2 Apr 2019

Pushing gun laws through Parliament

From The House , 6:55 pm on 2 April 2019

Legislation to tighten gun laws will need to be treated differently by the House in order for it to be passed quickly says the Leader of the House Chris Hipkins.

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  Leader of the House Chris Hipkins in the debating chamber. Photo: VNP / Phil Smith

MPs are required to be at Parliament for scheduled sitting weeks which are published in a calendar here.

The agenda outlining what will be worked on in the debating chamber is called the Order Paper and it's decided by the Leader of the House Chris Hipkins who said legislation tightening gun laws is the first task.

"This has been well signaled in the public I don't think it will come as a surprise to anybody, but the Government is going to be moving at speed to get that law change through," he said.

The Government is working with the Opposition on the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill and plans to have a shortened select committee process of one week said Mr Hipkins.

Select Committees are small groups of MPs who are tasked with examining bills and hearing public submissions.

"Normally a select committee process is between four and six months," said Mr Hipkins.

"Given the considerable level of interest in this issue and the public's desire for the Government to move quickly in this area, we think that it's justifiable pushing this through quickly."

Putting legislation through in this way can be achieved by gaining the permission of the House of Representatives, known as 'leave of the House'. If any MP objects then that leave is not granted.

The Government could then put forward a motion to consider the bill under urgency which requires a majority of MPs to agree (rather than the whole House).

Urgency also allows for a bill to be progressed more quickly including shortening or skipping the select committee process, extending sitting hours, and working through multiple stages in one sitting.

Mr Hipkins said there will be a second stage of reform which will deal with broader issues like licencing but that will most likely follow the usual process