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Exercising Government through Parliament Seminar 25 September 2019

In September we held our second annual seminar on Exercising Government through Parliament. The seminar was opened by our President, the Rt Hon Trevor Mallard MP.

David Wilson followed on from Mr Speaker by detailing the roles, duties, and responsibilities of the Clerk of the House in conducting and managing House Business.

Speaking for the first time at a seminar, Michael Wood MP senior Government Whip and Matt Doocey MP Junior Opposition Whip spoke about the challenges and rewards of managing their respective parties and MPs, describing the role as being like an HR Manager. Both also talked about the importance of the pastoral side of the job.

We were pleased to welcome returning speaker Hon Tim Macindoe MP who spoke about the role of Select Committees through the public eye advising on making a submission and making the most of your time before a Select Committee.

The Hon Simon Bridges MP, Leader of the Opposition, followed and shared his insight and thoughts on the role of Opposition parties in the MMP environment.

Hon Grant Robertson MP, Minister of Finance, represented the Prime Minister and spoke about leadership and the collective responsibility that the role of Prime Minister holds. He cited different styles of leadership over the years and how MMP has impacted on that. He also talked about the complexities around coalition management.

Jessica Mutch McKay offered a unique insight into the role of the Press Gallery and her position as the 1 News political editor. She recounted a normal working week including the fascinating nuances of what goes on behind the camera. Participants were interested to listen to Jessica Mutch McKay’s compelling anecdotes of her experience as a reporter in the political environment.

Louisa Wall MP spoke on the role of political parties in the MMP environment including the effectiveness and limitations of the system. She also highlighted several cross-party initiatives that have been made possible through an MMP environment. That has included her work with the Commonwealth Women’s Parliamentarians Group in increasing the representation for women as well as bettering their lives inside Parliament. She highlighted how through the integration of MMP the diversity of ethnic, gender and sexuality has increased remarkably.

Hon Kris Faafoi MP discussed the role of the Cabinet Minister, managing multi portfolios and the need to have a good team of advisors around you. He also talked about how his working week is divided up between Cabinet responsibilities and electorate work. He also talked about how his experience working as a journalist at both TVNZ and the BBC gave him a wealth of knowledge to ensure the demands and duties as a Cabinet Minister are met.

Finally, Dan Bidois electorate member of Parliament for Northcote and Ginny Anderson Labour list MP in Hutt South outlined life as new backbench MPs. Including the expectations and pressures of the role as well as the focus when they are here at Parliament and how that changes when they are back in their respective electorates. Ginny and Dan also talked about their Select Committee work and in Dan’s case, his role as an associate spokesperson.