By Rahul Bhattarai
Former National Party MP David Carter has been awarded the Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services as a speaker of the House.
The retired MP said it came as a surprise when he received the offer letter for the knighthood about six weeks ago.
Carter was speaker of the House of Representatives from 2013 to 2017 and held ministerial portfolios in the fourth and fifth National governments.
"The speaker's role is absolutely essential to a well functioning democracy. It was a privilege to have been speaker and it's a privilege to have received this award subsequent to being speaker of the New Zealand parliament," he said.
Carter was first elected to Parliament as the Member for Selwyn in 1994, and was MP for Banks Peninsula from 1996 to 1999.
He was Minister for Agriculture, Biosecurity and Forestry from 2008 to 2011, before becoming minister of the newly established Ministry for Primary Industries from 2011 to 2013.
He went to Parliament with the aspiration to be an agriculture minister for primary industries, he said.
"I was thoroughly delighted to have the opportunity to be part of the New Zealand agricultural scene, because that's the passion that I have," Carter said.
"Subsequent to that I got asked whether I would be prepared to be the speaker of New Zealand Parliament. I was reluctant initially to give up my role in agriculture but realised quickly the importance of the role of the speaker," he said.
"It was an honour to have been the speaker of the New Zealand Parliament."
He was Minister for Revenue and held Associate Ministerial portfolios from 1998 to 1999.
Outside of chairing the Business, Standing Orders and Office of Parliament select committees in his role as speaker, he has been a member of the Finance and Expenditure and Government Administration select committees, and chaired the Primary Production select committee between 2002 and 2008.
He retired from politics in 2020, after 26 years as a Member of Parliament.
From 2018, Carter was one of New Zealand's permanent representatives at the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and an active member of the IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians.
Last month Carter was elected as a board member of the National Party.