21 Mar 2013

Green's open letter to new Speaker

3:24 pm on 21 March 2013

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman has written an open letter to Parliament's new Speaker asking him to revert to the rules set by the previous incumbent.

David Carter was elected to the role of Speaker in February, replacing Lockwood Smith, who is to be the next High Commissioner to Britain.

In his letter, Dr Norman says question time is chaotic and Mr Carter's current approach of only requiring ministers to address the question means ministers know they don't need to answer the questions put to them.

Dr Norman urges Mr Carter to use the set of rules that Lockwood Smith developed over the course of his Speakership which allows a straight question to get a straight answer.

The letter follows criticism by opposition MPs of the new Speaker's style, which they say could bring the House into disrepute and potentially make question time meaningless.

Labour Party whip Chris Hipkins says Mr Carter is struggling to control the House.

However, Leader of the House and Cabinet Minister Gerry Brownlee believes question time has been more orderly since Mr Carter took over.

Mr Carter has told MPs they will just have to accept he has a different style to that of the previous Speaker.