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PARLIAMENTARY REPORT


NEW ZEALAND


HOUSE RISES FOR SEPTEMBER ELECTION


The House sat for the last time in the 50th Parliament on 31 July, ahead of the General Election on 20 September. The Speaker, Rt Hon. David Carter, MP, said: “The 50th Parliament has sat for 227 days – a total of 1,058 hours – and what is pleasing to note is the limited use of urgency, at 79 hours, and the increased use of extended sittings, at 110 hours. This reflects the very successful changes made to the standing orders after the last Parliament.” Many speakers in the adjournment debate had acknowledged retiring Members, and the Speaker added to that his farewells to presiding officers Eric Roy, MP, and H V Ross Robertson, MP. He also noted the impending retirement of the Clerk of the House, Mary Harris, who received a Queen’s Service Medal this year. The Speaker also indicated that if he were chosen to continue his role in the 51st Parliament, he intended to look at modernizing the daily prayer “in a manner that is acceptable to the vast majority of Members” and Parliament’s Māori protocols, and consider social media issues, such as photographs taken in the Chamber.


By-election debate New Zealand avoided having a By-election in the Epsom electorate in the weeks running up to the 20 September election. A vacancy occurred on


the resignation of Hon. John Banks, MP, (ACT Party) on 13 June, who was a Member of the National government coalition.


212 | The Parliamentarian | 2014: Issue Three


By-election just three months out from an election, with just four sitting weeks left in this term of Parliament”. Hon. Annette King, MP, (Labour) added that a By-election “would be a waste of taxpayers’ money. They are expensive….” The motion was unanimously agreed to.


Rt Hon. David Carter, MP


His resignation followed his conviction by the High Court in Auckland for filing a false electoral return after his unsuccessful bid for the Auckland mayoralty in 2010. He has subsequently appealed. The Electoral Act requires


an MP to resign if convicted of an offence with two or more years’ imprisonment. Under New Zealand’s mixed membership proportional representation system (MMP), when an electorate seat is vacated (as opposed to a list seat), a By-election is normally held. If a General Election is to happen within six months, however, an electorate seat can be left vacant provided 75 per cent of the House agrees to that.


As the General Election is to be held on 20 September, the Leader of the House, Hon. Gerry Brownlee, MP, (National), moved on 18 June that “no writ be issued for the election of a Member of Parliament…” for Epsom. Ms Holly Walker, MP, (Green Party) agreed that “it is in no one’s interests to have a


Parliamentary Privilege Bill The Parliamentary Privilege Bill passed its Committee of the whole House stage and third reading with unanimous support on 31 July, the last sitting day for the 50th Parliament. Its main purpose is to restore


and reaffirm understandings of the scope of aspects of parliamentary privilege, and to consolidate and modernize existing legislation. It also ensures adequate protection from legal liability for communication of, and for documents relating to, proceedings in Parliament. The Attorney-General, Hon.


Hon. Christopher Finlayson, MP


Christopher Finlayson, MP, (National) said that the Bill was


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