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Opening of Parliament

OPENING OF PARLIAMENT

Senior Judges are present at the Commission Opening of Parliament, Confirmation of Speaker and the State Opening of Parliament.

Pursuant to s18 Constitution Act 1986, the Governor-General by Proclamation summons Parliament to meet following a general election.  However, the Governor-General does not attend this first meeting of Parliament in person (Commission Opening of Parliament) but appoints Commissioners (usually the Chief Justice is Chief Commissioner plus two senior Judges) to declare Parliament open on his behalf.  The Commissioners are escorted to and from Parliament by the Sheriff of the High Court (Registrar of the High Court at Wellington).  In the Debating Chamber (where members of Parliament just elected have gathered) the Commissisoners declare Parliament open on behalf of the Governor-General and then leave. 

The Confirmation of Speaker by the Governor-General is attended by all members of Parliament and the three Commissioners in a separate ceremony held in the Legislative Council Chamber.  The Commissioners do not have any formal role but support the Governor-General by their presence.

The final ceremony associated with the Opening of Parliament involving the judiciary is the State Opening of Parliament.  The Chief Justice plus 11 Judges are escorted to and from Parliament by the Sheriff of the High Court.  The Judges do not have any formal role during the State Opening.

Bibliography

  • McGee, Parliamentary Practice in New Zealand (3rd Edn) (2005)
  • The Laws of New Zealand, Constitutional Law (2003)
  • Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives publications.

 

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