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Parliament Opens Smoothly

Parliament Opens Smoothly

The 50th Parliament has begun with the election of Lockwood Smith as Speaker and the smooth swearing in of all 121 MPs.

Last night, Hone Harawira outlined his objections to the oath as it stands and raised the prospect of not being sworn in as a result.

Many MPs for many years have expressed some discomfort about the oath and in particular swearing allegiance to the Queen of England and no mention of serving New Zealand.

Swearing in ceremonies have often been disrupted with MPs adding words and making other statements.

Usually they have been asked to just repeat the oath as written down in the law, but in the last Parliament Speaker Lockwood Smith ruled that the oath must be read exactly or the MP would have to leave the House.

Harawira got around the oath issue today by making a short speech ahead of his oath making reference to honouring the Treaty of Waitangi and serving the people of New Zealand.

Su'a William Sio was also given leave of the House to repeat the oath in Samoan.

Lockwood Smith was nominated and elected unopposed as Speaker. He made the usual act of pretending not to wish the position which goes back to the days in Britain when Speakers tended to feel the wrath of offended royalty.

Tomorrow Parliament will resume at 11am tomorrow with the Speech from the Throne outlining the Government’s programme for the year.


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