Hansard -- the record of Parliamentary debates -- may in future be available online free for public consumption.
Mary Harris, clerk assistant with reporting services in the Hansard office, says there are no definite plans for an online service yet.
“We have quite a lot of system work to do,” she says, involving a reconsideration of how Hansard is prepared and published. “We’ve been doing it the same way for many years,” she says, and procedures are due for an update.
Hansard will be looking at reorganisation or systems “within the next year”, Harris says, but the plans for that examination have not even been formulated yet.
The Parliamentary Counsel’s Office has been considering for more than a year how to put legislation online. Both legislation and Hansard are available already, but with limitations. The NZ Government On-line website gives free access to legislation, but later amendments are not consolidated with the original act. The Knowledge Basket has a consolidated database but charges for access. It also offers Hansard online for free browsing, but charges for searches.