Chapter 1: General provisions and office-holders

Introduction

1        Purpose

These Standing Orders contain rules for the conduct of proceedings in the House of Representatives and for the exercise of powers possessed by the House. They are not intended to diminish or restrict the House’s rights, privileges, immunities, and powers.

2        Interpretation

The Speaker (or other member presiding) is responsible for ruling whenever any question arises as to the interpretation or application of a Standing Order and for deciding cases not otherwise provided for. In all cases the Speaker will be guided by previous Speakers’ rulings and by the established practices of the House.

3        Definitions

(1)     In these Standing Orders, if not inconsistent with the context,—

          amendment includes a new clause

          Clerk means the Clerk of the House of Representatives or, if the office is vacant or the Clerk is absent from duty, means the Deputy Clerk of the House of Representatives or a person appointed by the Speaker to act as Clerk of the House of Representatives; and includes any person authorised by the Clerk to perform any of the functions or exercise any of the powers of the Clerk under these Standing Orders

          clerk of the committee means the Clerk of the House of Representatives or a person authorised by the Clerk to be clerk of a committee

          Crown entity means an entity named or described in Schedule 1 or 2 of the Crown Entities Act 2004 or Schedule 4A of the Public Finance Act 1989, and includes Crown entity subsidiaries

          department means a department or departmental agency within the meaning of the Public Finance Act 1989

          fiscal aggregates means the Government’s intentions for fiscal policy, in particular, for the following:

(a)     total operating expenses:

(b)     total operating revenues:

(c)     the balance between total operating expenses and total operating revenues:

(d)     the level of total debt:

(e)     the level of total net worth

          Government notice of motion means a notice of motion given by a Minister

          leave or leave of the House or leave of the committee means permission to do something that is granted without a dissentient voice

          Member’s notice of motion means a notice of motion given by a member who is not a Minister

          New Zealand court means the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the High Court, or a District Court; or any of the following specialist courts: the Court Martial of New Zealand established under section 8 of the Court Martial Act 2007, the Court Martial Appeal Court constituted by the Court Martial Appeals Act 1953, the Employment Court, the Environment Court, the Maori Appellate Court, and the Maori Land Court

          Office of Parliament means an Office of Parliament within the meaning of the Public Finance Act 1989

          order of the day means a bill or other item of business that has been set down for consideration by the House

parliamentary precincts means the parliamentary precincts within the meaning of the Parliamentary Service Act 2000

          party means the parliamentary membership of a political party that is recognised as a party for parliamentary purposes under the Standing Orders

          person includes an organisation

          preliminary clauses means the title clause and the commencement clause and, if applicable, a principal Act clause

          principal Act clause means a clause confined to stating that a bill amends an existing Act

          public organisation means any organisation (other than a Crown entity or a State enterprise) that the House resolves to be a public organisation

          regulation means any delegated legislation, including legislative instruments and disallowable instruments within the meaning of the Legislation Act 2012

          Serjeant-at-Arms means any officer appointed by the Crown, on the recommendation of the Speaker, to be the Serjeant-at-Arms to the House; and includes any person performing the functions or exercising the powers of Serjeant-at-Arms by direction of the Speaker

          State enterprise means a State enterprise within the meaning of the State-Owned Enterprises Act 1986

          Wellington area means the cities of Wellington, Hutt, Upper Hutt, and Porirua, and the Paekakariki/Raumati and Paraparaumu Wards of the Kapiti Coast District

          working day means any day of the week other than—

(a)     a Saturday, a Sunday, Good Friday, Easter Monday, ANZAC Day, Labour Day, the Sovereign’s birthday, Waitangi Day, and the day on which Wellington Anniversary is observed, and

(b)     if ANZAC Day or Waitangi Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday, and

(c)     any anniversary or other day observed as a public holiday in a locality to which a particular local bill or private bill subject to procedures under these Standing Orders relates, and

(d)     a day in the period commencing with 25 December in any year and ending with 15 January in the following year

          written or in writing means written by hand, typewritten, duplicated, or printed, or partly one and partly one or more of the others, and includes a communication transmitted in facsimile or otherwise electronically.

(2)     References in the Standing Orders to the Governor-General, unless the context otherwise requires, are read as necessary as references to the Sovereign, the Administrator of the Government, and Royal commissioners.

(3)     Where a report or paper is to be presented or a thing is to be done by or on a particular day or within a limited period of time, it may, if that day or the last day of that period is not a working day, be presented or done on the next working day.

(4)     Whenever proceedings are published, circulated or made available to the public under the Standing Orders, or otherwise by order of the House, the communication of those proceedings is under the House’s or a committee’s authority, as applicable.

4        Suspension of Standing Orders

(1)     A Standing Order or other order of the House may be suspended in whole or in part on motion with or without notice.

(2)     A suspension motion may be moved without notice only if at least 60 members are present when the motion is moved.

(3)     A suspension motion may not interrupt a debate and must state the object of or reason for the proposed suspension.

(4)     An amendment may not be moved to a suspension motion.

5        Limitation on moving suspension

A member who is not a Minister may move a suspension motion only for the purpose of allowing a bill, provision, or other matter in that member’s charge to proceed or be dealt with without compliance with the Standing Order or other order to be suspended.

6        Amendment or revocation of Standing Orders

A Standing Order may be amended or revoked only by motion with notice.

7        Functions of Standing Orders Committee

The Standing Orders Committee—

(a)     may conduct a review of the Standing Orders, procedures, and practices of the House:

(b)     may consider and report to the House on any matter relating to the Standing Orders, procedures, and practices of the House:

(c)     may recommend to the House the amendment, revocation, or addition of any Standing Order or the alteration of any procedure or practice of the House:

(d)     considers and reports to the House on any matter referred by the House or otherwise under the Standing Orders.

Journals and records

8        Clerk to note proceedings

The Clerk notes all proceedings of the House. The Clerk’s notes are published as the Journals of the House.

9        Official report

(1)     An official report (known as Hansard) is made of those portions of the proceedings of the House as are determined by the House or by the Speaker.

(2)     The report is made in such form and subject to such rules as are approved from time to time by the House or by the Speaker.

(3)     The report is published.

10      Custody of Journals and records

The Clerk maintains custody of the Journals and of all petitions and papers presented and records belonging to the House. Such Journals, petitions, papers, and records must not be taken from the House or its offices without an order of the House or the permission of the Speaker.

11      Disposal of records

The Clerk may, after consultation with the Chief Archivist, dispose of Journals, petitions, papers, and records that are more than three years old.

Opening of parliament

12      Proceedings on meeting of new Parliament

On the first day of the meeting of a new Parliament the business is as follows:

(a)     the House awaits the arrival of the Royal commissioners:

(b)     after the arrival of the Royal commissioners, the Clerk reads their commission:

(c)     when the Royal commissioners have withdrawn, the Clerk (or other person so authorised) reads the commission authorising the administration of the oath or affirmation required by law:

(d)     the Clerk lays on the Table lists of the names of the members elected to serve in the House:

(e)     members are called in alphabetical order to take the oath or make the affirmation required by law:

(f)      the House then proceeds to the election of a Speaker.

13      Swearing-in of members

(1)     A member taking the oath or making the affirmation is called to the Table for only this purpose and must do so using only the words required by law. A member who fails to take the oath or make the affirmation in that manner must withdraw immediately, and may not sit or vote in the House or serve on a committee until that member has taken the oath or made the affirmation required by law.

(2)     Members who are unable to take the oath or make the affirmation at the time appointed by Standing Order 12(e) and persons becoming members of Parliament subsequent to the general election may take the oath or make the affirmation by presenting themselves at the bar of the House.

(3)     The Speaker interrupts the business as convenient and calls the member to the Table for the purpose. If this occurs during the election of the Speaker, the Clerk interrupts the proceedings for the purpose.

14      Proceedings on day of State Opening

(1)     On the second day of the meeting of a new Parliament and on the first day of each subsequent session of Parliament,—

(a)     the Speaker reads a prayer to the House and reports the Speaker’s confirmation in office and any other communication from the Governor-General:

(b)     the House awaits a message from the Governor-General requesting its attendance; on receiving such a message, the Speaker and members attend accordingly:

(c)     the Speaker reports to the House the Governor-General’s speech and lays a copy of it on the Table:

(d)     the announcement of the presentation of petitions and papers or of the introduction of bills may be made:

(e)     Government orders of the day relating to the appointment of the Deputy Speaker and Assistant Speakers and to the reinstatement of business may be considered.

(2)     The Speaker may then suspend the sitting to permit the moving of the Address in Reply at 2 pm that day, or the House may adjourn.

Election of speaker

15      Clerk acts as chairperson

For the purposes of the election of a Speaker, the Clerk acts as chairperson and calls for nominations.

16      Nomination of members

(1)     Any member may, on being called by the Clerk, nominate another member for election as Speaker. A nomination must be seconded.

(2)     A member who is absent may be nominated for election as Speaker only if that member’s absence is on account of extraordinary circumstances beyond his or her control. The Clerk will accept the nomination only if the Clerk has received the absent member’s written consent to being nominated.

(3)     No question is proposed on the election of a Speaker and no debate may arise in connection with it.

17      One member nominated

If only one member is nominated for election as Speaker, the Clerk declares that member elected.

18      Two members nominated

If two members are nominated for election as Speaker, the election is decided by a personal vote. In the event of a tie, the Clerk again calls for nominations.

19      More than two members nominated

(1)     If more than two members are nominated for election as Speaker,—

(a)     the bells are rung for seven minutes; after the bells have stopped the doors are closed and locked:

(b)     the Clerk states the names of the members nominated and calls on each member, in alphabetical order, to vote for one of the candidates:

(c)     members vote by standing in their places on being called by the Clerk and stating the name of the member for whom they vote; a member may abstain:

(d)     if a member receives the votes of a majority of the members voting, the Clerk declares that member elected:

(e)     otherwise, the member with the fewest votes is eliminated and the votes are taken again for the remaining members until their number is reduced to two:

(f)      when the number of members is reduced to two, the election is decided by a personal vote as provided in Standing Order 18.

(2)     In the event of a tie in any personal vote, the Clerk calls for nominations for election again.

(3)     Where, under paragraph (1)(e), there is more than one member with the fewest votes, that vote is taken again. If, after the vote is retaken, there is still more than one member with the fewest votes, the Clerk must determine by lot which member is to be eliminated.

20      No proxies permitted

On the election of a Speaker no vote may be cast, or abstention recorded, by proxy.

21      Election of Speaker

A member, on being elected by the House, takes the Chair as Speaker-Elect and the Mace is laid upon the Table.

22      Adjournment following election of Speaker

After electing a Speaker, the House adjourns until the time indicated by the Governor-General for the delivery of the Speech from the Throne. The Speaker-Elect seeks the Governor-General’s confirmation as Speaker before the next sitting of the House.

23      Speaker to lay claim to privileges of House

On being confirmed by the Governor-General as Speaker of a new Parliament, the Speaker, on behalf of the House, lays claim to all the House’s privileges; especially to freedom of speech in debate, to free access to the Governor-General whenever occasion may require it, and that the most favourable construction may be put on all the House’s proceedings.

24      Speaker reports to House

The Speaker must report to the House the Governor-General’s decision as to confirmation and the Governor-General’s reply to the Speaker’s claim to the House’s privileges.

25      Vacancy in Speakership

(1)     When, during the term of Parliament, the office of Speaker becomes vacant, the Clerk reports the vacancy to the House at its next sitting and the House proceeds to the election of a Speaker as prescribed in Standing Orders 15 to 21.

(2)     After electing a Speaker, the House adjourns until the next sitting day. The Speaker-Elect seeks the Governor-General’s confirmation as Speaker before the next sitting of the House.

Other presiding officers

26      Deputy Speaker

The House appoints a member to be Deputy Speaker.

27      Powers of Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker performs the duties and exercises the authority of the Speaker in relation to all proceedings of the House during a sitting and an adjournment of the House and during any recess of Parliament.

28      Assistant Speakers

(1)     The House may appoint up to two members to be Assistant Speakers.

(2)     An Assistant Speaker performs the duties and exercises the authority of the Speaker while presiding over the House.

29      Term of office

The Deputy Speaker and any Assistant Speaker hold office during the remaining term of Parliament unless the House otherwise directs.

30      Party leader or whip not to be presiding officer

No member who is the leader of a party or who holds office as a whip may be appointed Deputy Speaker or Assistant Speaker.

31      Vacancy in office

When a vacancy occurs in the office of Deputy Speaker or Assistant Speaker, the House appoints a new Deputy Speaker or Assistant Speaker.

32      Absence of Speaker

In the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker or an Assistant Speaker may take the Chair.

33      Temporary Speaker

(1)     The Speaker may, while presiding over the House, ask any member to take the Chair. The member, on being asked, may take the Chair as temporary Speaker.

(2)     A temporary Speaker performs the duties and exercises the authority of the Speaker while presiding over the House.

Parties

34      Recognition of parties

(1)     Every political party registered under Part 4 of the Electoral Act 1993, and in whose interest a member was elected at the preceding general election or at any subsequent by-election, is entitled to be recognised as a party for parliamentary purposes, subject to paragraph (3).

(2)     Independent members, or members who cease to be members of the party for which they were originally elected, may be recognised, for parliamentary purposes,—

(a)     as members of an existing recognised party if they inform the Speaker in writing that they have joined that party with the agreement of the leader of that party, or

(b)     as a new party if they apply to the Speaker and their new party—

(i)      is registered under Part 4 of the Electoral Act 1993, and

(ii)     has at least six members of Parliament, or

(c)     as members of a component party in whose interest those members stood as constituency candidates at the preceding general election if they inform the Speaker in writing that they wish to be so recognised.

(3)     If a party that has been recognised as a party for parliamentary purposes ceases to be registered under Part 4 of the Electoral Act 1993, the Speaker may continue to recognise that party for parliamentary purposes on a temporary basis, for a reasonable period. A party that ceases to be recognised as a party for parliamentary purposes may subsequently be recognised only as a new party under paragraph (2)(b) or as a component party under paragraph (2)(c).

(4)     A party that has been recognised as a new party under paragraph (2)(b) loses its recognition if its membership falls below six members of Parliament.

(5)     Any member who is not a member of a recognised party is treated as an Independent member for parliamentary purposes.

35      Notification of party details

(1)     A party must inform the Speaker of—

(a)     the name by which it wishes to be known for parliamentary purposes, and

(b)     the identity of its leader and other office-holders, such as deputy leader and whips, and

(c)     its parliamentary membership.

The Speaker must be informed of any change in these matters.

(2)     A coalition between two or more parties must be notified to the Speaker, but each party to the coalition remains a separate party for parliamentary purposes.

(3)     In the period between a general election and the House electing a Speaker, the matters specified in this Standing Order may be notified to the Clerk.

36      Leader of the Opposition

The leader of the largest party in terms of its parliamentary membership that is not in Government or in coalition with a Government party is entitled to be recognised as Leader of the Opposition.