New Zealand elects first female Speaker

Thursday, March 3, 2005

Margaret Wilson was appointed as Speaker of The House of Representatives. She becomes New Zealand's first female Speaker of the House. She also rounds out the top positions within New Zealand being taken by women. All four of Governor-General, Prime Minister, Chief Justice and the Speaker of the House are female.

Wilson was voted in with 64 votes. Clem Simich (National MP) received 37 and ACT MP Ken Shirley got five votes. The position has usually been appointed unopposed, but the other two candidates stood to protest at the lack of consultation by Prime Minister Helen Clark. Wilson takes over from Jonathan Hunt, who leaves to become the High Commissioner for New Zealand in London. Hunt will remain in the backbenches until early next month. Wilson was previously Attorney-General, a position that Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Michael Cullen now holds.