Why We Are Here: The Purpose and Scope of this Seminar

The Legislative Process: A Seminar for Public Servants: 5 & 6 July 2006

Why We Are Here - The Purpose and Scope of this Seminar

Today’s Speakers: Presentation 2
David McGee QC
Clerk of the House

The Legislative Process in Parliament – An Overview

Today’s Speakers: Presentation 3
Catherine Parkin
Senior Parliamentary Officer

The Role of Select Committees in Legislation

Today’s Speakers: Presentation 4
Graeme Buchanan 
Deputy Secretary, Legal, Department of Labour

How Public Servants should deal with Legislation in Parliament

Today’s Speakers: Presentation 5
George Tanner QC
Chief Parliamentary Counsel

The Role of the Parliamentary Counsel in relation to Bills in front of Parliament

Presentation 5 Continued
Professor John Burrows QC
University of Canterbury


Today’s Speakers: Presentation 6
Donna Tunnicliffe
Second Clerk-Assistant and Reader

Ivan Kwok
Treasury and LAC member

Presentation 6 Continued

What Happens at Committee of the Whole House Stage and Afterwards

Panel Discussion
David McGee QC
George Tanner QC
Sir Geoffrey Palmer
Graeme Buchanan
Ivan Kwok
Professor John Burrows

Why We Are Here

Constitution Act 1986, s 15: 
Parliament has “full power to make laws”.

Why We Are Here

Legislation is important:

Foundation of most of our law and principal source of new law

Importance of Legislation

Must get legislation right
Hard to get it right

Today’s seminar: 
Legislation in Parliament

Not looking at the Executive Branch

Today’s Focus:

The Legislative Process in Parliament

The Legislative Process

“Bills are made to pass as razors are made to sell”.
Lord Thring, 1869

The Legislative Process

“Once begin the dance of legislation, and you must struggle through its mazes as best you can to its breathless end – if any end there be”.
Woodrow Wilson, 1885

MMP and the Legislative Process
How the dance has changed

MMP and the Legislative Process
Process more complex since MMP

MMP and the Legislative Process
Reduced Executive control of legislation

MMP and Government Bills
Profound effects for Government bills – decline in number passed

Controversial legislation
harder to pass – needs cross-party support

MMP and Select Committees
Select committees increasingly important:

Government no longer controls select committees – no majority

MMP and Quality of Legislation:-Improvements
Slowed down law-making process – fewer bills passed

MMP and Quality of Legislation:-Fresh Perils
Accommodating a wide variety of political views within legislation

MMP and Quality of Legislation:-Fresh Perils
Risks to coherence and clarity

Too Much Law?
Single-chambered Parliament

Too Much Law?
Nearly 1100 general acts in force in New Zealand

Too Much Law?
Misplaced belief that legislation cures all

The Basic Question
The basic question in respect of every proposed bill should be: Why is this law necessary?

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