11 Apr 2019

Parliament's to do list for Thursday 11 April

From The House , 9:00 am on 11 April 2019

Thursdays in the House are always shorter, ending at dinner time (6pm) so there are three bills and a motion on the list to tick off today after Oral Questions, and the House may not get through all of them.

See the full plan below.

UPDATE: the plan can change on the day depending on how far the House got the day before or on whether there are some new items that need to be dealt with. This article has been updated to include those changes.

Question time  2pm

  • The third and final “Questions for Oral Answer” for the week is a slightly more subdued affair because of the typical absence of the leaders of both Government and Opposition.
  • But whether boisterous or subdued, it will still be 12 oral questions to Ministers. Opposition MPs try to embarrass the Government and governing party MPs allow ministers to boast.
  • The first supplementary (follow-up) question is usually given to the primary question asker but after that it’s open for any MP to jump up with a question.
Labour MP Phil Twyford

Phil Twyford answering a question. Photo: VNP / Phil Smith

Feeding the Watchdogs

What:

  • Motion on Appropriations of Officers of Parliament.

Why:   

  • The House of Representatives has among its duties supplying a government and then keeping that government in line. To help achieve the latter it employs three specialist watchdogs - the Officers of Parliament.

  • The officers are the Ombudsman, the Auditor General and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. Because their role is sometimes to tell the government what it is doing wrong they are not employed or funded by the government, but instead by its overseer the House.

  • Before the budget every year the House determines how much funding is required to run the Officer’s small teams and then votes on this funding. It’s done in early so it can be incorporated into the full budget.

 Chief Ombudsman Judge Peter Boshier (center), Deputy Ombudsman Compliance  and Practice Emma Leach (left) and Chief Inspector OPCAT Jacki Jones, (right) speak to the Law and Order Committee about the illegal restraint of at-risk prisoners.

Chief Ombudsman Judge Peter Boshier (center), with Deputy Ombudsman Compliance and Practice Emma Leach (left) and Chief Inspector OPCAT Jacki Jones, (right) speak to the Law and Order Committee in 2017 about the illegal restraint of at risk prisoners. Photo: VNP / Phil Smith

Bills, Bills, Bills: Infrastructure, Research and Insolvency

From 3pm-ish until the House rises for the week at 6pm MPs will work on progressing the following pieces of legislation. How far they get will depend on how intense the debate is on each one.

Substrate for Civilisation - first reading

What:   

Why:   

  • As of writing the bill itself is not online but the bill’s info page tells us that it will establish an independent commission that with the purpose of co-ordinating, developing, and promoting an approach to infrastructure that encourages infrastructure, and services that result from the infrastructure, that improve the well-being of New Zealanders.

Who:

  • The minister in charge of this bill is New Zealand First's Shane Jones.
New Zealand First MP Shane Jones in the House

New Zealand First MP Shane Jones in the House Photo: VNP / Phil Smith

Encouraging research and development - second reading (continued)

What:

Who:

  • Minister of Research, Science and Innovation Megan Woods is in charge of this bill.

Labour MP Megan Woods, Minister for Energy & Resources & Greater Christchurch Regeneration

Photo: VNP / Phil Smith

MP says what?

  • At its first reading Megan Woods said the over $1 billion was allocated for this initiative in Budget 2018 and that it is a “key lever to deliver on our coalition agreement with New Zealand First to increase R & D expenditure to 2 percent of GDP over 10 years.”

  • Also speaking at the bill’s first reading, National MP Andrew Bayly said the details are lacking on how the allocated $1b will be managed to avoid a “blowout” as had happened in Australia.

“They originally budgeted for a $1.8 billion research and development scheme. That was put in place in 2011,” he said.

“That subsequently blew out by roughly half, to $3 billion. That's the nature of the scheme that's been proposed by the Government. The Minister has claimed that, no, that's not going to happen with this scheme and she's going to put in mechanisms to make sure that it doesn't take place.”

Earthquake complaints - second reading

No caption

Minister for Courts Andrew Little Photo: VNP / Phil Smith

What:

  • The Canterbury Earthquakes Insurance Tribunal Bill

  • The Bill sets up a tribunal to help resolve insurance claims between policyholders and insurers, people with insurance and the Earthquake Commission. Claims have to relate to damage caused by the Canterbury earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.

  • A bill that's up for its second reading has usually been through a select committee process which results in a report on the bill. The report form the Governance and Administration Committee can be found here.

Why:

  • The tribunal will aim to help solve long-standing insurance claims to help policyholders and insured people  “obtain some closure” so they can move on with their lives.

  • First readings are usually a chance to outline the bill and debate its purpose before it’s sent to a select committee for public consultation (if it passes the first reading).

Who:

  • Minister for Courts Andrew Little is in charge of this bill.

Beat that Lazarus - Select Committee report

What:

  • The Insolvency Practitioners Bill

  • This bill “creates powers to restrict or prohibit individuals from providing insolvency services, and strengthens measures to automatically disqualify insolvency practitioners.”

  • This bill was last seen on the floor of the House in 2013, nearly five years ago. CKis Faafoi revivified it and sent it back to Select Committee for a second look. There isn’t really a process for two second readings (when a bill comes back from committee), so the Business Committee has designated this a debate on a report from a Select Committee.

Who:

  • In the name of Kris Faafoi as Minister for Commerce and Consumer Affairs.