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After weeks of trying to keep the worst kept secret, Prime Minister John Key comfirmed Speaker Lockwood Smith will be the new high commissioner to the United Kingdom.
“Lockwood Smith has had a distinguished political career and his nomination is a mark of the high esteem in which he is held," Mr Key says.
“Since 2008 he has held the role of speaker of the House of Representatives, and was unanimously re-elected in 2011,” Mr Key says.
Dr Smith entered parliament as MP for Kaipara in 1984. In 1996, he became MP for Rodney and held the seat until last year when he became a list MP.
During those years, Dr Smith held a number of positions in National-led governments, including minister of education, agriculture, trade, deputy finance minister and speaker.
“I wish Lockwood and his wife, Alexandra, all the best for this new appointment,” Mr Key says.
The selection of a new speaker is now likely to take place when Parliament first sits in the week of January 28.
Primary industries minister David Carter and building and construction minister Maurice Williamson are both favourites to take the job.