End of Session speech
Thursday, 25 September 2008
Members of Parliament, as the 2008 parliamentary year comes to a close, we also come to the end of another Parliamentary term. In the traditional way I wish to pay tribute to all the people who contribute to the efficient functioning of this House.
First I must acknowledge the support of my colleague and Deputy Speaker Clem Simich, who like myself is retiring at the end of this Parliament. He has given commendable service to this House. l also thank Assistant Speaker Ross Robertson for his contribution to the House, and the Hon Marian Hobbs who filled the role of Assistant Speaker earlier this year with her own refreshing style. I also acknowledge the tireless work of Parliament's kaumatua and kula John Tahuparae and Rose White. Thank you.
Parliament could not function without the tireless work of the Clerk's Office whose professionalism is a credit to the leadership of the Clerk Mary Hams and her senior team who oversee servicing of the table of the House; compiling Hansard records; processing legislation, questions and petitions; and serving select committees. In this context it is important to acknowledge the work of Chief Parliamentary Counsel David Noble and his team who deliver a high quality service to Parliament. While the Chamber is the focus of Parliamentary activities, the activities of the House are supported by the staff of the Parliamentary Service. It has been another year of much change for the Service and I want to record my thanks for the work of Geoff Thom, the General Manager who leads the team in constantly striving to improve the service to Members. The team is a large one both inside and outside Parliament and includes Members' support staff, including executive assistants; support staff of the various Parliamentary parties; the staff of the Parliamentary library; research units; chamber and gallery officers; interpreters, security staff; building services staff; telephonists; travel office staff; and the reception and visitor services staff. A special thanks to the Bellamy's staff that often under difficult circumstances work to ensure the Members and staff are well fuelled for their jobs.
My thanks to Serjeant-at-Arms Brent Smith, and to all those who work with him to uphold the traditions and propriety of the Chamber and to welcome visitors to the Parliamentary galleries. They are an essential part of the running of Parliament and events such as the highly successful Open Day at Parliament in October_ Others who work hard to ensure guests and visitors to the parliamentary complex have an enjoyable experience include Beverley Cathcart and Michelle Janse.
l offer a special thanks to the Leader of the House, Hon Dr Michael Cullen, and the Opposition Leader, Gerry Brownlee, to Leaders of all the parties in this House, their deputies, the party whips and their deputies. You have all contributed to the smooth operation of the business of the House, The life of a Whip is not an easy one so a special thanks to you.
I acknowledge also the work of all Members of Parliament who, despite enormous workloads, serve this House well.
I extend a personal thanks to my own staff; Pam, Roland, the two Roses and Nina. It would be impossible to do my job without you.
I know you are all anxious to leave and commence the democratic rite of electioneering so I shall not delay you any longer. As this is my last appearance in the role of Speaker may I thank all of you who have supported me in what may be described as one of the most difficult refereeing roles in the country.
Statistics for 2005- 2008 session as at 24 September:
Sitting days: 246
Calendar days: 258
Sitting hours: 1,486 hours 51 minutes
Government bills: 329
Members' bills: 3
Local bills: 8
Private bills: 8
Oral questions: 2,844 (excluding supplementary questions)
Number of meetings: 313 (excludes September)
Hours of meeting: 883 hours 18 minutes (excludes September)
Number of reports: 242