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Presenting papers to the House of Representatives

Published date: 25 Mar 2020

Please note that temporary changes to the presentation process because of the COVID-19 situation are set out below.

Papers is the collective term used for various documents presented to the House of Representatives by Ministers or the Speaker, pursuant to Standing Orders 372 to 374.

Papers may be presented to the House by the Speaker or a Minister on any working day throughout the year (excludes weekends, nationwide public holidays, Wellington Anniversary Day, and the period from 25 December to 15 January).

If a paper is to be presented on a sitting day, copies of it and authorisation to present it from the Minister or Leader of the House must be received by the Clerk of the House of Representatives by 1.00 pm.

Stacks of parliamentary papers and reports on a table. Enlarge image

Parliamentary papers and reports.

Source: Office of the Clerk.

Papers fall into two groups.

See the criteria at https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/papers-presented/parliamentary-papers-criteria/ for determining whether a paper is a parliamentary paper or a non-parliamentary paper.

1.  Parliamentary Papers

  • are presented to, and published under the authority of, the House,
  • are published on the Parliament website on the Papers Presented page,

  • have been assigned a shoulder number by the Bills Office within the Office of the Clerk (for example, B.7), where the letter indicates the subject group (B for Finance and Revenue), and the number identifies the particular paper within the group,

  • must have their shoulder number printed on the top-right-hand corner of the cover/title page. The number remains constant for the same document from year to year (for example, a reporting entity’s annual report, statement of intent, strategic intentions, and statement of performance expectations will always carry the shoulder number assigned to the entity, unless the entity merges with another bigger organisation with its own shoulder number, or it is disestablished),

  • should carry a banner identifying the statutory obligation under which they are being presented, for example, “Presented to the House of Representatives pursuant to section 44 of the Public Finance Act 1989”. This can be placed on the report’s front cover or inside cover,

  • can be published with non-parliamentary papers, and more than one parliamentary paper can be included in the same document. Each parliamentary paper should be separately identifiable and include the shoulder number on its cover/title page, and

  • are printed by the organisation responsible for the paper, subject to any general requirements of the Speaker. A parliamentary paper should not carry any imprint indicating it is printed or published by authority of the House of Representatives.

Process for presentation of parliamentary papers

PLEASE NOTE A TEMPORARY CHANGE IN PROCESS FOR PRESENTATION OF PARLIAMENTARY PAPERS, OWING TO THE COVID-19 SITUATION

As the Office of the Clerk is working remotely for now, the following change has been made to the process for presenting Parliamentary papers: 

Entities must provide a PDF of a paper to:

  • The office of the responsible Minister, which will forward it to the Leader of the House when the paper has been approved for presentation. The Leader of the House’s office will then authorise the Bills Office to present the paper.

  • The Bills Office at bills.office@parliament.govt.nz for publishing to the Parliament website. The Bills Office will circulate PDFs of the paper to the usual recipients at Parliament.

Printed copies of papers are not required and must not be delivered to Parliament for the time being.

2.  Non-Parliamentary papers

  • are presented to the House for members’ information, but are not published under the authority of the House, and

  • are printed and made accessible to the public by the agency responsible for them.

Process for presentation of non-parliamentary papers

PLEASE NOTE A TEMPORARY CHANGE IN PROCESS FOR PRESENTATION OF NON-PARLIAMENTARY PAPERS, OWING TO THE COVID-19 SITUATION:

As the Office of the Clerk is working remotely for now, the following change has been made to the process for presenting non-Parliamentary papers: 

Entities must provide a PDF of a paper to the office of the responsible Minister, which will forward it to the Bills Office when it has been approved for presentation. The Bills Office will circulate PDFs of the paper to the usual recipients at Parliament.

Printed copies of papers are not required and must not be delivered to Parliament for the time being.

Presenting legislative instruments and disallowable instruments

  • All legislative instruments and disallowable instruments must be presented to the House not later than the 16th sitting day after the day on which they are made.

  • Legislative instruments are published in the LI Series. Promulgation of Legislative Instruments is notified in the Gazette.

  • Disallowable instruments are the responsibility of the agency. The agency provides 2 copies to the Minister, who will authorise the Bills Office to present it.   

Papers presented by the Speaker

The Speaker presents to the House papers from an Officer of Parliament; that is, the Office of the Clerk, the Parliamentary Service Commission, the Parliamentary Service, the Ombudsman, the Controller and Auditor-General, and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. Arrangements to present these papers are made with the Office of the Speaker of the House.

Errors in papers

Where, following the presentation of a paper, a substantive error is discovered in it, an erratum may be printed and presented. The erratum must meet the same format and printing requirements as the original paper.

Formal advice of presentation

Reporting entities may seek confirmation of the presentation of a paper from the appropriate Minister’s office or directly from the Bills Office. All papers presented are listed daily on the Parliament website.

A copy of each presented parliamentary paper is posted to the Parliament website at https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/papers-presented/current-papers/.

Release and distribution of papers

Generally, papers should not be released until they have been presented. The authority to publish a parliamentary paper is conferred automatically when the paper is presented. The legal protection conferred by the authority to publish a parliamentary paper applies as soon as the paper is presented, and the paper can be released at that point.

Presentation during an adjournment may be necessary when a reporting entity is under a separate statutory obligation to report publicly and the House is not sitting at the time the paper is required, or when the reporting entity must meet reporting requirements under the Public Finance Act 1989 when the House is not sitting. In these cases, the authority to publish and consequent legal protection apply as soon as the paper is presented.  

On confirming that a paper has been presented, the reporting entity concerned must arrange for the distribution and sale of copies of the paper, at its own expense. It is the responsibility of the entity, not the Office of the Clerk, to ensure that printed copies are available to members of the public and, in particular, that there is no impediment to public access to papers.

The likely public demand for copies of a paper should always be considered and a decision made as to whether it should be available for sale or distributed by some other means.

Provision of public documents to the National Librarian

Reporting entities are reminded that they are responsible for ensuring that the requirements to provide copies of papers to the National Librarian under the National Library of New Zealand (Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa) Act 2003 are complied with. Two copies of each paper presented must be delivered to the National Librarian, National Library of New Zealand, PO Box 1467, Wellington.

Publishing Auditor-General’s disclaimer

The Auditor-General requires that a disclaimer be published with audited financial statements that are published on some websites. For financial statements that are ordered to be published by the House, this requirement will be met by a general disclaimer included on the Parliament website (the Parliamentary Business/Papers Presented page), which will also be reflected in the standard disclosures included in the audit reports that accompany the financial statements. As a result, the general disclaimer should not be included in the PDF file that is required for presentation to the House.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER BY THE AUDITOR-GENERAL ON AUDITED
FINANCIAL STATEMENTS ON THIS WEB SITE

Please note that the maintenance and integrity of the financial statements in parliamentary papers on this web site is the responsibility of the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives.

I, as Auditor-General, and my appointed auditors, accept no responsibility for any changes that may have occurred or may occur to financial statements audited by us in regard to the presentation of those financial statements on this web site.

Our audit reports refer only to those financial statements named within a particular audit report. They do not provide an opinion on any other information that may have been hyperlinked to/from those audited financial statements.

If readers of this web site are concerned about the inherent risks arising from electronic data communication, they should refer to the published hard copies of the audited financial statements to confirm the information.

Legislation in New Zealand governing the preparation and dissemination of financial statements may differ from legislation in other jurisdictions.

For more information

The presentation of papers is managed in the Bills Office of the Office of the Clerk.

For enquiries and advice please contact the team at

Phone 04 817 9344 or email bills.office@parliament.govt.nz

DELIVERIES OF PAPERS TO: Bills Office, Room 1-067, Parliament House, Museum Street, Pipitea, Wellington

David Wilson

Clerk of the House of Representatives

Updated 25 March 2020