Longer sitting hours for Parliament opposed

MPs have poured cold water on a proposal for Parliament to sit for longer hours.

The Urgency Report, a New Zealand Law Foundation-funded submission presented to a parliamentary standing orders committee yesterday, included a survey showing a shortfall in the number of hours Parliament sat in comparison to other Commonwealth countries.

According to a survey, in 2008 Parliament sat for 486 hours, while Britain's House of Commons sat for 1188 and its House of Lords sat for 1010. Australia's House of Representatives sat for 639 hours.

"Even allowing for the fact that 2008 was an election year for New Zealand, the sitting hours for the House were at the lower end of the range," the report said.

"There is, therefore, a real issue that needs to be addressed as to whether the New Zealand House of Representatives ought to sit for longer hours."

Among the suggestions in the report were that Parliament sit on Fridays, that it sit for longer hours on current sitting days, and that there be less recess weeks.

However, the committee did not appear to welcome the suggestions, with Labour MP Rick Barker opposing in particular an idea that parliamentary committees run at the same time as the House was sitting.

Mr Barker said the strategy had been used before, but had caused problems when people needed to be in the House and in committees.

"It sounds attractive but our experience is that it doesn't work."

Mr Barker also said MPs did not want to spend more time in Wellington, and preferred to be spending time in their electorates doing other things.

"I would think it would be hard thing to get MPs to agree to more sitting hours on a Friday and so on," he said.

"In the early days they just didn't go home so the Fridays were no problem, but now they want to go home."

This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about My Tags

2 Comments & Questions

Commenter icon key: Subscriber Verified

Well they would oppose it, wouldn't they?

Reply
Share

getting a bit too much like hard work?

Reply
Share

Post New comment or question

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

NZ Market Snapshot

Forex

Sym Price Change
USD 0.7786 -0.0046 -0.59%
AUD 0.8852 -0.0021 -0.24%
EUR 0.6215 0.0001 0.02%
GBP 0.4868 -0.0029 -0.59%
HKD 6.0371 -0.0375 -0.62%
JPY 87.2850 1.7180 2.01%

Commods

Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1198.1 -13.300 2014-10-30T00:
Oil Brent 86.2 1.180 2014-10-30T00:
Oil Nymex 81.1 -1.180 2014-10-30T00:
Silver Index 16.4 -0.844 2014-10-30T00:

Indices

Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 5370.2 5405.3 5396.7 -0.16%
NASDAQ 4639.4 4641.5 4566.1 1.28%
DAX 9283.4 9339.3 9114.8 2.33%
DJI 17208.8 17381.4 17195.4 1.07%
FTSE 6463.6 6553.4 6463.6 1.28%
HKSE 23913.7 24046.4 23702.0 1.25%
NI225 15817.1 16533.9 15658.2 4.83%