5 Mar 2019

I hope you like numbers - a financy week at Parliament

From The House , 6:55 pm on 5 March 2019

They say that if you want to keep the audience attentive you should always begin with something exciting. Like, for example, maths.

You don't like numbers? Surely not. For the math and finance phobic it's possible that the week in Parliament is going to be right up there on your to-do list with reading Ulysses. But for tax accountants and hedge fund managers it's a must-see.

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Photo: VNP / Daniela Maoate-Cox

Chris Hipkins, is Leader of the House and so is responsible for shepherding the Government’s legislative agenda in the chamber. He ran us through the highlights of the week and they were pretty finance heavy. You can hear the audio above. Or read the highlights below.

There's a tax bill that has to be passed or none of us have to pay tax this year. Oh, now you're interested?

There's also a bill that changes the rules for international derivatives trading.

And there's a debate about the advance preview the Government gave of its plans for the May budget. Or to be entirely accurate, a debate on the report of the select committee that looked into those plans.

Every year the Government produces a preview of the May budget, a bit like an overly revealing trailer for a blockbuster movie. This debate is when the film critics predict how awesome or awful the movie will be, based solely on that trailer.

It sounds a lot like what happens when a new Star Wars title is previewed. But the Budget Policy Statement is a bit more detailed than that, but just as much fun for those financially inclined to try to decipher.

The parliamentary week isn't entirely about numbers though. Wednesday is the first members day of the year and includes bills seeking to increase the penalties for pushing drugs or dropping litter.

And a final debate is planned for a Crimes Amendment Bill that would mean it's OK to write hefty criticisms of God, but not OK to help your spouse bury the evidence. And with a potentially increased penalty for rustling added in. So, really, something for everyone.

For a detailed look at each day's business read our daily To-Do lists.  Here's Tuesday's.