Watching Brief – June 2017

Home Insights Watching Brief – June 2017

Matter of opinion

Is the "Mother of Parliaments" trapped by history?

Following a UK election result that rocked all expectations, New Zealand politicians will be looking for any lessons that might apply here. Given so many factors were unique to the UK, this is unlikely to be a valuable exercise. But if there is one lesson to learn it must be this: we should be grateful for MMP.

Some commentators and politicians here are saying that the outcome is no different from New Zealand, where minority governments commonly form alliances with other parties in order to govern. True enough, but this belies major differences rooted in the increasingly not-fit-for-purpose First Past the Post (FPP) electoral system. Our MMP system might not be ideal but the UK election reminds us it would be foolish to hanker for a return to the dark old days of FPP.

Firstly, despite minority governments being far from unusual in the UK, the British public are deeply uncomfortable with the multi-party arrangements required to govern. They still talk in apocalyptic terms of a "hung parliament"; a term increasingly outdated in a modern democracy. The associated fear of multi-party politics drives votes away from the smaller parties (beware of the "coalition of chaos"), bedding in last century style two party rule: Theresa May in this election having her sights on one party rule.

Secondly, and critically, is the extent of wasted votes under FPP. This is not only undemocratic but, again, drives votes away from smaller parties. Wasted votes also result in skewed outcomes that are hard to justify under any democratic system. The DUP, an extremist party in most people's view, holds 10 seats but received only 292,316 votes, none being from the mainland (out of a total of 32 million plus votes cast to put this in context). Compare this to the Greens who received 525,371 votes and hold only 1 seat. The Liberal Democrats received 2,371,772 votes and hold 12 seats, while SNP received under 1 million votes yet hold 35 seats. While the overall proportionality rating (the Gallagher index) was better than in previous recent UK elections, this simply reflects the fact there was a move away from smaller parties, likely driven by previous disproportionality.

With 82% of the vote going to the two major parties, the highest percentage in decades, the UK is heading in the opposite direction of travel from most progressive democracies. The Electoral Reform Society UK is campaigning hard to bring about change assisted by ex New Zealand MP Darren Hughes who is the organisation's deputy CEO. However, there is a risk that the Conservative party alliance with the DUP will only exacerbate fears (wrongly) about multi-party politics. 

How would the result have been different under an MMP style system? One can only speculate but at that very least, the Conservatives would have had a better, and more representative, choice of coalition / confidence and supply partners. Labour would have had a greater chance of forming a majority government (Labour, Lib Dems, SNP and others that make up a "progressive block" received around 54% of the total vote). Most importantly, wasted votes would have had value.

This is not to say that the UK election was a bad day for democracy. Young people turned up to vote in numbers unprecedented in recent times (estimated at 72% of voters aged 18 – 24 compared to just 43% in the 2015 election), policies arguably proved more powerful than sound bites and voters looked through widespread press vilification of the Labour leader. It would have been better still if all those votes had counted and if voters were, as a result, encouraged to vote outside the major two parties.

In politics

Long-term thinking in a short-term world?

Budget 2017 has now been delivered and what is clear – despite Finance Minister Steven Joyce's insistence that the upcoming election has no bearing on the Budget – is that it is election year. After eight years of 'zero budgets' and keeping a tight lid on new expenditure, the Government has finally loosened the purse strings.

While the headline spending is boosts to Working for Families, the accommodation supplement, and changes to income tax thresholds, a key theme for sustaining New Zealand's growth is ensuring that infrastructure keeps up with demand. This Government has taken an expansive view of what constitutes core infrastructure: alongside investment in state highways and ultra-fast broadband, the Government now sees new schools, hospitals and prisons as key infrastructure projects.

Yet when it comes to local roads, water infrastructure, and the provision of housing, local government remains in control. The challenge facing Prime Minister Bill English and Minister Joyce is that central government will suffer at this year's general election if the growing funding deficit for essential investment in local infrastructure is not addressed – but they continue to be reluctant to hand over cash to local authorities.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff's 30 years' experience in central government is proving valuable in pushing the Government to think carefully about how it can provide new sources of capital for infrastructure investment, without worsening local authorities' debt ratios.

For example, despite previously opposing its implementation, the Government has now opened the door to introducing congestion charging in Auckland by establishing a group comprised of Auckland Council, the New Zealand Transport Agency, and the Ministry of Transport to consider options for road pricing. However, any decision will be years away and the Government has given no sign of budging from its refusal to allow the introduction of a regional fuel tax – despite Auckland's infrastructure shortfall now being an estimated $7 billion. 

In another policy revision, the Government is expected to announce proposals to address councils' inability to access the $1 billion infrastructure fund that councils are theoretically entitled to borrow from. The Government created this fund last year but Auckland Council cannot access it, as it cannot borrow more than 265 percent of its revenue. Right now, the Council's borrowing level is at 256 percent. 

The expected work-around is the development of the "special purpose vehicles" model. These are separate debt entities that are a mix of central and local government and provide an alternative to councils reaching their debt limits. An obvious target for special purpose vehicles is the $100 billion-plus bill that Local Government New Zealand estimates is required to replace ageing water pipes, drains and sewers. 

The Treasury is understood to have previously advised against special purpose vehicles – presumably because a local council that owns more than 50 percent of the new entity would not escape its debt limit constraints. In the case of the City Rail Link, the Government and Auckland Council have established a special purpose vehicle and have agreed for ownership to transfer to Auckland Transport once construction is complete. More broadly, careful thought needs to be given to the implementation of special purpose vehicles and the extent to which local authorities should own key infrastructure. 

While prodding the Government to reconsider its position on funding local authorities' infrastructure needs, Mayor Phil Goff has been doing some creative thinking of his own in order to demonstrate to Wellington that he is pulling all the levers available to him. The Prime Minister has publicly stated his support for Mayor Goff reportedly considering the sale of the operating company part of Ports of Auckland, while retaining the 77 hectares of waterfront land in council ownership. Ports of Auckland was most recently valued at $1.1 billion, and could provide a significant new revenue source to fund the infrastructure deficit.

In another sign that the city is looking at new and creative ways of plugging the investment gap, Auckland Council's Governing Body has voted in favour of Mayor Goff's controversial 'bed tax'. The Mayor claims that the policy will free up $13.5 million of ratepayer funding to be redirected to infrastructure projects – with the accommodation sector instead funding Auckland's events promotional agency. The 'bed tax' is unlikely to be the style of revenue-gathering that the Government was hoping the Council would turn to – but with little let-up from Wellington to date, Mayor Goff has been able to credibly argue that he has been left with few other revenue-gathering mechanisms. 

Prime Minister Bill English frequently boasts that his Government is committed to taking a long-term view on the country's tough policy issues. However, the shortfall in our infrastructure investment is one issue currently deprived of much-needed long-term and original thinking. Budget 2017 provided few answers in this respect. The upcoming election provides a good opportunity to test our political leaders' willingness to tackle infrastructure deficit, an issue that will not be going away anytime soon.

In the news

Asia New Zealand Foundation launches Asian Investment in New Zealand report

On 1 June, the Asia New Zealand Foundation (ANZF) launched a report titled 'Asian Investment in New Zealand' (Report). With investment in Asia both on the rise and being widely reported through a negative lens in the media, the ANZF commissioned this Report to give an accurate sense of the issue.

The Report sought to answer a number of key questions, including:

  • Who invests in New Zealand?
  • Where in New Zealand are their investments located?
  • In what activities and business sectors do they invest?
  • What are the pathways to success demonstrated by specific cases of Asian investment in New Zealand?

As well as looking at measurable standards of foreign investment, the Report also focused on studies of eight New Zealand-based companies in which investors from Asian countries hold significant shares.

The Report found that contrary to common perception, Asian investment in New Zealand only accounts for a small share of the total foreign investment. Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States are New Zealand’s largest sources of foreign investment, representing 58 percent. By contrast, Asian investment is less than 10 percent of the total foreign investment in New Zealand.

To celebrate the launch, the ANZF invited guests to a panel to discuss the Report's content. Led by Ellen Read, national business editor for Fairfax Media, the panel consisted of lead researcher and author of the report, Professor Natasha Hamilton-Hart; economist Shamubeel Eaqub; NZIER deputy chief executive John Ballingall; and business and economic commentator Bernard Hickey, managing editor of Newsroom Pro.

One of the key points to emerge from the panel discussion was the need for clearer data on foreign ownership. Current data does not record, for example, where an Australian-based company with an Asian owned parent company invests in New Zealand. As ANZF Executive Director, Simon Draper noted, “We know Asian investment in New Zealand is less than from North America, Europe and Australia but data isn’t collected around source country investors outside of OIO [overseas investment office]. This makes it very difficult to understand the full picture and have an informed discussion”.

The ANZF is a non-governmental agency dedicated to improving New Zealand's ties with Asia. Set up as Asia 2000 Foundation of New Zealand in 1994, the non-partisan, non-profit organisation, is attempting to build New Zealanders' knowledge and understanding of Asia.

The Report can be accessed here. More information on the ANZF website can be accessed here.

Electricity Authority's review of pricing and load control by The Lines Company

In August 2016, the Electricity Authority announced that it would review the pricing and load control practices of The Lines Company (TLC), an electricity distribution lines business operating in the King Country. On 8 May, the Authority released the results of that review which focused on the interaction between distribution pricing and load control practices, the incentives they place on consumers, and the outcomes they influence. 

The Authority undertook several preliminary steps leading up to the review, including an online questionnaire and formal survey, and  obtained feedback from over 700 TLC customers about their experiences with TLC's pricing and load control, as well as load control data from TLC and other electricity distribution companies. 

The Authority found that while TLC uses load control more than other distributors, TLC’s use of load control was consistent with the incentives arising out of the current transmission pricing regime. It found that the majority of harm associated with TLC's use of load control arose from TLC’s pricing methodology, not the actual amount of load controlling.

Of note, the review found that consumers face a high level of stress and uncertainty as a result of four key features of TLC's current pricing practices, including:

  • the delay and extended duration between the effects of consumer actions on their charges;
  • TLC's complex pricing methodology that causes uncertainty around the impact of consumer investments and behaviour on their charges;
  • the significant financial effects resulting from a small number of consumer actions (or lack of actions); and
  • the variable nature of the timing of TLC's dispatch of load control, which causes additional costs for information gathering and uncertainty when planning daily activities.

In light of this, the review recommended that other electricity distributors take several precautionary steps when implementing a new distribution pricing approach, including:

  • carefully considering the systems needed to implement any new pricing approach and allocating an appropriate number of resources to that;
  • ensuring that consumers can evaluate the impact their investments or behaviour changes have on their charges;
  • recognising that consumers are used to having choice and therefore carefully introducing any new pricing regimes that limit consumer choice ie where consumers cannot ‘opt-in’ or ‘opt-out’;
  • introducing monitoring systems to ensure that distribution pricing signals are working as intended and allow early intervention if required; and
  • remaining responsive to feedback from consumers and retailers and communicating their experiences to other distributors.

The media release and report can be found here.  

Auditor-General to stand down pending independent inquiry

Controller and Auditor-General Martin Matthews has stepped down while an independent inquiry into his suitability for the statutory role is carried out. 

As set out in the Public Audit Act 2001, the role of the Controller and Auditor-General is to conduct audits of public sector bodies and report to Parliament on those results. Mr Matthews's ability to perform this role is the subject of a current inquiry amid new information surrounding convicted-fraudster Joanne Harrison, who stole $723,000 from the Ministry of Transport while Matthews was the chief executive. Mr Matthews stood down as Chief Executive a few days before Harrison's fraudulent activity was reported in the news. Emails from 2014 potentially indicate that Mr Matthews did not pursue the matter further when concerns were raised with him directly.

No allegations of impropriety have been made against Mr Matthews, and a Serious Fraud Office briefing raised no concerns in relation to Mr Matthews's conduct, instead calling his actions at the time 'exemplary'. However, given the constitutional nature of the Controller and Auditor-General and the need for public confidence in this role, the Speaker of the House has determined that an inquiry into Mr Matthews's suitability is necessary. The Speaker made this determination following a request from Mr Matthews that an independent inquiry into his suitability for the role be initiated, and a cross-party unanimous decision from the Offices of Parliament Committee. This is the same Committee that appointed Mr Matthews to the role of Controller and Auditor-General.

The inquiry is being carried out by senior public servant, Sir Maarten Wevers, and is expected to take two weeks. Deputy Greg Schollum will stand in as Controller and Auditor-General for the duration of the inquiry. Findings from the inquiry can be expected to be released around 14 June.

Parliament to debate assisted dying legislation

David Seymour's 'End of Life Choice Bill' has been pulled from the member's ballot in Parliament which means that MPs will soon debate whether or not assisted dying should be legal in New Zealand. This follows a global trend to legalise assisted dying in countries such as Netherlands, Switzerland, and Canada, and particular states in the United States.

New Zealand has historically been divided on the issue and Parliament has voted down previous members' bills relating to assisted dying in 1995 and in 2003 prior to them reaching the select committee process. During the previous parliamentary term, former Labour MP Maryan Street proposed a bill legalising assisted dying which was consequently taken over by MP Iain Lees-Galloway after the 2014 election. It was dropped at Leader Andrew Little's request in 2014 as it was not considered a priority for the Party.

David Seymour, Leader of the Act Party, introduced the Bill in its current form in October 2015 following the death of Lecretia Seales, a Wellington lawyer who suffered from an inoperable brain tumour. Lecretia Seales brought proceedings in the High Court to allow her GP to help her die without prosecution, if her condition were to further deteriorate. Her legal team, a pro bono case for Russell McVeagh, argued that there was an inconsistency between the Bill of Rights Act 1990 and provisions in the Crimes Act 1961 which make it illegal to administer and facilitate aid in dying. Justice Collins in the High Court decided that the provisions were consistent and declared that it was not within the Court's jurisdiction to rule on assisted dying. The Court determined that "only Parliament can change the law to reflect Ms Seales' wishes and that the Courts cannot trespass on the role of Parliament".  

The End of Life Choice Bill sets out that those eligible for assisted dying must suffer from a "terminal illness likely to end their life within 6 months" or have a "grievous and irremediable medical condition." They must also be in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability, experience suffering that cannot be relieved, and have the ability to "understand the nature and consequences of assisted dying."

The process for assisted dying and the necessary safeguards are likely to be a point of contention in the upcoming debate around the Bill. In its current form, the Bill sets out that two medical practitioners must be satisfied that the person meets the standard required. The attending medical practitioner must provide the person with the necessary prognosis and inform them of the consequences of assisted dying. They must also encourage the person to talk to family, friends, and counsellors and ensure the person is free of any pressure or coercion.

The person will then be referred to a second independent practitioner who will make their own assessment as to whether the person is eligible. If either practitioner is unsure as to whether the person requesting assisted dying is competent, the application must refer the person to a mental health specialist who must provide their opinion. It is possible that these safeguards will be modified based on submissions if the Bill reaches the select committee stage.

A copy of the Bill can be found here.

Productivity Commission inquiry into transitioning into a lower net-emissions economy

On 2 May, Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett and Finance Minister Steven Joyce announced a new Productivity Commission inquiry into the opportunities and challenges for New Zealand in transitioning into a lower net-emissions economy.

New Zealand is part of the international response to climate change, having recently formalised its first Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement to reduce its emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels, by 2030. The Government has taken the following actions to meet its 2030 target:

  • Reviewing the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme.
  • Encouraging the uptake of electric vehicles and other energy efficient technologies.
  • Developing links with emerging international carbon markets.

The Government has previously announced a long-term target of a 50 percent reduction in emissions from 1990 levels by 2050. The further emissions reductions required to achieve this long-term goal have the potential to influence the direction of the New Zealand economy, as the country seeks to balance the need to reduce emissions with preserving and enhancing economic wellbeing.

The Productivity Commission's inquiry is intended to identify options for how New Zealand can achieve this balance. Two broad questions will guide the inquiry:

  1. What opportunities exist for the New Zealand economy to maximise the benefits and minimise the cost that a transition to a lower net-emissions economy offers, while continuing to grow incomes and wellbeing?
  2. How could New Zealand's regulatory, technological, financial and institutional systems, processes and practices help realise the benefits and minimise the costs and risks of a transition to a lower net-emissions economy?

The inquiry will not look at the suitability of New Zealand's emissions targets or the veracity of anthropogenic climate change. It will only consider the implications of climate change to inform consideration of different pathways along which New Zealand's economy could grow and develop.

The Commission will engage with various stakeholders, including central and local government, the Climate Change Iwi Leadership Group, relevant industry and NGO groups, scientific and academic bodies, and the public.

The Commission must report back by 30 June 2018.

The Terms of Reference of the inquiry can be found here. The Government's press release can be found here.

New Law Commissioner announced

On 29 May, the Law Commission announced the appointment of Belinda Clark as the next Law Commissioner. When Ms Clark takes up her five-year appointment on 1 August 2017, she will replace Dr Wayne Mapp and will join three other Law Commissioners in the role.

Ms Clark has worked in Australia since 2014 as the Victorian Public Sector Commissioner. As the Secretary for Justice from 2001 to 2011, she oversaw the establishment of the Supreme Court and has held roles as Director of the Office of Treaty Settlements, Chief Executive of the Tertiary Education Commission, and General Manager Policy and Planning of the Accident Compensation Corporation. 

The Law Commission's role is to promote the systematic review, reform and development of the law of New Zealand. The Law Commissioner's role is to facilitate these functions, and to advise the Minister and government agencies on New Zealand's law.

The Law Commission's press release can be found here.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visits New Zealand

On 6 June, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson paid an eight-hour visit to Wellington. His stopover came the day after he attended the 2017 Australia-US Ministerial Consultations in Sydney.

Mr Tillerson is the former chief executive of the Exxon Mobil Corporation. His visit took place less than a week after US President Donald Trump announced his decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord. For this reason, coupled with President Trump's low approval ratings in New Zealand, Mr Tillerson's motorcade was met by approximately 200 protesters who signalled their displeasure at his arrival.

Prime Minister Bill English, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Gerry Brownlee, and Mr Tillerson met for private talks, which were followed by a press conference.  At the press conference, Mr Tillerson noted that despite withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the United States is still committed to bilateral agreements. He further explained that the United States is committed to trade and advancing interests in the Asia-Pacific region and suggested that 'you can expect to see an elevated level of engagement to that which you saw over the past eight years'. Mr Tillerson also noted that the United States would continue its 'extraordinary record of reducing greenhouse gas emissions', but would do so through technology and innovation, rather than heavy-handed regulation.

Prime Minister Bill English acknowledged the controversial history between New Zealand and the United States, particularly with regard to the environment and nuclear weapons. The Prime Minister noted that these disagreements did not prevent discussions on shared values in security and defence. Specifically, discussions included the United States' involvement in ensuring stability in Asia-Pacific, despite threats from China, which may involve naval activity, diplomatic activity, and financial assistance to smaller states. Also noted were the recent signs of success in the war against ISIL, including an appreciation from Mr Tillerson of New Zealand's involvement in the Middle East.

Privacy Commissioner releases open letter on smart meter data collection

On 26 May, the Privacy Commissioner sent an open letter addressing recent concerns raised by electricity retailers as to how electricity distributors are using detailed smart meter data for network planning purposes. Approximately 70 percent of households currently have smart meters, which automatically transmit power usage data every half hour. Retailers are concerned that this could reveal significant details about a household's movements and patterns. The Commissioner's letter sets out recommendations on how both retailers and distributors should go about addressing these concerns.

Discussions with sector stakeholders revealed three primary areas of concern relating to three of the privacy principles under the Privacy Act 1993:

1. Frequency of data collection
Privacy principle 1 provides that an agency should only collect data when it is necessary for the agency's lawful purpose. The frequency of data transmission from smart meters may conflict with this principle, as such a high frequency is not needed for network planning purposes.

2. Security of data storage
Privacy principle 5 provides that an agency should take reasonable steps to prevent data from being accessed, used, or disclosed in an unauthorised way. The data collected from smart meters may be stored insecurely, which would be in conflict with this principle.

3. Purpose of data collection
Privacy principle 10 provides that data should not be used for purposes other than that for which it was collected. Distributors may use data collected from smart meters for purposes other than network planning, which would be in conflict with this principle.

In response to these concerns, the Commissioner recommends that industry bodies review what frequency of data collection is necessary for network planning purposes and adjust their practices accordingly. He also recommends that smart meter information be aggregated so that it is collected only at the street level, in order to afford greater privacy to individual households, and that industry bodies review their privacy statements and consider including assurances regarding the use of smart meter data.

The Commissioner noted that while smart meter data encourages research and innovation in the sector, "companies should be mindful of the ability of researchers or the public to re-identify the data they disclose" and should "have security protections against inappropriate access to data".

The open letter from the Privacy Commissioner can be viewed here. The media release can be viewed here.

Second Lecretia Seales Memorial lecture addresses alcohol law reform

On 8 June, the second Lecretia Seales Memorial Lecture in Law Reform took place. An annual lecture, the topic for which must seek to challenge our existing constitutional framework or political system and propose law reform in a particular area. This year, Professor Doug Sellman's presentation titled 'Law, Liquor, and Love' looked at the history and progress of alcohol law reform in New Zealand. 

Professor Sellman has been working in the addiction treatment field since 1985. He has been Director of the National Addiction Centre and the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and a Professor at the University of Otago since 2006. His clinical work has been as consultant psychiatrist to the alcohol and drug stream of the Youth Specialty Service in Christchurch.

In 2009, the Law Commission released an extensive Issues Paper Alcohol in Our Lives that proposed a number of evidence-based reforms. Professor Sellman discussed the extent to which these reforms have since been incorporated into policy. He criticised the alcohol reform legislation of 2012 and argued that such amendments did not meaningfully implement the reforms suggested by the Law Commission, while giving the impression that they did.

Professor Sellman attributed New Zealand's lack of reform to an "ongoing love affair" with alcohol, which he says "involves politicians, business people and the wider public; and the various desires associated with alcohol: pleasure, comfort, power, and money". He believes that this love affair "continues to be a barrier to effective alcohol law reform".

Professor Sellman proposed law reforms that would achieve strong regulation. He proposes that this would be a balance between the "excessive free market" that he believes we have now and a complete prohibition. To that end, he introduced the "5 plus solution", which aligns closely with the recommendations in the Law Commission's report. The solution targets the marketing, pricing and accessibility of alcohol, as well as raising the age of purchase of alcohol, lowering the drink-drive limit and increasing the availability of treatment opportunities.

In the courts

Court of Appeal recognises judicial jurisdiction to issue declarations of inconsistencies

with the Bill of Rights in Taylor v Attorney-General

On 26 May, the Court of Appeal released its decision in Attorney-General v Taylor [2017] NZCA 215.  The full bench of five judges found that the Courts have jurisdiction to provide declarations of inconsistency (Declarations) with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (NZBORA). A Declaration is a solemn declaration included in a judgment, that is separate from the reasoning itself. 

The context of the Taylor decision was a Declaration made by the High Court in relation to the Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Act 2010 that removed prisoners' right to vote. Before this Amendment Act, a prisoner could vote if they were serving terms of less than three years, were in remand, or in police custody. 

In the High Court, Heath J held that the High Court did have jurisdiction to declare legislation inconsistent with the NZBORA. He found that a Declaration was an example of the Court offering “commentary on the consequence of a legislative act”. His Honour disagreed with the Crown’s argument that issuing a Declaration was unnecessary because the Attorney-General had already acknowledged that the 2010 Act had apparent inconsistencies with the NZBORA in their section 7 report to Parliament.

The High Court decision was appealed to the Court of Appeal who upheld the High Court’s decision to declare the 2010 Act inconsistent with the NZBORA. The Court of Appeal stated that a Declaration was an appropriate way to convey the Court’s firm opinion that the legislation in question restricted the plaintiff’s protected rights in an unjustified way, and went further towards vindicating those rights (and acknowledging the public interest in vindication) than a mere indication of inconsistency could in the reasoning of the judgment.

The Court of Appeal held that there is no constitutional bar to courts issuing Declarations, and that there are no compelling policy reasons for such a bar to exist. When assessing whether to issue a Declaration, instead of a more conventional Hansen indication (ie declaring that a piece of legislation goes further than should be justified in a free and democratic society), the Court held that a formal remedy like a Declaration will go further in terms of triggering a reasonable expectation that other branches of government will respond to the Court’s view. 

This should not be construed as the Court of Appeal overriding Parliamentary sovereignty. A Declaration does not declare the legislation, or any acts done under it, invalid: it simply shows the Courts’ conclusion that it is inconsistent with the NZBORA. The Court of Appeal framed a Declaration as an important part of the “dialogue” between the branches of government. Noting that the parliamentary branches of government are the only ones that can decide to rectify any inconsistences between legislation and the NZBORA, the Court argued that a Declaration should be seen as part of that dialogue and not a contradictory or overriding action. 

Despite the Declaration being characterised as part of a dialogue, it is yet to be seen if the other branches of government will respond to the Declaration.   

The full Court of Appeal judgment can be found here.

Progress of legislation

New Bills

Appropriation (2016/17 Supplementary Estimates) Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Steven Joyce
This Bill seeks parliamentary authorisation of the individual appropriations and changes contained in the Supplementary Estimates of Appropriations for the Government of New Zealand for the year ending 30 June 2017. The individual appropriations and capital injections are set out in Schedule 1, 2, and 3 of the Bill.

Appropriation (2017/18 Estimates) Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Steven Joyce
This Bill seeks parliamentary authorisation of the individual appropriations contained in The Estimates of Appropriations for the Government of New Zealand for the year ending 30 June 2018. The individual appropriations, expenses, and capital injections are contained in Schedules 1 – 4 of the Bill.

Autonomous Sanctions Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Gerry Brownlee
This Bill intends to establish a framework for the implementation of autonomous sanctions by New Zealand. Autonomous sanctions are restrictive measures designed to influence the behaviour of a foreign individual, entity, or regime that is responsible for a situation of international concern. At present, New Zealand has the ability to impose some sanctions, but the extent of this power is restricted. The Bill is therefore intended to broaden the scope of this power. The Bill will enable the Government to:

  • designate individuals, entities, assets and services to be targeted by autonomous sanctions;
  • impose prohibitions or restrictions in relation to designated individuals or entities, including travel bans and prohibitions on remaining in New Zealand, and prohibitions or restrictions on dealing with assets or services linked to those individuals or entities (including asset freezes);
  • prohibit or restrict other kinds of specified dealings with designated assets and services (for example, trade embargoes); and
  • impose duties in relation to compliance with autonomous sanctions.

Care and Support Worker (Pay Equity) Settlement Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman
This Bill gives effect to elements of the Care and Support Worker (Pay Equity) Settlement Agreement which provides $2 billion in funding for aged care and disability workers. The Bill seeks to increase the pay of 20,000 workers from the current minimum wage of $15.75 per hour to at least $19 per hour. The settlement, followed the claim made by E tū (formerly known as the Service and Food Workers Union) on behalf of Kristine Bartlett against TerraNova Homes and Care in 2012. The 2012 claim argued that the pay offered to care and support workers is less than what would be paid to male workers with identical skills in different occupations, and that the reason for this low pay is the fact that the workforce is predominantly female. The claim was brought under the Equal Pay Act 1972. This Bill has been passed under urgency and is currently awaiting royal assent.

Education (Public Good not Profit from Charter Schools) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Member's
Member in charge: Dr David Clark
This Bill aims to remove the ability of for-profit organisations to operate state-funded charter schools. Under the Bill, only charitable organisations would be able to do so. The Bill contains transitional provisions which would allow a for-profit charter school sponsor to continue to operate a school up to one year after the amendment comes into force. After this time, the school would need to either close or transfer sponsor status to a not-for-profit entity, such as a charitable trust.

Employment Relations (Restoring Kiwis’ Right to a Break at Work) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Member's
Member in charge: Sue Moroney
This Bill seeks to amend the Employment Relations Act 2000 by reinstating compulsory paid rest breaks and meal breaks at work. The Bill would restore minimum paid rest breaks and meal breaks that were repealed in 2014. For example, the Bill would require that if an employee's work period is at least four hours and no more than six hours, that employee is entitled to one 10-minute paid rest break, and one 30-minute meal break. The Bill would not allow employers to contract out of the amendment provisions.

End of Life Choice Bill
Type of Bill: Member's
Member in charge: David Seymour
This Bill seeks to give people with a terminal illness or a grievous and irremediable medical condition the option of requesting assisted dying. The context and further details of the Bill can be found in the article above.

Local Electoral (Equitable Process for Establishing Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Member's
Member in charge: Marama Davidson
This Bill aims to amend the Local Electoral Act 2001 to make the process by which territorial authorities and regional councils establish Māori wards and constituencies the same as establishing general wards and constituencies. The Bill would require territorial authorities and regional councils to consider, at least once every six years, whether to establish Māori wards and Māori constituencies. Currently, if a territorial authority or regional council resolves to establish a Māori ward or constituency, a poll on the issue must be held. That poll is then binding for at least two election cycles. This Bill would remove the requirement for a poll with the aim of making the process for establishing Māori wards and constituencies the same as the process for establishing general wards and constituencies.

Local Government (Freedom of Access) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Member's
Member in charge: Jonathan Young
This Bill intends to clarify the law relating to council enforcement officers by amending the Local Government Act 2002. The Bill seeks to provide that persons who obstruct council enforcement officers or local authority agents from performing their duties, or fail to give true and sufficiently particular details when required, would be liable to be arrested without a warrant. The Bill also seeks to widen the scope in which an enforcement officer may remove and seize property.

Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis and Other Matters) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Member's
Member in charge: Julie-Anne Genter
This Bill aims to amend the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 to allow persons with a qualifying medical condition to cultivate, possess or use cannabis plants and/or cannabis products for therapeutic purposes. The Bill would only allow this to occur if the person has the support of a registered medical practitioner. Immediate relatives or any other persons nominated by the person with the qualifying medical condition would also be able to make use of the exemption if they are administering or supplying cannabis, or its related products, to the person with the qualifying medical condition.

Newborn Enrolment with General Practice Bill
Type of Bill: Member's
Member in Charge: Dr Parmjeet Parmar
This Bill seeks to require that newborn children are enrolled with a general practice and primary health organisation before the newborn is due for his or her first immunisation at six weeks of age. This change is aimed at improving health and social results for infants and children.

Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill (No 2)
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Nick Smith
This Bill intends to amend the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 in three ways. The first set of amendments would make tenants liable for their accidental damage.  This reverses the recent Court of Appeal decision Holler v Osaki [2016] NZCA 130. Tenants' liability in such situations would be limited to the level of a landlord's insurance excess, but not more than 4 weeks' rent, applicable to that tenancy. Secondly, the Bill intends to implement changes relating to methamphetamine contamination in rental premises. The Bill would allow landlords to enter premises, on notice, and between specified hours of the day, to test rental properties for methamphetamine or take samples for testing. The Bill would also include a regulation-making capacity in relation to mechanisms of testing for methamphetamine and allowable maximum levels of methamphetamine for a premises. Lastly, the Bill would implement amendments that give the Tenancy Tribunal jurisdiction over properties that are unlawfully being used for residential purposes. Both tenants and landlords would be able to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to terminate a lease agreement if the premises is being used for residential purposes unlawfully. 

Sentencing (Livestock Rustling) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Member's
Member in charge: Ian McKelvie
This Bill intends to amend the Sentencing Act 2002 to include livestock rustling as an aggravating factor for sentencing. Livestock rustling refers to the theft of livestock from farms or property. The amendment would mean that when determining a sentence, a judge could take into account whether the 'offence involved the theft of livestock' as an aggravating factor. Current aggravating factors for sentencing (among others) include 'particular cruelty in the commission of the offence' and 'that the offender was abusing a position of trust or authority in relation to the victim'. 

Statutes Amendment Bill (No 2)
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Mark Mitchell
This omnibus Bill intends to make a number of inconsequential changes to 29 different Acts. In accordance with the Cabinet Manual, Statutes Amendment Bills are vehicles for technical, short, and non-controversial amendments to a range of Acts. The amendments are subject to prior consultation with all parties in the House. An example of a minor change proposed in the Bill is an amendment to the Companies Act 1993 to expand the list of penalties for companies in liquidation to include sentences of reparation, monetary penalties, and orders for the payment of money imposed on a company for the commission of an offence.

Subordinate Legislation Confirmation Bill (No 3)
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Simon Bridges
This Bill seeks to prevent the revocation of subordinate legislation that, by virtue of the Acts under which they are made, are revoked at a stated time unless earlier confirmed by an Act of Parliament. This Subordinate Legislation Confirmation Bill specifically refers to orders under the:

  • Commodity Levies Act 1990;
  • Customs and Excise Act 1996;
  • Education Act 1989; and
  • New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001 and the Social Security Act 1964.

Taxation (Budget Measures: Family Incomes Package) Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Steven Joyce
This Bill was passed under urgency. See 'Acts Assented' below for a summary of the resulting legislation.

Bills awaiting first reading

Airport Authorities (Publicising Lost Property Sales) Amendment Bill
Appropriation (2016/17 Supplementary Estimates) Bill
Autonomous Sanctions Bill
Conservation (Infringement System) Bill
Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment Bill
Education (Public Good not Profit from Charter Schools) Amendment Bill
Employment Relations (Restoring Kiwis’ Right to a Break at Work) Amendment
End of Life Choice Bill
Local Electoral (Equitable Process for Establishing Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Bill
Local Government (Freedom of Access) Amendment Bill
Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis and Other Matters) Amendment Bill
Newborn Enrolment with General Practice Bill
Ngā Rohe Moana o Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Porou Bill Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill (No 2)
Sentencing (Livestock Rustling) Amendment Bill
Statutes Amendment Bill (No 2)

Bills defeated

Crown Minerals (Protection of World Heritage Sites) Amendment Bill
Member in charge: Hon Ruth Dyson
Ayes 45: New Zealand Labour 31; Green Party 14.
Noes 74: New Zealand National 58; New Zealand First 12; Māori Party 2; ACT New Zealand 1; United Future 1.

Electoral (Registration by Special Vote) Amendment Bill
Member in charge: Meka Whaitiri
Ayes 59: New Zealand Labour 31; Green Party 14; New Zealand First 12; Māori Party 2.
Noes 60: New Zealand National 58; ACT New Zealand 1; United Future 1.

Equal Pay Amendment Bill
Member in charge: Jan Logie
Ayes 59: New Zealand Labour 31; Green Party 14; New Zealand First 12; Māori Party 2.
Noes 60: New Zealand National 58; ACT New Zealand 1; United Future 1.

International Transparent Treaties Bill
Member in charge: Fletcher Tabuteau
Ayes 57: New Zealand Labour 31; Green Party 14; New Zealand First 12.
Noes: New Zealand National 58; Māori Party 2; ACT New Zealand 1; United Future 1.

Ombudsmen (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill
Member in charge: Hon David Parker
Ayes 57: New Zealand Labour 31; Green Party 14; New Zealand First 12.
Noes 62: New Zealand National 58; Māori Party 2; ACT New Zealand 1; United Future 1.

Youth Employment Training and Education Bill
Member in charge: Darroch Ball
Ayes 45: New Zealand Labour 31; New Zealand First 12; Māori Party 2.
Noes 74: New Zealand National 58; Green Party 14; ACT New Zealand 1; United Future 1.

Bills before Select Committee

Submissions open


Select Committee

Closing date for Submissions (2017)

Arbitration Amendment Bill

Justice and Electoral

22 June

Education (Tertiary Education and Other Matters) Amendment Bill

Education and Science

23 June

Friendly Societies and Credit Unions (Regulatory Improvements) Amendment Bill

Finance and Expenditure

20 July

Marriage (Court Consent to Marriage of Minors) Amendment Bill

Justice and Electoral

21 July

Subordinate Legislation Confirmation Bill (No 3)

Regulations Review

Not yet called

Taxation (Annual Rates for 2017-18, Employment and Investment Income, and Remedial Matters) Bill

Finance and Expenditure

5 July

Submissions closed


Select Committee

Report due (2017)

Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Amendment Bill

Law and Order

24 July

Children, Young Persons, and Their Families (Oranga Tamariki) Legislation Bill

Social Services

13 June

Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Bill

Primary Production

12 October

Crimes (Increased Penalty for Providing Explosive to Commit Crime) Amendment Bill

Law and Order

8 November

Domestic Violence—Victims' Protection Bill

Justice and Electoral

8 September

Employment Relations (Allowing Higher Earners to Contract Out of Personal Grievance Provisions) Amendment Bill

Transport and Industrial Relations

22 September

Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill

Justice and Electoral

11 October

Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2)

Government Administration

30 June

Iwi and Hapū of Te Rohe o Te Wairoa Claims Settlement Bill

Māori Affairs

14 September

Land Transport (Vehicle User Safety) Amendment Bill

Transport and Industrial Relations

12 October

Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2)

Local Government and Environment

16 June

New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill

Māori Affairs

30 June

Rates Rebate (Retirement Village Residents) Amendment Bill

Local Government and Environment

6 July

Bills awaiting second reading

Bills that have recently been reported back to the House from a Select Committee are in bold and the Select Committee reports on these Bills are linked.

Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration (Preventing Name Change by Child Sex Offenders) Amendment Bill
Customs and Excise Bill as reported by the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee
Electronic Interactions Reform Bill

Energy Innovation (Electric Vehicles and Other Matters) Amendment Bill as reported by the Commerce Committee
Enhancing Identity Verification and Border Processes Legislation Bill
Films, Videos, and Publications Classification (Interim Restriction Order Classification) Amendment Bill as reported by the Justice and Electoral Committee
Food Safety Law Reform Bill
Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water) Amendment Bill as reported by the Health Committee
Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill

Land Transport (Admissibility of Evidential Breath Tests) Amendment Bill
Maritime Transport Amendment Bill as reported by the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee
Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngā Pōtiki Claims Settlement Bill

Outer Space and High-altitude Activities Bill
Private International Law (Choice of Law in Tort) Bill as reported by the Justice and Electoral Committee
Public Collections and Solicitations (Disclosure of Payment) Bill
Rangitāne Tū Mai Rā (Wairarapa Tamaki nui-ā-Rua) Claims Settlement Bill
Social Security Legislation Rewrite Bill
Tauranga Moana Iwi Collective Redress and Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Ranginui Claims Settlement Bill

Bills awaiting third reading

Appropriation (2017/18 Estimates) Bill
Commerce (Cartels and Other Matters) Amendment Bill
Insolvency Practitioners Bill
Land Transfer Bill
Land Transport Amendment Bill (No 2)
Māori Purposes Bill
Maritime Crimes Amendment Bill
Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment Bill
Natural Health and Supplementary Products Bill (formerly the Natural Health Products Bill)
Ngatikahu ki Whangaroa Claims Settlement Bill
Point England Development Enabling Bill
Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill

Acts awaiting royal assent

Care and Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlement Bill

Acts assented

Appropriation (2015/16 Confirmation and Validation) Act 2017
This Act confirms and validates matters relating to Government spending in the 2015/16 financial year. The Act confirms the order in council that directs the transfer of amounts between output expense appropriations and the expenses incurred in excess of existing appropriations. The Act further validates unappropriated expenses and capital expenditure incurred.

Education (Update) Amendment Act 2017
This Act amends the Education Act 1989 to provide a variety of changes to the current education system that will come in to effect gradually between May 2017 and January 2020. The Act sets objectives for early childhood education and compulsory education through a Ministerial directive called National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP) which will allow the government of the day to set education priorities. Other changes introduced by the Act include prohibiting seclusion from use in schools and creating a legal framework for use of physical restraint; creating a more graduated range of Ministerial interventions for schools encountering issues; establishing a Competence Authority for teachers; and updating the legislative framework for state integrated schools.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017
This Act repeals the two current Acts that govern fire services: the Fire Service Act 1975 and the Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977. The Act creates a unified fire services organisation, called Fire and Emergency New Zealand that incorporates rural, urban, paid and volunteer firefighters. Fire and Emergency New Zealand will be established on 1 July 2017 and the full integration of services is expected to take four years. The Act also creates local advisory committees and expands firefighter's powers. In addition, the Act provides for updated and appropriate penalties, and a disputes resolution scheme to be developed.

Statutes Repeal Act 2017
This Act repeals, or partially repeals, 137 Acts that are no longer deemed necessary as they do not have any actual effect, have very limited effect, or are designed to achieve regulatory outcomes that are no longer relevant. Examples of repealed Acts include:

  • 1931 Hawke’s Bay Earthquake Act.
  • Seamen’s Union Funds Act 1971.
  • Rugby World Cup 2011 (Empowering) Act 2010.

Taxation (Budget Measures: Family Incomes Package) Act 2017
This Act amends the Income Tax Act 2007 to give effect to policy changes announced in the 2017 Budget. The Act changes personal income tax rates so that from 1 April 2018, the current $14,000 income tax threshold will increase to $22,000, and the current $48,000 will increase to $52,000. The Act also amends the current rates of the Family Tax Credit. Under the Act, the maximum credit for the first child under 16 will increase by $9 a week, and for each subsequent child under 16, by between $18 and $27 a week. The last major policy that the Act implements is to increase payments made under the Accommodation Supplement. The amendments in the Act will result in increases in the maximum payment rates for a two person household by between $25 and $75 a week, and for larger households, by between $40 and $80 a week. The Accommodation Benefit is also amended by the Act to allow for increases of weekly payments to students by up to $20.  

Trade (Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties) Amendment Act 2017
This Act amends the Dumping and Countervailing Duties Act 1988 to insert a public interest test into the process of investigation when determining whether the dumping of goods under the Act has occurred. Under the Act, if the Minister directs the chief executive to start an investigation, they must consider whether imposing an anti-dumping or a countervailing duty at the rate provided in the Act is in the public interest. Factors that must be taken into account when making this decision (among others) include the effect of the duty on: employment levels; the prices of dumped or subsidised goods; and the effect of the duty on the choice or availability of like goods. The Act also introduces a provision that allows for an anti-dumping and countervailing duty to be deferred it the users of goods have been significantly impacted by a natural disaster or other emergency. In addition, the Act introduces new procedures around investigations into alleged dumping or subsidisation of imported goods. 

Legislative instruments
Civil Aviation (Safety) Levies Amendment Order 2017
Civil Aviation Charges Regulations (No 2) 1991 Amendment Regulations 2017
Corrections Amendment Regulations 2017
Customs and Excise (Entry of Excisable Goods) Amendment Regulations 2017
Dairy Industry (Fonterra Levy) Regulations 2017
Financial Markets Conduct (Companies Being Wound Up—Debt Securities Allotted under Securities Act 1978) Exemption Notice 2017
Financial Markets Conduct (Shares in Investment Companies) Designation Amendment Notice 2017
Radiocommunications Amendment Regulations 2017
Rates Rebate (Specified Amounts) Order 2017
Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Designated Settlement System—NZCDC) Amendment Order 2017 Members of Parliament (Accommodation Services for Members and Travel Services for Family Members and Former Prime Ministers) Amendment Determination 2017
Smoke-free Environments Regulations 2017
Takeovers Code (Class Exemptions) Notice (No 2) 2001 Amendment Notice (No 2) 2017
Tax Administration (Reportable Jurisdictions for Application of CRS Standard) Regulations 2017
Taxation (Disclosure of Information to Approved Credit Reporting Agencies) Regulations 2017

In the week ahead

What’s coming up in the House

When the House resumes on Tuesday the 20th of June, the Government will look to make progress on the Point England Development Enabling Bill, the Energy Innovation (Electric Vehicles and Other Matters) Amendment Bill, and a number of other bills on the Order Paper.

In trade

Tariff concessions


Proposed tariff concession

Tariff item

Closing date for objections (2017)

Flint Group NZ Limited

Radiation curing flexographic printing ink.


20 June

Brittain Wynyard & Co Limited

Slippers with textile upper and neoprene heel; detachable thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) outer sole (either imported with the slipper or separately.


27 June

Donelley Sawmillers Limited
RD 2

Thermal Modification Kiln and oil boiler, imported by Donelley Sawmillers Limited.


27 June

Steelfort Engineering Company Limited

Lawn mower including a remote control, capable of working on a gradient (slope) up to and including 55°.


27 June

In consultation




By when (2017)

Department of Conservation

Nominations open for Queen Elizabeth II National Trust Board.

14 June

Department of Conservation application to renew the Whakapapa Waste Water Treatment Plant resource consent.

16 June

Application to film marine mammals by Sam Kynman-Cole.

21 June

Application to film marine mammals by Spindrift Images.

21 June

Minister of Conservation's intention to grant a 30 year concession to Airways Corporation of New Zealand to build, maintain and occupy staff accommodation in the Cleddau Village, Milford Sound/Piopiotahi.

10 July

Minister of Conservation's intention to grant a concession to Gisborne LandSAR occupy Matawai Gut for accommodation during outdoor training and education activities.

17 July

Minister of Conservation's intention to grant a concession to Maruia Hot Springs Property Ltd to create and maintain a campervan park at Maruia Springs.

19 July

Minister of Conservation's intention to grant a concession to Te Ha O Tongariro Charitable Trust to carry out guided walks on Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

25 July

Draft Threatened Species Strategy consultation.

31 July

Submissions sought about changes in status of New Zealand freshwater fish.

31 August

Submissions sought about changes in status of New Zealand marine mammals

30 September

Electricity Authority

Consultation paper on enabling mass participation in the electricity market: how can we promote innovation and participation?

11 July

Environmental Protection Authority

Submissions on Shell Todd Oil Services Limited's application to use a jack-up rig at its Māui Platforms in the South Taranaki Bight.

19 June

Financial Markets Authority

Consultation paper on proposed guidance on substantial produce holder disclosures.

16 June

Follow up to KiwiSaver annual statements - calculation of total fees in dollars.

23 June

Improving financial information in an equity PDS.

30 June

Food Standards Australia New Zealand

Application for approval for food derived from herbicide-tolerant, male-sterile canola line MS11 which is genetically modified to provide tolerance to the herbicide glufosinate-ammonium.

23 June (Canberra time)

Application for approval for food derived from genetically modified potato lines F10, J3, W8, X17 and Y9 which has late blight protection, low acrylamide potential, reduced browning and lower reducing sugars.

7 July (Canberra time)

Inland Revenue

Draft Interpretation Statement on compulsory zero-rating of land rules for GST purposes.

23 June

Draft General Determination ED0915: Depreciation of potato cool stores.

23 June

Draft Interpretation Statement regarding the taxation of trusts.

27 June

Discussion document black hole and feasibility expenditure.

6 July

Draft Standard Practice Statement ED0196: Income equalisation deposits and refunds.

14 July

Ministry for the Environment

Consultation on a proposal to include provisions for councils to charge for monitoring permitted activities under the proposed National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry.

16 June

Consultation on New Zealand's phase down of hydrofluorocarbons.

23 June

Ministry of Justice

Family Violence Summit.

16 June

Māori Land Court customer survey

30 June

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Consultation on the Insolvency Working Group's report on voidable transactions, ponzi schemes and other corporate insolvency matters.

23 June

Consultation on proposals to improve fire safety regulations for New Zealand buildings.

14 July

Ministry of Primary Industries

Feedback sought on proposals to increase the total allowable catch (TAC) for Flatfish in the South Island East Coast (FLA 3) and Red Cod in the central/lower North Island (RCO 2) for the remainder of the 2016/17 fishing year.

14 June

Feedback sought on a proposal to allow councils to charge for monitoring permitted activities under the National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry.

16 June

Feedback sought on the proposal to revoke the Wine Notice – Notice for wine recognised agencies and persons. A new notice has been drafted for consultation.

16 June

Feedback sought on proposals relating to requirements for the inspection and clearance of the specific classes of animal material and animal products

23 June

Feedback and submissions sought from tangata whenua and stakeholders on whether a further closure of the earthquake-affected fisheries along the Kaikōura and Cape Campbell coastline should be implemented

7 July

Feedback sought on proposed changes to the sustainability measures and other management controls for selected fish stocks.

7 July

New Zealand Transport Agency

Draft Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limited [2017].

16 June


Feedback sought on a proposal to list ferric carboxymaltose (Ferinject) 50 mg per ml, 10 ml vial in Section B of the Pharmaceutical Schedule from 1 August 2017; funding would be subject to Special Authority criteria.

21 June

Feedback sought on a proposal to list a range of orthopaedic implants and associated products supplied by Johnson & Johnson (New Zealand) Limited in Part III of Section H of the Pharmaceutical Schedule from 1 August 2017.

23 June

Reserve Bank of New Zealand

Issues paper in relation to the review of the Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Act 2010.

30 June

Standards New Zealand

Proposed amendment to NZS 2295 to include the performance requirements, related test methods, and limitation of use for synthetic underlays in roofs. NZS 2295:2016.

22 June

To specify optical and non-optical requirements and test methods for anti-reflective coatings on spectacle lenses.  AS/NZS ISO 8980.4:2017.

26 June

To specify the requirements and test methods for general purposes focimeters designed for the measurement of vertex powers, cylinder axis, prismatic power and prism base setting within a restricted area at a specified location on a lens. AS/NZS ISO 8598.1:2017.

26 June

To specify the requirements for test lenses for the calibration of focimeters that are used for the measurement of spectacle lenses. AS/NZS ISO 9342.1:2017.

26 June

To specify requirements for the suitability of products for use in contact with drinking water, with regard to their effect on the quality of the water. AS/NZS 4020:2017.

5 July

Revision of the standard relating to the use of lead paint in residential, public and commercial buildings. AS/NZS 4361.2:2017.

5 July

To enhance common understanding of configuration management and to assist organisations applying configuration management to improve their performance.  AS/NZS ISO 10007:2017.

10 July

To establish a voluntary system for the identification of versions of audiovisual works and other content derived from or closely related to an audiovisual work.  AS/NZS ISO 15706.2:2017.

10 July

To establish guidelines for the exchange of information between cultural heritage institutions. AS/NZS ISO 21127:2017.

10 July

To specify the computer-based design procedures applicable to Categories V and P lighting for the calculation of light technical parameters for the design or evaluation of road lighting. AS/NZS 1158.2:2017.

13 July

Specification of the general safety requirements for equipment (including fittings, accessories, appliances, and apparatus) of classes and types used in or in connection to electrical installations in buildings, structures and premises. AS/NZS 3100/2017.

14 July

To update the standard of the regulatory compliance mark for electrical and electronic equipment. AS/NZS 4417.2:2012.

14 July

Correction to previous amendments for particular requirements for vacuum cleaners and water-suction cleaning appliances. AS/NZS 60335.2.2:2010.

14 July

Amendment to safety requirements for electric room heaters for household and similar purposes with a voltage not being more than 250V in the case of single-phase applications and 480V for other appliances.  AS/NZS 60335.2.30:2015.

14 July

Amendment to safety requirements for motor-compressors and their protection and control systems which are intended for use in equipment for households and similar purposes. AS/NZS 60335.2.34:2016.

14 July

Amendment to the safety requirements for electric instantaneous water heaters for household and similar purposes and intended for heating water below boiling temperature. AS/NZS 60335.2.35:2013.

14 July

Amendment to the safety requirements for electric sauna heating appliances and infared-emitting units. AS/NZS 60335.2.53:2011.

14 July

To provide safety requirements for electric multifunctional shower cabinets and electric separate multifunctional shower units for household and similar purposes. AS/NZS 60335/2/105:2017.

14 July

To provide safety requirements for UV radiation water treatment appliances for household and similar purposes. AS/NZS 60335.2.109:2011.

14 July

To specify the product requirements for the types of wet process fibreboards – hardboard, medium board and softboards.

14 July


To establish minimum safety requirements for the design, construction and operation of electrical and electronic equipment within the field of audio, video, information and communication technology and business and office equipment. AS/NZS 62368.1:2017.

14 July

To provide the electrical and electronic industries with minimum safety requirements for electrically powered equipment intended for the reception, generation, recording or reproduction of audio, visual and associated signals. AS/NZS 60065:2017.

14 July




By when (2017)

Commerce Commission

Amendment to information disclosure requirements fast track disclosure year for First Gas gas pipeline services final decision.

1 June to 30 June

Transpower IRIS input methodologies review final decision.

30 June

Review of Transpower capital expenditure input methodology cross-submissions on proposed focus areas.

28 June

Review of Milk Price Calculation 2016/17 season – Fonterra to provide information required under section 150T of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001.

3 July

Publication of WACC for gas pipeline businesses and airports with June year-end and Transpower.

31 July

Review of input methodologies for related party transactions provisions draft decision.

3 July to 31 August

Review of input methodologies for customised price-quality paths draft decision for gas pipeline businesses.

3 July to 29 September

Department of Conservation

Minister of Conservation's intention to grant a concession to Avondale College for a continued lease of part of the Tongariro Conservation area.

14 June

Minister of Conservation's intention to grant a variation to the concession held by Tourism Milford Limited to build, maintain and occupy a lunch shelter at Lake Howden.

14 June

Ministry of Health

Draft strategy to prevent suicide in New Zealand.

26 June

Ministry of Justice

Māori Land Court customer survey.

30 June

New Zealand Transport Agency

Consultation on multi criteria analysis for transport business cases guidance.

30 September

This publication is intended only to provide a summary of the subject covered. It does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. No person should act in reliance on any statement contained in this publication without first obtaining specific professional advice. If you require any advice or further information on the subject matter of this newsletter, please contact the partner/solicitor in the firm who normally advises you, or alternatively contact one of the partners listed below.

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