Here are a few ways to keep track of what’s happening in New Zealand’s Parliament.
When Parliament is Sitting
Parliament.nz publishes a Parliamentary Calendar (pdf and text) showing the days MPs will be ‘sitting’ in the Debating Chamber.
Generally Parliament will sit on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 2pm to 6pm and 7.30pm to 10pm.
Parliament’s ‘agenda’ for when it’s sitting
An Order Paper outlining the day’s business is published (as a pdf) before each session in the House. You can subscribe to an email alert. The paper shows what order the day’s business will be done in; generally:
- Select committee reports
- Introduction of bills
- Oral questions
- Government orders of the day
It also outlines the Bills before the House, what stage they are up to, and how many minutes of speeches are remaining of their allocation.
The Order Paper is only a guide, though: speeches are sometimes interrupted and generally the House will only get through a few items in a given session. The rest are rolled over to the next Order Paper.
Watch or listen to Parliament live
There are several ways to tune in to Parliament during Question Time and when MPs are debating Bills.
- Watch live in your browser on parliament.nz
- On television on Freeview 31, Igloo 50, Sky 86 or Vodafone 86.
- RadioNZ runs a live stream when the House is in session and you can hear Parliament on the radio on: Auckland – AM 882; Waikato – AM 1494; Bay of Plenty – AM 657; Napier – AM 909; Wellington – AM 657; Christchurch – AM 963; Dunedin – AM 900; Southland – AM 1314.
- Parliament.nz tweets updates from the Debating Chamber but also other aspects of what’s happening in the House.
Catch up on Parliament later
Who sits where
“Government parties sit on the Speaker’s right and opposition parties sit on the Speaker‘s left.
“Members of Parliament sit in the block that is allocated to the political party they represent. The parties decide where each member will sit within their block. The most senior members usually sit in the front (on the front benches) while junior members sit towards the back of the block (on the back benches).”
Select Committees are where members of Parliament take a more detailed look at issues. Committees meet regularly to consider Bills, petitions, the finances of government and public organisations, and inquiries. They often invite public submissions.
The committees, which are appointed after each election, are: Business, Commerce, Education and Science, Finance and Expenditure, Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, Government Administration, Health, Justice and Electoral, Law and Order, Local Government and Environment, Māori Affairs, Officers of Parliament, Primary Production, Privileges, Regulations Review, Social Services, Standing Orders, Transport and Industrial Relations.
Parliament.nz publishes a schedule of Select Committee meetings (pdf), generally a week in advance.
Select Committees report their findings and recommendations back to the House of Representatives. Those reports are published on parliament.nz. There’s an RSS feed and you can subscribe to an email alert.
State Sector Organisations
The State Services Commission publishes a list of all State Sector organisations including public service departments, defence, police, crown entities and State-Owned Enterprises.
MPs’ Financial Interests
Members of New Zealand’s Parliament are required to declare their personal financial interests each year. You can see the latest Register on parliament.nz.
Request Official Information
Register of Political Parties
The Electoral Commission keeps a public Register of Political Parties.
Political Party Donations
Each registered political party must file an annual return of party donations with the Electoral Commission by 30 April.
How Parliament works
Parliament 101 is a short animation explaining the work of the New Zealand Parliament.