Making a submission

to a Parliamentary

Select committee

Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives

Parliament House, Wellington, New Zealand



What is a Submission? - How your submission may be written or oral , in English or Maori, and its purpose
Calling for submissions - When and how a select committee calls for submissions
How to write a submission - What you should consider before putting pen to paper
Layout of your submission - How to make the greatest impact through the layout of your submission
Content of your submission - What your submission is in relation to; a bill or inquiry
Writing on a bill - How a submission on a bill will usually differ to a submission on an inquiry
Writing for an inquiry - The need to consider fully an inquiry's terms of reference
Sending your submission - Where you should send your submission once you have completed it
Presenting oral submissions - How to make the most of your time before a select committee hearing
Natural justice provisions - What your rights are as a witness before a select committee
What is a select committee? - How they are appointed and their membership
Committee areas of responsibility - What types of select committees there are and their subject areas
Operation of select committees - How select committees function and the rules that govern their operation
Suggested format - How your submission should look

Page 4 of the original was all white space.

What is a submission?

A submission is the presentation of views or opinions on a matter currently under consideration by a select committee. Submissions are normally received in written form, and they can be reinforced through oral presentation to the committee. By writing or presenting a submission, you are providing the committee with your own insights, observations and opinions. The reasons that you provide for any proposed changes that you believe should be made, or proposed actions you believe should be taken, will give validity to your submission. Submissions may be presented in English or Maori.

Calling for submissions
When a committee decides to seek submissions, it usually has advertisements placed in the public notices column of the major daily, or relevant local newspapers. The advertisement will state: How to write a submission While there is no set format that a submission to a select committee should take, you should aim to present your submission in a way that is both ordered and easy to read. The following are suggestions that will help you achieve this. a suggested format is included on page 14. You should include the following information.

Layout of your submission

Submission layout is very important. The following guidelines are designed to assist you in preparing a more effective submission. See suggested format on page 14. Content of your submission

When writing a submission to a select committee, you will usually be making comments in relation to a bill or inquiry. While there are differences in the way a submission is written for a bill or an inquiry, there are five basic principles that apply to both.


Writing on a bill

When writing a submission on an bill you should have a copy of that bill so you know what is being proposed. A list of bookshops that sell legislation and other government publications is at the rear of this booklet. You will then be able to focus your submission on what the bill actually contains.

Writing for an inquiry

Writing a submission for an inquiry is different from writing a submission on a bill. As there are no specific clauses to comment on, use the terms of


reference of the inquiry as a guide to presenting your views. You may then like to list any specific recommendations that you wish the committee to consider. It is essential to have a copy of the inquiry's terms of reference to assist you in preparing your submission.

Sending your submission

Select committees require 20 copies of each submission. This enables each member of the committee and committee officials to have a copy. Copies are also required for the committee's records, the news media and the Parliamentary Library. All copies should be sent together to the Clerk of the Committee before the closing date for submissions.

Address your submission to:

                Clerk of the Committee

                .......................... Committee

                Select Committee Office

                Parliament Buildings


If you have any problems meeting the closing date, telephone the Clerk of the Committee immediately so that alternative arrangements, if possible, can be made. A late submission will not necessarily be accepted.

Presenting oral submissions

Oral submissions provide you with the opportunity to reinforce what you have said in your written submission and allow the committee to clarify points raised in that submission. Once the committee has decided to hear your submission, the Clerk of the Committee will contact you to arrange the necessary details of the time and place of the meeting. Please note that notification of the meeting may be at short notice.

Before the meeting

The format for the presentation of oral submissions varies between committees and the nature of the business. As the hearing of evidence during a


committee meeting is generally open to the public and the news media, you may wish to attend one of these meetings before you give evidence yourself or to arrive early to observe other presentations. You can discuss the amount of time allotted to you with the Clerk of the Committee. It is best to discuss such matters before the meeting commences. The committee makes the final decision as to how much time is allotted to witnesses.

Prior to appearing before the committee, it is a good idea to prepare your presentation so you are able to present all relevant points and leave enough time for questions. Although committees usually work to a timetable, the time to hear a submission will vary according to circumstances and the nature of the information that the committee wants.

At the meeting

At the meeting, when the committee is ready to hear your submission, the chairperson will invite you to sit at the table and may introduce each member of the committee to you. At this stage, you should introduce yourself and those who are appearing with you, if necessary. Please note that the term 'chairperson' has superseded 'chairman' and all communications with the committee should be addressed through the chairperson.

Following the introductions, the chairperson will then ask you to speak to your submission. Briefly summarise the main points of your submission along with any recommendations. Because of time constraints and the fact that the committee will have already studied your submission, you should refrain from reading it. If there is any new information that has become available, you may wish to inform the committee of it. Please provide the Clerk of the Committee with copies of any supplementary submission preferably before the meeting or when you arrive.

After your presentation After your presentation the members of the committee will usually question you to clarify points they are uncertain about or that they feel require further examination. If there are any other people appearing with you, you may wish to call on them to answer questions.

Sometimes the committee will ask for additional information. You should forward 20 copies of each item of information requested to the Clerk of the Committee by an agreed date.


Natural Justice Provisions The Standing Orders provide some protection to you when you appear as a witness before a select committee. Your rights as a witness allow you to :

The Standing Orders also provide certain protections for people where allegations made in select committee proceedings may seriously damage their reputation, whether or not that person appears as a witness. Such as person may:
Apparent bias occurs where a member has made an allegation of crime or expressed a concluded view on any conduct or activity of a criminal nature identifying by name or otherwise a person as being responsible for or associated with that crime, conduct or activity.

Further information on natural justice can be obtained from the Office of the Clerk. If you wish to raise any of the matters outlined above, contact the Clerk of the Committee.


What is a select committee?

Select committees are appointed by the House of Representatives to undertake business on behalf of the House. they are small select groups of members of Parliament, which derive their powers from the House and report their findings to it. Their membership reflects the balance of parties in the House and is usually eight members. Most select committees are subject select committees, but there can also be ad hoc select committees.

Select committee consideration allows for detailed examination of matters in a manner which would not be possible in the House. This also allows members of the public to have a direct input into the parliamentary process by making written submission and attending public hearings. Select committees may travel within New Zealand to obtain evidence.

Committee areas of responsibility

There are 12 subject select committees and their subject areas are as follows.


Operation of Select Committees

The rules by which the House of Representatives operates, Standing Orders, provide for the following matters in relation to select committees.

Calling for evidence

Select committees have wide powers to call for people to attend meetings and for documentation and records to be disclosed.

Hearing of submissions

Although it is normal practice to receive and consider submissions, select committees are not required to do so. it is usual for submissions to be heard in public. However, depending on the nature of the submission, committees can also hear evidence either in private or in secret. Evidence heard in private will remain confidential until the item of business (bill or inquiry) to which it relates is reported back to the House. Secret evidence, on the other hand, remains secret unless the house chooses to disclose it.

Status of submissions

While submission can be discussed freely during their preparation, once a submission has been sent to a committee it becomes the property of that committee. Committees usually release submissions when they start hearing evidence. It is not a breach of parliamentary privilege for you to release your submission before the committee has received it. However, such a release may be seen to be discourteous by the committee. Should you wish to release your submission, to the press for example, before it has been heard by the committee you should contact the Clerk of the Committee beforehand.



You are responsible for paying your own travel expenses to meeting venues and all other personal costs associated with presenting your submission. Travel

Select committees may travel within New Zealand to obtain evidence and hear submissions.

Suggested format

Here is a suggested format layout which you may wish to consider copying.

Page number
To the ..................................... ..................................................... ...................................... Committee

on the ...................................... ..................................................... ....................................... Bill/Inquiry

1.       This submission is from (name of individual/organisation and address)

2.       I/we wish to appear before the committee to speak to my/our submission. I can be contacted at : (List your daytime contact telephone number or the name, address and contact telephone number of the contact person for your organisation if different from above).

      I/we wish that the following also appear in court in support of my/our submission (List names and positions in organisation).

3.       (If an organisation, give the brief details of your organisation's aims, membership and structure and the people consulted in the preparation of your submission.)

General/Summary (if a long submission)

4.       I/we support/oppose the intent of this bill because (state the reasons why).

    I/we wish to make the following comments (views on the general intent of the inquiry).

Clause * (Bill)

5.       I/we support/oppose the provisions of this clause because (state reasons why).

Clause * (Bill)

6.       Although I/we agree with the general intent of this clause, I/we feel that (note any changes you would like to see made and be as specific as you can suggesting new wording for the clause if you wish).

Specific comments (Inquiry)

5.       I/we wish to raise the following matters under terms of reference 1, terms of reference 2 etc (expand on your views and give reasons for them).


7.       (List any further recommendations or conclusions that you wish the committee to consider. You may wish to restate recommendations mentioned earlier in the text.)


Legislation and other government
publications are available from:

AUCKLAND: Bennetts Government Bookshop, Level One, Whitcoulls Corner Store, Queen Street, PO Box 5513, Wellesley St, Auckland,
Phone: (09) 356-5402, Fax: (09) 356-5409

HAMILTON: Bennetts Government Bookshop, Whitcoulls, Centreplace, Bryce Street, PO Box 928, Hamilton,
Phone: (07) 839-6305, Fax: (07) 834-3520

ROTORUA: McLeod's Booksellers, Hinemoa Centre, Hinemoa Street, Rotorua,
Phone: (07) 348-5388, Fax: (07) 349-0288

TAURANGA: Books "A" Plenty, 28 Grey Street, Tauranga,
Phone (07) 578-6607

NEW PLYMOUTH: London Bookshop (Franchise),
Shop 9 Centre City, New Plymouth,
Phone: (06) 758-8883

PALMERSTON NORTH: Bennetts Bookshop, 38 - 42 Broadway Ave, PO Box 138, Palmerston North,
Phone (06) 358-3009, Fax: (06) 358-2836

Bennetts University Bookshop, Massey University, Palmerston North,
Phone:(06) 354-6020, Fax: (06) 354-6716

WELLINGTON: Bennetts Government Bookshop, Bowen House, Cnr Lambton Quay & Bowen St, PO Box 5334, Wellington.
Phone: (04) 499-3433, Fax: (04) 499-3375

CHRISTCHURCH: Bennetts Government Bookshop, Whitcoulls, 111 Cashel St, Private Bag Christchurch,
Phone (03) 379-7142, Fax: (03) 377-2529

DUNEDIN: Bennetts Government Bookshop, Whitcoulls Shop, 143 George St, PO Box 1104, Dunedin,
Phone (03) 477-8294, Fax: (03) 477-7869


About this booklet

New Zealand's system of parliamentary democracy not only provides for citizens to elect their representatives, but also allows citizens to have a say in shaping the laws that affect them. This involvement is achieved by the select committees of the House of Representatives receiving submissions from the public. The system of public input into legislative proposals is an important element in the parliamentary process and in the democratic life of the country. Submission are also received on parliamentary inquiries and other matters before a select committee. This provides the public with the opportunity to put forward its views on issues and may ultimately result in new laws.

For public submission to be effective, content and format are factors that need to be considered carefully. This booklet is designed to help those writing a submission to a select committee to produce it in a form that is easily read and understood by members of the committee. This will enable a submission to be more effective and for its recommendations or suggestions to have a greater impact on the committee. The booklet also covers how to present an oral submission, details new natural justice provisions applicable to select committees, and provides general information on select committees.