Blog Image


Watching Brief - November 2022

Home Insights Watching Brief - November 2022

Matter of opinion

What's going on in Local Government?

A lot has been happening in the sphere of local government – recent elections, the release of the Review into the Future for Local Government's Draft Report, and ongoing tensions around centrally led reforms such as Three Waters.

Local body elections

As reported extensively at the time, the recent local body elections were characterised by low voter turn-out, accelerating existing calls to increase participation in local democracy. The outcome of these elections also appeared to herald a shift in voter preference, with many commentators noting that those who did vote seemed to prefer candidates offering change if elected, indicating dissatisfaction with the status quo.

Review into the Future for Local Government Draft Report

With the ramifications of disengagement and disenfranchisement with local democracy highlighted by these recent election results, it is timely that the Review into the Future for Local Government has released its He mata whāriki, he matawhānui: Draft Report (Draft Report). The independent panel (Panel) behind the Draft Report was established in April 2021 by Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

The Draft Report – though described as a "provocation" for input to help the Panel shape the final report, rather than a draft – contains a number of what it refers to as broad "shifts" that are deemed necessary to renew and change local government to ensure it is fit to face increasingly complex issues, accompanied by a series of draft recommendations. The Draft Report also poses a number of questions the Panel is seeking feedback on.

The broad shifts that the Panel has identified as necessary include: strengthening local democracy, developing authentic relationships with hapū/iwi with Māori, a focus on wellbeing, genuine partnership between central and local government, and more equitable funding.

Additionally, 29 draft recommendations have been developed, which include:

  • making the Electoral Commission responsible for overseeing the administration of local body elections;
  • a central government review of local government legislation, with a view to adopting Single Transferrable Vote as the voting method, lowering the voting age to 16 for local body elections, providing for a four-year local electoral term, and amending the employment provisions of chief executives;
  • that central and local government support and enable councils to:
    • undertake regular health checks of their democratic performance;
    • develop guidance and mechanisms to support councils resolving complaints under their code of conduct and explore a specific option for local government to refer complaints to an independent investigation process, conducted and led by a national organisation; and
    • subject to the findings of current relevant Ombudsman's investigations, assess whether the provisions of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987, and how it is being applied in practice, support high standards of openness and transparency;
  • a centrally-led process to develop a new legislative framework for Te Tiriti in local governance, including a statutory requirement for local government chief executives to develop and maintain the capacity and capability of council staff to grow understanding and knowledge of Te Tiriti, the whakapapa of local government, and te ao Māori values;
  • that central and local government review future allocations of roles and functions applying a principled, and Te Tiriti consistent, approach;
  • that local government, in partnership with central government, explore funding and resources that enable and encourage councils to lead, facilitate, and support innovation and experimentation in achieving greater social, economic, cultural, and environmental wellbeing outcomes;
  • the need to reset the relationship between central and local government, through developing an aligned and cohesive approach to co-investment in local outcomes; and
  • that central government expands its regulatory impact statement assessments to include the impacts on local government.

On the issue of financing, the Draft Report considers that rates are still the best means of funding council activities, but that better support from central government is needed. It notes that "[t]he continuing impact of underfunded mandates, the significant future challenges of climate change, environmental restoration, and matters of social and economic inequality are all going to be felt locally, but need central government funding support". On this, the Panel thinks central government needs to start paying rates and other charges on its property, as well as creating a significant intergenerational climate change fund.

The Draft Report highlights some of the key issues currently facing local government including capability and capacity constraints; limited ability to respond to adverse events; and funding constraints. In response, the Draft Report considers system change is necessary, and outlines five design principles (broadly described as: local; subsidiarity; resourced; partnership; and economics of scope) which the Panel thinks should guide the future structure for local government to support the wider changes the Draft Report has recommended.

The Draft Report considers that the future system design will need to strike a balance between centralism and localism. The Panel has not presented recommendations for the system design, rather it has developed some examples of alternative organisational forms (one council for the region supported by local or community boards; local and regional councils with separate governance; or local councils and a combined council with shared representation). The Panel has invited feedback, following which it will decide whether to propose a new structure for local government in its final report, which is due in June 2023.

Public submissions on the Draft Report are open until February 2023.

Three Waters

In addition to the capacity and funding constraints, areas of major reform have the potential to change the way local authorities operate. The central government's Three Waters reform programme is clearly a fraught issue, with recent developments indicating change may be on the horizon. Forewarned by the 2022 Local Democracy Reporting mayoral candidate survey results, central government is now faced with many newly elected Mayors that oppose the Three Waters reforms.

Wayne Brown, Mayor of Auckland, has been one of the most vocal in opposition, including throughout his electoral campaign and in his recent direction to Watercare (and Auckland Council Controlled Organisation, responsible for Auckland's drinking water and wastewater service management) to cease Three Waters work. In response, Prime Minister Jacinda Arden stated that stopping Three Waters would result in rates rising in Auckland.

Taking a step further, on 31 October 2022, Auckland and Christchurch Mayors, Wayne Brown and Phil Mauger, co-issued a document titled "A Consensus Plan to Improve Water Management in New Zealand" with support of Waimakariri Mayor, Dan Gordon. In this document, the Mayors outline their key views, including:

  • their support for the new water regulator, Taumata Arowai;
  • their proposal to retain assets with local government, and for local government entities to consolidate into Regional Water Organisations (RWOs), which would be unable to be sold outside authority ownership;
  • that the type and degree of iwi involvement would be decided locally; and
  • that the RWOs would have access to a new Water Infrastructure Fund (to be established by Crown Infrastructure Partners).

Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau did not rule out supporting parts of the plan, but is seeking to hear more about it. On the other side of the debate, some commentators have observed that those strongly opposed to the reforms have some of the worst water infrastructure in place.

Central government is maintaining its position on Three Waters, although noting that changes to the legislation could be made throughout the legislative process, including following the Select Committee report, provided these do not change the fundamental basis for the reforms. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern indicated she would be happy to hear more from the three Mayors in relation to their alternate proposal.


Low levels of participation in local body elections is an obvious cause for concern if any serious claims are going to be made about "local democracy" and community participation, as are many of the key findings contained in the Draft Report.

The increasing disconnect between local and central government, including over issues like Three Waters, has been taking place over a significant period of time and clearly needs addressing. Certainly, this tension needs to be resolved in the face of future challenges, including, saliently, the risks posed, and actions required by climate change.

The Draft Report skirts around making clear recommendations on the issue of amalgamation but it is self-evident that the number, shape and structure of local government entities will have to form part of the mix.

The time for major, systemic reform – which many have thought overdue, is now clearly here.

In the news

Three Waters Reform Programme update

The Government has continued to push ahead with its proposed full-scale regulatory and structural reform of water service delivery across Aotearoa New Zealand.

Earlier in the year the Water Services Entities Bill was introduced to Parliament – a standalone Bill that would establish four publicly owned water services entities to provide water services in place of local authorities. The Finance and Expenditure Committee are expected to report back on the Bill on 11 November 2022 with recommended amendments to the Bill following consideration of public submissions. Once the Water Services Entities Bill is enacted, the four water services entities will be established and will begin the preparatory arrangements for full operation of the entities from 1 July 2024.

The Water Services Entities Bill is just one component of a comprehensive package to reform water services that are currently being provided by local authorities. The Bill will be followed by two pieces of legislation (expected to be introduced shortly):

  • A further bill providing for:
    • additional, detailed implementation arrangements for the entities and service delivery, including provisions relating to the transfer of assets, liabilities and other matters from local authorities to the water services entities;
    • specific powers, functions, and responsibilities of the new water services entities;
    • pricing and charging arrangements;
    • changes to Treaty settlement legislation that are required to ensure that settlement obligations are carried forward from territorial authorities to the new water services entities; and
    • detailed changes to the Local Government Act 2002, the Water Services Act 2021, and other legislation to transfer service delivery arrangements to the new water services entities.
  • An economic regulation and consumer protection bill relating to the new water services system. It is yet to be publicly announced which form of economic regulation the water services entities would be subject to, for example, information disclosure, price-quality paths and / or input methodologies.  
Changes to immigration settings

Prior to the full reopening of New Zealand's border on 31 July 2022, the Government announced its Immigration Rebalance Strategy (Strategy), which aims to support high-skilled migrant labour. Additional changes to complement the Strategy have also been announced and implemented.

Seven pathways to residency have been created or reopened. All pathways are now open for applications or expressions of interest:

  • Straight to Residence (STRV) and Work to Residence (WTRV) visas provide a streamlined, priority pathway to residency for high-skilled migrants who can fill skills shortage roles. From late September, such migrants have been able to apply either directly for residence under the STRV, or with 24 months' work experience under the WTRV.

  • A new Highly Paid Resident pathway provides residency for migrants earning at least twice the median wage and with 24 months acceptable work in New Zealand.

  • A new Active Investor Plus residency (replacing Investor 1 and 2 categories) grants residency for minimum active investments of $5 million and minimum passive investments of $15 million.

  • A resumption of the Skilled Migrant Category visa (SMC), which provides a pathway to residency for migrants based on a points system that considers employment, work experience, income and qualifications.

  • A resumption of Parent Resident visas, which will provide 2,500 places for parents and grandparents of migrants, to be selected through approval or a ballot system.

  • A resumption of the Samoan and Pacific Access Categories visas, which provide pathways for up to 5,900 people to achieve residency through a ballot process.

The Government has also made the below changes to immigration settings:

  • Introducing an Accredited Employers Work Visa, which allows certain employers to become accredited and thereby streamline the visa application process for migrants they recruit.

  • Increasing the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme cap by 3,000 places; enabling 19,000 workers from the Pacific to enter New Zealand annually in the horticulture and wine sector.

  • Introducing sector-specific agreements to help industries, such as tourism, transition from reliance on low-wage, low-skill labour.

  • Granting visa extensions for 20,000 visa holders for six months or two years with open work conditions.

  • Doubling the number of places available under the Refugee Family Support Category from 300 to 600 per year.

Further, from December, partners of temporary migrant workers will be granted visitor visas, with the option to apply for work visas even where they work less than the 30 hours a week usually required.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is consulting on changes to the SMC, which aim to give more certainty to migrants and their families; improve processing times; and reduce labour market risks. The proposal involves a new, simplified points system, with points based on qualifications, New Zealand professional registrations, income and skilled work. It will also modify skilled work classifications. Consultation on these changes is open until 18 November 2022.

Process for assessing and reassessing hazardous substances amended

The Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (Hazardous Substances Assessments) Amendment Act (the Amendment Act) received Royal Assent on 31 October 2022. The Amendment Act modifies the Environmental Protection Authority's (the EPA) processes for the assessment and reassessment of hazardous substances, and what information can be utilised for such assessments. In particular, the Amendment Act:

  • Enables the EPA to recognise overseas bodies as "international regulators" (provided they meet certain criteria, and by notice in the Gazette) and to then use information from international regulators to:
    • carry out a rapid assessment of hazardous substances;
    • update hazard classifications of substances and corresponding controls; and
    • make a decision to temporarily restrict particular uses of hazardous substances if certain criteria are met.
  • Changes the reassessment process by:
    • requiring the EPA to develop a workplan that sets the priorities for reassessments of hazardous substances that are requested by the chief executive of the EPA;
    • allowing the EPA to engage in more targeted consultation during modified reassessments; and
    • temporarily restricting, via notice in the Gazette, the use of hazardous substances in specified circumstances or places, or by specified classes of persons, (though the EPA must not prohibit the use of the hazardous substance generally).
  • Clarifies that the Minister can call-in decisions relating to reassessments and assessments.
Conditional moratorium on seabed mining

The Government has backed a conditional moratorium on deep sea mining in international waters, which includes the seabed beyond exclusive economic zones and extended continental shelves. The Government's stance arises out of the International Seabed Authority's current review of regulations surrounding deep sea mining in international waters.

The Authority is charged with drafting new regulations for deep sea mining by July 2023, but the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Hon Nanaia Mahuta, has noted that progress has been slow and that she is concerned that a regulatory framework will be unable to be agreed in time. In the meantime, the Authority has granted permission for a Canadian deep sea mining company, Nauru Ocean Resources Inc, to engage in a trial extracting 3600 tonnes of metal-rich nodules from international waters between Mexico and Kiribati.

The Minister noted that deep sea mining affects areas that "contai[n] some of the least understood eco-systems on the planet", and that "[d]eep sea mining could cause irreversible changes to this environment and have a significant impact on its biodiversity". Consequently, New Zealand has joined a number of countries across the Pacific in calling for the conditional moratorium, until regulations which address environmental concerns, and are supported by "robust science", are agreed. However, the Minister was clear that the Government respects the sovereign rights of other countries, and that the conditional moratorium would not include areas within national jurisdictions.

The Government will continue to participate in the negotiations relating to the drafting of the new deep sea mining regulations.

Te Pae Tata | the Interim New Zealand Health Plan

The Government has released Te Pae Tata | the Interim New Zealand Health Plan jointly developed by Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand and Te Aka Whai Ora – the Māori Health Authority.

In Te Pae Tata, Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora respond to the Interim Government Policy Statement on Health 2022-2024 (Statement) for the reformed health system. In order to meet the five key shifts set out in the Statement1, the plan proposes six priority areas and actions:

  1. improving equity and outcomes by placing whānau at the centre of the health system (with a focus on community health, maternity, those living with cancer, chronic health conditions, and those with mental distress);

  2. embedding Te Tiriti o Waitangi across the health sector;

  3. developing an inclusive health workforce;

  4. keeping people well in their communities;

  5. developing greater use of digital services to provide more care in homes and communities; and

  6. establishing Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora, in support of a financially sustainable health system.

The plan is referred to as 'interim' as it is aligned to the two-year budget for health reform that was set out in the 2022 Budget. From 2024, the health budget will move to a three-year cycle and a full plan will be put into place.

Social Sector Commissioning 2022-2028 Action Plan

On 28 October 2022, the Government launched the Social Sector Commissioning Action Plan 2022-2028. The six-year Action Plan aims to change the way social supports and services are commissioned to better support people, families and whanāu. It was developed in response to public feedback asking for focus on people and their lived experiences, and trusted relationships (including between organisations and Māori-Crown partnerships).

The Action Plan proposes a relational approach to commissioning. Its vision is for the social sector to ground its work in people; give practical effect to Te Tiriti; enter relationships around common outcomes and agree on how to deliver those outcomes; commit to shared accountability; and agree on clear roles across the commissioning process. It aims to place trusted relationships at the centre of commissioning by:

  • using lived experiences to inform support and outcomes;

  • encouraging new ways to fund and co-fund services;

  • empowering self-determination on how to engage with services to support aspirations; and

  • emphasising policy, process, or practice changes to support a high trust approach, including through common goals, guidelines on how to navigate local service provision, and sustainable funding models.

The Action Plan outlines 9 'action steps' for 2022-2024:

  1. Learn how a relational approach can be applied to commissioning.
  2. Provide the social sector with guidance on how to work in a relational way.
  3. Change commissioning system rules and processes to enable the sector to work together to provide social services.
  4. Support reform programmes to work smarter and in a joined-up way to implement relational approaches to commissioning.
  5. Government agencies and Crown entities make operational changes to deliver the government-endorsed ‘commitments’ to commissioning practice. Government agencies will implement the government-endorsed commitments by mid-2024.
  6. Government agencies and Crown entities outline the actions and approach they will take to implement a relational approach to commissioning.
  7. Create a governance group that represents people who are involved in or impacted by the social sector, so that they guide, promote, and protect the system transformation.
  8. Build a team who are responsible for implementing the 2022–2028 Social Sector Commissioning Action Plan.
  9. ​Monitor and learn how social sector commissioning is impacting individuals, families and whānau.
Proposed amendments to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 (the Act) aims to improve community input into local alcohol licencing decisions. To enable this, the Act permits local councils to develop a local alcohol policy (LAP) to limit the sale of alcohol in communities. LAPs are a set of decisions about the sale and supply of alcohol in a geographical area to:

  • limit the location of licences in particular areas or near certain facilities (ie, schools or churches);

  • limit the density of licences in a particular area;

  • impose conditions on groups of licences (ie, "one-way door" condition); and/or

  • restrict the opening hours of a licenced facility.

Once drafted, the council undertakes public consultation to understand the community view on the proposed LAP. Following public feedback, the council will notify a provisional LAP which can be appealed by anyone who submitted on the draft policy.

In the past, however, the appeals process has resulted in significant delays, and, in some circumstances, councils have lacked the resources to engage in protracted legal disputes, resulting in compromises needing to be made. Consequently, the Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Harm Minimisation) Bill ("the Bill") seeks to abolish appeals on LAPs in order to provide local control over alcohol regulation. The Bill also seeks to ban alcohol sponsorship and advertising of all streamed and live sports as well as sponsorship at all sporting venues.

In trade

Trans-Tasman Ministerial talks to future-proof the Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement

On 29-30 October 2022, Hon Damien O'Connor, Minister for Trade and Export Growth, was joined by Hon Stuart Nash, Minister for Tourism, in hosting the Hon Don Farrell, Australian Minister for Trade and Tourism. The Ministers met in Queenstown to advance trans-Tasman cooperation under the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (CER).

The Ministers identified the CER's 40th anniversary next year as an opportunity to ensure our comprehensive bilateral trading architecture is dynamic and future-focused, and that businesses and people on both sides of the Tasman can continue to respond to global challenges and capitalise on new opportunities.

The Ministerial talks centred around:

  • Sustainable and inclusive trade: Ministers discussed potential areas for cooperation and ongoing collaboration, including indigenous cultural and economic connections; clean energy and climate change policy; and research, innovation and emerging technologies.
  • Tourism: Ministers discussed their shared interest in tourism; the nature of the challenges to the recovery of the tourism sector; and making the industry more sustainable. Ministers noted the joint hosting of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup would provide an opportunity to showcase both countries' tourism offerings to a global audience.
  • The World Trade Organization (WTO): Ministers reinforced their commitment to the multilateral rules-based trading system, which they saw as providing the predictability and stability necessary to support global trade. Ministers noted that the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of this system and reaffirmed their commitment to implementing the positive outcomes achieved at the 12th WTO Ministerial meeting in June 2022. Ministers agreed on the need for collaboration to achieve further positive results, including with respect to strengthened disciplines on unsustainable fish subsidies and environmentally harmful agriculture subsidies.  
  • Upcoming APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in Bangkok: Ministers agreed on the importance of supporting Thailand as Chair to achieve successful outcomes and welcomed the US hosting in 2023.
  • Indo-Pacific Economic Framework: Ministers reaffirmed this commitment ahead of Australia’s hosting of the first negotiating round in December. Both countries undertook to develop impactful solutions to common sustainability challenges, and to ensure trade and investment delivers for everyone, particularly indigenous peoples and other under-represented groups.
  • The Australia Aotearoa-New Zealand Indigenous Collaboration Arrangement (ICA): Ministers reinforced their continued collaboration under the ICA, which provides a strong basis for deepening engagement to embed Indigenous perspectives and interests.
  • Coercive economic practices: Ministers agreed to work together and with all interested partners to respond to such practices.
The Fourth New Zealand – China Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Change

On Thursday 13 October 2022, China virtually hosted the fourth New Zealand-China Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Change. The dialogue was between James Shaw, Minister for Climate Change, and Huang Runqui, Chinese Minister for Ecology and Environment.

The Ministers discussed updates on domestic climate change policy and global climate ambitions, including areas for bilateral cooperation. The dialogue also covered some of the commonalities and differences between New Zealand's and China's approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation and where each could learn from the other.

New Zealand and China's cooperation in climate change issues is underpinned by the bilateral Arrangement on Climate Change Cooperation, which was signed in 2014. Dialogues such as this are considered important for affirming New Zealand's interest in working with China and is consistent with the New Zealand-China Leaders’ Statement on Climate Change, adopted by Prime Minister Ardern and Premier Li Keqiang in 2019.

Waka Hourua Vaka Purua – New Zealand – Cook Islands Statement of Partnership – October 2022

On 13 October 2022, the New Zealand-Cook Islands Waka Hourua Vaka Purua (statement of partnership) was signed in Rarotonga and released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade affirming the parties' joint ambition to elevate the relationship of the two countries to a new level of expanded strategic cooperation in the forthcoming years, with an aim to advance to the safety, prosperity and wellbeing of each country's respective people, the Pacific, and international community.
The importance of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and key development targets outlined in the Cook Islands’ strategy Te Ara Akapapa’anga Nui – NSDA 2020+ was identified as a shared horizon for the work of the partnership over the next 100 years, in order to improve the lives of each country's people and the planet. 
The two countries also affirmed the following principles and understandings which, consistent with their 2001 Joint Centenary Declaration, is intended to guide and deepen this partnership:

  • Manaakitanga/Te Ko’u Mana: Engaging in a mutually respectful way that uplifts one another’s mana, and supports each other’s aspirations;

  • Whanaungatanga/Piri’anga Toto: Embracing familial connections, engaging in a respectful and supportive way, and kanohi-ki-tekanohi as able;

  • Kotahitanga/’Okota’i’anga: Collaborating, sharing insights and consulting one another for mutual benefit;

  • Maia/Kia Ti’ama: Carefully listening, sharing and seeking to understand each other’s views, including when there are differences; and

  • Kaitiakitanga/Tiaki’anga: Acting as good stewards of the environment, taking into account the interests of future generations, and partnering on development cooperation activities that are inclusive, resilient, sustainable and effective.

Under this Waka Hourua/Vaka Purua, the countries will work together over the period 2022 to 2025 to advance their shared prosperity, security and wellbeing and to fulfil their responsibilities as kaitiaki. In these areas, the countries commit to a focus on outlined principles relating to prosperity, wellbeing, security and the environment for each country. 
In order to give practical effect to these ambitions, New Zealand and the Cook Islands will hold each other mutually accountable under this Waka Hourua/Vaka Purua, with the shared understanding that they will, among other things:

  • meet annually to refresh the priority areas of engagement and monitor and advance progress on agreed objectives;

  • work together through regional institutions to promote Pacific interests and implement the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent;

  • support Cook Islands engagement in international affairs;

  • consider the impacts of their respective policies on each other and communicate openly and proactively;

  • consult on an evaluation of the bilateral development cooperation support programme;

  • support capacity and capability efforts of foreign ministries; and

  • following a stocktake of engagement, jointly develop a framework to monitor progress in identified priority areas.  

In the House

What’s coming up in the House

Parliament will resume sitting on Tuesday 8 November 2022.
Legislation to be considered will include:

  • the first readings of—
    • the Business Payment Practices Bill;
    • the Customs and Excise (Arrival Information) Amendment Bill; and
    • the Inspector-General of Defence Bill;
  • the second reading of the Electoral (Māori Electoral Option) Amendment Bill; and
  • the remaining stages of the United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement Legislation Bill.

Wednesday 9 November 2022 will be a members' day. On Thursday 10 November 2022, there will be an extended sitting in the morning, and a special debate on the report of the Transport and Infrastructure Committee on its inquiry into congestion pricing in Auckland in the afternoon.

Progress of legislation

Bills introduced

Business Payment Practices Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Stuart Nash
This Bill seeks to create a regime that has the objective of fostering transparency for business-to-business payment practices in New Zealand. It is intended that the introduction of this regime would enable businesses to make better informed decisions on who they trade with and also incentivise larger businesses to mitigate reputational risk by improving their business payment practices.
The Bill proposes to require entities (including subsidiaries) who earn a total revenue of more than $33m (including GST) in each of the two preceding accounting periods, to make disclosures containing the entities' 'payment practice information' to the Registrar of Business Payment Practices (who would be appointed by the CEO of MBIE). 'Payment practice information' means information that would be specified under future regulations in relation to invoices received or paid, invoices issued, or payment practices. Entities would also be required to certify that the disclosure of information is complete and accurate. These disclosures would be required to be made twice a year and would be published on the entity's website and on a publicly searchable register, housed with MBIE. The Bill also proposes to grant MBIE the ability to issue class exemptions from the payment practices disclosure requirements. Entities that contravene the obligations under the Bill would be subject to proposed infringements, penalties and criminal offences.
Charities Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Priyanca Radhakrishnan

This Bill seeks to amend the Charities Act 2005 to make practical changes to the operation and regulation of charities. To achieve this, the Bill proposes to:

  • provide the chief executive of Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs the discretion to reduce the amount of financial reporting required by small charities;

  • amend the regulatory process to provide for further charity engagement, for example providing ability for charities to object to decisions make under the Charities Act;

  • designate the Taxation Review Authority as the body of first instance appeals under the Charities Act;

  • clarify that the role of charities officers is to support the charity to deliver its charitable purpose and comply with Charities Act obligations; and

  • amend the regulator's compliance and enforcement functions.

This Bill had its first reading on 28 September 2022 and has been referred to the Social Services and Community Committee.  

Climate Change Response (Extension of Penalty Transition for Forestry Activities with Low Volume Emissions Liabilities) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon James Shaw
This Bill seeks to extend the current deferral of the surrender or repayment penalty under the Emissions Trading Scheme for forestry participants with a net liability of less than 25,000 units per year until 1 January 2025. This extension of the deferral (which came into force for most Emissions Trading Scheme participants on 1 January 2021) recognises that there is a continued risk of serious hardship to small forestry participants arising from the penalty, and the extension will mitigate this risk while an alternate penalty for small forestry participants is finalised.
This Bill had its first reading on 18 October 2022 and has been referred to the Environment Committee.
Companies (Directors Duties) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Member's
Member in charge: Dr Duncan Webb
This Bill aims to clarify that a director, in acting as the mind and will of the company, may take actions which take into account non-financial matters. These non-financial matters are open-ended, and may include the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Treaty of Waitangi, environmental impacts, good corporate ethics, being a good employer, and the interests of the community. The Bill is currently awaiting its first reading.
Coroners Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Aupito William Sio            

This Bill was introduced in August 2022. The ultimate objective of the Bill is to reduce the length of time spent waiting to receive coronial findings. The Bill aims to achieve this by making targeted amendments to the Coroners Act 2006 that are designed to:

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

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

 The four targeted amendments are the:

  • establishment of a new position of coronial associate;

  • recording cause of death as unascertained natural causes in certain circumstances;

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

  • enabling written findings to be issued stating cause of death only, where appropriate.

The Bill passed its first reading on 30 August 2022 and was referred to the Justice Committee.

Counter-Terrorism Acts (Designations and Control Orders) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Kiritapu Allan

This omnibus Bill would amend New Zealand's counter-terrorism legislation relating to designation and control order provisions.

The Bill proposes a number of changes to the control order provisions, which are civil orders that are intended to prevent high-risk individuals from continuing to engage in terrorism-related activities. The proposed changes include:

  • expanding eligibility criteria for those who can be covered by a control order to include people that have received a conviction for objectionable publications that promote torture, extreme violence or cruelty;

  • expanding the eligibility criteria to include people sentenced to home detention and community-based sentences (currently it is limited to sentences of imprisonment); and

  • allowing for greater judicial discretion when setting control order restrictions, to ensure they can be more closely tailored to risk.

The Bill also proposes a number of changes to the designation scheme. The proposed changes intend to alter the current scheme, so that in the case of a designated person who is in prison:

  • no application for revocation of the designation can be made on the grounds that the entity is no longer involved in any way in the carrying out of terrorist acts;

  • expiry of the designation would be paused, and the designation remain in place; and

  • requiring the Prime Minister to review the designation every three years to determine whether it remains justified. 

Crimes (Child Exploitation Offences) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Member's
Member in charge: Ginny Anderson
This Bill would create a new offence in the Crimes Act 1961 that would make it an offence for someone over the age of 18 to communicate by words or conduct with a person under the age of 16, if there was an intention to facilitate that young person engaging or being involved in conduct that would be an offence under Part 7 of the Act or under section 91AA(1) of the Crimes Act.
Criminal Activity Intervention Legislation Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Kiritapu Allan

This omnibus Bill would make a number of amendments to legislation to create new powers and offences related to criminal activity, including that commonly associated with gang activities.

This Bill would amend the following legislation in the following ways:

  • The Search and Surveillance Act 2012 by providing:
    • a new warrant power to search for and seize weapons during a gang conflict; and
    • a new seizure power for cash found in suspicious circumstances and believed to be over $10,000.
  • The Crimes Act 1961 to include a new offence of discharging a firearm with intent to intimidate;
  • The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 by prohibiting cash payments over a specified value for certain high value goods.
  • The Land Transport Act 1998 to extend the circumstances in which vehicles can be impounded to respond to conduct that occurs during gang convoys, but also to apply more generally to other drivers reasonably believed to have committed a relevant offence.

Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Kiritapu Allan
This Bill would amend the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009 (principal Act) to enable the High Court to make a disclosure of source order, on application by the Commissioner, in relation to property to which a section 24 restraining order applies if the respondent is overseas. This would require the respondent to provide certain information to the police, mainly relating to the source of the property. This Bill would also amend the principal Act and the Kiwisaver Act 2006 to overcome a loophole so that funds in a Kiwisaver scheme are subject to forfeiture or debt recovery under the principal Act.
Crown Minerals (Prohibition of Mining) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Member's
Member in charge: Hon Eugenie Sage
This Bill seeks to protect conservation lands and waters from the impacts of mining. The Bill proposes to amend the Crown Minerals Act 1991 to prohibit the Minister of Energy or their delegate from granting permits for minerals activities (prospecting, exploration and mining) over conservation lands and waters. This Bill also proposes to prohibit access arrangements over conservation land and waters being sought from or granted by the Ministers of Energy and Conservation.
Customs and Excise (Arrival Information) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Meka Whaitiri
This Bill seeks to amend the Customs and Excise Act 2017 and seeks to provide for clearer arrival information obligations to help with customs-related border management matters, including collection of revenue and detection of restricted or prohibited goods.

In particular, the Bill proposes to:

  • introduce an explicit obligation on arriving passengers to provide prescribed arrival information within the prescribed time;

  • introduce two new offences for failing to provide prescribed information and providing arrival information that is erroneous in a material manner;

  • grant powers to make regulations that may set the time by which arrival information must be provided to the New Zealand Customs Service and exempt persons from these new requirements; and

  • grant new powers to the New Zealand Customs Service to collect certain information about persons arriving in New Zealand for the purposes of verifying compliance with other legislative traveller requirements.

Deposit Takers Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Grant Robertson

This omnibus Bill would modernise the Reserve Bank of New Zealand's legislation of prudential regulation and supervision of the deposit-taking sector. The two key changes that the Bill would enable are:

  • the creation of a Depositor Compensation Scheme – the intention of which would be to give consumers confidence that their deposited funds are safe in the event of an entity failing, by providing eligible depositors up to $100,000 in compensation for their covered deposits at each deposit-taking institution.

  • amending the Reserve Bank's supervision and enforcement powers – including by providing it with additional powers for directors requirements, creating a single regulatory regime for all entities who hold deposits, and providing a framework for managing and resolving any deposit taker in financial distress.

Dairy Industry Restructuring (Fonterra Capital Restructuring) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Damien O'Connor
This Bill would amend the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 to enable Fonterra to implement a new capital structure. The two key elements of Fonterra's proposed new capital structure are reduced minimum shareholding requirements; and a restricted farmer-only market.
Employment Relations (Restraint of Trade) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Member's
Member in charge: Helen White

This member's Bill seeks to amend the Employment Relations Act 2000 to prohibit the use of restraints of trade in employment agreements for lower and middle income employees. It also seeks to require employers of higher income employees to carefully consider whether a restraint of trade is appropriate in relation to those employees, and, if they deem it is, to compensate the employee for the restraint.

The Bill would:

  • provide that restraints of trade have no effect when an employee earns less than three times the minimum wage;

  • limit the use of restraints of trade to situations where the employer has a proprietary interest to protect through the restraint of trade;

  • require employers to pay to employees subject to a restraint of trade provision an amount equal to half of the employee's weekly earnings for each week that the restraint of trade remains in effect; and

  • limit the duration of restraints of trade to no more than six months.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Levy) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Jan Tinetti

This Bill aims to ensure that the insurance-based levy that must be paid to Fire and Emergency New Zealand can be easily implemented, so as to minimise disruption and compliance costs. It arose out of concerns that the current approach to the levy set out in the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017 would lead to complexity and uncertainty.
The Bill seeks to achieve this objective by:

  • Charging the levy on contracts of insurance for fire damage, rather than contracts of insurance for material damage.

  • Calculating the levy based on the sum insured, instead of the amount insured.

  • Clarifying that the annual levy rate applies to both insured motor vehicles and persons insured against third party liability.

  • Delaying the commencement date of Part 3 of the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017 to allow for levy regulations to be developed, and for relevant parties to implement the new levy system.

Inspector-General of Defence Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Peeni Henare
This Bill would establish offices of Inspector-General of Defence and Deputy Inspector-General of Defence to provide independent oversight of the New Zealand Defence Force. It follows the 2018 Inquiry into allegations of wrongdoing by the Defence Force, which recommended establishing an Inspector-General of Defence. The Bill would give the Inspector-Generals' two core functions: investigating and responding to incidents that have occurred; and assessing and identifying potential improvements or additions to Defence Force policies and procedures.

The Bill proposes to give the Inspector-General the powers to exercise those functions:

  • on the Inspector-General’s own initiative, in relation to defined Defence Force operational activities that have the most potential to cause harm, undermine public confidence in the Defence Force, and carry reputational risks to New Zealand; or

  • where an issue has been referred to the Inspector-General for investigation or assessment by the Minister, Chief of Defence Force, or Secretary of Defence.

The Inspector-General would have a range of investigatory powers to achieve its functions including, accessing Defence Force records, compelling people to provide information, and summoning and examining people under oath.

Ngāti Tara Tokanui Claims Settlement Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Andrew Little
This Bill aims to give effect to some elements of the Ngāti Tara Tokanui deed of settlement signed on 28 July 2022 in which Ngāti Tara Tokanui and the Crown agreed to the final settlement of historical te Tiriti o Waitangi / Treaty of Waitangi claims. The Bill is currently awaiting its first reading.
Oranga Tamariki (Repeal of Section 7AA) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Member's
Member in charge: Karen Chhour
This Bill seeks to ensure that the well-being of children and young people is the key consideration of Oranga Tamariki. It proposes to do this by repealing section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 as this section is said to create a conflict between the requirement to make decisions in the best interests of the child and duties placed on the Chief Executive to organise the department around a relationship between the state and signatories to the Treaty of Waitangi.
Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Cellar Door Tasting) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Member's
Member in charge: Stuart Smith
This Bill seeks to amend the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 (Act) to allow winery cellar doors to charge for the samples of their own wine that they serve to their visitors. It also proposes amending the Act to add a category of off-licence that would be available to a winery holding an on-licence (for example for a winery café).
Self-contained Motor Vehicles Legislation Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Stuart Nash

This omnibus Bill seeks to amend the Freedom Camping Act 2011 and the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Act 2006, to alter the management of vehicle-based freedom camping by creating a regulatory system that can be utilised by central and local government to reduce the negative effects of freedom camping on communities and the environment. To this end, the Bill proposes to introduce the following, subject to a two-year transition period:

  • a national requirement for freedom campers in a vehicle and staying on land managed by a local authority to use a certified self-contained vehicle;

  • a regulatory system for certifying self-contained vehicles;

  • a requirement for self-contained vehicles to have a fixed toilet; and

  • measures to strengthen the infringement regime and to extend this to other Crown land.

This Bill had its first reading on 30 August 2022 and has been referred to the Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee.

Taxation (Annual Rates for 2022-23, Platform Economy, and Remedial Matters) Bill (No 2)
Types of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon David Parker

This omnibus Bill proposes a number of changes to tax legislation. These changes broadly fall into three categories:

  • setting the annual rate of income tax for the 2022-23 tax year;

  • adjusting the current settings within a broad-base, low-rate framework to assist in ensuring taxes are fair and efficient and impede economic growth as little as possible;

  • altering the settings for tax administration, GST regime, Kiwisaver and social policy rules administered by Inland Revenue.

Worker Protection (Migrant and Other Employees) Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Priyanca Radhakrishnan

This omnibus Bill seeks to implement the legislative changes announced by the Government as a result of the 2020 Temporary Migrant Worker Exploitation Review, and amend compliance and enforcement legislation to deter employers from exploiting migrant workers. To achieve this, the Bill proposes to:

  • amend the Immigration Act 2009 to allow immigration officers to request evidence from employers of compliance with their migrant worker obligations;

  • allow Labour Inspectors and immigration officers to issue an infringement notice when employers do not comply with information requests;

  • establish new infringement offences under the Immigration Act and the Employment Relations Act 2000;

  • amend the Immigration Act to allow the publication of employer names following conviction of an immigration offence or issue of infringement notice; and

  • amend the Companies Act 1993 so that a person convicted of migrant exploitation and people-trafficking offences cannot be director or manager of a company if the offending was enabled or related to the use of a company.

This Bill had its first reading 18 October 2022 and has been referred to the Education and Workforce Committee.

Bills awaiting first reading
Bills defeated or withdrawn
Bills before select committee

Submissions open


Select Committee

Closing date for Submissions

Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill

Social Services and Community Committee

07 November 2022

Deposit Takers Bill

Finance and Expenditure Committee

10 November 2022

Counter-Terrorism Acts (Designations and Control Orders) Amendment Bill

Justice Committee

23 November 2022

Worker Protection (Migrant and Other Employees) Bill

Education and Workforce Committee

01 December 2022

Charities Amendment Bill

Social Services and Community Committee

09 December 2022

Submissions closed


Select Committee

Report Due

Electoral (Māori Electoral Option) Legislation Bill

Justice Committee

3 November 2022

Companies (Levies) Amendment Bill

Finance and Expenditure Committee

10 November 2022

Dairy Industry Restructuring (Fonterra Capital Restructuring) Amendment Bill

Primary Production Committee

10 November 2022

Climate Change Response (Extension of Penalty Transition for Forestry Activities with Low Volume Emissions Liabilities) Amendment Bill

Environment Committee

11 November 2022

Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-ā-Rua Claims Settlement Bill

Māori Affairs Committee

11 November 2022

Water Services Entities Bill

Finance and Expenditure Committee

11 November 2022

Employment Relations (Extended Time for Personal Grievance for Sexual Harassment) Amendment Bill

Education and Workforce Committee

18 November 2022

Improving Arrangements for Surrogacy Bill

Health Committee

18 November 2022

Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill

Health Committee

01 December 2022

Electoral Amendment Bill

Justice Committee

05 December 2022

Secondary Legislation Confirmation Bill

Regulations Review Committee

05 December 2022

Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Exemption for Race Meetings) Amendment Bill

Governance and Administration Committee

8 December 2022

Forests (Legal Harvest Assurance) Amendment Bill

Primary Production Committee

21 December 2022

Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media Bill

Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee

26 January 2023

Foreign Affairs (Consular Loans) Amendment Bill

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee

26 January 2023

Family Court (Family Court Associates) Legislation Bill

Justice Committee

02 February 2023

Local Government Electoral Legislation Bill

Governance and Administration Committee

02 February 2023

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

Justice Committee

03 February 2023

Criminal Activity Intervention Legislation Bill

Justice Committee

09 February 2023

Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Amendment Bill

Justice Committee

09 February 2023

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Levy) Amendment Bill

Governance and Administration Committee

16 February 2023

Rotorua District Council (Representation Arrangements) Bill

Māori Affairs Committee

28 February 2023

Coroners Amendment Bill

Justice Committee

02 March 2023

Self-contained Motor Vehicles Legislation Bill

Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee

02 March 2023

Taxation (Annual Rates for 2022-23, Platform Economy, and Remedial Matters) Bill (No 2)

Finance and Expenditure Committee

02 March 2023

Increased Penalties for Breach of Biosecurity Bill

Primary Production Committee

21 March 2023

Bills awaiting second reading
Committee of the whole House
Bills awaiting third reading
Bills awaiting Royal Assent
  • N/A

Acts assented

Accident Compensation (Maternal Birth Injury and Other Matters) Amendment Act
The Act makes a number of changes to the Accident Compensation Act 2001 to expand coverage for injuries and seeks to increase clarity for claimants. The main change is to extend cover under the Accident Compensation Scheme (the Scheme) to maternal birth injuries that have similar features to other injuries already covered by the Scheme. Prior to 1 October 2022, maternal childbirth injuries were not considered within the definition of 'accident' in the Accident Compensation Act because they are not considered to be caused by "the application of a force (including gravity), or resistance, external to the human body", because until a foetus is born, it is legally considered to be internal to the human body. The Act amends this definition to include forces internal to the human body at any time from the onset of labour to the completion of delivery that results in an injury listed on Schedule 3A. The list of birth related injuries will be reviewed as soon as practicable after 1 October 2025.
The Act makes a number of further changes to the Accident Compensation Act, including:

  • clarifying the section 30 test for work-related gradual process, disease, or infection cover, putting the burden back on ACC to prove that a disease or infection is not work related;

  • requiring ACC to take into account what someone earned before an injury, when determining if they can return to work;

  • lowering the threshold for injury-related hearing loss cover from six percent to five percent;

  • increasing the number of ACC Board members from eight to nine;

  • addressing a technical anomaly in how the Accident Compensation Act interacts with the End of Life Choice Act 2019; and

  • a number of other technical changes for clarity purposes and alignment with other legislation.

Animal Welfare Amendment Act
This Act amends the Animal Welfare Act 1999 and creates a ban on the export of cattle, deer, sheep and goats (livestock) by sea from the 30 April 2023. The Act creates a new section 41 that prohibits applications for, and the issue of, animal welfare export certificates for the export of livestock if the animals would leave New Zealand on or after 30 April 2023.
Appropriation (2022/23 Estimates) Act
This Act gives parliamentary authorisation of the individual appropriations contained in The Estimates of Appropriations for the Government of New Zealand for the Year Ending 30 June 2023, which were presented to the House of Representatives as part of the 2022 Budget. This Act also gives parliamentary authorisation for the capital injections contained in the estimates, as required by section 12A of the Public Finance Act 1989.
Biosecurity (Information for Incoming Passengers) Amendment Act

This Act received Royal Assent on 21 October 2022. Previously, biodiversity information was already provided to passengers when they enter New Zealand through a communications system run by the Ministry of Primary Industries. However, the Act provides further protection against biodiversity threats by making the provision of information a requirement.

The Act amends the Biodiversity Act 1993 to require that all large commercial craft coming to New Zealand provide biodiversity information to the passengers on board (in the form as set out in the regulations) and inform the Director-General that the information has been provided. Failure to comply is an offence, with penalties of up to $1000 for an individual, and up to $5000 for a body corporate.
Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu Representation) Act
This Act reinstates direct Ngāi Tahu representation on the Canterbury Regional Council. This Act provides a bespoke representation arrangement, with the appointment of two non-elected Ngāi Tahu members to Environment Canterbury’s governing body.
Children and Young People's Commission Act
The Children and Young People's Commission Act received Royal Assent on 29 August 2022 and will come into force on 1 July 2023. This Act replaces the Children's Commissioner Act 2003, and establishes the Commission, as an independent crown entity, to replace the current Office of the Children's Commissioner. The purpose of the Act is to establish the Children's and Young People Commission (Commission) to promote and advance the rights, interests and participation of children and young people, and improve their well-being. The Act sets out provisions relating to the Commission's governance, functions, duties and powers and the collection, use and disclosure of information by the Commission. The Act also requires the Minister of Social Development to arrange for an independent review of the operation and effectiveness of the Act, no later than three years after the Act comes into force.
Data and Statistics Act
This Act repeals and replaces the Statistics Act 1975, to update the data and statistics framework and recognise the changing nature of data and information use. In particular, the Act:

  • recognises the Crown's responsibility to consider and provide for Māori interests in data and statistics;

  • enables more effective system leadership;

  • amends and future-proofs the framework to collect data for official statistics; and

  • modernises the framework for accessing data for research.

The Act also amends a number of other Acts to remove barriers to the provision of data to Statistics New Zealand and provide for Statistics New Zealand products to be used where relevant products are substituted or discontinued.
Electricity Industry Amendment Act
This Act amends the Electricity Industry Act 2010 and the Commerce Act 1986 to alter the electricity industry's regulatory framework in view of rapidly evolving technologies and business models. In particular, the Act:

  • provides for the establishment of a small electricity consumer advocacy agency to represent and advocate for the interests of domestic consumers and small business consumers in the electricity industry;

  • clarifies the Electricity Authority's (Authority) ability to amend the Electricity Code (Code) in order to protect household and small business consumers;

  • transfers a number of existing provisions from the Electricity Industry Act 2010 to the Code relating to a distributor's involvement in generation or retailing activities;

  • ensures that the Code can regulate distribution access terms and conditions; and

  • expands and clarifies the Authority's existing powers in relation to the Code, including exempting industry participants, and information gathering and sharing.

Fair Pay Agreements Bill
This Act creates a new framework for collective bargaining for Fair Pay Agreements, that would set minimum employment terms across specific industries or occupations. It would supplement (but not replace) collective bargaining between unions and employers and bargaining for individual terms and conditions.
The framework for bargaining for fair pay agreements largely mirrors the existing collective bargaining processes, and includes:

  • prescribing a process for initiating bargaining, carrying out bargaining, and finalising fair pay agreements;

  • creating a general duty of good faith and good faith obligations that applies to bargaining parties;

  • providing dispute resolution processes for any issues that may arise during bargaining; and

  • establishing regulation-making powers to give full effect to the fair pay agreements bargained under the Act.

Further information on the Act can be found in Russell McVeagh's article here.
Firearms Prohibition Orders Legislation Act
This omnibus Act empowers courts to make firearm prohibition orders, which prevent individuals identified as "high-risk" from:

  • accessing or using firearms or other restricted weapons;

  • associating with people in physical possession of firearms that are not in secure storage; or

  • residing at or visiting locations where firearms are held, including gun shops, arms fairs or gun clubs.

Identification as "high-risk" is determined by an individual's conviction of certain offences under the Arms Act 1983, the Crimes Act 1966, the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, or the Sentencing Act 2002. The Act defines the term "firearm or related item" broadly, explicitly including "parts" of any firearm or restricted weapon, and imitation firearms and ammunition, amongst other things.
Fisheries Amendment Act
This Act amends the Fisheries Act 1996. It intends to modernise the current Act by encouraging sustainable fishing practices. In particular, it:

  • introduces more stringent rules around the landing and discarding of fish;

  • creates offences in relation to the landing and discarding of fish, and penalties of varying severity, including a demerit point system (though it also introduces a defence where a commercial fisher believed the return or discarding of fish was necessary to ensure the safety of particular marine species); and

  • imposes further requirements in relation to on-board cameras for commercial fishing vessels.

Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (Hazardous Substances Assessments) Amendment Act
This Act received Royal Assent on 31 October 2022. It amends the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 by making changes to the Environmental Protection Authority's (the EPA) processes for assessing and reassessing hazardous substances in New Zealand. For assessments, the Act allows the EPA to rely on information from (where they have been certified and publicly notified) international regulators to expedite assessment processes. For reassessments, the EPA is now required to develop a work plan of reassessment priorities, and gives the EPA additional powers in respect of consultation and restriction of the use of a hazardous substance. See our In the News update here for further information.
Imprest Supply (Second for 2022/23) Act
This Act ensures the Government has sufficient supply to implement Cabinet decisions made or otherwise finalised after the contents of the 2022/23 Estimates were closed off, and to meet contingencies in excess of the amounts provided in the Appropriation (2022/23 Estimates) Act, and the making of the capital injections in excess of the amounts authorised under that Act.
Maniapoto Claims Settlement Act
This Act gives effect to certain matters contained in the Deed of Settlement signed on 11 November 2021 between the Crown and Maniapoto. The Act records the acknowledgments and apology that the Crown offered Ngāti Maniapoto and settles all the historical Treaty of Waitangi claims of Maniapoto resulting from acts or omissions by the Crown before 21 September 1992.
New Zealand Bill of Rights (Declaration of Inconsistency) Amendment Act

This Act helps provide a mechanism for the Government and the House of Representatives to respond to a declaration of inconsistency made under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 or the Human Rights Act 1993. A ‘declaration of inconsistency’ is a formal statement by a court or tribunal that an Act is inconsistent with fundamental human rights protected by the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. A declaration does not affect the validity of an Act, or anything done lawfully under that Act, but it does signal that the court or tribunal considers an Act to infringe fundamental human rights in a way that cannot be justified in a free and democratic society.
The Act amends the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act to:

  • require the Attorney-General to notify the House of Representatives of the court’s declaration of inconsistency within six sitting days after the declaration becomes final; and

  • require the Minister responsible to present the Government response within six months of the Attorney-General notifying the House.

The Attorney-General notifying the House of Representatives of the declaration would trigger a Parliamentary process under its Standing Orders. The Act also amends the Human Rights Act so the response to a declaration of inconsistency by the Human Rights Review Tribunal is the same as the response to a declaration under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.
Overseas Investment (Forestry) Amendment Act
This Act amends the Overseas Investment Act 2005. The main change in the Act is the removal of the ability for overseas investors to rely on the simplified, and more permissive, consent process under the Overseas Investment Act when they seek to convert land into production forestry land. Instead, these applications will be assessed under the benefit to New Zealand test, which is less permissive.
Oversight of Oranga Tamariki System Act
The Oversight of Oranga Tamariki System Act received Royal assent on 29 August 2022 and will come into force on 1 July 2023. This Act amends the Official Information Act 1982, the Ombudsmen Act 1975 and the Oranga Tamariki Act 1980. The purpose of the Act is to uphold the rights and interests and improve the wellbeing of children and young people who are receiving support through the Oranga Tamariki system and to promote the effectiveness of that system.
In particular, the Act:

  • establishes the Independent Monitor of the Oranga Tamariki System (Monitor) to oversee the Oranga Tamariki system, and provides for its objectives, monitoring functions, powers and duties;

  • provides the Ombudsman with additional duties and powers when dealing with matters that fall under the Ombudsmen Act 1975 and relate to services or support delivered by Oranga Tamariki;

  • deals with the collection, use and disclosure of information by the Monitor; and

  • requires the Minister of Social Development to arrange for an independent review of the operation and effectiveness of the Act, no later than three years after the Act comes into force.

Palmerston North Reserves Empowering Amendment Act
This Act provides the Palmerston North City Council (Council) with the power to sell certain land if it becomes surplus to the Council's requirements. Under the Palmerston North Reserves Empowering Act 1966 (the principal Act) the Council is unable to sell land for development if it becomes surplus to the Council's requirements. This Act amends the principal Act to enable the Council to take this action.
Plain Language Act
This Act creates plain language requirements on public service agencies and Crown agents that requires them to, among other things:

  • use plain language that is appropriate to the intended audience, clear, concise and well organised in certain public facing documents in English;

  • appoint a plain language officer; and

  • create a reporting framework for how agencies are complying with plain language requirements.

The Act will not affect the inclusion of te reo Māori in these documents. The Act allows the Public Service Commissioner to issue guidance to reporting agencies on how they may comply with the plain language requirements set out in the Act. The Act will come into force six months after the date of Royal Assent, being 21 April 2023.
Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Day Act
This Act, introduced under urgency following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, provides for a one-off day of commemoration on Monday 26 September 2022, to acknowledge Her Majesty's long and dedicated service to New Zealand. This commemoration day was held as a New Zealand public holiday in accordance with the Holidays Act 2003.
Screen Industry Workers Act
This Act received Royal Assent on 30 September 2022 and comes into force on 30 December 2022. The Act provides a new model to allow screen industry contractors to bargain collectively, providing protections to screen protection workers, while also giving the industry certainty and flexibility. In particular, it allows collective bargaining across two levels: across entire occupational groups or within a single production/company.
The Act sets out:

  • the employment status of screen production workers;

  • rules for individual contracts;

  • a collective bargaining framework; and

  • dispute resolution system.

Three Strikes Legislation Repeal Act
The Sentencing and Parole Reform Act 2010 contained provisions enforcing a mandatory sentencing regime commonly known as the three strikes law. This was intended to deter repeat offenders and to penalise those who continued to re-offend through a three-stage process. This Act repeals those elements of the Sentencing and Parole Reform Act 2010, reverting the sentencing process for strike offences to standard sentencing processes.

  1. The five shifts are as follows: the health system will uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi; people and whānau will be supported to stay well and connected to their communities; high-quality specialist and emergency care will be equitable and accessible to all when it is needed; digital services and technology will provide more care in people’s homes and communities; and our health workforce will be valued and well trained, ensuring we have enough skilled people to meet future needs.


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

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