Publications

Watching Brief – March 2019

Home Insights Watching Brief – March 2019

Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by Friday's terrorist attack in Christchurch, and in particular the Muslim community. In light of this, we will not be publishing a regular editorial article in this edition of Watching Brief. These articles are normally authored to promote thought and political dialogue on issues of the day. At this time of sadness, we think it is most appropriate to leave that dialogue to our political, religious and community leaders:

"They have chosen to make New Zealand their home and it is their home. They are us." – Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.


In the House this week

The House met yesterday, Wednesday 20 March at 2pm, for Ministerial statements as a follow up to Tuesday's statements of condolences for last week's terrorist attack in Christchurch. Ministerial statements were followed by an opportunity for other MPs to speak about what has happened. The House has now adjourned until Tuesday 2 April to give MPs the flexibility to stay in their electorates.

In the news

New Zealand Infrastructure Commission – Te Waihanga

The Government has announced the launch of the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission – Te Waihanga – to address what Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has described as New Zealand's "unprecedented infrastructure deficit".

The Commission will be tasked with carrying out strategy and planning, and procurement and delivery support for infrastructure developments in New Zealand. Until the Commission is established, Treasury's Infrastructure Transactions Unit will continue to provide procurement and delivery support to Government agencies and local authorities carrying out major infrastructure projects.

The announcement follows public consultation carried out in October 2018 regarding the form and functions of the new body, with submitters supporting the development of an independent body that could act as a bridge between decision-makers and stakeholders. The Commission will be an autonomous Crown entity, with an independent board of five to seven directors. While the Minister will retain decision-making powers over infrastructure developments, the Government expects the Commission's independence will enable it to work effectively alongside the private sector, market participants and local government.

Treasury estimates that the total infrastructure spend over the next five years will be $42 billion; a figure more than double that of the past five years. The Government expects the Commission will provide long-term strategic support to ensure that investment will be carried out in a way that encourages a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy.

Legislation establishing the Commission will likely be introduced in April 2019, with the body becoming operational from October 2019.

Tax Working Group releases final report

The Tax Working Group (TWG) released its much-anticipated Final Report on 21 February 2019, following the release of the interim report in September last year.

While the Report indicates that New Zealand's tax system is robust, the TWG recommends a number of changes to address its concerns with the structure, fairness and balance of the tax system. Most notably, the TWG has endorsed the introduction of a capital gains tax on all gains and losses on land and improvements, shares, intangible property and business assets. The family home would be exempt, as well as personal property. Broad estimates by the Working Group suggest that taxing income from capital gains will raise approximately $8 billion in the first five years.

A range of measures aimed at addressing environmental concerns are also recommended, including reforms to the Emissions Trading Scheme to ensure it is fit for purpose, increased taxes on water pollution, and a congestion pricing review by Auckland Council and the Government.

The Final Report lays out a range of options, and it remains open to the Government as to which (if any) of the recommendations it implements. Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Revenue Minister Stuart Nash have indicated that it is unlikely that all recommendations made by the TWG will be implemented.

The Government expects to release its full response to the Final Report in April 2019. Legislation implementing any policy changes will be introduced before the end of this Parliamentary term, but the Government has confirmed that any changes will only come into force in 2021 – making tax a dominant feature of the 2020 central government elections.

For a more comprehensive overview from our Tax team see here.

Consumer law reforms coming in financial, insurance sector

On 29 January, the Government announced its intention to fast-track consumer law reforms in the insurance and financial sectors, after the release of a joint report by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) and Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) on conduct and culture in the life insurance sector. This follows the release of a similar report into the banking sector in November 2018. While the January 2019 report was focused on the life insurance sector, Finance Minister Hon Grant Robertson commented that it is "possible the vulnerabilities [the report] identifies may exist across the broader insurance industry".

The FMA/RBNZ found that the life insurance industry has a culture which prioritises sales over customer interests, with incentives such as overseas trips and upfront commission causing conflicts of interest for insurance salespersons.

Commerce Minister Hon Kris Faafoi said that the Government would conduct a consultation process, but that it would be fast tracked "to ensure consumers get protection that is clearly needed". On timeframes, the Government intends to release a consultation paper this year on its proposed reforms, and intends to introduce legislation into Parliament by mid-2020. The Government has indicated that these potential reforms could include clearer duties on banks and insurers to considers customers' interests, appropriate resourcing for a regulator to monitor conduct in those industries, and strong penalties when insurers/banks breach their duties.

The joint press release from Hon Grant Robertson and Hon Kris Faafoi is available here.

Office for Māori Crown Relations – Te Arawhiti launched

On 17 December 2018, Minister of Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti, Hon Kelvin Davis, announced the launch of a new departmental agency, the Office for Māori Crown Relations – Te Arawhiti.

Meaning 'the bridge', Te Arawhiti symbolises the link between Māori and the Crown, the past and future, and the journey from grievance to partnership. Te Arawhiti encompasses several existing departmental units and is responsible for Treaty settlements, Māori-Crown relations, settlement commitments, and marine and coastal area (takutai moana).

Te Arawhiti will report to the Minister of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Hon Andrew Little, and the Minister of Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti, Hon Kelvin Davis, and will advise Minister Davis on a number of matters, including:

  • strengthening public sector capability to engage meaningfully and work effectively with Māori;
  • providing an independent, cross-government view on the health of Māori-Crown partnerships;
  • coordinating significant Māori-Crown events on behalf of the Crown;
  • providing strategic leadership and advice on contemporary Treaty issues and solutions to challenging relationship issues with Māori; and
  • ensuring the Crown meets its commitments with respect to Treaty settlements.

The mahi of Te Arawhiti will reflect the priorities arising from kōrero given by thousands of New Zealanders across hui held in 2018.  

Te Arawhiti will work closely with Te Puni Kokiri, the Ministry for Māori Development. More information on the Office for Māori Crown Relations – Te Arawhiti is available on its website.

NZX & FMA initiate industry review: Capital Markets 2029

NZX and the FMA have initiated an industry-led review of New Zealand’s capital markets, called 'Capital Markets 2029'. The review is intended to produce a 10 year view of what New Zealand's capital markets should look like and how to focus on growth.

Capital Markets 2029 has been tasked with considering the current framework and broader regulatory system of New Zealand’s capital markets and outline recommendations for what changes could be made to stimulate growth, increase participation and allow for more diversity of product. Martin Stearne, as Chair of Capital Markets 2029 has announced the membership of the steering committee:

  • Rob Campbell, Chair of SKYCITY and Tourism Holdings Limited
  • Rachel Dunne, Chapman Tripp
  • Ross George, Direct Capital
  • James Lee, First New Zealand Capital Limited
  • David McLean, Westpac
  • Neil Paviour-Smith, Forsyth Barr
  • Rebecca Thomas, Mint Asset Management
  • Matt Whineray, NZ Superannuation Fund
  • Geoff Zame, Craigs Investment Partners

As initiators of Capital Markets 2029, NZX and FMA will jointly fund the initial costs, however depending on the costs for delivery funding may be sought from industry. The findings of Capital Markets 2029 will be published in the third quarter of 2019.

Fair Pay Agreement Working Group recommendations released

A fair pay working group, chaired by former Prime Minister Rt Hon Jim Bolger (Group), was set up in June 2018 to make recommendations on the design of a system of bargaining to set minimum terms and conditions of employment across industries or occupations. The recommendations were set out in a report, released on 31 January 2019 (Report).

The premise for the Report was that New Zealanders work longer hours and produce less per hour than most other OECD countries. The sector-level bargaining system, recommended by the Group, is intended to create a level playing field where good employers are not disadvantaged by paying reasonable, industry-standard wages.

The Report made 46 recommendations and identified the following nine key features of a Fair Pay Agreement (FPA) collective bargaining system:

  • Collective bargaining can only be initiated by workers and union representatives where either a representativeness trigger, or a public interest trigger is determined to be met by an independent body.
  • The sector to be covered should be defined and negotiated, and extend to all workers.
  • Legislation should set the minimum scope to be included in an FPA.
  • Parties are to nominate a representative organisation to bargain on their behalf.
  • Bargaining process rules will need to be agreed, including clear timelines to prevent excessive uncertainty or cost.
  • In the event of a dispute, there will be no recourse to industrial action during bargaining, and challenge to determinations will be on procedural grounds only.
  • Where agreement is reached, conclusion requires ratification by a simple majority, and the procedure for ratification must be set out in law.
  • The Employment Relations Act 2000 approach to enforcement should be applied.
  • Resourcing to support the process will need to be considered.

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister, Hon Iain Lees Galloway, has indicated that the next phase of work will require detailed policy consideration and consultation, but the Government will "take the time to get it right".

The full Report can be found here.

Government announces next phase in fisheries management reform

On 4 February 2019, Fisheries Minister, Hon Stuart Nash, announced the next phase of reform to New Zealand's fisheries management system. The Government has released a discussion document on the proposed reform, calling for public feedback on four key areas:

  • amendments to the rules regarding the fish that must be brought back to port and those that can be returned to the ocean;
  • review of the offences and penalties regime;
  • streamlining and updating the ministerial decision-making process for setting catch limits; and
  • a range of technical amendments to the Fisheries Act 1996.

According to Fisheries New Zealand, the objective of the proposed reform is to "set us up to explore future steps", including enhancing an "ecosystem-based approach" to managing New Zealand's marine environment, investing in innovation, and increasing local community involvement in the decisions affecting them. The Quota Management System is not a subject of the proposed reform.

As part of the consultation process, representatives from Fisheries New Zealand will be holding public meetings throughout the country. Minister Nash has indicated that decisions arising from feedback on the proposed reform will be used to develop new legislation later in 2019.

The Minister's press release can be viewed here. The discussion document and other consultation materials can be viewed here.

Government's response to the Productivity Commission's review of state sector productivity

On 27 February 2019, the Finance Minister Hon Grant Robertson and Minister of State Services Hon Chris Hipkins released the Government's response to the Productivity Commission’s reports on state sector productivity. The Productivity Commission published two reports - Measuring State Sector Productivity and Improving State Sector Productivity - in August 2018.

The Government's response details its vision for a "coordinated and productive State sector" and the steps it is going to take to achieve this, including reforming the public management system and public finance system. This reform will include changes to the State Sector Act 1988 and the Public Finance Act 1989. It will also see a shift towards a stewardship approach for the public finance system and a unified, trusted Public Service.

Of the 11 individual recommendations, the Government agreed with four, partly agreed with four, and disagreed with three. For example, the Government agreed that the State Services Commissioner should convey to departmental chief executives that they build and sustain the capability to measure the productivity of public services. However, it did not agree that the Finance Minister should restrict access to the “high-impact initiative” portion of future budget operating allowances to departments that demonstrate productivity gains.

In relation to the Government's response, the Finance Minister Grant Robertson said:

“Overall the reports are broadly aligned with the intent of the Government’s work programme including improvements to the Budget process, State Sector Act Reform and improvements to service delivery, performance management and funding approaches.”

The Beehive media release is available here. The Government response to the Productivity Commission's reports is available here.

MFAT Consultations

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) has launched public consultation on three international trade-related matters, being the European Union-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (EU-NZ FTA), the upcoming general review of the Associate of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), and the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) resolution to launch negotiations on e-commerce rules. The issues open for consultation, and the respective submission windows, are discussed in more detail below.

EU-NZ FTA: Consultation on geographical indications

As part of EU-NZ FTA negotiations, MFAT is calling for submissions on the EU's proposed list of product names it wants protected as geographical indications in New Zealand for exclusive use by European producers. The level of protection sought by the EU would prohibit any:

  • direct or indirect commercial use of protected names;
  • the imitation of evocation of those names (such as where the true origin of the product is indicated or if the protected name is accompanied by an expression such as “style”, “type”, or “method”); and
  • any other practice liable to mislead consumers as to the true origin, nature or essential qualities of the product.

The EU lists of product names for foodstuffs, wines and spirits can be accessed here.

Nominations are also open for New Zealand product names that may be put forward to the EU for consideration as geographical indications. Those wishing to make a submission on the proposed EU lists, or to nominate New Zealand product names that should be protected as geographical indications, can do by email to [email protected] by 19 March 2019. Further information on the submission process can be accessed here.

AANZFTA: General review

Australia, New Zealand, and the ten countries that make up the ASEAN have agreed to conduct a general review of the AANZFTA to assess the Agreement's implementation and operation, and produce recommendations on how to further remove impediments to trade and investment and deepen the existing trade and economic relationships between the Parties.

MFAT is interested in submissions which discuss AANZFTA's impact on New Zealand businesses active in the ASEAN region, as well as the obstacles (whether regulatory, compliance or tariff-related) that are faced by these businesses and other areas for improvement. Further details on how to make a submission to MFAT can be found here.

WTO: E-commerce negotiations

New Zealand is a member of the Joint Statement Initiative and co-sponsored the Ministerial statement confirming intention to launch e-commerce negotiations at the WTO in 2019. Negotiations will consider issues including the facilitation of electronic transactions, the imposition of customs duties on electronic transmissions, and how to balance the quickly-growing volume of international trade in goods and services that is occurring via e-commerce with evolving policy concerns of personal privacy, cyber security and consumer protection.

MFAT is particularly interested in submissions discussing what New Zealand should prioritise in these future negotiations, and the trade barriers currently faced by businesses trading online. More information on the consultation process, which is open until 31 March 2019, can be found here.

Progress of legislation

New Bills

Appropriation (2017/18 Confirmation and Validation) Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Grant Robertson
This Bill seeks to confirm and validate matters relating to Government spending in the 2017/18 financial year. The Bill intends to confirm the order in council that directs the transfer of amounts between output expense appropriations and the expenses incurred in excess of existing appropriations. The Bill would further validates unappropriated expenses and capital expenditure incurred.

Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu Representation) Bill
Type of Bill: Local
Member in Charge: Rino Tirikatene
This Bill would empower Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to appoint up to two members to the Canterbury Regional Council after the 2019 local elections. The Bill reflects the Council's desire to maintain direct Ngāi Tahu representation at Council level.

Financial Markets (Derivatives Margin and Benchmarking) Reform Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Kris Faafoi
This is an omnibus Bill that seeks to safeguard access to global financial markets. The Bill would enable New Zealand financial market participants to continue to enter into derivatives and certain other types of financial instruments with important overseas financial entities, by removing impediments to compliance with foreign margin requirements for over-the-counter derivatives. The Bill would also establish a new licensing regime for administrators of financial benchmarks under the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 to enable those benchmarks to be referenced in financial instruments with important international counterparties.

Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Dr David Clark
This Bill is an omnibus bill, introduced in accordance with Standing Order 263. This Bill would classify AMB-FUBINACA and 5F-ADB as Class A drugs, affirm the existing discretion to prosecute for possession and use of all drugs, and enable temporary drug class orders to be issued for emerging and potentially harmful substances.

Organ Donors and Related Matters Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Dr David Clark
This omnibus Bill would enable the implementation of a number of recommendations set out in Increasing Deceased Organ Donation and Transplantation: A national strategy (2017) that are aimed at increasing New Zealand's deceased organ donation and transplantation rates. The Bill would broaden the functions of the New Zealand Blood Service, provided for under the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000, to facilitate the national organ donation agency to oversee and lead implementation of the Strategy. The Bill would also amend the Compensation for Live Organ Donors Act 2016 to widen the situations in which compensation can be paid to live organ donors while they recuperate from donor surgery.

Regulatory Systems (Economic Development) Amendment Bill (No 2)
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon David Parker
This Bill is an omnibus Bill, which along with the Regulatory Systems (Housing) Amendment Bill and the Regulatory Systems (Workforce) Amendment Bill seeks to amend economic development legislation to reflect best practice in response to the Productivity Commission's 2014 report, Regulatory institutions and practices. This Bill would make a number of discrete changes to various pieces of legislation, which cumulatively remove compliance costs to businesses, addresses regulatory duplication and inconsistencies, and clarifies statutory provisions. The Acts amended include:

  • the Building Societies Act 1965;
  • the Companies Act 1993;
  • the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003;
  • the Insolvency Act 2006;
  • the Limited Partnerships Act 2008; and
  • the Trade Marks Act 2002.

Regulatory Systems (Housing) Amendment Bill (No 2)
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon David Parker
This Bill is an omnibus Bill, which along with the Regulatory Systems (Economic Development) Amendment Bill and Regulatory Systems (Workforce) Amendment Bill seeks to amend economic development legislation to reflect best practice in response to the Productivity Commission's 2014 report, Regulatory institutions and practices.

The Bill would amend the Housing Restructuring and Tenancy Matters Act 1992 by simplifying the role of the Community Housing Regulatory Authority. The Bill would also amend s 92(2) of the Retirement Villages Act 2003 by clarifying the penalty for any breach of a code of conduct that is specified by the Minister for Economic Development.

Regulatory Systems (Workforce) Amendment Bill (No 2)
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon David Parker
This Bill is an omnibus Bill, which along with the Regulatory Systems (Housing) Amendment Bill and the Regulatory Systems (Economic Development) Amendment Bill seeks to amend economic development legislation to reflect best practice in response to the Productivity Commission's 2014 report, Regulatory institutions and practices. This Bill would amend the Holidays Act 2003, the Employment Relations Act 2000 (ERA), the Remuneration Authority Act 1977 (RAA), and the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 (PLEP) to clarify certain statutory provisions, correct legislative errors and remove unnecessary compliance costs.

Amendments to the PLEP will widen the circumstances where a spouse or partner of a child's biological mother can become the primary carer and therefore be eligible for parental leave entitlements. A spouse or partner will be considered the primary carer when they assume permanent primary responsibility for care, the biological mother does not qualify or has not applied for a parental leave payment, and the child is under one year of age. This Bill will also amend the ERA to allow a Labour Inspector to use their powers to investigate whether an employment context exists, in which case, various employment-related statutes will apply. Additional amendments to the ERA and RAA will empower the Remuneration Authority to set the level of remuneration for individuals who undertake certain responsibilities of the Chief of the Authority.

Social Security (Winter Energy Payment) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Carmel Sepuloni
This Bill would authorise two aspects of winter energy payments; winter energy payments for the 2019 calendar year under the Social Security Act 2018 and purported winter energy payments for the 2018 calendar year under the former Social Security Act 1964. The payments or purported payments would be made to a person who is receiving long-term residential care in a hospital or rest home, or residential care services, unless the person is specified as not entitled to the payment.

Taxation (Annual Rates for 2019–20, GST Offshore Supplier Registration, and Remedial Matters) Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Stuart Nash
This Bill would set the annual rates for 2019-20, introduce amendments to introduce GST on low-value imported goods, ring-fence rental losses, and introduce amendments to ensure New Zealand can meet its international obligations in relation to automatic exchange of information.

The Bill proposes to introduce GST on low-value imported goods to maintain the broad base of New Zealand's GST system. Only supplies made to consumers will be subject to GST. Offshore suppliers to New Zealand consumers will be required to register and return GST if their taxable activities to New Zealand exceed the $60,000 threshold. Electronic marketplaces and re-deliverers will be required to register and return GST on low-value goods if it sends or re-delivers to New Zealand supplies exceeding $60,000.

The Bill proposes to ring-fence losses made on rental investment property, therefore preventing a reduction of tax on total sources of income for a person. While expenses (such as interest) are (generally) fully deductible to the owner of the investment property, the economic income from the property may be under-taxed given that a substantial portion of the income can be the untaxed increase in value of the property which is derived when the property is sold.

The Bill also proposes to extend the legislation implementing the Common Reporting Standard to include corporate trustees who manage investment entities. The Bill also contains reforms in a number of smaller policy matters in the Income Tax Act and associated Inland Revenue acts, and a range of remedial items.

Bills awaiting first reading

Autonomous Sanctions Bill
Broadcasting (Games of National Significance) Amendment Bill (No 2)
Broadcasting (New Zealand on Air and Te Māngai Pāho Reporting Requirements) Amendment Bill
Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu Representation) Bill
Crimes (Coward Punch Causing Death) Amendment Bill
Education (Strengthening Second Language Learning in Primary and Intermediate Schools) Amendment Bill
High-power Laser Pointer Offences and Penalties Bill
Holidays (Bereavement Leave for Miscarriage) Amendment Bill
New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income (Fair Residency) Amendment Bill
Organ Donors and Related Matters Bill
Protection for First Responders and Prison Officers Bill
Shark Cage Diving (Permitting and Safety) Bill
 

Bills defeated

Litter (Increased Infringement Fee) Amendment Bill
Member in charge: Scott Simpson
Ayes 56: New Zealand National 55; Ross 1.
Noes 63: New Zealand Labour 46; New Zealand First 9; Green Party 8.
 

Bills withdrawn

Sentencing (Livestock Rustling) Amendment Bill

Bills before Select Committee

Submissions open

Bill

Select Committee

Closing date for Submissions (2019)

Financial Markets (Derivatives Margin and Benchmarking) Reform Amendment Bill

Finance and Expenditure

4 April

Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill

Health

11 April

Regulatory Systems (Economic Development) Amendment Bill (No 2)

Economic Development, Science and Innovation

28 April

Regulatory Systems (Housing) Amendment Bill (No 2)

Social Services and Community

24 April

Regulatory Systems (Workforce) Amendment Bill (No 2)

Education and Workforce

25 March

Taxation (Annual Rates for 2019–20, GST Offshore Supplier Registration, and Remedial Matters) Bill

Finance and Expenditure

27 March


Submissions closed

Bill

Select Committee

Closing date for submissions (2019)

Administration of Justice (Reform of Contempt of Court) Bill

Justice

29 March

Building Amendment Bill

Transport and Infrastructure

1 April

Canterbury Earthquakes Insurance Tribunal Bill

Governance and Administration

18 March

Companies (Clarification of Dividend Rules in Companies) Amendment Bill

Primary Production

15 April

Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill

Environment

12 June

Copyright (Marrakesh Treaty Implementation) Amendment Bill 2018

Economic Development, Science and Innovation

8 May

Criminal Cases Review Commission Bill

Justice

15 April

Dog Control (Category 1 Offences) Amendment Bill

Primary Production Committee

18 April

Education Amendment Bill (No 2)

Education and Workforce

27 March

Election Access Fund Bill

Governance and Administration

24 June

Electoral (Entrenchment of Māori Seats) Amendment Bill

Māori Affairs

13 May

End of Life Choice Bill

Justice

27 March

Equal Pay Amendment Bill

Education and Workforce

14 May

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Levy) Amendment Bill

Governance and Administration

1 April

Health (Drinking Water) Amendment Bill

Health

8 May

KiwiSaver (Foster Parents Opting in for Children in their Care) Amendment Bill

Social Services and Community

5 April

New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute Vesting Bill

Māori Affairs

19 June

Social Security (Winter Energy Payment) Amendment Bill

Social Services and Community

7 September

Statutes Amendment Bill

Governance and Administration

20 March

Taxation (Research and Development Tax Credits) Bill

Finance and Expenditure

1 April

Te Pire Haeata ki Parihaka/Parihaka Reconciliation Bill

Māori Affairs

3 June

Bills awaiting second reading

Appropriation (2017/18 Confirmation and Validation) Bill
Arbitration Amendment Bill
Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Bill
Corrections Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Farm Debt Mediation Bill
Gore District Council (Otama Rural Water Supply) Bill  as reported back from select committee
Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water) Amendment Bill
Health (National Cervical Screening Programme) Amendment Bill
Health and Safety at Work (Volunteer Associations) Amendment Bill
Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill
Legislation Bill
Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Bill
Ngā Rohe Moana o Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Porou Bill (No 2)
Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngā Pōtiki Claims Settlement Bill
Privacy Bill as reported back from select committee
Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Renewal of Licences) Amendment Bill (No 2)
Tauranga Moana Iwi Collective Redress and Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Ranginui Claims Settlement Bill
Thames-Coromandel District Council and Hauraki District Council Mangrove Management Bill
Trusts Bill
 

Bills awaiting third reading

Accident Compensation Amendment Bill
Commerce (Criminalisation of Cartels) Amendment Bill
Financial Services Legislation Amendment Bill
Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Amendment Bill
Insolvency Practitioners Bill
Local Electoral Matters Bill
Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2)
Ngāti Rangi Claims Settlement Bill
Psychoactive Substances (Increasing Penalty for Supply and Distribution) Amendment Bill
Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill (No 2)
 

Acts awaiting assent

Local Government Regulatory Systems Amendment Bill
Taxation (Annual Rates for 2018-19, Modernising Tax Administration, and Remedial Matters) Bill

Acts assented

Child Poverty Reduction Act 2018
This Act aims to achieve a significant and sustained reduction in child poverty in New Zealand by encouraging a focus by government and society on child poverty reduction, facilitating political accountability against published targets and requiring transparent reporting on levels of child poverty. 

The Act requires governments to set intermediate (three-year) and long (ten-year) targets on child poverty reduction and to provide updates in each annual budget about progress towards reaching these targets. Each year, the Act requires the government statistician to prepare an independent report measuring child poverty. The Act also mandates the identification of particular child poverty related "indicators", which form the basis of annual monitoring reports prepared, published, and presented to Parliament by the responsible minister. 

The Act sets out four primary (and six supplementary) measures of poverty and material hardship that governments are required to use for targets, reports and strategy. The four primary child poverty measures are:

  • "Low income" before housing costs (below 50 percent of median costs in any given year);
  • "Low income" after housing costs;
  • "Material hardship"; and
  • "Persistent poverty".

If the government fails to meet its published targets, the Act empowers the courts to grant declarations of non-compliance.

Children's Amendment Act 2018
This Act amends the Vulnerable Children Act 2014 (renamed the Children's Act 2014). The Act requires the Government to adopt, publish and review a strategy for improving the well-being of children, and ensure that children's agencies work together to improve the well-being of particular groups of children. The strategy must address:

  • improving the well-being of all children;
  • improving, as a particular focus, the well-being of children with greater needs;
  • reducing child poverty and mitigating impacts of child poverty and of socio-economic disadvantage experienced by children; and
  • improving the well-being of the core populations of interest to the department.

The strategy must include the desired outcomes, information of the measurability of those outcomes, the policies the Government intends to implement, and an assessment of the likely effect of those policies.

Conservation (Infringement System) Act 2018
This Act amends New Zealand's conservation compliance and enforcement system with the aim of ensuring that penalties are commensurate with the seriousness of offending. The Act amends a number of pieces of legislation, including: the Conservation Act 1987, the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978, the Marine Reserves Act 1971, the National Parks Act 1980, the Reserves Act 1977, the Trade in Endangered Species Act 1989, the Wild Animal Control Act 1977, and the Wildlife Act 1953. The Act introduces an infringement system to address less-serious offending and amends existing legislation to incorporate the infringement system into these specific regimes. For example, the Act makes it an offence to possess "restricted fish", which is a defined term, without permission. For enforcement purposes, the Act clarifies how infringement notices are to be issued and by whom. 

Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Act 2018
This Act requires the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to recommend the making of regulations under the Fair Trading Act 1986, prescribing a consumer information standard for the disclosure of a regulated food’s country or place of origin. The food subject to the regulations would include fruit, vegetable, meats, seafood, and other single-component food.

Coroners (Access to Body of Dead Person) Amendment Act 2018
This Act implements a recommendation of the Māori Affairs Committee Report Inquiry into whānau access to and management of tūpāpaku (deceased), to improve cultural considerations in the coronial system. The Act amends Section 26 of the Coroners Act 2006 to require the coroner, when determining whether a person should be allowed to view, touch, or remain with or near the tūpāpaku, to consider tikanga Māori and the expectations of other cultures. Currently, the Act does not require coroners to take cultural considerations into account when making decisions under section 26, but they have discretion to do so.

Crimes Amendment Act 2019
This Act makes discrete changes to the Crimes Act 1961. Section 71(2) is repealed which protects spouses and civil union partners in cases where they would otherwise be an accessory after the fact to an offence. Section 123 is repealed which removes to offence of blasphemous libel. The Act also repeals the year-and-a-day rule contained in section 162 which limits criminal liability for murder to acts that occur within a year and a day of the death of the victim. The Act also introduced a new offence for livestock theft.

Crown Minerals Amendment Act 2019
This Act amends the Crown Minerals Act 1991 to update the minerals permitting regime. The Act aims to address regulatory duplication, gaps, errors and inconsistencies within the existing regime to ensure an appropriate permitting scheme for the future. Among other things, the Act:

  • provides that minerals programmes are not legislative instruments;
  • stipulates the procedural requirements for a change of control of permit operator;
  • clarifies that an access arrangement is needed for access to Schedule 4 land;
  • includes several new offences for breaches of change of control requirements; and
  • clarifies the fines that apply to certain offences. 

Earthquake Commission Amendment Act 2019
This Act amends the Earthquake Commission Act 1993 by simplifying the handling of claims for natural disaster damage, particularly when dealing with a large-scale natural disaster. The Act removes Earthquake Commission (EQC) cover for personal property so that the primary focus for the EQC is on housing repair and recovery. The monetary cap for residential building damage would increase from $100,000 to $150,000 (plus GST). The Act enables EQC to accept claims notified more than three months and less than two years after the natural disaster event. The Act also clarifies when EQC may share claim-related information, including; to facilitate settlement of natural disaster claims by EQC and private insurers; to protect the public interest including to support natural disaster preparedness, response and recovery; and to prevent or lessen a threat to public health or safety.

Employment Relations Amendment Act 2018
This Act amends the Employment Relations Act 2000 by increasing collective bargaining powers and unions' rights in the workplace. The Act reintroduces certain standards for employee rights, which were removed under the previous parliamentary term.

The amendments to employee rights include:

  • restoration of statutory rest and meal breaks;
  • restriction of 90-day trial periods to Small and Medium-sized Enterprise employers (specifically those with less than 20 employees);
  • reinstatement of return to work as the primary remedy to unfair dismissal; and

The modifications to collective bargaining and union rights include:

  • restoration of the duty to conclude bargaining unless there is a good reason not to;
  • restoration of the earlier initiation timeframes for unions in collective bargaining;
  • restoration of the 30-day rule, where for the first 30 days new employees must be employed under terms consistent with the applicable collective agreement;
  • restoration of union access without prior employer consent;
  • a requirement to include pay rates in collective agreements;
  • a requirement for employers to provide reasonable paid time for union delegates to represent other workers (for example, in collective bargaining);
  • a requirement for employers to pass on information about unions in the workplace to prospective employees, along with a form for the employee to indicate whether they want to be a member; and
  • greater protections against discrimination for union members, including an extension of the 12-month threshold to 18 months, relating to discrimination based on union activities and new protections against discrimination on the basis of being a union member.

Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Act 2018
This Act improves access to medicinal cannabis, and ensures the safety and quality of both domestically manufactured and imported cannabis products. The Act amends the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 by:

  • granting an exemption and statutory defence to people requiring palliation (where the person has an advanced progressive life-limiting condition and is nearing the end of their life) to possess and use illicit cannabis, and to possess a cannabis utensil;
  • providing a regulation-making power to enable the setting of mandatory standards for products manufactured, imported, and supplied under licence (as most internationally produced cannabis products do not currently meet the benchmark required by regulators such as Medsafe); and
  • amending Schedule 2 of the Act so that cannabidiol (CBD) products are no longer classed as controlled drugs, and instead classed as a prescription medicine (on the advice of the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs).

The Act requires the Ministry of Health to review the operation of the new exception and defence within two years of its commencement. The Ministry must prepare a report for the Minister detailing the implementation of the provisions, and recommend any amendments.

New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Act 2019
This Act intends to address issues that have arisen over New Plymouth District Council owned land that was confiscated from Waitara hapū in 1865 (the Waitara Endowment Land). This land is currently held in six special categories. The Act removes previous statutory restrictions on the Waitara Endowment Land in relation to the application of rents and sale proceeds such that the land can be used and income derived from it. The Act sets up a number of provisions that relate to the status of this Land. The Act vests a portion of this Land in the Trustees of Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa (Trustees) and would classify this land as reserve land. The Act also imposes a right of first refusal over a portion of the Land in favour of the Trustees. Additionally, the Act allows the lessees of the Waitara Endowment Land the right to purchase the Council's interest as lessor. The Act also sets up a management framework for the funding and ongoing costs of the local authorities as a result of the proposed changes. To this effect, the Act would establish a fund for future proceeds from the rent and sale of the Waitara Endowment Land.

Ngāti Tūwharetoa Claims Settlement Act 2018
This Act gives effect to the deed signed on 8 July 2017 between the Crown and Ngāti Tūwharetoa. The Act reflects the full and final settlement of all historical Ngāti Tūwharetoa Treaty claims resulting from actions of the Crown in the 19th and 20th centuries, up until September 1992. It includes compensation of $25 million, the right of first refusal to purchase Government land, the return of key sites, including the Craters of the Moon tourist attraction and part of the Five Mile Bay Recreational Reserve. The Act also includes an apology for past injustices.

Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Monetary Policy) Amendment Act 2018
This Act amends the Reserve Bank Act 1989 to deem the Reserve Bank responsible for the formulation of monetary policy, not only to maintain stability in the general level of prices, but also towards supporting maximum sustainable employment. Further, the Act creates a monetary policy committee for formulating monetary policy. The committee would comprise of the Governor of the Reserve Bank, the Deputy Governor, and a number employees of the Bank and a number of non-employees to be appointed. The Minister of Finance will be responsible for creating a new instrument called the remit, which replaces the Policy Targets Agreement and would set out the operational objectives for monetary policy to be taken into account by the monetary policy committee. The charter imposes various requirements relating to accountability, decision-making procedures and transparency.

Social Workers Registration Legislation Act 2019
This Act makes a number of amendments to the Social Workers Registration Act 2003. The Act makes registration mandatory for social workers, within two years of the changes becoming law. Whether a person is a "social worker" depends on their area of practice, competencies, responsibilities and qualifications. In addition to requiring social workers to register, the Act requires employers to report allegations of serious misconduct by social workers and promotes ongoing professional development by social workers.

The Act's changes are intended to "provide greater protections for children and their whanau who often require support of social workers at very vulnerable times in their lives", according to the Minister for Social Development, Hon Carmel Sepuloni. 

Subordinate Legislation Confirmation Act (No 2) 2018
This Act confirms certain confirmable instruments and annual confirmable instruments, including regulations and orders made under the Animal Products Act 1999, Antarctica (Environmental Protection) Act 1994, Biosecurity Act 1993, Commodity Levies Act 1990, Customs and Excise 1996, New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001, Social Security Act 1964, and Tariff Act 1988.

Tasman District Council (Waimea Water Augmentation Scheme) Act 2018
This Act grants the Waimea riverbed land to the Tasman District Council (for market value) for the purpose of developing the Waimea Water Augmentation Scheme. This Act also confers on the Council, or a council-controlled organisation, an easement that gives it the right to inundate 9.6690 ha of the conservation estate so that the Scheme can proceed. The Council would be required to sell the land back to the Crown should the scheme not proceed or is reversed.

In consultation

New

Who

What

By when (2019)

Civil Aviation Authority

Notice of objects and activities affecting navigable airspace – tower crane for three apartment blocks, Queenstown

27 March

 

Notice of objects and activities affecting navigable airspace – Waverley Wind Farm South Taranaki

28 March

 

NPRM 19-02 Aircraft Maintenance Personnel Licensing

29 March

 

Notice of proposal for construction of an aerodrome – Peninsula Air Waterdrome Lyttleton Harbour

16 April

Commerce Commission

111 contact code process and issues paper

29 March

 

Transpower's price-quality path from 2020  draft decision and draft IPP determination

30 May

 

Electricity distributors 2020-2025 default price-quality path draft decision

31 May

 

Amendments necessary to implement 202 electricity distribution default price-quality path draft determination and reasons paper

31 May

 

Fibre input methodologies emerging views paper

31 May

 

Copper withdrawal draft code publication

30 August

 

Mobile market study findings paper

30 September

 

Retail fuel market study final report

5 December

Department of Conservation

Application for guiding concession by Geotech Limited

20 March

 

Intention to grant a 15-year lease for use of the Auckland Mataatua Society Marae Recreation Reserve

22 March

 

Application for lease of Knox Cottage by Moehau Environment Group Limited

22 March

Environmental Protection Authority

Reassessment of restrictions on use of Moddus Evo

26 March

 

Reassessment of hazard classification of paraquat

12 April

Inland Revenue Department

PUB00343 – depreciation – change of use event

20 March

 

PUB00303/a to PUB00303/g renting out your home, a room within your home, or a separate residential property as short-say accommodation

22 March

 

Exposure draft – late filing penalties

22 March

 

Issues paper – consequences of GST group registration

5 April

Land Information New Zealand

Enduring stewardship of Crown pastoral land

12 April

Law Commission

The use of DNA in Criminal Investigations – issues paper

31 March

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Electricity Price Review – options paper

22 March

 

Review of section 36 of the Commerce Act and other matters

1 April

 

Proposed changes to New Zealand Sign Language video interpreting and relay services

15 April

 

Ticket reselling in New Zealand

18 April

 

Review of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification

7 June

Ministry of Education

Reform of Vocational Education consultation

27 March

 

Our Schooling Futures, Strong Together | Whiria Ngā Kura Tūātinitini report

7 April

Ministry of Health

Second round of consultation on proposed donation and surrogacy guidelines

25 March

 

Christchurch consultation on exposure draft of Therapeutic Products Bill

27 March

 

HISO 10072.2:2019 Bowel Screening Histology Data Standard

29 March

 

Draft Code of Practice for Industrial Radiography

29 March

 

Therapeutic Products Regulatory Scheme: Online consultation

18 April

Ministry of Justice

Consultation regarding whether a review of the Official Information Act 1982 is required

18 April

Ministry for Primary Industries

Zoo containment facility draft guidance document

22 March

 

Proposed animal products risk management programme template for transport of animal material and animal products

22 March

 

Review of blue cod fishing regulations

26 March

 

Draft import health standard for importing egg products

2 April

 

Draft import health standard for importing semen and embryos from equids

15 April

 

Draft import health standard for zoo Asian Elephants

7 May

Productivity Commission

Technology and the future of work – issues paper release

April

Current

Who

What

By when (2019)

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Review of the Copyright Act 1994 – issues paper

5 April

Productivity Commission

Local government funding and financing – draft report

June

Read more:
Watching Brief
Talk to one of our experts:
Related Expertise