List of access keys

Bills and Supplementary Order Papers

If you have a question that cannot be answered from the information provided below or the other frequently asked questions (FAQ), please contact us.

How do I find a particular Bill or Supplementary Order Paper?
How does a Bill become law?
At which stage of the legislative process may I make a contribution?
How do I find out whether a Bill or any Legislative Instruments are being drafted?
How do I find out what stage a Bill is at in the House of Representatives?
How do I find an explanatory note for a Bill?
How do I get a copy of a select committee's report on a Bill?
How do I find a departmental report on a Bill?
How do I find submissions to a select committee on a Bill?
How do I find parliamentary speeches on a Bill?

How do I find a particular Bill or Supplementary Order Paper (SOP)?

Bills become publicly available once they have been introduced into the House of Representatives (although proposed Members' Bills become available after they have been lodged). SOPs become available after they have been circulated to members of Parliament.

Bills from 2008, and some earlier Bills, with their associated SOPs, are available on the New Zealand Legislation website. See What is on this website?, How up to date is this website?, and Search tips—how do I find … Supplementary Order Papers?

Bills introduced since the start of 2003, and earlier Bills that are still before the House, and their related SOPs, are available from the New Zealand Parliament website, along with their legislative history and related information. Proposed Members' Bills are also available from the New Zealand Parliament website (note that these Bills have not been introduced to the House and so are not available through the New Zealand Legislation website). Plain text Bills, some from 1985, to 2007, and Supplementary Order Papers, 2004 to 2007, are also available from the Knowledge Basket.

Printed copies of Bills and SOPs are available for sale from Legislation Direct and some bookshops.

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How does a Bill become law?

For a general description, see How a Bill becomes law and Parliament Brief: The legislative process on the New Zealand Parliament website.

For a more detailed explanation of how a Bill becomes law, see David McGee, Parliamentary Practice in New Zealand, 3rd ed, Dunmore Publishing Ltd, Wellington, 2005, Chapters 27 and 28.

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At which stage of the legislative process may I make a contribution?

Members of the public are usually able to make submissions on Bills that are being considered by a select committee. See How to make a submission on the New Zealand Parliament website.

Ministers sometimes invite the public to make submissions on draft Legislative Instruments.

See also Engaging with government on newzealand.govt.nz.

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How do I find out whether a Bill or any Legislative Instruments are being drafted?

Whether or not particular legislation, or legislation on a particular topic, is being drafted is generally confidential, and the Parliamentary Counsel Office cannot provide any information on this matter.

For information about particular legislation, you should contact the government agency that administers that legislation. For information about legislation on a particular topic, you should contact the government agency responsible for the general subject-matter with which the legislation deals. See How do I find out which agency administers a particular Act or Legislative Instrument?

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How do I find out what stage a Bill is at in the House of Representatives?

If the House of Representatives is sitting, the business of the House for each sitting day is set out on the Order Paper, which is available on the New Zealand Parliament website and for sale from Legislation Direct and some bookshops. The Order Paper sets out the order in which Bills will be considered by the House on that sitting day.

The New Zealand Parliament website lists Bills before the House and select committees, and gives the legislative history of each one.

The Parliamentary Bulletin is published at the end of each sitting week of the House of Representatives. It lists the progress of legislation in that week, including Bills assented to, Bills introduced, and Bills before select committees. It also lists the Progress of legislation in the current Parliament. The Parliamentary Bulletin is available from Legislation Direct and some bookshops.

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How do I find an explanatory note for a Bill?

When a Bill is introduced into the House, it has printed with it an explanatory note that sets out the policy that the Bill seeks to achieve, and may also explain the provisions of the Bill.

If the Bill becomes an Act, the explanatory note is not published with the Act. The explanatory note does not appear with later versions of the Bill and is not updated if the Bill is later amended.

To obtain the explanatory note to a Bill, you need to obtain a copy of the Bill as introduced. See How do I find a particular Bill or Supplementary Order Paper?

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How do I get a copy of a select committee's report on a Bill?

When a select committee has considered a Bill, it will generally produce a report on its consideration. That report usually takes the form of a commentary on the Bill, and is published together with the Bill as reported back to the House from the select committee.

“As reported” Bills are available from the same sources as Bills as introduced to the House. See How do I find a particular Bill or Supplementary Order Paper?

Sometimes a select committee will produce an interim report on a Bill. Interim reports are available on the New Zealand Parliament website. Interim reports are published annually as part of the Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives, and are also sold individually by Legislation Direct and some bookshops.

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How do I find a departmental report on a Bill?

When a select committee is considering a Bill, the select committee will usually ask the Government agency that is responsible for the Bill to produce a report based on the issues raised in the submissions.

Until a select committee has reported to the House on a Bill, its proceedings are confidential. However, once the select committee has reported the Bill back to the House, the proceedings of the committee (including the departmental report) are publicly available, with the exception of any secret evidence given to the committee. Copies of papers are lodged in the Parliamentary Library, and may be inspected on request by members of the public.

A copy of a departmental report may also be requested from the agency concerned under the Official Information Act 1982, once the select committee has reported to the House on the Bill.

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How do I find submissions to a select committee on a Bill?

Submissions on a Bill are confidential until the select committee decides to release them. General practice is to release written submissions (if a hearing has not been requested) when the committee starts hearing oral submissions. The written part of oral submissions (if any) is released at the time the submission is heard by the committee.

Once the select committee has reported to the House, the proceedings of the committee (including the submissions) are publicly available, with the exception of any secret evidence given to the committee. Copies of papers (including submissions) are lodged in the Parliamentary Library, and may be inspected on request by members of the public.

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How do I find parliamentary speeches on a Bill?

Parliamentary speeches are recorded and published in the New Zealand Parliamentary Debates series, which is commonly known as Hansard.

Hansard is available on the New Zealand Parliament website. Links to Hansard are also provided with the listings of individual Bills.

Printed copies of Hansard are available in many public libraries. Copies are also for sale from Legislation Direct and some bookshops.

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