MPs may soon no longer seek the guidance from God or make references to the Queen or Jesus Christ in the daily prayer that opens Parliament.

Politicians are being consulted on the wording of the prayer, but that hasn't stopped new Speaker Trevor Mallard from opening Parliament this week in te reo Maori with words that translate to "Almighty God", before dropping references to the Queen and Jesus Christ.

The prayer that has opened the House for more than 50 years has been: "Almighty God, humbly acknowledging our need for Thy guidance in all things, and laying aside all private and personal interests, we beseech Thee to grant that we may conduct the affairs of this House and of our country to the glory of Thy holy name, the maintenance of true religion and justice, the honour of the Queen, and the public welfare, peace, and tranquility of New Zealand, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

MPs are divided on the issue.


Senior Labour MP Damien O'Connor, a Catholic, cautioned against change.

"They have to be careful that we don't move too far from processes that have kept this place in good stead in an ethical and moral and principled way," he told Radio NZ's Morning Report.

His colleague Aupito William Sio, a Mormon, had an open mind: "In this day and age, I think there's a strong feeling of people wanting the prayer to be more inclusive, recognising that many of my colleagues do not acknowledge the existence of Jesus Christ."

New Zealand First has opposed changing it in the past, and deputy leader Ron Mark said the caucus would discuss the issue next week - but he wanted to keep references to the Queen.

"I'm a commissioned officer and a royalist by nature, and New Zealand First has always had quite a conservative view on that."

Greens co-leader James Shaw was happy with Mallard's changes, and although senior National MP Amy Adams did not have an issue with the wording, she preferred something "more secular and reflecting New Zealand's diverse and tolerant nature".

"But I would certainly want to keep a reference to the Queen of New Zealand," Adams added.

Mallard has the final say on the matter.


Changing the prayer has been debated before, most recently in 2014, when then-Speaker David Carter proposed wording that kept a reference to the Queen, but dropped "Almighty God", "true religion" and "Jesus Christ".

He eventually declined to change it after National and NZ First MPs objected. The Greens supported change, and Labour did not have a collective view.

In 2007, 63 per cent of MPs voted to keep the prayer unchanged.