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Watching Brief - July 2021

Home Insights Watching Brief - July 2021

Matter of opinion

Transformation in the Machinery of Government - ​the Māori Health Authority

The Government is on track for two significant new health organisations, the Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand, to "go live" by July 2022. The appointment process for interim boards is underway with both organisations to operate as departmental agencies pending legislation that will formalise the new structures, due to come into effect by the middle of next year.  
Health New Zealand is likely to be established under the Crown Entities Act 2004 but the formal legal status of the Māori Health Authority is, rightly, still under consideration. A Steering Group selected and led by Sir Mason Durie has agreed a Māori-centred process for identifying nominees for the Māori Health Authority interim Board and will also advise on an appropriate structure that will best deliver on its objectives.
The structural design is only one aspect that will deliver on the aims of the reforms, with funding commitment, the extent of commissioning powers and arrangements with other organisations, including Māori partnership boards, also considered to be critical. However, the form of the entity provides the all-important foundational basis for its future operation and success. As starkly identified in the 2019 Waitangi Tribunal stage one report in the Health Services and Outcomes Kaupapa Inquiry (Wai 2575), current systems have perpetuated and exacerbated, rather than addressed, severe health inequities experienced by Māori.
The Ministry of Health website states that the Māori Health Authority is intended to be "a ground-breaking organisation" designed to give Māori a vehicle to shape health outcomes for Māori and to give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. To the extent it is established as a government body, we may, for the first time, see a public sector institution co-designed with, by and for Māori, representing a paradigm shift in public sector arrangements in New Zealand.
From a public law perspective, the structural options for government entities are not limitless, with the key options being departments (including departmental agencies), Crown entities and Public Finance Act organisations, and for commercial activities, State-owned enterprises and Mixed Ownership Model companies.  It is always possible for Parliament to legislate for a new entity. Of the current options available, the Crown entity format arguably provides sufficient flexibility for innovative design as any legislation establishing the Māori Health Authority can override requirements in the Crown Entities Act. In this respect the only constraint is, arguably, the willingness of officials and Ministers to embrace new approaches and ideas as proposed by the Steering Group and others.
Crown entities are a relatively unique model internationally, providing an arms' length arrangement between the entity and the responsible Minister. It is a structure that provides an entity with a degree of independence (which varies depending on the category of Crown entity), and minimises political interference while ensuring accountability for use of public funds. Of note, some claimants in the Wai 2575 Waitangi Tribunal inquiry proposed that a Māori Health Authority be established as an independent Crown entity. The Tribunal made an interim recommendation that the Crown commit to exploring the concept of a stand-alone Māori primary health authority.
The establishment of a Māori Health Authority was further considered as part of the Health and Disability System Review, with a report released in 2020 recommending a relatively watered-down model, without commissioning power, and to operate as a departmental agency. However, an alternative proposal, supported by the majority of the review panel members and the entire Māori Expert Advisory Group (which advised the review panel) was also included in the report. The alternative option called for a Māori-owned entity with broader powers, including commissioning powers, than those proposed in the formal recommendation. As an example entity, reference was made to Te Mātāwai, - an independent statutory entity established by the Te Ture mō Te Reo Māori 2016 (Māori Language Act 2016) to provide leadership on behalf of iwi and Māori in their role as kaitiaki of te reo Māori.  
The Government's health reform announcements in April 2020 largely endorsed the alternative approach in the Health and Disability System Review report, signalling a commitment to bring about transformational change to health provision for Māori. However, while the design is still under consideration, the Ministry of Health website suggests that the Māori Health Authority will be a government entity rather than separate from the Crown.
It is interesting to compare the statutory requirements for Te Mātāwai, a statutory entity receiving public funds that is not Crown-owned, with the Crown entity structure. Many of the provisions in the Te Mātāwai establishment Act mirror those under the Crown Entity Act, including duties of board members, reporting requirements and oversight by the Auditor General. However, there are also important differences. Under the Crown Entity Act a Minister appoints Board members and can require changes to a statement of intent among other things. While there are limits on how a Minister directs a Crown entity, there is still the ability to do so depending on the type of Crown entity involved. For Te Mātāwai, of the 13 Board members, seven are selected by iwi clusters, and four by Te Teo Tukutuku clusters (as specified in the Act), and only two are appointed by the Minister. The Minister has a power to review operations but otherwise is not able to require specific actions to be taken. Other aspects of note in the Te Mātāwai legislation include the Crown's acknowledgement of the detrimental effects of its past policies and practices, principles and guidelines reflecting Te Tiriti obligations and appointment procedures that enable broader iwi involvement.
Those working on the organisational structure may see an opportunity here to reflect aspects of the Te Mātāwai design in a Crown entity structure through specific provisions in the Māori Health Authority establishment Act that override the standard requirements in the Crown Entity Act. To allow Board selection by iwi is one possible shift among others that could better enable a Māori-led response to health inequities. At the very least, statutory appointment processes would likely be expected to provide for an iwi led process for identifying nominees, as has occurred through the Steering Group for the selection of the interim Board. There are also opportunities for designing new ways of interacting with other departments and government agencies as well as processes for enabling broader iwi engagement.  
The establishment of the Māori Health Authority could potentially be one of the most progressive actions of the current government, including from a public law perspective. Early indications suggest the Government is listening to iwi and are genuinely open to embracing alternative and co-design options for delivering and improving outcomes for Māori and, by extension, for all New Zealanders.

In the news

Government review of media content regulatory regime

On 10 June, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Jan Tinetti, announced that the Government would be reviewing and revising the framework for media content regulation in New Zealand.
This overhaul was viewed as a necessary response to the ongoing evolution of digital media in recent years, which has increased the ability to both publish and access content. The Department of Internal Affairs has raised concerns that the current framework is not equipped to respond to these changes, leaving New Zealanders at greater risk of being exposed to harmful or illegal content.
This perception that the current framework is not fit for purpose is partly because of its fragmented nature. There is no single source of rules for content creators, nor a complaints process for consumers. Rather, media is regulated through the operation of at least six different systems, including those found in the Film, Videos and Publications Classification Act 1993, the Broadcasting Act 1989 and self-regulation Codes. Most of these systems were developed in the early 1990s, when traditional mediums such as print and free-to-air television were at the forefront of regulators' minds. This context is far different to the current state of the world, where content publication through social media and streaming services is the norm.
The Government plans to regulate all forms of media content, regardless of its delivery channel, through one streamlined system. In doing this, it intends to design a framework that is flexible enough to mitigate the harmful impacts of media content, acknowledging the many new content platforms available in our modern world.
Whatever framework is put in place, it will aim to balance harm-reduction with the need to protect democratic freedoms, aided by stakeholder input. Targeted consultation will take place in mid to late 2021 with key regulatory organisations, media groups, government agencies and specialist interest groups, while wider public consultation will commence in early 2022.

First look at the new resource management system

Following the election last year, the Government committed to the repeal and replacement of the Resource Management Act 1991 using the Randerson review panel report as a platform. The Government recently released an exposure draft of that replacement legislation, which is intended to be called the Natural and Built Environments Act (NBA). This is a partial draft containing the purpose of the NBA (the "Part 2" equivalent), national direction (what will be known as the "National Planning Framework"), and Natural and Built Environments Plans. As expected, the NBA adopts the Panel's recommendation of one plan per region (likely to be 14 plans) with the NBA plans to be prepared by a planning committee comprising representatives from the Department of Conservation, mana whenua and local government.
As signalled in the panel's report and the Government's Cabinet paper released in February, the NBA focusses on strengthening environmental protections, via mandatory bottom lines, and on promoting positive outcomes, rather than the RMA's focus on the management of adverse effects. Any use or development under the NBA will need to comply with environmental limits, promote outcomes for the benefit of the environment and avoid, remedy or mitigate any adverse effects on the environment. A key question for the NBA is whether it will be able to adequately deal with the inevitable conflict between its different specified outcomes and limits.
The exposure draft continues along the path of reform set by the Panel providing further detail but no dramatic changes. Most commentators have generally agreed with the objectives of the reform process, providing a functioning system that better enables New Zealand to meet the triple pressures of environmental degradation, the need to accommodate growth and addressing the implications of climate change. The concern has always been in the implementation of the legislation. While the Government has recognised the need for a clear and integrated set of direction and conflict mechanisms, we are still unsure as to how this will work in practice. The exposure draft demonstrates a clear intent to address the issues of environmental degradation and climate change – the jury is still out on how successfully it delivers on delivering growth. Overall, there is still a lot of uncertainty that will need to be worked through in the final version of the NBA and clearly addressed in the implementation of the new system.
The exposure draft is being considered by Select Committee with the closing date for public submissions on 4 August 2021.

Electricity Authority consultation on information gathering framework

The Electricity Authority (Authority) is currently consulting on amending the Electricity Industry Participation Code 2010 (Code) to put a standardised framework in place for the ongoing provision of information to the Authority. In preparation, on 6 July the Authority has released a consultation paper on the proposed amendments.
As the New Zealand electricity market evolves, it puts increased emphasis on the Authority being well-informed to effectively perform its functions under the Electricity Industry Act 2010 (Act). This is especially relevant for the Authority's monitoring functions, which comprise industry and market monitoring, monitoring the operation and effectiveness of market facilitation measures, and compliance monitoring.
In order to fulfil its statutory functions, the Authority collects information through methods including voluntary requests for information from industry participants, Code amendments, and the use of information gathering powers under the Act. However, the Authority considers that this current framework does not provide it with sufficient and timely information to effectively carry out its monitoring functions, and results in excessively high transaction costs.
The Code amendment aims to make it easier for industry participants to provide ongoing information to the Authority and for the Authority to engage with these participants. Under the proposed amendment, the Authority expects participants to benefit in the following ways:

  • improved ability to contribute to determinations of the Authority’s information requirements and what information should be collected on an ongoing basis;

  • an improvement in the quality and design of information requests to make them easier to interpret and respond to;

  • a more standardised approach to information provision obligations, enhancing certainty;

  • improved transparency and clarity around obligations; and

  • reduced transaction costs associated with the provision of information to the Authority.

The Authority is accepting submissions on the proposed Code amendment until 24 August 2021. 

COVID-19 vaccine update

The Government is continuing its rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. As at 15 July 2021, 564,789 New Zealanders have received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and a total of 1.4 million doses have been administered.
The vaccination programme has been rolled out in stages to different 'groups' of New Zealanders, with border and MIQ workers as well as individuals susceptible to higher risks being prioritised.

  • Group 1 includes border and MIQ workers, and the people they live with. Vaccinations for this group have been available since February and most should be vaccinated now.

  • Group 2 includes high-risk frontline workers and those living in high-risk places. Vaccinations for this group began in March.

  • Group 3 includes people aged 65 years and over, and those who are at risk of getting "very sick" from COVID-19. Vaccinations for this group began in May and all individuals should expect an invitation from their District Health Board to get vaccinated by the end of July.

  • Group 4 includes the general population (aged 16 and over) and will start from 28 July 2021.

The key next step (and challenge), in the vaccination rollout is making it available to the general population. It is planned to be rolled out in age bands until the end of 2021, with the first being people aged 60 years and over. Vaccinations to the general population are expected to be offered in a wide range of settings across the country, including community vaccination centres, maraes, churches, large workplaces and many general practitioners and pharmacies.  
The Government recently amended the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Amendment Order 2021 to mandate the vaccination of a further 1800 currently unvaccinated border workers. The Government considers this to be a necessary step to lift the uptake of the vaccine among the wider border workforce and to strengthen the ongoing response to COVID-19.
Until recently, the Pfizer vaccine was the only vaccine approved for use in New Zealand. Medsafe has now granted provisional approval for the use of the Janssen vaccine (for those 18 years and over), which only requires a single dose, but the Government has not yet announced when the new single dose vaccine will be made available.  

Three Waters Reform update

On 30 June, Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced further details of the Government's full-scale regulatory and structural reform of water service delivery in New Zealand. The Government has proposed the boundaries for four publicly owned water entities, to replace the existing 67, based on scale and population size. The new entities will be run by boards appointed with input from councils and with expertise in water infrastructure.

The latest estimates indicate that investment of $120 billion to $185 billion is required over the next 30-40 years to replace and refurbish existing water infrastructure, provide for future population growth, and upgrade three waters assets to meet drinking water and environmental standards.

The Government announced yesterday a $2.5 billion package to support local government transition through the three waters reform. You can read more on this in our latest update here.

For further details on the proposed reforms see our previous update here.

Intelligence and Security Act 2017 review brought forward

In response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch masjidain (Royal Commission Report), the Government will bring forward an independent statutory review of the Intelligence and Security Act 2017.
The Royal Commission report highlighted several issues with the Act, for consideration at its next statutory review, including:

  • a lack of congruence between the Act and the structure and operation of the New Zealand intelligence community;

  • a lack of accountability measures in relation to direct access agreements;

  • the absence of legal requirements to enable activity authorised by a warrant; and

  • the lack of an evidential threshold (compared to criminal law concepts of reasonable grounds to suspect or believe).

More generally, the Royal Commission report made four recommendations concerning New Zealand's broader intelligence and security legislation, these being:

  • reviewing all counter-terrorism legislation;

  • mandating the publication of the National Security and Intelligence Priorities and an annual "terrorism threatscape" report;

  • increasing the role of the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee; and

  • adding a reporting requirement for direct access agreements that allow an intelligence and security agency to directly access certain databases.

The Act previously required an independent statutory review to begin after September 2022, five years since the Act entered into force. A minor legislative amendment to the Act was made through the enactment of the Intelligence and Security (Review) Amendment Bill to allow a statutory review to take place "as soon as practicable on or after 1 July 2021".
The statutory review will be conducted by two independent reviewers appointed by the Prime Minister and is to be supported by the Ministry of Justice. It will review current threats to national security and any necessary improvements to legislation required to ensure the law remains clear and effective. In addition, the review will consider the issues with the Act identified in the Royal Commission report. The public will be able to make submissions to the review on matters of national security and any issues about the legislation raised by the Royal Commission Report. Any subsequent legislative amendments or reform following the review will be subject to a full Select Committee process.

Regulation of merchant service fees update

Following on from our earlier update (found here), Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark has announced that a Retail Payments Systems (RPS) Bill will be introduced later this year. The Bill is set to:

  • reduce interchange fees;

  • enable Commerce Commission intervention to regulate participant activity within the RPS; and

  • introduce a disclosure and reporting requirement to monitor the RPS system.

The Government hopes to obtain final policy decisions on reducing merchant service fees in mid-2021, with a view to commence the full regulatory regime next year.

Government set to establish a Consumer Data Right

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister, David Clark, announced on 6 July 2021 that the Government had agreed to establish a 'consumer data right' (CDR) framework for New Zealand. A CDR is a mechanism whereby consumers can safely and securely share data held about them by entities such as banks and electricity companies, with trusted third parties. A third party could be, for example, another product or service provider or a fintech company.
The Government is now developing a regulatory regime and aims to make a second round of detailed policy decisions on the framework later in 2021, with legislation being introduced as early as 2022. Minister Clark has suggested that it will be rolled out on a sector-by-sector basis to ensure the detailed requirements work in practice. The Government will also be looking to align with the Australian model, first introduced in 2019.
For more information, see our previous update on the CDR here.

Government proposal for hate speech to become a criminal offence

The Government has proposed legislative changes which would make hate speech a criminal offence. The proposal comes in response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Christchurch terror attack, and would remove the prohibition on hate speech from section 61 of the Human Rights Act where it currently sits as a civil provision, and creates a new criminal offence under the Crimes Act, which could be prosecuted with harsher punishments than previously possible. The proposal includes an increase in punishment for hate speech, from up to three months imprisonment or a fine of up to $7000, to up to three years imprisonment or a fine of up to $50,000.

Further proposed changes include adapting the language and widening the incitement provision in section 131 of the Human Rights Act, which currently states that it is an offence to use speech that will 'excite hostility' or 'bring into contempt' a person or group on the grounds of their colour, race, or ethnicity. Gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and disability are additional grounds which will be considered in the consultation.

The Government has agreed in principle to all recommendations made by the Royal Commission of Inquiry and is now seeking feedback. Consultation runs through to the 6 August, with more details on the proposals and how to make a submission available on the Ministry of Justice website.

MBIE consultation on energy efficiency proposals

Consultation has opened on proposals to enhance the energy efficiency regulatory system for products and services, to support the achievement of New Zealand's future energy efficiency and emissions reduction goals.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) consultation follows a 2019 review of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act 2000 and the Energy Efficiency (Energy Using Products) Regulations 2002, which identified a number of key issues, including:

  • a lack of flexibility in terms of market movement and innovation;

  • a misalignment with Australia's system;

  • limited access to information;

  • limited market coverage;

  • limited investigative powers and enforcement tools; and

  • an unnecessary burden on Cabinet decision-making.

MBIE has conducted initial engagement with stakeholders to pull together a range of proposals that aim to enhance the energy efficiency regulatory system and support the achievement of New Zealand's future energy efficiency and emissions reductions goals under the Heat Industry and Power Emissions Reduction Plans for 2022 to 2035. The proposals are grouped into five parts in the discussion document: future-proofing the system, consistent and fair regulation, improving system administration, ensuring competitive compliance, and delivering good and fair processes. For further details see here.  
Submissions on the proposals in the discussion document close at 5pm on Wednesday 28 July, and can be made through the response form available on the MBIE website.

In trade

UK-NZ free trade talks accelerate

In June, the Minister for Trade and Export Growth, Hon Damien O’Connor, travelled to the UK to meet the UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss, and seek agreement to lift the pace of free trade talks between the two countries.
The Governments of the UK and New Zealand have since affirmed their commitment to accelerate free trade agreement negotiations with the aim of reaching an agreement in principle this August.
This meeting followed the fifth round of negotiations, which ran from 8 to 16 June. This round saw the first engagement on New Zealand’s proposed chapter for cooperation on indigenous interests, and the following chapters of the agreement substantively concluded:

  • Government Procurement chapter, which improves SMEs' access to procurement and the integrity of supply chains.

  • Disputes Chapter, which establishes mechanisms to promote and enforce compliance with the agreement and ensures that state-to-state disputes are dealt with consistently, fairly and in a cost-effective, transparent, and timely manner.

  • Transparency chapter, which underscores the rule of law as the major cornerstone of good governance, outlining agreed expectations for the UK and New Zealand to be transparent, open, and accessible to UK businesses, including with respect to their respective regulatory environments.

  • Trade and Gender Equality chapter, which recognises that women are underrepresented in international trade, and aims to support women exporters, business owners, and entrepreneurs to participate in global trade.

The free trade agreement with the UK will be New Zealand’s first to include dedicated chapters on trade and gender and consumer protection, alongside proposals that are being discussed on environment, labour, development, and anti-corruption.
New Zealand’s key objective is to reach an agreement that:

  • provides comprehensive and commercially meaningful access for exporters by removing tariffs and reducing other barriers that impact goods and services trade and investment activity;

  • promotes outcomes which reflect New Zealand’s Trade for All agenda on sustainable development (including environment, climate change and labour) and inclusive trade (for Māori, women and small and medium enterprises in particular);

  • preserves the right of governments to regulate in the public interest, including for the environment, education, health and well-being of New Zealanders;

  • preserves the unique status of the Treaty of Waitangi; and

  • does not include Investor State Dispute Settlement provisions.


Speeches of note

Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, and Hon Grant Robertson deliver Budget 2021 speeches

On 20 May 2021, both the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister delivered their speeches on Budget 2021, aptly titled the "Wellbeing Budget 2021 – Securing Our Recovery". After a year of several lockdowns and ongoing uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a key message in both speeches was that the New Zealand economy has proved more resilient to the COVID-19 shock than initially anticipated.
The Minister of Finance noted that the economic outlook was more optimistic than most previously predicted, with Treasury forecasting GDP growth to rise from 2.9% this year to 4.4% in 2023. Net Core Crown debt is forecast to peak at 48% of GDP in the 2022/2023 fiscal year (down from the peak of 55% previously forecast). Similarly, unemployment is forecast to peak around 5.2% in mid-2021 (down from the peak of 10% previously forecasted) before dropping to around 4.25% in 2025.
The three stated priorities for Budget 2021 were keeping New Zealanders safe, accelerating the recovery and dealing with long-standing issues of climate change, child wellbeing and affordable housing. While the Prime Minister's speech was pitched on a more aspirational note, referring to many of the positive achievements of the Labour Government's previous term in office, the Minister of Finance dived deeper into the details of the budget allocation. Specifically, some of the big-ticket items to advance the Government's priorities included:

  • the centrepiece of Budget 2021 – a $57.3 billion investment in a programme of infrastructure spending between 2021 – 2025;

  • raising the weekly main benefit rates by between $32 and $55 per adult – in line with key recommendations from the Welfare Expert Advisory Group;

  • $1.5 billion to the COVID-19 Vaccine and Immunisation Programme; and

  • financing to review and reform key sectors such as the resource management regulatory regime, health services and water management.

The Finance Minister's budget speech can be found here, and the Prime Minister's here.

In the house

What’s coming up in the House

The House next meets on Tuesday, 3 August. The Order Paper and Select Committee meeting schedule is not yet available.

Progress of legislation

Bills introduced

Resource Management (Regional Responsibility for Certain Agricultural Matters) Amendment Bill

Type of Bill: Member's
Member in Charge: Mark Cameron

This Bill removes the ability for certain agricultural regulations to be set from central government and devolves these guidelines to regional councils. Key amendments to the principal Act (RMA) include:

  • Amending section 43 of the RMA by providing that regulations prescribing national environmental standards may not prescribe matters relating to excluding stock from water bodies, intensive winter grazing, the application of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser to pastoral land, or sediment control measures.

  • Amending section 360 of the RMA by repealing paragraphs 360(1)(hn) and (ho), and subsections 360(2F) and (2G), which provide powers to make regulations for the purpose of prescribing measures for excluding stock from water bodies, estuaries, coastal lakes, and lagoons.

  • Revoking the Resource Management (Stock Exclusion) Regulations 2020 (2020/175) and subparts 3 and 4 of Part 2 of the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 (LI 2020/174).

Autonomous Sanctions Bill

Type of Bill: Member's
Member in Charge: Gerry Brownlee

This Bill would establish a framework for the implementation of autonomous sanctions by New Zealand, and amends the United Nations Act 1946. An autonomous sanction is a restrictive measure designed to influence the behaviour of a foreign individual, entity or regime that is responsible for a situation of international concern. Autonomous sanctions can take various forms, but all aim to exert political and economic pressure to bring about change while limiting the adverse consequences of the situation. The Bill would enable the Government to designate the targets of economic sanctions, impose prohibitions or restrictions in relation to those targets, and impose duties in relation to compliance with autonomous sanctions. An earlier attempt at an Autonomous Sanctions Bill was made in May 2017, however, it lapsed towards the end of 2020.
Local Government (Pecuniary Interests Register) Amendment Bill

Type of Bill: Member's
Member in Charge: Tangi Utikere

This Bill would aim to increase transparency and public trust and confidence in the decision-making of local authorities. It would also aim to align the transparency requirements of members of local authorities with the requirements of members of Parliament and the Executive Council. The Bill, if enacted, would mean that local authorities are required to maintain and publish a register of pecuniary and other specified interests for its members and are required to disclose gifts and payments received. The Bill would also create an offence for members who fail to meet their responsibilities outlined in the Bill.

Freedom Camping (Infringement Offences and Other Matters) Amendment Bill

Type of Bill: Member's
Member in Charge: Maureen Pugh

This Bill amends the Freedom Camping Act 2011. It aims to standardise restrictions on freedom camping around New Zealand and to alter regulation of freedom campers. It does this by prohibiting non-self-contained freedom campers from camping in areas that are not within 200 meters of a public toilet. This Bill would allow LINZ and NZTA to appoint enforcement officers to enforce this new prohibition. In addition, the Bill would also allow LINZ and NZTA to publish freedom camping notices that define Crown- and NZTA-managed land where freedom camping is restricted or prohibited. These notices would only be permitted where they most appropriately serve to protect an area, protect the health and safety of people in that area, or protect access to that area.

Bills awaiting first reading
Bills defeated


Bills before Select Committee

Submissions open


Select Committee

Closing date for Submissions

Construction Contracts (Retention Money) Amendment Bill

Transport and Infrastructure Committee

23 Jul 2021

Ngāti Rangitihi Claims Settlement Bill

Māori Affairs Committee

04 Aug 2021

Biosecurity (Information for Incoming Passengers) Amendment Bill

Primary Production Committee

16 Aug 2021

Holidays (Parent-Teacher Interview Leave) Amendment Bill

Education and Workforce Committee

18 Aug 2021

Crown Minerals (Decommissioning and Other Matters) Amendment Bill

Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee

19 Aug 2021

Ngāti Maru (Taranaki) Claims Settlement Bill

Māori Affairs Committee

18 Aug 2021

Submissions closed


Select Committee

Report Due

New Zealand Bill of Rights (Declarations of Inconsistency) Amendment Bill

Privileges Committee

31 August 2021

Water Services Bill

Health Committee

11 Aug 2021

Films, Videos, and Publications Classification (Urgent Interim Classification of Publications and Prevention of Online Harm) Amendment Bill

Governance and Administration Committee

15 Sep 2021

Moriori Claims Settlement Bill

Māori Affairs Committee

23 Aug 2021

Harmful Digital Communications (Unauthorised Posting of Intimate Visual Recording) Amendment Bill

Justice Committee

10 Sep 2021

Unit Titles (Strengthening Body Corporate Governance and Other Matters) Amendment Bill

Finance and Expenditure Committee

08 Nov 2021

Commerce Amendment Bill

Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee

16 Sep 2021

Girl Guides Association (New Zealand Branch) Incorporation Amendment Bill

Social Services and Community Committee

10 Sep 2021

Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion (Safe Areas) Amendment Bill

Health Committee

10 Sep 2021

Lawyers and Conveyancers (Employed Lawyers Providing Free Legal Services) Amendment Bill

Justice Committee

24 Sep 2021

Social Security (Subsequent Child Policy Removal) Amendment Bill

Social Services and Community Committee

06 Oct 2021

Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Amendment Bill

Health Committee

06 Oct 2021

Incorporated Societies Bill

Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee

06 Oct 2021

Sunscreen (Product Safety Standard) Bill

Health Committee

07 Oct 2021

Financial Sector (Climate-related Disclosures and Other Matters) Amendment Bill

Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee

16 Aug 2021

Education and Training Amendment Bill

Education and Workforce Committee

06 Nov 2021

Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill

Justice Committee

05 Nov 2021

Drug and Substance Checking Legislation Bill (No 2)

Health Committee

29 Oct 2021

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Legislation Bill

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee

19 Sep 2021

Plant Variety Rights Bill

Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee

19 Nov 2021

Maritime Transport (MARPOL Annex VI) Amendment Bill

Transport and Infrastructure Committee

16 Sep 2021

Maritime Powers Bill

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee

Parliamentary services has advised that the committee has not yet called for submissions, although we can expect this to happen shortly.


Bills awaiting second reading


Bills awaiting third reading


Bills awaiting Royal Assent
Acts assented

District Court (Protection of Judgment Debtors with Disabilities) Amendment Act 2021
This Act amends the District Court Act 2016 to expressly prohibit the seizure of goods from a judgment debtor with a disability where the item proposed to be seized is necessary for the judgment debtor’s care, support, or independence. Seizure of the item is now also prohibited where the judgement debtor is a principal caregiver for a disabled person.
Previously, the District Court Act 2016 already required good judgment to be exercised by bailiffs to act fairly and reasonably. However, this did not prohibit bailiffs seizing property that enables independence, such as mobility vehicles.
The Act also introduces definitions of "disabled person" (consistent with the United Nation's Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) and "mobility device".
Social Security (Financial Assistance for Caregivers) Amendment Act 2021
This Act amends the Social Security Act 2018. It removes the 12-month rule to allow caregivers to receive the orphan's benefit (OB) and unsupported child's benefit (UCB) when the expected period of care was short-term, unknown, or uncertain.
The Act also establishes a Christmas allowance and birthday allowance for caregivers receiving the OB or UCB. The changes bring the Social Security Act 2018 financial assistance to OB and UCB caregivers in line with that given to foster caregivers under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989.

Appropriation (2020/21 Supplementary Estimates) Act 2021
This Act received parliamentary authorisation of the individual appropriations and changes to individual appropriations contained in The Supplementary Estimates of Appropriations for the Government of New Zealand for the Year Ending 30 June 2021.
Appropriation is the statutory mechanism by which Parliament authorises the Government to incur expenses and capital expenditure. Other than permanent appropriations provided for in other legislation, appropriations are provided by Appropriation (Estimates) and Appropriation (Supplementary Estimates) Bills.
Imprest Supply (First for 2021/22) Act 2021
This Act provides the sole financial authority from the start of the 2021/22 financial year until the Appropriation (2021/22 Estimates) Bill is passed.
Imprest supply is the statutory mechanism that allows Parliament to provide the Government with the authority to incur expenses and capital expenditure in advance of appropriation in an Appropriation Act, and make capital injections in advance of authorisation under an Appropriation Act.
Building (Building Products and Methods, Modular Components, and Other Matters) Amendment Act
This Act amends the Building Act 2004, and forms part of wider reforms to the construction sector that seek to improve the efficiency and quality of building work, and fairly solve any potential problems. Key features of the Act include:

  • Specifying additional circumstances in which a building consent application would need to be processed in 10 working days (in circumstances which depart from the standard time limit of 20 working days).
  • Adapting the existing CodeMark product certification scheme to ensure that all products sold in New Zealand comply with the building code, and giving MBIE greater oversight of the scheme.
  • Establishing a new manufacturer certification scheme for non-traditional methods of construction, including modular components and off-site manufacture.
  • Creating new offences and penalties for noncompliance.
  • Introducing minimum requirements for information about products and methods for informed decision making.
Expanding the use of the building levy to fund a broader range of functions and activities by MBIE.
Taxation (Budget 2021 and Remedial Measures) Act
This Act increases the Minimum Family Tax Credit threshold from 1 July 2021 as a consequence of increases to Social Welfare benefits. It also corrects a small drafting error made in the Child Support Amendment Act 2021, relating to the timing of commencement for two of the late payment penalty changes, which if not corrected, would have had system ramifications for Inland Revenue.
COVID-19 Public Health Response (Validation of Managed Isolation and Quarantine Charges) Amendment Act
When charges for Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) were introduced in August 2020, Cabinet's policy intent was that Australian citizens and permanent residents who were ordinarily resident in New Zealand would have the same liability for charges as New Zealand citizens and residents. All other Australians were expected to be liable for charges under the provisions in the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Managed Isolation and Quarantine Charges) Regulations 2020 (Regulations) related to temporary entry class visa holders, including other critical workers and critical health workers. However, Australian citizens' and permanent residents' status is generally converted to a resident class visa when they enter New Zealand, regardless of the visa that they travel on. This visa conversion process created a technical issue where some Australians may have been charged an MIQ fee for which it could be argued that there was no lawful authority to charge. This Act validates the imposition and collection of specified charges under the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 and provides for their lawful collection going forward.

Medicines Amendment Act 2021
This Act revises the Medicines Act 1981 to clarify the appropriate use of provisional consents to sell and use medicines. The Act allows the Minister of Health to give provisional consent for a medicine if the Minister is of the opinion that it is desirable that the medicine be sold, supplied or used. The Minister also has the power to grant provisional consent for medicines where justified due to an identified public health need and where limited information means that a full consent process is not feasible.

Overseas Investment Amendment Act 2021
This Act is the second of two bills introduced in 2020 to amend the Overseas Investment Act 2005. This Act aims to ensure risks posed by foreign investments, including increased risk from the economic fallout of COVID-10, are managed effectively. The Act therefore grants the Government powers to, for example, embedding a high threshold for acquiring farm land. The Act also aims to reduce the regulatory steps that are a part of the screening process to allow high quality and productive investment to occur. This includes no longer screening non-residential leases of less than 10 years, and allowing investors that have previously been screened and approved to use a streamlined consent process for future investments.

Holidays (Increasing Sick Leave) Amendment Act 2021
This Act amends the Holidays Act 2003 (the principal Act) to increase employer-funded sick leave for employees. It increases the number of days' sick leave an employee is entitled to under the principal Act from 5 to 10 days' sick leave during each 12-month period, once that employee has completed 6 months' current continuous employment. These amendments are available to all existing employees who qualify for sick leave under the principal Act, and take effect from 24 July 2021.

Appropriation (2019/20 Confirmation and Validation) Act
The Appropriation (2019/20 Confirmation and Validation) Act confirms the Public Finance (Transfers Between Outputs) Order 2020, which was made under section 26A of the Public Finance Act 1989. Section 26A authorises the Governor-General, by Order in Council, to direct an amount appropriated in a vote for an output expense to be transferred to another output expense appropriation in that vote. There are three restrictions:
  • The transfer would not increase the appropriate by more than 5%;
  • There would not have been a prior appropriation transfer made within that financial year; and
  • The total amount appropriated for all output expense appropriations for that vote for the financial year remains unaltered.

Immigration (COVID-19 Response) Amendment Act 2021
This Act extends the repeal date of the Government's temporary powers relating to visas in response to the Covid-19 outbreak by two years, to the close of 15 May 2023. These powers have enabled the Government to amend and extend visa conditions for large groups of people, stop people applying to travel to New Zealand while border restrictions are in place, and enable the revocation of entry permission.

Financial Market Infrastructures Act 2021
This Act repeals Parts 5B and 5C of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act 1989 and replace it with a new regulatory regime for Financial Market Infrastructures (FMIs). Under the new regime, the Reserve Bank and the Financial Markets Authority are joint regulators, except in relation to payment systems, where the Reserve Bank acts as the sole regulator. The Act provides for different treatment of designated and non-designated FMIs and provides certain FMIs with legal protections relating to settlement finality, netting, and the enforceability of their rules.

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