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The first part asked voters to choose between electoral reform or maintaining of the present first past the post system. The second part of the ballot asked voters to indicate which of four options for electoral reform they preferred: supplementary member, single transferable vote, mixed member proportional and preferential voting.

The referendum was held on 19 September Of the 1 people who voted roughly 55 percent of the electorate 1 or A clear preference was shown for mixed member proportional representation which received The single transferable vote system got A second referendum will be held in conjunction with the general election where voters will choose between the present first past the post system and mixed member proportional representation.

Chief electoral officer pointing out the final vote of Privacy of information. In August , the Government introduced the Privacy of Information bill. The bill is currently being studied by a select committee of Parliament. Its purpose is to promote and protect individual privacy in general accordance with the OECD guidelines on the protection of Privacy and Transborder flows of Personal Data.

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The bill provides that requests by natural persons for information about themselves are to be dealt with in accordance with the new Act rather than the Official Information Act when the relevant sections of the new Act come into force. These sections which are modelled on Part IV of the Official Information Act extend entitlements to access to personal information to information held by private sector agencies.

The right of review by the Ombudsmen in respect of refusal of personal information requests is to be replaced by a complaints procedure involving the new office of the Privacy Commissioner. If settlement of the complaint cannot be secured by the Commissioner proceedings may be taken to the Equal Opportunities Tribunal, renamed the Human Rights Tribunal. The Official Information Act is amended accordingly in the bill.

The Privacy Commissioner Act established a privacy commissioner with the functions of overseeing compliance by the government agencies involved in the matching of government information with the statutory controls; and of performing a general watchdog role in relation to privacy. The Privacy Commissioner has no jurisdiction to deal with complaints by individuals that the statutory controls have been breached. The controls consist of requirements such as notice to the affected individual before action can be taken on the basis of a successful match, observation of time limits on the commencement of action after a successful match, and the establishment of technical standards for the conduct of matching programmes.

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The information that may be matched with the beneficiary records of the Department of Social Welfare and the Accident Compensation Corporation covers information relating to prison inmates, people arriving in and departing from New Zealand, illegal immigrants, taxpayers, recipients of student allowances and records of births, deaths and marriages. At the heart of the parliamentary system lies the power to make laws that is vested by the Constitution Act in the Parliament of New Zealand, which consists of the Sovereign in right of New Zealand normally represented by the Governor-General and an elected House of Representatives.

The principal functions of Parliament are to enact laws, supervise the Government's administration, vote supply, provide a government, and redress grievances by way of petition. The Constitution Act forbids the House to allocate public funds for any purpose unless first recommended by the Crown.

Although the reasons for this provision are historical, it is also used by governments to defeat legislation brought forward by individual members which ministers are unwilling to support or adopt. On the other hand, the law forbids the Crown to tax citizens without express parliamentary approval. Perhaps the most important privilege of the House is that of freedom of speech, guaranteed by the Bill of Rights , and claimed by the Speaker upon confirmation in office by the Governor-General.

The House meets in answer to a summons from the Governor-General. Sessions of Parliament are marked by a formal opening when the Government's legislative programme is described in the Speech from the Throne, read by the Governor-General in the absence of the Sovereign, and a closing prorogation by proclamation. Because control of the House's business lies with the Government, many of the rules and customs of the House are designed to ensure that members are given a full opportunity to debate any aspect of government proposals. A central figure in Parliament is the Speaker, who is elected to act as an impartial chairman when the House is in session.

The Speaker controls debates and the conduct of members, and ensures the Standing Orders are complied with. The Speaker is assisted by the Clerk of the House of Representatives who notes all proceedings of the House and of any committee of the House, and provides advice on parliamentary law and custom. Mabel Howard was born in Adelaide, and emigrated to New Zealand with her father and sisters in In she took a commercial course at Christchurch Technical College, and in the same year became involved in politics, joining the Christchurch Socialist Party.

Following her father's active interest in the Trade Union movement, Howard held the position of assistant secretary and secretary of the Canterbury Labourers' Union before being appointed national secretary of the New Zealand Federated Labourers' Union in the first woman to hold such a position in an all-male trade union organisation. A year later she contested the by-election for the Christchurch East seat and won on the Labour ticket. She became the Labour member for Sydenham in , holding the seat until her retirement in Howard was a woman of strong convictions, particularly where women's equal rights were concerned, and she is remembered for her forthright approach.

She is most famous for her display of outsize women's bloomers in Parliament, demonstrating the poor quality of women's clothing, and the need for measurements to be given in inches. In addition to her devotion to women's issues, she also had a love of animals. This concern motivated her to fight successfully to enact the first Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Bill in New Zealand's first woman Cabinet minister, Mabel Howard.

Parliamentary opposition. As the name suggests, it is the job of the opposition party with the highest number of seats to oppose the Government. Its role is to present itself to the people as an alternative government. It will attack government policy and attempt to demonstrate inefficiency, and government or departmental mismanagement.

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The party system means it is unlikely that the Opposition could bring down a government by a no-confidence vote—there has been no instance of a successful no-confidence vote in the New Zealand Parliament since Parliamentary Committee of the Knights of Labour published a political platform which included the franchise of women. Mere Mangakahia led a deputation of women to the Maori parliament seeking the right to vote and sit in the Assembly. Seddon introduced the Electoral Bill.

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Hall presents petitions during reading. Third reading delayed. Three hundred yards of signed petition presented to Parliament were rolled out in front of members. The Suffrage Petition was signed by 31 out of New Zealand adult women.

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Third reading of the Electoral Bill. Second reading of the Electoral Bill in the Legislative Council. Women's suffrage passed through New Zealand legislature by votes in the council. Government accepts Bill. Anti-suffrage petition presented to the Governor. Governor-General assented to Electoral Bill at a. Evening Post sent out electoral enrolment forms with every copy of the paper with instructions on how to complete them. New Zealand women voted for the first national elections.

The House of Representatives is characterised by having two large, dominant parties, with the majority party forming the Government and the minority party forming the Opposition. In recent years, however, members of a third party have been elected to Parliament, and from time to time members have left one of the parties and have continued to sit as independent members. Because of the growth of a largely two-party system and the importance that the parties have assumed within the political framework, the party caucus a meeting of each party's members of Parliament in closed session at regular intervals, once a week when Parliament is in session is a primary means of developing policies and tactics.

Source: Department of Justice. Process of legislation. There are three types of bill: public bills, which deal with the most important subjects of a public and general nature most public bills are introduced by the Government ; local bills, which are promoted by local authorities to give themselves special powers or validate unlawful action they may have taken; and private bills, which are promoted by private individuals or companies also to give themselves special powers. The procedure for passing a public bill in the House of Representatives is for it to receive a first reading, which is a formal introductory stage, allowing a maximum debating time of two hours.

Almost all bills are then sent to a select committee. Detailed scrutiny of legislation and facets of executive activity, e. This procedure enables the public and interested bodies to make submissions, in the expectation that better laws will result.


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Following its deliberations the select committee will report the bill back with any proposed amendments. On the second reading the formal debate will occur on the principles of the bill. This may involve considerable debating time. The entire bill is considered in this way and formally reported back to the House for its third reading, with any amendments that have been agreed. Debate may also take place on the bill's third reading, after which it is forwarded to the Governor-General for approval.

On receiving the Royal assent the bill becomes an Act of Parliament and part of the law of New Zealand. The various stages of the bill do not always follow any set time pattern. Weeks or even months can elapse between readings.


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Local and private bills pass through similar stages to those for a public bill, however, in these two types of bills the person or body promoting the bill must also advertise the bill before it can be introduced. Sessions of Parliament. The first session of the 43rd New Zealand Parliament was called following the General Election of 27 October and sat from 28 November to 19 December The first session concluded when Parliament was prorogued on 18 January , and a new session was called to discuss the outbreak of hostilities in the Gulf.

The House had, on 19 December , adjourned until 19 February As no power was then vested in the Speaker or in anyone else to appoint an earlier meeting time while the House stood and adjourned, the only way in which an accelerated meeting could be effected was by the Crown proroguing Parliament and summoning it to meet in a new session.

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One hundred and twenty nine public Acts were passed during the second session of the 42nd Parliament and nine during the first session of the 43rd Parliament. Source: Clerk of the House of Representatives. Parliamentary Service. Te Ratonga Whare Paremata.