Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives
In New Zealand, the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Māori: Te Mana Whakawā o te Whare) is the presiding officer and highest authority of the New Zealand House of Representatives. The individual who holds the position is elected by members of the House from among their number in the first session after each general election. They hold one of the highest-ranking offices in New Zealand. The current Speaker is Trevor Mallard, who was initially elected on 7 November 2017.
|Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives|
|Style||The Right Honourable|
|Residence||Speaker's Apartments, Parliament House, Wellington|
|Nominator||New Zealand House of Representatives|
|Appointer||Governor-General of New Zealand at the behest of the House of Representatives|
|Term length||At Her Majesty's pleasure|
elected by the House at the start of each Parliament, and upon a vacancy
|Inaugural holder||Sir Charles Clifford|
|Website||Office of the Speaker|
|New Zealand portal|
The speaker's role in presiding over New Zealand's House of Representatives is similar to that of speakers elsewhere in other countries that use the Westminster system. The speaker presides over the House's debates, determining which members may speak; the speaker is also responsible for maintaining order during debate, and may discipline members who break the rules of the House. Aside from duties relating to presiding over the House, the speaker also performs administrative and procedural functions, and remains a Member of Parliament (MP).
In the debating chamber
The speaker's most visible role is that of presiding over the House of Representatives when it is in session. The speaker presides from the elevated 'Speaker's Chair' behind the Table in the debating chamber. This involves overseeing the order in which business is conducted, and determining who should speak at what time. The speaker is also responsible for granting or declining requests for certain events, such as a snap debate on a particular issue.
An important part of the speaker's role is enforcing discipline in the House. The speaker defers to 'Standing Orders', which are the written rules of conduct governing the business of the House. Included in these rules are certain powers available to the speaker to ensure reasonable behaviour by MPs, including the ability to order disruptive MPs to leave the debating chamber. If an MP feels one of these rules has been breached by another member, he or she can interrupt a debate by using a procedure known as a 'point of order'. The speaker must then determine whether the complaint is just. Earlier Speaker's rulings on similar points of order are referred to in considering the point raised. The clerk of the House, who sits directly in front of the speaker, assists the speaker in making such rulings.
Outside the debating chamber
The speaker is also responsible for directing and overseeing the administration and security of the buildings and grounds of Parliament (including the Beehive, Parliament House, Bowen House and the Parliamentary Library building), and the general provision of services to members. In doing so, the speaker consults and receives advice from the Parliamentary Service Commission, which comprises MPs from across the House.
As the most senior office of Parliament, the speaker has other statutory responsibilities, for example under the Electoral Act 1993. In this role a portion of the Parliament Buildings are given over to the speaker. Known as the Speaker's Apartments these include his personal office, sitting rooms for visiting dignitaries and a small residential flat which the speaker may or may not use as living quarters.
The speaker chairs three select committees:
The Business Committee chaired by the speaker controls the organisation of the business of the House. Also on the committee, established after the first MMP election in 1996, is the leader of the House, the Opposition shadow leader and the whips of each party.
The speaker is expected to conduct the functions of the office in a neutral manner, even though the speaker is generally a member of the governing party. Only three people have held the office despite not being from the governing party. In 1923, Charles Statham (an independent, but formerly a member of the Reform Party) was backed by Reform so as not to endanger the party's slim majority, and later retained his position under the United Party. In 1993, Peter Tapsell (a member of the Labour Party) was backed by the National Party for the same reason. Bill Barnard, who had been elected Speaker in 1936, resigned from the Labour Party in 1940 but retained his position.
Historically, a speaker lost the right to cast a vote, except when both sides were equally balanced. The speaker's lack of a vote created problems for a governing party – when the party's majority was small, the loss of the speaker's vote could be problematic. Since the shift to MMP in 1996, however, the speaker has been counted for the purposes of casting party votes, to reflect the proportionality of the party's vote in the general election. The practice has also been for the speaker to participate in personal votes, usually by proxy. In the event of a tied vote the motion in question lapses.
The speaker is always a member of Parliament, and is elected to the position by other members of Parliament at the beginning of a parliamentary term. If the office becomes vacant during a parliamentary term then the House must elect a new speaker when it next sits.
The election of a speaker is presided over by the clerk of the House. It is not unusual for an election to be contested. If there are two candidates, members vote in the lobbies for their preferred candidate. In the case of three or more candidates, a roll-call vote is conducted and the candidate with the fewest votes eliminated, with the process continuing (or reverting to a two-way run-off) until one candidate has a majority. Members may vote only if they are present in person: no proxy votes are permitted.
It is traditional for the speaker to 'pretend' he or she did not want to accept the position. Upon election the Speaker is 'dragged' to the Speaker's Chair in a practice dating from the days when British speakers risked execution if the news they reported to the king was displeasing.
After being elected by the House, the speaker-elect is confirmed in office by the governor-general. At the start of a term of Parliament, the newly confirmed speaker follows the tradition of claiming the privileges of the House.
Precedence, salary and privileges
Each day, prior to the sitting of the House of Representatives, the speaker and other officials travel in procession from the speaker's personal apartments to the debating chamber. The procession includes the doorkeeper, the serjeant-at-arms, the speaker and the speaker's assistant. When the speaker reaches the chamber, the serjeant-at-arms announces the Speaker's arrival and places the Mace on the Table of the House.
Originally, speakers wore a gown and formal wig in the chamber. This practice has fallen into disuse since the 1990s. Speakers now generally wear what they feel appropriate, usually an academic gown of their highest held degree or a Māori cloak.
Holders of the office
The current Speaker is Trevor Mallard, a member of the Labour Party.
Since the creation of Parliament, 29 people have held the office of speaker. Two people have held the office on more than one occasion. A full list of speakers is below.
† indicates Speaker died in office.
|No.||Name||Portrait||Term of Office||Prime Minister|
|1||Sir Charles Clifford||31 May 1854||12 December 1860||Sewell|
|2||David Monro||3 June 1861||13 September 1870||Fox|
|3||Dillon Bell||14 August 1871||21 October 1875|
|4||William Fitzherbert||15 June 1876||11 August 1879||Vogel|
|5||Maurice O'Rorke||24 September 1879||17 September 1890||Hall|
|6||William Steward||23 January 1891||8 November 1893||Ballance|
|(5)||Maurice O'Rorke||21 June 1894||3 October 1902|
|7||Arthur Guinness||29 June 1903||10 June 1913†|
|8||Frederic Lang||26 June 1913||31 October 1922|
|9||Charles Statham||7 February 1923||1 November 1935|
|10||Bill Barnard||25 March 1936||25 September 1943||Savage|
|11||Bill Schramm||22 February 1944||12 October 1946|
|12||Robert McKeen||24 June 1947||21 October 1949|
|13||Matthew Oram||27 June 1950||25 October 1957||Holland|
|14||Robert Macfarlane||21 January 1958||28 October 1960||Nash|
|15||Ronald Algie||20 June 1961||26 November 1966||Holyoake|
|16||Roy Jack||26 April 1967||9 February 1972|
|17||Alfred E. Allen||7 June 1972||26 October 1972|
|18||Stanley Whitehead||14 February 1973||10 October 1975||Kirk|
|(16)||Roy Jack||22 June 1976||24 December 1977†||Muldoon|
|19||Richard Harrison||10 May 1978||14 July 1984|
|20||Basil Arthur||15 August 1984||1 May 1985†||Lange|
|21||Gerry Wall||28 May 1985||16 September 1987|
|22||Kerry Burke||16 September 1987||28 November 1990|
|23||Robin Gray||28 November 1990||21 December 1993||Bolger|
|24||Peter Tapsell||21 December 1993||12 December 1996|
|25||Doug Kidd||12 December 1996||20 December 1999|
|26||Jonathan Hunt||20 December 1999||3 March 2005||Clark|
|27||Margaret Wilson||3 March 2005||8 December 2008|
|28||Lockwood Smith||8 December 2008||1 February 2013||Key|
|29||David Carter||1 February 2013||7 November 2017|
|30||Trevor Mallard||7 November 2017||Incumbent||Ardern|
Three other presiding officers deputise for the Speaker:
- Deputy Speaker: Adrian Rurawhe
- First Assistant Speaker: Hon Jenny Salesa
- Second Assistant Speaker: Hon Jacqui Dean
Between 1854 and 1992, the Chairman of Committees chaired the House when in Committee of the whole House (i.e., taking a bill's committee stage) and presided in the absence of the Speaker or when the Speaker so requested. These arrangements were based on those of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. Until 1992, the Chairman of Committees was known as the Deputy Speaker only when presiding over the House. That year, the position of Deputy Speaker was made official, and the role of Chairman of Committees was discontinued. The first Deputy Speaker was appointed on 10 November 1992. Additionally, two Assistant Speakers are usually appointed. The first Assistant Speaker was appointed in 1996, replacing the position of Deputy Chairman of Committees, which had been established in 1975. The Deputy Speaker and Assistant Speakers take the chair and may exercise the Speaker's authority in his or her absence.
|No.||Name||Term of Office||Speaker|
|1||Jim Gerard||10 November 1992||12 October 1996||Gray|
|2||Ian Revell||13 December 1996||18 February 1999||Kidd|
|3||Geoff Braybrooke||17 March 1999||27 July 2002|
|4||Ann Hartley||27 August 2002||19 September 2005|
|5||Clem Simich||8 November 2005||8 November 2008|
|6||Lindsay Tisch||9 December 2008||26 November 2011||Smith|
|7||Eric Roy||21 December 2011||20 September 2014|
|8||Chester Borrows||21 October 2014||23 September 2017|
|9||Anne Tolley||8 November 2017||17 October 2020||Mallard|
|10||Adrian Rurawhe||26 November 2020||present|
|No.||Name||Term of Office||Speaker|
|1||Peter Hilt||21 February 1996||12 October 1996||Tapsell|
|2||Geoff Braybrooke||18 February 1997||17 March 1999||Kidd|
|3||Brian Neeson||17 March 1999||27 November 1999|
|4||Jill Pettis||21 December 1999||27 July 2002||Hunt|
|5||Ross Robertson||27 August 2002||8 November 2008|
|6||Eric Roy||9 December 2008||26 November 2011||Smith|
|7||Lindsay Tisch||21 December 2011||23 September 2017|
|8||Poto Williams||8 November 2017||3 July 2019||Mallard|
|9||Ruth Dyson||3 July 2019||17 October 2020|
|10||Jenny Salesa||26 November 2020||present|
|No.||Name||Term of Office||Speaker|
|1||Marie Hasler||18 February 1997||8 September 1998||Kidd|
|2||Eric Roy||10 September 1998||27 July 2002|
|3||Clem Simich||27 August 2002||19 September 2005|
|4||Ann Hartley||8 November 2005||28 February 2008|
|5||Marian Hobbs||4 March 2008||8 November 2008|
|6||Rick Barker||9 December 2008||12 April 2011||Smith|
|7||Ross Robertson||12 April 2011||20 September 2014|
|8||Trevor Mallard||21 October 2014||23 September 2017|
|9||Adrian Rurawhe||8 November 2017||26 November 2020||Mallard|
|10||Jacqui Dean||26 November 2020||present|
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- Hansard. 552. New Zealand Parliament. 1996. p. 75.
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- Scholefield, Guy (1950) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1949 (3rd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer.