Register of Pecuniary Interests

The 2016 register of pecuniary interests (and other specified interests) of MPs was made available yesterday.

This is usually scrutinised by media and I’m sure by political parties (checking their opponents).

Here are details what it is all about.

Register of Pecuniary and Other Specified Interests of Members of Parliament: Summary of annual returns as at 31 January 2016

Presented to the House of Representatives pursuant to Appendix B of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives

MISTER SPEAKER I have the honour to provide to you, pursuant to clause 18(3) of Appendix B of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, a copy of the summary booklet containing a fair and accurate description of the information contained in the Register of Pecuniary and Other Specified Interests of Members of Parliament, as at 31 January 2016.

Sir Maarten Wevers KNZM
Registrar of Pecuniary and Other Specified Interests of Members of Parliament

Introduction

Since 2006, members of Parliament have been required to register a range of pecuniary and certain specified personal interests as set out in clauses 5 to 8 of Appendix B of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives. The interests that are required to be registered are listed below.

Items 1 to 9 provide a “snapshot” or stock of pecuniary and specified interests of members as at 31 January 2016. Items 10 to 13 identify a flow of members’ interests for the period from the member’s previous return. This report summarises the information provided to the Registrar in members’ returns in respect of any of the categories below which may apply to a particular member:

  1. Company directorships and controlling interests (clause 5(1)(a))
  2. Interests (such as shares and bonds) in companies and business entities (clause 5(1)(b) and (2))
  3. Employment (clause 5(1)(c))
  4. Interests in trusts (clause 5(1)(d))
  5. Organisations and trusts seeking Government funding (clause 5(1)(e) and (3))
  6. Real property (clause 5(1)(f) and (1)(g))
  7. Superannuation schemes (clause 5(1)(h))
  8. Debtors (clauses 5(1)(i),5(4), 6, and 7)
  9. Creditors (clauses 5(1)(j), 5(4), 6, and 7)
  10. Overseas travel (clause 8(1)(a) and (2))
  11. Gifts (clause 8(1)(b) and (3))
  12. Discharged debts (clause 8(1)(c) and (4))
  13. Payments for activities (clause 8(1)(d) and (5)).

Registrar’s comments on returns process

My role as Registrar is to compile and maintain the Register, and provide advice and guidance to members in connection with their obligations. It remains the responsibility of individual members to submit a return that meets the requirements of Standing Orders.

Once again this year, individual members have sought my advice, or the advice of my office, to assist them to make their return. There were no matters of undue or general concern raised by members in their discussions with me, although some matters raised did underline, once again, that interpretation of the Standing Orders is still required on occasion.

The full provisions of Appendix B of Standing Orders, which set out the latest requirements of the Register, are reproduced in this report (page 67) for information purposes.

My assessment is that the revised Standing Orders, introduced in 2014, have led to improved transparency of members’ interests, for example in relation to gifts, and trusts. In this way, members’ returns can again be seen to have contributed to the purpose of the Register, which is to facilitate the transaction of the business of the House by promoting the highest standards of behaviour and conduct by members, and thereby strengthening public trust and confidence in parliamentary processes and decision-making.

The approach of the New Zealand Parliament to members’ interests can be compared to similar efforts in other democratic jurisdictions, particularly in the Westminster democracies, which all have their own form of Register. Public confidence in parliamentary processes and members’ conduct is a matter of ongoing interest in representative democracies worldwide and requires ongoing effort from members and parliamentary institutions to be sustained. I continue to observe developments in comparable jurisdictions with interest.

I was also pleased to have the opportunity to meet my counterparts in the House of Commons and House of Lords at Westminster, where issues surroundings members’ interests, and allowances and conditions, have been a matter of sustained public interest and strong criticism. Those conversations affirmed the importance of local context in designing systems for the registration of members’ interests.

In conclusion, I wish to note that although almost all members submitted their returns to me by the specified deadline, one was received shortly after the due date. I have nevertheless decided to include the contents of The Hon. Hekia Parata’s return in this report, in the interest of completeness.

Source (PDF): Register of Pecuniary and Other Specified Interests of Members of Parliament: Summary of annual returns as at 31 January 2016

Leave a comment

2 Comments

  1. Pete Kane

     /  13th April 2016

    This on RNZ this morning – I’m really not sure what mileage there is in this longer term.
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/201796842/key-left-to-explain-as-panama-papers-continue-to-reverberate

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  13th April 2016

      None, probably, when it proves to be a complete non-starter. Any connection with the Panama papers is probably non-existent if what we heard on the news is right.

      Reply

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