Alternate Wednesdays in the House are used to debate bills from MPs who are not Ministers.
They’re called member’s bills (because the M in MP is for member) and today’s ones range from triangular employment to kiwisaver for foster children.
Before that happens there’s question time and a general debate. What is very unlikely is a debate on the End of Life Choice Bill.
Question time - 2pm
Twelve questions to Ministers crafted to catch them out or support their achievements.
Supplementary (follow-up) questions follow at the discretion of the Speaker.
The questions have to be lodged with the Clerk’s office in the morning so they can be checked and are then published a couple hours before the House sits on Parliament’s website here.
Taupatupatu Whānui / The General Debate 3pm(ish)
Twelve speeches of up to five minutes in length. Bigger parties get more speeches.
The general debate exists so MPs can bring up issues that debates on legislation don’t allow them to cover, so it can range widely. Sometimes party MPs coordinate their topics but that’s optional. There’s fewer rules generally and it can be both raucous and entertaining.
Gore Water - third reading
This is a local bill and allows the Gore District Council to transfer ownership/responsibility of a water scheme to those who use the scheme. The Bill is needed because the Local Government Act 2002 says local governments are not allowed to transfer water schemes to non-local government organisations.
When a council wants to do something outside of the legislative framework that they operate in, or change an historical arrangement that’s affected by an Act of Parliament then a bill is needed. Local bills are usually supported through their first reading by all parties to allow feedback from the public at the select committee stage. They have a slightly different process through Parliament because of their local nature.
Member's bills are from non-Ministers and are usually debated on alternate Wednesdays in the House.
The third reading of the Psychoactive Substances (Increasing Penalty for Supply and Distribution) Amendment Bill in the name of Simeon Brown. The Bill increases the penalty for selling or supplying non approved psychoactive substances from two years to eight years. National are in support, New Zealand First were for but are expected to swing against it. Labour, ACT and the Greens have opposed it so far.
The committee stage of the Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Bill in the name of Labour MP Kieran McAnulty. The Bill aims to further protect the rights of employees that are employed by one company but managed by another (for example temporary labour contractees). The Bill was changed a lot at the second reading after review by Select Committee.
And if they get this far (though it seems unlikely)...
KiwiSaver (Foster Parents Opting in for Children in their Care) Amendment Bill (second reading) in the name of National’s Hamish Walker will allow a foster parent (or kin carer) to open a kiwisaver account for a foster child in their care.
House adjourns - 10pm
The House sits from 2pm on scheduled sitting days with a dinner break at 6pm till 7:30pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. It then resumes sitting until 10pm often interrupting a debate.
You can see how much the House gets done each sitting day by going here: Daily progress in the House