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Watching Brief May 2023

Home Insights Watching Brief May 2023

Matter of Opinion

Electoral "integrity" – literal interpretation strikes again

High political drama last week – that could, in some scenarios, determine the result of October's election – also highlighted the ongoing sad story of the electoral integrity, or waka-jumping, provisions in one of the cornerstones of our constitutional rubric: the Electoral Act 1993.

As widely reported, Hon Meka Whaitiri MP defected from the Labour Party to Te Pāti Māori, and (perhaps using Ms Whaitiri as precedent) Dr Elizabeth Kerekere MP defected from the Green Party to sit as an independent MP. Despite the waka-jumping law ejecting MPs from their seats where they cease to be parliamentary members of the political party for which they were elected, both Ms Whaitiri and Dr Kerekere remain MPs.

How can this be? Put simply: the literal word of the law. Under the Electoral Act, a waka-jumping MP only vacates their seat if the MP, or if the parliamentary leader of the MP's party, delivers a written notice to the Speaker.

This written notice to the Speaker must comply with a strict format and specific wording: that the MP has resigned from the "parliamentary membership" of the political party for which they were elected, or wishes to be recognised for parliamentary purposes as an independent MP or an MP of another political party.

We can assume (as anything short of the prescribed written notice above does not invoke the waka-jumping legislation) that the two MPs' communications with the Speaker fall short of the requisite criteria.

Theoretically, an MP could defect in substance and not inform the Speaker formally at all, because the Speaker has no independent discretion to reach their own decision. Contrast the situation with the Governor-General who, when inviting a Prime Minister to form a government, must, by constitutional convention, rely on the publicly stated intentions of the parties. Instead, the Speaker must wait for written notice in the exact prescribed form, assiduously needing to ignore the publicly stated intentions of the MPs and parties – statements which in this case are unequivocal.

But what about the parties themselves? The Electoral Act allows a parliamentary leader to trigger the waka-jumping legislation, following a written statement to the Speaker meeting the prescribed form. In these two instances, Party leaders, however, will not trigger the law. On its side, the Greens take a principled objection against the waka-jumping legislation itself so will not invoke it, while Labour's unstated reason may well be more pragmatic – having more to do with the possibility that one path to re-election in October could run through Te Pāti Māori.

Last week's events continue the ineffectual story of the "electoral integrity" law. The current provisions are almost identical to a 2001 iteration insisted on by the Alliance Party. Back then, the late Jim Anderton wanted to prevent a repetition of 1998/99's events, where Alliance MP Alamein Kopu defected to become the one vote majority on confidence matters keeping Jenny Shipley's National minority government in office. That legislation expired automatically in 2005. It gained a second life after 2017 when New Zealand First sought the re-insertion of the provisions in the Electoral Act, this time without a sunset clause.

In a cruel twist, the Alliance's 2002 internal schism first demonstrated the problem with the waka-jumping legislation. Despite Jim Anderton and MPs loyal to him leaving the Alliance and Laila Harré becoming the party's leader, they all continued sitting together in the House with no notice given to the Speaker as to any changes. The reality, versus what Jonathan Hunt as Speaker could take notice of, diverged completely.

Across its two iterations the waka-jumping legislation has been invoked only once. In 2004, ACT expelled Donna Awatere Huata via the party-initiated process. Even in the case of expelled former Labour MP Gaurav Sharma, Labour did not invoke the waka-jumping legislation. Dr Sharma himself triggered last year's Hamilton West by-election by resigning as an MP.

Next week's Budget betrays the truly bizarre situation if Ms Whaitiri or Dr Kerekere vote with the Opposition, rather than support the Budget. Money supply represents a confidence vote. While two defecting MPs does not call into question the confidence of the House in the Government, it highlights the absurdity of a situation whereby the MPs are still considered (for the purposes of the Electoral Act) Labour and Green MPs, despite taking among the most serious steps a governing party MP can – voting against the continuation of the Government.

Ultimately, the waka-jumping legislation seeks a black-letter law solution to what is a political problem and, in doing so, solves nothing. Instead, the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act are observed almost exclusively in breach, leaving the Speaker in absurd public positions where they must go through legalistic contortions through no fault of their own.

Instead, the sanction of voters at the next election provides a political solution to the problem, however unpalatable the short-term political situation may appear. Voters have quite happily exercised their judgement on waka-jumping, as seen in the failure to secure re-election by Gaurav Sharma last year, Laila Harré and the Alliance party in 2002, Alamein Kopu in 1999, and Tau Henare and his Mauri Pacific party (formed by some who left New Zealand First) in 1999.

The redundancy of the waka-jumping legislation is a good example of why we leave so much else in our "unwritten" constitution to convention and the cleansing effect of the ballot box.

In the News

Climate Change Commission Advice on ETS and ERP

The Climate Change Commission (Commission) has recently issued draft advice regarding the Government's emission reduction plans. The advice highlights the Commission's concern that the Government's current emission reduction plans will be insufficient to meet New Zealand's 2026 to 2030 emissions budget, and ultimately New Zealand's goal to be carbon neutral by 2050. Consultation on the draft advice is currently open until 20 June 2023. The Commission plans to deliver final advice to the Minister of Climate Change by 31 December 2023.

The Commission's draft advice contains 19 urgent recommendations the Government should adopt to ensure its goals under the second emissions budget period are met. The Commission considers the greatest risks to the Government meeting its emission goals are critical gaps in the current plan, and existing actions in that plan which require strengthening.

The Commission has called for clarity from the Government on its desired outcomes, by committing to a level of gross emission reductions for the second and third emission budgets. Further, the Commission posits that it would be helpful if the Government's specific levels of emissions and carbon dioxide reductions are set out beyond the second and third emission budgets, to 2050.

The Commission has also proposed the Government reconsider and amend the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to ensure that incentives support the desired outcomes (being transition to net zero long-lived gas emissions). The Commission is concerned that the comparatively low cost of using forests to capture carbon, combined with the current ETS structure, will result in short term extensive afforestation, and in the long term, the ETS incentives will not be sufficient for planting the forests needed to reach the country's net zero long-lived gas emissions by 2050. See our Insight article for more detail, here.

"Affordable Water Reforms" – update

In April, the Government announced changes to its Three Waters Reform, re-named Affordable Water Reform. These changes are the result of a "re-focus", with the priority being to improve the affordability of water services, as directed by Prime Minister Chris Hipkins in February.

 There are a number of key changes introduced by the Affordable Water Reform, including:

  • The number of water services entities (WSEs) will increase from four to ten, with new boundaries closely based on existing regional boundaries.

  • The establishment date for WSEs (previously 1 July 2024) will now be staggered. WSEs will begin to be stood up from early 2025, with an operational deadline of 1 July 2026.

  • Each territorial authority owner will be guaranteed representation on the WSE's Regional Representative Group (RRG).

The entities will still maintain balance sheet separation from councils, to enable the required investment in water services infrastructure, and be subject to economic regulation. Further, mana whenua and local authorities will continue to have 50/50 representation on the RRG.

While this increase in the number of WSEs will increase the cost of establishing the WSEs and reduce economies of scale efficiencies, the Government still expects the reforms to deliver savings of between $2,770-$5,400 annually to households by 2054. You can read our fulsome update on these reforms here

Lobbying Reforms

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins recently announced several measures intended to increase transparency around lobbying in Parliament, following media coverage on the issue. The four changes include:

  • requesting that the Speaker of the House remove swipe-card access to Parliament for business, non-government and union representatives;

  • inviting third-party lobbyists to establish a voluntary code of conduct (the Prime Minister has offered Government and Ministry of Justice resources to support that process);

  • including clear expectations for Ministers in the updated Cabinet Manual regarding their employment prospects after leaving office; and

  • initiating a review by the Ministry of Justice into lobbying, including scoping policy options for broader reform in this area.

The updated Cabinet Manual, which covers expectations for Ministers' and public servants' conduct, was published on 20 April 2023. Guidance introduced in this latest edition specifically contemplates that Ministers may move from office to the lobbying industry. The Cabinet Manual now directs that (see [2.113]-[2.114]):

  • Ministers must not use information gained while in office (including confidential, commercially sensitive or legally privileged information) in a way that benefits the personal interests of themselves or of their family, whānau or close associates; and

  • while Ministers are entitled to be employed after leaving office, their conduct and decisions while in office should not be influenced by the prospect of future employment within a particular organisation or sector.

The Ministry of Justice's advice following its review into lobbying policy options is not expected until 2024. The Prime Minister has signalled that the review will draw on international best practice. It is anticipated that the review will consider reform options such as establishing a register of lobbyists and mandatory "cooling off" periods for lobbyists and parliamentary officials. See our article on this topic, here.

Ministerial Inquiry into Land Use

The Ministerial Inquiry into land uses associated with woody debris (including forestry slash) and sediment in the Tairāwhiti/Gisborne District and Wairoa District (Inquiry) was launched in February 2023. The Inquiry panel – made up of former minister and Tairāwhiti resident Hon Hekia Parata (Chair), former National Recovery Manager for the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Dave Brash (who replaced one of the original panel members, Bill Bayfield), and forestry engineer Matthew McCloy – is tasked with investigating past and current land use practices and their impact on communities, livestock, buildings, and the environment.

The scope of the Inquiry includes the impacts of storm damage and its causes, land use practices, and regulatory and policy settings, with a particular focus on the communities of Tairāwhiti and Wairoa. The Inquiry panel has received 313 submissions during the course of its consultation period which ended on 6 April 2023.

The Inquiry panel is due to deliver its report by 12 May 2023, following the approval of a 12-day extension to the previous deadline. It is expected that the Inquiry panel will recommend changes to existing practices and regulation at central and local government levels, including forestry practices, Resource Management Act plans, and national policy statements and standards.

National Directions and Renewable Energy

The Government has signalled that changes to various National Directions that relate to renewable electricity are necessary to expand New Zealand's renewable energy infrastructure. Environment Minister, David Parker, noted that such changes were required to enable New Zealand's climate change goals to be met, and that the changes were expected to be implemented by the end of the year, following consultation.

On 20 April 2023, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Ministry for the Environment issued a consultation document seeking feedback on the proposed changes, with submissions due by 1 June 2023 (available here). The proposed changes will amend the:

  • National Policy Statement on Renewable Electricity Generation (NPS-REG);

  • National Policy Statement on Electricity Transmission (NPS-ET); and

  • National Environmental Standards for Electricity Transmission Activities (NES-ETA).

Further, a new National Environmental Standards for Renewable Electricity Generation will be developed.

The proposed changes are intended to:

  • Recognise and provide for the national significance of renewable electricity generation.

  • Enable renewable electricity generation activities in areas with significant environment value and other areas.

  • Recognise and provide for Māori interests.

  • Strengthen direction on existing wind and solar renewable electricity generation.

  • Retain existing direction in relation to reconsenting existing hydro and investigating further options under the National Planning Framework.

  • Enable small and community-scale generation.

  • Provide for the importance of battery storage.

  • Recognise and provide for the national significance of electricity transmission.

  • Manage environmental effects of electricity transmission.

  • Broaden the scope of the NPS-ET to apply to all high voltage electricity networks.

  • Improve the workability and scope of the NES-ETA.

  • Enable the upgrade and repowering of existing wind and solar generation.

  • Develop new national standards for small and community scale onshore wind and solar PV generation projects.
  • Provide nationally consistent rules for new large-scale wind and solar PV generation.

IRD's High Wealth Individual's Report

On 26 April 2023, the IRD published the findings of its High Wealth Individuals Research Project (HWI Project), which sought to determine the median effective tax rate (ETR) paid by New Zealand's wealthiest families, enabling comparisons against the general population.

The HWI Project's origins date back to 2020, when law reforms expanded the IRD's information gathering powers, enabling them to require high-wealth individuals to provide their earnings data.

The HWI Project sourced data from 311 high-wealth New Zealanders, and their direct household members. It calculated that the median ETR paid on these families' economic income from all sources – including salaries or wages, as well as capital gains from businesses, property and other investments – was 8.9%. The report stated that this figure is less than half of the average ETR paid by middle income New Zealanders, based on similar research carried out by the Treasury.

Revenue Minister, David Parker, stated that one of the main reasons for this discrepancy was that people on low to middle incomes tended to make most of their money through personal taxable income, which is taxed directly. In comparison, the HWI Project found that personal taxable income was only a "small part of the economic income of the wealthiest New Zealand families" and that, between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2021, the researched families generated most of their economic income through increases in the value of businesses, property and financial portfolios they owned or controlled.

The IRD has emphasised that the purpose of its HWI Project was not to make any immediate policy recommendations, but to generate findings that could help the IRD to assess the progressivity and efficiency of the New Zealand tax system, enabling it to provide more robust advice on New Zealand tax policy in the future. The IRD's full report can be read here.

In Trade

UK accession to CPTPP

In March 2023, the UK agreed in principle to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The UK's accession to the CPTPP is expected to be finalised at the CPTPP ministerial meeting, hosted in Auckland in July 2023.
The CPTPP currently has eleven members Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

The UK's accession to the CPTPP will enable tariff-free trade for more than 99% of goods traded between the UK and CPTPP members. The CPTPP's tariff arrangements for New Zealand / UK trading are no different to those under the New Zealand – United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (discussed below).  However, the removal of tariffs is a significant development for CPTPP member states that the UK does not currently have a free trade agreement with – notably Malaysia and Brunei.

To join the CPTPP, the UK will need to comply with the CPTPP Agreement. For example, the UK will be required to meet market access requirements, sanitary and phytosanitary (food safety and animal welfare) standards, binding investor-state dispute settlement provisions, commitments to environmental protection, labour rights standards and anti-corruption measures.

The CPTPP's members' focus will next turn to applications to join from China, Taiwan, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Uruguay.

NZ-UK FTA – in force 31 May 2023

New Zealand's free trade agreement with the United Kingdom will enter into force on 31 May 2023, with the commencement date having been brought forward.

Preparation for the NZ-UK FTA began in 2017, with negotiations commencing in June 2020, and the agreement being signed on 28 February 2022 (1 March NZT).

A brief summary of the NZ-UK FTA is below, with further detail here and here.

From 31 May 2023, 99.5% of current trade will enter duty-free into the UK through a combination of tariff elimination and duty-free quotas. New Zealand will also remove all tariffs on UK products, and the screening threshold under the Overseas Investment Act 2005 will increase from NZ$100 million to NZ$200 million for non-governmental investors from the UK.

The NZ-UK FTA contains a dedicated Māori Trade and Economic Cooperation Chapter that recognises the unique relationship that exists between Māori and the British Crown as original signatories of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and provides a platform for cooperation on areas of importance to Māori.

Tariff free quotas for dairy and meat producers grow, until being fully liberalised by years five and 15, respectively.
The NZ-UK FTA contains far-reaching agreements on the environment. This includes commitments to prohibit subsidies for fishing overfished stocks and to take steps to eliminate harmful fossil fuel subsidies.

In addition, the Government:

  • expects the NZ-UK FTA to add up to $1 billion to New Zealand's annual GDP;

  • increase New Zealand's goods exports to the UK by over 50%; and

  • save exporters approximately $37 million per year in tariff elimination alone.

In the House

What's coming up in the House

Parliament will resume sitting on Tuesday 16 May 2023.
On Tuesday 16 May, the annual review debate will conclude, and the Appropriation (2021/22 Confirmation and Validation) Bill will complete its remaining stages.
Other legislation to be considered includes:

  • the second readings of:

    • the Business Payment Practices Bill;

    • the Charities Amendment Bill;

    • the Health and Safety at Work (Health and Safety Representatives and Committees) Amendment Bill;

  • the committee of the whole House stages of:

    • the Accident Compensation (Access Reporting and Other Matters) Amendment Bill;

    • the Customs and Excise (Arrival Information) Amendment Bill;

    • the Grocery Industry Competition Bill;

    • the Self-contained Motor Vehicles Legislation Bill; and

  • the third reading of the Family Court (Family Court Associates) Legislation Bill.

Thursday 18 May is Budget Day.

Progress of Legislation

Bills Introduced

Annie Oxborough Birth Parents Registration Bill

Type of Bill: Private
Member in charge: Chris Penk

This Bill would require the Registrar-General to enter the details of Susan Mary Cox and Scott Geoffrey Sinel, in place of the names of Annie Oxborough's adoptive parents, on the registration of her birth. The Bill would not affect the adoption order made in favour of Annie Oxborough's adoptive parents.

Child Support (Pass On) Acts Amendment Bill

Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Carmel Sepuloni
This omnibus Bill would amend the existing legal position, so that beneficiaries receiving a sole parent rate of main benefit are not treated differently than other beneficiaries. The Bill would:

  • remove the obligation for beneficiaries on a sole parent rate of main benefit to apply to have child support assessed and paid through the IRD;

  • require that child support collected by the IRD be paid to sole parent beneficiaries in whole; and

  • require MSD to treat those payments as income when determining entitlement to a benefit or other assistance.

Crimes (Theft by Employer) Amendment Bill

Type of Bill: Member's
Member in charge: Ibrahim Omer

This Bill will amend the Crimes Act 1961 to clarify that an employer intentionally not paying an employee their wages, salaries, or other monetary entitlements is theft. The offence would attract a penalty of imprisonment for up to 1 year and/or a fine up to $5,000 for individuals and a fine of $30,000 for any other type of entity.
Education and Training Amendment Bill (No 3)

Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Jan Tinetti
This Bill would make a range of amendments to the Education and Training Act 2020, including:

  • establishing a new legislative framework for wānanga (tertiary institutions providing education in a Māori cultural context);

  • adding further eligibility criteria for state school board members;

  • empowering the Ministry of Education to conduct random audits on school board members' satisfaction of the eligibility criteria;

  • shifting the timing of the next mid-term school board elections; and

  • expanding the criteria for co-opted (non-elected) school board members.

Integrity Sport and Recreation Bill

Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Grant Robertson
This Bill intends to increase the integrity of New Zealand’s sport and recreation sector by establishing an independent body and consolidating integrity functions within it.
The Bill would establish a new independent Crown entity called the Integrity Sport and Recreation Commission (Commission). The overall objective of this Commission is to promote, advise, engage, and educate on integrity issues and threats to integrity within the sport and physical recreation sector.
The ambit of the Commission will include grassroots and community sport and physical recreation as well as elite sport. Drug Free Sport New Zealand will also be disestablished, and its anti-doping functions will be within the Commission.
Immigration (Mass Arrivals) Amendment Bill

Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Michael Wood
This Bill would change the way irregular maritime migrants are managed. It would increase the length of time the District Court can consider an application for a mass arrival warrant of commitment from 96 hours to as soon as reasonably practicable and within 7 days after the application was made, increasing the time available to members of a mass arrival group to find legal representation. If it is not reasonably practicable for the District Court to determine the application within 7 days after the application was made, then it can be adjourned and must be determined within 28 days of the application. The Bill would also allow migrants to be detained until their application is determined.
The Bill also clarifies the responsibilities of members of a mass arrival group to apply for entry permission and a visa. 
Land Transport Management (Regulation of Public Transport) Amendment Bill

Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Michael Wood
This Bill proposes to amend the Land Transport Management Act 2003. The principal objective of the Bill is to establish the Sustainable Public Transport Framework (SPTF), replacing the Public Transport Ordering Model (PTOM). The PTOM governs how public transport services are planned, procured, and delivered. The SPTF would perform a similar function and aims to address issues affecting the public transport sector, including relating to employment, environmental, and health matters. The Bill also proposes a greater level of transparency across the process of delivering public transport services.

Furthermore, the Bill would insert a new definition of "exempt service" and expand the definition of "public transport" to include "on-demand" public transport services. Another key aspect of the Bill are the proposed changes to the role that local authorities play in the procurement, planning and delivery of public transport. These changes would allow regional councils to operate public transport services in-house, where previously they could only outsource.
The Bill passed its first reading on 29 March 2023 and has been referred to the Transport and Infrastructure Select Committee, with the report due on 31 July 2023.
New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income (Controlling Interests) Amendment Bill

Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Grant Robertson
This Bill would amend the New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001 to allow the New Zealand Superannuation Fund (NZSF) to take a controlling interest in an entity. The amendments would ensure that any investments by the NZSF do not result in an entity being treated as part of the Crown.
The Bill had its first reading on 9 March 2023.
Regulatory Systems (Education) Amendment Bill

Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Jan Tinetti
This omnibus Bill amends legislation administered by the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and jointly administered by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and Ministry of Justice. The education legislative framework is a complex arrangement of multiple Acts and regulations. This Bill seeks to maintain the effectiveness and efficiency of the regulatory systems established by the principal Acts that it amends by implementing minor and technical amendments across the education legislative regime.

This includes amendments to the:

  • Ngarimu VC and 28th (Maori) Battalion Memorial Scholarship Fund Act 1945;

  • Pacific Education Foundation Act 1972;

  • Children's (Requirements for Safety Checks for Children's Workers) Regulations 2015; and

  • Health and Safety at Work (General Risk and Workplace Management) Regulations 2016.

These amendments would update statutory provisions to better give effect to the intended purposes of the Acts, address regulatory duplication, gaps, errors and inconsistencies within and between different pieces of legislation, and remove unnecessary compliance costs.
Resale Right for Visual Artists Bill

Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Carmel Sepuloni
This Bill proposes to introduce an Artist's Resale Royalty (ARR) scheme in New Zealand. Under the scheme, eligible visual artists will have a mandatory right to recieve a royalty payment when their qualifying artwork sells on the secondary market. New Zealand is required to have an ARR by 2024 to meet its obligations under the recent Free Trade Agreements between New Zealand and the United Kingdom and the European Union (FTAs).
The proposed ARR right would be available to New Zealand citizens, and individuals domiciled or resident in New Zealand. It will also be available to nationals and residents of countries that have reciprocal ARR schemes. For example, an artist who is a UK national would be paid a royalty on the qualifying resale of their artwork, if that resale took place in New Zealand.
The ARR would:

  • be inalienable (unable to be waived, sold, or otherwise assigned);

  • be inheritable by the artists' heirs, who would recieve royalties for 50 years after the artist's death;

  • apply only to "quantifiable resales" that meet certain requirements, including being over the minimum threshold (an amount between NZ$500 and NZ$5,000); and

  • be managed and administrated by a single non-governmental agency (NGO).

The Bill states that the legislation will need to come into force no later than 1 December 2024, though it will only commence once a collection agency has been appointed and all the relevant systems and processes are in place. It is currently awaiting its second reading.

Social Workers Registration Legislation Amendment Bill

Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Carmel Sepuloni

This Bill seeks to delay the repeal of the experience pathway currently provided for in the Social Workers Registration Act 2003 (Act) for a further four years to 28 February 2028. Since 28 February 2021, all people practising or representing themselves as social workers have been required to register with the Social Workers Registration Board (Board). To be eligible for registration, it has been a requirement that applicants have a qualification prescribed by the Board. An alternative pathway to this is available under section 13 of the Act for people without a prescribed qualification (the experience pathway), which allows applicants to use their practical experience to demonstrate that they meet the professional competency standards set by the Board. Section 13 of the Act is due to be repealed on 28 February 2024.
The Bill seeks to delay this repeal of the experience pathway to 28 February 2028, in order to:

  • allow more time for the impacts of the extension of the pay equity settlement for social services across the government-funded sector to be realised; and

  • provide an opportunity to consider entry pathways into the social work sector over the longer term, including how to embed tikanga Māori and indigenous models of practice and the importance of workforce inclusivity.

The Bill is currently before the Social Services and Community Select Committee, and is due to be reported back to the House by 24 August 2023.
St Peter's Parish Endowment Fund Trust Bill

Type of Bill: Private
Member in charge: Hon Grant Robertson
The St Peter's Parish Endowment Fund Trust Bill intends to make amendments to the trust deed governing the St Peter's (Wellington) Endowment Fund Trust Board (Trust Board) and repeals the St Peter's Parish Endowment Fund Act 1927. It also ensures that future amendments to the trust deed are made under the provisions of the Anglican Church Trusts Act 1981 and the Charitable Trusts Act 1957. The substantive changes are in regard to the application of income and capital, the Trust Board's administrative powers, and the liability and indemnification of the Trust Board.
This Bill is currently before the Governance and Administration Committee and is due to be reported back to the House by 15 September 2023.

Bills awaiting First Reading
Bills defeated or withdrawn
Bills before Select Committee

Submissions Open




Social Workers Registration Legislation Amendment Bill

Social Services and Community Committee

07 June 2023

Submissions Closed



Report Due

Annie Oxborough Birth Parents Registration Bill

Governance and Administration Committee

19 July 2023

Crown Minerals Amendment Bill

Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee

22 May 2023

Fuel Industry Amendment Bill

Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee

22 May 2023

Legal Services Amendment Bill

Justice Committee

22 May 2023

Local Government Official Information and Meetings Amendment Bill

Governance and Administration Committee

22 May 2023

Child Support (Pass On) Acts Amendment Bill

Social Services and Community Committee

24 May 2023

Thomas Cawthron Trust Amendment Bill

Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee

07 June 2023

Water Services Economic Efficiency and Consumer Protection Bill

Finance and Expenditure Committee

08 June 2023

Water Services Legislation Bill

Finance and Expenditure Committee

08 June 2023

Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Community Participation) Amendment Bill

Justice Committee

13 June 2023

Child Protection (Child Sex Offenders Government Agency Registration) (Overseas Travel Reporting) Amendment Bill


03 May 2023

Therapeutic Products Bill

Health Committee

14 June 2023

Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill

Social Services and Community Committee

22 June 2023

Inspector-General of Defence Bill

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee

23 June 2023

Natural and Built Environment Bill

Environment Committee

27 June 2023

Spatial Planning Bill

Environment Committee

27 June 2023

Māori Fisheries Amendment Bill

Māori Affairs Committee

13 July 2023

Climate Change Response (Late Payment Penalties and Industrial Allocation) Amendment Bill

Environment Committee

20 July 2023

Education and Training Amendment Bill (No 3)

Education and Workforce Committee

31 July 2023

Immigration (Mass Arrivals) Amendment Bill

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee

31 July 2023

Land Transport Management (Regulation of Public Transport) Amendment Bill

Transport and Infrastructure Committee

31 July 2023

Regulatory Systems (Education) Amendment Bill

Education and Workforce Committee

31 July 2023

Resale Right for Visual Artists Bill

Social Services and Community Committee

31 July 2023

Improving Arrangements for Surrogacy Bill

Health Committee

04 August 2023

Integrity Sport and Recreation Bill

Social Services and Community Committee

10 August 2023

New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income (Controlling Interests) Amendment Bill

Finance and Expenditure Committee

10 September 2023

St Peter's Parish Endowment Fund Trust Bill

Governance and Administration Committee

15 September 2023

Bills awaiting Second Reading
Committee of the whole House
Bills awaiting Third Reading
  • N/A

Bills awaiting Royal Assent
  • N/A

Acts assented

Civil Aviation Act
The Civil Aviation Act (Act) repeals and replaces the Civil Aviation Act 1990 and the Airport Authorities Act 1996 to accommodate the significant changes to technology and regulation since they were implemented. It is purposed to provide a safe and secure civil aviation system, by introducing several new policies to reflect modern realities such as remotely piloted or autonomous aircraft, carbon emissions and emissions reductions, and drug and alcohol management, while preserving the fundamentals.
Further, the Act:

  • maintains, enhances, and promotes a transport system that contributes to environmental sustainability, economic prosperity, inclusive access, healthy and safe people, and resilience and security;

  • promotes innovation, effectiveness, and efficiency in civil aviation;

  • ensures that New Zealand’s obligations under international civil aviation conventions, agreements, and understandings are implemented;

  • preserves New Zealand’s national security and national interests; and

  • takes into account the adverse effects of civil aviation on the interests of people, property, and the environment.

This Act was assented on 5 April 2023. Some specified provisions are already in force, with the rest of the Act commencing on a date (or dates) appointed by the Governor-General by Order in Council, or at the latest, 24 months after Royal Assent.
Civil Aviation Amendment Act
The Civil Aviation Amendment Act (Amendment Act) was divided from the Civil Aviation Bill by the Committee of the Whole House to include provisions regarding in-flight security officers.
It defines domestic and foreign in-flight security officers, and allows the possession, carriage and use of a firearm, weapon, ammunition, or any other equipment on board an aircraft or while entering, transiting, or departing New Zealand.
The Amendment Act was assented on 5 April 2023 but does not come into force until a date (or dates) appointed by the Governor-General by Order in Council. It is intended that the provisions will commence when Government considers it necessary, including when an agreement is in place with the relevant countries.
Coroners Amendment Act
This Act came into force on 5 April 2023, and makes amendments to the Coroners Act 2006 designed to:

  • reduce the time it takes for certain types of cases to move through the coronial process; and

  • free up coroners' time to work on reducing the number of active coronial cases.

The four key amendments are:

  • the establishment of a new position of associate coroner, which can exercise all the functions of a coroner except for those relating to inquiries;

  • allowing cause of death to be recorded as 'presumed natural causes' in certain circumstances;

  • enabling coroners to hold a coronial inquiry solely on the papers in certain circumstances; and

  • enabling written findings to be issued stating cause of death only, without describing the circumstances of the death, where appropriate.

Counter-Terrorism Acts (Designations and Control Orders) Amendment Bill
This Act responds to the royal commission of inquiry following the 15 March 2019 terror attack in Christchurch, contributing to New Zealand's counter-terrorism legislation to better prevent and respond to terrorism and associated activities.
It amends the scheme for designating terrorist entities, contained in the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, and clarifies how it applies to those who are imprisoned in New Zealand. While an individual is imprisoned, an application could not be made to revoke the individual's designation on the ground that they were no longer involved in the acts that led to (or would lead to) designation, expiry of designation would be paused, and the Prime Minister would be required to review, every three years, whether the designation is no longer justified.
The Act also changes the regime for imposing control orders, contained in the Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Act 2019. The changes include:

  • a broader range of objectionable publications in the eligibility test for a control order to include for example, the promotion or support of acts of torture, infliction of extreme violence, or extreme cruelty;

  • a control order to cover individuals sentenced to home detention and community-based sentences;

  • control orders and sentence conditions to apply concurrently;

  • greater judicial discretion when setting control order restrictions;

  • greater flexibility for name suppression requirements; and

  • the introduction of new protocols for managing electronic monitoring for an individual subject to a control order. 

Criminal Activity Intervention Legislation Act
The Criminal Activity Intervention Legislation Act, which received assent on 4 April 2023, aims to address harm caused by criminal activity and enhance community safety. It proposes new powers and offences to improve the prevention of and response to criminal behaviour and associated harms, such as money laundering and hazardous driving.
Specifically, the legislation seeks to amend four Acts, including:

  • the Crimes Act 1961, to introduce a new charge of discharging a firearm with intent to intimidate;

  • the Land Transport Act 1998, to widen enforcement officers' powers to seize and impound vehicles in response to dangerous, reckless, and aggravated careless driving;

  • the Search and Surveillance Act 2012, to provide two new powers: a warrant power to search and seize weapons during gang conflict and a power to seize cash found under suspicious circumstances believed to be over $10,000; and

  • the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009, to prohibit cash transactions above a specific value for some high-value items. 

Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Amendment Act
This Act received royal assent on 31 March 2023. The Act amends the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009 (CPRA). It seeks to prevent individuals from profiting from significant criminal activity by improving New Zealand's civil forfeiture regime, by:

  • creating new restraining and type 2 assets forfeiture orders which require the High Court to presume assets to be tainted property if the Commissioner proves that the respondent is associated with a member / participant of an organised crime group;

  • enabling the High Court to make a disclosure of source order on application by the Commissioner. This order will require a respondent to whom a s 24 restraining order applies and who is overseas, to provide source information in relation to their property; and

  • amending the CPRA and the KiwiSaver Act 2006 so that funds in a KiwiSaver scheme can be subject to forfeiture orders. 

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Levy) Amendment Act
This Act makes changes to Part 3 of the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017. It amends the insurance levy framework for Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ), through which insurance companies and brokers collect from policyholders and pay FENZ to fund their activites.
The Act's purpose is to simplify the levy framework and adhere more closely to the funding principles in the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017. These changes arose out of concerns that the previous framework was likely to create complexity and uncertainty for FENZ, the insurance sector, and policyholders. In particular, the Act:

  • charges the levy on contracts of insurance for fire damage, rather than contracts of insurance for physical loss or damage;

  • clarifies that contracts of marine insurance are not excluded from the definition of 'contract of fire insurance';

  • calculates the levy based on the sum insured in contracts for fire damage, rather than the amount insured; and

  • clarifies that the annual levy rate will apply for both motor vehicles insured against physical damage and persons insured against third party liability.

Though the Act passed into law in April 2023, the changes do not have legal effect until 1 July 2026. This delay allows time for levy regulations to be set and FENZ, insurers and brokers to implement the new system.
Foreign Affairs (Consular Loans) Amendment Act
The Foreign Affairs (Consular Loans) Amendment Act 2023 received Royal Assent on 4 April 2023. The Act explicitly provides for the Minister of Foreign Affairs to continue issuing consular loans to New Zealand citizens and permanent residents in exceptional circumstances. The Act expressly authorises the Minister to lend money to New Zealand citizens and permanent residents where the Minister is satisfied that:

  • the person is in distress;

  • exceptional circumstances exist; and

  • the loan would provide short-term assistance consistent with New Zealand’s consular functions.

The Act also retrospectively validates consular loans issued between 18 July 2013 and 15 June 2020, the period in which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade did not have delegated authority to lend money under the Public Finance Act 2020 or any other statute.
Hawke's Bay Agricultural and Pastoral Society Empowering Act
This Act empowers the Hawke's Bay Agricultural and Pastoral Society (Society) to sell its interests in the Tomoana Showgrounds, or any other land it may acquire, without having to purchase other land suitable for the purposes of the Society with the proceeds. Instead, the Society may apply the proceeds of any land sale towards a purpose which is consistent with the Society's objects. Under the Act the power to sell the land is conditional on the following:

  • it appears advantageous to the Society to sell the land:

  • at least two-thirds of Society members present at a general meeting of the Society have resolved to do so; and

  • at least 14 days' notice of the general meeting and the proposal to sell the land has been given to members of the Society.

Once the land is sold the money received must be applied towards purposes that are consistent with the objects of the Society.
The Act exempts the Society from section 3 of the Agricultural and Pastoral Societies Amendment Act which relates to the power of the Minister of Agriculture to approve the use of proceedings of land sales; and section 2 of the Agricultural and Pastoral Societies Amendment Act 1920 which previously required the Society to obtain consent for the sale and exchange of Crown-granted land.
Natural Hazards Insurance Act
The Natural Hazards Act 2023 (Act) has passed into law and will come into force on 1 July 2024, replacing the Earthquake Commission Act 1993 and clarifying the role of the Earthquake Commission (EQC). EQC is the New Zealand government entity that provides natural disaster insurance to residential property owners. This Act will rename EQC to 'Toka Tū Ake – Natural Hazards Commission' (the Commission). This clarifies that all hazards, not just earthquakes, will be covered by its insurance, including landslides, flood, storm, tsunami, and others.
The three overarching objectives of the changes are:

  • to enable better community recovery from natural hazards;

  • to clarify the role of the Commission and the cover provided by the Act, and;

  • to enhance the durability and flexibility of the legislation.

The Act continues to apply to residential buildings and land only, not commercial premises, farms or other buildings.
Returning Offenders (Management and Information) Amendment Act

The Act amends the Returning Offenders (Management and Information) Act 2015 (principal Act), in response to the High Court's decision in G v Commissioner of Police [2022] NZHC 3514.
The Act ensures the continued application of the principal Act to offenders whose substantive offending predates the principal Act's commencement. In particular, the Act:

  • confirms that the principal Act applies retrospectively, even if retrospective application may be inconsistent with rights under the Sentencing Act 2002 and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990; and

  • validates past conduct under the principal Act that is consistent with the principal Act always having applied retrospectively.

The Act also provides that the Commissioner of Police must not provide notice or the right to be heard to an affected person before making a determination about their status as a returning prisoner. These changes enable the New Zealand Police to collect information from returnees to establish their identity and support future investigations, and allows for the imposition of parole like conditions if a returnee has been deported after a prison sentence.
Road User Charges (Temporary RUC Reduction Scheme) Amendment Act (No 2)
This Act reinstates the temporary reduction in Road User Charges (RUCs) that ended on 31 January 2023. The Act came into force on 1 March 2023 and provides for a reduction in the cost of RUCs between 1 March 2023 and 30 June 2023. Any RUCs purchased during February 2023, in-between the two discount periods, were not discounted.
The temporary reduction in RUCs is part of a suite of measures to reduce transport costs for New Zealanders, which also includes a reduced fuel excise duty and half price public transport fares.
Severe Weather Emergency Legislation Act
The purpose of this Act is to assist recovery and improve resilience for the areas affected by severe weather events, and their councils and communities. The Act modifies certain primary legislation to allow for recovery activity, specifically:

  • the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002, to ensure emergency powers are available when needed;

  • aspects of the Resource Management Act 1991 for a limited time, to deem certain emergency preventative or remedial actions carried out by owners or occupiers of rural land to be permitted activities, and extend time frames for applying for retrospective consents for emergency work;

  • the Local Government Act 2002, to enable remote attendance at meetings for local authorities and Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups, and enable local authorities to amend their long-term plans to respond to the damage caused by recent severe weather events; and

  • registration and verification requirements in the Food Act 2014 and Food Regulations 2015, to allow an extended period for a food business to renew its registration and to continue operating during the time a registration may have expired, in order to recognise that it may not be possible for affected communities to undertake their regulatory requirements.

Severe Weather Emergency Recovery Legislation Act
The Severe Weather Emergency Recovery Legislation Act 2023 (Act) has been enacted in response to the recent severe weather events in the upper North Island. These include Cyclones Hale and Gabrielle, and the heavy rainfall experienced between 26 January 2023 and 3 February 2023. It amends multiple Acts and was introduced with the aim of allowing the Government, Government agencies, Crown entities, relevant local authorities, and communities to respond to and recover from the severe weather events. The Act has a particular focus on assisting with the economic, social, and cultural recovery of the directly affected regions; easing certain legislative requirements; and allowing governmental activity to continue. The Act also applies to a limited extent to areas indirectly affected by the weather events.
This Act amends the Local Government Act 2022, the Local Government (Auckland Council) Act 2009, and the Resource Management Act 1991. The Governor-General may, by Order in Council on the recommendation of the relevant Minister, make amendments to any of the legislation listed in Schedule 2.
Taxation (Annual Rates for 2022-23, Platform Economy, and Remedial Matters) Act (No 2)
The Taxation (Annual Rates for 2022-23, Platform Economy, and Remedial Matters) Bill (No 2) introduces several changes and updates related to taxation, to ensure that the tax system remains relevant and responsive to the evolving economy, particularly regarding the platform or gig economy.
Specifically, the Act:

  • includes remedial measures intended to correct technical errors or anomalies in the tax system and clarify areas of uncertainty;

  • improves Inland Revenue's access to information on income earned by local and offshore sellers on digital platforms; and

  • requires digital platforms to collect GST on the services they provide in New Zealand.
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