One Government minister thrown out of the chamber, another MP ordered to apologise, and, as always, the frequent, at times plaintive, cries of "order" - Jonathan Hunt's final day as Speaker was much like any other.

Understandably, a slight quiver could be detected in his voice as he read the parliamentary prayer for roughly the 450th and last time at the start of yesterday's proceedings.

Otherwise, his last hurrah was very much business as usual for the London-bound High Commissioner-designate, whose resignation as Speaker after five years in the job took effect from midnight last night.

He had hoped to get through his last day in the chair without having to give anyone the red card.

However, minister's question-time had barely got under way before Mr Hunt had ejected the sharp-tongued Conservation Minister Chris Carter from the chamber for describing National's Judith Collins as "the angel of death" - a reference to either her black attire or her tough stance on welfare or both.

"I warn members they cannot expect any generosity on the last day," Mr Hunt lectured sternly.

And during the following hour-and-a-quarter, Mr Hunt variously ticked off National's Gerry Brownlee, told Labour's Trevor Mallard to keep quiet, ruled a question from Mr Mallard as being out of order, instructed National's Tony Ryall to withdraw a remark and apologise, and fielded the usual complaints from Opposition MPs that Government ministers were not making any effort to answer their questions properly.

It was left to Act's Rodney Hide to try his luck. He urged Mr Hunt to be generous to the Opposition on his last day, given it was handicapped in its questioning of Steve Maharey's past performance in the troubled tertiary education portfolio by him no longer holding ministerial responsibility for that sector. Mr Hide was out of luck - but not aggrieved. Soon after, the Act leader was seen in the public galleries taking some snaps of the Speaker with his digital camera for the historical record.

It was perhaps fitting that the final question to be fired at a minister during Mr Hunt's tenure - and, by his count, there have been 26,281 of them - should come from Winston Peters.

No-one has tested Mr Hunt's patience quite as much as the MP for Tauranga in his raising of points of order and challenges to rulings.

However, yesterday's denouement witnessed a kind of passing of the baton. Mr Hunt's retirement from politics means the title of "Father of the House" accorded to Parliament's longest-serving MP will go to Richard Prebble.

However, the former Act leader is thought likely to retire at this year's election. And next in line is Mr Peters.