Chapter 3: General procedures
Putting the question
136 Question is put when debate concluded
(1) Except where otherwise provided, as soon as the debate upon a question is concluded the Speaker puts the question to the House.
(2) Questions are determined by a majority of votes Aye or No. Every member is entitled to one vote or to abstain.
137 Voice vote
The Speaker asks members to answer “Aye” or “No” to the question and states the result of the voice vote. Any member present may then call for a further vote to be held.
138 Party vote
Where a further vote is called for, a party vote is held unless the subject of the vote is to be treated as a conscience issue.
139 Personal vote on conscience issue
Where the Speaker considers that the subject of a vote is to be treated as a conscience issue, the Speaker will permit a personal vote to be held instead of a party vote.
140 Procedure for party vote
(1) In a party vote,—
(a) the Clerk asks the leader of each party or a member authorised by the leader to cast the party’s votes; parties are asked to vote in the order of the size of their parliamentary membership:
(b) a party’s votes may be cast for the Ayes or for the Noes or recorded as an abstention, and a party may cast some of its votes in one of these categories and some in another or others (a split-party vote):
(c) the total number of votes cast for each party may include only those members present within the parliamentary precincts together with any properly authorised proxy votes:
(d) after votes have been cast by parties, any Independent member and any member who is voting contrary to his or her party’s vote may cast a vote; finally, any proxy vote for a member who is voting contrary to his or her party may be cast:
(e) the Speaker declares the result to the House.
(2) If a party casts a split-party vote, the member casting the vote must deliver to the Clerk at the Table, immediately after the vote, a list showing the names of the members of that party voting in the various categories.
(3) Any member absent from the parliamentary precincts—
(a) attending a meeting of a select committee held outside the Wellington area with the agreement of the House or the Business Committee, or
(b) on official parliamentary travel funded by the Office of the Clerk, or
(c) attending other official business approved by the Business Committee—
is regarded as present for the purposes of paragraph (1)(c).
(4) Subject to Standing Order 152, any party consisting of five or fewer members, and any Independent member, may cast their votes by proxy, otherwise a party may have votes cast on its behalf only if it has a member in the House at the time of the vote.
(5) The number of votes cast for each party and the names of the members of a party voting in each category on a split-party vote are recorded in the Journals of the House and in Hansard.
141 Personal vote following party vote
A personal vote may be held following a party vote if a member requests one and the Speaker considers that the decision on the party vote is so close that a personal vote may make a material difference to the result.
142 Procedure for personal vote
(1) In a personal vote,—
(a) the bells are rung for seven minutes:
(b) the Speaker directs the Ayes to pass to the right, the Noes to the left, and abstentions to the centre, and appoints a teller for the Ayes and one for the Noes:
(c) the doors are closed and locked as soon after the bells have stopped as the Speaker directs, and the Speaker then restates the question:
(d) all members present within the Chamber or the lobbies when the doors are locked must vote or record their abstentions:
(e) members’ votes are counted by the tellers and their names recorded; members abstaining have their abstentions recorded by the Clerk at the Table:
(f) the personal vote lists are signed by the tellers and returned to the Speaker, and the Speaker declares the result to the House.
(2) Members may observe the voting in any part of the Chamber and in the lobbies.
143 Members to remain in Chamber
Members voting or abstaining on a personal vote must remain in the Chamber or in the lobbies until the declaration of the result by the Speaker; the vote or abstention of any member who does not remain in the Chamber or in the lobbies until the declaration of the result is disallowed.
144 One-minute bell for personal votes in certain cases
In respect of any personal vote that is held without any debate or other proceeding occurring since the immediately preceding personal vote, the bells may be rung for one minute only.
145 Member acting as teller must continue to act unless excused by Speaker
A member who has begun to act as a teller must continue to act in that capacity unless excused by the Speaker.
146 If no teller no personal vote allowed
If there is no teller for the Ayes or for the Noes, the Speaker immediately declares the result for the other side.
147 Records of personal votes
(1) The names of members who have voted or abstained on a personal vote are recorded in the Journals.
(2) The personal vote lists show where an individual’s vote or abstention is by proxy.
148 Fewer than 20 members participating
Where fewer than 20 members vote or abstain on a personal vote, that vote is of no effect.
149 Errors and mistakes
(1) In the case of confusion or error concerning the result of a vote, the House, unless any error can be otherwise corrected, proceeds to a second vote.
(2) If the result of a vote has been inaccurately reported, the Speaker may correct it.
151 Proxy voting
(1) A member may give authority for a proxy vote to be cast in the member’s name or for an abstention to be recorded.
(2) A proxy must state the name of the member who is giving the authority, the date it is given, and the period or business for which the authority is valid. It must be signed by the member giving it and indicate the member who is given authority to exercise it.
(3) A member who has given a proxy may revoke or amend that proxy at any time before its exercise.
(4) The leader or senior whip of each party, or a member acting as the leader or senior whip of the party in the House for the time being, may exercise a proxy vote for any member of the party, subject to any express direction from a member to the contrary.
152 Casting of proxy vote
(1) A proxy vote may be cast or an abstention recorded on a party or personal vote only by the person who has authority to exercise it. In the case of any dispute, the member exercising a proxy must produce the authority to the Speaker.
(2) In the case of a party vote, proxies may be exercised for a number equal to no more than 25 percent of a party’s membership in the House, rounded upwards where applicable, but at least one proxy may be exercised for a party.
(3) In the case of a party vote, proxy votes may be exercised for a party consisting of two to five members only if at least one of the members of that party is within the parliamentary precincts at the time.
(4) In the case of a party vote, a proxy may be exercised for a party consisting of one member and for any Independent member only if the member concerned is—
(a) present within the parliamentary precincts, or
(b) absent from the parliamentary precincts attending a meeting of a select committee held outside the Wellington area with the agreement of the House or the Business Committee, or
(c) absent from the parliamentary precincts attending other official business approved by the Business Committee, or
(d) absent from the parliamentary precincts with the permission of the Speaker granted—
(i) for illness or other family cause of a personal nature, or
(ii) to enable the member to attend to other public business (whether in New Zealand or overseas).