although nothing has been confirmed. Mr Key has said he has been talking to a number of MPs about the role.

Mr Henare said he would have made a great Speaker and feels let down by the Maori Party. "When you give a person your word that you're going to do something and even get it in writing, then you expect them to carry it through."

The Prime Minister said on Tuesday that he has spoken to the Maori Party about the Speaker's job. He said he did not invoke the governing arrangement between the two parties in those discussions, but it would be his expectation that they would vote for the Government's nomination.

The Primary Industries Minister, David Carter, has confirmed that he and the Prime Minister have spoken about the role and says it would be a great honour to have that job if it were offered to him.

The Labour Party says its favoured choice is National MP Maurice Williamson.