Article – ParliamentToday.co.nz
The parliamentary year gets underway on Tuesday (February 7) with a mountain of legislation in front of the House.The parliamentary year gets underway on Tuesday (February 7) with a mountain of legislation in front of the House.
Currently on top of the provisional Order Paper is the debate in reply to the Speech from the Throne which has 16 hours and one minute remaining.
At the end of this debate the Government will face its first confidence motion.
The Order Paper currently has more than 70 bills waiting for the attention of MPs (not including around 15 before select committees).
Amongst these are around 30 bills awaiting their first reading so they can be sent to select committee for consideration.
Radio New Zealand recently reported that Law Commission president Sir Grant Hammond upset Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee over his criticism of bills yet to be dealt with by Parliament – see: RNZ’s Number of bills sitting on Parliament’s books criticised.
Currently on top of the agenda for Government business –if they decide to adjourn the Speech from the Throne debate — is the committee stage of a number of bills including the:
National Animal Identification and Tracing Bill;
Biosecurity Law Reform Bill; and the
Road User Charges Bill
Much of the political focus will be on Question Time with Prime Minister John Key’s Government facing an Opposition that looks very different from the last Parliament.
Labour is reduced in numbers and has a new leader in David Shearer and a greatly changed front bench.
The Greens have more MPs and as result get a greater share of the quota of questions.
Also New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters returns to Parliament and there will be interest in whether he comes out with all guns blazing or takes a more statesman-like approach.
Standing Orders (the rules of Parliament) have changed both in the letter and their interpretation since Peters was last in the House and another point of interest will be how he and Speaker Lockwood Smith interact.