Representation and Formation of Public Opinion
In the representation and formation of public opinion the major general debates are of principal importance. Special inquiries by select committees also provide a useful forum in which interests and opinions can make themselves heard. The major general debates are the address in reply to the speech from the Throne at the opening of Parliament, the debate on the Budget or financial statement, and the various debates on Imprest Supply Bills.
The first two of these give ordinary members an opportunity to air their views freely on any subject they choose from the national interest to the special aspirations of their constituents. Imprest supply debates are more specialised. On such Bills, the British principle of raising grievances before granting supply has been applied by allowing the Opposition to choose the subject for debate.
The substantive motion by the Opposition to censure, challenge, or criticise the Government, commonly employed in other parliaments for the discussion of some controversial aspect of government policy, is used in New Zealand only on very rare occasions.
Resolutions expressing want of confidence are, however, frequently proposed as amendments to the address in reply or as amendments to the motion for the second reading of a Bill.