Why David Carter will struggle to be bipartisan Speaker
A “very keen and honoured” David Carter’s biggest challenge taking on the role of parliament speaker will be to become apolitical.
The outgoing primary industries minister and Canterbury farmer was approached formally by Prime Minister John Key last week and asked to take on the role.
He will be accepted into the role on Thursday, but not without niggling from a miffed Labour leader.
Departing speaker Lockwood Smith is next high commissioner in London.
Labour leader David Shearer has criticised National’s choice, saying Labour was not consulted.
“There’s a convention which says if he wants our support for his speaker, then it would be a good idea for the prime minister or the speaker to come and speak with us.”
However, Mr Shearer admits he will not be making the approach himself.
“We’re not being ridiculous about that but we just think we need to start the year off with a new speaker in the right way and this is the right way to do it. I‘m waiting for David Carter to approach us.”
Mr Carter has already met with Green party’s co-leaders at their request and would be happy to meet with Mr Shearer if asked.
The Labour leader also believes Mr Carter does not have any grasp on the rules, but Mr Carter says he has spent the Christmas break studying them.
“The prime minister did not have to twist my arm to take this job. It was a matter of him formally asking me. I said I’d be absolutely honoured and delighted to do it.”
He expects to bring a different style to the role but says Lockwood Smith has been a superb speaker in his time and will be a very good role model for Mr Carter.
He admits one of his greatest challenges will be to become bipartisan.
“Having been a very politically active player for 18 years, the transition I have to make as speaker is to be completely without bias, completely a-political. That is a big ask and I’ll do it to the best of my endeavours.
“A good speaker must be parliament’s man, he must be apolitical and he must operate without bias.”