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Watching Brief – September 2018

Home Insights Watching Brief – September 2018

Matter of opinion

Getting it right…Slowly

As stated in the Productivity Commission's 2014 report on our regulatory institutions, poorly conceived regulation imposes significant costs on New Zealanders, ultimately harming our economic performance and wellbeing. The Commission went on to conclude that our capability in designing and reviewing regulatory systems fell well short of what it should be. In short, New Zealand can't afford to be complacent about legislation that does not work well.

A case in point is the Holiday Act 2003, an enactment long viewed as complex, difficult to implement and, in more recent years, not fit for purpose beyond the standard five day, 40 hour working week. Its poor design and implementation has resulted in high levels of non-compliance and, as a consequence, significant costs for both employers and employees. This impact should not be underestimated given its near universal application across New Zealand. While a review in 2009 (resulting in amendments in 2010) was intended to make the legislation easier to understand and apply, it soon became evident the changes failed to achieve their objective in this regard.

The Government has now tasked a tripartite Taskforce to conduct a review of the Act, comprising representatives from the Government, Council of Trade Unions and Business New Zealand. The Taskforce is chaired by Professor Gordon Anderson, a well-respected employment law specialist from Victoria University of Wellington (or should that just be the University of Wellington?). 

The review kicked off on Tuesday with the release of an issues paper and submission being due by 12 October 2018. Encouragingly, the process outlined aligns with a best practice regulatory process.  First, the Taskforce's composition ensures not only balanced input, but allows core stakeholders to drive the review process in collaboration with officials. Second, the review is seeking early consultation before substantive views are formed. While key issues are outlined, the Taskforce invites submitters to raise any additional matters and provide suggestions or proposals for change. Third, the Taskforce will report to the Minster of Workplace Relations and Safety with its recommendations in 2019. This means the process will not be rushed, allowing for ongoing consultation as proposals are developed. While some have raised concerns about the cost of numerous advisory groups and taskforces set up by this Government, spending up front on a technical reform of this nature to get regulation right is money well spent given the costs of getting it wrong.

It is hoped that a similar approach will be applied to the proposed review of the Overseas Investment Act 2005 which is soon to commence. This will be the first comprehensive review of the Act, coming some 13 years after it was introduced and long after issues have been identified in its design and implementation. The previous Government was prepared to look at reform by way of regulation but was unwilling to expend political capital in addressing the key issues in the Act itself. The review and reform process will be in stark contrast to the recently passed Overseas Amendment Bill which was rushed through at break neck speed in order to beat the commencement of the CPTPP. The extent of amendments to the Bill following the Select Committee stage is in itself an indication of a less than ideal process. With little opportunity for stakeholder consultation, it will be interesting to see how the amendments play out once they go live in late October. It will also be interesting to see the extent to which the Government is prepared to pick up and correct issues with these amendments if identified in the review.

In relation to the Holiday Act reform process, it is a case of better late than never. And having finally grasped the nettle, doing it in a robust way.

In politics

The Factionalism of FPP

The election of Scott Morrison as Australia's 30th Prime Minister marks the fifth Australian Prime Minister in five years and has called into question the relative stability of the Australian political system.  This is despite previous claims by New Zealand based commentators that electoral systems such as first past the post (FPP) and Australia's preferential instant-runoff voting system, are more stable than proportional systems such as MMP.  The apparent instability in Australia, and the United Kingdom, could point to criticism of MMP in New Zealand as unfair in this regard.

Australia's recent leadership spill was a surprise to many given the recent rise of the Coalition under Malcolm Turnbull.  Less than a month ago polls indicated that they were as close as 2% behind the Labour party.  However, this was insufficient to contain the growing ideological schism within the party – with forces representing Tony Abbott dissatisfied at the moderate positioning on issues such as the National Energy Guarantee.  With Abbott too unpalatable to the rest of the caucus to reclaim the Prime Ministership, Peter Dutton became the frontman of a conservative insurgency to take down Turnbull.

Dutton's leadership bid was based on the premise that he would save the Coalition multiple seats in Queensland – this was despite the fact that he only won his Dickson seat in Queensland by 3% in 2016, and that polling indicated that he was immensely unpopular in NSW and Victoria as a hard-line conservative.  While Dutton won the battle and took down Turnbull, he lost the war and the leadership ballot to the more moderate Morrison. Given the immense criticism the Coalition launched at Labour during the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years, it was surprising that the Government decided to instigate the same infighting and bickering, which took down the previous Labour government.

The situation in Australia compares to the relative stability of New Zealand governments under MMP.  Only one sitting Prime Minister, Jim Bolger, has been deposed by party coup in the four governments since the introduction of MMP in 1996 (and even then, only after 7 years as Prime Minister).  The Clark and Key governments were stable, with English taking over Key only after he announced his resignation in 2016.  Despite initial concerns, the current Coalition government has looked fundamentally stable in its formation between Greens, NZ First and Labour since the end of last year (notwithstanding the odd road-bump). 

The question therefore is – given MMP makes it more likely for a Government to be formed from multiple parties, why have our Governments been comparatively more stable than our Australian counterparts are? It is possible that the election of list MPs from parties means that MPs are more ideologically similar in New Zealand within both of the major parties – compared to the Australian system where all MPs are electorate-based and therefore necessarily have to reflect the values and policies of their local area.  This is particularly the case in Australia which is a much larger geographical area so it would be expected for values to be less homogenous than New Zealand, and therefore the ideological positions of MPs to be more divergent.

However, regardless of the reasons, recent events in Australia and the instability in the United Kingdom with both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn's leadership under threat underpin that New Zealand's electoral system continues to serve us well.

In the news

Commerce Commission annual priorities announced

The Commerce Commission (Commission) has announced its priority focus areas for the upcoming year.

In a plan released on 8 August, the Commission outlined their enduring priorities; the areas that are always considered a priority because of their potential for significant harm, including product safety and construction cases, as well as instances of cartel or anti-competitive conduct.

In addition to these enduring priorities, Chairman Dr Mark Berry identified six particular areas of focus for the next 12 months:

  • Retail telecommunications
  • Responsible lending
  • Online retail
  • Motor vehicle sales
  • Non-notified mergers
  • Electricity distributors’ service quality.

Both retail telecommunication and responsible lending will remain a priority for the Commission for 2018/19. This year the Commission will continue to focus on telecommunication service quality, including billing contract terms, marketing and switching service providers. In order to uphold responsible lending principles, the Commission is looking to take enforcement action against lenders who continue to fall short of expected standards.

The Commission intends to increase understanding of issues associated with online retail, for both consumers and businesses. They will also look for opportunities to educate business about their responsibilities and take enforcement action where necessary. The Commission also intends to respond to a range of complaints about the motor vehicle sector by looking closely at the systemic issues consumers face through both education and advocacy.

The quality of service provided by electricity distributors will be reviewed. Consultation is planned on the revenue limits and quality standards that should apply to electricity distribution networks for the 5 years from 1 April 2020 onwards. Additionally, the Commission will undertake a review of the 2019 asset management plans provided by electricity distributors under their information disclosure regime.

In the last two years the Commission has seen an increase in non-notified mergers that have required investigation. The Commission intend to continue their vigilance in order to maintain the credibility of the voluntary merger clearance regime.

Final reports on inquiry into State Sector Productivity released

In August, the Productivity Commission published its two latest reports, titled "Measuring State Sector Productivity" and "Improving State Sector Productivity" (reports). As the titles suggest, these reports examined productivity in the public sector (in particular education, health, justice and social welfare), and made a series of recommendations for the improvement of public sector efficiency.

The reports concluded that recent state sector productivity growth in New Zealand has been poor, and cited a number of explanations including:

  • Hostility to productivity measurement. The reports noted that some state sector organisations are hostile to 'efficiency' measurement in public services. Additionally, the reports found that even where government agencies were adequately gathering productivity-related data and information, they often made poor or little use of that data.
  • Adversity to change and innovation. The reports also noted that public sector workplace cultures were often risk-averse, and did not cultivate an environment where innovation was promoted and encouraged. The reports concluded that this has led to a lack of productivity-improving innovations and initiatives within these agencies.
  • Little budgetary reward for productivity. The reports noted that the annual budget is one of the main government tools for changing behaviour and focus within government agencies, and that the budget tended not to reward government agencies for making productivity gains.

After making these findings, the reports made a number of recommendations for addressing these underlying causes of poor state sector productivity growth. Most notably these included:

  • Realigning funding models to encourage innovation. The Commission recommended that funding models should be re-oriented to, rather than encouraging increases in inputs (staff or student numbers, for example), be more outcome-based. This re-orientation, the reports suggested, would encourage agencies to be more innovation-focused.
  • Setting clearer benchmarks for productivity gain. The reports also recommended that productivity growth key performance indicators be re-introduced into the assessment of public sector performance.
  • Culture change. The Commission also recommended that the Government take steps to "develop greater openness to ideas, new technologies, and change within government agencies". The reports suggested that existing organisational review processes ought to be modified to test whether agencies were cultivating 'innovative cultures'.

A full copy of the reports are available here and here. A detailed summary of the reports is available here, and the Productivity Commission's press release, announcing the findings of the reports, is available here.

New infrastructure entity to help drive economic growth

The Minister for Infrastructure, Hon Shane Jones, has announced that a new independent entity will be established to oversee New Zealand's infrastructure development.

In his announcement, Minister Jones noted that Treasury is currently unable to “quantify the value of the deficit" in infrastructure New Zealand is facing and that it "doesn’t hold accurate or up-to-date information about all infrastructure projects across all sectors and advises that agencies themselves may not necessarily know the extent of their future capital needs".

The proposed new entity is therefore expected to increase certainty in the industry, provide better advice to Ministers, and improve the long-term economic performance and social wellbeing in New Zealand.

Treasury will begin to lead development of the relevant policy alongside key industries and Minister Jones will report back to Cabinet early next year with options on how to structure the new organisation. It is anticipated the new infrastructure entity will be operational by late 2019.

Performance pay for chief executives ended

The Minister of State Services, Hon Chris Hipkins, recently announced that public sector chief executives will no longer be able to earn performance pay. Previously, public sector chief executive remuneration packages have included a potential discretionary payment of up to 15 percent of base salary for exceptional performance.

The Cabinet paper discussing the announcement explained that "[i]n a context where employees demonstrate high levels of intrinsic motivation, international research shows that individualised performance pay is not an effective incentive for higher performance for complex roles such as these." Furthermore, the Cabinet paper records that discretionary, performance, pay "is counter-productive to achieving the collaborative team-based approach and collective leadership that the Commissioner expects of his senior leaders".

To give effect to this change, public service chief executives have entered into new individual employment agreements.

Changes to waste programme announced

The Associate Minister for the Environment, Eugenie Sage, has announced a proposed body of work aimed at making changes to the Waste Minimisation Act. While few details appear to have been released, in a speech to the 2018 annual Green Party conference in Palmerston North, Minister Sage signalled a cabinet approved programme aimed at reducing waste to landfill. The changes announced include:

  • Expanding the Waste Disposal Levy. After a consultation process, the new Levy will likely come into force in early 2020 and, particularly in Auckland, focus on capturing additional construction and demolition waste. It is predicted that the expansion will apply to 400 new landfills and the levy price will likely increase from the current $10 per tonne.
  • Increased waste data collection. The changes may require landfill operators to report on the composition and quantity of waste they receive. Councils and private sector organisations may also be obligated to report on waste and recycling levels.
  • Targeted government investment in waste reduction and processing capacity. Currently a Ministry for the Environment (MfE) taskforce is drafting a strategy to guide this investment. The taskforce is due to report in late September.
  • Introducing voluntary or mandatory 'product stewardship' schemes, meaning product's end of life issues will be considered during their use. Minister Sage identified tyres as the first target product for the proposed scheme but other proposed products include e-waste (starting with lithium batteries), agrichemicals, and synthetic greenhouse gases. While nothing has been confirmed about what this scheme may look like, the Minister indicated options include an advance disposal fee on each product manufactured or imported which is then passed onto collectors and recyclers to fund disposal.
New digital government procurement process announced

Former Government Digital Services Minister Clare Curran announced a new government digital procurement channel 'Marketplace' at the Transforming Procurement conference in Wellington on 9 August 2018.

Marketplace is a government digital procurement channel intended to simplify how the Government buys information and communications technology (ICT), and to lower the barriers for suppliers to provide their services to the Government. The Government currently spends around $3 billion on ICT each year, with an expressed intention to make ICT the second largest contributor to New Zealand's GDP by 2025. Marketplace was created with a co-design community including suppliers, agencies, and the Government's Procurement functional lead MBIE. Over 230 suppliers requested information on the testing stage of the programme earlier in the year – 29 of these suppliers were selected, over 90 percent of which were small New Zealand enterprises. The expressed aims of Marketplace include reducing barriers for suppliers engaging with the Government, and making procurement easier for agencies. These aims are achieved through several features of Marketplace, including:

  • the open entry for supplier who meet the criteria, rather than restricting to those that currently contract the Government;
  • the ability for suppliers and agencies to sign up to use the service in their own time, rather than according to the Government's timeline; and
  • a single set of simple, commercial terms to cover all Government customers.

Marketplace is set to go live shortly.

Trade for all policy agenda released

On 6 August 2018, Minister for Trade and Export Growth, Hon David Parker, launched the Government's 'Trade for All' Agenda, a scheme to guide and direct the development of a new Trade for All Policy. The final policy is set to be released in June 2019.

The Agenda establishes a list of key principles agreed by Cabinet to inform the consultation process. Cabinet has agreed that New Zealand's future trade policy should (among other objectives):

  • procure sustainable economic opportunities and sustainable development;
  • support an international rules-based trade system;
  • foster economic integration throughout the Asia-Pacific; and
  • provide benefit to New Zealanders of all incomes and backgrounds, particularly women, Māori, people in small and medium sized enterprises and individuals in regional economies.

Seven short discussion papers (available here) have been prepared which build on these principles.

Once consultation has closed, a Trade for All Advisory Board will receive collated feedback and draft recommendations on the policy. The Board's composition is yet to be confirmed, but will be chaired by trade expert David Pine.

The Agenda has been released against the backdrop of a busy trade development programme, with trade talks with the EU, the Pacific Alliance, and in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership all ongoing. Accordingly, Minister Parker noted that the Agenda aims to "help all New Zealanders benefit from trade" created under these agreements and other agreements in the future.

Guidelines to Grow the Regions released

Last month, Regional Economic Development Minister, Hon Shane Jones, released the Guide to the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) – a document that, he said, provides information and inspiration that regions can use to put their best foot forward. The Guide provides more information on the mechanics of how funds can be granted under the PGF.

The PGF is divided into three investment tiers, being:

  • Regional: Support of economic development projects, feasibility studies and capability building identified within regions.
  • Infrastructure: Regional infrastructure projects that enable regions to be well connected from an economic and social perspective, including rail, road and communications.
  • Sectors: Initiatives targeted at priority and/or high value sector opportunities. This includes the One Billion Trees Programme.

Beneath these investment tiers are the following specific sectors that the Government has highlighted as important in advancing regional economic development:

  • Digital enablement: the PGF will support projects that enhance digital connectivity, offer potential for lifting regional productivity and that capture new employment and business opportunities in the regions.
  • Food and beverage: the PGF also welcomes proposals in the food and beverage sector that will address labour market pressures, and help transition the sector towards sustainability while moving to higher-value and more innovative land use and products.
  • Forestry: the PGF will support forestry projects that deliver positive environmental outcomes, enable carbon faming, and support Māori to achieve forestry-related economic and cultural development aspirations.
  • Tourism: the PGF will prioritise investment into regional infrastructure to support growth of high-value tourism and initiatives that develop Māori culture as a tourism asset.
  • Transport: the PGF will support transport investment that generates and accelerates regional economic development.

Individuals, non-government organisations, iwi, companies, and charities may all apply for project funding. Applications can be made to any of the three tiers above, or to two or more tiers where they are inter-connected. Approved applications may be funded by a loan from the PGF, project underwriting or through public-private partnerships.

For more information, see the guidelines here.

Consultation on New Zealand's success indicators underway

Minister for Statistics, Hon James Shaw, has launched a programme to develop new environmental, social and economic indicators of New Zealand's wellbeing and success. The project comes 30 years after Green Party former co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons called for measures of more than just economic activity to measure New Zealand's success.

The indicators will go beyond purely economic considerations – as Minister Shaw pointed out, "what gets measured gets managed". The indicators will be informed by cultural and te ao Māori perspectives, as well as international best practice, including reporting against the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Both the Government and public organisations will be able to use the indicators to inform their decision-making and measure their success.

Stats NZ is responsible for developing the indicators, and Treasury will establish a "Living Standards Framework" for policy. Both of these projects will inform the next government Budget. Minister Shaw stated that “[i]n next year’s Budget, Finance Minister Grant Robertson will ensure New Zealand’s success is not just measured by how much the economy has grown but by whether our people and our environment are better off too."

Stats NZ is running a public consultation process on what measures should be included as indicators until 30 September 2018. You can make a submission by filling in a submission form (accessible here), or through the Stats NZ website.

New guidelines released to assist RMA compliance

The Ministry for the Environment has released new best practice guidelines intended to assist councils in their compliance, monitoring, and enforcement (CME) duties under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).

Acknowledging the good work being done by some councils, Minister of the Environment David Parker cited a number of reports indicating low levels of monitoring and enforcement by others. Minister Parker stated that without robust practice around CME, plan rules and resource consent conditions are "too often ignored."

While councils have a responsibility to implement the RMA, they have considerable discretion as to how they fulfil their statutory functions. The new guidelines are intended to advise councils as to how they should achieve the purpose of the RMA through CME by clarifying what best practice looks like and supporting council officers undertaking CME by providing standard tools and templates.

Minister Parker noted that the new guidelines are consistent with the "tailored and localised approach to CME" provided under the RMA, as "there are models and principles of best practice that can be adapted to suit local circumstances."

In conjunction with the guidelines, the Ministry for the Environment is also establishing a new unit to oversee RMA compliance and approve consistency across councils.

The new guidelines can be viewed in full here.

Reserve Bank Act phase 1 review

In November 2017, the Government announced it would review the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act 1989 (the Act) to modernise the monetary and financial policy framework of the Reserve Bank (RBNZ). The review has two phases:

  • Phase 1 – focusing on amending the RBNZ's economic objectives and providing a committee decision-making process for monetary policy decisions; and
  • Phase 2 – reviewing financial policy provisions of the Act.

From Phase 1, Cabinet decided to adopt the following recommendations into the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Monetary Policy) Amendment Bill introduced on 23 July 2018:

  • Amending the RBNZ's objectives to include supporting maximum sustainable employment alongside the current objective of maintaining price stability.
  • To require monetary policy decisions made by a five-to-seven-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) chaired by the Governor of the Reserve Bank that includes the Deputy Chief Executive. All members would be appointed by the Minister of Finance on the nomination of RBNZ's Board. This is a change from the Governor holding sole legal responsibility over monetary policy decision-making.
  • Replacing the process of setting policy targets. The current process uses Policy Targets Agreements which are agreements between the Minister and the Governor. Through the introduction of the MPC, the new process would require the Minister setting operational objectives for monetary policy every five years, with objectives formally reviewed by the Reserve Bank and the Treasury to subsequently advise the Minister.

Treasury proactively released key documents about Phase 1 of the review that can be found here.

The next steps to note are the progress of the Bill (which is currently before Select Committee) and Phase 2 of the review. Minister of Finance, Grant Robertson, announced the commencement of Phase 2 on 7 June 2018, with a focus on regulation, supervision and broadening the current governance structure of Bank, including reviewing the roles of the RBNZ Board and the Governor.

Ombudsman releases new guide on frivolous requests

The Chief Ombudsman has published a new Guide detailing approaches to frivolous or vexatious requests made under the Official Information Act and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act. These Acts seek to keep public bodies or agencies accountable, and decisions transparent, by enabling citizens to request information. Both Acts specifically provide that the presumption is that information should be made available, unless there is good reason for withholding it. Good reason includes (among other things) where a request (not a requester) is found to be 'frivolous or vexatious'.

The starting point (as set out in the Guide) is that to be 'frivolous or vexatious', it must be plain and obvious to a reasonable person, in light of the surrounding circumstances, that the request amounts to an abuse of the right to access official information.

The Guide provides advice and step-by-step worksheets for agencies on how to make the decision to refuse a request as 'frivolous or vexatious', and how to deal with challenging requesters.

To summarise, a request is more likely to be considered frivolous or vexatious if:

  • it would impose an excessive and unreasonable burden on the agency;
  • it lacks any serious purpose or value;
  • the available evidence suggests that the requester doesn't genuinely need or want the information;
  • it causes unreasonable harassment or distress to staff;
  • the language or tone of the request is aggressive, offensive or abusive;
  • the history and context to a particular request suggests that the requester's approach has gone beyond what is reasonable; or
  • the request is a repeat request.

See the Ombudsman's Guide here.

Progress of legislation

New Bills

America's Cup Road Stopping Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon David Parker
This Bill would amend the Local Government Act 1974 to permanently stop a section of Brigham Street in Auckland from being classified as a road. The land the road sits on is to be used for development relating to the 36th America's Cup. An Act is required to reclassify the road as otherwise the Public Works Act 1981 would trigger the requirement to provide an esplanade reserve around land acquired under section 345(3) of the Local Government Act 1974.

Broadcasting (Games of National Significance) Amendment Bill (No 2)
Type of Bill: Member's
Member in Charge: Clayton Mitchell
This Bill would amend the Broadcasting Act 1989 to ensure that specified sporting events of national significance are broadcast live and free-to-air in New Zealand. The events specified include the Olympic Games, Rugby World Cup matches involving New Zealand, Netball World Cup matches involving New Zealand, and Cricket World Cup matches involving New Zealand, among others. The Bill acknowledges there would be a cost of around $1000 per household per year to support New Zealand teams and other taxpayer supported events.

Broadcasting (New Zealand on Air and Te Māngai Pāho Reporting Requirements) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Member's
Member in Charge: Melissa Lee
This Bill seeks to amend the Broadcasting Act 1989 to require New Zealand on Air and Te Māngai Pāho to produce quarterly reports on viewership figures for projects they have funded. The reports would contain information on the ratings and view counts of those programmes and would be publicly released.

Building Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Jenny Salesa
The Bill would amend the Building Act 2004 to create a scheme to manage buildings affected by emergencies (such as earthquakes). A territorial authority or Civil Defence Emergency Management decision-maker would have the ability to designate an area for emergency management of buildings.  A range of persons would be able to exercise a number of powers in relation to buildings within the designated area. These powers include post-event assessments, orders to evacuate, requiring people to stay away from buildings, information requests from building owners, and orders to conduct works to remove or reduce risks posed by a building (without needing resource consent). The Bill would allow for checks on this power including reviewing the powers designated every 90 days, limiting the total time they can be used to six years, and introducing a framework for recognising personal and property rights.

Further, the Bill would provide the Chief Executive of MBIE with a power of investigation into significant building failures. This would include powers to restrict access to an investigation site, to enter the site, take samples and evidence, undertake works, request information or documents from any person. The Bill would impose restrictions on the sharing of information collected under the power of investigation. The Chief Executive would be able to publish a report following the investigation, including findings of the investigation, recommendations about building design, and any other matter relating to building design.

Canterbury Earthquakes Insurance Tribunal Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Andrew Little
This Bill would establish the Canterbury Earthquakes Insurance Tribunal, which would be empowered to resolve disputes about insurance claims to residential buildings, property and land arising from the 2010 and 2011 Christchurch Earthquakes. The Tribunal would seek to resolve disputes between policyholders and insurers as well as insured persons and the Earthquake Commission. The Tribunal would be empowered to take an inquisitorial approach to settling claims, appoint independent advisors, and be proactive when managing cases. If a claim is currently the subject of court proceedings the parties would be able to apply to have matters transferred to the Tribunal. If appropriate, the Tribunal would be able to direct the parties to mediation. The Tribunal would also have the power to order any remedy that a court can order including general damages for things such as mental stress.

Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Eugenie Sage
This Bill would make multiple changes to existing rules regulating the management and protection of indigenous freshwater fish. The Bill would achieve this by updating the management tools in the Conservation Act 1987 and modernising regulations in Freshwater Fisheries Regulations 1983.  Section 17J of the Act, for example, would be amended to provide that freshwater fisheries management plans prevail over sports fish and game management plans. The Bill would also make minor adjustments to improve the relationship between the Conservation Act, the Fisheries Act 1983, the Fisheries Act 1996 and Treaty settlement legislation. 

Gore District Council (Otama Rural Water Supply) Bill
Type of Bill: Local
Member in Charge: Mark Patterson
This Bill would provide a process to authorise the transfer of the Otama Rural Water Supply scheme ("scheme") from the Gore District Council ("Council") to Otama Rural Water Limited. This Bill follows a preliminary referendum in which a majority of users of the scheme voted in favour of transferring ownership. The Hokonui Rūnanga also confirmed that Ngāi Tahu supports the transfer. This local Bill is before Parliament because s 130 of the Local Government Act 2002 ("Act") bars local governments from selling or losing control of water service infrastructure.  

The process to transfer the scheme would require the Council to consult with the Medical Officer of Health, make certain documents publicly available in a balanced and timely manner, and hold another referendum on the decision to transfer the scheme.

Health (Drinking Water) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon David Clark
This Bill would amend the Health Act 1956 to address recommendations from the Government Inquiry into Havelock North Drinking Water. The Bill would amend the Minister of Health's consultation process prior to changing drinking water standards to omit the requirement the consultation occur over a period of 3 years. Further, suppliers of drinking water would be required to comply with the timetable in the supplier's water safety plan. The Bill would also limit agencies from drinking-water assessors, only allowing individuals to be assessors, and the Director-General (Chief Executive of the Ministry of Health) would be required to maintain a register of these individuals.

Holidays (Bereavement Leave for Miscarriage) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Member's
Member in Charge: Virginia Andersen
The Bill would amend the Holidays Act 2003 to clarify that the unplanned death of a foetus constitutes grounds for bereavement leave for an employee and their partner or spouse. It would also extend that leave to be up to 3 days', in line with the death of an immediate family member.

Maritime Powers Extension Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Meka Whaitiri
This Bill would amend the Customs and Excise Act 2018 and the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 to incorporate a number of New Zealand's international drug smuggling obligations under international conventions into domestic law. The Bill would provide Customs with the power to stop, board, search and take necessary enforcement action in international waters where it has reasonable cause to suspect that drugs smuggling has been or is likely to be committed and, for foreign ships, where the flag state has authorised actions in accordance with the relevant convention. Offences would be added to the Misuse of Drugs Act to criminalise the intended importation or possession of controlled drugs or prohibited equipment.

Ngāti Rangi Claims Settlement Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Andrew Little
This Bill would give 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 Bill contains provisions related to settlement redress that require legislation for their implementation including changing the name of Ohakune Lakes Scenic Reserve to Ngā Roto-o-Rangataua Scenic Reserve vesting of the fee simple estate in the Beds of Rotokura Lakes to Ngāti Rangi.

Regulatory Systems (Economic Development) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government                       
Member in Charge: Hon David Parker
This Bill is an omnibus Bill, which along with the Regulatory Systems (Housing) Amendment Bill and the Regulatory Systems (Workforce) Amendment Bill seeks to amend economic development legislation to reflect best practice in response to the Productivity Commission's 2014 report Regulatory institutions and practices. This Bill would make a number of discrete changes to various pieces of legislation, which cumulatively remove compliance costs to businesses, addresses regulatory duplication and inconsistencies, and clarifies statutory provisions. The Acts amended include:

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

Regulatory Systems (Housing) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon David Parker
This Bill is an omnibus Bill, which along with the Regulatory Systems (Economic Development) Amendment Bill and Regulatory Systems (Workforce) Amendment Bill seeks to amend economic development legislation to reflect best practice in response to the Productivity Commission's 2014 report Regulatory institutions and practices

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

Regulatory Systems (Workforce) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon David Parker
This Bill is an omnibus Bill, which along with the Regulatory Systems (Housing) Amendment Bill and the Regulatory Systems (Economic Development) Amendment Bill seeks to amend economic development legislation to reflect best practice in response to the Productivity Commission's 2014 report Regulatory institutions and practices. This Bill would amend the Holidays Act 2003, the Employment Relations Act 2000 (ERA), the Remuneration Authority Act 1977 (RAA) and the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 (PLEP) to clarify certain statutory provisions, correct legislative errors and remove unnecessary compliance costs.

The PLEP to widen the circumstances where a spouse or partner of a child's biological mother can become the primary carer and therefore be eligible for parental leave entitlements. A spouse or partner will be considered the primary carer when they assume permanent primary responsibility for care, the biological mother does not qualify or has not applied for a parental leave payment and the child is under 1 year of age. This Bill will also amend the ERA to allow a Labour Inspector to use their powers to investigate whether an employment context exists, in which case, various employment-related statues will apply. Additional amendments to the ERA and RAA will empower the Remuneration Authority to set the level of remuneration for individual who undertake certain responsibilities of the Chief of the Authority.

Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Monetary Policy) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Grant Robertson
This Bill would amend the Reserve Bank Act 1989 to deem the Reserve Bank responsible for the formulation of monetary policy, not only to maintain stability in the general level of prices, but also towards supporting maximum sustainable employment. The Bill would modify the purpose of the Act to amend the Reserve Bank's current objective in creating monetary policy to focus on the stability of the general level of prices over the medium term. Further, the Bill would create a monetary policy committee for formulating monetary policy. The committee would comprise of the Governor of the Reserve Bank, the Deputy Governor, and a number employees of the Bank and a number of non-employees to be appointed. These proposals closely follow the recommendations of the Independent Expert Advisory Panel who reviewed the Reserve Bank and provided a report to the Minister of Finance.

Statutes Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Aupito William Sio
This omnibus Bill intends to make a number of discrete changes to 42 different Acts. In accordance with the Cabinet Manual, Statutes Amendment Bills are vehicles for technical, short, and non-controversial amendments to a range of Acts. The amendments are subject to prior consultation with all parties in the House. An example of a minor change proposed in the Bill is an amendment to the Burial and Cremation Act 1964 to only require trustees of cemeteries to have their financial statements audited, if the trustees have income for the financial year of more than $1 million. Currently, all trustees of cemeteries must have their financial statements audited.

Subordinate Legislation Confirmation Bill (No 2)
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Chris Hipkins
This Bill would prevent the revocation of subordinate legislation that, by virtue of the Act under which they are made, are revoked at a stated time unless earlier confirmed by an Act of Parliament. This Subordinate Legislation Confirmation Act confirms a series of orders under the Animal Products Act 1999, Antarctica (Environmental Protection) Act 1994, Biosecurity Act 1993, Commodity Levies Act 1990, Customs and Excise Act 1996, New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001 and Social Security Act 1964, and Tariff Act 1988.

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

Taxation (Annual Rates for 2018-19, Modernising Tax Administration, and Remedial Matters) Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Stuart Nash
This Bill would set the annual rates for 2018-19, would introduce amendments regarding the administration of individuals' income tax, and amendments that would modernise the tax administration system. The amendments regarding the administration of individuals' income tax would include:

  • removing the obligation for taxpayers to file a tax return if they only earn income reported to Inland Revenue by third parties;
  • reform of the tax code system to allow allocation of more tailored tax codes (especially where a taxpayer has a secondary source of income); and
  • automatic payment of tax refunds.

The Bill would amend the Tax Administration Act 1994 in the following areas:

  • extending the Commissioner's care and management power (by giving the Commissioner the power to remedy anomalies in the Inland Revenue Acts);
  • modifying the rules regarding confidentiality of revenue information and introducing a regulation-making power for information sharing with agencies performing public services;
  • rewriting the Commissioner's information collection powers and introducing a regulation-making power for the regular collection of bulk data;
  • extending the current rulings scheme and introducing short-process rulings;
  • amending the scheme that allows the correction of minor errors in tax returns; and
  • clarifying the types of third parties who can be tax agents, representatives, or other third parties providing tax services.

The Bill also contains reforms in a number of smaller policy matters in the Income Tax Act and associated Inland Revenue acts, and a range of remedial items.

Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon David Parker
This Bill would make the changes necessary for New Zealand to ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (the CPTPP). The majority of the changes are dependent on the CPTPP entering into force in New Zealand, when enough co-signatories have also ratified it. The Bill would amend the following legislation:

  • the Tariff Act 1988;
  • the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996;
  • the Wine Regulations 2006;
  • the Overseas Investment Act 2005;
  • the Patents Act 2013;
  • the Copyright Act 1994;
  • the Trade Marks Act 2002; and
  • the Legislation Act 2012.

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

Bills awaiting first reading

Autonomous Sanctions Bill
Broadcasting (New Zealand on Air and Te Māngai Pāho Reporting Requirements) Amendment Bill
Building Amendment Bill
Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill
Health (Drinking Water) Amendment Bill
Holidays (Bereavement Leave for Miscarriage) Amendment Bill
Land Transport (Random Oral Fluid Testing) 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
Statutes Amendment Bill
Tasman District Council (Waimea Water Augmentation Scheme) Bill

Bills defeated

Newborn Enrolment with General Practice Bill
Member in charge: Parmjeet Parmar
Ayes 57: New Zealand National 56; ACT New Zealand 1.
Noes 63: New Zealand Labour 46; New Zealand First 9; Green Party 8.

Patents (Advancement Patents) Amendment Bill
Member in charge: Parmjeet Parmar
Ayes 57: New Zealand National 56; ACT New Zealand 1.
Noes 63: New Zealand Labour 46; New Zealand First 9; Green Party 8.

Arms (Firearms Prohibition Orders) Amendment Bill
Member in charge: Chris Bishop
Ayes 57: New Zealand National 56; ACT New Zealand 1
Noes 63: New Zealand Labour 46; New Zealand First 9; Green Party 8

Bills withdrawn

Broadcasting (Games of National Significance)
Amendment Bill KiwiFund Bill

Bills before Select Committee

Submissions open


Select Committee

Closing date for submissions (2018)

Canterbury Earthquakes Insurance Tribunal Bill

Governance and Administration

Not called yet

Companies (Clarification of Dividend Rules in Companies) Amendment Bill

Primary Production

27 September

Dog Control (Category 1 Offences) Amendment Bill should

Primary Production

Not yet called

Electoral (Entrenchment of Māori Seats) Amendment Bill

Māori Affairs

Not called yet

Gore District Council (Otama Rural Water Supply) Bill

Governance and Administration

28 September

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

Social Services

Not called yet

Ngāti Rangi Claims Settlement Bill

Māori Affairs

21 September

Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Monetary Policy) Amendment Bill

Finance and Expenditure

7 September

Subordinate Legislation Confirmation Bill (No 2)

Regulations Review

Not yet called

Submissions closed


Select Committee

Report due (2018)

Accident Compensation Amendment Bill

Education and Workforce

9 November

Administration of Justice (Reform of Contempt of Court) Bill


2 November

Arbitration Amendment Bill


27 August [Not Yet Reported]

Child Poverty Reduction Bill

Social Services and Community

1 October

Commerce Amendment Bill

Transport and Infrastructure

2 November

Coroners (Access to Body of Dead Person) Amendment Bill

Māori Affairs

10 October

Corrections Amendment Bill


29 September

Crimes Amendment Bill


28 September

Crown Minerals Amendment Bill

Economic Development, Science and Innovation

3 November

Earthquake Commission Amendment Bill

Finance and Expenditure

29 September

Election Access Fund Bill

Governance and Administration

16 November

Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Bill

Education and Workforce

29 November

Employment Relations Amendment Bill

Education and Workforce

7 September

End of Life Choice Bill


27 March (2019)

Farm Debt Mediation Bill

Economic Development, Science and Innovation

16 November

Health (National Cervical Screening Programme) Amendment Bill


20 September

Health and Safety at Work (Volunteer Associations) Amendment Bill

Education and Workforce

2 November

Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Amendment Bill


20 August [Not Yet Reported]

Insolvency Practitioners Bill

Economic Development, Science and Innovation

Not yet announced

Maritime Powers Extension Bill

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

3 January (2019)

Litter (Increased Infringement Fee) Amendment Bill


2 November

Local Electoral Matters Bill


9 November

Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Bill

Governance and Administration

11 October

Local Government Regulatory Systems Amendment Bill

Governance and Administration

28 December

Ngā Rohe Moana o Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Porou Bill (No 2)

Māori Affairs

10 November

Privacy Bill


22 November

Psychoactive Substances (Increasing Penalty for Supply and Distribution) Amendment Bill


21 September

Racing Amendment Bill

Primary Production

1 October

Residential Tenancies (Prohibiting Letting Fees) Amendment Bill

Social Services and Community

5 October

Social Assistance (Residency Qualification) Legislation Bill

Social Services and Community

5 October

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

Finance and Expenditure

2 January (2019)

Te Pire Haeata ki Parihaka/Parihaka Reconciliation Bill

Māori Affairs

22 September

Thames-Coromandel District Council and Hauraki District Council Mangrove Management Bill

Governance and Administration

24 September

Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP) Amendment Bill

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

29 December

Trusts Bill


5 September

Bills awaiting second reading

America's Cup Road Stopping Bill as reported back from select committee
Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Bill as reported back from select committee
Commerce (Criminalisation of Cartels) Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Conservation (Infringement System) Bill as reported back from select committee
Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Bill
Education Amendment Bill as reported back from the select committee
Education (National Education and Learning Priorities) Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill
Financial Services Legislation Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water) Amendment Bill
Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill
Legislation Bill
Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngā Pōtiki Claims Settlement Bill
Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill (No 2)
Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Renewal of Licences) Amendment Bill (No 2) as reported back from select committee
Sentencing (Livestock Rustling) Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Social Workers Registration Legislation Bill as reported back from select committee
State Sector and Crown Entities Reform Bill as reported back from select committee
Tauranga Moana Iwi Collective Redress and Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Ranginui Claims Settlement Bill
Telecommunications (New Regulatory Framework) Amendment Bill

Bills awaiting third reading

Court Matters Bill
Education (Teaching Council of Aotearoa) Amendment Bill
Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill
Insolvency Practitioners Bill
Iwi and Hapū of Te Rohe o Te Wairoa Claims Settlement Bill
Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2)
Military Justice Legislation Amendment Bill
New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill
Ngāti Tūwharetoa Claims Settlement Bill
Social Security Legislation Rewrite Bill
Subordinate Legislation Confirmation Bill
Tariff (PACER Plus) Amendment Bill as reported back from select committee
Tribunals Powers and Procedures Legislation Bill

Bills awaiting assent

Statutes Amendment Bill (No 2)

Acts assented

Appropriation (2017/18 Supplementary Estimates) Act 2018
This Act grants parliamentary authorisation of the individual appropriations and changes contained in the Supplementary Estimates of Appropriations for the Government of New Zealand for the year ending 30 June 2018. The individual appropriations and capital injections are set out in Schedule 1, 2, and 3 of the Bill.

Appropriation (2018/19 Estimates) Act 2018
This Act grants parliamentary authorisation of the individual appropriations contained in The Estimates of Appropriations for the Government of New Zealand for the year ending 30 June 2019. The individual appropriations, expenses, and capital injections are contained in Schedules 1 – 4 of the Bill.

Domestic Violence – Victims' Protections Act 2018
This Act amends the Employment Relations Act 2000, the Holidays Act 2003, and the Human Rights Act 1993 and comes into force on 1 April 2019. Its purpose is to enhance the legal protection in the workplace for persons affected by domestic violence and to support victims to stay in paid employment. In achieving this purpose, the Act:

  • amends the Employment Relations Act 2000 to provide employees who have been affected by domestic violence with a statutory right to make a request for a short-term variation of their working arrangements to deal with the effects of domestic violence;
  • amends the Holidays Act 2003 to provide access to paid leave for employees who are affected by domestic violence, for the purpose of assisting the employees to deal with the effects of that violence; and
  • amends the Human Rights Act 1993 to make it unlawful for an employer to treat a person adversely where that the person is, or is suspected or assumed to be, a person affected by domestic violence. This includes during the course of employment or applying for employment.  

Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Amendment Act 2018
This Act amends the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012 (Act) to allow the cost of a board of inquiry set up to consider a marine consent under the Act to be recovered by the Minister for the Environment. Previously costs associated with a board of inquiry to consider a private marine consent lay with the Government. These changes make the regime under the Act consistent with comparable processes, such as costs incurred in relation to a board of inquiry appointed under the Resource Management Act 1991.The Amendment Act sets out criteria that the Minister would be required to have regard to when seeking to recover costs and also requires the Minister to provide, upon request by an applicant, an estimate of the costs likely to be recovered.

Friendly Societies and Credit Unions (Regulatory Improvements) Amendment Act 2018
This Act amends the Friendly Societies and Credit Unions Act 1982 to remove unnecessary operating and compliance costs, increase accountability, align credit unions with other financial service providers; and maintain the mutuality and common bond between members.

To achieve these aims, the Act:

  • changes the statutory objects of an association of credit unions to cover generally the conduct of activities for the benefit of its members and as authorised by its rules;
  • provides for the incorporation of credit unions;
  • enables credit unions and associations of credit unions in the pursuance of their objects to have all the powers of a natural person;
  • permits credit unions to provide financing to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are owned by or otherwise closely associated with a member of the credit union; and
  • reduces the minimum number of credit union members needed for an association of credit unions to be validly constituted from seven to two.

Heretaunga Tamatea Claims Settlement Act 2018
This Act gives effect to a deed of settlement signed between the Crown and Heretaunga Tamatea that records the Crown's apology and agrees to a final settlement of all historical Treaty of Waitangi claims by Heretaunga Tamatea. The Act facilitates a redress package contained in the deed of settlement that includes both cultural and commercial redress including transferring a number of properties at Omahu and Parimāhu Beach to the post settlement governance entity and the creation of a new reserve called Whatumā Recreation Reserve.

Imprest Supply (Second for 2018/19) Act 2018
This Act provided the sole financial authority to incur expenses and capital expenditure and make capital injections from the start of the 2018/19 financial year until the Appropriation (2018/19 Estimates) Act 2018 was passed.

Land Transport Management (Regional Fuel Tax) Amendment Act 2018
This Act introduces a mechanism under which regional fuel taxes can be established by inserting a new subpart 3 into Part 2 of the Land Transport Management Act 2003. The process set out includes a regional council making a proposal that sets out the proposed tax rate, the duration of the tax, the transport programme and projects that the tax will fund, how the proposal contributes to the relevant regional transport plan, the relevant Government Policy Statement on land transport, and any other relevant documents specified by the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Transport that sets out transport priorities for the region. The Ministers would then recommend an order in council to give effect to the tax. The New Zealand Transport Agency has the ultimate enforcement and monitoring function of the implementation of the fuel tax.
The Act imposes a number of requirements on the granting of a fuel tax including:

  • applying it only to petrol and diesel and not to compressed natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas;
  • collecting the tax at the distribution level;
  • using finds raised for capital expenditure, associated debt repayment, and operational expenditure when it is associated with the delivery of a package or programme of projects;
  • having a maximum rate of 10 cents per litre of fuel and a maximum initial duration of 10 years;
  • being available initially only to the Auckland region and to the other regions from 1 January 2021; and
  • allowing for rebates consistent with those available for fuel excise duty for off-road use of fuel and be subject to GST.

Minors (Court Consent to Relationships) Legislation Act 2018
This Act amends the Marriage Act 1955 to include a requirement that persons who are 16 or 17 years of age (minors), and wish to marry, enter a civil union, or enter a de facto relationship, must apply to the Family Court for consent. The Act also sets out how the Court must consider an application. For example, the applicant needs to be heard by the Court. The Act aims to address a concern that some minors may be entering into forced marriages, orchestrated by the parents of minors. 

Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki Claims Settlement Act 2018
This Act gives effect to the deed of settlement signed on 7 November 2015 between the Crown and Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, which agreed to a full and final settlement of all historical Treaty of Waitangi claims of Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki. The Act facilitates an apology, as well as both cultural and commercial redress. This redress includes vesting areas such as Hūnua Falls and Hukunui in the post settlement governance entity

Ngāti Tamaoho Claims Settlement Act 2018
This Act gives effect to the deed of settlement signed on 30 April 2017 between the Crown and Ngāti Tamaoho, which settles the historical Treaty of Waitangi claims of Ngāti Tamaoho. The Act facilitates a redress package contained the deed of settlement that includes an agreed historical account, a Crown apology, and both cultural and commercial forms of redress including changing the name of the Pratts Road Historic Reserve to Te Maketu Historic Reserve and vesting land around Waitete Pā as a reserve.

National Animal Identification and Tracing Amendment Act 2018
This Act makes technical amendments to the National Animal Identification and Tracing Act 2012 to give effect to the Government's response and eradication of mycoplasma bovis (a bacterial disease that poses a biosecurity risk and causes serious health conditions in cattle).The Act clarifies obligations, investigation powers and provisions for non-compliance set out under the legislative framework. Key changes to the current regime include:

  • removing the requirement for search warrants to take a prescribed form;
  • allowing warrantless searches that align with searches insofar as permitted by the Search and Surveillance Act 2012; and
  • requiring the declaration to the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme of all movement of animals between locations. Previously, declarations were only mandatory for movement between NAIT locations.

Overseas Investment Amendment Act 2018
This Act implements the government's policy of restricting overseas-based residents from purchasing residential land. It does so by bringing residential land within the purview of the overseas investment regime. It also makes changes to the regime governing overseas investment in forestry.

The Act makes five main changes to the Overseas Investment Act 2005:

  • Overseas investors will now need to obtain the consent of the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) prior to acquiring residential land where specified exemptions do not apply. Overseas investors must demonstrate that a number of tests are satisfied to obtain consent.
  • Overseas investors will need to obtain the consent of the OIO prior to acquiring forestry rights where specified exemptions do not apply.
  • "Standing consents" may be obtained for future acquisitions of residential or forestry land where specific requirements are met. 
  • OIO consent will be subject to automatic conditions and may be subject to other specific conditions specified in the Act if certain tests are met.
  • Lawyers and conveyancers will be required to obtain a statement from purchasers that a transaction does or does not require consent under the Act before effecting a transfer of residential land. 

Subordinate Legislation Confirmation Act 2018
This Act prevents the revocation of subordinate legislation that, by virtue of the Act under which they are made, are revoked at a stated time unless earlier confirmed by an Act of Parliament. This Subordinate Legislation Confirmation Act confirms the Civil Aviation (Safety) Levies Amendment Order 2017 made under the Civil Aviation Act 1990.

Taxation (Neutralising Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) Act 2018
This Act contains a suite of amendments to New Zealand's tax rules to counter the base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) activities used by some multinationals to reduce the amount of tax paid in New Zealand and around the world. The Act's measures largely reflect proposals the last Government had consulted on and approved in principle prior to the 2017 election.

The Act contains:

  • a number of amendments to the transfer pricing rules, including a substance over form rule and the power for Inland Revenue to re-characterise an arrangement that is considered not to be commercially rational;
  • a series of prescriptive rules for determining the maximum permitted rate of interest on certain related party lending;
  • changes to the thin capitalisation rules, which in many cases will reduce the permissible level of debt on which interest may be deducted;
  • a series of new provisions targeting so-called hybrid mismatch arrangements, under which tax advantages may result from differences in the tax treatment of an arrangement between the tax rules of two or more countries; and
  • a rule to counter arrangements that are considered to avoid New Zealand tax by avoiding the creation of a permanent establishment in New Zealand.

This Act introduces amendments to the following enactments:

  • Income Tax Act 2007
  • Tax Administration Act 1994

In consultation




By when (2018)

Commerce Commission

Cross submissions on draft report Price setting event 3 (PSE3) for Christchurch Airport.

6 September

Department of Conservation

Application for a licence by the New Zealand Alpine Club.

7 September

Application for a licence by Rangitikei District Council.

13 September

Revocation of Reserves Act 1977 management plans within Canterbury, Otago, Southland and the West Coast.

19 September

Application to hold, import and export a whalebone by Milford House Limited.

20 September

Application for a lease by Aoraki/Mt Cook Guiding Company Limited.

21 September

New assessment of the conservation status of New Zealand hornworts and liverworts.

31 October

New assessment of the conservation status of New Zealand macro algae.

31 October

Electricity Authority

Consultation on upper north and upper south island draft lists that would be eligible under Part 6 of the Code to receive avoided cost of transmission (ACOT) payments.

9 October

Environmental Protection Agency

Application by Coastal Resources Limited (CRL) for a marine dumping consent to dump dredged material east of Great Barrier Island.

10 September

Seeking information on three neonicotinoid: clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam.

26 October

Ministry for the Environment

Conducting meetings on proposed improvements to the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme.

31 August – 14 September

Submissions on proposed improvements to the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme.

21 September

Consultation on development of regulations under the EEZ Act for decommissioning offshore oil and gas infrastructure.

21 September

Consultation on statement of proposals for amending Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods 2018.

21 September

Issues paper on key issues with trying to implement Holidays Act.

12 October

Consultation on proposals to reform the Residential Tenancies Act 1986.

21 October

Ministry of Health

Consultation document on Draft National Ethical Standards for Health and Disability Research.

20 September

Consultation document on Strategy to Prevent and Minimise Gambling Harm 2019/20 to 2021/22.

21 September

Ministry of Justice

Consultation on draft guidance document on sharing personal information under the Family and Whanau Violence Legislation Bill.

21 September

Ministry for Primary Industries

Proposed changes for export approved premises.

5 September

Mānuka honey sold in New Zealand: is further regulation needed?

17 September

Review of recreational management measures for the CRA 5 (Canterbury/Marlborough) rock lobster fishery.

3 October

Pāua 3 and 7 fisheries (PAU 3 and PAU 7) review of daily bag limit and accumulation limit for recreational fishers.

3 October

New Zealand Transport Agency

Consultation on the traffic control devices manual part 5 – traffic control devices for general use – between intersections.

14 September


Proposal to list medical devices supplied by Jackson Allison Medical & Surgical Limited.

14 September

Proposal to list sapropterin for use in pregnancy by women with phenylketonuria.

17 September

Proposal to list urology, ostomy and continence products supplied by Convatec (New Zealand) Limited.

18 September

Proposal to move to one funded brand of lamotrigine (Logem).

26 September

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