Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

Speaker David Carter has 'no interest' in top diplomatic posting

Speaker David Carter has denied he wants a change of jobs. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Speaker David Carter has denied he wants a change of jobs. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Speaker David Carter has slapped down speculation he wants a top diplomatic posting - after New Zealand First leader Winston Peters intimated he would block such an appointment if in power.

After Mr Peters' comments yesterday, Mr Carter has taken the unusual step of delivering a press statement to press gallery reporters, denying he wanted a change of job.

"Despite persistent media speculation, it has never been my interest or intention to become New Zealand's High Commissioner in London," the statement read.

"I am honoured to be Speaker of the House of Representatives. I enjoy the role, and intend to carry on with that role as long as I have the confidence of the House."

High Commissioner to Britain Sir Lockwood Smith will step down early next year when his term ends.

This afternoon Foreign Minister Murray McCully said a decision on his replacement was in its final stages and focussed on one candidate, who was not a politician.

"I can tell you that Mr Carter's name has not featured ... we have somebody in prospect for London, who is not a Member of Parliament ... I'm not expecting Mr Peters to be very upset when he finds out who it is."

In a speech to students at Victoria University yesterday, Mr Peters attacked the "brorocracy" of recent diplomatic appointments.

"As an example of how meritocracy has been abandoned in favour of a mainly white brorocracy look no further than how some of our high commissioners and ambassadors are being appointed.

"This is not to say that some of the people we have sent offshore haven't been the best choice, or not done excellent service, but some have not been the wisest choice.

"Many have represented an insult to foreign affairs, leaving their posts with absolutely nothing to show, but deterioration in our international relationship with that country."

Mr Peters went on to say that a political appointee should be "the absolute exception", and if any future appointments were made that the party regards as unsuitable, it would order that appointee home should it hold the balance of power after next year's election.

NZ First members have recently been ordered out of Parliament after objecting to the rulings of Mr Carter, a former Cabinet minister and National MP.

Mr Peters also had a fractious relationship with former Speaker Lockwood Smith. In 2012, he objected to Dr Smith's appointment as High Commissioner in London, saying it should be the last time someone is appointed Speaker with the promise of being given a plum diplomatic post.

It is an old grudge, dating back to the days when Dr Smith won National's selection for the Kaipara electorate over Mr Peters.

In 2012 Mr Peters also put in a no-confidence motion against Dr Smith, after the NZ First leader was ordered from the debating chamber when he tried to raise a point of order.

- NZ Herald

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