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Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard


Debate—References to “you” and “your

SPEAKER: Members, after discussions at the Business Committee, I have asked presiding officers to relax the prohibition on the use of the words “you” and “your” in debate. These words have been prohibited because they’re seen to bring the Speaker into the debate, and that is because members are required to address the House through the Speaker—so any reference to “you” is taken to be directly to the Speaker. However, the context of member’s remarks in debate often makes it clear that “you” or “your” are not being used to refer to another member or to the speaker; often they are used instead of “one” or “I”. The practice of addressing remarks through the Speaker depersonalises debate to an extent and helps to keep order; I would not like to see that practice end. Members will not be permitted to address each other in the second person; however, where it is clear from context of a speech that a member is using “you” or “your” neither to bring the Speaker into the debate nor to direct remarks at another member, presiding officers will use their discretion about whether to call a member to order. I’ll remind members that the application of this ruling is at the sole discretion of the Speaker or Chair—Speakers’ rulings 28/6. I intend to trial this relaxation of the rule ahead of the review of the Standing Orders that is about to commence, and then the Standing Orders Committee will consider whether it ought to be a permanent change.