Fixing the Bill: Making a Select Committee submission

This is a working draft. Published 17 Aug 2020. Updated 21 Aug 2020.


Prior to a new law being made law (en-acted), there is an opportunity for the public and stakeholder groups to provide a response (submission).

A Select Committee is made up of members of Parliament (MPs) and may also be supported by officials who have been involved in the drafting of the Bill. A submission can be made either:

  • in person — at the vaka meetings (oral submission); or
  • in writing (written submission).

Officials provide subject expertise or secretariat functions, but are not voting members of the committee.


Oral Submissions — Vaka Meetings

Even if you don’t intend to speak, attending the a vaka meeting is a chance to hear the opinions of other members of your community. What you learn at the meetings can also help write your submission.

If you speak, you will first need to state your name, vaka or village, and if you are speaking on behalf of any group. For example, if you are representing a grower group or civil society organisation. All comments made during a Select Committee meeting are recorded for the Select Committee’s reference.

If you have a question about the bill, you can direct this to the Chair. The Chair may answer, or direct the appropriate committee member to provide a response.

Recent and upcoming vaka meetings

To Tatou Vai Authority Bill 2020 vaka meetings were held in Rarotonga July 28-30, 2020. GrowerComm reps and and growers spoke at all meetings.
Tip: Video clips for these meetings are being posted to the Te Vai Ora Maori Group Facebook Page.

Rarotonga Vaka Meetings - Updated 21 Aug

Note non-conventional vaka meeting order!

  • Takitumu: Tuesday, Aug 25, 6-8pm, Titikaveka Sunday School
  • Puaikura: Wednesday, Aug 26, 6-8pm, Calvary Hall
  • Teau-o-Tonga: Thursday, Aug 27, 6-8pm, Sinai Hall

Written Submissions

When preparing a written submission, you need to identify the Bill by name, and whether you are responding as a citizen, or as a representative of a group. (Group reps need to provide details about membership, etc. — see Reference links.)

A submission can be made to the general, ‘big ideas’ of the Bill (merits and principles); or in response to a specific clause. You might also want a clause to be rewritten if there are words or phrases that are confusing.

For example, a general objection to the To Tatou Vai Authority Bill 2020:

I am opposed to a user-pays model for funding the public water supply of Rarotonga. Water charges are a burden that my family cannot afford. We need water to grow food, to keep our pigs. When you charge, we will not be able to afford to grow our food, or to keep our pigs.

And an example of a specific objection to the Agriculture Bill 2020:

Clause 3(a)
I suggest that a definition of ‘sustainable agriculture’ and ‘sustainable agricultural practices’ be added (to Clause 5 — Interpretation).

People have different ideas about what ‘sustainable’ means when it comes to growing.

Delivering a written submission

Written submissions can be delivered to Parliament in Nikao (Rarotonga), posted, or emailed to the Select Committee Secretary:

  • Margret Numanga (Committee Secretary)
    You should receive an email receipt confirming that your submission has been received.
  • Post: Committee Secretary, Agriculture Bill,
    PO Box 13, Nikao, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Classification/subjects: legislation, Cook Islands, south pacific, laws, bills, submission process, changing a law, select committees, Westminster System, governance.


References / Download links

Parliament of the Cook Islands


Working Draft. Updated: 21 Aug 2020.


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