Thursday, May 20, 2004


One that doesn't seem to have made the news in a big way yet: Parliament will be 150 years old on monday.

New Zealand's House of Representatives first assembled on May 24th, 1854. It differed in three important ways from the modern institution. Firstly, there was the obvious method of election - FPP reigned supreme back then, and there was no truck with ideas of proportionality or fairness. Secondly, there were no parties - everybody was an independent. And thirdly, it didn't actually govern the country, being simply a legislative body with limited powers to enact laws for the Governor.

Our aspiring politicians weren't happy with that, and spent their entire first session passing various motions demanding "responsible government" - that executive power be devolved to ministers selected by and from Parliament. The only other business they considered was setting up a pub for themselves: Bellamy's. Plus ca change, I guess.

Anyway, the Greens have organised a public seminar on monday night on the next 150 years of Parliament. If you're in Wellington, why not go?