Media Release

Organisation:   Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives

For release:      30 October 2017

New Zealand’s 52nd Parliament to open soon

New Zealand’s 52nd Parliament will open with two ceremonies – the Commission Opening  on November 7 and the State Opening on November 8.

The public is invited to follow the events on Radio New Zealand, Parliament TV or watch the State Opening on a big screen at Parliament grounds.

The opening of Parliament marks the start of the new three-year Parliamentary term. Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, at 37-years-old, is New Zealand’s youngest Prime Minister since 1856.

The State Opening is one of the few times when the Crown and the House of Representatives come together as Parliament in a ceremonial display.

The ceremonies will be attended by dignitaries, members of Parliament and their families. They feature a significant tangata whenua element and people with special roles including the New Zealand Herald of Arms Extraordinary to The Queen and the Usher of the Black Rod.

The Commission Opening of Parliament will begin at 11am. This is when Parliament is formally opened by three Commissioners representing the Governor-General. They will be the Chief Justice Sian Elias GNZM PC QC and two senior judges.

Each member of Parliament is sworn in by taking an oath or making an affirmation in English or te Reo Māori.

The Speaker of the House, who takes third place in the New Zealand order of precedence after the Governor-General and the Prime Minister, is also elected.

The State Opening of Parliament will begin at 10.30am. This is when the Governor-General gives the speech from the Throne which outlines the Government’s legislative policy and plans.

The response is the Address in Reply debate, when most new members of Parliament give their maiden speeches. It is a 19-hour debate, which sometimes takes several weeks.

You can:

  • Watch the State Opening on a big screen at Parliament grounds
  • Watch the Commission Opening and State Opening live on Parliament TV, listen to it on Radio New Zealand or tune in later to watch it on demand.
    • Simultaneous Māori to English interpretation is available during live coverage on Parliament TV.
    • Parliament TV coverage will be live-captioned to make it easier for people who are hearing-impaired to follow the ceremonies.
    • This year, for the first time an interpreter will sign the ceremonies in New Zealand Sign Language.

For more details about the opening of Parliament:


For media enquiries contact:

Ravi de Silva, Senior Communications Advisor, Parliamentary Engagement

Phone: (04) 817-9335