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Standing Orders Committee: Review of Standing Orders

21 July 2014

Standing Orders Committee: Review of Standing Orders

The Standing Orders Committee has presented its report on the Review of Standing Orders. The committee reviews the Standing Orders, procedures, and practices of the House and usually reports towards the end of each parliamentary term.

The committee has recommended a number of amendments to the Standing Orders. The House will consider these recommended amendments with a view to them being adopted with effect from the day after the dissolution of Parliament.

As the Standing Orders are effectively constitutional rules, the committee seeks to arrive at a package of proposals that enjoys the overwhelming support of members around the House, even if unanimity cannot always be reached. This process involves “give and take” among parties, to ensure that changes do not confer unfair advantage.

Recommendations include the following:
• Enabling the Business Committee to make arrangements for State occasions, including provision for foreign leaders to address the House.
• Incorporating provisions regarding the attendance and absence of members.
• Recognising the proposed provisions in the Parliamentary Privilege Bill regarding communications of proceedings in Parliament.
• Rationalising the financial review process (to be known as “annual review”) to enhance overall scrutiny and accountability within sectors.
• Acknowledging the right of members to address the House in New Zealand Sign Language.
• Promoting select committee scrutiny of apparent inconsistencies with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.
• Streamlining the procedure for Revision Bills.
• Clarifying the purpose of and the expectations on members regarding the Register of Pecuniary and Other Specified Interests.

The committee has also recommended to the Government that financial provision be considered for full implementation of webcasting of hearings of evidence from any select committee meeting room in the parliamentary precincts.

The full report is available on the Parliament website (www.parliament.nz).

ENDS

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