National's Brownlee won't say if he wants to be Speaker

Source: 1News

Experienced National Party MP Gerry Brownlee won't say if he wants to become Parliament's next Speaker.

On Tuesday afternoon, Brownlee sent a press release indicating he would run as a list-only candidate in next year's election because he wanted "to contribute to a National Government".

On Wednesday, Brownlee was asked if his decision to go list-only was because he was eyeing the Speaker position.

"You asked me that yesterday," Brownlee told ZB's Jason Walls.

"I did, but then new information came to light," Walls said.

"What was the new information?" Brownlee asked.

"That you were going list-only in the next election," Walls said.

Brownlee asked who put that information out, to which reporters promptly reminded him of his press release.

"That's true, yeah," a laughing Brownlee said about the press release.

"So you read my press releases. That's good. Stand by for another one sometime soon."

He didn't want to give any clues about what his next press release could contain.

Brownlee said National's focus was offering Kiwis policies they'd want to vote for.

"You don't even think about those things [like the Speaker's position] until you become Government."

Since MMP's introduction, Speakers have tended to avoid standing in electorates - incumbent Trevor Mallard announced in 2016 that he wouldn't contest Hutt South because he wanted the position.

Meanwhile, incoming Speaker Adrian Rurawhe - the MP for Te Tai Hauāuru - was considering a move to Labour's list to manage his workload.

1News' Jessica Mutch McKay asked Brownlee if he had the right temperament to be Speaker.

"I don't know. Did you ask Trevor that before he became Speaker?" Brownlee asked.

"I did, and he said he did," McKay said.

Brownlee replied, chuckling: "Good well, there you go. You don't learn much from that question, do you?"

When asked whether he wanted the Speaker's position on Tuesday, Brownlee told Walls: "And suffer the barbs and arrows from people like yourself?"

"Goodness me, I'm not that much of a... what's that term where you knock yourself around?"

Another reporter suggested the term "masochist".

Brownlee held the seat of Ilam for 24 years with comfortable majorities until 2020 when he was defeated by Labour's Sarah Pallett.

As a National Party board-nominated list candidate and minister in the last National government, Brownlee is expected to be given a high ranking.