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 individual who chairs the country's elected legislative body, 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. He or she holds 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|
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 chamberEdit
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.
By convention, speakers have traditionally been addressed inside the debating chamber as "Mr Speaker" or "Madam Speaker".
Outside the debating chamberEdit
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 Standing Orders Committee
- the Business Committee
- the Officers of Parliament Committee.
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 Liberal 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 privilegesEdit
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 officeEdit
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||28 March 1861||13 September 1870||Fox|
|3||Dillon Bell||23 February 1871||21 October 1875|
|4||William Fitzherbert||29 January 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||10 June 1913||31 October 1922|
|9||Charles Statham||7 February 1923||1 November 1935|
|10||Bill Barnard||27 November 1935||25 September 1943||Savage|
|11||Bill Schramm||25 September 1943||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||7 June 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||24 December 1977||14 July 1984|
|20||Basil Arthur||14 July 1984||1 May 1985†||Lange|
|21||Gerard Wall||1 May 1985||15 August 1987|
|22||Kerry Burke||15 August 1987||6 November 1990|
|23||Robin Gray||27 October 1990||6 November 1993||Bolger|
|24||Peter Tapsell||7 November 1993||12 October 1996|
|25||Doug Kidd||12 October 1996||5 December 1999|
|26||Jonathan Hunt||5 December 1999||3 March 2005||Clark|
|27||Margaret Wilson||3 March 2005||8 November 2008|
|28||Lockwood Smith||8 November 2008||1 February 2013||Key|
|29||David Carter||1 February 2013||7 November 2017|
|30||Trevor Mallard||7 November 2017||Incumbent||Ardern|
Three other chair occupants deputise for the Speaker:
- Deputy Speaker: Hon Anne Tolley
- First Assistant Speaker: Hon Ruth Dyson
- Second Assistant Speaker: Adrian Rurawhe
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.
- "The Speaker". Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 15 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
- "Guide to the debating chamber". New Zealand House of Representatives. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
- Mulgan, R. G.; Aimer, Peter (2004). Politics in New Zealand. Auckland University Press. p. 105. ISBN 9781869403188.
- "Standing Orders of the House of Representatives" (PDF). New Zealand Parliament. pp. 39–40. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
- Parliamentary Debates. New Zealand Parliament.
- "Role & election of the Speaker". New Zealand Parliament.
- "Parliamentary Service Commission". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
- "Electoral Act 1993 No 87 (as at 01 May 2017), Public Act Contents". www.legislation.govt.nz. New Zealand Legislation. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
- "Conscience votes". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
- "Carter elected Speaker of the House". Stuff.co.nz. 31 January 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
- "Rules and traditions of Parliament". parliament.co.uk. UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
- "Speaker confirmation ceremony". gg.govt.nz. The Governor-General of New Zealand. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
- "Parliamentary Salaries and Allowances Determination 2013 (SR 2013/462) (as at 26 February 2015) Schedule 1 Salaries payable under section 16 of Civil List Act 1979". www.legislation.govt.nz. New Zealand Legislation. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
- "Office of the Speaker". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
- "The Speaker". Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 15 July 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
- "NZ Prime Minister Gets Thrown Out of Parliament". Lowering the Bar. 12 May 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
- McLintock 1966.
- "Members' Conditions Of Service". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
- "Speaker of the House of Representatives". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
- McLintock, A. H., ed. (1966). "Meeting of Parliament". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand (updated 22 April 2009 ed.). Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
- Scholefield, Guy (1950) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1949 (3rd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer.
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