18 Jun 2019

The House today - Tuesday 18 June 2019

From The House , 9:00 am on 18 June 2019

Week two in a three-week sitting block begins today.

MPs are required at Parliament for sitting days which are scheduled in a calendar.

Mornings are usually taken up with select committee meetings but from 2pm, MPs are in the debating chamber.

Here’s what they’ll try to work through today.

Question Time - 2pm

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Photo: VNP / Daniela Maoate-Cox

Everybody’s favourite event at Parliament, maybe because it’s often a fired up volley of quips and retorts or maybe because it’s one of the quickest parts of the day.

Usually lasting about an hour, Question Time consists of 12 oral questions to Ministers which are lodged in the morning.

Opposition questions will try to show the Government’s failings while questions from MPs in Government parties are usually softer so a Minister can boast a bit.

Supplementary questions (follow-ups) are usual but at the mercy of the Speaker who can award or remove them as they like.

Watch it live on Parliament's website here.

More Budget - second reading cont’d

Copies of the Budget 2019 documents on the table in the middle of the debating chamber.

Copies of the Budget 2019 documents on the table in the middle of the debating chamber. Photo: VNP / Daniela Maoate-Cox


  • Appropriation (2019/20 Estimates) Bill a.k.a the Budget Debate

  • The seemingly never-ending 15-hour debate on the Budget continues with 5 hours 59 minutes remaining. They’ll probably do about an hour and a half today.

  • This debate follows on from the Finance Ministers budget announcement on May 30. His statement in the House is separate but is then followed by this debate which started with the Leader of the Opposition, Prime Minister, and leaders of other parties (with six or more MPs). The rest of the time is filled up with the other MPs who debate the good and bad of Budget 2019.


  • Approving a government’s spending is one of the core functions of the Parliament.

  • The budget is the underpinning of a government’s plans. As such, there is much to discuss.


  • The Bill is in the name of the Minister of Finance Grant Robertson

All in favour?

  • Nope. The Opposition will vote against it because no money means the Government can’t do anything. They actually put forward an amended motion for debate that argues the House has no confidence in the Government. But the Government parties have a majority in the House so it’s unlikely to fail.

Racing reform - second reading

Deputy Prime Minister and leader of New Zealand First Winston Peters fields questions from journalists at Parliament.

Minister for Racing Winston Peters is in charge of this bill  Photo: VNP / Daniela Maoate-Cox


  • The Racing Reform Bill

  • This Bill proposes the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) be reconstituted as the Racing Industry Transitional Authority (RITA) to drive the transition of the industry starting 1 July.

  • It will also require offshore betting operators that are used domestically to pay for betting information and a “point of consumption” charge for bets they take from people in New Zealand.  

  • A bill at its second reading debate has normally come back from a select committee which writes a report. The report from the Infrastructure and Transport Committee can be found here.


  • The Minister for Racing Winston Peters is in charge of this bill


  • In April 2018, the Minister for Racing Winston Peters commissioned an expert, Mr John Messara, to assess the state of the New Zealand racing industry. The Review of the New Zealand Racing Industry (the Messara Report) confirmed that the industry was in a state of decline and that, without intervention, it was at risk of suffering irreparable damage. This bill is in response to that report and a second bill is to follow.

  • A media release from the Minister’s office said “The racing industry is integral to the economic and social fabric of New Zealand. At a local level, racing has been an important social and community activity. The industry contributed $1.6 billion to the NZ economy in 2016/17.”

All in favour?

  • No. National and Jami-Lee Ross voted noe and Labour, Greens, and New Zealand First voted aye in favour at its first reading so the bill will likely pass its second reading as well.

Taxes - committee stage


Photo: 123RF



  • Running a country costs money and this bill helps the Government collect some of that money.


  • This law is in the name of Minister of Revenue, Stuart Nash

All in favour?

  • No. Anything to do with money for the Government to function is unlikely to draw support from the Opposition. National, ACT, and Jami-Lee Ross voted no on the bill’s second reading. Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens voted in favour.

Reforming contempt - Second Reading continued

18072016 Photo: Rebekah Parsons-King. Wellington High Court.

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King


  • The second reading of the Administration of Justice (Reform of Contempt of Court) Bill which reforms the law of contempt in New Zealand courts.

  • Second reading debates are 12 speeches of 10 minutes in length. There’s one speech left to go on this bill so it won’t take long.

  • Second reading debates are when MPs debate the report from the select committee process. The Justice Select Committee report can be found here.

  • The offence of contempt of court covers actions that could disrupt, prejudice or otherwise affect the ability of courts to carry out justice effectively. This bill updates and changes aspects of contempt.


  • Contempt law had been rewritten long enough ago that it still used the phrase “scandalises the court” (more or less defaming judges). So possibly time for a language update at least.  


All in favour?

  • Speeches from the second reading debate so far have all been in support of the bill so it will likely pass with little trouble.

House adjourns - 10pm

The House sits from 2pm on scheduled sitting days with a dinner break at 6pm until 7:30pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. It then resumes sitting until 10pm.

You can see how much the House gets done each sitting day by going here: Daily progress in the House

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Photo: New Zealand Parliament