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Watching Brief – November 2019

Home Insights Watching Brief – November 2019

Matter of opinion

Political Convention Meets Legal Principles – A Heavyweight Contest

As a matter of convention, the Deputy Prime Minister, Rt Hon Winston Peters, acts as the Prime Minister when the elected Prime Minister is overseas – a role he was temporarily unavailable for this week. He was otherwise engaged with proceedings he has brought against public officials, a government department and former National Party Ministers for breach of his privacy.

At the heart of his proceedings is another convention, namely the "no surprises" policy referred to as a "principle" in the Cabinet Manual. It states that officials should "inform Ministers promptly of matters of significance within their portfolio responsibilities, particularly where the matters are controversial or may become the subject of public debate." 

Mr Peters' main issue is the decision of State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes and the Ministry for Social Development (MSD) Chief Executive, Brendan Boyle, to provide information to Ministers about the overpayment and repayment of Mr Peters' pension. The justification for sharing the information with Ministers was the no surprises policy.

The case raises critical questions about the adherence to government convention (and the proper scope of the convention) in the face of competing legal requirements. Specifically, what private information should be shared with Ministers under the policy? 

Ultimately, the no surprises policy is an administrative device with no legal standing. Its stated purpose is to ensure Ministers are aware of significant issues within their portfolios so they can answer to the Parliament. This is a matter of administrative convenience and cannot override legal rights and obligation. 

While the underlying rationale for the policy makes sense, there is a real risk that it may lead to information, including private information about individuals, being shared with Ministers more often than it should be. 

  • First, the wording of the no surprises principle is extremely broad – whether matters are "controversial" or what "may" be the subject of public debate is open to interpretation. Lack of definition creates the risk that officials will err on the side of caution and be overly inclusive of what is provided to Ministers.

  • Second, there is a perception that the policy has become increasingly viewed (by officials and Ministers) as an effective requirement. This is notwithstanding the Cabinet Manual instruction that officials should be "guided" by this principle as a "general rule".

  • Third, the limits of the policy, while widely used, have not previously been specifically challenged in a court of law.

In order for Mr Peters to succeed under the tort of privacy (this is not a claim under the Privacy Act) he must establish that there is:

  1.  a reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to the information; and
  2.  publicity given to those private facts which would be considered highly offensive to an objective reasonable person.

The term "publicity" assumes the need for dissemination to more than a few other persons. However, disclosure of highly embarrassing information to even one other person can count. There is a defence enabling publication where there is a legitimate public concern in the information. What amounts to a legitimate public concern is a different question from what Ministers might want to know.

Of note, Mr Hughes has issued a statement on the State Services Commission website, which reads "[m]y advice to Mr Boyle was that MSD should deal with Mr Peters’ case in line with the agency’s standard policies and procedures, in exactly the same way as would happen for any other New Zealander. I am assured that is what happened."

The questions in the case are complicated, and outcomes will depend on the facts and evidence provided in support. However, any judicial consideration of when private information about New Zealanders should be shared under the policy may well have wider beneficial implications - even if it is simply to reconfirm the status of the policy as subservient to considerations of law.

The matter is currently before the court and the case continues …watch this space.

In the news

NZ-China FTA upgrade negotiations conclude

On 4 November 2019, the Government announced changes to New Zealand's free trade agreement (FTA) with China. China is New Zealand's largest trading partner, with two-way trade recently exceeding $32 billion dollars. In the recent announcement, Hon David Parker, Minister for Trade and Export Growth, highlighted the fact that New Zealand was the first developed country to sign an FTA with China, in 2008, and that the FTA needed to be revisited. The modernised agreement is the result of nearly three years of negotiation. 

Key outcomes of the negotiations include:

  • Approved exporters will be able to self-declare that their goods are New Zealand goods.
  • There are new rules to expedite customs clearance of fresh food products, with a six hour deadline for border release of perishable goods.
  • New Zealand exporters will no longer have to apply for additional certificates when their goods transit through other countries en route to China.
  • China has agreed to tariff elimination, over a ten year implementation period, on twelve wood and paper products (in addition to the reduced tariff rates on 48 wood and paper products, agreed under the 2008 FTA).
  • There are new commitments to promote environmental protection and ensure that environmental standards are not used for trade protectionist purposes.
  • Protections in the 2008 FTA regarding New Zealand's rules on overseas investment and the Treaty of Waitangi exception will be carried forward.
  • There are no changes to dairy access provisions. This is because, in just over two years for most products (and four years for milk powder), all tariffs on New Zealand dairy exports to China will be eliminated under the existing terms of the 2008 FTA.

The draft text will now need to be legally verified and signed, and is expected to be released in early 2020. The Government's press statement can be found here, and the NZ-China joint media statement can be found here.

Government announces new consumer protection powers

On 24 September 2019, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister, Hon Kris Faafoi, and Minister for Small Business, Hon Stuart Nash, announced new measures to address unfair conduct and unfair contract terms in business-to-business contracts. 

The Government has proposed the following measures:

  • Prohibiting conduct that is 'unconscionable'. When determining whether conduct is unconscionable, the courts will have regard to a 'grey list' of factors that include whether the conduct was reasonably necessary to protect a legitimate business interest, and whether the defendant acted in good faith.
  • Extending consumer protections under the Fair Trading Act against unfair contracts terms in standard form consumer contracts to business-to-business contracts with a value less than $250,000.

The proposal is a result of a recent workstream by the Government, who surveyed and consulted a variety of businesses about their experience with unfair conduct or contract terms. In response, businesses reported a range of problems, such as issues with cash flow, wasted time, reduced sales, increased costs, and stress. The Government also heard a number of examples of unfair practices causing problems for consumers. 

Speaking on the poor commercial conduct identified in the Government's survey, Minister Nash stated the Government's proposed changes will put a stop to a range of potentially unfair contract terms, including extended payment terms, one-sided contract terms, and businesses being locked-in to contracts for long periods of time.

Minister Faafoi noted that the Government's intention is to introduce these new measures through a Fair Trading Amendment Bill by early 2020. The Commerce Commission will be responsible for enforcing the new measures, while consumers and businesses will also have the option to self-enforce the protections against unconscionable conduct.

The Beehive media release is available here. More information about the new consumer protection powers can be found in our recent consumer law alert available here.

Consultation on Action for Healthy Waterways

On 5 September 2019, the Government announced its intention to implement an Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, with the publication of its discussion document on a national direction for freshwater. The discussion document, a summary of which is available here, sets out proposals aimed at stopping the degradation of New Zealand's waterways and restoring them to a healthy state. 

Minister for the Environment, Hon David Parker, explained that New Zealand's freshwater is suffering as a result of urban development, agriculture, horticulture, forestry and a lack of robust regulation, monitoring and enforcement. Minister of Agriculture, Hon Damien O'Connor, said that while all farmers have done a huge amount of work to improve practices over the past two decades, more work needs to be done to ensure the quality of New Zealand's freshwater for current and future generations.  

The discussion document proposes new requirements that aim to:

  • speed up the implementation of freshwater regulations and management plans by regional councils through amendments to the Resource Management Act;
  • introduce a new National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management that includes requirements to protect threatened species and habitats;
  • support the delivery of safe drinking water through an amended National Environmental Standard for Sources of Human Drinking Water;
  • better manage storm water and wastewater to improve freshwater health; and
  • improve farming practices through new National Environmental Standards for Freshwater and regulations.

While the discussion document comments on the need for urgent action, Minister Parker acknowledged that cleaning up polluted waterways is a long-term challenge that will take a generation to fix. Recognising the pressure on farmers that will result from the new requirements, Minister Parker noted the extended timeframe and the $229m package that was included in the Budget to assist with the transition.    

Submissions on the discussion document are being accepted until 31 October 2019. The new requirements will come into effect in June 2020.

Gun laws set to tighten further

In response to the 15 March 2019 attack on Christchurch mosques, the Government announced its intention to reform New Zealand's gun laws and firearms regime. On 11 April 2019, Parliament passed the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Act 2019 into law, which restricted access to semi-automatic firearms, parts and magazines. At that time, the Government signalled that further reforms to New Zealand's firearms regime would follow. 

The Arms Legislation Bill has now been introduced, which intends to improve public safety by introducing tighter controls on the use and possession of arms and ammunition. To that end, the Bill would make a number of changes to the existing firearm framework, including (among other things):

  • re-stating the purpose of the Arms Act 1983 to emphasise the responsibilities of firearm-owners to act in the interests of personal and public safety;
  • creating a firearms registry, which would store information about firearms and link guns to licence holders so that every firearm legally held in New Zealand can be monitored; and
  • enabling health practitioners to notify the Police if they have concerns about a licenced firearm-owner's mental health or wellbeing.

At the Bill's first reading, Hon Stuart Nash MP, the Minister of Police, argued: "One of the biggest challenges facing police and public safety is the lack of information on what firearms are in New Zealand, where they are, and who is responsible for them. This Bill lays the foundations for the development of a register to store information on all firearms and other items controlled by the Arms Act."

The Opposition did not support the Bill, with Brett Hudson MP arguing that the Bill is not focused on criminals at all and instead is "imposing greater regulation, more responsibility, and more costs on law-abiding New Zealanders who happen to own firearms, and is doing very little of any substance to address genuine criminal activity". 

The Arms Legislation Bill passed its first reading and was referred to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee. Public submissions closed on 23 October 2019 and the Committee is due to report back to the House by 10 February 2020. 

Emissions offset guidelines released for businesses claiming carbon neutrality

The Minister for Climate Change, Hon James Shaw, recently released a set of "good practice guidelines" to assist local businesses to accurately offset their carbon emissions ("Guidelines"). Carbon offsetting is where businesses undertake (or pay a third party to undertake) additional activities to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases, in order to compensate for their internal emissions. Under the Guidelines, any New Zealand Units (or credits) earned from the carbon-reduction activities must be retired or cancelled, removing those units from circulation so that they cannot be used again by another buyer. 

The Guidelines are not mandatory, but any organisation may choose to carry out offsetting to claim carbon neutrality or meet self-imposed targets to reduce their carbon footprint. The Guidelines are clear that offsetting emissions should only be considered when businesses have an accurate measurement of their emissions, and when further internal emissions reductions cannot be achieved. 

Organisations must follow internationally applied principles, which are set out in the Guidelines, to identify genuine and credible units that can be used for offsetting. The Ministry considers that all of the following principles should be fulfilled:

  • The details of a voluntary offset should be clearly stated and publicly available.
  • The reduction is supported by evidence of actual emissions reduced through tangible activities.
  • The reductions would not have occurred under business as usual.
  • Only one entity can use the reduction for achievement of their emission reduction goals.
  • The activity of reducing emissions does not result in emissions increases elsewhere.
  • Reductions must be maintained over time and be unlikely to be reversed.
  • The offset causes no net harm (in New Zealand or overseas).

The Guidelines have been published as an interim measure, valid until 31 December 2020, before the accounting processes for national emissions targets change as a result of the Paris Agreement.

The Guidelines can be found here, and the Minister's press release here.

Prime Minister Announces Agreement on Climate Change, Trade and Sustainability

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently announced that New Zealand is leading an initiative to enter into an Agreement on Climate Change, Trade and Sustainability (ACCTS). The Prime Minister announced the initiative together with the Prime Ministers of Iceland, Fiji, and Norway. 

The Joint Leaders' Statement (statement) on the launch of the initiative noted the urgent challenges of climate change, economic stability and sustainable objectives. The Statement considers that a global economic transformation is required to achieve the goal of the Paris Agreement to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2⁰C.

The Statement indicates that the anticipated content of the ACCTS will be trade policy, rules and architecture. The Prime Minister's press release on the initiative notes the importance of international trade rules in addressing climate change, and emphasises that legally enforceable trade rules would change the inaction resulting from G20 and APEC commitments to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. 

The ACCTS therefore proposes a number of trade-related measures, including:

  • removing tariffs on "environmental goods";
  • establishing new and binding commitments for environmental services;
  • establishing disciplines to eliminate harmful fossil fuel subsidies; and
  • developing guidelines to inform the implementation of voluntary eco-labelling programmes and mechanisms.

The Statement acknowledged that the countries so far involved are trade-dependent and rely on economic development, and the other countries able to meet the ACCTS's obligations will be able to join the ACCTS. ACCTS negotiations are expected to start in February 2020.

Productivity Commission releases report on technology and productivity

In early September, the Productivity Commission released its draft report 'New Zealand, technology and productivity'. The report considers the factors shaping the adoption of technology in New Zealand, and how technology affects New Zealand's labour market. The report draws on historical experiences of technology adoption in New Zealand.

The Productivity Commission's report made the following findings:

  • Available data does not support a conclusion that we are facing an imminent and widespread disruption to work.
  • International developments will have a significant effect on the pace and scale of technological change in New Zealand.
  • Based on historical experience, international trends in technology and the labour-market trends will take time to be seen in New Zealand, and will likely have a more subdued effect.
  • New Zealand has not kept up with technological change, which has impacted on living standards. New Zealand should embrace technological change, rather than fear it.

This draft report is one of four to be released by the Commission in late 2019, as part of its inquiry into technological change and the future of work, focused on exploring how New Zealand can maximise the opportunities, and manage the risks, of disruptive technological change and its impact on the future of work and the workforce. 

Three further drafts will follow this first draft report:

  • 'Employment, labour markets and income', due in October;
  • 'Education and skills', due in November; and
  • 'Preparing New Zealand for the future', due in December. 

A final report will be presented to the Government in March 2020.

The Commission is now seeking responses to 'New Zealand, technology and productivity'. A copy of the draft report and the link to submission can be found here.

Three Waters Review update – Government set to establish an independent water regulator

In response to the Havelock North drinking water supply contamination in 2016, which resulted in over 5,000 reported illnesses, the Government has been reviewing how to improve the regulation and supply arrangements of drinking water, wastewater and storm water.

Earlier this year, the Government announced a comprehensive, system-wide overhaul of drinking water regulations, along with targeted reforms to improve wastewater and stormwater services. The majority of the proposed reforms will be implemented through a Water Services Bill, which the Government expects to introduce to Parliament by the end of this year with the aim of having legislation in place by mid-2020. There is also expected to be transitional arrangements of up to five years to allow water suppliers to adjust to the regulations.

Among the reforms, a key proposal was to establish a dedicated water regulator to oversee the new regulatory regime. In a joint media statement released on 25 October 2019, Local Government Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta and Health Minister Hon David Clark announced the Government's plans to create a standalone Crown entity (a Crown agent) to carry out this function. 

The new water regulator will, among other functions, focus on improving drinking water safety, building public confidence, and contributing to improved environmental outcomes by providing central oversight and guidance for the sector's wastewater and stormwater regulatory functions. Work to establish the new regulator will commence immediately, including setting up an Establishment Unit with the Department of Internal Affairs, with the design and build of the new regulator expected to take up to 18 months. 

Further information on the background and progress updates of the Three Waters Review can be found on the Department of Internal Affairs website here

Changes to Government Procurement Rules

The new Government Procurement Rules, which came into effect on 1 October 2019, have introduced changes to how Government departments and agencies procure products and services in New Zealand to achieve broader social environmental and economic outcomes.

The new rules have a particular impact on the procurement of government construction contracts. Under the new framework, Government departments and agencies are required to take into account a broader range of factors when seeking tenderers for government construction contracts exceeding an estimated value of $9 million (excluding GST). These factors include the financial health of the construction company tendering for the contract, the health and safety of its employees, and whether sustainable building practices are would be observed in construction, such as using sustainable materials and minimising waste. 

The Government Procurement Rules also introduce a specific focus on social and environmental outcomes. For example, the new rules now encourage Government departments and agencies to actively engage with Māori and Pacific suppliers in relation to Government contract opportunities. This procurement focus has the potential to lift household and whānau incomes, and support economic development amongst Māori enterprises through equitable access to economic opportunities

The Cabinet Minute 'Enhancing the Effectiveness of Government Procurement Policy' also emphasises a focus on supporting New Zealand's transition to a net zero emissions economy, and to assist the Government to meet its goal of significant waste reduction by 2020. To achieve this, agencies may be required to consider goods and services that meet minimum levels of energy and carbon performance. 

Shaping a Stronger Education System

Last month the Government made progress towards its agenda for educational change, releasing a discussion document titled "Shaping a Stronger Education System with New Zealanders".

The document outlines the long-term vision, objectives and actions which resulted from the Education Conversation | Kōrero Mātauranga. Education Minister, Hon Chris Hipkins, is encouraging New Zealanders to have their say on the future of education, from early childhood through to tertiary.

The release of the discussion document also fulfils the Government's Coalition promise with New Zealand First to deliver a 30 year strategic approach to education. This vision is supported by the following objectives:

  • Learners at the centre: This objective prioritises an education that values and sustains and connects learners to their identity, language and culture and is free from bias, discrimination and racism.
  • Barrier free access: This objective aims to ensure that financial and physical barriers to education are removed so that learners can access and fully participate in education opportunities.
  • Quality teaching and leadership: This objective is concerned with building a diverse, skilled well-qualified education workforce that is committed to re-engage with people who have disengaged with learning opportunities.
  • Future of learning and work: This objective aims to equip learners with skills and knowledge, recognised through trusted qualifications, that meet the opportunities and challenges posed by the future of work. 
  • World-class inclusive public education: This objective aims to make clear the Māori-Crown partnerships in education, and ensure that a New Zealand education is trusted by learners, whānau, employers, iwi, and prospective international students.

The consultation document, available here, also sets out draft priorities that all education providers will share, from early learning to tertiary education and training. The consultation period for these priorities closes on 25 November.

Treasury releases Investor Confidence Ratings for six government agencies

The New Zealand Treasury recently released the second tranche of Investor Confidence Rating (ICR) assessments for six investment-intensive government agencies: Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), Department of Corrections, Inland Revenue, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Justice, and New Zealand Police.

The ICR assessment measures how government agencies manage and grow the assets on their balance sheets, with a view to incentivising agencies to take a longer term, more strategic view on the assets they own and seek to purchase. It does so by ranking each agency with a score ranging from A (indicating a high level of investment-management performance) to E (indicating that major support may be necessary for the investments to produce results).

The results of the ratings from the most recent assessment (as well as the initial assessment in 2016) were as follows:


2016 Rating

2019 Rating (Subject to Cabinet Approval)

Inland Revenue



Department of Corrections






Ministry of Justice



New Zealand Police



Ministry of Education



The Treasury noted it was positive that all agencies had improved or maintained their 2016 rating, but recommended increasing the investment thresholds for chief executive, ministerial and Cabinet approval for agencies that had improved their score since the last assessment. This increase would effectively give ministries greater autonomy over their investment decisions by increasing the thresholds over which they have to seek external approval.

The next set of agencies to be examined is Auckland DHB, Capital and Coast DHB, Canterbury DHB, Counties-Manukau DHB, Waikato DHB, Waitemata DHB, which is due to be completed next month. 

More information on the ICR assessment is available here, and the Cabinet Paper describing the results can be found here.

Progress of legislation

New Bills

Abortion Legislation Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Andrew Little
This omnibus Bill would amend the law to decriminalise abortion, align the regulation of abortion services with other health services, and modernise the legal framework for abortion currently set out in the Crimes Act 1961 and the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act 1977. The changes would mean that abortion would, in general, be provided like other health services.

Arms Legislation Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Stuart Nash
This is an omnibus Bill that aims to improve public safety by adjusting legislative frameworks to impose tighter controls on the use and possession of arms. Specifically, this Bill:

  • introduces a new purpose statement for the Arms Act 1983;
  • creates a registry to store information on firearms and link them to licence holder;
  • strengthens the licensing regimes to focus more on filtering out high-risk people and behaviour;
  • strengthens the Act by improving the tools available to the Police to enable them to function better as a regulator;
  • introduces an advisory group with membership from the firearms and non-firearms communities; and
  • enables New Zealand to accede to the United Nations Protocol Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition.

Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Private
Member in Charge: Dr Parmjeet Parmar
This Bill would align the financial reporting requirements for specified amenities under the Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Act 2008 with the requirements of the Charities Act 2005. Specifically, the bill would remove from the Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Act 2008 the requirement that specified amenities prepare financial statements according to New Zealand International Financial Reporting Standards, and would allow specified amenities to prepare a single set of financial statements that comply with generally accepted accounting practice.

Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon James Shaw
Most of the changes to be introduced by this Bill result from a review of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme undertaken in 2015–16, and the outcomes of public consultation undertaken in 2018. These changes aim to enable the NZ ETS to drive emissions reductions and help New Zealand reach its domestic and international climate change targets. The changes would improve certainty for businesses, make the scheme more accessible, and improve its administration. Key changes include:

  • updating the purpose of the Climate Change Response Act;
  • enabling a cap on emissions covered by NZ ETS;
  • allowing for cost containment reserve and eliminating the $25 fixed price option;
  • introducing robust and transparent auctions;
  • phasing down of industrial allocation;
  • strengthening the compliance regime;
  • making emissions data publicly available;
  • introducing averaging accounting for post-1989 forests registered from 12 January 2019;
  • introducing new permanent forest activity into NZ ETS;
  • reducing operational complexity for forestry; and
  • pricing agricultural emissions from 2025.

Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment Bill (No 3)
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Damien O'Connor
This Bill would amend the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 to remove some regulatory requirements that are no longer necessary, support and encourage better environmental performance of the dairy industry, provide Fonterra with more flexibility to manage some aspects of its operations, and provide increased clarity on aspects of the regulatory regime for Fonterra and other dairy industry stakeholders. Among other things, this Bill amends subparts 5 and 5A of Part 2 of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 to:

  • allow Fonterra to decline applications from dairy farmers to become shareholders in, and supply milk to, Fonterra if it is unlikely that the applicant would comply with Fonterra’s terms of supply;
  • clarify that Fonterra’s terms of supply can include, and price differentiate on the basis of, for example, environmental, animal welfare, employment matters, and health and safety requirements;
  • provide Fonterra with discretion to refuse applications to become shareholders in, and supply milk to, Fonterra if milk is supplied from newly converted dairy farms; and
  • allow Fonterra to issue capacity constraint notices for a period of up to three dairy seasons, rather than one season, as now. This would provide Fonterra with more flexible and realistic time frames to plan and manage its future capacity investment.

This Bill also amends the Dairy Industry Restructuring (Raw Milk) Regulations 2012 to:

  • reduce independent processors’ eligibility to purchase up to 50 million litres of raw milk from Fonterra; and
  • update the regulated terms on which Goodman Fielder (the only other large scale supplier of fresh milk to the New Zealand domestic consumer market) can purchase raw milk from Fonterra.

Education (Pastoral Care) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Chris Hipkins
This Bill would amend the Education Act 1989. The public policy objectives of the Bill are to:

  • address regulatory gaps relating to the pastoral care of domestic tertiary students, to ensure that students live in a safe environment and have a positive experience that supports their educational achievement;
  • ensure the consistency and effectiveness of the codes of practice for domestic tertiary and international students; and
  • ensure that providers are accountable for pastoral care standards.

Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Chris Hipkins
This Bill would amend the Education Act 1989 and repeal the Industry Training and Apprenticeships Act 1992 with the intention of creating a unified and cohesive vocational education and training system. The Bill would achieve this through:

  • establishing a new regulatory framework for vocational education and training;
  • enabling workforce development councils to be established under the principal Act to provide skills leadership, set standards and develop qualifications, endorse programmes and moderate assessments, and provide an advisory and representative role in vocational education and training;
  • establishing the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST) as a tertiary education institution under the principal Act and a Crown entity for the purposes of the Crown Entities Act 2004. NZIST would provide, arrange, and support a range of vocational education and training, including in the workplace; and
  • providing transitional arrangements to enable a smooth transfer of functions and responsibilities from the current system to the new system.

Electoral Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Andrew Little
This Bill would make several changes to the Electoral Act 1993 and the Electoral Regulations 1996 to:

  • improve enrolment and voting processes to better enfranchise voters;
  • ensure that elections are conducted efficiently and securely; and
  • support the effective conduct of future elections.

Holidays (Bereavement Leave for Miscarriage) Amendment Bill (No 2)
Type of Bill: Members
Member in Charge: Ginny Andersen
This Bill would make it clear that the unplanned end of a pregnancy by miscarriage or still-birth constitutes grounds for bereavement leave for the mother and her partner or spouse, and that the duration of the bereavement leave should be up to three days.

National Animal Identification and Tracing Amendment Bill (No 2)
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Damien O'Connor
This Bill would amend the National Animal Identification and Tracing Act 2012 to make improvements to the framework governing the national animal identification and tracing system (NAIT), to provide for the rapid and accurate tracing of animals and their movements that enables biosecurity management and manages risks to human health.

The Bill would address the recommendations of the OSPRI-led NAIT Review 2016-18 that require statutory change to implement. The Bill also addresses issues identified during the biosecurity response to the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis, to enhance traceability and ensure that the legislation is fit for the future.

New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Carmel Sepuloni
This omnibus Bill deals with social assistance for older people. The single broad policy is to modernise and simplify New Zealand superannuation and the veteran’s pension by shifting toward an assessment of entitlement on an individual basis; and improving the consistency and clarity of policy and legislation.

The Bill would amend the New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001, the Veterans’ Support Act 2014, the Social Security Act 2018, the Income Tax Act 2007, and the Tax Administration Act 1994.

Ngāti Hinerangi Claims Settlement Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Andrew Little
The Bill would give effect to certain matters contained in the deed of settlement (the Deed) signed on 4 May 2019 between the Crown and Ngāti Hinerangi. The Deed will be the final settlement of all the historical Treaty of Waitangi claims of Ngāti Hinerangi resulting from acts or omissions by the Crown before 21 September 1992. This Bill contains provisions related to settlement redress that require legislation for their implementation. Other aspects of the settlement are provided for only in the Deed because they do not require legislative authority.

Parliamentary Agencies Delegations Legislation Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Chris Hipkins
This omnibus bill amends the Parliamentary Service Act 2000 and the Clerk of the House of Representatives Act 1988 to empower delegation between the agencies' staff. 

The parliamentary agencies wish to implement closer working arrangements to ensure that the functions and services performed by each agency are aligned as closely as possible, and that duplication is minimised. To achieve this result efficiently, the parliamentary agencies wish to share a number of services. These amendments are intended to reflect the changes made to the State Sector Act 1988 in 2013 to continue the existing alignment between the Parliamentary Service Act 2000, the Clerk of the House of Representatives Act 1988, and the State Sector Act 1988 in respect of employment matters.

Public Finance (Wellbeing) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Grant Robertson
This Bill would introduce new requirements for the Government to report annually on its wellbeing objectives in the Budget, and for the Treasury to report periodically on the state of wellbeing in New Zealand.

The Bill would amend the Public Finance Act 1989 to broaden the framework that the Government uses to develop and assess its Budget and will augment the Treasury’s existing reporting on macroeconomic and fiscal indicators. The amendments will contribute to the delivery of the Government’s priority of embedding a wellbeing approach within the Public Service.

Rates Rebate (Statutory Declarations) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Nanaia Mahuta
This Bill is intended to:

  • make it easier for eligible applicants to apply for a rates rebate by removing the requirement to make a statutory declaration when applying;
  • replace the requirement to make a statutory declaration with a requirement to verify the application in a manner and form approved by the Secretary for Local Government; and
  • allow authorities, (such as territorial authorities) to design application forms for the purposes of the Rates Rebate Act 1973.

Referendums Framework Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Andrew Little
This Bill would provide a single set of legislative provisions to govern the conduct of referendums held alongside the 2020 general election. A referendum may be conducted under this Bill only if it is declared by an Order in Council to be a referendum for the purposes of the Bill or declared by an Act to be a referendum for the purposes of the Bill.

The Bill is time-limited and applies only to referendums held at the next general election following enactment.

Remuneration Authority (Members of Parliament Remuneration) Amendment Bill (No 2)
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Iain Lees-Galloway
This omnibus Bill would implement the Government's decision to amend the method and frequency requirements for reviews and determinations made by the Remuneration Authority to set the salaries of members of Parliament. The Bill would restore the Remuneration Authority’s discretion when determining the salaries of MPs and links the frequency of adjustments to the electoral cycle so that the Authority would conduct one review after each general election.

Resource Management Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon David Parker
This Bill would reduce complexity, increase certainty, restore public participation opportunities, and amend Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) processes. The Bill also aims to improve freshwater management and outcomes in New Zealand.

The Bill principally amends the RMA and the Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017 (RLAA). The Bill includes consequential amendments to the District Court Act 2016, Judicial Conduct Commissioner and Judicial Conduct Panel Act 2004, Remuneration Authority Act 1977, and Judicial Salaries and Allowances (2018/19) Determination 2018.

Key proposals include:

  • reducing complexity, increasing certainty, and restoring public participation by repealing changes made by the RLAA;
  • enabling applicants to have processing of non-notified resource consent applications suspended;
  • enabling consent authorities to suspend processing resource consent applications until fixed administrative charges are paid;
  • extending time period to lodge retrospective resource consent applications for emergency works;
  • enabling review of conditions of multiple resource consents concurrently;
  • increasing maximum infringement fees under the RMA;
  • extending statutory limitation period to file charges for prosecutions under the RMA;
  • enabling Environmental Protection Authority to take enforcement action under the RMA;
  • protecting special advisors to the Environment Court; and
  • improving freshwater management through a new specialised planning process for freshwater.

Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Rugby World Cup 2019 Extended Trading Hours) Amendment Bill 2019
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Andrew Little
This Bill has received Royal Assent. See 'Acts Assented' below for a summary of the resulting legislation.

Subordinate Legislation Confirmation Bill (No 4)
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Chris Hipkins
This Bill’s purpose is to prevent the revocation of certain subordinate legislation that, by virtue of the Act under which it is made, is revoked at a stated time unless earlier confirmed by an Act of Parliament.

This Bill relates to items of subordinate legislation made in the year ending with the close of 30 June 2019. Acts with regulations and orders receiving confirmation include:

  • Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act 1997;
  • Animal Products Act 1999;
  • Arms Act 1983;
  • Biosecurity Act 1993;
  • Civil Aviation Act 1990;
  • Commodity Levies Act 1990;
  • Customs and Excise Act 1996;
  • Customs and Excise Act 2018;
  • Energy (Fuels, Levies, and References) Act 1989;
  • Fisheries Act 1996;
  • Gambling Act 2003;
  • New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001;
  • Social Security Act 1964;
  • Road User Charges Act 2012;
  • Tariff Act 1988; and
  • Wine Act 2003

Taxation (KiwiSaver, Student Loans, and Remedial Matters) Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Stuart Nash
This is an omnibus Bill amending the KiwiSaver Act 2006, Student Loan Scheme Act 2011, Income Tax Act 2007, the Tax Administration Act 1994 and a range of other Acts. The proposed amendments to the KiwiSaver Act 2006 include allowing Inland Revenue to pass KiwiSaver employer contributions to scheme providers prior to the contribution amount has been received by Inland Revenue. The Student Loan Scheme Act 2011 would be amended to include a limit on changes to a borrower’s repayment obligations in only five circumstances (such as fraud or changes in residency status). Some of the other amendments include making R&D tax credits more refundable, with a cap based on the payroll taxes paid by a firm in each year, and allowing Inland Revenue to correct an investor’s tax rate for a PIE if they have been defaulted onto the top rate.

Te Pire kia Unuhia te Hara kai Runga i a Rua Kēnana
Rua Kēnana Pardon Bill

Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Nanaia Mahuta
This Bill would give effect to the agreement between the Crown and Ngā Toenga o Ngā Tamariki a Iharaira me Ngā Uri o Maungapōhatu Charitable Trust to provide a statutory pardon for Rua Kēnana.

The Bill is required in order to provide an appropriate response to a specific set of circumstances focused on the criminal conviction of Rua Kēnana. The Bill seeks to restore the character, mana, and reputation of Rua Kēnana and his descendants. The package of measures, including the statutory pardon of Rua Kēnana, Crown acknowledgements of the harm suffered, and an apology to the descendants of Rua Kēnana, is designed to alleviate the ongoing suffering of the descendants, and adheres to the Crown’s objective to promote reconciliation in the wake of historical wrongs.

Te Ture Whenua Maori (Succession, Dispute Resolution, and Related Matters) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Nanaia Mahuta
This omnibus Bill includes a suite of amendments to Te Ture Whenua Maori Act designed to:

  • enhance the intergenerational well-being of owners of Māori land, supporting opportunities for owners to use their land to meet their aspirations;
  • simplify the complexity and requirements that owners of Māori land encounter when engaging with the Māori Land Court, while preserving the integrity of the Māori land tenure system;
  • promote the efficient operation of the Māori Land Court, decrease the costs of resolving issues relating to Māori land, and ensure that the remedies available to enforce a decision are practical and effective; and
  • ensure that the Māori land tenure system is fit for purpose, clear, user-friendly, and future-proofed.

Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill 
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Andrew Little
This Bill would introduce a civil regime of control orders to manage and monitor a small number of people who are returning to, or who have arrived in, New Zealand after having engaged in terrorism-related activities overseas.

The control order regime would target individuals who pose a risk of engaging in further terrorism-related activities and for whom a criminal prosecution for their past terrorism-related activities overseas is not viable because of the significant difficulties associated with securing evidence from overseas jurisdictions.

Control orders would impose requirements on returnees to protect the public from terrorism, to prevent engagement in terrorism-related activities in a country, and to support the returnee’s reintegration into New Zealand and rehabilitation. Orders would be made by the High Court on application by the Commissioner of Police. In making the order, the court must be satisfied that the person is a relevant person that poses a risk of engaging in further terrorism-related activities and that the requirements the order imposes are necessary and appropriate for stated main and incidental purposes.

It is expected that orders would be applied for in respect of only a very small number of returnees, with estimates of no more than two orders made per year.

Venture Capital Fund Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon David Parker
This Bill would establish a Venture Capital Fund (VCF) and provide for the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation to manage and administer the fund. A Bill is required as the Guardians is an autonomous Crown entity, established under the New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001 (the NZSRI Act) to manage and administer the New Zealand Superannuation Fund. Under the NZSRI Act, the Guardians have no authority to administer and manage the VCF.

To ensure that the Guardians can administer the VCF, this Bill amends the NZSRI Act to widen the Guardians’ responsibilities to include administering the VCF.

Part 2 of this Bill would become the Venture Capital Fund Act. The Bill requires the Guardians to invest the VCF in accordance with best-practice investment management that is appropriate for institutional investment in New Zealand venture capital markets. This duty is subject to requirements to:

  • ensure that a substantial proportion of the VCF’s capital will be made available to New Zealand entities through venture capital funds with a New Zealand connection;
  • comply with, or have regard to, directions given by the Minister via a policy statement;
  • invest the VCF in a way that avoids prejudice to New Zealand’s reputation as a responsible member of the world community; and
  • enter into an arrangement with New Zealand Venture Investment Fund Limited to allow them to undertake investment of the VCF via a fund of funds model.
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
Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill
Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance 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 (No 2)
New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income (Fair Residency) Amendment Bill
Protection for First Responders and Prison Officers Bill
Regulatory Systems (Economic Development) Amendment Bill
Regulatory Systems (Housing) Amendment Bill
Regulatory Systems (Workforce) Amendment Bill
Rights for Victims of Insane Offenders Bill
Shark Cage Diving (Permitting and Safety) Bill

Bills defeated


Bills withdrawn

Holidays (Bereavement Leave for Miscarriage) Amendment Bill
Replaced by: Holidays (Bereavement Leave for Miscarriage) Amendment Bill (No 2)

Bills before Select Committee

Submissions open


Select Committee

Closing date for Submissions

Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Amendment Bill

Governance and Administration Committee

07 Nov 2019

New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill

Social Services and Community Committee

01 Dec 2019

Ngāti Hinerangi Claims Settlement Bill

Māori Affairs Committee

06 Nov 2019

Rates Rebate (Statutory Declarations) Amendment Bill

Social Services and Community Committee

27 Nov 2019

Resource Management Amendment Bill

Environment Committee

07 Nov 2019

Te Ture Whenua Maori (Succession, Dispute Resolution, and Related Matters) Amendment Bill

Māori Affairs Committee

26 Nov 2019

Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee

Not called yet

Submissions closed


Select Committee

Report due

Abortion Legislation Bill

Abortion Legislation Committee

08 Feb 2020

Arms Legislation Bill

Finance and Expenditure Committee

10 Feb 2020

Credit Contracts Legislation Amendment Bill

Finance and Expenditure Committee

13 Nov 2019

Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment Bill (No 3)

Primary Production Committee

17 Feb 2020

Education (Pastoral Care) Amendment Bill

Education and Workforce Committee

03 Dec 2019

Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill

Education and Workforce Committee

10 Feb 2020

Electoral Amendment Bill

Justice Committee

06 Feb 2020

Farm Debt Mediation Bill (No 2)

Primary Production Committee

04 Nov 2019

Maritime Transport (Offshore Installations) Amendment Bill

Transport and Infrastructure Committee

18 Nov 2019

National Animal Identification and Tracing Amendment Bill (No 2)

Primary Production Committee

04 Nov 2019

Ombudsmen (Protection of Name) Amendment Bill

Governance and Administration Committee

08 Nov 2019

Public Finance (Wellbeing) Amendment Bill

Finance and Expenditure Committee

17 Mar 2020

Referendums Framework Bill

Justice Committee

11 Nov 2019

Remuneration Authority (Members of Parliament Remuneration) Amendment Bill (No 2)

Education and Workforce Committee

10 Mar 2020

Smoke-free Environments (Prohibiting Smoking in Motor Vehicles Carrying Children) Amendment Bill

Health Committee

25 Dec 2019

Subordinate Legislation Confirmation Bill (No 4)

Regulations Review Committee

09 Dec 2019

Taxation (KiwiSaver, Student Loans, and Remedial Matters) Bill

Finance and Expenditure Committee

24 Jan 2020

Te Pire kia Unuhia te Hara kai Runga i a Rua Kēnana / Rua Kēnana Pardon Bill

Māori Affairs Committee

12 Mar 2020

Venture Capital Fund Bill

Finance and Expenditure Committee

02 Dec 2019

Bills awaiting second reading

Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Bill as reported back from select committee
Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Dog Control (Category 1 Offences) Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Electoral (Entrenchment of Māori Seats) Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Election Access Fund Bill as reported back from select committee
Equal Pay Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water) Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Health (National Cervical Screening Programme) Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill as reported back from select committee
Land Transport (Wheel Clamping) Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute Vesting Bill as reported back from select committee
Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngā Pōtiki Claims Settlement Bill as reported back from select committee
Organ Donors and Related Matters Bill as reported back from select committee
Parliamentary Agencies Delegations Legislation Bill as reported back from select committee
Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Renewal of Licences) Amendment Bill (No 2) as reported back from select committee
Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlements Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Tauranga Moana Iwi Collective Redress and Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Ranginui Claims Settlement Bill as reported back from select committee
Thames–Coromandel District Council and Hauraki District Council Mangrove Management Bill as reported back from select committee

Bills awaiting third reading

Companies (Clarification of Dividend Rules in Companies) Amendment Bill
Criminal Cases Review Commission Bill
End of Life Choice Bill
Privacy Bill
Regulatory Systems (Economic Development) Amendment Bill (No 2)
Regulatory Systems (Housing) Amendment Bill (No 2)
Regulatory Systems (Workforce) Amendment Bill (No 2)

Bills awaiting royal assent


Acts assented

Appropriation (2018/19 Supplementary Estimates) Act 2019
This Act authorises individual appropriations and changes contained in The Supplementary Estimates of Appropriations for the Government of New Zealand for the Year Ending 30 June 2019. The individual appropriations, changes and capital injections are set out in Schedules 1, 2 and 3 of the Act.

Appropriation (2019/20 Estimates) Act 2019
This Act authorises individual appropriations and changes contained in The Estimates of Appropriations for the Government of New Zealand for the Year Ending 30 June 2020. The individual appropriations, changes and capital injections are set out in Schedules 1 – 4 of the Act.

Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Act 2019
This Act amends the Conservation Act 1987 and the Freshwater Fisheries Regulations 1983 to increase protection for indigenous freshwater fish. The Act replaces the definition of "freshwater fish" with an exhaustive list, restricts the taking of indigenous freshwater fish and replaces the offences relating to "spawning fish". Further, the Act increases the regulation-making powers available in relation to the protection of indigenous freshwater fish.

Contempt of Court Act 2019
This Act reforms the law of contempt following the 2017 Law Commission's review on the law of contempt of court. In doing so, the Act abolishes the common law of contempt whilst preserving the High Court's inherent jurisdiction to punish for contempt of court in circumstances where the Act does not apply. 

The reforms relate to:

  • publication of certain criminal trial information;
  • dealing with disruptive behaviour in court proceedings;
  • jury conduct; and
  • enforcement of certain court orders.

Copyright (Marrakesh Treaty Implementation) Amendment Act 2019
This Act amends the Copyright Act 1994 to give effect to the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled. The Act amends the Copyright Act 1994 by including artistic works in the definition of "accessible format copies", clarifying the definition of "print disability" and explicitly providing for the import and export of accessible format copies by authorised entities.

Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Act 2019
This Act recognises the existence of employment agreements where an employee acts under the control and direction of a third party that is not the employer. The Act amends the Employment Relations Act 2000 by allowing an employee to join a "controlling third party" in any personal grievance claim raised against the employer. A "controlling third party" is defined as a person:

  • who has a contract or other arrangement with an employer under which an employee of the employer performs work for the benefit of the person; and
  • who exercises, or is entitled to exercise, control or direction over the employee that is similar or substantially similar to the control or direction that an employer exercises, or is entitled to exercise, in relation to the employee.

Financial Markets (Derivatives Margin and Benchmarking) Reform Amendment Act 2019}
This Act amends several other Acts to enable New Zealand financial market participants to continue to enter into derivatives and certain other types of financial instruments with important overseas financial entities, by removing impediments to compliance with foreign margin requirements for over-the-counter derivatives. 

The Act also establishes a new licensing regime for administrators of financial benchmarks under the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 to enable those benchmarks to be referenced in financial instruments with important international counterparties.

Health (Drinking Water) Amendment Act 2019
The Act draws on recommendations made by the Government Inquiry into Havelock North Drinking Water. The Act amends the Health Act 1956 by removing the requirement that the Ministry of Health must consult for three years before making any changes to drinking water standards, clarify the need for timetabling in a supplier's water safety plan and require the Director-General to maintain a register of individuals appointed as drinking-water assessors. The Act also alters the definition of "all practicable steps" to account for various matters equally, rather than prioritising the availability and affordability of a step.

Imprest Supply (First for 2019/20) Act 2019
This Act provides the Government with the authority to incur expenses and capital expenditure and make capital injections in advance of the Appropriation (2019/20 Estimates) Act.

Imprest Supply (Second for 2019/20) Act 2019
This Act provides the Government with the authority to incur expenses and capital expenditure and make capital injections in excess of that authorised under the Appropriation (2019/20 Estimates) Act until 30 June 2020.

Kāinga Ora—Homes and Communities Act 2019
This Act establishes a new Crown entity named Kāinga Ora—Homes and Communities and provides for a government policy statement on housing and urban development. A companion bill is expected to be introduced soon that would allow Kāinga Ora to undertake specified development projects.

Kāinga Ora would be tasked with two roles—being a public housing landlord, and leading and co-ordinating urban development projects. To enable Kāinga Ora–Homes and Communities to do this effectively, the Act consolidates central government housing and urban development delivery capability by:

  • disestablishing Housing New Zealand Corporation (Housing New Zealand) and its development subsidiary, HLC (2017) Limited (HLC);
  • putting Housing New Zealand and HLC’s functions and assets into Kāinga Ora–Homes and Communities, including Housing New Zealand’s shares in the subsidiaries Housing New Zealand Limited and Housing New Zealand Build Limited;
  • repealing the Housing Corporation Act 1974; and
  • putting some of the functions and assets related to KiwiBuild that currently sit in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development into Kāinga Ora–Homes and Communities.

For the time being, the Act does not transfer the Land for Housing Programme to Kāinga Ora. This is because further engagement needs to be undertaken with iwi to ensure the Crown’s Treaty settlement obligations are being met both now and in the future. The Act also has a specific provision relating to Māori interests and prevents Kāinga Ora from using the exemptions for Housing New Zealand to override rights of first refusal under Treaty settlements.

KiwiSaver (Oranga Tamariki Guardians) Amendment Act 2019
This Act allows any foster parent, or kin carer, to open a Kiwisaver account for a foster child in their care by amending the Kiwisaver Act 2006.

Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Act 2019
This Act aims to amend the Local Government Act 2002 to allow additional functions to be transferred across local authorities. In this respect, section 7 of the Act outlines factors that must be had regard to when assessing a transfer proposal. The Act gives control to the Local Government Commission to initiate its own investigations in relation to reorganisations under Schedule 2. Additionally, the Act provides for the establishment and operation of a greater range of council-controlled organisations (CCO). Section 5 amends the meaning of a CCO.

Misuse of Drugs Amendment Act 2019
This Act amends both the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 and the Psychoactive Substances Act 2013 to:

  • classify AMB-FUBINACA and 5F-ADB as Class A drugs;
  • affirm the existing discretion to prosecute for possession and use (for all drugs) and specify that when considering whether a prosecution would meet the public interest requirements, consideration should be given to whether a health-centred or therapeutic approach would be more beneficial; and
  • enable temporary drug class orders to be issued for emerging and potentially harmful substances.

New Zealand Infrastructure Commission/Te Waihanga Act 2019
This Act establishes the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission/Te Waihanga (the Commission) as an autonomous Crown entity. The Commission is tasked with:

  • developing broad public agreement on long-term infrastructure strategy;
  • enabling co-ordination of infrastructure planning; and
  • providing advice and best-practice support to infrastructure projects.

All of the Commission’s functions are advisory only and there are no changes to decision-making powers for Ministers or departments that invest in or maintain infrastructure, or to the overall accountability for those decisions.

The Commission’s main function is intended to be to co-ordinate, develop, and promote an approach to infrastructure that encourages infrastructure and services that result from infrastructure - that improve well-being. In addition, the Commission has two groups of functions: strategy and planning, and support for projects.

New Zealand Public Health and Disability (Waikato DHB) Elections Act 2019
This Act exempt the Waikato District Health Board (the Waikato DHB) from the 2019 triennial local body election. This legislation has the effect of extending the time that the Waikato DHB is governed by a commissioner until a newly elected board takes office following the 2022 triennial local body election.

Ngāti Rangi Claims Settlement Act 2019
This Act gives effect to the deed of settlement known as Te Rukutia Te Mana signed on 10 March 2018 between the Crown and Ngāti Rangi. The deed represents the final settlement of all the historical Treaty of Waitangi claims of Ngāti Rangi resulting from acts or omissions by the Crown before 21 September 1992. The Act contains provisions related to settlement redress that require legislation for their implementation.

Partnership Law Act 2019
This Act re-enacts, in an up-to-date and accessible form, the Partnership Act 1908. The Act is a revision prepared under subpart 3 of Part 2 of the Legislation Act 2012 and does not make any substantive legislative changes.

Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2019
This Act amends the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 to address issues related to liability for damage to rental premises caused by a tenant, methamphetamine contamination in rental premises, and tenancies over rental premises that are unlawful for residential use.

Under the Act tenants have no liability or obligation for damage to the premises except for circumstances where:

  • The destruction or damage was intentionally done or caused by the tenant or by a person for whose actions the tenant is responsible.
  • The destruction or damage was the result of an act or omission by the tenant or by a person for whose actions the tenant is responsible and the act or omission occurred on or about the premises and constitutes an imprisonable offence.

Tenant liability is limited to an amount equal to four weeks' rent, or the landlord's insurance excess, whichever is lower, in any incident of damage.

Further, the Act amends the definition of a residential premises so that tenants can go to the Tenancy Tribunal and Tenancy Services to take enforcement action regardless of whether or not the property is legally allowed to be lived in.

Finally, regulations will now be allowed to be developed to prescribe an acceptable level for methamphetamine contamination, as well as processes for testing and decontamination.

Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Rugby World Cup 2019 Extended Trading Hours) Amendment Act 2019
This Act amends the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 to allow eligible licensees to extend trading hours for the purposes of televising games played as part of the Rugby World Cup 2019.

Statutes Amendment Act 2019
This Act consists entirely of minor amendments and fixes to other Acts that were unanimously agreed to by Parliament, including the:

  • Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009;
  • Armed Forces Discipline Act 1971;
  • Building Act 2004;
  • Burial and Cremation Act 1964;
  • Chartered Professional Engineers of New Zealand Act 2002;
  • Citizenship Act 1977;
  • Companies Act 1993
  • Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017;
  • Court Martial Act 2007;
  • Criminal Procedure Act 2011;
  • Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009;
  • Crown Entities Act 2004;
  • Disputes Tribunal Act 1988;
  • District Court Act 2016;
  • Electricity Act 1992;
  • Engineering Associates Act 1961;
  • Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981;
  • Food Act 2014;
  • Government Superannuation Fund Act 1956;
  • Immigration Act 2009;
  • Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007;
  • Intelligence and Security Act 2017;
  • Legal Services Act 2011;
  • Motor Vehicle Sales Act 2003;
  • New Zealand Film Commission Act 1978;
  • New Zealand Government Property Corporation Act 1953;
  • New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001;
  • Official Information Act 1982;
  • Ombudsmen Act 1975;
  • Parliamentary Service Act 2000;
  • Plumbers, Gasfitters, and Drainlayers Act 2006;
  • Prisoners’ and Victims’ Claims Act 2005;
  • Public Finance Act 1989;
  • Real Estate Agents Act 2008;
  • Registered Architects Act 2005;
  • Resource Management Act 1991;
  • Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012;
  • Secondhand Dealers and Pawnbrokers Act 2004;
  • Senior Courts Act 2016;
  • Standards and Accreditation Act 2015;
  • State-Owned Enterprises Act 1986;
  • State Sector Act 1988;
  • Summary Proceedings Act 1957;
  • Te Arawa Lakes Settlement Act 2006;
  • Terrorism Suppression Act 2002;
  • Veterans’ Support Act 2014; and
  • Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Act 1965.

Trusts Act 2019
This Act replaces the Trustee Act 1956 and the Perpetuities Act 1964. The Act reflects a set of recommendations made by the Law Commission following its review of general trust law from 2009 to 2013. Ultimately, the Act preserves the power of the common law to define key aspects of Trusts law. The focus of the Act is to make clear and accessible trust principles by legislating a number of common law principles. The Act provides for an 18 month transition period from the date of commencement of the Act for existing trusts. As well as codifying the law around trusts, it clarifies the law in regards to the duties and powers of trustees and beneficiaries including the general powers of trustees to manage trust property and carry out the trust; investment powers and powers to use trust property for the welfare of beneficiaries; and the power to delegate trustees’ powers and functions in specified circumstances.

The Act also addresses the administration of trusts including what core documents must be kept by trustees, how long they must be kept for, what basic information must be provided to beneficiaries, and the procedure to follow where trust information is withheld. The Act abolishes the common law rule known as the rule against perpetuities and repeals the Perpetuities Act 1964 by setting a maximum duration period of 125 years for trusts. The Act introduces the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes to resolve disputes including for trustees where the terms of their trusts are silent. The Act sets out the matters that can be referred to ADR, the court’s oversight over an ADR process if there are any unascertained or incapacitated beneficiaries, and the court’s power to order an ADR process.

In the week ahead

What’s coming up in the House

The House was adjourned from 24 October to 05 November. This week, the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill will pass through its remaining stages, and the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill will receive its first reading. 

Other legislation expected to progress includes: 

- The Criminal Cases Review Commission Bill
- The Health (National Cervical Screening Programme) Amendment Bill
- The Organ Donors and Related Matters Bill
- The Land Transport (Wheel Clamping) Amendment Bill

In trade

Tariff concessions





NZ Merchants Limited

Bed linen; flat sheets, fitted sheets or pillowcases of any material, whether or not printed or dyed, imported individually or in sets.

6302.21; 6302.22; 6302.29; 6302.31; 6302.32.

5 November

European Motor Distributors Limited

First responder ambulances, single stretcher capacity, being of monocoque chassis type, not exceeding 3200kg gross vehicle mass (GVM), with maximum vehicle dimensions of 2600mm (H) X 2000mm (W) X 5500mm (L), powered by a four cylinder diesel engine, not exceeding a cubic capacity of 2000cc.


5 November

Eurobev Pty Limited

Plant-based meat alternative preparations (for example: burger patty), of soy protein.


29 October

Sealed Air (New Zealand)

Plastic film, 9 layer co-extruded, having a thickness not less than 90microns and not greater than 150microns.


29 October

Jaedon Enterprises Limited

Knitted fabric: 88% cotton, 12% nylon, fire resistant treated.


29 October

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