Parliament 101

Parliament 101


[MUSIC PLAYING] Parliament is the
supreme legislative power in New Zealand and is
made up of two parts– the Sovereign, represented
by the Governor General, whose role it is to open and
dissolve Parliament at election time, and officially
sign off laws once Parliament has
passed them, and the House of Representatives, made
up of about 120 MPs. Parliament has five functions. Represent the people
of New Zealand. Provide a government. Scrutinize and hold the
government to account. Make laws. And approve how
taxpayer money is spent. The makeup of
parliament is determined by a general election,
which usually happens once every three years. Under our electoral
system, voters cast two votes– one for who
they want to represent them as their local MP, and
the second for what party they want to form a government. The party vote
determines the number of seats each party
gets in parliament. And the government is formed
by the party or parties that together hold the
majority of seats in the House. The Prime Minister
then appoints some MPs from the government party or
parties to become ministers. They are given
responsibility to oversee areas, such as health, police,
education, and transport. The government’s role
is to run the country, propose policies
and laws, and decide how taxpayers’ money is spent. The opposition’s role is to
hold the government to account. They do this through asking
questions of ministers, through debates in the House on
major issues and legislation, and through the work
of select committees. Overseeing the day-to-day
business and good order of the house is
the responsibility of the Speaker, who acts like
Parliament’s chairperson. Party whips or musterers
act as party managers, making sure their party’s
MPs are in the chamber to speak– or vote– as needed. An important role of
parliament is passing new laws and improving or
repealing old ones. For a bill to
become law, it must go through a rigorous process. First, the bill must be
introduced to Parliament and have its first
reading debate. If the majority of
MPs vote for the bill, it will be sent to a
cross-party select committee for closer scrutiny
and public submissions. The bill is then reported
back to the House with any recommended changes,
and a second reading debate is held. If it survives its
second reading vote, MPs will then debate
the bill, part by part. This is the last chance
to change the bill. The bill then goes for its
third and final reading. If it passes, it’s
sent to the Governor General for royal assent before
becoming New Zealand Law. Subtitles by the Amara.org community

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16 thoughts on “Parliament 101

  1. Hi, The Autocaptions have done a pretty good job of captioning this so a few moments of edit would make this video accessible. Please fix the auto caps, thanks #CaptionitNZ  

  2. ha what a joke, nothing here says anything to do with the people that actually lives here just that we're represented

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