30 Jan 2024

New Year, newish Parliament, new MPs

From The House , 6:55 pm on 30 January 2024

Students are back in the classroom, and are matched by MPs, back in Parliament. But doing what exactly?

The election seems like a long while ago but the 54th Parliament is still very new, and still has the initial set-pieces of any new Parliament to sweep through before it can get knee-deep into legislation. There are two new bills this week however (see below).

The Government's Leader of the House, Chris Bishop, discusses Parliament's agenda for 2024's first sitting week, 30 January, 2024.

The Government's Leader of the House, Chris Bishop, discusses Parliament's agenda for 2024's first sitting week, 30 January, 2024. Photo: Johnny Blades / VNP

Unboxing MPs

This new Parliament is still fresh enough that the public hasn’t met all the new MPs yet. Hearing from more of the recently elected will be a feature of the week. The plan is for six new National Party MPs on Tuesday (from about 4:15pm):

  • Rima Nakhle, Cameron Brewer, Dana Kirkpatrick, Carl Bates, Carlos Cheung and Miles Anderson.

Another six fresh National Party MPs get unboxed on Wednesday (from roughly 3:30pm): 

  • Mike Butterick, Catherine Wedd, Tom Rutherford, Grant McCallum, Nancy Lu and David MacLeod.

And on Thursday from 4:15-ish, a combination of four ACT MPs (who TBA), and three new Green MPs:

  • Tamatha Paul, Kahurangi Carter and Scott Willis.

Different days focus on MPs from different parties for logistical reasons. MPs usually invite family and friends to attend their maiden speeches, and the political parties usually host a function afterwards. Clumping the MPs makes organising the post-match events easier. The functions are also why maiden and valedictory speeches are almost always scheduled in the lead-up to when MPs pause debating for dinner. 

Other Business

The week began with a motion in memory of the recently deceased former Governor General, Sir Michael Hardy-Boys; and a Ministerial Statement from Judith Collins on a recently announced Defence deployment to the Red Sea Combined Task Force. You can hear Chris Bishop (link above), explain the recent changes to the way Ministerial Statements are managed with more Q&A, and less speechifying.  

With the focus on the Address in Reply Debate (including Tuesday and Wednesday’s maiden speeches), there is a paucity of debating time for legislation.  

The House will consider two bill this week though. One is scheduled for debate through all stages under urgency. The New Zealand Productivity Commission Act Repeal Bill will be introduced and debated under Urgency on Tuesday evening. 

About it Chris Bishop said, “the Government has got a commitment to disestablish the Productivity Commission. It requires legislation. It was set up by legislation and requires an Act of Parliament to disestablish it. So we are doing that on Tuesday (both the first and second reading). [We’re] taking urgency for that, skipping select committee. The aim is to have that passed by the end of the week.”

The second bill is directed at enacting aspects of the free trade agreement negotiated with the EU. That will get a first reading on Thursday.

“New Zealand and the EU have entered into a free trade agreement. From our side, we have to legislate a variety of different commitments that we've made. I think it would be fair to say that the last government intended to get that underway before the election but just ran out of time.”

“The EU is moving at pace with their ratification procedure, we've got to do our  end of the bargain. …that's quite a detailed bill and very appropriately goes to a committee for further consideration. So that'll go off to the Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Select Committee this week.” 


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