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Watching Brief – February 2020

Home Insights Watching Brief – February 2020

Matter of opinion – Election Year Considerations

The show must go on...

The announcement the general election will be held on 19 September 2020 kicked into motion election year, a year often viewed as one where the machinations of Government slowly grind to a halt.

It is therefore timely to consider the extent of any constitutional and practical constraints on the usual business of Government.

Under our constitutional conventions, the Government retains the right to govern up to the election date and is not bound by the "caretaker convention" until the election date (this convention applies over the, usually short, period when a new government is formed). 

That said, Governments are expected to exercise constraint in the pre-election period, which starts three months before the election – for this year from 19 June 2020 to 19 September 2020 – but only in relation to significant public sector appointments and government advertising. Government advertising and campaigns is a sensitive area given the risk of influencing voting and/or creating a perception that public funds are being used on electoral advertising. Guidance on these matters is provided in the Cabinet Manual, a Cabinet Manual Circular, and State Services Commission guidance.

Legislation must pass before the House rises on 6 August 2020 (Parliament is then dissolved on 12 August 2020). Further, in practice, Ministers' time is increasingly taken up with election campaigning. Heads of departments will usually agree the programmes of work with their responsible Minister so officials can focus on policy work that is likely to be completed before the election.

But largely, the work of Government can and will carry on up until 19 September. For example, in relation to the last election held on 23 September 2017, Ministers granted consents under the Overseas Investment Act as late as 11 September 2017. A perhaps less "business as usual" example is the last Government's decision to enter into contracts with new charter schools shortly before the 2017 election. The contracts were entered into despite the opposition's position that no new charter schools would be established and notwithstanding terms in the contracts that allowed the schools to retain large upfront payments in the event the schools did not proceed.

The Prime Minister recently noted that a three-year electoral cycle meant that Labour is always in campaign mode anyway. And while there will be a slow-down of activity in some areas, for most, the machinery of government keeps turning. 

Keeping Face(book)...?

The pre-election period corresponds with the regulated period under the Electoral Act 1993, which places expense limits and applies other requirements on election advertising. An early subject of debate concerns the limits of our electoral laws and the decision of the Green, Labour and ACT parties to sign up to additional information obligations about their advertisements being available on Facebook's Ad Library. The National Party is yet to commit, with Simon Bridges recently questioning the tool's utility.

The Ad Library collates advertisements, including political advertisements, which can be accessed whether or not a political party has signed up. The additional information that the Greens, Labour and ACT parties have agreed to be included is who bought the ad, their contact details, the budget for that ad, how many people saw it and the age, location and gender demographic details.

Some of this additional information is required under the Electoral Act in any event. Specifically, publishers, which include social media platforms such as Facebook, must ensure electoral advertisements include a statement identifying the name and the address of the promoter (the person who instigates or initiates an advertisement). This obligation falls jointly on the publisher and the promoter. So the "paid by" and contact information that parties have signed up to provide under the Facebook tool does not really add anything new. Note that our legislation also regulates who can promote advertisements and covers apportionment, recording and limits on election spending.

The information in the tool that goes beyond our current requirements is that the amount spent on a particular advertisement is made available, and more importantly, information is provided about who is targeted for a particular advertisement. 

It is correct that the Facebook tool does not monitor or remove false information but this does not mean it is without utility. The information, including on targeting, is considered important enough to be compulsory in the US, UK and Europe. Traditionally, the reach of electoral advertisements has been relatively well understood – the key platforms being billboards, television, newspapers or the radio.   Following investigations into Cambridge Analytica (by journalists and others) we are now aware advertisements can be targeted or "micro-targeted" to individuals based on harvested personal data, providing opportunities to manipulate and sway voters in ways that are not transparent. There have been significant concerns internationally about the ability of these methods to undermine the democratic process.

The Ad Library might not be the complete answer but it is an important first step by Facebook to manage the part it has played in the "dark arts". By signing up to the tool, political parties in New Zealand will provide a new level of transparency that will ensure they are held accountable about the information they are disseminating, including who they are disseminating it to. The National Party may well consider there are advantages in not signing up, and this is assumed given their reluctance to date. However, as other parties sign up, and given wider concerns about election tactics, this strategy is not without risk.

In the news

Report on the hazardous substances compliance system

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) recently released a report prepared by the Hazardous Substance Compliance System Technical Working Group and prepared for the Ministry for the Environment and the EPA. The purpose of the report was to recommend improvements at a system level to the hazardous substances compliance system to protect the environment, and the health and safety of people and communities.  

The Report considered that the safe acquisition, use and disposal of hazardous substances is critical to human health, our environment and the economy – not just because of their intrinsically hazardous nature, but also because of the benefits derived from such substances, such as fighting diseases and protecting our biodiversity.

The Report concluded that the current CME (compliance, monitoring and enforcement) system is not fit for purpose. This was based on a range of factors, most significantly that there is very little regulation of volumes used and that the oversight of the disposal of hazardous waste is weak. The Report also found that the current "multiple agency and place based arrangement" clutters the landscape with regulators and creates confusion, and that there are performance problems among CME agencies (including a lack of leadership).

The Report set out a range of essential elements of a fit for purpose hazardous substances CME, and made recommendations to improve the current system in light of those elements. Essential elements include (among other things):

  • giving management of hazardous substances, their benefits and risks, a higher national priority strategically;
  • developing a cost-effective operational and service delivery model for the nation including greater national reach for the EPA;
  • leveraging industry and trade-based organisations as an integral part of the system; and
  • reviewing the regulatory interventions tool kit to ensure each agency has access to the full suite of measures to enable timely, proportionate, equitable, risk based and cost-effective interventions.

A full copy of the Report can be found here.

Cabinet approves new space payload principles

On 17 December 2019, Cabinet approved a new set of principles to direct the approach taken in assessing when to grant payload permits under the Outer Space and High-altitude Activities Act (OSHAA). The new principles are intended to provide a more robust regulatory framework for New Zealand's growing space industry, as New Zealand generates increasing interest as an attractive location for testing new technology and commercial launching activity.

Under OSHAA, the Minister for Economic Development (currently Hon Phil Twyford) is responsible for authorising all payloads launched from New Zealand. The Minister may decline to grant a permit if they do not deem the proposed operations to be in the national interest.

The new principles will guide the Minister's approach to determining whether proposed space activities are in the 'national interest'. They are intended to promote greater consistency and transparency in payload permitting decisions. The four principles approved by Cabinet can be summarised as follows:

  • Responsibility - avoiding New Zealand space activity causing harm to, or interfering with, the activities of others;
  • Sustainability - adhering to sustainable practices to preserve the benefits of space for future generations;
  • Safety - ensuring space activities do not jeopardise the safety of people on the ground or in space; and
  • Ensuring that space activities authorised by the Government reflect New Zealand's values and interests, and align with broader policy settings.

Cabinet also approved a list of payload activities that will not be regarded as in New Zealand's national interest, and will not be authorised. This includes payloads that:

  • contribute to nuclear weapons programmes or capabilities;
  • have the intended end use of harming, interfering with, or destroying other spacecraft or systems on Earth;
  • have the intended use of supporting or enabling specific defence, security or intelligence operations that are contrary to Government policy; and
  • have an intended end use that is likely to cause serious or irreversible harm to the environment.

These principles will be applicable to all payload applications, regardless of the type of payload or applicant. There will be no legislative implications arising from these updates.

The Minister's press release, including a link to the Cabinet Paper, is available here.

Chief Ombudsman's inquiry into whether government agencies are 'gaming' the OIA

The Chief Ombudsman, Judge Peter Boshier, has launched an inquiry into how government agencies comply with their obligations under the Official Information Act 1982.

The inquiry comes five years after the former Chief Ombudsman, Dame Beverley Wakem, initiated an inquiry in response to growing concerns that some agencies or Ministers were 'gaming' the OIA. Her report, titled "Not a Game of Hide and Seek", found that although agencies generally met their obligations (which resulted in greater openness, transparency, and accountability), there were still improvements to be made.  

The current inquiry aims to assess agencies on the extent to which they have addressed any weaknesses identified in "Not a Game of Hide and Seek". It also comes at a time when the Ombudsman's office is dealing with many complaints from people "frustrated at the slowness of agencies to respond to requests".

The current inquiry will measure agencies against the same criteria as "Not a Game of Hide and Seek". Both inquiries cover the actions of the following 12 agencies:

  • State Services Commission
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Accident Compensation Corporation
  • Department of Corrections
  • Ministry of Education
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Ministry of Health
  • New Zealand Customs Service
  • New Zealand Defence Force
  • New Zealand Transport Agency
  • Ministry of Social Development
  • Ministry of Transport

The inquiry is happening a year before the general election. Chief Ombudsman Judge Peter Boshier believes that access to information is vital to create a well-informed voter base. Therefore, proper compliance with official information requests fosters a healthier democracy.

The inquiry sought input from people who have tried to access information from the agencies. Responses to the survey closed on Friday, 24 January.

When the Chief Ombudsman issues a provisional opinion, agencies will be given the chance to comment. The Chief Ombudsman will then consider these comments and publish 12 individual agency reports and one thematic report.

Update on single-use plastics ban

The Government has announced that it will build on its ban of single-use plastic bags by taking further steps to curb plastic waste.

Single-use plastic shopping bags of up to 70 microns in thickness were banned in July 2019 following the creation of regulations under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008. The regulations included biodegradable and compostable single-use plastic bags in the ban.

Following the release of the Chief Science Advisor's report Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealand, the Prime Minister and Associate Minister for the Environment have signalled that the Government will continue to phase out more single-use plastics.

The Prime Minister stated that the Government's first target would be to move away from single-use packaging and beverage containers made of hard-to-recycle PVC and polystyrene, to high-value alternatives like PET, HDPE and polypropylene, which can be recycled and reprocessed.

The Government indicated that its next steps will include:

  • stimulating innovation and development of solutions to the soft plastics problem;
  • accelerating work with local government and industry on better and more consistent kerbside collection of recyclables;
  • a container return scheme for drink bottles and cans;
  • regulated product stewardship schemes for tough waste issues such as e-waste, tyres and batteries;
  • a National Resource Recovery work programme in response to China and other countries’ bans on importing waste and recyclables;
  • improving waste data;
  • expanding and improving the landfill levy to help fund more ways to recover, re-use and reprocess materials; and
  • a $40 million Provincial Growth Fund investment to turn plastic waste into useful material for businesses and consumers.

Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage aims to have the full Government response to the Rethinking Plastics report confirmed within six months.

Government releases report on Waitangi Tribunal Claim Progress

On 18 December 2019, the Government released its second report on the Waitangi Tribunal Claims Progress (Report). Section 81 of the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 requires the Minister for Maori Development (currently Hon Nanaia Mahuta) to provide Parliament and the public with an update on the Crown's implemented recommendations made by the Waitangi Tribunal (Tribunal).

In most cases, Tribunal recommendations are not binding on the Crown. However, in practice, the Crown recognises the Tribunal's findings and recommendations make a significant contribution to strengthening the relationship between Māori and the Crown. 

The most recent Report covers the period 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019. The Report addresses each Claim individually, by summarising the agency responsible, the primary findings and recommendations, and the status of the claim.

Upon the release of the Report, Hon Nanaia Mahuta, announced that the Tribunal is approaching the conclusion of the settlement process for historical Treaty claims, and could now shift to addressing contemporary issues raised through kaupapa claims. Contemporary kaupapa inquiries on Maori military veterans, the Takutai Moana Act and Mana Wahine are underway.

Hon Nanaia Mahuta also made reference to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's announcement in September 2019 that New Zealand history will be taught in all schools and kura by 2020, noting that "this commitment recognises there is a need to rectify omissions in our historical discourse that have affected how we see ourselves as a nation".

The full Report can be viewed here.

Consultation on climate and energy policy

The Government is currently consulting on two policy proposals relating to climate (conducted by the Ministry for the Environment) and energy (conducted by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment).

The climate consultation seeks feedback on proposed changes to the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), to support the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill, which is currently progressing through Parliament. The purpose of the consultation is to determine the detailed changes to the ETS, which will be set out in regulations.   

In the consultation document, the Government proposes a provisional emissions budget for the period 2021-2025, which is expected to encourage emissions reduction in the interim period, before the Climate Change Commission provides its official recommendations in February 2021. The consultation also asks for feedback on possible ways to achieve the "ambitious but feasible" task of meeting the provisional budget. Options currently cited include fuel switching, accelerated efficiency improvements in the agricultural industry, and faster uptake of electric vehicles.

Concurrently, the Government is consulting on a strategy to boost renewable energy generation and energy efficiency. The discussion paper proposes a number of options to achieve the Government's goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2035. Options are divided into those that would:

  • encourage energy efficiency and the uptake of renewable fuels in industry; and
  • accelerate renewable electricity generation and infrastructure.

Submissions for both consultations are due on 28 February 2020. The Ministers' press release, which includes links to both consultation pages, is available here.

Amendments to legislation on unfair commercial practices

The Government recently introduced to Parliament the Fair Trading Amendment Bill (Bill), which seeks to address the gaps in protection against unfair commercial practices. The legislative amendment follows consultation on an options paper in 2019 by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

MBIE found that what is "unfair" is highly subjective, but can be broadly grouped into two categories.  Unfair contract terms can create very one-sided contracts, which place one party in a position of strength over another. Unfair practices can also occur outside of the contract by using pressure tactics, deceptive conduct, or strict enforcement. In turn, this can reduce trust between businesses, increase costs, and restrict competition and productivity.

There is currently legislative protection against unfair practices in place; however, MBIE concluded that mechanisms should be introduced to strengthen these protections. The Bill amends the Fair Trading Act 1986 to incorporate the following changes:

  • a prohibition against unconscionable conduct; and
  • an extension of current protections against unfair contract terms in standard form consumer contracts, so that they also apply to business-to-business trading relationships that are valued below $250,000 per year.

Although "unconscionable" is not defined in the Bill, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister, Hon Kris Faafoi, stated that unconscionable conduct is "effectively serious misconduct that goes far beyond what is commercially necessary or appropriate." The Bill specifies factors that a Court may take into account when determining whether conduct has been unconscionable. The fine for breaching the prohibition will be up to $600,000.

In addition, the Bill increases consumer power to require uninvited sellers to leave or not enter their premises, given that the consumer is the resident or acting resident. This includes using written notices, such as "do not knock" stickers.

The Bill makes a number of smaller changes to improve consistency with other legislation and to improve the function of the Act. The Bill is currently awaiting its first reading. 

The Minister's press release can be found here, and a full text of the Bill is available here.

Announcement of the draft New Zealand Rail Plan

On 13 December 2019, the Government released a draft New Zealand Rail Plan (the draft Rail Plan), which outlines the Government's vision and priorities for rail.  It incorporates the recommendations of the cross-agency Future of Rail review, which recognised that significant parts of the rail network were "facing a state of managed decline".

The long-term vision is for the national rail network to provide modern transit systems in large cities, and to allow for increasing volumes of freight to be moved off roads and onto rail. The draft Rail Plan applies only to the heavy rail network in New Zealand, and not to light rail investments.

The draft Rail Plan is split into four sections:

  • "Strategic Context" outlines the potential for a rail contribution, and why changes are required to our current system;
  • "Strategic Priorities for Rail" outlines the new planning and funding framework and the investment priorities for a reliable and resilient network;
  • "Measuring the Benefits of Investment" outlines how delivery will be monitored to ensure outcomes are achieved;
  • "What Next?" outlines how the changes will be implemented.

The Government has advised that, in order to implement the new planning and funding system, the Land Transport Management Act will need to be amended. The draft Rail Plan does not provide a definitive list of investments for rail over the next decade, nor does it provide a funding commitment for any of the projects outlined. 

The Government's investment priorities in the draft Rail Plan will inform funding decisions in the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport 2021/22-2030/31 (GPS 2021), as well as future Budget considerations for Crown investment.

The Government is currently undertaking a formal engagement process on the draft Rail Plan. The final Rail Plan will be issued alongside the final GPS 2021, in the second half of 2020. Because this is the Government's first draft Rail Plan, it is expected that it will evolve and develop over time, and will be refreshed and updated alongside the GPS.

The Ministry of Transport's consultation site is available here, and the draft Rail Plan can be found here.

Auctioning of the 5G spectrum allocation

In December the Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister, Kris Faafoi, confirmed Cabinet's approval for the allocation of short-term rights to an unused portion of 3.5 GHz spectrum. 3.5GHz is the first spectrum band to be allocated for high speed 5G data services. Short-term rights will run from mid-2020 to 31 October 2022.

The decision also provides an opportunity for Māori interests in radio spectrum. Short-term allocation of spectrum will be made to Māori, and a support programme to build Māori capability in spectrum-related industries will be developed to maximise the benefits of this opportunity. 

Minister Faafoi has noted that "early access to this spectrum will allow the telecommunications industry to move forward in their development and deployment of 5G services now, rather than waiting until long-term rights are switched on in November 2022.”

National rights will be assigned as management rights and will be allocated via auction, which is the standard method for allocating new cellular mobile spectrum rights in New Zealand and overseas.  The auction conditions are as follows:

  • A limit will be set on the amount of spectrum allocated to any one network operator (spectrum caps) in the auction to promote competition.
  • A condition will be imposed that successful bidders will be required to return to the Crown existing management rights they hold elsewhere in the 3.5 GHz band to maximise the efficient use of this important spectrum.
  • Minimal conditions of use are required of successful bidders, which reflects the short duration of these rights and no guarantee of long-term access to spectrum.

Long-term rights to 3.5 GHz spectrum are expected to begin in November 2022 and details of this allocation will continue to be developed over the next two years.

Upgraded free trade agreement between New Zealand and Singapore takes effect

The upgraded Agreement between New Zealand and Singapore on a Closer Economic Partnership (CEP) took effect on 1 January 2020. The new CEP is the first substantial upgrade of a free trade agreement to which New Zealand is a party.

Negotiations on the upgrade took less than a year, concluding in November 2018. The new CEP was signed in Singapore on 17 May 2019. The upgraded CEP involves two treaties (both binding) and two side letters (both non-binding). The new features highlighted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) in the National Interest Paper include agreements to:

  • mutually recognise accounting qualifications from the other nation;
  • deepen regulatory cooperation;
  • create a framework to assess whether products and processes meet mandatory requirements for the purposes of mutual recognition;
  • allow businesses to freely transfer data in the course of business, while protecting the privacy and rights of consumers; and
  • introduce a new committee to determine CEP disputes on biosecurity, food, and primary products.

In addition to the new features, the upgraded CEP amends and expands market access provisions for New Zealanders and modernises provisions protecting investment.

The original CEP, signed in 2000, was New Zealand's second bilateral free trade agreement. It entered into force in 2001. That agreement removed all tariffs on exports from Singapore to New Zealand. The updated CEP retains the specific provision that preserves the pre-eminence of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Nearly two decades later, Singapore and New Zealand agreed on an upgrade to the agreement to incorporate changes in trade policies and reconsider the CEP in light of challenges to the "rules-based system" and other free trade agreements. Further details about the upgraded CEP can be found here.

Productivity Commission releases final report on local government funding and financing

The Productivity Commission (Commission) has completed its inquiry into local government funding and financing and presented its final report and recommendations to the Government.

The Commission's central finding was that that the current property rates-based system remains appropriate for New Zealand and that no radical reform is required. However, the Commission identified areas of significant funding pressure, impacting small, rural councils servicing low-income communities in particular. 

In releasing the final report, Commission Chair, Murray Sherwin noted: “stress points include coping with rapid population growth, central government handing councils more responsibilities and higher environmental standards, and increasing tourism. The costs of dealing with the impacts of climate change is also a major and growing pressure on some councils. Rising sea levels and more frequent and extreme weather events threaten many communities, and a lot of local infrastructure. These pressures are significant, rising and not evenly distributed around the country.”

To help councils deal with these pressures, the Commission makes 44 recommendations in the final report, including recommendations aimed at:

  • councils' making better use of existing funding tools, as well as improving the transparency of local government funding decisions and performance;
  • improving the relationship between central and local government, including an agreed protocol to end the practice of central government imposing responsibilities on local government without appropriate funding;
  • central government co-funding to help councils redesign and possibly relocate infrastructure at-risk from climate change, as well to assist small, rural and low-income councils upgrade their three-waters infrastructure. 
  • new funding and financing tools for growth infrastructure, including the possibility of using Special Purpose Vehicles for councils nearing their debt limits, and user-charging to pay for and manage growth; and
  • regional spatial planning to help coordinate council efforts as they plan for and respond to the various stresses, both regionally and with central government.

The full version of the final report can be viewed here.

Interim Pastoral Care Code introduced for tertiary accommodation providers

In conjunction with the passing of the Education (Pastoral Care) Amendment Bill, the Government released details of an interim Code of Practice that outlines the Government's expectations of Tertiary Education institutions in New Zealand (Interim Code).

The Bill primarily seeks to improve the safety and welfare of students in university halls of residence and other student accommodation. This follows recent tragedy at Sonoda student accommodation in Christchurch, which Education Minister, Hon Chris Hipkins, described as "exposing the limits of the old system of self-regulation. It was based on a voluntary code and failed to maintain adequate standards at tertiary providers around the country."

The Interim Code was in place from the start of 2020. It puts general duties on tertiary accommodation providers in relation to physical safety, advice and support services, mental health support, freedom from racism and discrimination, the transition to tertiary study and the opportunity to be involved in decision making on support services. The Interim Code sits alongside, and reflects, the existing Code of Practice for International Students.

Section 3 of the Code states that the purpose of the Code is to ensure that domestic tertiary students can succeed academically in a safe, healthy and supportive learning environment where they:

  • are accepted and respected; and
  • receive an education that values their identity, language and culture, and those of their family and whānau.

The Bill creates a new offence allowing the Crown to take legal action. Any breach of the Interim Code resulting in serious harm or death will carry a penalty up to $100,000. The Government has indicated that it will work with students, families, and the sector this year to identify a more permanent code for 2021.

The Minister's press release, including a link to the Interim Code, is available here.

Updates on drug research and testing

December saw the Government make two announcements related to drug research and testing. 

First, Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter revealed intentions to introduce a bill to Parliament that would enable roadside drug testing by 2021. New laws would give the Police powers to conduct oral fluid drug testing, with aims of deterring, detecting and prosecuting those driving under the influence of drugs.

Testing devices would initially screen for the drugs identified as most prevalent and high-risk amongst New Zealand drivers, including THC, methamphetamine, opiates, cocaine, MDMA and benzodiazepines. While testing would also identify the presence of impairing prescription drugs, a medical defence would be available to those using such medications in accordance with their prescriptions.

Drivers testing positive would face fines and immediate driving suspensions for a minimum of 12 hours. Those who fail compulsory impairment and blood tests may be liable for criminal penalties. Minister Genter expects the threshold for determining a criminal offence to align with the criminal limit for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Second, the Ministry of Health announced plans to fund a $59,000 study into drug checking programmes. In recent years, non-government organisations such as Know Your Stuff have enabled music festival attendees to test their recreational drugs for particularly harmful contents. In the first study of its kind, a criminology team at Victoria University of Wellington will assess whether such services are effective tools in harm reduction.

Health Minister, Hon David Clark noted that despite being illegal, recreational drug use remains commonplace at events such as festivals. He acknowledged that there is no way to make illegal drug use completely safe, but that the Government has an obligation to reduce drug harm where possible. The evidence gathered in the study will help inform any potential future steps the Government may take.

A full copy of the press releases are here and here

Ahuriri Hapū Claims Settlement Bill introduced to give effect to the Deed of Settlement

The Ahuriri Hapū Deed of Settlement was signed on 2 November 2016, in response to the historical Treaty Claims of Ahuriri Hapu (Deed of Settlement). The document represents the full and final settlement of all historical claims of Ahuriri Hapū resulting from acts or omissions by the Crown before 21 September 1992. 

On 20 December 2019 the Waitangi Tribunal released a report recommending the introduction of the Ahuriri Hapu Claims Settlement Bill (Bill), which was introduced that same day by Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Andrew Little. The Ahuriri Hapū Claims Settlement Bill is intended to give effect to the Deed of Settlement.

Ahuriri Hapū are based in the Hawkes Bay Region, and comprise seven Hapū, including Ngāti Hinepare, Ngāti Māhu, Ngāti Matepū, Ngāti Paarau (and Ngāi Tahu Ahi), Ngāi Tāwhao, Ngāti Tū, and Ngāi Te Ruruku.

The settlement package, that is set out in the Deed of Settlement includes:

  • an historical account;
  • Crown acknowledgements and apology;
  • cultural redress;
  • $19.5 million in financial and commercial redress; and
  • the right to buy shares in specified Crown Forest Licensed lands.

In the Deed of Settlement, the Crown acknowledges that its acts and omissions caused prejudice to Ahuriri Hapū and breached the Treaty of Waitangi. Additionally, the Crown apologises for its policies, acts and omissions that left Ahuriri Hapū "virtually landless", and for the impacts that this loss of ancestral lands and resources has had on economic and social development, and cultural and spiritual wellbeing.

Cultural redress empowers Ahuriri Hapū to protect and conserve valuable cultural sites. This includes establishing a permanent statutory committee, Te Komiti Muriwai o Te Whanga, to promote the protection and enhancement of the environmental, economic, social, spiritual, historical and cultural values of Te Muriwai o Te Whanga (Ahuriri Estuary). A number of sites are vested in Ahuriri Hapū or their connection with Ahuriri Hapū recognised through Statutory Acknowledgements and Deeds of Recognition.

The settlement will benefit all members of Ahuriri Hapū who are registered with the Mana Ahuriri Trust, irrespective of where they live.

The Minister's press release, including a link to a summary of the Deed of Settlement, is available here.

MPI consultation on fisheries sustainability measures

Fisheries New Zealand has begun consulting on proposed changes to catch settings for rock lobster and scallops for the new fishing year beginning 1 April 2020.  

The director of fisheries management says that this is to ensure the long-term sustainability of New Zealand fisheries. Fisheries New Zealand use scientific information to help determine sustainable catch limits.

As part of the April 2020 sustainability round, Fisheries New Zealand is seeking the public’s view on the following proposals:

  • In Northland and Gisborne rock lobster fisheries, it is proposed that catch limits are decreased, while in Hawke’s Bay/Wellington, Otago, and Southland, it is proposed that catch limits increase.
  • For scallops in Northland, it is proposed that the catch limit is decreased.
  • The interim deemed value rates of a large number of stocks, managed under both April and October fishing years, are proposed for review.
  • An annual catch entitlement is being considered for the following stocks: rubyfish in Southland and the Sub-Antarctic, trumpeter in the North West of the North Island and the Sub-Antarctic, white warehou in the North West of the North Island (WWA 9), and yellow-eyed mullet in Southland.

Any changes that alter the catch limits for rock lobster and scallops, or change deemed value rates will come into effect on 1 April 2020. Any changes to rubyfish, trumpeter, white warehou, or yellow-eyed mullet will come into effect on 1 October 2020.

The Fisheries New Zealand consultation page is available here. Consultation closes on 5 February 2020.

Progress of legislation

New Bills

Ahuriri Hapū Claims Settlement Bill
Type of Bill: Government 
Member in Charge: Hon Andrew Little
This Bill would give effect to the deed of settlement (the "deed") between the Crown and Ahuriri Hapū, arising from historical Treaty of Waitangi claims. The Bill records the acknowledgements and apology given by the Crown to Ahuriri Hapū in the November 2016 deed. The Bill provides for settlement redress requiring legislative implementation. Other aspects of the settlement are provided for only in the deed, and do not require legislative authority. 

The Bill is typical of a Treaty settlement bill, though uniquely establishes a statutory multiparty arrangement, Te Komiti Muriwai o Te Whanga, composed of Mana Ahuriri Incorporated, the Department of Conservation, and local authorities, to manage the Ahuriri Estuary.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC 2021) Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Rt Hon Winston Peters
This Bill would make provision for the 2020-2021 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) hosted by the New Zealand Government. The Bill aims to:

  • support safe and secure APEC 2021 events for all world leaders, attendees, and the public; 
  • assist in mitigating security risks to individuals or property, or the disruption or cancellation of APEC events; and
  • assist in facilitating the timely and efficient operation of APEC 2021.

In pursuit of these aims, the Bill would:

  • enable members of the New Zealand Armed Forces to provide specialist support to the APEC security operation, being integrated into the New Zealand Police operation and under Police control;
  • create a legislative framework enabling the Commission of Police to designate APEC security staff;
  • permit certain foreign protection officers to carry otherwise restricted weapons, with approval of the Commissioner and subject to any conditions they might impose;
  • create temporary powers and offences for the purposes of facilitating APEC logistical arrangements like roading and venues;
  • provide legislative powers to intervene and respond to risks posed by aircraft; and
  • enable the Police and, subject to Commissioner approval, foreign protection agencies, to import, use, and export wireless electronic countermeasures technology during APEC events.

Education and Training Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Chris Hipkins
This Bill aims to update education legislation to reflect current policy and practice. The Bill's structure follows the journey of a student through the education system, progressing from early childhood education, to primary and secondary schooling, and then tertiary education and vocational training.

The Bill would create a new Education and Training Act, replacing the Education Act 1964 and the Education Act 1989, and importing parts 7, 7A and TB of the State Sector Act 1988 and provisions of the Education (Update) Amendment Act 2017 that are subject to delayed commencement. 

The Bill would make a number of changes to regulations affecting early childhood education, primary and secondary schooling, tertiary and vocational education and training, and school governance. The Bill also contains a number of amendments aimed at giving better effect to The Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti o Waitangi. 

Some key changes include:

  • replacing the term "correspondence school" with "distance school" and defining "distance school" in a way that recognises the use of digital technologies to deliver education;
  • removing the ability for school principals to bar "unclean" students from attending school;
  • confirming that dual tuition can be offered online; and 
  • renaming "special schools" as "specialist schools".

Crimes (Definition of Female Genital Mutilation) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Member's
Member in Charge: Jenny Marcroft
This Bill would amend the Crimes Act 1961 to update the definition of female genital mutilation (FGM) to ensure that all types of FGM are illegal in New Zealand. The Bill clarifies that other practices, like elective cosmetic piercings, are not captured by the definition of FGM. 

Fair Trading Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Kris Faafoi
This Bill would amend the Fair Trading Act 1986. Changes aim to alleviate certain commercial practices, such as the use of pressure tactics, deception, one-sided contract terms and exploitation of consumers' or small businesses' vulnerabilities, which may prevent the effective functioning of markets. 

Amendments address these issues by prohibiting "unconscionable" conduct in trade, and extending the Act's existing protections against unfair contract terms in standard from consumer contracts to trade contracts. 

The Bill would also give consumers more rights to require uninvited direct sellers to not enter or leave their property. A number of smaller changes would improve the functioning of the Act and its consistency with other legislation enforced by the Commerce Commission.

Films, Videos, and Publications Classification (Commercial Video on-Demand) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Tracey Martin
This Bill would amend the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993. The Bill would require that commercial video on-demand (CVoD) content made available in New Zealand display appropriate and consistent labelling. Labelling should provide information about the rating and description of content, to enable consumers to make an informed decision whether to view it.

Providers of CVoD content would be required to supply content to the Film and Video Labelling Body, who would refer certain content to the Office of Film and Literature Classification, before issuing a label. Alternatively, CVoD providers could self-issue a label using systems approved by the Classification Office. All providers who provide the same content must use the same label. 

A Schedule to the Bill specifies providers who will be affected by these requirements. These include:

  • Alphabet Inc;
  • Lightbox New Zealand Limited;
  • Microsoft Corp;
  • Netflix Inc;
  • Sky Network Television Limited;
  • Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe Limited; and 
  • The Walt Disney Company.

The Bill would also amend the definition of "film" to clearly capture video on-demand content.

Financial Market Infrastructures Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Grant Robertson
This Bill would establish a new regulatory regime for financial market infrastructures (FMI), and provide certain FMIs with legal protection.

The Bill would jointly establish the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) and the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) as regulatory authorities, except in the case of payment systems where the RBNZ acts as the sole regulator.

Powers under the Bill would be exercised by joint regulators and joint Ministers (Minister of Finance and Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs), except in relation to pure payment systems where they would be exercised by the RBNZ and the Minister of Finance only.

The Bill distinguishes designated and non-designated FMIs, the former being FMIs that:

  • are identified as systematically important and imported into the regime by declaration by joint Ministers on the recommendation of joint regulators; or
  • have opted into the regime to access the protections carried into the new legislation from Part 5C of the RBNZ Act.

Joint regulators would be given the power to make legally binding standards that apply to designated FMIs, require participants to provide information, obtain reports from independent experts, investigate a FMIs financial position, and seek a warrant to enter premises to obtain evidence.

The Bill would provide designated FMIs with legal protections related to settlement finality, netting, and the enforceability of their rules.

Regulator's powers in respect of non-designated FMIs would be limited to information gathering. These kinds of FMIs cannot access the same legal protections.

Financial Markets (Conduct of Institutions) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Kris Faafoi
This Bill would amend the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 (FMC Act) to ensure that certain financial institutions and their intermediaries comply with a principle of fair conduct and associated duties and regulations. The purpose of the Bill is to reduce the risk of harm to consumers of financial products and services.

The Bill creates a new regulatory regime for financial institutions and their intermediaries, including:

  • requiring that financial institutions providing certain services obtain a licence;
  • requiring that financial institutions and intermediaries comply with a "fair conduct" principle to treat consumers fairly;
  • requiring financial institutions to establish and comply with a "fair conduct" programme throughout every relevant part of their business, and ensure that intermediaries comply with it;
  • requiring financial institutions and intermediaries to comply with regulations of incentives;
  • imposing the FMC Acts enforcement tools on non-compliant institutions;
  • protecting employees and agents of financial institutions and intermediaries who report a contravention of the FMC Act or the fair conduct principle to the Financial Markets Authority; and
  • providing for interactions between different regulatory regimes and regulators that arise under the new conduct regime, include multiple penalties of the same conduct.

Insurance (Prompt Settlement of Claims for Uninhabitable Residential Property) Bill
Type of Bill: Member's
Member in Charge: Stuart Smith
This Bill would facilitate faster resolution of uninhabitable property claims lodged with insurance companies by providing:

  • a legal framework, setting time frames for when insurance companies must act;
  • an opportunity for time frames to be extended at the Minister's discretion;
  • a faster response and resolution for claimants; and
  • clarity surrounding the claim process in respect of targets and deadlines.

Infrastructure Funding and Financing Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Phil Twyford
This omnibus Bill would implement the single broad policy of providing a funding and financing model to support the provision of infrastructure for housing and urban development, to support functioning urban land markets and reduce the impact of local authority financing and funding constraints. 

The Bill would establish an alternative funding and finance model (the "Model") to support the provision of infrastructure for housing and urban development. The Model gives effect to a long-term evolution in local authority funding and financing systems, aiming to appropriately allocate the costs of infrastructure.

The core of the Model is a multi-year levy paid by beneficiaries of infrastructure projects to a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) that will service the finance raised to cover the costs of the infrastructure via the levy, and is responsible for both financing and construction of the infrastructure assets. Once constructed, the infrastructure will vest in the relevant local authority or public body. The SPV has a range of disclosure and reporting obligations that it must comply with. Depending on the structure and nature of the project, a SPV will have a number of roles.

The Bill would also establish a role to provide independent advice to the Minister for Urban Development on levy proposals. SPVs will have several statutory powers to construct infrastructure alongside complementary regulatory regimes, such as the resource and building consenting process. The Bill establishes a monitor to ensure SPVs' compliance with the empowering Act and levy orders, as well as a local authority endorsement mechanism to protect the legitimate interests of the local authority or relevant public body.

This Bill amends:

  • The Goods and Services Tax Act 1985;
  • The Land Transport Management Act 2003;
  • The Local Government Act 2002;
  • The Local Government (Auckland Council) Act 2009;
  • The Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987;
  • The Local Government (Rating) Act 2002
  • The Public Works Act 1981; 
  • The Resource Management Act 2001; and 
  • The Utilities Access Act 2010.
  • International Crimes and International Criminal Court Amendment Bill

International Crimes and International Criminal Court Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Rt Hon Winston Peters
This Bill would amend the International Crimes and International Criminal Court Act 2000 to incorporate a series of amendments made to the Rome Statute in 2010 and 2017.

These "war crimes amendments" expand the list of war crimes subject to the International Criminal Court's jurisdiction and allow the court to hold individuals criminally responsible for them. 

The amendments make it a war crime to employ the following in non-international armed conflict:

  • poison and poisoned weapons;
  • asphyxiating, poisonous, or other gases, and analogous liquids, materials, or devices; and 
  • expanding bullets.

Further, the amendments make the following war crimes in both international and non-international armed conflicts:

  • weapons that use microbial agents, biological agents, or toxins;
  • weapons that injure by fragments that are undetectable by X-rays;
  • blinding laser weapons.

The Bill would enable New Zealand to ratify the war crimes amendments and allow proceedings to be brought in New Zealand for these offences. 

Land Transport (NZTA) Legislation Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Phil Twyford
This omnibus Bill would amend the Land Transport Management Act 2003, the Land Transport Act 1998, and the Railways Act 2005 to strengthen the regulatory leadership of the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA).

The Bill establishes a new regulatory structure and the position of Director of Land Transport, strengthening the NZTA's role in relation to key regulatory interventions such as speed management and enforcement. 

Land Transport (Rail) Legislation Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Phil Twyford
This omnibus Bill would amend the Land Transport Management Act 2003 and the Land Transport Act 1998 to implement a new planning and funding framework for the heavy rail track network owned by KiwiRail, by bringing the planning and funding of the rail network under the land transport planning and funding regime set by the Land Transport Management Act 2003 (LTMA).

The LTMA currently deals with the planning and funding of public transport, state highways, road policing, and local roads. The Bill would bring the rail network within its mandate, to enable the consideration of road and rail investment together in a coordinated and integrated land transport investment programme.

Under the proposed changes, rail planning and funding will occur through the national land transport fund, with a rail network investment programme (RNIP) approved by the Minister of Transport in consultation with KiwiRail's shareholding Ministers. The RNIP will fit with the overall land transport investment programme under the NZTA.

KiwiRail will be responsible for providing rail funding activities funded from the national land transport fund.

Changes to the Land Transport Act 1998 would ensure that rail track users contribute to the costs of the rail network, by allowing fees and charges to be established by regulations to recover rail network costs, paid into the national land transport fund.

Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Dr David Clark
This Bill would establish a Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission tasked with contributing to better mental health and wellbeing outcomes for people in New Zealand, and equity for Māori, Pacific peoples, disabled people, rainbow communities, and other groups that experience poorer mental health and wellbeing.

The Commission will be established as an independent Crown entity and will provide oversight of mental health and wellbeing in New Zealand, in conjunction with existing organisations and across the whole system. The Commission's focus will span government and non-government contributors to mental health and wellbeing, including:

  • health and disability;
  • social welfare;
  • housing;
  • disability;
  • justice;
  • education; and
  • workplace relations.

The Commission will consider social determinants like health, social attitudes, poverty, and discrimination, while also accounting for cultural considerations and the appropriateness of approaches.

The Commission will play a role in influencing:

  • government and non-government decision makers to develop effective and culturally appropriate mental health and wellbeing strategies;
  • service funders and providers to design appropriate services and supports;
  • research and evidence funders and providers to improve the evidence base relating to mental health and wellbeing; and
  • people and businesses in New Zealand to take action to improve their own mental health and wellbeing and that of family, employees, clients, and the wider community.

Public Service Legislation Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Chris Hipkins

This omnibus Bill would repeal the State Sector Act 1988 in favour of a new Public Service Act, and make a number of related amendments to the Public Finance Act 1989. The Bill aims to provide a modern legislative framework for achieving an adaptive and collaborative Public Service, by expanding the types of agencies that comprise the Public Service, and unifying them with a common purpose. 

Following the Committee of the whole House stage, the Bill will be divided into two: the Public Service Bill and the Public Finance Amendment Bill. 

The Bill is informed by a review of the 1988 Act building on public commentary on the public management system over the past 30 years, alongside an extensive consultation process. The review found that a collaborative and cohesive public service is necessary to address issues that span agency boundaries and provide "wraparound" services based on New Zealanders' needs.

To achieve these objectives, the Bill does the following:

  • establishes the purpose, principles, and values of an apolitical public service, as well as its role in government formation;
  • recognises the role of the public service to support the Crown in its commitment to its relationships with Māori;
  • provides a flexible set of options for organisational arrangement to support the public service in responding to priorities and joining up;
  • increases interoperability across the public service workforce and preserves the future public service as an attractive and inclusive place to work; and
  • strengthens leadership across the public service, and provides for system and future-focussed leadership.

Amendments to the Public Finance Act will provide for the necessary financial powers and reporting obligations of the arrangements established in the new Public Service Act.

Racing Industry Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Rt Hon Winston Peters
This Bill would finalise the post-transition governance of the racing industry, following the Racing Reform Act 2019, which aimed to increase the financial sustainability of the industry. The Bill creates a new Racing Industry Act, which combines provisions from the existing Racing Act 2003, with Cabinet policy decisions in November 2019.

The Bill designates TAB NZ as the sole betting provider for racing and sports. The three racing codes (Thoroughbred Racing New Zealand Incorporated, Harness Racing New Zealand Incorporated, and New Zealand Greyhound Racing Association Incorporated) will be empowered to govern their respective industries, clubs and venues, with the high-level functions previously held by the Racing Industry Transition Agency and the New Zealand Racing Board. The codes are intended to provide industry independence from Government.

The Bill establishes the Racing Integrity Board as an entity separate from the racing codes, responsible for all integrity functions and the oversight of compliance and adjudicative arms.

A number of changes aim to resolve historic property issues, including provisions that support negotiations between clubs and codes on the use of surplus venues, and a statutory decision-making process.

Finally, the Bill would introduce an approval mechanism for new racing and sports betting products, previously requiring legislative change. 

Secondary Legislation Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon David Parker
This omnibus Bill would support the making of secondary legislation by applying and adjusting the framework of access to, and Parliamentary oversight of, secondary legislation provided for in the Legislation Act 2019.

Together with the new Legislation Act, the Bill implements recommendations of the Regulations Review Committee's 2014 Inquiry into the oversight of disallowable instruments that are not legislative instruments. 

The Bill amends over 2,500 existing empowering provisions in more than 550 Acts to state that an instrument made under the relevant empowering provision is secondary legislation.

Sexual Violence Legislation Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Andrew Little
This omnibus Bill would amend the Evidence Act 2006, Victims' Rights Act 2002, and Criminal Procedure Act 2011.

This Bill aims to reduce the re-traumatisation of sexual violence victims during court proceedings by increasing the variety of ways that complainants can give evidence in court. The Bill also allows for:

  • the cross-examination process to be pre-recorded;
  • victims to give their impact statement without the public being present;
  • judges to intervene if questioning is inappropriate or excessive;
  • judges to tell the jury about any common myths surrounding sexual violence cases; and
  • increased access to communication assistance. 

Social Security (Exemption for Ex Gratia and Compensation Payments) Amendment Bill
This Bill was withdrawn a week after introduction

Taumata Arowai—the Water Services Regulator Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Nanaia Mahuta
This Bill would establish Taumata Arowai–the Water Services Regulator as a Crown agent to oversee, administer, and enforce the drinking water regulatory system. The Bill would also provide for its objectives, functions, and operating principles, as well as the establishment of a board and a Māori Advisory Group.  

This Bill is part of a broader package of reforms to the regulatory system for drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater. The approaches provided for in the broader package of regulatory reforms are intended to address issues that were identified in the Government Inquiry into Havelock North Drinking Water and in the Government’s Three Waters Review. A second government bill will be proposed at a later date to give effect to system wide reforms.

Urban Development Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Phil Twyford
This omnibus Bill follows on from the Kāinga Ora—Homes and Communities Bill which disestablished Housing New Zealand, in favour of a Crown entity, Kāinga Ora. The Bill's main purpose is to provide Kāinga Ora with powers to improve the social and economic performance of New Zealand’s urban areas through complex development projects. It would also provide for Kāinga Ora's functions, powers, rights, and duties.  

The Bill would enable Kāinga Ora to facilitate specified development projects, which are intended to improve urban development outcomes through a mix of housing types, transport connections, employment and business opportunities, infrastructure, community facilities, and green spaces.

This Bill would give Kāinga Ora access to a range of development powers, and also access to land acquisition powers when undertaking specific development projects. Kāinga Ora would be able to undertake these projects by itself, or partner with iwi, local Government or the private sector. The Bill is also designed to create opportunities for the private sector, councils, and Māori developers and reduce the risk of complex developments.

Bills awaiting first reading
  • Ahuriri Hapū Claims Settlement Bill
  • Autonomous Sanctions Bill
  • Broadcasting (New Zealand on Air and Te Māngai Pāho Reporting Requirements) Amendment Bill
  • Crimes (Coward Punch Causing Death) Amendment Bill
  • Education (Strengthening Second Language Learning in Primary and Intermediate Schools) Amendment Bill
  • Fair Trading Amendment Bill
  • Financial Market Infrastructures Bill
  • Financial Markets (Conduct of Institutions) Amendment Bill
  • High-power Laser Pointer Offences and Penalties Bill
  • Insurance (Prompt Settlement of Claims for Uninhabitable Residential Property) Bill
  • New Zealand Public Health and Disability Amendment Bill
  • New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income (Fair Residency) Amendment Bill
  • Rights for Victims of Insane Offenders Bill
  • Shark Cage Diving (Permitting and Safety) Bill
Bills defeated
  • Electoral (Entrenchment of Māori Seats) Amendment Bill
Bills withdrawn
  • Broadcasting (Games of National Significance) Amendment Bill (No 2)
  • Social Security (Exemption for Ex Gratia and Compensation Payments) Amendment Bill
Bills before Select Committee

Submissions Open


Select Committee

Closing Date for Submissions

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC 2021) Bill

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee

12 Feb 2020

Education and Training Bill

Education and Workforce Committee

14 Feb 2020

Films, Videos, and Publications Classification (Commercial Video on-Demand) Amendment Bill

Governance and Administration Committee

05 Feb 2020

Holidays (Bereavement Leave for Miscarriage) Amendment Bill (No 2)

Education and Workforce Committee

14 Feb 2020

Infrastructure Funding and Financing Bill

Transport and Infrastructure Committee

05 Mar 2020

International Crimes and International Criminal Court Amendment Bill

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee

07 Feb 2020

Land Transport (NZTA) Legislation Amendment Bill

Transport and Infrastructure Committee

07 Feb 2020

Land Transport (Rail) Legislation Bill

Transport and Infrastructure Committee

07 Feb 2020

Protection for First Responders and Prison Officers Bill

Justice Committee

12 Feb 2020

Public Service Legislation Bill

Governance and Administration Committee

31 Jan 2020

Racing Industry Bill

Transport and Infrastructure Committee

11 Feb 2020

Secondary Legislation Bill

Regulations Review Committee

14 Feb 2020

Sexual Violence Legislation Bill

Justice Committee

21 Jan 2020

Taumata Arowai—the Water Services Regulator Bill

Health Committee

04 Mar 2020

Urban Development Bill

Environment Committee

14 Feb 2020


Submissions Closed


Select Committee

Report due

Abortion Legislation Bill

Abortion Legislation Committee

14 Feb 2020

Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Amendment Bill

Governance and Administration Committee

25 Mar 2020

Arms Legislation Bill

Finance and Expenditure Committee

10 Feb 2020

Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill

Environment Committee

02 Apr 2020

Crimes (Definition of Female Genital Mutilation) Amendment Bill

Health Committee

04 Jun 2020

Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment Bill (No 3)

Primary Production Committee

20 Mar 2020

Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill

Health Committee

30 Mar 2020

New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill

Social Services and Community Committee

30 Mar 2020

Ngāti Hinerangi Claims Settlement Bill

Māori Affairs Committee

19 Mar 2020

Public Finance (Wellbeing) Amendment Bill

Finance and Expenditure Committee

17 Mar 2020

Rates Rebate (Statutory Declarations) Amendment Bill

Social Services and Community Committee

24 Mar 2020

Resource Management Amendment Bill

Environment Committee

26 Mar 2020

Te Ture Whenua Māori (Succession, Dispute Resolution, and Related Matters) Amendment Bill

Māori Affairs Committee

15 Apr 2020

Bills awaiting second reading

Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Bill as reported back from select committee
Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Electoral Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Equal Pay Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water) Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill as reported back from select committee
Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngā Pōtiki Claims Settlement Bill as reported back from select committee
Smoke-free Environments (Prohibiting Smoking in Motor Vehicles Carrying Children) Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Health (National Cervical Screening Programme) Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Renewal of Licences) Amendment Bill (No 2) as reported back from select committee
Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlements Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Tauranga Moana Iwi Collective Redress and Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Ranginui Claims Settlement Bill as reported back from select committee
Taxation (KiwiSaver, Student Loans, and Remedial Matters) Bill as reported back from select committeeThames–Coromandel District Council and Hauraki District Council Mangrove Management Bill as reported back from select committee

Bills awaiting third reading

Election Access Fund Bill
New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute Vesting Bill
Ombudsmen (Protection of Name) Amendment Bill
Privacy Bill

Acts assented

Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019

This Act amends the Climate Change Response Act 2002, providing a framework for the development and implementation of climate change policies that will contribute to the goals in the Paris Agreement.  The Act requires that national net greenhouse gas emissions are zero by 2050, excluding methane.

The Act also establishes the Climate Change Commission, which will provide independent, expert advice to the Government on mitigating climate change and adapting to the effects of climate change.  It will also monitor and review the Government’s progress towards its emissions reduction and adaptation goals.

Companies (Clarification of Dividend Rules in Companies) Amendment Act 2019

This Act amends the dividend rules outlined in sections 36 and 53 of the Companies Act 1993 to clarify the ability of a company constitution to provide for "dry shares".

Credit Contracts Legislation Amendment Act 2019

This Act amends the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003 to increase restrictions on consumer lending. These restrictions include:

  • new requirements for assessing potential borrowers’ suitability for and ability to repay loans;
  • a cap on the amount of interest and fees that can be charged on high-cost loans; 
  • new penalties for lenders that do not comply with the requirements; and
  • increased enforcement provisions.

Criminal Cases Review Commission Act 2019

This Act establishes an independent body to review suspected miscarriages of justice. The Commission will review convictions and sentences, and refer them to an appeal court if it considers that it is in the interests of justice to do so.

Dog Control (Category 1 Offences) Amendment Act 2019

This Act amends the Dog Control Act 1996 to allow some Category 1 offences to be heard by Justices of the Peace.

Education (Pastoral Care) Amendment Act 2019

This Act amends the Education Act 1989 to enable the Minister of Education to issue a code of practice applying to the pastoral care of domestic tertiary students. The code will be mandatory for all tertiary education providers.

Electoral Amendment Act 2019

This Act amends the Electoral Act 1993 and the Electoral Regulations 1996. It makes several changes including:

  • reducing the restrictions on the types of venues that can be used as polling stations;
  • allowing votes to be moved from a voting place to another area for a preliminary count of votes; and
  • allowing any voter who enrols after writ day and whose name is on an electronic roll to cast an ordinary vote rather than a special vote.

End of Life Choice Act 2019

This Act would give persons who have a terminal illness and who meet certain criteria the option of lawfully requesting medical assistance to end their lives. The substantive provisions of the Act will only come into force if a majority of electors voting in a referendum answer "Yes" to the question "Do you support the End of Life Choice Act 2019 coming into force?”

The referendum will take place alongside the general election on 10 September.

Farm Debt Mediation Act 2019

This Act requires parties to a farm debt to engage in mediation before the creditor can take an enforcement action in relation to farm property. The creditor can also take enforcement action if the farmer has declined to mediate.

Land Transport (Wheel Clamping) Amendment Act 2019

This Act amends the Land Transport Act 1998 to increase restrictions on operators of immobilising devices such as wheel clamps. The Act regulates the maximum fee an operator can charge and makes it an offence for an operator to fail to remove the clamp or arrange for its removal.

Maritime Transport (Offshore Installations) Amendment Act 2019

This Act clarifies the liability of insurers to the Crown and others affected by an oil spill. It also confirms the conditions under which a claimant can commence proceedings against an insurer.

National Animal Identification and Tracing Amendment Act 2019

This Act makes a range of amendments to the National Animal Identification and Tracing Act 2012 to provide for rapid and accurate tracing of animals and their movements. These amendments cover issues such as tagging, relocation, and penalties.

The fundamental model of the NAIT system has not changed and the persons in charge of NAIT animals (PICAs) are responsible for tagging and registering their animals and recording all off-farm movements.

New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Amendment Act 2019

This Act amends the New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001 to provide for the management and administration of the new Venture Capital Fund (established by the Venture Capital Fund Act 2019) by the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation.

Organ Donors and Related Matters Act 2019

This is an omnibus Act that amends the Compensation for Live Donors Act 2016, the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000, and the Health Sector (Transfers) Act 1993.

The Act gives duties of oversight and governance of the national organ donation system to the New Zealand Blood and Organ Service (formerly known as the New Zealand Blood Service).

Parliamentary Agencies Delegations Legislation Act 2019

This Act amends the Clerk of the House of Representatives Act 1988 and the Parliamentary Service Act 2000 to enable the Parliamentary Service and the Office of the Clerk to implement closer working arrangements. It allows the General Manager of the Parliamentary Service and the Clerk of the House to delegate the exercise of their statutory functions or powers to employees and contractors of either agency.

Referendums Framework Act 2019

This Act governs the conduct of the referenda that will be held alongside the 2020 general election. A referendum may be conducted under this Act only if it is:

  • declared by an Order in Council to be a referendum for the purposes of the Act; or
  • declared by an Act to be a referendum for the purposes of the Act.

Regulatory Systems (Economic Development) Amendment Act 2019, Regulatory Systems (Housing) Amendment Act 2019, and Regulatory Systems (Workforce) Amendment Act 2019

These omnibus Acts amend a range of legislation administered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

The Acts aim to:

  • clarify and update statutory provisions to give effect to the purpose of the principal Acts and their provisions;
  • address regulatory duplication, gaps, errors, and inconsistencies within and between different pieces of legislation; and
  • keep the regulatory system up to date and relevant.

Remuneration Authority (Members of Parliament Remuneration) Amendment Act 2019

This is an omnibus Act that establishes a new process for how the Remuneration Authority reviews and sets the salaries of MPs. The Act allows the Authority to independently set the pay of MPs based on criteria, rather than a fixed formula.

Subordinate Legislation Confirmation Act 2019

This Act prevents the revocation of certain subordinate legislation that, by virtue of the Act under which it is made, is revoked at a stated time unless earlier confirmed by an Act of Parliament.

Te Pire kia Unuhia te Hara kai Runga i a Rua Kēnana/Rua Kēnana Pardon Act 2019

This Act provides a statutory pardon for Rua Kēnana, the Māori prophet, faith healer, and land rights activist. The Act aims to restore the character, mana, and reputation of Rua Kēnana and his descendants, and apologise for the hurt, shame, and stigma suffered as a result of the invasion of his Maungapōhatu settlement. The Act's Kupu whakataki/Preamble contains the novel feature of a waiata, composed by Rua Kēnana in Mount Eden prison, recording his lament for those of his people who suffered at the hands of the Crown as a result of the 1916 invasion.

Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Act 2019

This Act introduces a civil regime of control orders to manage and monitor people who are returning to, or who have arrived in, New Zealand after engaging in terrorism-related activities overseas.  Unusually, it applies a civil law regime to circumstances that would normally be covered by the existing criminal law.

Venture Capital Fund Act 2019

This Act establishes a Venture Capital Fund and provides for the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation to manage and administer the fund. The Fund is owned by the Crown and will invest in domestic start-up companies.

In the week ahead

What’s coming up in the House

The House next meets on Tuesday, 11 February.  The Order Paper and Select Committee meeting schedule is not yet available.