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MPs Sworn In On First Day Of 49th Parliament

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Dec 8 NZPA - Parliament's 122 MPs were sworn in today, 35 of them for the first time.

The proclamation issued by Governor-General Anand Satyanand, summoning the 49th Parliament, was read by Chief Justice Sean Elias and the oath of allegiance was administered by the Clerk of Parliament, Mary Harris.

All MPs declared their true allegiance to Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law.

Most MPs swore their oaths on the Bible while others chose to attest. Labour's Ashraf Choudhary again swore an oath on the Koran, as did other Muslim members.

Most Maori MPs took the oath in Maori, and the Maori Party's Hone Harawira read his own declaration, which included allegiance to the Treaty of Waitangi, before reading the official version.

Labour MP Su'a William Sio had wanted to take his oath in Samoan but was told it had to be in the official languages of English or Maori.

However, he was allowed to speak it in Samoan before taking the oath in English.

To save time, MPs were sworn in together in groups of two to five. Labour's Darren Hughes was paired with his colleague Parekura Horomia and won applause for bravely reading the oath in Maori.

When the ceremony ended National Party MP Lockwood Smith was elected Speaker. There were no other nominations.

The State Opening of Parliament takes place tomorrow, when the Governor-General will read the speech which outlines the Government's agenda for the three-year term of Parliament.

National has 58 MPs in the new Parliament, and 15 of them are new. Labour has 43, with 13 newcomers. The Greens have nine and have added three new MPs to the six they had in the last Parliament. ACT has three new MPs, making its total five and the Maori Party has one new MP and five seats.

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