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Report on review of Standing Orders presented

Press Release

27 August, 2008

Report on review of Standing Orders presented

The Standing Orders Committee’s review of Standing Orders was today presented to the House.

The Committee’s Chairperson, Hon Margaret Wilson, said the all-party Committee recommended the changes be adopted by the House.

The Leader of the House, Hon Dr Michael Cullen, is expected to lodge a Notice of Motion to that effect.

The Standing Orders Committee reviews Standing Orders, procedures and practices each Parliamentary term.

‘The outcome could not be described as a major overhaul so much as a fine-tuning of procedures that generally appear to operate well,’ Ms Wilson said.

Some of the more significant changes include:

• provision for emergency situations in relation to suspension or adjournment of sittings, including limited powers to delay sittings

• revision of rules for moving and debating amendments to motions

• institution of a procedure for select committees to review reports on non-departmental appropriations

• rearrangement of the procedure for the presentation of, and debate on, the Prime Minister’s statement

• alteration of the procedure for the publication of papers presented by the Speaker and by Ministers

• provision for documents tabled by leave, including a requirement for them to be tabled if leave has been given

• incorporation of rules and conditions for television coverage of the House

• staged implementation of simultaneous interpretation from Māori to English

Ms Wilson said some members had responded to public criticism of the behaviour of members by suggesting the adoption of a code of conduct, particularly in relation to conduct in debate. There had been two recent initiatives in this area: H V Ross Robertson called on the House to adopt a compulsory Code of Ethics and the Green Party, Māori Party, United Future and ACT New Zealand signed a voluntary Code of Conduct.

Ms Wilson said members were asked if they would support a voluntary code, but there was insufficient support for the development of such a code.

‘Members’ behaviour in the Chamber is covered by Standing Orders and Speakers’ rulings.’

The full report is available on:


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