No political comeback for Sir Lockwood

  • 19/03/2017
Sir Lockwood Smith (AAP, file)
Sir Lockwood Smith (AAP, file)

It's a huge mistake for anyone to think they should go back into politics, former MP and speaker Sir Lockwood Smith says.

With only a week to go in his role as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Sir Lockwood plans to return to his farm in New Zealand and enjoy retirement.

Unlike a number of former politicians seeking to make a comeback at September's general election, Sir Lockwood has no intention of returning to parliament.

"No way at all, no way at all. I think it's a huge mistake for people to ever think they should go back into politics," he told Q&A on Sunday.

"Never. I've done what I could do and I'm very happy to move on."

Sir Lockwood said his background as a former trade minister has helped his relationship with the British government over his last three years in his current role, particularly with Brexit.

New Zealand's offer of support and visits by trade representatives including current Trade Minister Todd McClay was paying off, he said.

Mr McClay revealed last week New Zealand and Australia are first in line to do free trade deals with the UK post-Brexit.

Part of Sir Lockwood's role as High Commissioner has been working with British farmers to allay "significant tensions" around the ramifications for them in a free trade deal with New Zealand, but progress had been made.

Particularly in terms of consumption of lamb, he said there are opportunities to be created.

"I've stressed to even the Welsh farmers... if we keep seeing each other, we sheep farmers, as the competition, chicken will be the winner," he said.

"We've got to understand we have to work together if we're to expand the consumption of lamb... we need to work together and we can - our seasons are diametrically opposed we can actually do a lot working together."

Sir Lockwood also spoke of his growing admiration for the royal family during his last three years, including a special relationship with Prince Charles.

"I'm almost the same age as Prince Charles - I'm one day older than him - so on my birthday I normally write to him and wish him a happy birthday for the next day," he said.

"He always writes back and we share a few things about getting old."

Former Defence Force chief and Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae was announced in December as Sir Lockwood's successor.

NZN