Question Time or Show Time? Analysing the Value of Question Time as a Parliamentary Accountability Mechanism

50 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2018 Last revised: 15 May 2018

See all articles by Pita Roycroft

Pita Roycroft

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni

Date Written: April 2, 2018

Abstract

This paper analyses the value of question time in New Zealand as a parliamentary accountability mechanism. It uses Professor Mark Bovens’ definition of accountability as a social relation to develop a bespoke, criteria-based evaluative framework for assessing question time’s performance. Six aspects of question time are evaluated: supplementary questions, patsy questions, the rule governing the adequacy of replies, the power to transfer responsibility for questions, ministerial responsibility, and media reporting practices. Each of these aspects is found to hinder the House of Representative’s ability to hold Ministers to account in question time. Several recommendations for reform are proposed for each aspect. Unless Members of Parliament and Ministers are willing to implement meaningful change, question time will have little value as a parliamentary accountability mechanism, and the principle of responsible government will be diminished.

Keywords: Question time, accountability, Parliament, House of Representatives, ministerial responsibility.

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Roycroft, Pita, Question Time or Show Time? Analysing the Value of Question Time as a Parliamentary Accountability Mechanism (April 2, 2018). Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper, Student/Alumni Paper No. 10/2018 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3154914 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3154914

Pita Roycroft (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, Victoria 6140
New Zealand

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
35
Abstract Views
205
PlumX Metrics