Chapter 7: Non-legislative procedures

Address in reply

351    Motion for Address in Reply

(1)     The motion for an Address in Reply is in the following form:

“That a respectful Address be presented to [His or Her] Excellency the Governor-General in reply to [His or Her] Excellency’s Speech.”

(2)     Such a motion may be seconded.

352    Amendment to motion

Any amendment to the motion for an Address in Reply may propose only to add words to the motion.

353    Debate takes precedence

The Address in Reply debate is taken ahead of all other Government orders of the day.

Debate on Prime Minister’s statement

354    Prime Minister’s statement             

(1)     At 2 pm on the first sitting day of each year, the Prime Minister must present in the House a statement reviewing public affairs and outlining the Government’s legislative and other policy intentions for the next 12 months (the Prime Minister’s statement).

(2)     The Prime Minister’s statement must be provided to each party leader no later than 10 am on the day the statement is to be presented.

(3)     The Prime Minister’s statement is published under the authority of the House.

(4)     Despite paragraph (1), no Prime Minister’s statement is presented—

(a)     when the first sitting day of the year is the first day of the meeting of a new Parliament, or

(b)     when the first sitting day of the year is the first day of a session of Parliament, or

(c)     if the motion for an Address in Reply was moved within a period of three months before the first sitting day of the year.

355    Debate on Prime Minister’s statement

(1)     Immediately after presenting the Prime Minister’s statement, the Prime Minister moves a motion relating to the statement.

(2)     The debate on the Prime Minister’s statement is taken ahead of all other Government orders of the day.

Statements in the House

356    Ministerial statements

(1)     A Minister may make a statement informing the House of some matter of significant public importance which requires to be brought to the House’s attention immediately.

(2)     A ministerial statement may be made at any time, but not so as to interrupt a member who is speaking. If possible, a copy of the statement should be delivered to the leader of each party before it is made.

357    Comment on ministerial statement

The leader of each party with six members or a member authorised by the leader may comment on a ministerial statement. Following their comments, the Minister may reply.

358    Personal explanation

A member may explain matters of a personal nature with the leave of the House. A personal explanation may not be debated.

359    Response to misrepresentation during time for oral questions

(1)     A member may apply to the Speaker,—

(a)     claiming to have been misrepresented during the time for oral questions, and that that misrepresentation may adversely affect the member or damage the member’s reputation, and

(b)     requesting to respond to that claimed misrepresentation.

(2)     An application under paragraph (1) must be made in writing at the earliest opportunity. The Speaker may treat a matter of privilege as an application for this purpose.

(3)     The Speaker may allow a member who has made an application under paragraph (1) to respond to the misrepresentation in the House. Any response must be succinct and strictly relevant to the reference that was made, and must not contain any discreditable reference to a member, or an offensive or unparliamentary expression.

360    Maiden and valedictory statements

(1)     A member who has not made a maiden speech during an Address in Reply debate or has not already made a maiden statement may make a maiden statement.

(2)     A member who is about to retire or resign from the House may make a valedictory statement.

(3)     A maiden or valedictory statement may interrupt a debate, and is made at such time that the Speaker or the Business Committee determines.

Petitions

361    Addressed to the House and contain request for action

A petition must be addressed to the House of Representatives and ask the House to take some action in respect of the subject-matter of the petition.

362    To be in English or Māori

A petition must be in English or in Māori.

363    Communications concerning petition

A petition must identify by name and address the person to whom communications concerning the petition should be addressed.

364    Signatures

A signatory to a petition must sign by his or her own hand except in the case of incapacity. A person signing on behalf of a person incapacitated must state this fact alongside the signature.

365    Signatures to be on sheet containing request

Every signature must be written upon the petition or upon pages on which the request to the House to take action is written in full. A signature may not be pasted upon or otherwise transferred to such a petition or pages.

366    Petitions of corporations

A petition from a corporation must be signed by a duly authorised officer of the corporation. In the case of a body incorporated outside New Zealand, it may be signed by an authorised attorney.

367    Form of petition

(1)     A petition must be respectful and moderate in its language.

(2)     A petition must not contain irrelevant statements.

368    Members to examine and certify petitions

(1)     A member presenting a petition must take care that it conforms
with the Standing Orders and must certify that the member is presenting it.

(2)     A member may not present a petition from himself or herself or a petition to which the member is a party.

369    Petitions to be delivered to Clerk

(1)     A petition is presented to the House by a member delivering it to the Clerk on any working day but not later than 1 pm on a sitting day.

(2)     The Clerk announces the presentation of petitions at the time appointed by Standing Order 66.

370    Petitions referred to select committees

When a petition that conforms with the Standing Orders is presented, it stands referred to a select committee. The petition is allocated by the Clerk to the most appropriate select committee for consideration and report.

371    Petitions not in order

The following are not in order:

(a)     a petition in respect of a matter for which legal remedies have not been exhausted:

(b)     a petition on a matter within the competence of the Ombudsmen, if application has not been made to an Ombudsman:

(c)     a petition on the same matter as an earlier petition which was finally dealt with by the House during the term of that Parliament, unless substantial and material new evidence is available that was not available when the earlier petition was considered.

Papers and publications

372    Presentation of papers

(1)     A paper may be presented to the House by the Speaker or by a Minister by delivering it to the Clerk on any working day but not later than 1 pm on a sitting day.

(2)     Despite paragraph (1), the Speaker may present a paper in the House.

373    Parliamentary papers

(1)     The Speaker designates certain papers presented by Ministers or by the Speaker as parliamentary papers.

(2)     The Clerk announces the presentation of parliamentary papers at the time appointed by Standing Order 66.

(3)     In presenting a paper in the House under Standing Order 372(2), the Speaker may indicate that it is a parliamentary paper.

(4)     Parliamentary papers are published under the authority of the House.

374    Speaker controls publication

The Speaker has control and direction of all matters which relate to printing and publication executed by order or under the authority of the House.

375    Translation of documents

The Speaker may order that bills introduced into the House and reports, petitions and papers presented to it are to be translated and printed in another language.

376    Documents quoted by Minister

Whenever a Minister quotes from a document relating to public affairs a member may, on a point of order, require the Minister to table the document. The Minister must then table the document unless it is of a confidential nature.

377    Documents tabled by leave

(1)     A member may table a document by leave of the House or a committee of the whole House.

(2)     If leave has been given for a document to be tabled, the document must be tabled within a reasonable period, as determined by the Speaker.

Questions to Ministers and members

378    Questions to Ministers

Questions may be put to a Minister relating to—

(a)     public affairs with which the Minister is officially connected, or

(b)     proceedings in the House or any matter of administration for which the Minister is responsible.

379    Questions to other members

(1)     Questions may be put to a member (not being a Minister or the Speaker) relating to any bill, motion or public matter connected with the business of the House, of which the member has charge.

(2)     Written questions may be put to the Speaker relating to any matter of administration for which the Speaker is responsible.

(3)     Questions to other members are dealt with following questions addressed to Ministers and urgent questions.

380    Content of questions

(1)     Questions must be concise and not contain—

(a)     statements of facts and names of persons unless they are strictly necessary to render the question intelligible and can be authenticated, or

(b)     arguments, inferences, imputations, epithets, ironical expressions, or expressions of opinion, or

(c)     discreditable references to the House or any member of Parliament or any offensive or unparliamentary expression.

(2)     Questions must not seek a legal opinion.

(3)     A written question must not repeat the substance of a question already lodged in the same calendar year.

(4)     Questions must not refer to proceedings in committee at meetings closed to the public until those proceedings are reported to the House or (subject to Standing Order 115) to a matter awaiting or under adjudication in, or suppressed by an order of, any New Zealand court.

(5)     Where the notice of a question does not comply with the provisions of the Standing Orders, it is not accepted. If, by inadvertence, such a notice is accepted it may be subsequently disallowed by the Speaker unless it is amended or revised so as to comply with the Standing Orders.

381    Lodging of oral questions

(1)     Notices of oral questions are lodged by members in writing to the Clerk. A notice of an oral question must be—

(a)     signed by the member or by another member on the member’s behalf, and

(b)     delivered to the Clerk between 10 am and 10.30 am on the day the question is to be asked.

(2)     Twelve oral questions to Ministers may be accepted each day. Questions will be allocated on a basis that is proportional to party membership in the House. The Business Committee decides the weekly allocation and rotation of questions.

(3)     Oral questions that have been accepted are circulated.

382    Lodging and publication of written questions and replies

(1)     Subject to paragraph (2), during a session of Parliament notices of written questions may be lodged no later than 10.30 am on any working day.

(2)     Notices of written 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.

(3)     Notices of written questions and replies to them—

(a)     may be lodged with the Clerk only in electronic form, and

(b)     must be signed by way of an electronic signature by a member of Parliament or by another member on the member’s behalf, and

(c)     are published electronically,—

(i)      in the case of questions, on the day they are accepted:

(ii)     in the case of replies, on the third working day following the day on which they are lodged.

(4)     The reply to a written question must be lodged no later than the sixth working day following the day on which the question is published.

(5)     The Speaker may, in exceptional circumstances arising from the operation of the electronic system for written questions, authorise the lodging or publication of questions or replies in a form or within a time other than that specified in this Standing Order.

383    Time for oral questions

(1)     Subject to the Standing Orders, oral questions are taken at the time appointed by Standing Order 66.

(2)     The House deals with all oral questions lodged each day.

384    Asking oral question

(1)     When an oral question is called by the Speaker, the member in whose name it stands indicates the Minister or member to whom it is addressed and reads it to the House.

(2)     A member may ask an oral question on behalf of a member who is absent when authorised by that member to do so.

385    Replying to oral question

(1)     When an oral question has been asked, the Speaker then calls upon the Minister or member to give a reply.

(2)     A Minister or Parliamentary Under-Secretary may answer a question on behalf of another Minister who is not present when a question addressed to the Minister is asked.

386    Content of replies

(1)     An answer that seeks to address the question asked must be given if it can be given consistently with the public interest.

(2)     The reply to any question must be concise and confined to the subject-matter of the question asked, and not contain—

(a)     statements of facts and the names of any persons unless they are strictly necessary to answer the question, or

(b)     arguments, inferences, imputations, epithets, or ironical expressions, or

(c)     discreditable references to the House or any member of Parliament or any offensive or unparliamentary expression.

(3)     Replies shall not refer to proceedings in committee at meetings closed to the public that have not yet been reported to the House or (subject to Standing Order 115) to a matter awaiting or under adjudication in, or suppressed by an order of, any New Zealand court.

387    Supplementary questions

(1)     At the discretion of the Speaker, a supplementary question may be asked by any member to elucidate or clarify a matter raised in an oral question or in an answer given to a question.

(2)     Supplementary questions cannot be asked on behalf of another member.

388    Urgent questions

(1)     Any member desiring to ask a question on the ground of urgency in the public interest may give to the Clerk a copy of the proposed question marked “urgent question”. The member must also give a copy to the Minister to whom it is intended to address the question.

(2)     After oral questions addressed to Ministers have been taken, the Speaker (if the proposed question is one which in the public interest the Speaker considers should be answered immediately) may call upon the member to ask the question.

(3)     The Speaker may permit the member asking an urgent question to ask one supplementary question.

Debate on matter of urgent public importance

389    Application for debate

(1)     A member who wishes the House to debate a matter of urgent public importance must give the Speaker a written statement of the matter proposed to be debated. The written statement must be provided at least one hour before the time fixed for the House to sit or such lesser time as may be allowed by the Speaker.

(2)     The Speaker may allow the debate to be held if, in the Speaker’s opinion, the matter—

(a)     is a particular case of recent occurrence, and

(b)     involves the administrative or ministerial responsibility of the Government, and

(c)     requires the immediate attention of the House and the Government.

390    Announcement and debate

(1)     Immediately after oral questions and before the next business of the day is entered upon, the Speaker announces what applications for debate that day have been received.

(2)     In announcing that a debate has been allowed, the Speaker calls on the member who submitted it to move that the House take note of the matter of urgent public importance. There is no amendment on the question. At the conclusion of the debate the motion lapses without any question being put.

391    Only one debate on same day

Only one debate on a matter of urgent public importance may be held on the same day. If more than one written statement is given for the same day and the Speaker considers that each would otherwise justify a debate, the Speaker gives priority to the matter which, in the Speaker’s opinion, is the most urgent and important.

General debate

392    General debate each Wednesday

(1)     Each Wednesday, after questions for oral answer, a general debate is held on a motion that the House take note of miscellaneous business. There is no amendment on the question.

(2)     During a general debate members may raise matters of concern to them. At the conclusion of the debate the motion lapses without any question being put.

(3)     No general debate is held in a week in which the debates on the Address in Reply, the Prime Minister’s statement, the Budget, or the Budget policy statement are held, or when the House considers a notice of motion under Standing Order 323(4).

Whole of government directions

393    Whole of government directions

(1)     Any whole of government direction stands referred to the Finance and Expenditure Committee.

(2)     The Finance and Expenditure Committee will consider the subject area of the direction and,—

(a)     if the direction’s subject area is primarily within the committee’s own terms of reference, retain it for examination, or

(b)     if the direction’s subject area is primarily within the terms of reference of another select committee, refer it to that committee for examination.

(3)     The Finance and Expenditure Committee, or any committee to which it has referred a direction for examination, must report to the House on the direction no later than 12 sitting days after its referral to the committee.

Civil defence

394    Civil defence

(1)     Any national civil defence emergency management strategy and any proposed civil defence emergency management plan stand referred to the Government Administration Committee.

(2)     The Government Administration Committee must report to the House on a national civil defence emergency management strategy no later than 12 sitting days after its referral to the committee.

Officers of Parliament

395    Functions of Officers of Parliament Committee

(1)     The Officers of Parliament Committee considers and recommends to the House,—

(a)     in respect of each Office of Parliament, an estimate of appropriations for inclusion as a Vote in an Appropriation Bill, and any alteration to such a Vote:

(b)     an auditor to be appointed by the House to audit the financial statements of each Office of Parliament:

(c)     any proposal referred to it by a Minister for the creation of an Officer of Parliament:

(d)     the appointment of persons as Officers of Parliament.

(2)     The committee may develop or review a code of practice applicable to any or all Officers of Parliament.

396    Reports of Officers of Parliament

(1)     A report from an Officer of Parliament, other than an annual report, stands referred,—

(a)     in the case of a report of the Controller and Auditor-General, to the Finance and Expenditure Committee:

(b)     in the case of a report of the Ombudsmen or an Ombudsman, to the Government Administration Committee:

(c)     in the case of a report of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, to the Local Government and Environment Committee.

(2)     The committee to which a report stands referred under paragraph (1) may consider the report itself or, if the report is primarily within the terms of reference of another select committee, refer the report to that committee for consideration.

International treaties

397    Presentation and referral of treaties

(1)     The Government will present the following international treaties to the House:

(a)      any treaty that is to be subject to ratification, accession, acceptance, or approval by New Zealand:

(b)     any treaty that has been subject to ratification, accession, acceptance, or approval on an urgent basis in the national interest:

(c)     any treaty that has been subject to ratification, accession, acceptance, or approval and that is to be subject to withdrawal or denunciation by New Zealand:

(d)     any major bilateral treaty of particular significance, not otherwise covered by subparagraph (a), that the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade decides to present to the House.

(2)     A national interest analysis for the treaty, which addresses all the matters set out in Standing Order 398, will be presented at the same time as the treaty.

(3)     Both the treaty and the national interest analysis stand referred to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee.

398    National interest analysis

(1)     A national interest analysis must address the following matters:

(a)     the reasons for New Zealand becoming party to the treaty:

(b)     the advantages and disadvantages to New Zealand of the treaty entering into force for New Zealand:

(c)     the obligations which would be imposed on New Zealand by the treaty, and the position in respect of reservations to the treaty:

(d)     the economic, social, cultural, and environmental effects of the treaty entering into force for New Zealand, and of the treaty not entering into force for New Zealand:

(e)     the costs to New Zealand of compliance with the treaty:

(f)      the possibility of any subsequent protocols (or other amendments) to the treaty, and of their likely effects:

(g)     the measures which could or should be adopted to implement the treaty, and the intentions of the Government in relation to such measures, including legislation:

(h)     a statement setting out the consultations which have been undertaken or are proposed with the community and interested parties in respect of the treaty:

(i)      whether the treaty provides for withdrawal or denunciation.

(2)     In the case of a treaty that has been subject to ratification, accession, acceptance, or approval on an urgent basis in the national interest, the national interest analysis must also explain the reasons for the urgent action taken.

(3)     In the case of a treaty that has been subject to ratification, accession, acceptance, or approval and that is to be subject to withdrawal or denunciation by New Zealand, the national interest analysis must address the matters set out in paragraph (1) to the full extent applicable to that proposed action.

399    Select committee consideration of treaties

(1)     The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee considers the subject area of the treaty and,—

(a)     if that subject area is primarily within the committee’s own terms of reference, retains the treaty for examination, or

(b)     if that subject area is primarily within the terms of reference of another select committee, refers the treaty to that committee for examination.

(2)     If the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee is not due to meet within seven days of the presentation of a treaty, and the subject area of the treaty is clearly within the terms of reference of another select committee, the chairperson may refer the treaty to that committee for examination.

400    Reports by select committees on treaties

(1)     A select committee must report to the House on any treaty that has been referred to it.

(2)     In examining a treaty and the accompanying national interest analysis, the committee considers whether the treaty ought to be drawn to the attention of the House—

(a)     on any of the grounds covered by the national interest analysis, or

(b)     for any other reason.

(3)     The committee must include the national interest analysis as an appendix to its report.