The Speaker of the House plays an important role both inside and outside the Debating Chamber. The Speaker is required to fulfil this role without any political bias.
Dr Smith is particularly committed to ensuring all parties are treated fairly and that order is maintained in the House. He has required that Ministers provide satisfactory answers to oral questions, an important aspect of ensuring the House can hold the Executive to account.
In his role as Speaker, Dr Smith not only chairs the House, but also chairs three select committees, acts as landlord for Parliament’s buildings, and represents the House to international and other important visitors.
All of New Zealand’s relations with other parliaments are carried out through the Speaker’s office. It is quite common for delegations from other parliaments and ambassadors to call on the Speaker. The Speaker also assists parliamentarians when they visit other parliaments.
After the 2011 General Election, Dr Smith was unanimously elected as Speaker by Members of Parliament. The Speaker is well regarded for carrying out the role to a high standard, being unbiased in his rulings, and developing good relations across the House.
More information about the role of the Speaker can be found here.
Photo: Mark Mitchell/NZ Herald