Labour MP Trevor Mallard has confirmed plans to give up his electorate seat to run for the job of Speaker.

Mallard, who has held the Hutt South seat for 20 years, today said he would only seek a nomination on the list at the next election.

"I've enjoyed acting as a touch judge for over 30 years and recently have enjoyed transferring those skills to being Assistant Speaker so much that I have decided to audition for the real Speaker's job over the next 15 months," he wrote on Facebook.

He said that the Assistant Speaker role had required him to change from being an attack dog in Parliament to taking a non-partisan role.


"What has become clear is that it is hard to be an effective electorate MP and chair the House in an unbiased manner," he said.

Mallard also said that going on the list would help bring in a new face. There had been no renewal for Labour in its Wellington seats since the Mana by-election in 2010, he said.

The Labour MP faced a strong challenge in Hutt South from National MP Chris Bishop at the 2014 election, and his majority of 709 votes was one of the closest races in the country. National won the party vote.

However, Mallard believed that the seat could be retained by Labour.

"Recent polling in Hutt South, the agreement with the Greens and the fact that we have arguably the best local campaign team in the country have satisfied me that a good Labour candidate will win Hutt South by a margin significantly more than my current majority."

He said that he had asked leader Andrew Little to begin looking for a successor as soon as possible.