12 Feb 2019

Parliament's to do list: the PM's statement

From The House , 9:00 am on 12 February 2019

In non-election years Parliament starts off with a debate on the Prime Minister’s Statement and saves legislation for after dinner.

Question time

Not happening today sorry. Need time for the big debate.

Prime Minister's Statement 2pm- 6pm

Jacinda Ardern is sworn in as Prime Minister of New Zealand.

  Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King


  • Officially this is a debate on the Prime Minister’s Statement

  • The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will begin the debate with a 20 minute speech outlining her Government’s plan for the year. Then the Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges responds (20min) followed by the leaders of the other parties which have six or more MPs. ACT Party leader David Seymour gets 10 minutes and other MPs can have 10 minutes each or split their time with a colleague.

  • Thirteen hours of time is set aside for the debate but it’s spread out over several days so other legislation/business can be dealt with.

  • Since 2008 the statement has been presented as a Parliamentary Paper which includes more of the details and allows for the PM's speech to be broad. Each party leader gets a copy by 10am on the day it’s to be presented in the House.


  • It’s always good to have goals especially if you’re running a country. The Prime Minister’s Statement sets out what the Government will do but also serves as a reminder of what the Government’s values and policies are.

  • It gives the House of Representatives a chance to judge the Government’s plans.

  • The debate is also a test of confidence in the Government. The motion for the debate is usually asking the House of Reps. to support the Government’s agenda. If it doesn't get support then it can't continue to govern.

  • A amendment to the motion can also be put forward. Usually the Opposition leader will suggest the motion say the House has no confidence in the Government’s plans. If this was agreed to then the Government would be out.

Simon Bridges faces media over the Jami Lee-Ross Recording

  Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges Photo: VNP / Phil Smith

Speeding up earthquake related claims - third reading


  • The Earthquake Commission Amendment Bill

  • There is an Earthquake Commission Act 1993 which this bill will amend to simplify and speed up the handling of claims for natural disaster damage, particularly when dealing with a large-scale natural disaster.


“The four amendments are to remove EQC cover for personal property or home contents cover; to increase the EQC building cap cover from $100,000 to $150,000 plus GST; to lengthen EQC's pay notification time limit; and to clarify EQC's authority to share and publish information, including to facilitate settlement of EQC and private insurer claims.”

Minister of Government Digital Services Megan Woods announced that hundreds of pages of documents regarding Derek Handley have just been released.

Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission Megan Woods Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Registering social workers - second reading



  • The bill is in the name of the Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni. It was first introduced under the previous National-led Government by the former Minister for Social Development, Anne Tolley.

MP says what?

  • At its first reading Anne Tolley said “because of this bill, any person or family working with a social worker will know that the social worker has been vetted by the police, is subject to professional ethics, and that they are a professional who undertakes annual development as a condition of their registration.”

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley.

Deputy Speaker and former Minister for Social Development Anne Tolley Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Crown Minerals - third reading


  • The Crown Minerals Amendment Bill (No 2)

  • It’s basically a tidy-up bill. The Select Committee report described it thus: “The bill aims to address regulatory duplication, gaps, errors, and inconsistencies within the Act, and to clarify and update statutory provisions.


  • Another bill from Megan Woods although this time it’s under her Energy and Resources portfolio.

What did the MP’s say?

  • At its first reading the Leader of the House Chris Hipkins said “this Government is committed to ensuring that the regulatory system that manages New Zealand's Crown minerals and permitting regime and that underpins those sectors is fit and robust. The changes to the bill will ensure that the regulatory gaps that currently have been identified are closed.”

Green MP Gareth Hughes chairing the Justice and Electoral Select Committeen

Green MP Gareth Hughes Photo: VNP / Phil Smith

  • At its second reading Green MP Gareth Hughes said “this is not about opening up the regime to allow more seismic surveying on adjacent lands, or, basically, providing a new loophole to circumvent the existing rules, and this is about making sure we don't have cowboys operating. What this Government is doing is starting the process for a just transition. It's the only fair thing for these communities and the workers.”

Catch up on what the House has worked through on Parliament’s website.