Overview and context
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Nationally Determined Contribution (UNFCCC website)
New Zealand’s parliamentary system is unicameral – it has only one chamber (House of Representatives) and there is no upper house. The members of the House of Representatives serve a term of three years and are elected using the mixed member proportional representation voting system, whereby each citizen of voting age gets two votes. The first is for a local Member of Parliament, the second for a political party. Typically, the House of Representatives has 120 members. However, this can vary because the representation of political parties is proportional to the number of votes they receive in the general elections. The most recent general election was in September 2014, with the next general election needing to be held before the end of November 2017.
Proposed laws are called bills and are introduced to the House of Representatives. The legislative process begins with a first reading in the House of Representatives. The bill is debated and a decision is reached on whether it progresses to the next stage or not. If a bill passes the first reading, it is usually referred to a select committee to be considered in more detail. In a second reading, the bill and any changes recommended by the select committee are again considered by the House. If successful, all the changes made are worked into the bill before it is considered for a final reading, typically in the form of a summing-up debate. The bill is then put to a vote to either pass or reject it. A bill does not become an Act of Parliament until it is signed by the Sovereign of New Zealand or his/her representative (the Governor-General). This is called the Royal Assent.