The Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives is the legislature’s secretariat. It is an Office of State, which provides specialist advice on procedure and parliamentary law and secretariat services to the House and to its committees. It is a politically independent organisation, providing services to Parliament, as distinct from services to the Government, and providing services to members in their parliamentary roles rather than in their party or electorate capacities.
Although the Office of the Clerk’s primary client group is members of Parliament and its principal relationships are with the Speaker, with other presiding officers, and with committee chairs, it also deals with office holders such as the Leader of the House, party leaders, and party whips, and with members’ staff.
The Office of the Clerk supports the Clerk of the House of Representatives in discharging the functions of office. The House’s proceedings are governed by statute, Standing Orders, orders of the House, Speakers’ rulings, and practice. The Office of the Clerk applies its expertise to the development and maintenance of a set of rules that are consistent, transparent, and rigorous enough to withstand constant, intense challenges, yet also able to change over time to reflect the changing nature of New Zealand society.
It has also established accurate systems for producing a timely and definitive record of Parliament’s decisions and proceedings necessary for the operation and ongoing institutional “memory” of Parliament.