Next Speaker of the House?

MICHELLE COOKE
Last updated 11:11 04/12/2012
David Carter
FairfaxNZ
DAVID CARTER: New speaker?

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Primary Industries Minister David Carter appears to be in the running to become the next Speaker of the House when Lockwood Smith retires at the end of the year.

Carter said he hadn't put his hand up for the job but Prime Minister John Key had come to him and they had been discussing the role.

"I have had some discussions with the PM and those discussions are ongoing," he said today.

He would not comment on whether he would take on the role because he felt obliged or because he wanted to become the Speaker.

First elected to Parliament in 1994, Carter has since been the minister for biosecurity and forestry and is the current minister for primary industries and local government.

Speaker of the House Lockwood Smith is retiring at the end of the year to take up the post of High Commissioner in London, leaving the position vacant.

It is understood that Members of Parliament will vote in a new Speaker at the end of January.

Carter said he has enjoyed his portfolios and that there was more to do in the role. He wouldn't be able to continue as minister if he became Speaker.

"If I continue the discussions with the prime minister and become speaker I can no longer remain in Cabinet."

The Speaker, while being able to maintain links to a political party, must be unbiased in their role.

The Speaker chairs meetings of the House, rules on procedural matters and acts as landlord for Parliament's buildings.

They are generally elected at the start of each new Parliament.

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