Carter shrugs off controversy
Wednesday 30 Jan 2013 5:19 a.m.
David Carter is shrugging off the controversy surrounding his nomination as Parliament's next Speaker and says he suspects opposition parties are playing politics.
Labour MPs are unhappy because they weren't consulted and the party is deciding its position, while the Greens and NZ First openly oppose Mr Carter's nomination.
That won't make any difference on Thursday, when Mr Carter is due to take over from Lockwood Smith.
Even if opposition parties can find a nominee of their own and force a vote, the Government will use its majority to install Mr Carter.
"There's a bit of politics in all this, I suspect," Mr Carter told reporters.
"I didn't even know Labour wanted to talk to me, I'd certainly be happy to go over and have a talk with (party leader) David Shearer if he wants me to."
NZ First leader Winston Peters says no one asked him whether his party wanted Mr Carter as Speaker.
"It's being rammed down our throats and we won't put up with that," he said.
Mr Peters wouldn't reveal what he plans to do on Thursday, telling reporters to "wait and see".
The Greens talked to Mr Carter before Christmas and say they he didn't like his attitude to special funding for MPs with disabilities.
They have a deaf MP, Mojo Mathers, who had to fight to get parliamentary funding for electronic notetakers.
Mr Carter, who is giving up a senior Cabinet position and his primary industries portfolio, says Prime Minister John Key formally asked him last week to replace Dr Smith, who has been appointed high commissioner to the United Kingdom.
"I said I would be honoured and delighted to do it," he said.
"Having been a very political, active player in this place for 18 years the challenge is that I have to make the transition to being completely without bias - it's a big ask and I'll do it to the best of my ability."