Since its inception, the Trust has organised a number of special events, including a major luncheon address in Parliament by Singapore Senior Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew in 1994 and a briefing for MPs by a panel of senior Parliamentarians. The Trust also organises introductory briefings for new MPs at the start of every new Parliamentary term and other smaller informal social functions when appropriate.
The 1998 Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference was held in New Zealand and provided the Trust with an opportunity to mount a display on the work of the Trust to encourage other Commonwealth countries to start up similar schemes. The conference was attended by over 400 delegates, representing some 56 Commonwealth countries.
The first President’s Dinner was held in 1996, hosted by the then President of the Trust, Speaker Sir Peter Tapsell, with a total of 57 guests, including Trustees, representatives of the Trust’s Corporate membership, MP Associate Members of the Trust and three other Parliamentary guests. The guest speaker was Rt Hon Geoffrey Palmer, former Prime Minister.
Since 1998, smaller, more prestigious dinners have been hosted two or three times each year by the Speaker and President of the Trust in their private apartment in Parliament Building with seven Chief Executives from the Trust’s Corporate membership attending. Two leaders of Parliamentary parties are also invited on each occasion as special guests. One dinner - usually the first of the year - includes the Prime Minister and another, the Leader of the Opposition. Other party leaders are invited on a rotational basis. Each dinner is also attended by the Chairman of the Trust, or another Corporate Trustee, and the Chief Executive.
The President uses these occasions to thank the Corporate members for their support of the Trust and to acquaint them personally with Trust activities and future developments. To date, a total of 51 dinners have been held, attended by 348 CEOs of the Trust's Corporate Membership.
Establishment of a New Zealand Business & Parliament Trust Awards and Scholarship Fund
In 2010 the Trust established a Study Fund at Victoria University of Wellington, awarding two monetary prizes and a scholarship for postgraduate research into the role of Parliament in the policy process and the wider community.
The winners of the Trust Study Prizes in 2016 were: Holly Blackler and Emma Burge.
The winner of the Trust Scholarship at Victoria University of Wellington for 2016 was Samantha Arthur-Curtis.
The 2016 Scholarship winner from the University of Canterbury was Stella Smith.
Presentations were made to the 2016 Scholarship and Trust Study Prize winners at the 2016 AGM held in Parliament's Banquet Hall on 6 April.
The aim of the Youth Parliament is to help young people understand and participate in the parliamentary processes, as well as to give them an opportunity to have their views heard.
Youth Parliament has been held every three years since 1994. Young people from around New Zealand are chosen by their local (electorate or list) Member of Parliament (MP) to be a Youth Member of Parliament (Youth MP). During Youth Parliament, Youth MPs have the opportunity to debate legislation, sit on select committees and ask parliamentary questions of Cabinet Ministers.
Meanwhile, their Youth Press Gallery colleagues (10) report on their activities and make sure they are held accountable to the public.
Youth Parliament is as real as possible. Government personnel and procedures are maintained. In 2004, the Trust provided a grant towards the work of the Youth Parliament Press Gallery which included the production of a video for schools and a special supplement in the New Zealand Youth Ministry’s newspaper for young people.
The Trust supports the aims of the Youth Parliament scheme and has sponsored a competition, with substantial monetary prizes, since 1997.
The competition topic for the Youth Parliament 2016 was "Why should young people become engaged in civic affairs and politics?" and the competition was in three parts, with entries being an essay, a speech (to be videotaped) or a video presentation.
The winner was Karan Kalsi from Lynfield College, representing Hon David Cunliffe, MP for New Lynn. Karan submitted an essay and won $2,500.
The 1st runner-up was Stefan McLean from Victoria University of Wellington, representing Brett Hudson MP, a List Member of Parliament. Stefan submitted a video presentation and won $2,000.
The 2nd runner-up was Leah Bell from Otorohanga College, representing Barbara Kuriger, MP for Taranaki-King Country. Leah submitted a speech and won $2,000.
15th and 20th Anniversaries of the New Zealand Business & Parliament Trust
With the date of the New Zealand Business & Parliament Trust’s inception taking place on 11 December 1991, the Trust celebrated its first 15 years at its 15th Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 21 March 2007, and its 20th Anniversary at the 2012 AGM held on 4 April. The occasion was marked by the launch of a specially commissioned history of the Trust as a specific initiative to recognise all those who had contributed to the establishment of the Trust and its work for 20 years. The book, entitled "Towards a Better Understanding" was distributed to all MPs, Corporate members and past Trustees.
The 20th Anniversary Dinner, hosted by its President and Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives, Dr The Rt Hon Lockwood Smith MP, was held in Parliament’s Banquet Hall.
Meeting new MPs
After each general election, the Trust organises a function for the MPs who are new to Parliament and takes the opportunity to brief those present on the work of the Trust and in particular, the study programmes provided for members of Parliament, enabling them to spend three days with a corporate member. Associate Members of the Trust, (those existing MPs who have already completed one or more of the Trust’s Business Study Programmes) are also invited.