20 Jun 2019

The House today - Thursday 20 June 2019

From The House , 9:00 am on 20 June 2019

It’s the final day of the sitting week which means it’s also a shorter one finishing at 6pm instead of 10pm.

There’s still work to do though so below is what they’ll try to get through.

Sometimes plans change, this story has been updated to include a new bill which will likely be debated today.

Business statement - 2pm

Leader of the House Chris Hipkins answers a question in the debating chamber.

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

Every Thursday the Leader of the House gives a brief summary of what the Government will put forward to work on during the next sitting week.

Sometimes the Shadow Leader of the House in Opposition will ask questions like if there are any plans for urgency or if a particular bill will be worked on.

Question time - also 2pm

National MP Alfred Ngaro asks a Minister a question during Question Time.

National MP Alfred Ngaro questions a Minister Photo: VNP / Phil Smith

The third and final question time for the week gives the second in command time to shine.

It’s rare for the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition to be in the chamber on a Thursday so the deputy leaders often take up the first questions.

Up to 12 oral questions are asked of Ministers. Opposition MPs aim to expose a weakness in the Government while MPs in Government parties normally ask questions that show the Government in a good light.

Follow-up questions (supplementaries) are a privilege not a right and the Speaker has final say over whether they happen.

Yet more debate on the Budget - second reading

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during the Budget Debate Photo: VNP / Daniela Maoate-Cox


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

  • The 15-hour debate on the Budget continues with just a few hours remaining. The House has been chipping steadily away at this and will probably get through another hour and a half today before they move on to something else.

  • 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 starts 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?

  • No but it will still pass. The Opposition will vote against it because no money means the Government can’t do anything but the Government parties have a majority in the House so it’s unlikely to fail.

Racing reform - third reading

Stock image of horse racing

Stock image of horse racing Photo: 123RF


  • A two hour debate on the Racing Reform Bill. Up to 12 MPs can speak for up to 10 minutes each.

  • 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.  

  • This is the last stage of a bill in the House and is used to sum up what it will do and whether MPs think it’s good or bad.


  • 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. The Government parties have more votes so this bill will likely pass.

Tax rates for next year - third reading cont’d

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Photo: 123RF


  • The Taxation (Annual Rates for 2019–20, GST Offshore Supplier Registration, and Remedial Matters) Bill.

  • Only a couple ten minute speeches left on this one so it will be dealt with pretty quick.

  • This bill relates to next year’s rates and rules.  

  • It also does other things including helping IRD charge GST for things bought online from overseas.

  • The committee stage was started yesterday but this part can take awhile as there’s no set time limit. It allows for MPs to debate the parts of the bill and make sure it will be able to do what it promises to. It’s also the last chance to change anything.


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


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

All in favour?

  • No. This will help give the Government money to function so it’s 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 and as they have more numbers the Bill won’t fail.

No more smoking in cars with children - first reading

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Photo: 123RF


  • The Smoke-free Environments (Prohibiting Smoking in Motor Vehicles Carrying Children) Amendment Bill

  • The bill will prohibit smoking in motor vehicles carrying children and young people under 18 years of age.

  • A first reading debate is 12 speeches of up to 10 minutes in length. Usually the sponsor of the bill will go first outlining what the bill will do and why it’s needed. Other MPs will either declare their initial support or indicate areas they want to work on at the next stage (select committee).


  • Jenny Salesa is in charge of this bill. She is Associate Minister of Health and Minister for Ethnic Communities.


  • To protect children from the harm associated with second-hand smoke.

  • The Bill also supports New Zealand’s responsibilities to protect children’s health and wellbeing under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  • The explanatory note in the bill says “Māori children and those living in the most deprived areas are more likely to be exposed to second-hand smoke in vehicles”. While rates of children and young people’s exposure to second-hand smoke have been decreasing, the rate of decrease may be slowing

House adjourns - 6pm

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. On Thursdays the House finishes up for the week at 6pm.

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