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Watching Brief – November 2018

Home Insights Watching Brief – November 2018

Matter of opinion

The Importance of Being Earnest about Constitutional Conventions

Last month the Supreme Court delivered one of its most significant decisions, from a public law perspective at least. It has taken 28 years, the life of our New Zealand Bill of Rights Act (NZBORA), for an interminable debate to be put to rest. It is now finally settled: Courts have the ability to make a declaration that legislation is inconsistent with the rights enshrined in NZBORA. Whether this development strengthens, or ultimately weakens the promotion of fundamental rights in New Zealand will now turn on the response of the Government.

The case in question was brought by Arthur Taylor and concerned a 2010 amendment to the Electoral Act 1993 prohibiting all prisoners from voting. The question considered by the High Court, Court of Appeal, and then the Supreme Court, was not whether the amendment breached the right to vote (it was accepted it did) but whether the High Court could make a declaration of inconsistency. The decision of the Supreme Court was finely balanced, with two of the five justices dissenting. Among other things, the dissenting judgement questioned the value of a declaration, noting the following risk:

..that a formal order of the court may be simply ignored, with the consequential danger of the erosion of respect for the integrity of the law and the constitutional standing of the judiciary.

The problem is that New Zealand has no process in place for a Parliamentary response to declarations of inconsistency, having opted to preserve Parliamentary supremacy. We are one of the few countries in the world that has no written constitution and no framework for enshrining human rights. Instead, our constitution is a piecemeal arrangement, comprised of various enactments and constitutional conventions (practices that develop over time).

This is the conundrum facing the current Government. One might have expected it to respond with deference and prioritise introducing a Bill to Parliament to amend the Electoral Act in order to address the wrong. Such a response would be the first step in establishing a constitutional convention, setting a precedent for future governments to follow. Importantly, establishing a convention also depoliticises future responses. Ignoring the declaration on the other hand sets a low bar, increasing the likelihood that declarations can readily be ignored in the future and validating the reasoning of the minority in the Supreme Court. It risks undermining the protective objectives of NZBORA and the status of fundamental rights in New Zealand. This is concerning given our rights regime is already weak by international standards.

In this respect, it is disappointing that the Government is effectively ignoring the declaration for now. It has decided to focus instead on amending NZBORA to formally recognise declarations of inconsistency and provide for a process for Parliament to respond (while maintaining the supremacy of Parliament). The purpose is to formalise declarations of inconsistency (which seems unnecessary given this issue has now been determined by the Supreme Court) and ensure declarations are considered by Parliament. In this context, Hon Andrew Little, the Minister of Justice, has stated amending the Electoral Act "is not a priority for the Government".

It remains unclear why the Government has decided not to proactively respond to the declaration at the same time it pursues amendments to NZBORA. Indeed bringing an amendment to Electoral Act before Parliament now, would be more consistent with the NZBORA amendments proposed. The answer could be that addressing infringement of prisoners' rights is not a priority for its Coalition partner. It is nevertheless a risky strategy. While the proposal to amend the NZBORA is intended to strengthen protection of rights, the failure of the Government to prioritise amendment of the Electoral Act, irrespective of what Parliament ultimately decides, risks the opposite effect.

As Sir Geoffrey Palmer has written, "[t]he rights of unpopular people are just as real as those who live in in society's mainstream. These situations are the very ones where rights are most needed".

Oscar Wilde thought that life is too important to be taken seriously. As a prisoner himself, he may have formed a different view on the critical importance of constitutional conventions in a society like ours. These are the rules that bind.

In the news

Brexit inching closer

The UK is scheduled to leave the EU on 29 March 2019. Considerable uncertainty remains regarding the terms of the UK's departure. Four realistic scenarios are possible, ranging from approval of Theresa May's controversial Chequers deal, to a revised deal, no deal, and indeed no Brexit at all.

If Brexit happens, the UK is expected to leave the EU Single Market and Customs Union by 29 March 2019 at the earliest or 31 December 2022 at the latest. The UK's departure would have major implications for UK:EU goods trade, as it would necessitate the reintroduction of border tariffs, taxes, paperwork and checks, and the establishment of new administrative arrangements. These changes would have significant implications for New Zealand businesses that operate complex supply chains involving the UK and EU markets, and those that export sensitive products to the UK. Traders should expect continued GBP exchange rate volatility and significant border delays as the UK's departure date gets closer.

New Zealand businesses dealing with the UK and EU are encouraged to plan for all possible Brexit scenarios. This includes a “no deal” Brexit, which may significantly disrupt New Zealand's trade with the UK within the next four months.

Those with an interest in this topic are welcome to request the slides from Russell's McVeagh's Brexit Update, which was held on Wednesday 28 November 2018. Please email Sarah Salmond for further details.

Reform of the RMA announced

On 9 November 2018, Minister for the Environment, Hon David Parker announced the next stage of reforms to the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). These changes are separate from the Minister's plans to establish an Urban Development Authority to fast-track residential and urban development, and will occur in two stages.

The first stage of reform has two key objectives: to reduce complexity and uncertainty associated with some RMA tools and processes; and to enhance opportunities for public participation, particularly in resource consent processes for residential and subdivision activities. A number of the changes will reverse amendments enacted in 2017 through the Resource Legislation Amendment Act. The Government plans to introduce an amendment bill to Parliament in early 2019.

The second stage will involve a comprehensive review of New Zealand's resource management system.  While the scope of this review is yet to be determined, according to the Ministry for the Environment, it will provide an opportunity for "fundamental system changes". Minister Parker has indicated that it will focus on the Government's existing environmental priorities, including urban development, climate change, and freshwater. The review process is expected to commence in 2019.

A copy of the Minister's press release can be viewed here

Business Council to focus on skills, investment and regions to drive more growth

Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister's Business Advisory Council (BAC) Chair, Christopher Luxon, have announced the four priority areas the BAC will provide the Government with advice on and support for. The four priority areas are:

  • building tomorrow’s skills;
  • accelerating the regions;
  • attracting high quality investment; and
  • unleashing SMEs.

The BAC is an initiative that was launched to help support the Government’s goal to grow and share New Zealand’s prosperity. The role of the BAC is to provide advice on policies affecting business, and to be a forum that can co-ordinate actions from the business community and the Government. The work programme of the BAC will consist of actions and commitments that may be delivered by business, by government, or by both working together. The four priority areas represent significant challenges and opportunities to the future prosperity of New Zealand. Initially, the BAC will focus on building tomorrow's skills, accelerating our regions and attracting high quality investment.

Peter Beck of Rocket Lab, Barbara Chapman of Genesis and Jacqui Coombes of Bunnings are also members of the BAC.

Review of bank conduct announced

On 5 November 2018, the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) and Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) released their joint review of the conduct and culture in New Zealand's 11 largest retail banks. This report is the first of its kind in New Zealand.

The review concluded that conduct and culture issues do not appear to be widespread in banks in New Zealand, as only a small number of issues related to poor conduct by bank staff were identified. However, more broadly, the review identified significant weaknesses in the banks' governance and management of conduct risks.

While the FMA and RBNZ will provide specific feedback to each bank later this month, the review identifies five key recommendations common to all the banks, including:

  • increasing board ownership and accountability for conduct and culture;
  • proactively identifying and remediating issues;
  • strengthening frameworks, processes and controls that prevent, detect and manage conduct and culture issues;
  • enhancing staff reporting channels, including whistleblower processes for conduct and culture issues; and
  • revising bank incentive structures and removing incentives linked to sales measures.

The banks have until March 2019 to report on, and provide plans to address the regulators feedback.

In response to the review, Consumer Affairs Minister, Hon Kris Faafoi said, “Ultimately, New Zealand banks need to step up and take greater responsibility for their systems and processes, so that consumers can have confidence that their finances are in safe hands.”

The Bank Conduct and Culture review is available here. The RBNZ and FNZ press release can be found here. The Beehive media release can be found here.

Phase Two of the Reserve Bank reforms underway

The joint Treasury and Reserve Bank team recently released a consultation paper for the second phase in a review of the Reserve Bank's role in implementing financial regulation. While Phase One focussed on improving the Reserve Bank's 'monetary policy framework' (ie the process for setting the official interest rate), Phase Two is a review of the Reserve Bank's role and governance within the financial system.

The Review covers the topics set out in the Terms of Reference released by the Minister of Finance, Hon Grant Robertson on 7 June 2018.

The paper marks the first of three rounds of consultation for Phase Two, with workstreams to clarify:

  • the objectives of the Reserve Bank, as set out in the Reserve Bank Act 1989;
  • whether the 'regulatory perimeter'- the financial firms subject to the Reserve Bank's jurisdiction – should be:
    • simplified to ensure that similar entities face similar rules; and/or
    • made more flexible so that the Reserve Bank can extend its jurisdiction where necessary;
  • treatment for depositors in the event of a bank failing;
  • whether the Reserve Bank should remain responsible for both setting the prudential rules for financial firms and monitoring the official interest rate (as in some jurisdictions, these functions are divided between two different entities); and
  • how the Reserve Bank itself should be governed.

Treasury and the Reserve Bank are seeking submissions on the paper by 25 January 2019. Further information can be found here.

Two further Phase Two consultations are planned for 2019: the first to seek views on preliminary options developed in light of submissions on the current consultation, and to ensure that all topics from the Terms of Reference are covered; and the final consultation to consider recommendations.

CPTPP to come into force on 30 December

New Zealand has ratified the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) after the domestic legislation required for its ratification received Royal Assent on 25 October.

Canada and Australia joined Mexico, Japan, Singapore and New Zealand in formally ratifying the agreement on 31 October, and in doing so, satisfied the six-nation threshold required to trigger the countdown for the CPTPP's entry into force on 30 December. The CPTPP marks New Zealand's first trade deal with Japan and will, for the first time, provide New Zealand with preferential access to the world's third largest economy, as well as fellow G20 members Canada and Mexico. To supplement the deal, New Zealand and Australia have signed a reciprocal side letter precluding the use of investor-state dispute settlements if disputes arise with parties within the two jurisdictions.

Minister for Trade and Export Growth, Hon David Parker, observes that current models show standards of living and wages increasing because of the deal. An initial tariff reduction upon the deal's entry into force will be quickly followed by a second round of tariff cuts on 1 January 2019 for markets which apply a calendar tariff year. These tariff cuts are set to fuel an increase in New Zealand exports, in particular for the kiwifruit, beef and wine sectors.

Whistleblower consultations announced

The Minister of State Services, Hon Chris Hipkins, has recently initiated public consultation on proposed changes to the Protected Disclosures Act 2000.

The purpose of the Act is to encourage people to speak out about serious wrongdoing in the workplace, and provide protection from losing their jobs or mistreatment. However, concerns have been raised about the effectiveness of the Act in its existing format – particularly the weak protection that it affords to whistleblowers and confusion around reporting processes.

Earlier this year, the State Services Commission held a targeted consultation process and as a result identified five options for change:

  1. Addressing areas of confusion in the current Act and ensuring organisations have simple, clear and use-friendly procedures in place to deal with disclosures internally.
  2. Making it easier for people to report to an external, independent organisation at any time, as a back-up or alternative to reporting inside their own organisation.
  3. Establishing an independent oversight body to act as a first port of call for advice on making disclosures, provide leadership, raise awareness and stimulate improvements across the system.
  4. Introducing new reporting obligations for public sector organisations on protected disclosures to promote transparency and good practise.
  5. Introducing new reporting obligations for all organisations across the public, private and the not-for-profit sectors. 

The Government is now seeking submissions from the wider public on these options for reform. Further information on the consultation process can be found here. The public consultation period ends on 7 December 2018, and the Commission is expected to report on outcomes and next steps in early 2019.

R&D tax incentive legislation enters Parliament

The Taxation (Research and Development Tax Credits) Bill was introduced to Parliament on 25 October 2018, which seeks to give effect to the Governments R&D policy. The First Reading of the Bill occurred on 1 November 2018 and it is currently before the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee.

The Bill amends the Income Tax Act 2007 and the Tax Administration Act 1994, and includes the proposed legislation for the Government's Research and Development Tax Credit (R&D tax credit) tax incentive package, previously announced on 3 October 2018. Some of the key features are:

  • a credit rate of 15%;
  • a $120 million cap on eligible expenditure;
  • a minimum R&D expenditure of $50,000 per year; and
  • a refund of R&D tax credits up to a maximum of $255,000 where a person has more R&D tax credits than their income tax liability.

The Bill is a part of the Government's effort to raise the amount of R&D undertaken in New Zealand to 2% of GDP by 2028, due to the wider benefits to New Zealand when businesses invest in R&D. Research, Science and Innovation Minister, Hon Megan Woods stated that "the R&D tax incentive is a key lever for addressing the critical issues New Zealand is facing. We need new solutions to combat issues like climate change, child poverty and homelessness. Research and development will help us find the solutions to these problems."

Submissions to the Select Committee on the Bill are open until 14 December 2018.

Market study powers Bill passes

On 24 October, the Commerce Amendment Bill 2018 passed its third reading, receiving the royal assent the next day. The Act, amongst other things, equips the Commerce Commission with new competition studies powers. The new powers permit the Commission (by its own initiation, or as a result of instruction from the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs) to undertake a study of a particular market or industry, with the goal of identifying factors preventing competition in that market, to the detriment of consumers.

This new power marks a significant change to the Commission's regulatory function. Previously, in the competition law/antitrust space, the Commission was only able to investigate businesses suspected of breaching the Commerce Act. The new market studies power broadens the ambit of the Commission's powers, to investigate structural barriers and market dynamics that prevent competition, and to make a broad set of recommendations (including legislative and regulatory change) to the Minister to remedy those concerns.

The retail fuel market is the first industry that will be the subject of the Commission's new powers, as confirmed by the Commerce Commission here. Green MP Gareth Hughes has also speculated that the supermarket industry could be next-in-line for a competition study.

The Act also equips the Commission with a range of other powers, including the power for the Commission to accept structural undertakings (to sell assets or shares) in the context of an investigation – this was previously only permitted in the Commission's clearance process. See the Commerce Commission's summary of its new powers here.

New NZX market structure and listing rules

On 30 October 2018, the NZX released its new Listing Rules, which seek to reduce complexity and promote greater market activity.

The new Listing Rules will take effect from 1 January 2019 and can be read in full here.

The implementation of the new Listing Rules coincides with the consolidation of the NZX into one equity board (with the NXT and AX small-cap company boards moving to the main NZX board) which will take effect on 1 July 2019. This gives the new Listing Rules a six-month lead in period before the single board takes effect.

Some of the key changes introduced in the new Listing Rules include the following:

  • Eligibility: for a company to list, the new rules require only 100 unaffiliated investors holding 20% of the company stock, down from 500 members of the public to be holding at least 25% of the securities. The minimum market capitalisation is set at $10m.
  • Managed funds: bespoke rules for managed investment schemes have been introduced to facilitate funds being listed on the NZX. Closed ended funds must have a minimum market capitalisation of $10 million, and minimum spread and free-float requirements of 100 holders and 20%, respectively. Further analysis on the changes affecting funds in the new rules can be found here.
  • Wholesale debt: new rules have been introduced for listing wholesale debt, which, following listing, are largely exempt from the rules.
  • Simplification: many of the other key rule changes relate to reducing compliance costs through changes to reporting and disclosure rules, as well as improving the speed to market for further capital raising. It is intended that the new rules will make better use of NZX’s Market Announcement Platform for release of information to market.

NZX's explanatory paper on the new Listing Rules can be read here.

Productivity Commission to investigate local government funding

The Government has instructed the Productivity Commission to inquire into the adequacy and efficiency of local government funding and financing arrangements.

The inquiry comes as a response to concerns raised around rates increases, limits on the ability of local government to borrow and increased expenditure demands (particularly for infrastructure in areas of high growth and tourism demands). Specifically, the inquiry will investigate:

  • cost pressures facing local authorities now and in the foreseeable future;
  • the adequacy of current funding and financing models to address community needs, and potential alternatives; and
  • the status of constitutional and regulatory arrangements, and opportunities for change in respect of local authority funding and financing.

The Commission will not consider or assess changes to the current scope and responsibilities of local government.

The Issues Paper was released in November 2018 and sets out the key issues and questions the Commission has set out to discuss.

The Commission welcomes submissions from the public on all matters raised by the Issues Paper. Submissions may be lodged at or emailed to [email protected], and are due by 15 February 2019. There will be an opportunity to make submissions on the Commission's draft report, due to be released in June 2019, before the final report to the Government is released in November 2019.

Proactive release of Cabinet material

From 1 January 2019, all Cabinet papers and minutes lodged will be proactively released within 30 business days of final decisions being taken by Cabinet. This excludes Cabinet Appointments and Honours Committee papers.

The material will be found on the releasing government department or agency's website, following approval by the relevant Minister. Where joint agency or department papers, links will be published to material published on another website. Where possible all material will be released together along with considered attachments or appendices.

The new proactive release policy has been developed to promote transparency of government decision making. Where there is a good reason not to publish all or part of the material, or to delay the release, proactive release will not occur. Alternatively, material may be redacted in line with the Official Information Act 1982, accompanied by reasons for redaction. The paper will be reviewed before release against due diligence matters including:

  • the application of the Official Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 1993;
  • other legislation requiring the information be withheld;
  • potential liability, civil or criminal, resulting from release;
  • whether there are reasons to delay release including timing sensitivities; and
  • whether publication on the internet is the best means of release.

For more information, see the guidance issued by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet found here.

Housing and Urban Development Authority

Housing Minister, Hon Phil Twyford has detailed plans to create a new "mega" Crown agency that will consolidate both Housing New Zealand and KiwiBuild.

The new Housing and Urban Development Authority (HUDA) will be the subject of legislation to be introduced to Parliament in 2019, and the Government aims to have it up and running by as early as 2020. The new agency, modelled on examples in Australia and the United Kingdom, will be responsible for the Government's urban development projects, as well as providing landlord services to Housing New Zealand tenants. Its first projects will include already-announced developments in Porirua, Māngere and Mount Roskill.

The intention is to cut through the red tape restricting development, enabling the Government to deliver on promises to address the housing crisis and pressures on infrastructure. The HUDA is expected to have a broad range of powers, including being able to override existing council designations as set out in planning documentation, reduce planning and consent process timeframes, create its own by-laws and grant its own resource consent.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and Wellington Mayor Justin Lester have noted that the future agency will need to work collaboratively with council to ensure communities are safeguarded against unwanted projects.

Public submissions on the HUDA and its legislation will be sought during the legislative process.

Progress of legislation

New Bills

Copyright (Marrakesh Treaty Implementation) Amendment Bill 
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Kris Faafoi
This Bill would amend the Copyright Act 1994 to allow New Zealand to accede to the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled.  The objective of the Marrakesh Treaty is to provide an international framework for the production and dissemination of copies of books and other literary works in formats that are accessible to persons with a print disability. The Marrakesh Treaty requires member states to provide copyright exceptions that allow authorised entities to make available accessible-format copies of literary and artistic works without the permission of the owner of the copyright in those works. 

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Levy) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Tracey Martin
This Bill would amend the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017. The Bill would amend the period in which the Minister is required to make regulations in relation to levies. Further, the Bill would delay the commencement of specific provisions to allow insurers and brokers to make changes to their systems, and would exempt public museums, public art galleries, and whare taonga from the levy.

New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute Vesting Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Nanaia Mahuta
This Bill would give effect to an agreement signed in 2017, between the Crown and various iwi trusts, by transferring the assets and liabilities of the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI) to Te Puia NZMACI Limited Partnership. The 2017 agreement was intended to recognise the longstanding relationship between the institute and several of the iwi involved, and to further develop the relationship between the Crown and other iwi signatories. The Bill is intended to provide for the Partnership to continue to function in line with the institute's current functions.

New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income (Fair Residency) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Members
Member in Charge: Mark Patterson
This Bill would amend the New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001 to amend the requirements a person must meet to be entitled to New Zealand superannuation. The Bill would increase the requirement that a person must have been both resident and present in New Zealand from a period of not less than 10 years, to a period of not less than 20 years.

Taxation (Research and Development Tax Credits) Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Stuart Nash
The Bill would amend the Income Tax Act 2007 to introduce a tax research and development (R&D) tax credit to incentivise businesses to perform research and development.

The Bill defines the person who is eligible to claim R&D tax credits as a person who performs a core research and development activity in New Zealand, or a contractor performs it on their behalf, carries on a business through a fixed establishment in New Zealand, and has day-to-day management control over the research and development activities. Further, the person must either own, or have the ability to use free of charge, the results from the R&D activities, or be a company in the corporate group that owns the activities and the company is resident in a jurisdiction with which New Zealand has a double tax agreement.

The Bill defines a core research and development activity as being an activity that is conducted using systematic approach, has the purpose of creating something new, and has the purpose of resolving scientific or technological uncertainty. Further, the person will have to spend $50,000 on R&D in a year, and the maximum they can spend is $120 million (unless the Commissioner has given approval).

A person wanting to receive a tax credit will be required to seek approval from the Commissioner that their activities meet the eligibility criteria, unless spending on R&D is expected to be greater than $2 million. If a person's terminal tax liability for a year is positive, a maximum of $255,000 of their R&D tax credits can be refunded (to the extent of the positive terminal tax liability).

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
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 Māori Arts and Crafts Institute Vesting Bill
New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income (Fair Residency) Amendment Bill
Protection for First Responders and Prison Officers Bill
Shark Cage Diving (Permitting and Safety) Bill

Bills defeated

Land Transport (Random Oral Fluid Testing) Amendment Bill
Member in charge: Alastair Scott
Ayes 56: New Zealand National 55; ACT New Zealand 1.
Noes 64: New Zealand Labour 46; New Zealand First 9; Green Party 8.

Bills withdrawn

Racing Amendment Bill

Bills before Select Committee

Submissions open


Select Committee

Closing date for Submissions (2018)

Criminal Cases Review Commission Bill


7 January (2019)

Dog Control (Category 1 Offences) Amendment Bill

Primary Production

27 November

Electoral (Entrenchment of Māori Seats) Amendment Bill

Māori Affairs

14 December

Equal Pay Amendment Bill

Education and Workforce

28 November

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Levy) Amendment Bill

Governance and Administration

21 December

Health (Drinking Water) Amendment Bill


21 December

Taxation (Research and Development Tax Credits) Bill

Finance and Expenditure

14 December

Submissions closed


Select Committee

Report due (2018)

Administration of Justice (Reform of Contempt of Court) Bill


29 March (2019)

Building Amendment Bill

Transport and Infrastructure

11 March (2019)

Canterbury Earthquakes Insurance Tribunal Bill

Governance and Administration

4 March (2019)

Companies (Clarification of Dividend Rules in Companies) Amendment Bill

Primary Production

13 February (2019)

Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill


12 March (2019)

Copyright (Marrakesh Treaty Implementation) Amendment Bill 2018

Economic Development, Science and Innovation

8 May (2019)

Corrections Amendment Bill


29 September

Education Amendment Bill (No 2)

Education and Workforce

27 March (2019)

Election Access Fund Bill

Governance and Administration

25 February (2019)

Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Bill

Education and Workforce

17 December

End of Life Choice Bill


27 March (2019)

Gore District Council (Otama Rural Water Supply) Bill

Governance and Administration

11 March (2019)

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

Social Services and Community

5 March (2019)

Local Electoral Matters Bill


7 December

Local Government Regulatory Systems Amendment Bill

Governance and Administration

28 December

Ngāti Rangi Claims Settlement Bill

Māori Affairs

28 February (2019)

Privacy Bill


13 March (2019)

Statutes Amendment Bill

Governance and Administration

20 March (2019)

Subordinate Legislation Confirmation Bill (No 2)

Regulations Review

3 December

Taxation (Annual Rates for 2018-19, Modernising Tax Administration, and Remedial Matters)

Finance and Expenditure

3 January (2019)

Te Pire Haeata ki Parihaka/Parihaka Reconciliation Bill

Māori Affairs

3 June (2019)

Bills awaiting second reading

Accident Compensation Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Arbitration Amendment Bill
Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Bill
Crimes Amendment Bill
Crown Minerals Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Farm Debt Mediation 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 as reported back from select committee
Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill
Legislation Bill
Litter (Increased Infringement Fee) Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Bill
Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill
Ngā Rohe Moana o Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Porou Bill (No 2) as reported back from select committee
Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngā Pōtiki Claims Settlement Bill
Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Monetary Policy) Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Renewal of Licences) Amendment Bill (No 2)
Sentencing (Livestock Rustling) Amendment Bill
Social Assistance (Residency Qualification) Legislation Bill Social Workers Registration Legislation Bill
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 as reported back from select committee
Trusts Bill as reported back from select committee

Bills awaiting third reading

Child Poverty Reduction Bill
Children's Amendment Bill [formerly part of the Child Poverty Reduction Bill]
Commerce (Criminalisation of Cartels) Amendment Bill
Conservation (Infringement System) Bill
Coroners (Access to Body of Dead Person) Amendment Bill
Earthquake Commission Amendment Bill
Employment Relations Amendment Bill
Financial Services Legislation Amendment Bill
Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Amendment Bill
Insolvency Practitioners Bill
Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2)
New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill
Ngāti Tūwharetoa Claims Settlement Bill
Psychoactive Substances (Increasing Penalty for Supply and Distribution) Amendment Bill
Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill (No 2)
Tasman District Council (Waimea Water Augmentation Scheme) Bill as reported back from select committee

Bills awaiting assent

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

Acts assented

Commerce Amendment Act 2018
This Act amends the Commerce Act 1986 to introduce a competition studies regime; to improve the effectiveness of the regulatory regime for airports under Part 4 of the Act; and to update the alternative enforcement mechanisms available to the Commerce Commission. The Act empowers the Commission to undertake studies into the competitive conditions relating to goods or services in a particular sector if it is in the public interest. The Commission may commence a study on its own initiative or at the direction of the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

The Act also makes improvements to the regulatory regime for airports under Part 4 of the Act. The Act clarifies that the Commission’s summary and analysis reports can comment on whether information disclosure is effective for a regulated supplier. Further, the Act introduces a truncated inquiry process to investigate the need for further regulation of already-regulated airports, and clarifies that, following such an inquiry, changes to the type of regulation applying to the airports can be made through an Order in Council.

The Act also introduces an enforceable undertakings regime into the Commerce Act 1986. These undertakings are available for the Commission to accept in relation to the enforcement of the Commerce Act 1986. The enforceable undertakings regime complements existing arrangements in relation to settlements. If an enforceable undertaking is breached, the High Court can order compliance with the order or impose a financial penalty.

Courts Matters Act 2018
This Act amends 14 different pieces of legislation to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and timeliness of:

  • criminal processes (through changes to the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 and the Criminal Procedure (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act 2003);
  • fines enforcement (by amending the Summary Proceedings Act 1957); and
  • the courts generally (through amendments to 11 other Acts).

Included in the changes are amendments to the Courts Security Act 1999, which are designed to make courts and tribunals safer and more secure for users, including extended powers of detention and reasonable force for court security officers.

Crown Minerals (Petroleum) Amendment Act 2018
This Act amends the Crown Minerals Act 1991 to provide that:

  • new petroleum exploration and mining permits will be available only in the onshore Taranaki region;
  • new onshore petroleum exploration permit holders will be able to access conservation land only for minimum impact activities, but will still be able to carry out activities below that land; and
  • future offshore petroleum mining permits would be granted only as a subsequent right to offshore petroleum exploration permits that existed prior to the intended enactment of the Bill.

The Act also sets out how existing rights, privileges, applications for permits, and legal proceedings (relating to petroleum permits) are affected by the changes to the Crown Minerals Act 1991. Existing permits and privileges will not be affected by the Act.

Education Amendment Act 2018
This Act makes a number of discrete changes to the Education Act 1989. First, it removes the provisions relating to national standards and the partnership school model from legislation. Second, it restores places for elected staff and students on tertiary education institution councils. Third, the Act makes it an offence to make a false representation about an application for free tertiary education. Finally it makes a minor tweak to the Act's strategic planning and reporting framework.

Education (National Education and Learning Priorities) Amendment Act 2018
This Act amends the Education Act 1989 to provide that, before issuing a statement of National Education and Learning Priorities, the responsible Minister must make reasonable efforts to consult a wide range of stakeholders. This includes children, young people, and national bodies representing the interests of teachers, principals, governing bodies, early childhood services, parents, the disability community, support staff, Māori education organisations, Pacific education organisations, State integrated schools and designated character schools.

Family Violence (Amendments) Act 2018
This Act is an omnibus one that amends a range of Acts that address family violence or its consequences. The Bail Act 2000 is amended to allow the police, when granting police bail, or a judicial officer, to impose any condition of the bail that is reasonably necessary to protect the victim of the alleged offence or a person residing with or in a family relationship with the victim. Further, the Act creates three new offences in the Crimes Act 1961 for:

  • strangulation or suffocation;
  • assault on person in family relationship; and
  • coerced marriage or civil union.

The Act also contains a number of consequential amendments to pieces of legislation related to the prevention of family violence.

Family Violence Act 2018
The Act modernises and makes changes to the Domestic Violence Act 1995, including renaming that Act to the Family Violence Act 2018. The Act includes a purpose provision to 'stop and prevent family violence' by recognising that family violence is unacceptable, preventing people from inflicting family violence, and keeping victims safe from family violence. The Act amends the information sharing provisions to create a duty for family violence agencies and social services practitioners to consider disclosing family violence information where there are reasonable grounds to believe that disclosing the information may help protect a victim of family violence. Further, it extends the maximum duration of Police safety orders from 5 to 10 days. The Act will also allow approved organisations to apply for protection orders on behalf of victims to improve the accessibility of protection orders. The Act also provides more opportunities for perpetrators and victims to be connected with the services and programmes.

Residential Tenancies (Prohibiting Letting Fees) Amendment Act 2018
This Act amends the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 to prohibit the charging of letting fees for services provided in respect of tenancies. The purpose of this amendment is to ensure that the costs associated with letting a property rest with the party that ultimately receives the financial benefit from the tenancy, and to reduce the upfront costs that tenants commonly face when entering a new tenancy agreement. To achieve this, the Act prohibits the charging of a letting fee or any other fee to a tenant, by any person in relation to the:

  • granting, continuance, extension, variation, or renewal of any tenancy agreement;
  • assignment of a tenant’s interest under any tenancy agreement; or
  • subletting of the whole or any part of the premises by a tenant.

The Act creates a new unlawful act of charging a tenant a letting fee. The Act also limits the Tenancy Tribunal’s authority, in that it does not have jurisdiction to consent to a person requiring a tenant to pay a letting fee.

Social Assistance (Residency Qualification) Legislation Act 2018
This Act alters the residential qualifications for New Zealand superannuation and the veteran's pension to allow the requirement that a person have 5 years' residence and presence in New Zealand over the age of 50 years to be met instead with 5 years' residence and presence in New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Niue, or Tokelau, or any combination of those countries and that territory. The Act is intended to reflect the constitutional responsibility that New Zealand has for its citizens living in those Pacific countries and that territory, and the relationship those citizens have with New Zealand.

Telecommunications (New Regulatory Framework) Amendment Act 2018
The Act is the outcome of a two-year review of the Telecommunications Act 2001. The Telecommunications Act 2001 required the Communications Minister to review the policy framework for regulating telecommunications services in New Zealand in advance of the contracts between Crown Fibre Holdings and UFB service providers (Chorus and local fibre companies) expiring in 2020 (those contracts control pricing of UFB services). The Act largely confirms the reform package announced in June 2017. The intention is for Chorus to be subject to price-quality control and information disclosure; local fibre companies to be subject to information disclosure only; and copper to be deregulated in fibre roll-out areas (with copper products in non-fibre areas restricted to increase at the rate of inflation). The regulatory framework in the Act largely replicates Part 4 of the Commerce Act, which currently applies to electricity and gas networks, and the three largest international airports. However, the Act also establishes a Commerce Commission review process to allow recommendations on anchor services and prices to be prescribed by regulations.

Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP) Amendment Act 2018
This Act makes the necessary changes for New Zealand to ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (the CPTPP). The Act amends the following legislation:

  • the Tariff Act 1988;
  • the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996;
  • the Wine Regulations 2006;
  • the Overseas Investment Act 2005;
  • the Patents Act 2013;
  • the Copyright Act 1994;
  • the Legislation Act 2012; and
  • the Customs and Excise Act 1996.

The changes include amending the New Zealand Tariff to include the CPTPP Parties as a group eligible for preferential tariff treatment and enable subsequent regulations to be made that give effect to this eligibility when ratification processes are complete. The Act introduces a transitional safeguard mechanism required under the Trade Remedies Chapter of the CPTPP as well as the emergency action (safeguards) mechanism and associated procedures required under the Textiles and Apparel Chapter of the CPTPP.

Tribunals Powers and Procedures Legislation Act 2018
This Act amends the powers and processes of a number of different tribunals administered by the Ministry of Justice pursuant to 20 different pieces of legislation. The Act is intended to provide all tribunals with a standard set of powers and procedures to improve productivity and efficiency and to improve users’ experience of tribunals by making processes easier for the public to understand and reducing the length of time it takes to hear and resolve matters. It does so by making a number of operational changes to tribunals in New Zealand, including (among others):

  • the Disputes Tribunal;
  • the Human Rights Review Tribunal;
  • the Immigration Tribunal; and
  • the Real Estate Agents Authority.

In consultation




By when (2018)

Commerce Commission

Fibre input methodologies stakeholder workshop

10 December


Mobile market study preliminary findings

20 April 2019


2020-2025 default price-quality path for electricity distributors draft decision

31 May 2019

Electricity Authority

2019/20 Levy funded appropriations and indicative work programme

10 December


Feedback sought on a consultation paper proposing changes to EIEP1 and EIEP5A

18 December

Environmental Protection Authority

Application to release Glomus iranicum var. tenuihypharum into the environment

29 November


Call for information on clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam and their use in New Zealand

30 December


Call for information about the use of synthetic pyrethroids in New Zealand

1 February 2019

Food Standards Australia New Zealand

A1162 to permit the use of enzyme triacylglycerol lipase from Trichoderma reesei as a processing aid in the manufacturing of cereal based products

18 December


A1165 to permit the use of lysophospholipase enzyme from Trichoderma reesei as a processing aid for use in starch processing

18 December


A1167 to permit the use of lactase enzyme from Bacillus subtilis as a processing aid for use in dairy processing.

17 January 2019


A1155 to permit the voluntary use of 2’-O-Fucosyllactose (2’-FL) alone or in combination with Lacto-N-neotetraose (LNnT), produced by similar but independent proprietary fermentation processes, in infant formula products and formulated supplementary foods for young children

17 January 2019

Inland Revenue Department

Draft interpretation statement – tax payments – when received in time

28 November


Draft QWBA – What are the requirements for claiming tax deductions for payments to family members for services?

21 December

Law Commission

Review of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 – call for submissions

14 December


Proposed warning statement regarding a fire hazard on the labels of paraffin-based skin products

7 December

Ministry for Primary Industries

Review of management settings in the East Otago Taiāpure

7 December


Draft Import Health Standard for Personal Consignments of Animal Products

14 December


Proposed changes to the National Animal Identification and Tracing Act and regulations

19 December


Proposed review of the CRA2 rock lobster fishery

19 December


Bylaws for 3 mātaitai near Timaru

19 December


Proposals to improve cost recovery in MPI's food system

20 December


Proposed Animal Products Operational Code: Verification Statement

20 December


Draft Import Health Standard for importing live equids

22 January 2019


Proposed Animal Products Notice: Dairy Processing Specifications

25 January 2019


Review of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001

8 February 2019

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Conformance policy and infrastructure review

28 November


Disclosure of Origin discussion document

21 December


Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 review – issues paper

21 December

Ministry of Transport

Consultation on MARPOL ANNEX VI: treaty to reduce air pollution in ports and harbours

11 February 2019

New Zealand Transport Agency

Installation of no stopping areas and bus stops on SH6A, Stanley Street, Queenstown

26 November


Managing integrity of vehicle certification inspection and inspection organisations

30 November


Creation of no stopping areas on State Highway 1, Ōamaru

10 December


Proposal to list interventional radiology products supplied by Edwards Lifesciences (New Zealand) Ltd

30 November


Proposal to list medical devices supplied by B. Braun New Zealand Pty Limited

3 December


Proposal to list haemodialysis products supplied BSN Medical Limited

4 December


Proposal to list orthopaedic implants and associated products supplied by NuVasive (Aust/NZ) Pty Ltd

11 December


Proposal to list medical devices supplied by Medtronic New Zealand Limited

14 December


Request for proposals – supply of etanercept

17 December


Proposal to award market share for permanent coronary drug eluting stents in DHBs

19 December


Request for proposals – supply of various vaccines and influenza vaccines

21 December


Request for proposals – supply of single-use sterile surgical drapes, gowns and procedures packs

18 January 2019

Productivity Commission

Local government funding and financing issues paper

14 February 2019

Reserve Bank of New Zealand

Public disclosure of bank breaches consultation paper

14 December

Standards New Zealand

DZ NZS AS 1720.1 timber structures – Part 1: Design Methods

9 February 2019




By when (2018)

Commerce Commission

Transpower price-quality path from 2020 RCP3 proposal and verification report.

4 December


Milk price manual 2018/19 season final report

14 December

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Proposal to publish a new edition of Fire Acceptable Solution – C/AS2 – 2018

30 November


Tourism strategy consultation

4 February 2019


Review of the Copyright Act 1994 – issues paper

5 April 2019

Reserve Bank of New Zealand

Public consultation on Phase 2 of the Reserve Bank Act Review

25 January 2019

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