30 Jan 2018

New parliamentary prayer a compromise, says Mallard

8:11 pm on 30 January 2018

Parliament's Speaker has settled on a modified version of the parliamentary prayer, which does not contain a reference to Jesus.

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Photo: 123rf

One of the first things Trevor Mallard did after being appointed Speaker last year was to update the prayer read out at the start of each question time.

Mr Mallard said the reference to Jesus was a Christian one, and he wanted the prayer to be more inclusive of other religious beliefs.

He said the prayer was still a work in progress, and he will "keep thinking about".

There had been consultation and feedback from MPs across the Parliament.

The majority, he said wanted a secular prayer, but he has settled on what he described as a "compromise".

About 400 people protested on the parliamentary forecourt this morning, because of their Christian beliefs.

National Party leader Bill English said he accepted the change.

"By one means or other, at the initiative of the Speaker, Parliament's changed the prayer, I think it's broadly acceptable to a Parliament that's got a very wide range of views and beliefs."

Labour MP Damien O'Connor said the change was "probably unfortunate" but it was a decision the Speaker had taken.

He added "not every decision around this place is made in a democratic way, I have to say".