Standing Orders review 2017

The Standing Orders Committee has just published its review of Standing Orders. These are the rules operate under and are a critical piece of democracy. They are why our Parliament works so well and why some others do not. They basically protect the minority by ensuring that the Government can’t just do whatever it likes – the Government has to follow the rules also.

The proposed changes are usually adopted without dissent by the House, and I expect this will be the same this year. The major changes are:

  • Merge Justice & Electoral and Law & Order committees together
  • strongly encouraged to meet in weeks when the House is in recess so more time can be spent considering business
  • A small reduction in size of most select committees so MPs are on no more than two select committees
  • lifts the ban on using coverage of Parliament for satirical purposes
  • clarification that the ban on strangers in the lobbies of the House does not apply to infant children of MPs

The proposed select committees for the next Parliament are:

  • Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee: business development,tourism, Crown minerals, commerce, consumer protection and trading standards, research,science, innovation, intellectual property, broadcasting, communications, information technology
  • Education and Workforce Committee: education, training, employment, immigration, industrial relations, health and safety, accident compensation
  • Environment Committee: conservation, environment, climate change
  • Finance and Expenditure Committee: economic and fiscal policy, taxation, revenue, banking and finance, superannuation, insurance, Government expenditure and financial performance, public audit
  • Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee: customs, defence, disarmament and arms control, foreign affairs, trade, veterans’ affairs
  • Governance and Administration Committee: parliamentary and legislative services, Prime Minister and Cabinet, State services, statistics, internal affairs, civil defence and emergency management, local government
  • Health Committee: health
  • Justice Committee: constitutional and electoral matters, human rights, justice, courts, crime and criminal law, police, corrections, Crown legal services
  • Māori Affairs Committee: Māori affairs, Treaty of Waitangi negotiations
  • Primary Production Committee: agriculture, biosecurity, racing, fisheries, productive forestry, lands, land information
  • Social Services and Community Committee: social development, social housing, income support, women, children, young people, seniors, Pacific peoples, ethnic communities, arts, culture and heritage, sport and recreation, voluntary sector
  • Transport and Infrastructure Committee: transport, transport safety, infrastructure, energy, building and construction

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