National MP Tau Henare has put his hand up for the job of Speaker when Lockwood Smith leaves to become High Commissioner in London later in the year.

Mr Henare confirmed he was interested yesterday and said he had raised it with Prime Minister John Key.

He would not say what the response was - and Mr Key has also approached Maurice Williamson and David Carter.

Mr Henare is an outside chance - but believed he could do the job, including controlling the "argy bargy" of Parliament. Asked whether he had ever added to that "argy bargy" he admitted he had, but said that was valuable experience.


"I've spoken to people who've said, 'That's like giving the keys of the bank to the robber.' I laughed at that, and I thought, 'They might be right, but who better than someone who knows about how people operate in the House and enjoys the cut and thrust of the Debating Chamber.'

"What we are looking at is somebody who can handle the argy bargy, who can bring an amenable style, who enjoys the House and can see the serious side, but also the lighter-hearted side of the House as well."

The Speaker is elected by a vote of Parliament and candidates nominate themselves, although in practice it is usual for a Government to decide who it will be, with some consultation of the Opposition.