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Pomp as parliament opens

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 21/10/2014

  Parliament opened in Wellington today. © SNPA Parliament opened in Wellington today.

It's back to business at parliament.

Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae has delivered the speech from the throne, written by Prime Minister John Key, outlining the government's plan for the next three years.

Employment law reforms, tackling child poverty, changes to the Resource Management Act and dealing with the risk posed by foreign fighters all feature on the agenda.

But housing is going to be a particular area of focus.

"More special housing areas will be created - and therefore more new housing developed - as a result of housing accords signed between the government and local councils.

"Changes to the Resource Management Act will assist housing supply in the longer term," Sir Jerry said.

"The government will continue working to ensure that vulnerable New Zealanders have access to good quality housing, whether those houses are owned by Housing New Zealand or by community housing providers.

"The government sees community housing providers playing a greater role in the provision of social housing over this term of parliament."

The speech from the throne marked the end of formalities for the state opening of the 51st parliament.

MPs have appointed National MP Chester Borrows as deputy Speaker, while veteran Labour MP Trevor Mallard will join Lindsay Tisch as an assistant Speaker.

The MPs head back into the debating chamber on Tuesday afternoon to resume business.

The debate in reply, responding to the speech from the throne, will take up most of the rest of this week and probably go into next week.

New MPs usually make their maiden speeches during the debate in reply.

Earlier on Tuesday, Sir Jerry's arrival at parliament was heralded with plenty of the traditional pomp and ceremony.

He inspected a guard of honour of navy, army and air force personnel and overhead there was a fly past comprising air force helicopters and World War I era aircraft from Sir Peter Jackson's collection.

Parliament opened on Monday when MPs were sworn in and David Carter was elected for another term as Speaker.

There are 121 MPs in the 51st parliament, 28 of them new.

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