In the space of two weeks Parliament processed a piece of legislation reforming firearms law - streamlining a process that normally takes months.
One of the longest stages of a bill’s journey to become law is the select committee stage.
For about four to six months, a select committee which is a group of cross-party MPs, hears from submitters and officials, suggests any changes that might be necessary and writes a report summarising it all.
The Finance and Expenditure Committee did this in just one week prompting questions and criticism about how that process is conducted.
- Monday April 1: The bill is introduced
- Tuesday April 2 : it passes its first reading and the Finance and Expenditure Committee is briefed by police on the same day. Submissions on the bill are also opened.
- Wednesday April 3: Committee hears from submitters in person while written submissions are still coming in. The Committee heard from submitters from Wednesday April 3 to Monday April 8.
- Thursday April 4: Submissions close in the evening.
- Monday April 8: The Committee's report on the bill was sent to the House
- Tuesday April 9: The bill passes its second reading
- Wednesday April 10: the bill passes through all its remaining stages
- Thursday April 11: the bill receives Royal Assent which is the final step before it becomes law.
"The role of the select committee usually in the bill is to get that bill into the best possible shape when they report it back to the House," said clerk of the committee Siobhan Coffey.
Committee clerks are tasked with making sure the select committee proceedings follow the rules, called standing orders. These rules apply to the House of Representatives and as a select committee is a subset of Parliament (not government), the rules apply here too.
A clerk and the committee secretariat support the MPs on the committee to make sure the rules are followed but they also play a large role in handling the mass amount of information a committee receives on a bill.
After a bill passes its first reading it is usually referred to a select committee Ms Coffey said.
"The House will tell the select committee how long they have until they must report back their findings to parliament so that is usually about six months but it can be shorter or longer."
Once a committee has a bill it will often decide to open for submissions where anyone from the public can send in their views through Parliament's website.
"Often a select committee will hold what's called a hearing of evidence where people who've made a submission will come in and talk to the committee highlighting the points they've raised in their submission," Ms Coffey said.
Each committee makes decisions about how long they will open for submissions (usually a month) and how they will hold the hearings, including who is invited to speak.
On the arms amendment bill the committee received 13,062 submissions and heard from 22 submitters in person.
Of the submissions received, about 60 percent supported the bill, 26 percent were opposed to the bill, and 14 percent expressed another view.
After a committee hears from people in person the doors close to the public and it hears from advisors.
"The advisors from a government department will be supporting a select committee in their consideration of a bill so for example, in the arms amendment bill the police were the advisors that were supporting the Finance and Expenditure Committee," said Ms Coffey.
The advisors have to listen to concerns raised in the oral and written submissions and write a departmental report for the MPs on the committee which are published online. The police report for the committee can be found here.
"If we have a bill that relates to tax we'll bring in advisors from the Inland Revenue Department," Ms Coffey said.
"At the moment we have a bill that relates to a financial markets amendment bill so we have advisors from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, it really just depends on what the item is."
It's up to the committee whether or not they take on the recommendations from the advisors.
"It's the committee's job to determine what they think will happen with the bill, advisors play a role in that, but they're an input rather than telling them what to do."
Once the committee has decided what changes it thinks should be made it revises the bill with the changes put alongside the original copy This technical part is done by the Parliamentary Counsel Office which is in charge of drafting bills.
The key difference with this select committee process compared to others is that the 'tracked changes' part didn't happen.
Instead, the Parliamentary Counsel Office drafted a supplementary order paper (a suggestion of changes) which could be tabled in the committee of the whole House stage.
The Select Committee secretariat, which is Siobhan Coffey and her team prepared the committee's report with all the recommended changes.
"The committee will have what they call a 'deliberation' they agree to the report and the revision tracked version of the bill and that report is usually available quite soon after, a couple of days after the committee has deliberated," Ms Coffey said.
That deliberation took place on Monday 8 April and the report made public that night.
"The Finance and Expenditure Committee followed roughly the same process that you would follow in six months it just happened a lot faster," said Ms Coffey.
Some committees have a majority of members from the Government side and some are split evenly between opposition and government party MPs.
The Finance and Expenditure Committee has seven members who are from the Labour Party and New Zealand First and six members from the National Party and the ACT Party.
"Select committees make decisions by majority so they need more than half of members to agree," said Ms Coffey.
A committee disagreeing doesn't kill a bill though, that disagreement is written into the report and the bill is still sent back to the House for a second reading.
Ms Coffey said the main difference really was the amount of time it took to pass the bill. At least 90 extra people were brought on board to work through the weekend to consider, analyse, and report on submissions.
"We just made it work within the time frame that was given to the select committee," she said.