Trevor Mallard considering launching MP training camp

Author
Jason Walls, NZ Herald ,
Section
Politics,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 19 December 2018, 2:42p.m.
Speaker Trevor Mallard said he hoped to be in a position to be involved in an announcement in the first quarter of the New Year. (Photo / Mark Mitchell)
Speaker Trevor Mallard said he hoped to be in a position to be involved in an announcement in the first quarter of the New Year. (Photo / Mark Mitchell)

Speaker of the House, Trevor Mallard, is exploring the possibility of partnering with Victoria University to create a specialised MP training course.

Speaking at the governance and administration select committee this morning, the Clerk of the House of Representatives, David Wilson, said the course would be about teaching new members about how to be an MP, and developing their skills.

He said there would be a partnership with Victoria University to teach the course, meaning there would be a formal qualification.

"Although MPs do tend to have a vast array of life experience, they generally haven't done something like being an MP," Wilson told the Herald outside the committee room.

Currently, MPs do receive an induction when they arrive at Parliament, but this new course would be a lot more detailed.

"They [would] learn about chairing select committees, their constitutional role, and possible preparation for roles as ministers."

In a statement, Mallard said he was still in discussions around funding governance and content details, but he hoped to be in a position to be involved in an announcement in the first quarter of the New Year.

The recommendation for the tertiary course came from the Appropriations Review Committee – a group of external people and some former MPs who every three years review aspects of Parliament.

This was not a reflection on current MPs, Wilson said, but more of an agreement that MPs do need more professional development.

He said the course would be important because no matter what job an MP might have had before being elected – "you can't properly be prepared for the time here because there isn't anything like it".

"We really want to give them some opportunities to develop while they're here because employers in normal jobs do that, but this isn't a normal job and they don't have an employer – but just the same they should have those chances."

Last month, after launching an external review of bullying and harassment of staff in Parliament, Mallard told RNZ that MPs didn't receive enough training for the job.

"They [MPs] need to be put through some quite extensive training. I think we do have some very big gaps in our system at lots of levels."

He said at the time one of the things he's working on separate, more organised and structured training for MPs.

Victoria University has been approached for comment.

 

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