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Henare drops Speaker bid

Tuesday 11 Dec 2012 12:08 p.m.

Tau Henare

Tau Henare

National MP Tau Henare has dropped his bid to be Parliament's next Speaker after the Maori Party backed out of an agreement to support him - apparently because of Government pressure.

Mr Henare publicly put his hand up as a potential successor to Speaker Lockwood Smith, who is expected to become New Zealand's High Commissioner to London next year.

Mr Henare says a discussion with Maori Party MPs sparked "the whole journey".

"They said yes, they would love to support me. I even have an email saying that they would give me their three votes," Mr Henare said on Tuesday.

"Last week they reneged on that and so my little campaign has ended."

Asked why they'd withdrawn their support, Mr Henare said to ask the Maori Party.

"I think their own fear got to them ... The fear that they were going against the Government," he said.

Prime Minister John Key said he had discussed the issue of a potential vacancy for the role with the Maori Party, and it was his "expectation" they would vote for the Government's nomination.

He said there are "many, many people" after the job and the government is yet to make a decision.

Mr Henare, one of National's most outspoken and, at times, hot-headed MPs, was a longshot for the role against ministers David Carter and Maurice Williamson.

However, Mr Henare says he is the only one who actually wants it.

"The guy that's going to get it, most probably, doesn't want the job," he said, in reference to Mr Carter.

Mr Henare says he also believed he had the support of 16 of Labour's 32-member caucus.

However, Labour leader David Shearer says Mr Williamson is his preferred candidate for the job.

"He is somebody that's been in the house a long time ... He's got a good sense of humour, he's quick on his feet, I think he'd be fair. He would be, I think, a good choice for a Speaker."

NZN

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