Tributes to Lockwood Smith from parliament

Lockwood last day 2

During the process of congratulating the new speaker David Carter yesterday all party leaders also paid tribute to outgoing speaker Lockwood Smith (from draft Hansard):

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister)

Finally, like you, can I take a moment to reflect on the great contribution of the now former Speaker Lockwood Smith. Lockwood is someone who has been in this Parliament for 29 years.

He came to the Speaker’s role somewhat out of surprise when I rang him and indicated to him that I thought it would be a great opportunity, but he came to this Parliament and demonstrated his enormous intellect and his great passion for getting the parliamentary process and the role that it plays in New Zealand’s democracy.

Lockwood last day

He brought to this Parliament, I think, some real standards and some expectations. We on the Government side did not agree with every decision that he made, and I am sure Opposition parties did not either, but what he attempted to do, and was successful in doing, was to ensure that this Parliament is perceived by other New Zealanders who watch this occasion—shall we use that word—and that they could see that there was a great deal of importance about what was going on in this Chamber.

He will be sorely missed as our Speaker, although he will take up his role, of course, as High Commissioner in London. I wish him the very best for that.

Finally, let me say that those who have not had an opportunity to read John Armstrong’s column this morning in the New Zealand Herald would be well-served by doing so. I think he points out not only the great contribution that Lockwood Smith has made but also the great confidence that he has in you, Mr Speaker-Elect, to do a wonderful job in the years ahead.

DAVID SHEARER (Leader of the Opposition)

I also just want to pay tribute to Lockwood Smith and to his contribution that he made. I think one of the things that we most appreciated from Lockwood was the fact that when we asked a straight question, he insisted on Ministers giving an answer, and that is a fine place to start, Mr Speaker-Elect, as you begin your speaking career.

But I also wanted to say that obviously he had his own idiosyncrasies, as well, and sometimes we would have preferred the Minister’s answer, rather than his interpretation of the Minister’s answer, to be the one that stood on the Hansard. However, I do believe that he made a very, very positive contribution in ensuring that the dignity of this House was upheld.

We appreciate that, Lockwood, and we wish you all the very best as you go on your next challenge, to be the High Commissioner in London.

METIRIA TUREI (Co-Leader—Green)

If I might first just say how much I have enjoyed and respected working with Dr The Rt Hon Lockwood Smith in his time as Speaker. He and I have not always agreed on every issue, but it has been a great joy alongside someone who is prepared to engage in these disagreements and come to conclusions in a respectful and dignified way. I have appreciated that opportunity to work with him like that.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First)

It would be churlish not to acknowledge the departing Speaker and his contribution to this House. As you know, from time to time we have disagreed with his judgments, but that is the nature of a mature and robust democracy.

Although we wish the Rt Hon Lockwood Smith well in his new appointment, representing New Zealand in one of our most important bases abroad, in London, we nevertheless have to place on record our disquiet that in a time when so many career diplomats have lost their jobs in foreign affairs, yet another political appointment by this Government has been made to supersede these career diplomats’ lifelong commitment to the service, and the country is going to suffer because of it.

Hon TARIANA TURIA (Minister for Whanau Ora)

I also want to take the opportunity to offer our very sincere respects to the Rt Hon Lockwood Smith as he leaves Parliament to go to be the High Commissioner in London.

Probably we will honour you most of all for the respect that you have paid to Te Reo Māori in this House, but more importantly we remember that the first 20 kura kaupapa Māori that were established were in fact established by you when you were the Minister of Education.

We do mihi to you for that, because we know that what you did in your time as the Minister of Education set the Māori education pathway on to a road of success. So we thank you and we wish you very well in your appointment to London.

Hon JOHN BANKS (Minister for Regulatory Reform)

Dr Lockwood Smith, I want to say on behalf of the ACT party congratulations on your outstanding job. Lockwood Smith is a much-loved member of the rural community from Northland, where he has served so well for so long. I think he has made a major contribution to this country.

I thought he was a magnificent Speaker, and he is going to serve the interests of this country very, very well in London. We wish him well. Mr Speaker-Elect, I wish you well for your next change in direction as Speaker. I am very hopeful that I will be in the 20th Parliament to see you back as Speaker at that time, or, at the very least, another fine New Zealander from rural provincial New Zealand.

Hon PETER DUNNE (Minister of Revenue)

Can I also acknowledge Dr the Rt Hon Lockwood Smith. He is one of the few survivors, now, of the class of 1984, and an outstanding member of Parliament in his own right. He is a man who, when he became a Minister—first Minister of Education and then, later, Minister of Agriculture, Minister for International Trade, and Associate Minister of Finance—showed a huge capacity for hard work, a real commitment, and flair for the job.

He is one who, sometimes in unpopular circumstances, made lasting and durable decisions. I think many of the features that my colleague to my right, Tariana Turia, referred to in respect of Māori education and also education generally have their genesis in the tenure of Dr Smith as Minister of Education, and that is, after all, a tribute to his judgment as well. As Speaker, you have been one of the outstanding Speakers.

You have actually allowed the game to flow. You have installed a sense of authority about what your expectations were of Ministers and members, and I think you have set—perhaps unwittingly—a very high barrier for your successor and future Speakers to follow.

You will be a fine representative for New Zealand in London, and I wish you extremely well in that regard. You may well find, of course, that your door is traversed by visiting members on a number of occasions, but I am sure you will always have a few moments to at least catch up with the news from home that they might bring. ELECTION OF SPEAKER

Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South)

I think a number of members of the public have seen the work of Dr Smith inside the Parliament, but I also want to acknowledge the work that he has done as the Speaker outside the House, and, in particular, the work that he has done on the review of Standing Orders, which has meant that this place has flowed, without urgency, in a way that is much more logical—the Government getting its business done and the Opposition more able to focus on the things that it opposes rather than delaying in the way that happened under urgency.

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE (Leader of the House)

In that regard I take this opportunity to also thank Dr The Rt Hon Lockwood Smith for the way in which he has conducted that committee. I say conducted because it is not really a chairman’s role; it is a body where there is consensus reached, and generally the acceptance is that where there is a broad view of representation from members, then that will be the way in which things proceed.

I am sure that you will be able to not only pick up where Dr Smith has left off but also enhance the work that that committee does. Dr Smith, I do wish you all the best for your appointment. I know that your door will be open in London. And although you have been an excellent Speaker, I do think that my former college mate is going to be just as good. Thank you.

BRENDAN HORAN (Independent)

I would like to give special thanks to Dr The Rt Hon Lockwood Smith . I think it is fair to say that I, possibly more than others in this Parliament today, have more reason to thank him for upholding the rights of members.

To Lockwood I say thank you for not only protecting me but for the very human face and care with which you have accorded my wife and children, at a time of great difficulty and sadness for my family. I would wish to thank Lockwood for that from the bottom of my heart, and from my family I say arohanui , and good luck—fair travels. Thank you.

Video of speeches from InTheHouse:

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