Lockwood Smith

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Sir Lockwood Smith

Lockwood Smith 70th Anniversary of the arrival of US Forces in New Zealand.jpg
Lockwood Smith speaking at the 70th anniversary of the arrival of US Forces in New Zealand
26th High Commissioner of New Zealand to the United Kingdom
In office
25 March 2013 24 March 2017
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister John Key
Bill English
Preceded by Derek Leask
Succeeded by Sir Jerry Mateparae
28th Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives
In office
8 December 2008 1 February 2013
Prime Minister John Key
Preceded by Margaret Wilson
Succeeded by David Carter
38th Minister of Education
In office
2 November 1990 1 March 1996
Prime Minister Jim Bolger
Preceded by Phil Goff
Succeeded by Wyatt Creech
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Kaipara
In office
14 July 1984  12 October 1996
Preceded by Peter Wilkinson
Succeeded byelectorate abolished
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Rodney
In office
12 October 1996  2011
Preceded byvacant (last held by Don McKinnon)
Succeeded by Mark Mitchell
Majority15,635 [1]
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for National Party list
In office
10 December 2011 15 February 2013
Personal details
Born (1948-11-13) 13 November 1948 (age 70)
Paparoa, Northland, New Zealand
NationalityNew Zealand
Political party National
Alexandra Lang(m. 2009)
Residence Ruawai, Northland, New Zealand

Sir Alexander Lockwood Smith KNZM (born 13 November 1948) is a New Zealand politician and diplomat who was High Commissioner of New Zealand to the United Kingdom from 2013 to 2017, and Speaker of the House of Representatives from 2008 to 2013.

Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives Person who chairs New Zealand House of Representatives

In New Zealand, the Speaker of the House of Representatives is the individual who chairs the country's elected legislative body, the New Zealand House of Representatives. The individual who holds the position is elected by members of the House from among their number in the first session after each general election. The current Speaker is Trevor Mallard, who was initially elected on 7 November 2017.


Smith is a member of the New Zealand National Party and served as a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1984 until his retirement to pursue diplomatic roles in 2013. He represented first the Kaipara electorate and then Rodney, and has held a number of Cabinet positions; he was Minister of Education from 1990 to 1996 and subsequently served as Minister of Agriculture, Minister for International Trade, and Associate Minister of Finance.

New Zealand National Party Major New Zealand political party

The New Zealand National Party, shortened to National or the Nats, is a centre-right political party in New Zealand. It is one of two major parties that dominate contemporary New Zealand politics, alongside its traditional rival, the New Zealand Labour Party.

A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the voters to a parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, this category includes specifically members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title. Member of Congress is an equivalent term in other jurisdictions.

1984 New Zealand general election

The 1984 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the 41st New Zealand Parliament. It marked the beginning of the Fourth Labour Government, with David Lange's Labour Party defeating the long-serving Prime Minister, Robert Muldoon, of the National Party. It was also the last election in which the Social Credit Party won seats as an independent entity. The election was also the only one in which the New Zealand Party, a protest party, played any substantial role.

Early years

Smith attended Auckland Grammar School in 1961. [2] He has a PhD in Animal science from the University of Adelaide. Before entering politics he lectured at Massey University, worked as a television quizmaster for the children's quiz shows It's Academic and The W 3 Show, and was Marketing Manager at the New Zealand Dairy Board.

Auckland Grammar School state secondary school in New Zealand

Auckland Grammar School (AGS) is a state secondary school for years 9 to 13 boys in Auckland, New Zealand. It has a roll of 2501 as of August 2018, including a number of boarders who live in nearby Tibbs' House, making it New Zealand's largest single-sex school and placing it among the six largest schools in the country.

University of Adelaide Public university in Adelaide, South Australia

The University of Adelaide is a public university located in Adelaide, South Australia. Established in 1874, it is the third-oldest university in Australia. The university's main campus is located on North Terrace in the Adelaide city centre, adjacent to the Art Gallery of South Australia, the South Australian Museum and the State Library of South Australia.

Massey University university in New Zealand

Massey University is a university based in Palmerston North, New Zealand, with significant campuses in Albany and Wellington. Massey University has approximately 30,883 students, 13,796 of whom are extramural or distance-learning students, making it New Zealand's second largest university when not counting international students. Research is undertaken on all three campuses, and more than 3,000 international students from over 100 countries study at the university.

Member of Parliament

New Zealand Parliament
1984 1987 41st Kaipara National
1987 1990 42nd Kaipara National
1990 1993 43rd Kaipara National
1993 1996 44th Kaipara National
1996 1999 45th Rodney 8 National
1999 2002 46th Rodney5 National
2002 2005 47th Rodney11 National
2005 2008 48th Rodney9 National
2008 2011 49th Rodney12 National
2011 2013 50th List3 National

Smith was first elected in 1984 as the MP for Kaipara. He represented this electorate until it was abolished in 1996 during the shift to mixed-member proportional (MMP) representation. Since then he has been the representative for Rodney.

Kaipara is a former New Zealand parliamentary electorate north of Auckland that existed from 1902 to 1946, and from 1978 to 1996.

Mixed-member proportional (MMP) representation is a mixed electoral system in which voters get two votes: one to decide the representative for their single-seat constituency, and one for a political party. Seats in the legislature are filled firstly by the successful constituency candidates, and secondly, by party candidates based on the percentage of nationwide or region-wide votes that each party received. The constituency representatives are elected using first-past-the-post voting (FPTP) or another plurality/majoritarian system. The nationwide or region-wide party representatives are, in most jurisdictions, drawn from published party lists, similar to party-list proportional representation. To gain a nationwide representative, parties may be required to achieve a minimum number of constituency candidates, a minimum percentage of the nationwide party vote, or both.

Rodney (New Zealand electorate) Current New Zealand electorate

Rodney is a New Zealand parliamentary electorate, returning one Member of Parliament to the House of Representatives. The current MP for Rodney is Mark Mitchell of the National Party. He has held this position since 2011.

Minister in the Fourth National Government

Smith served as Minister of Education from 1990 until 1996 in the Fourth National Government of New Zealand. During this period he implemented a number of changes to the tertiary education sector (universities and technical institutions). One high-profile change involved a radical increase in student fees, as recommended by the Todd Report, which the government had commissioned to address issues of funding.

Minister of Education (New Zealand) minister in the government of New Zealand

The Minister of Education is a minister in the government of New Zealand with responsibility for the country's schools, and is in charge of the Ministry of Education.

The Fourth National Government of New Zealand was the government of New Zealand from 2 November 1990 to 27 November 1999. Following electoral reforms in the 1996 election, Jim Bolger formed a coalition with New Zealand First. Following Bolger's resignation, the government was led by Jenny Shipley, the country's first female Prime Minister, for the final two years.

As opposition education spokesman in 1990, Smith promised to remove the Labour Government's tertiary tuition fee of $1250, if elected. Once in office, he kept this promise on a technicality: he shifted the burden of charging fees for courses from the government to the institutions, who then had to charge even higher tuition fees due to decreased government funding.

The Fourth Labour Government of New Zealand governed New Zealand from 26 July 1984 to 2 November 1990. It was the first Labour government to win a second consecutive term since the First Labour Government of 1935 to 1949. The policy agenda of the Fourth Labour Government differed significantly from that of previous Labour governments: it enacted major social reforms and economic reforms.

The New Zealand dollar is the official currency and legal tender of New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Niue, the Ross Dependency, Tokelau, and a British territory, the Pitcairn Islands. Within New Zealand, it is almost always abbreviated with the dollar sign ($), with "NZ$" sometimes used to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies. In the context of currency trading, it is often informally called the "Kiwi" or "Kiwi dollar", since New Zealand is commonly associated with the indigenous bird and the one-dollar coin depicts a kiwi.

Smith's term as Education Minister also saw the introduction of means-testing for student allowances, with the effect that students of middle-class parents became ineligible for allowances until they reached 25 years of age.

In 1996 Smith took up the Agriculture and Trade Negotiation portfolios: Wyatt Creech succeeded him as Education Minister. Smith also became Minister for International Trade and for Tourism, as well as holding responsibilities as Associate Minister of Finance, Associate Minister of Immigration (International Access and Processing), and Minister Responsible for Contact Energy Ltd.

As Trade Minister, Smith spearheaded New Zealand's efforts at the 1999 APEC negotiations. He successfully negotiated New Zealand's free-trade agreement with Singapore, which became the NZ – Singapore Closer Economic Partnership. At the WTO Ministerial in Seattle, he took part in efforts which later lead to the Doha Development Round.

Opposition, 1999–2008

In opposition, Smith held a number of spokesperson roles for the National Party, including those of Foreign Affairs, Commerce, and Immigration. In his role as Immigration spokesman, Smith challenged Mangere MP Taito Phillip Field over alleged impropriety in Field's dealings with constituents. [3]

During the 2008 election campaign, on 22 October 2008, Smith made some comments in an interview with The Marlborough Express concerning seasonal Asian and Pacific workers that caused controversy. Regarding Pacific workers he said that some employers "are having to teach them things like how to use a toilet or shower..." And he said that for pruning trees: "some of the Asian workers have been more productive... because their hands are smaller." Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia described these remarks as "racist", and the Prime Minister Helen Clark characterised them as "absolutely daft". Smith later stated that the media had presented his comments out of context, and that he had repeated the views of employers whom he had talked to; he expressed regret at any unintended offence taken. The parliamentary leader of the National Party, John Key, subsequently referred to this statement as an apology. [4] [5]

Speaker of the House

Following the National Party's successes in the 2008 election, Members of Parliament unanimously elected Smith as Speaker of the House. Smith took a rather different approach from his predecessor, being more active in requiring ministers to provide answers to oral questions. Smith was re-elected as Speaker of the House again on 20 December 2011.

Smith was expected to retire from Parliament and to be appointed High Commissioner of New Zealand to the United Kingdom later in 2012, [6] but stayed on until February 2013. He gave his valedictory speech on 13 February 2013; this was in fact his first speech in Parliament in four years, as Speakers perform an apolitical role. Reflecting on his nearly 30 years in Parliament, he listed voting against the Homosexual Law Reform Bill in 1986 as his biggest regret: [7]

I faced the classic dilemma of voting according to my own judgement or the opinion of those I was elected to represent. As a new member, I opted for the latter and I've always regretted it.

Smith was appointed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services as a Member of Parliament and as Speaker of the House of Representatives. [8]

High Commissioner to the United Kingdom

Smith began his term as High Commissioner of New Zealand to the United Kingdom on 25 March 2013, with a powhiri at New Zealand House in London. [9] He stepped down from the role on 25 March 2017. [10] He was replaced by Sir Jerry Mateparae, the former Governor-General. [11]

Personal life

On 4 July 2009 he married longtime partner, Alexandra Lang, in the Legislative Council Chamber of Parliament. [12]

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  1. At 2008 election
  2. "News of Old Boys" (PDF). Auckland Grammar School. May 2009. p. 32. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
  3. "Immigration manager approved illegitimate payouts – MP". Stuff. New Zealand. NZPA. 5 August 2008. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  4. Audrey Young (23 October 2008). "Smith and Williamson pay the price". The New Zealand Herald . Retrieved 2 January 2009.
  5. "'Asians have small hands' remarks 'racist', 'daft', say leaders". The New Zealand Herald . 22 October 2008. Retrieved 15 August 2009.
  6. "Speaker gets chance to check out London digs". The Dominion Post . 30 June 2012. p. A2.
  7. Trevett, Claire (14 February 2013). "Departing veteran tells of regret over gay vote, MMP". The New Zealand Herald . p. A8. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  8. "Queen's Birthday honours list 2013". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 3 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  9. "Lockwood Smith begins new job". 3 News NZ. 26 March 2013.
  10. "Sir Lockwood Smith: Stepping down as NZ's man in London". www.newstalkzb.co.nz. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  11. Herald, New Zealand (1 February 2017). "Sir Lockwood Smith: the politician turned diplomat prepares to return to the farm". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  12. Married 4 July 2009
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Derek Leask
High Commissioner of New Zealand to the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Sir Jerry Mateparae
Political offices
Preceded by
Phil Goff
Minister of Education
Succeeded by
Wyatt Creech
Preceded by
Margaret Wilson
Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives
Succeeded by
David Carter
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Peter Wilkinson
Member of Parliament for Kaipara
Constituency abolished
Constituency recreated after abolition in 1987
Title last held by
Don McKinnon
Member of Parliament for Rodney
Succeeded by
Mark Mitchell