Polly Higbee (Research Associate, Public Presentation Transcript
The Use of Urgency in the New Zealand House of Representatives
The Project Sponsored by the Law Foundation New Zealand Centre for Public Law/New Zealand Rule of Law Committee Key focus: 1984-2009
Key Questions What are the different ways that governments can speed up the legislative process? Has the use of these changed? How do other legislatures compare? Has MMP had an effect on the use of urgency? Is there a difference between the rules and how the parties actually behave in the House? Do different parties have different attitudes to urgency? How do governments justify the use of urgency?
Evaluative Questions When is the use of urgency justified? What sort of uses of urgency are troubling from a constitutional or democratic legitimacy perspective? How robust is the regulatory framework in which this occurs? How might it be amended?
Urgency “Where a motion for urgency is passed, the House may proceed upon and debate the bill until the debate is concluded. A motion for urgency overrides the standard procedures for when the House must adjourn or move to other business.” Philip Joseph Constitutional and Administrative Law in New Zealand (3rd ed, Brookers, Wellington, 2007) at 307.
Normal Process of a Bill
Normal Sitting Days and Times
Process Under Urgency Motion for urgency for all stages of a bill moved on Tuesday 1 June: Introduction-First Reading-Second Reading-Committee of the Whole House-Third reading
Key Differences Extended sitting times No select committee No weekend adjournment Other parliamentary business stops All ‘one day’ for the record
Reason for Urgency Minister moving urgency must give a reason for the motion to be formally moved
Extraordinary Urgency Extended sitting hours – sit through the night Minister must satisfy the speaker that the business requires extraordinary urgency Particularly designed for legislation that will come into immediate effect
An Example of urgency… Tuesday 30 March Hon SIMON POWER (Acting Leader of the House): “I move, That urgency be accorded the introduction and passing of the Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Bill… And: The Immigration Act Amendment Bill; The passing through their remaining stages of the Dairy Industry Restructuring (Raw Milk Pricing Methods) Bill; and The Regulatory Improvement Bill, and any bills into which any of those bills may be divided; The third reading of the Unit Titles Bill; and The first readings of the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill and the Commerce Commission (International Co-operation, and Fees) Bill Motion agreed to.
First Reading Environment Canterbury Bill Ayes 68 New Zealand National 58; ACT New Zealand 5; Māori Party 4; United Future 1. Noes 53 New Zealand Labour 43; Green Party 9; Progressive 1.
Third Reading Environment Canterbury Bill Ayes 64 New Zealand National 58; ACT New Zealand 5; United Future 1. Noes 58 New Zealand Labour 43; Green Party 9; Māori Party 5; Progressive 1.
The Other Urgent Business Business completed up to the third reading of the Unit Titles Bill House adjourned at 4.08pm on Thursday (1 April)
Key Outcomes of the Project Occasional Paper for the NZ Centre of Public Law Public lecture Presentation to parliamentary staff and interested MPs Publish in journals (domestic and international) Submissions to any committee which reviews the Standing Orders