The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Lockwood Smith, has been appointed New Zealand's next High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

Prime Minister John Key announced Smith's nomination to the position this morning.

"Lockwood Smith has had a distinguished political career and his nomination is a mark of the high esteem in which he is held," Mr Key said.

"The nomination of Parliament's Speaker to the role of High Commissioner emphasises the importance of relationship between New Zealand and the United Kingdom."


Smith has held the speaker's role since 2008. He will likely take up the appointment early next year.

He has served as a Member of Parliament since 1984, when he was elected MP for Kaipara. In 1996, he became MP for Rodney, a role he held until 2011 when he went on the National Party List.

Smith has held a number of positions in National-led governments, including Minister of Education, Agriculture, Trade and Deputy Finance Minister.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said New Zealand's relationship with the UK was "one of our most important".

"Lockwood Smith is one of the longest serving members of the House. His experience in international marketing and in senior portfolios including education and trade make him an ideal diplomatic appointment."