3 Jul 2018

Parliament's to do list: first speeches, tax, and the America's Cup

From The House, 6:55 pm on 3 July 2018

National MP Dan Bidois will give his first speech to the House this week and then MPs will get into Government business of the Day which is just another way of saying they work through proposed legislation.

The plan for this week (July 3 - 5) is below.

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Photo: VNP/ Phil Smith

MPs are required to be at Parliament for scheduled sitting days, so called because MPs sit in those green leather chairs when they’re in the debating chamber. An agenda known as the Order Paper is published online each sitting day outlining what business the House plans to get through. But plans change and time is limited so below is what they’ll try their best to get through.

Dan Bidois' Maiden statement (Tuesday)

What:

  • National MP Dan Bidois will give his maiden speech just before the dinner break at 5:45pm. 

  • New MPs get 15 minutes to give their first speech in the House in which they typically mention their goals, upbringing, and beliefs. The speeches are often referred to by MPs when they give their valedictory speech at the end of their term.

Tax amendments (Tuesday)

What: 

Marine Consent Costs (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)

What:

Why:

  • The change will make sure that anything that has a private benefit will result in a private cost instead of public.

The Law of the sea (Tuesday)

What:

  • The first reading of the Maritime Powers Extension Bill

  • The Bill will give greater powers to New Zealand Customs to stop trafficking of illegal substances and clarify where NZ customs has the power to do so. In more detail that means allowing customs officers to stop, board, and search a ship in New Zealand’s waters or another State if they suspect a ship or person on the ship is involved in drug smuggling.

Why:

Updating Military Justice (Tuesday)

What:

Courts & Tribunals: A two-fer rejig  (Tuesday & Wednesday)

What:

  • The Courts Matters Bill 2017 (285-2) and the Tribunals Powers and Procedures Legislation Bill 2017 (286-2).

  • Both bills were originally introduced just before the 2017 election by the previous government.

  • These are both omnibus bills, which means that they will change lots of laws that already exist. (Strictly speaking, an omnibus bill is one that affects more than one law, but these will amend or affect 14 and 23 Acts respectively).

  • Also - because these two bills are closely related they have been deemed cognate bills and will be debated together. This basically saves everyone from having nearly the same debate twice.

Why:

  • Apparently the courts system is complicated and needs reasonably regular rejigging to try and keep it working as efficiently as possible. This is one of those rejigs.

  • This is the kind of ‘machinery of government’ legislation that is mostly agreed on across Parliament as being necessary.

  • Here are rundowns on the many changes that the Courts Matters and the Tribunals Powers bills will make.

General Debate (every Wednesday)

What:

  • Twelve speeches of up to five minutes in length after question time on Wednesdays in the House. Speeches are divvied up proportionally so bigger parties get more speeches. Because Ministers aren’t counted in the proportional divvy-up, the opposition side of the House gets more speeches than the government side.

Why:

  • The general debate is a chance for MPs to bring up issues that would otherwise not come up before the House, making it a wide-ranging debate. Sometimes parties take a coordinated approach and speak on the same issue but there’s no rule that they have to.

Social Security Rewrite (Wednesday)

What:

  • The committee stage of the Social Security Legislation Rewrite Bill

  • This legislation was introduced by the former National-led government. It returned from consideration before Select Committee with recommended amendments. The Select Committee report included dissenting opinions from both Labour and the Greens - so it may be that while the Government supported the Second Reading, it also introduces Supplementary Order Papers notifying proposed amendments to be made during this next stage of debate (the Committee of the Whole House).

  • This Bill is planned to be split up at the Committee stage into: a social security bill, a residential care and disability support services bill and an Artificial Limb Service bill.

Why:

  • This bill would repeal and replace the Social Security Act 1964 and the Social Welfare (Reciprocity Agreements, and New Zealand Artificial Limb Service) Act 1990.

  • The main aim of the bill is listed as: to make New Zealand’s social security law easier to understand by modernising its language, drafting style, and structure.

  • The bill sets out people’s eligibility for social security benefits, obligations and sanctions, rights to review and appeal decisions and how assistance is delivered to beneficiaries.

Ngāti Tamaoho Claims Settlement (Thursday)

What:

Why:

  • Settlement bills aim to resolve historical claims by Māori against the crown for breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi before 1992.

  • The Treaty, which was signed in 1840, gave sovereignty to the British Crown, allowed Māori to keep rangatiratanga (chieftainship) over their resources while giving the Crown first dibs on any land up for sale, and granted Māori the same rights as British citizens.

  • Settlements include some redress to set things right which can be cultural, commercial, or financial. Once a settlement is reached it becomes law.

Road closure for America’s Cup (Thursday)

What:

  • The first reading of the America’s Cup Road Stopping Bill

  • It will allow a piece of public road to be closed where the America’s cup village is going to be constructed. The law has to be passed in order to get the village built in time.

You can see how much the House gets done each sitting day by going here: Daily progress in the House