Parliament Ends

Last week was the final session for Parliament before the elections on November 8th. During the session last week, MPs who were retiring gave their farewell speeches. One well-known National MP, Katherine Rich, decided to retire from Parliament as she has a young family and wants to spend more time with her children.

A number of Labour MPs are leaving, including Margaret Wilson, the Speaker of the House. It is her job to keep control of the MPs in the House of Parliament. It has been a difficult job for her trying to stop some MPs from shouting at each other and calling each other names. She is going back to a job as a professor of law at the University of Waikato.

Another well-known Labour MP is Steve Maharey. He has been in parliament for 18 years and during that time has had many ministerial positions such as Minister of Education. He too is going back to a university position, but this time as Vice-Chancellor of Massey University. The Vice-Chancellor is the number 1 person at a university.

This Labour government is now finished and MPs will spend the next 6 weeks getting ready for the elections. They will hold public meetings, knock on doors to talk to people at home and travel around their electorate to try to persuade people to vote for them. Both Helen Clark and John Key will travel around the whole country.

If you are 18 or over, if you are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident and have lived in New Zealand for one year or more, you can vote. Have you registered to vote? This is compulsory. You can get a form at any PostShop. If you register by October 8th, you will get an EasyVote card in the mail which you take with you when you vote.

Remember, you have two votes, one for the person and one for party. There are two main parties, Labour and National, but also several small parties such as the Greens, the Maori Party, New Zealand First and United Future. Your vote is important. It shows you believe in a democracy. Read about the parties, talk to your candidate, listen to the leaders speaking on TV or at a public meeting.

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