Guide to the debating chamber
In the present 50th Parliament, there are 121 members. A plan showing where those members are seated in the House is available to download from this website (see related documents).
The debating chamber of New Zealand’s House of Representatives is a horseshoe-shaped hall at the heart of Parliament House. The Speaker of the House sits in a raised chair at the open end of the ‘horseshoe’. This gives the Speaker a clear view of the Chamber.
The Speaker allocates the block of seats occupied by each party. As seen from the Speaker’s chair, members from the Government parties usually sit in the seats to the right with members of the Opposition parties seated to the left. Each party decides where its members sit within its block, with higher-ranked members usually sitting in the front seats, or ‘benches’.
Situated in front of the Speaker’s chair is the Table of the House, where the Clerk of the House sits. When the House resolves itself into a committee of the whole House, the chairperson and the Minister or member in charge of the bill also sit at the Table. Seated elsewhere within the Chamber are parliamentary staff such as Hansard reporters, the Serjeant-at-Arms, and Chamber attendants, as well as officials assisting Ministers during debates.