Kiwi MP Nick Smith says voting against marriage equality is his one regret

New Zealand MP Nick Smith gave his valedictorian speech this week as he winds up his long political career, telling parliament his one regret was his 2013 decision to vote against marriage equality.

Smith was New Zealand’s longest serving MP having first been elected in 1990. Last month he announced his retirement from politics after more than 30 years in office.

Addressing parliament for the last time the ‘Father of the House’ listed his many achievements in public life but said there was one issue he got wrong.

“There is an issue I got wrong. In 2013 I voted against gay marriage,” Smith said.

“The error is all the more personal with my 20-year-old son being gay. I wish to put on record today my apology to New Zealand’s LGBT+ community.”

Back in 2013 Smith was one of 44 parliamentarians who voted against the legislative change, which was successful with 77 MPs voting in favour.

Speaking to the media Smith said at the time he held much more conservative views, but has promised his 20 year-old son Logan that he would go on the record with his regret.

“I was wrong,” he said. “I made a commitment to my son that before I left Parliament I would apologise and set the record straight.”

The MP also highlighted that during his time in the parliament the make-up of politicians had changed dramatically to include more women, and more people of different ethnic backgrounds and life experiences, something he described as a “great thing”.  He also observed that the New Zealand parliament had become a healthier place with MPs more likely to be found in the gym, than the bar.

Smith lost his seat in the 2020 general election, but was returned to parliament as a list member. The New Zealand parliament is made up of a combination of MPs from geographical constituencies, and party lists.

OIP Staff

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