Barely in his chair and MP pounces

NEW GUY: David Carter was elected Speaker of the House yesterday.
NEW GUY: David Carter was elected Speaker of the House yesterday.

David Carter was elected Speaker in Parliament yesterday and almost immediately had to deal with trouble from NZ First leader Winston Peters.

Mr Peters once unsuccessfully sued Mr Carter about his comments relating to the scampi inquiry. Yesterday, Mr Carter beat Labour nominee Trevor Mallard by 10 votes.

Mr Mallard was supported by Opposition parties angry at the lack of consultation about Mr Carter's nomination.

Mr Carter did not put on much of a show of being dragged to the Speaker's chair - a Westminster tradition dating back to when monarchs beheaded Speakers who delivered bad news.

He said he did not underestimate the challenge before him. "I see my responsibility being akin to a referee reffing the inevitable Super 15 final between the almighty Crusaders and one of the others."

Mr Peters said it would be "churlish" not to thank former Speaker Lockwood Smith, who is to become New Zealand's High Commissioner in London. He went on to lambast Mr Carter's appointment with "so many career-trained diplomats having lost their jobs in foreign affairs".

The lack of consultation about Mr Carter's appointment would make the job "doubly difficult", Mr Peters said, adding "which I'm certain he is already regretting".

Prime Minister John Key said Mr Peters' view of Mr Carter was well known. "They've been in court with each other, so."

The Dominion Post