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Greens will push for high standards from new Speaker
Friday 1 February 2013, 2:32PM
By Green Party

The decision to support Trevor Mallard for the position of Speaker came after serious consideration of the merits of both nominees, the Green Party said today.

"We are grateful to both nominees for giving us their time to discuss the issues that are central to the role of the Speaker in order to allow our caucus to make an informed decision," said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

"The issues we raised with David Carter and Trevor Mallard centred around fairness in the House, the role of the Speaker as the 'Minister' of Parliamentary Service, and their approach to an accessible parliament.

"We were left concerned with David Carter's comments about accessibility, as he feels that parties should be left to fund any accessibility requirements of their MPs.

"As we have made clear, the needs of MPs with disabilities should not be individualised. Participation in parliament for people with disabilities is a right, not a privilege.

"By placing the cost of participation on disabled MPs or their parties, we are concerned that parties may be reluctant to have candidates with disabilities.

"Parliament should be accessible to all New Zealanders, with or without disabilities, and an accessible parliament should be provided by right.

"We worked closely with Speaker Lockwood Smith on this issue and we appreciate his support on this and other issues. We wish him well in his new position.

"The Green Party chose to support Trevor Mallard in today's vote given his views on accessibility issues.

"Trevor Mallard demonstrated a clearer understanding of the issue, seeing it as an area for parliament to manage rather than a burden for an individual MP.

"We congratulate Speaker-Elect David Carter on his new position, and from our discussions we were pleased with his understanding of the need for fairness in the House. Any new Speaker will need time to adjust and grow into the role.

"We look forward to working more closely with David Carter on issues of accessibility," said Mrs Turei. INDEX