Privileges recommendations

The has made some significant recommendations around the law of , the main one being that it be set out in statute. Their full report and arguing is very interesting, including where they slap down the Supreme court for their ruling in AG and Gow v Leigh.

As the Attorney-General chairs the Privileges Committee, I think it is safe to assume the Government will accept the report and act on it. The recommendations are:

  1. We recommend to the House that it note that we respectfully disagree with the Supreme Court decision in Attorney-General and Gow v Leigh in applying the test of necessity to ascertain the scope of Parliament’s privilege of freedom of speech.
  2. We recommend to the Government that it introduce a Parliamentary Privilege Bill to clarify for the avoidance of doubt the nature of parliamentary privilege in New Zealand.
  3. We recommend to the Government that the Parliamentary Privilege Bill contain a clear statement of purpose to aid in determining the extent and scope of parliamentary privilege.
  4. We recommend to the Government that the Parliamentary Privilege Bill replace the 

    Legislature Act 1908, the Legislature Amendment Act 1992, and section 13 of the 

    Defamation Act 1992.

  5. We recommend to the Government that it consider and where appropriate incorporate the recommendations in the Second Report of the Standing Orders Committee on the Law of Privilege and Related Matters, November 1989 (I.18B) in drafting the Parliamentary Privilege Bill.

  6. We recommend to the Government that the Parliamentary Privilege Bill provide for 

    the avoidance of a doubt a definition of “proceedings in Parliament” and what is meant by 

    “impeaching and questioning” such proceedings, as set out in article 9 of the Bill of Rights 

    1688.

  7. We recommend to the Government that the Parliamentary Privilege Bill provide for the power of the House to fine for contempt.

  8. We recommend to the Government that the Parliamentary Privilege B

    ill provide for

    the power of the House to administer oaths or affirmations in respect of witnesses giving

    evidence.

  9. We recommend to the Government that the Parliamentary Privilege Bill confirm that the House does not have the power to expel its members.

  10. We recommend to the Government that the Parliamentary Privilege Bill provide that the live broadcast of Parliament’s proceedings, including select committee hearings, is protected by absolute privilege.
  11. We recommend to the Government that the Parliamentary Privilege Bill provide that delayed broadcasts or rebroadcasts of Parliament’s proceedings, including select committee hearings, that are made by order or under the authority of the House of Representatives are protected by absolute privilege. 
  12. We recommend to the Government that the Parliamentary Privilege Bill provide that a fair and accurate report of proceedings in the House, or summary using extracts of proceedings in the House, by any person is protected by qualified privilege. 
  13. We recommend to the Government that the Parliamentary Privilege Bill provide that 

    the broadcast and other publication of extracts of Parliament’s proceedings, including 

    select committee hearings, that are not made by order or under the authority of the House 

    of Representatives are protected by qualified privilege, in a manner consistent with the 

    provisions of the Defamation Act 1992. 

  14. We recommend to the Government that the Parliamentary Privilege Bill make 

    explicit that a member of Parliament, or any other person participating directly in or 

    reporting on parliamentary proceedings, who makes an oral or written statement that 

    affirms or adopts what he or she or another person has said in the House or its committees 

    will not be liable to criminal or civil proceedings unless the statement in and of itself could 

    be defamatory.

  15. We recommend to the Government that once enacted the Parliamentary Privilege Bill be administered by the Clerk of the House of Representatives. 

  16. We recommend to the Government that it work with the Clerk of the House of Representatives to draft the Parliamentary Privilege Bill.

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