Lockwood Smith next High Commissioner to Britain
Parliament's worst kept secret of 2012 is official - Speaker Lockwood Smith is heading to London to take up the position of New Zealand High Commissioner.
The House has risen for the year, MPs are on holiday and Smith has put his role as Speaker of the House aside to move to Britain.
Smith's upcoming move was already widely known, but Prime Minister John Key formally announced the appointment today.
"Lockwood Smith has had a distinguished political career and his nomination is a mark of the high esteem in which he is held," Key said.
"I wish Lockwood and his wife, Alexandra, all the best for this new appointment."
Smith has been a Member of Parliament since 1984 and was the MP for Rodney from 1996 until 2011, when he was elected under the National List. His fellow MPs elected him as Speaker in 2008 and again in 2011.
It is understood that MPs will vote in a new Speaker at the end of January.