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New Zealand Parliament

Parliament House and the Executive Wing (Beehive).

Parliament House and the Executive Wing (Beehive). Photo: Ross Becker.

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Date:
23 January 2013
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Questions for written answer

Any member of Parliament may put questions for written answer to Ministers. Questions for written answer are an important source of information to support Parliament in its role of holding the Government to account.

The questions must relate to the portfolio for which the Minister is responsible. A Minister is expected to give an informative response, provided that this is consistent with the public interest. There is no limit on the number of questions that a member may ask a Minister. In 2012, 12,166 questions for written answer were lodged.

How does the system work?

Members log on to an electronic system to submit their questions. Questions may be lodged up until 10.30 a.m. on any working day. Questions lodged after that time are dealt with on the next working day. Questions may not be lodged after the last day on which the House sits in any calendar year or before the first day on which the House sits in the following year.

Parliamentary staff check all questions for compliance with Standing Orders 375 to 385 before they are released to the relevant Minister and published on the parliamentary website. The Minister’s office has 6 working days to provide a written answer. When the answer to a question requires further research, the Minister may provide an interim answer indicating that a full answer will require further time. The answer is released directly to the member who lodged the question.

Can I see the answers to questions?

Three days after the member is provided with the answer, it is published on this website. The resulting database includes a wealth of Government information, some of which can be difficult to find elsewhere.