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A very good year in the House

15 December 2010

Media Statement

A very good year in the House

Leader of the House, Gerry Brownlee, says the government is pleased with its busy and productive legislative year, which ended with Parliament’s adjournment this evening.

“This is an active and reforming government, and the government’s legislative achievements in 2010 clearly reflect this,” Mr Brownlee said.

In raw numbers, 83 government bills passed their third reading and became law this year, compared with 70 in 2009. A further 63 government bills passed their first reading and were sent to a select committee, compared to 65 in 2009, and 54 government bills were reported back from select committee, compared to 58 in 2009.

The government’s legislative programme in 2010 reflected its focus on growing the economy to deliver greater prosperity, security and opportunities for New Zealand.

Important legislation that will improve economic growth included:

  • The tax measures contained in Budget 2011 that improve the incentive to work and save, and tilt the economy away from consumption and borrowing;
  • Reforms to employment law, including allowing 90-day trial periods across all businesses;
  • Acts giving effect to free trade agreements with Malaysia and Hong Kong;
  • The Electricity Industry Act, which contains a suite of measures to improve retail competition and increase security of supply;
  • The Infrastructure Bill, which removes unnecessary barriers to infrastructure development and improves the consistency of regulations;
  • The New Zealand Productivity Commission Bill;
  • A series of Acts reorganising Auckland governance arrangements following the report of the Royal Commission in 2009.

Mr Brownlee said another feature of the year’s legislative programme was the smooth passage of a range of important bills relating to electoral legislation. Parliament today passed legislation establishing a referendum on MMP in 2011, as well as legislation giving effect to the government’s electoral finance proposals. Both bills were passed with broad cross-party support.

The government is also establishing a new Electoral Commission, amalgamating New Zealand’s electoral agencies. Part one of these reforms passed in May. Final legislation to achieve this is at select committee and is expected to be passed next year.

Another priority for the government is the speedy and just settlement of Treaty grievances. This year four settlement bills passed their first reading, and three passed their third reading into law. Three bills (the Whanganui Iwi (Whanganui (Kaitoke) Prison and Northern Part of Whanganui Forest) On-account Settlement Bill, Ngā Wai o Maniapoto (Waipa River) Bill, and Ngāti Manawa and Ngāti Whare Claims Settlement Bill) for four distinct settlements remain on the Order Paper and will be passed early in 2011.

“Parliament sat for 31 weeks in 2010, up from 30 in 2009. There were 87 question times – up from 86 in 2009 – with Ministers answering 1,053 oral questions and thousands more supplementary questions.

“Up until Tuesday 14 December, Ministers had been asked 37,901 written questions, an average of 1,354 per Minister. This is more than double the total questions asked last year (18,566).”

Media contact: Nick Bryant on 04 817 8273 or 021 245 8272

Facts about the 2010 year in the House

Parliament sat for 31 weeks this year, first sitting on Tuesday 9 February and rising for the year on Wednesday 15 December. Parliament sat for 30 weeks in 2009.

Oral questions

There were 87 question times.

This compares with:

  • 86 in 2009

  • 57 in 2008

  • 87 in 2007

  • 81 in 2006

  • 56 in 2005

Ministers answered 1,053 oral questions and thousands more supplementary questions.

This compares with:

  • 1,038 in 2009
  • 696 in 2008
  • 1,061 in 2007
  • 972 in 2006
  • 671 in 2005

The Minister who answered the greatest number of oral questions from the opposition was the Prime Minister, with 109 throughout the year, followed by Bill English, 92, Tony Ryall, 48, and Anne Tolley, 47.

Written questions (to Tuesday 14 December)

Ministers were asked 37,910 written questions.

This compares with:

  • 18,566 in 2009
  • 8,801 in 2008
  • 20,649 in 2007
  • 19,911 in 2006
  • 11,698 in 2005

The Minister asked the greatest number of written questions by the opposition was Anne Tolley, who was asked 16,620. This was followed by Paula Bennett with 9,920, and Judith Collins with 3,265.

Third readings

  • 83 government bills passed their third reading and into law
  • 1 member’s bill passed its third reading and into law
  • 1 private bill passed its third reading and into law

First readings

  • 63 government bills passed their first reading and were sent
  • to a select committee

  • 4 member’s bills passed their first reading and were sent to a select committee
  • 3 private bills passed their first reading and were sent to a select committee
  • 3 local bills passed their first reading and were sent to a select committee


  • 54 government bills were reported back from select committee
  • 6 member’s bills were reported back from select committee
  • 1 private bill was reported back from select committee
  • 2 local bills were reported back from select committee


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