Presuming it gets through its to-do list Parliament will come to a conclusion on Thursday August 6th.
On Thursday evening most of the MPs will scatter back to their electorates to spend six weeks campaigning for the September 19th election.
Not everyone though. Because while the 52nd Parliament will formally dissolve next Wednesday, the Government continues. Ministers’ jobs don’t vanish just because the other MPs leave.
Over those six weeks - and until a new parliament forms, government continues. (Though it becomes a caretaker government post-election.) It can continue to make regulations and policy decisions as necessary.
But if anything requires a change in legislation for the next two to three months it really needs to get passed this week.
Which is why Parliament has been meeting under urgency to allow extra hours and progress through the stages of debate quickly.
And there’s a fair bit to do. Before it even started urgency Parliament had already completed two bills and five valedictory statements. Under urgency Parliament will take seven bills through 19 stages (see a list below), as well as five motions and three more of those farewell speeches.
Covid 19 business
Two of the bills and three of the motions are related to Covid 19. And as of Wednesday afternoon all of those have now been dealt with.
The COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill will enable the government to charge some people towards the cost of their quarantine upon arrival in New Zealand.
The COVID-19 Response (Further Management Measures) Legislation Bill (No 2) falls into the boring but necessary category. For example it extends statutory deadlines for some things like tax and financial reporting, and dropping interest for some provisional tax payments.
The three Covid 19 motions that were dealt with are interrelated. One of them extends the powers of the Act that allowed the government to enforce quarantines and lockdowns and so-on. And the other two orders were secondary legislation enabled by that act - and they continue the government’s ability to control entry at ports and airports.
So, now they won’t expire while we’re all electing a new parliament.
Bills and motions included under the Urgency motion:
- COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill - All stages
- COVID-19 Response (Further Management Measures) Legislation Bill (No 2) - All stages
- Motion to extend the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020
- Motion to approve the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Air Border) Order 2020
- Motion to approve the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Maritime Border) Order 2020
- Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill - Second reading, committee stage, third reading
- Fuel Industry Bill - Second reading, committee stage, third reading
- New Zealand Public Health and Disability Amendment - Bill Committee stage, third reading.
- Land Transport (Drug Driving) Amendment Bill - First reading
- Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill - Committee stage and third reading
- Motion to approve to Officers of Parliament appropriations
- Motion to approve changes to Standing Orders for the 53rd Parliament