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New Zealand House of Representatives committees

Parliamentary committees of the New Zealand House of Representatives are groups of MPs appointed by the House of Representatives and tasked with overseeing bills and government policy in detail.[1] Committees for the 52nd Parliament are established by Standing Order 188.[2]

Committee of the whole HouseEdit

The procedure of legislation passing through Parliament requires the House to form itself into a 'Committee of the whole House' following a second reading, allowing for the bill to be debated part-by-part by all Members. This committee sees the Deputy Speaker or Assistant Speakers presiding over it.[3]


Since the 1960s select committees have taken an increasingly powerful role, dealing with more bills. From the 1970s they became more open to the public and the media, and from 1979 they handled nearly all legislation.[4] The strengthening of the committee system was in response to concerns that legislation was being forced through, without receiving due examination and revision.

Each new Parliament appoints a number of committees – these remain largely unchanged between parliaments. Legislation is scrutinised by select committees following the first reading of a bill. The committees can call for submissions from the public, thereby meaning that there is a degree of public consultation before a parliamentary bill proceeds into law. There are two types of committees:

  • Select committees – established to oversee government actions and policy, as well as examining bills in detail. Select committees are empowered to hold the Government to account, with ministers presenting evidence and answering questions as necessary. The committees may recommend amendments to a bill when they report back to the House and such recommendations are voted on at the second reading.[5] There are currently twelve such committees.
  • Specialist committees – established to oversee the procedures of the House itself. There are currently five such committees.

The present system, with permanent committees for designated subject matters, was implemented in 1985, in order to promote accountability and a greater separation of Parliament from government.[4]


Each committee consists of between six and twelve MPs. Political parties are generally represented approximately in similar proportions as they are represented in the House as a whole. Membership of committees is determined by the Business Specialist Committee at the beginning of each parliament. Attempts are made to allocate MPs into committees for subject areas those MPs have experience in. Each committee elects its own chairperson. Each select committee has a chairperson and a deputy chairperson. MPs may be, and almost always are, members of more than one select committee. Government ministers do not sit on committees generally, though there are some exceptions (usually for Specialist committees).

Membership of the Business Committee itself is determined by the Speaker (who chairs) and political party leaders.

List of committees in the 52nd ParliamentEdit

The following table lists the select and specialist committees of the 52nd Parliament, their subjects and their respective current chairs:

Committees of the 52nd Parliament
Committee Subject(s) Chairperson Government/Opposition divide
Select Committees
Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee Business development, tourism, Crown minerals, commerce, consumer protection and trading standards, research, science, innovation, intellectual property, broadcasting, communications, and information technology.[6] Jonathan Young (National) 5/5
Education and Workforce Committee Education, training, employment, immigration, industrial relations, health and safety, and accident compensation.[7] Sarah Dowie (National) 5/5
Environment Committee Conservation, environment, and climate change.[8] Deborah Russell (Labour) 5/4
Finance and Expenditure Committee Economic and fiscal policy, taxation, revenue, banking and finance, superannuation, insurance, Government expenditure and financial performance, and public audit.[9] Michael Wood (Labour) 7/6
Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee Customs, defence, disarmament and arms control, foreign affairs, trade and veterans’ affairs.[10] Simon O'Connor (National) 4/4
Governance and Administration Committee Parliamentary and legislative services, Prime Minister and Cabinet, State services, statistics, internal affairs, civil defence and emergency management, and local government.[11] Brett Hudson (National) 4/4
Health Committee Health. Louisa Wall (Labour) 4/4
Justice Committee Constitutional and electoral matters, human rights, justice, courts, crime and criminal law, police, corrections, and Crown legal services.[12] Raymond Huo (Labour) 4/4
Māori Affairs Committee Māori affairs and Treaty of Waitangi negotiations.[13] Rino Tirikatene (Labour) 4/4
Primary Production Committee Agriculture, biosecurity, racing, fisheries, productive forestry, lands, and land information.[14] Hon David Bennett (National) 4/4
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.[15] Gareth Hughes (Green Party) 5/4
Transport and Infrastructure Committee Transport, transport safety, infrastructure, energy, building and construction.[16] Darroch Ball (NZ First) 5/4
Specialist Committees
Business Committee (Speaker) Each year it recommends when Parliament meets and when matters are debated (the order of business). It decides who the members of select committees are. It also determines if Parliament meets for extended periods of time (extended settings).[17] Speaker Rt Hon Trevor Mallard (Labour) 7/5
Officers of Parliament Committee Oversees the officers of Parliament and recommends persons for appointment as officers of Parliament to the House.[18] Speaker Rt Hon Trevor Mallard (Labour) 4/2
Privileges Committee Focuses on the rights and freedoms that allow the House of Representatives to do its work and make laws free from outside interference.[19] Hon David Parker (Labour) 5/5
Regulations Review Committee To keep New Zealand running efficiently, law making powers are often given to bodies that are not Parliament. These bodies make rules about common things like ACC fees, industry standards and civil defence responses that can have a nationwide impact. The Committee makes sure that all these rules have been made fairly and are used consistently.[20] Hon Jacqui Dean (National) 3/3
Standing Orders Committee Reviews or considers the rules that govern how the House operates.[21] Speaker Rt Hon Trevor Mallard (Labour) TBD

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "About select committees". Parliament NZ. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  2. ^ Standing Orders of the House of Representatives 2017, SO 188
  3. ^ "Committee of the whole House". Parliament NZ. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  4. ^ a b Martin, John E. (20 June 2012). "Parliament - Reform, 1980s onwards". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  5. ^ "Standing Orders 2017 by chapter: Chapter 5: Legislative procedures". New Zealand Parliament. 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Economic Development, Science and Innovation". Parliament NZ. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  7. ^ "Education and Workforce". Parliament NZ. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  8. ^ "Environment". Parliament NZ. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  9. ^ "Finance and Expenditure". Parliament NZ. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade". Parliament NZ. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Governance and Administration". Parliament NZ. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Justice". Parliament NZ. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  13. ^ "Māori Affairs". Parliament NZ. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  14. ^ "Primary Production". Parliament NZ. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  15. ^ "Social Services and Community". Parliament NZ. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  16. ^ "Transport and Infrastructure". Parliament NZ. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  17. ^ "Business". Parliament NZ. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  18. ^ "Officers of Parliament". Parliament NZ. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  19. ^ "Privileges". Parliament NZ. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  20. ^ "Regulations Review". Parliament NZ. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  21. ^ "Standing Orders". Parliament NZ. Retrieved 28 October 2017.

External linksEdit