List of access keys

Briefing for the incoming Attorney-General 2020

PDF version (1.5MB) »

3 November 2020

Contents

Overview

Purpose
Parliamentary Counsel Office

Supporting the Attorney-General

Current and emerging trends for legislative development
Supporting the legislative COVID-19 response
Other trends in the development of legislation

Upcoming decisions for Attorney-General

Reinstatement of Secondary Legislation Bill
Annual legislation programme
Confirmable instruments
Standing Orders
Emergency secondary legislations

Advancing stewardship—specific functions

Revision and rewrites
Supporting better legislative design
New stewardship functions

Advancing stewardship—strategic initiatives

Organisational information

Key Contacts
Finance

Key relationships

Appendix 1: Functions of the PCO

Appendix 2: Stewardship

Back to top

Overview

Purpose

1. This briefing identifies current and emerging themes for the development of legislation and provides you with information about the how the Parliamentary Counsel Office (the PCO) can support you as Attorney-General, as well as highlighting upcoming decisions. This briefing also provides key organisational and budget information.

Parliamentary Counsel Office

2. The PCO is constituted as a separate statutory office under the Legislation Act 2012. The PCO is under the control of the Attorney-General or, if there is no Attorney-General, the Prime Minister. The PCO is not part of the core Public Service under the Public Service Act 2020. However, the PCO is subject to certain provisions of that Act, including those that relate to setting and enforcing minimum standards of integrity and conduct.

3. The PCO:

  • delivers an essential service to Government and the public by drafting and publishing laws
  • supports the Attorney-General’s focus on the rule of law and the public’s need for fit-for-purpose, constitutionally sound, and accessible legislation as part of its stewardship of New Zealand’s laws.

4. The functions of the PCO are set out in Appendix 1. A description of how the PCO’s stewardship role impacts on those functions is set out in Appendix 2.

Back to top

Supporting the Attorney-General

5. As the principal legal adviser for the Government, a key focus for the Attorney-General is whether legislation upholds the rule of law. Central to the rule of law is ensuring that legislation is accessible, fit-for-purpose, constitutionally sound, and complies with key Crown obligations (including Te Tiriti o Waitangi). You also have a statutory role to ensure that inconsistencies with protected rights and freedoms under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 are identified when legislation is considered.

6. One key means of performing your role is through your membership of the Cabinet Legislation Committee (LEG). LEG sets and prioritises the Government’s annual legislation programme, approves the introduction of Government legislation to the House, and considers secondary legislation made by Order in Council and other significant secondary legislation made by Ministers.

7. The PCO supports your role by advising you of significant legal issues that emerge in drafting so that you can address these with your Ministerial colleagues, including at LEG. In particular, we will alert you when:

  • there are significant legal issues that we think will seriously impact on the quality of the law, have broader implications across the statute book, or give rise to Crown legal risk, giving you the opportunity to raise issues at LEG. We attend LEG to support you in this role
  • we consider a request for advance drafting (in advance of Cabinet policy approvals) should not be supported. The Cabinet Manual requires policy to be approved before the PCO may draft on instructions so as to support Cabinet collective responsibility and good policy development processes. However, the current protocol permits drafting in advance of policy approvals with your approval. We will provide you with advice on whether there is a compelling need to draft in advance and doing so will not undermine Cabinet processes
  • final quality assurance processes (peer review and proofreading) have not been undertaken on any Bill (and we consider this gives rise to risk to the Crown). This is most likely to arise if there is significant timing pressure before a Bill is introduced into the House
  • a qualified certificate is issued in relation to secondary legislation. The PCO certifies to the responsible Minister that secondary legislation drafted by the PCO is within the empowering provision in the Act or alerts them to any risks that the secondary legislation is either not clearly empowered or may give rise to concerns for the Regulations Review Committee.

Back to top

Current and emerging trends for legislative development

Supporting the legislative COVID-19 response

8. The PCO has played an integral role in the legislative response to COVID-19. In particular, the PCO has worked closely with the Ministry of Health, the COVID-19 All-of-Government Response Group in DPMC, Crown Law, and many other agencies in:

    drafting and advising on urgent orders under the Health Act 1956 initially and then the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020
  • the legislative design and drafting of the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020
  • significant quantities of urgent primary and secondary legislative amendments to support the response more broadly
  • coordinating planning on urgent COVID-19 legislation across Government (through a weekly steering group meeting and legislative planner).

9. This work has presented unique legislative challenges, particularly in the initial response and in the Auckland resurgence. The need for speed in decision-making, coupled with the highly uncertain, and rapidly changing, state of knowledge of the disease and the breadth of issues to be managed across the economy (and so across Government) have challenged all “normal” legislative processes. The PCO has worked with other agencies to incrementally adapt and improve fit-for-purpose processes for each round of legislative changes. Our aim is to enable the Government to move with speed where needed, but minimise the significant issues that may arise from shortcuts to policy development and consultation.

10. The success in bringing the Auckland resurgence under control has provided an opportunity to future-proof the response. It is the right time to focus on shifting the legislative response to a more sustainable basis for the recovery phase (from which we can respond with agility where urgency is needed). We will provide you with a briefing on how this approach may be supported.

We recommend that you encourage Ministers to continue shifting the legislative response on COVID-19 to a more sustainable basis for the recovery phase (from which we can respond with agility where urgency is needed).

Other trends in the development of legislation

11. Over recent years, broader trends have also emerged that are cumulatively impacting on all stages of the legislative process. As well as the COVID-19 pandemic, successive other crises have necessitated significant amounts of urgent remedial or response legislation. The PCO and others in the legislative system have responded and adapted, but there is a risk that these emergency adaptations may become over-used in other contexts. The speed with which legislation is developed has increased generally, both in the pre-introduction stages and within the House. In addition, MMP has brought more representation of parties in Parliament. However, as a result, more legislation is developed that does not proceed, and the extent of late changes to legislation has also increased.

12. We are currently analysing these trends in legislative process in more depth and will provide a further briefing on them so as to inform your consideration of legislative priorities and the upcoming setting of the legislation programme.

We recommend that you consider our further advice on trends in legislative process in considering the upcoming legislative programme.

Back to top

Upcoming decisions for Attorney-General

Reinstatement of Secondary Legislation Bill

13. The Attorney-General is the member in charge of the Secondary Legislation Bill. The Secondary Legislation Bill aims to improve the law relating to the making of secondary legislation by simplifying and rationalising the framework for access to, and Parliamentary oversight of, secondary legislation in the Legislation Act 2019.

14. The Secondary Legislation Bill was awaiting second reading on dissolution of the 52nd Parliament. We recommend that the Secondary Legislation Bill is reinstated in the notice of motion for reinstatement for the 53rd Parliament.

Annual legislation programme

15. The annual legislation programme provides an annual framework within which priorities are established for preparing, and managing the progress of, the Government’s proposed legislation. At the request of the Leader of the House and with the agreement of the Prime Minister or Cabinet, the Cabinet Office issues a circular that invites Ministers to submit proposals for Bills to be included in the programme.

16. A realistic and predictable legislation programme has multiple benefits. The use of resource is better directed throughout Government. Both House sitting time and drafting resources can be efficiently allocated. This ensures that effort goes to improving the legislation that can realistically proceed, and so best delivers the Government’s priorities.

17. The PCO assists with the creation of a realistic and predictable legislation programme by advising departments, reviewing legislative proposals, and providing advice on proposed timelines, complexity of proposed amendments, and legislative design issues.

18. An annual legislation programme for 2021 will likely be an early priority for the incoming Government. The PCO will provide you with a copy of the briefing prepared for the Leader of the House.

Confirmable instruments

19. The Regulations Review Committee (RRC) reported on its Inquiry into Parliamentary Scrutiny of Confirmable Instruments. This includes recommendations on what types of secondary legislation should be subject to the confirmation process (and when it would be inappropriate), removing the current “annual confirmable instruments” process, and the option of referring draft secondary legislation to the committee.

20. The PCO is working on a Government response to the inquiry. The PCO will provide you with a briefing on the proposed response.

Standing Orders

21. The Standing Orders Committee reported on the Review of Standing Orders 2020. This deals with issues like retaining the current approach to the Committee of the whole House stage (no limit on calls), expanding the types of “consequential” amendments that are allowed, providing for Bills to become omnibus at stages after introduction, allowing for policy amendments in revision Bills, and measures to encourage good pre-legislative processes.

22. In addition, the Standing Orders Committee recommended that the Government make some changes to revision Bill processes to support the ability to make minor, non-controversial changes in revision Bills.

23. The PCO is working on a Government response to the inquiry’s recommendation on the revision Bill processes. The PCO will provide you with a briefing on the proposed response.

Emergency secondary legislation

24. The RRC reported in August on its review of secondary legislation made in response to COVID-19. This was the result of scrutiny of 11 Bills empowering the making of secondary legislation and 110 instruments of secondary legislation in response to COVID-19.

25. While the RRC felt that overall the secondary legislation successfully balanced key factors, it also noted that unclear drafting in places and sub-delegation without an express authority in the empowering legislation were concerns, particularly in the early stages of the response. It has recommended an all-of-Government examination of COVID-19 secondary legislation (and powers to make that legislation) to seek ways of improving the quality of secondary legislation in future emergencies.

26. The PCO is working on a Government response to the inquiry. The PCO will provide you with a briefing on the proposed response.

Back to top

Advancing stewardship—specific functions

27. In addition to the PCO’s core drafting and publication work, the PCO has the following specific functions that support its stewardship goals.

Revision and rewrites

28. The Attorney-General has a role under the Legislation Act 2019 to prepare, and consult publicly on, a draft revision programme for each new Parliament and, with Cabinet’s approval, to present it to the House. To support this role, the PCO develops the revision programme in consultation with agencies.

29. Revision is a process for making New Zealand law more accessible. Old, heavily amended, and scattered Acts are tidied up and put into clearer, up-to-date language and format, but without being substantively changed. Revision Bills are released for public submissions before being certified by four experienced lawyers for introduction. Streamlined House procedures for revision Bills ensure that progress on the House’s other work is not affected.

30. The Attorney-General introduces revision Bills into Parliament and is responsible during their parliamentary stages. The Partnership Law Bill, on the second revision programme (2018 to 2020), updated and replaced the Partnership Act 1908. It was enacted in 2019. Work is underway on a Bill that revises the Land Valuation Proceedings Act 1948. The certification process for this Bill is intended to start in the first quarter next year.

31. A new revision programme is needed for the 53rd Parliament. A draft programme will be developed by the PCO in consultation with agencies for public consultation. We will provide you with a separate briefing on this programme when it is settled in draft with agencies.

32. In addition to the revision programme, the PCO has been actively encouraging progress on “rewrites” or “revision plus” projects. These are Bills rewritten using the usual House processes, but ensuring that legislation is replaced and modernised when amended (rather than additional complexities just being grafted on to old law). The Education and Training Act 2020 is an example. It modernised, reformed, and consolidated the Education Acts 1964 and 1989, the Industry Training and Apprenticeships Act 1992, and other education Acts.

33. The PCO also uses its editorial powers under the Legislation Act 2019 to correct minor obvious errors that would otherwise undermine the ability to search for and understand legislation.

34. In addition to the revision programmes themselves, the Legislation Act 2012 requires the Chief Parliamentary Counsel to produce a one-off report on whether the revision powers should be retained or changed. This report is tabled in Parliament by the Attorney-General. We will provide you with a separate briefing on a draft of this report when we have received comments from agencies.

Supporting better legislative design

35. The Legislation Design and Advisory Committee (LDAC) improves the quality and effectiveness of legislation by advising departments on legislative design and constitutional and public law issues in the Legislation Guidelines (2018 edition). The PCO provides the secretariat, legal, and policy support for the LDAC.

36. By maintaining the Legislation Guidelines and associated supplementary material as well as advising departments, LDAC is supporting your responsibility for maintaining the rule of law. In particular, LDAC helps to ensure that legislation is accessible, fit for purpose, and constitutionally sound.

37. You appoint LDAC members, and LDAC reports directly to you on legislative proposals that it considers depart from good legislative design and principles in the Legislation Guidelines (2018 edition) (the Guidelines). The Guidelines have been adopted by Cabinet.

38. You will receive a separate briefing from the Chair of LDAC.

New stewardship functions

39. The Legislation Act 2019 will, when commenced, give to the PCO a new function to “provide guidance and other support for, and keep under review, practices relating to the design, drafting, and publication of legislation”.

40. The Secondary Legislation Bill contains a second new function, which is to prepare a report on the following matters and provide it to the Attorney-General:

  • the extent to which makers of secondary legislation have relied on presentation exemptions during the previous financial year; and
  • any other practices relating to the design, drafting, and publication of legislation that the Chief Parliamentary Counsel thinks fit.

41. In anticipation of the passage of the Secondary Legislation Bill and the commencement of the Legislation Act 2019, the PCO is developing these new functions and will brief you separately on these.

Back to top

Advancing stewardship—strategic initiatives

42. The PCO has 7 strategic initiatives that are designed to advance the stewardship goals. These are summarised in the following table:

Strategic InitiativeDescription
All secondary legislation available online There is confusion about what constitutes secondary legislation, where it can be found, and what instruments have Parliamentary oversight. The objective of this initiative is to establish a coherent category of “secondary legislation”, clarify where instruments can be found, and improve parliamentary oversight of secondary legislation.
Complete online historical collections Include historical collections of legislation on the New Zealand Legislation website. Access to these collections provides valuable insight and context for our law as it currently is, and can be necessary in determining current legal rights based on past law and situations.
Laws in plain language The use of plain language in legislation is at the heart of the rule of law. The law needs to be accessible to those who are governed by it. If laws cannot be understood, the rule of law is undermined. Laws need to be expressed clearly, concisely, and consistently.
Increase our use of standard drafting The use of standard drafting makes our laws both easier for New Zealanders to use and more legally robust. Standard drafting removes unnecessary and confusing difference within and across laws, so reducing complexity for users. Standard drafting is comprehensively tested and has supporting advice, improving its effectiveness for all.
Improved legislative capability across Government All government agencies have a statutory responsibility to exercise stewardship over the legislation they administer. Legislative capability is concentrated in government agencies with large legislative and regulatory work programmes. The PCO is uniquely positioned to provide system leadership to get meaningful improvement in legislative capability across Government.
Increase our use of te reo Māori Increasing the use of te reo Māori in legislation gives practical effect to the Crown’s commitment to “work in partnership with iwi and Māori to continue to protect and promote this taonga, the Māori language, for future generations”.
Improved processes for making legislation Continuous improvement of systems and processes for drafting and publishing law to increase efficiency and reduce risk.

Back to top

Organisational information

Key Contacts

43. The following table provides a summary of key initial contacts related your responsibilities as the Minister responsible for the PCO:

ContactRole and contact detailsArea
Fiona Leonard Chief Parliamentary Counsel
E: Fiona.Leonard@pco.govt.nz
All.
Cassie Nicholson Deputy Chief Parliamentary Counsel (Drafting)
E: Cassie.Nicholson
@pco.govt.nz
Drafting of legislation (including Bills and secondary legislation).
Jonathan Robinson Deputy Chief Parliamentary Counsel (Access)
E: Jonathan.Robinson
@pco.govt.nz
Publication of up-to-date legislation, (including Bills and Supplementary Order papers to Parliament). Responsible for the Access to Secondary Legislation Project.
Noel Lee Director Corporate Services
E: Noel.Lee@pco.govt.nz
Supports the office as a whole (including the functions of Communications, Information Systems, Human Resources, and Records).

Finance

44. The PCO’s single departmental output expense appropriation consists of two distinct but complementary outputs—Law Drafting Services and Access to Legislation—that deliver different parts of the same service to the Government, Parliament, and the wider New Zealand public.

45. The Attorney-General is responsible for appropriations in Vote Parliamentary Counsel for the 2020/21 financial year covering the following:

  • a total of just over $20 million for the provision of law drafting services, which includes legislative drafting assistance to Pacific Island nations, undertaking 3-yearly programmes of statute law revision, administering legislation that the PCO is responsible for, and access to legislation in both paper and electronic form; and
  • a total of just under $3 million for the purchase or development of assets by and for the use of the PCO as authorised by section 24(1) of the Public Finance Act 1989.

Back to top

Key relationships

46. In order to undertake our functions and to deliver on our stewardship goals, we need to work collaboratively with others. The following table provides a summary of our key relationships:

StakeholderRelationship
Leader of the House The PCO supports the Leader of the House’s role in managing the House’s business by:
  • providing up-to-date information on the likely time needed to draft Bills and amendments and the readiness of Bills to progress in the House. This may affect legislation that Ministers are seeking to introduce or progress in the House, but is also valuable in assisting the Leader of the House to settle the legislative programme for the Government at the beginning of each year
  • advising if quality assurance processes have not been undertaken on Bills (so giving rise to risks to the Crown)
  • advising on other risks around legislation that may impact on the management of the legislation programme or the progress of Bills in the House (for example, on proposals to take urgency).
Cabinet Office The PCO works closely with the Legislation Co-ordinator in the Cabinet Office in reporting to the Leader of the House.
Crown Law Crown Law’s leadership role for the GLN, and its focus on the rule of law, makes our relationship with Crown Law vital.
Government Legal Network (GLN) The PCO is also a strong contributor to the development of the GLN. The Deputy Chief Parliamentary Counsel (Access to Legislation) is a member of the GLN Governance Board and PCO has made a strong commitment to engaging GLN summer clerks and graduates.
Inland Revenue Department (IRD) The PCO provides Inland Revenue Department’s drafting unit with access to the NZL drafting system. This unit is responsible for drafting tax legislation. The PCO has a MOU with IRD supporting the relationship between the offices.
Instructing departments The PCO works closely with instructing departments in drafting legislation, and so has extensive connections with their legal and policy teams. We produce resources and provide training to departments designed to assist them to work effectively with the PCO, especially when giving instructions and responding to drafts. We liaise with departments on efforts to support their stewardship obligations under section 12 of the Public Service Act 2020. We are updating the guide for working with the PCO which will be published before the end of the year.
Law Commission The PCO works with the Law Commission on matters of law reform.
Legislation Design and Advisory Committee (LDAC) The PCO provides LDAC with advisory and secretariat support. You will receive a separate briefing from the Chair of LDAC.
Makers of Secondary Legislation The secondary legislation reforms have required the PCO to develop relationships with all of the over 100 bodies who have delegated power to make secondary legislation. Strengthening these relationships will be a key focus in order to provide better stewardship of and public access to secondary legislation when the Secondary Legislation Bill is enacted.
Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives We have a close relationship with the Office of the Clerk. On a day-to-day basis, we liaise with them on introduction of Bills, in select committees, at the Committee of the whole House stage, and on the preparation of Bills for Royal assent. More generally, we provide opportunities for secondment and training to the Office of the Clerk to support their capability to draft Members’ Bills. We also work with them on strategic matters, such as the Standing Orders review.
Other drafting offices The PCO also proactively engages with other drafting offices around the world. In particular, the Chief Parliamentary Counsel regularly liaises with the heads of Australian drafting offices. In addition, PCO has a significant leadership role in the Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel (CALC). CALC has a membership of over 400 legislative drafters from Commonwealth countries and organises international professional development conferences for legislative drafters. Two New Zealand parliamentary counsel are currently acting as the Vice President and Secretary of CALC, and the PCO provides the technical support for the CALC website.
Pacific Island nations The PCO has a Pacific Island desk to provider legislative drafting assistance, training, and mentoring to Pacific Island nations. The desk operates with funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The assistance is focused on the Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau (the three nations within the Realm of New Zealand). Assistance is extended to other Pacific Island nations where resources permit. The PCO is a member of the Pacific Islands Law Officers’ Network (PILON) and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
Parliamentary Service The Parliamentary Service provides a range of services to the PCO, including financial accounting services, payroll, and the parliamentary core computing network. MOUs or servicelevel agreements are in place to manage this.
Regulations Review Committee The Regulations Review Committee performs an important function for Parliament by reviewing the empowering provisions in Bills and secondary legislation made under Acts on the grounds set out in Standing Orders. The PCO has worked closely with the Committee and its advisers on the Secondary Legislation reforms, and on other cross-cutting issues that affect the delegation of legislative power.
The judiciary The PCO supports the constitutional role of the judiciary directly by assisting the Rules Committee with advice and legislative drafting services.

Back to top

Appendix 1: Functions of the PCO

 The PCO’s primary functions are to draft legislation to implement the Government’s legislative programme and to publish legislation online to enable the public to easily find and use New Zealand’s laws:

  • We draft Government Bills, including amendments made to them at select committee and Committee of the whole House (other than the Inland Revenue Bills drafted by the Inland Revenue Department).
  • We also draft much of the secondary legislation made by core Government (Legislative Instruments). However, the majority of secondary legislation is drafted and made by over 100 bodies (ministries, agencies, and professional bodies) and by local authorities (as bylaws).
  • We currently publish all Acts, Bills, and secondary legislation drafted by the PCO (but not other secondary legislation) on the New Zealand Legislation website www.legislation.govt.nz (NZL website).

The PCO assists with Members’ Bills at the direction of the Attorney-General. Recent practice of the Attorneys-General is to direct PCO to provide drafting assistance for a Member’s Bill if it is reasonably clear that there is likely to be sufficient support in the House for the Bill to pass. These Bills often involve substantial work at the select committee stage given that they have not been through normal policy and drafting processes.

The PCO also examines and reports on Local Bills and Private Bills. This involves providing drafting assistance to local authorities and their legal advisers for Local Bills, and to the promoters and their legal advisers for Private Bills. In most cases, this involves providing drafts or redrafts of Bills.

The PCO has an integrated drafting and publishing system, which provides public access to up-to-date official legislation, in both printed and electronic form. The New Zealand Legislation System is the core part of the PCO’s day-to-day business activity. It is used for both the drafting and the publishing of legislation. It is supported and maintained in-house by the PCO’s Information Services team.

The PCO’s Publications Unit (PU) has responsibility for all publication functions, both website-based and printed format (provided by a commercial printer). In addition to publishing Bills, Acts, Supplementary Order Papers (SOPs), revision-tracked versions, and Legislative Instruments, PCO publishes supporting documents relating to Bills and SOPs, such as the departmental legislative disclosure statements. The PU supports the publishing requirements of the PCO, Office of the Clerk, IRD, and other government agencies and departments. The PU is also responsible for reprinting legislation.

Back to top

Appendix 2: Stewardship

2020bigwheel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. The PCO’s role in drafting and publishing legislation is carried out as part of its broader stewardship role for New Zealand’s legislation. This requires proactive management and planning for the medium- to long-term of the laws of New Zealand for the benefit of current and future users.

2. This stewardship role demands more than technical expertise and legislative excellence. It requires the PCO to take a leadership role in developing and promoting shared goals for New Zealand’s laws across the government system. Moreover, although the PCO has a leadership role, it is not the sole legislative steward. Chief executives of government departments are charged, under section 12 of the Public Service Act 2020, with responsibilities of stewardship for the legislation they administer. Crown Law plays a role in supporting the rule of law and better decision-making. The Legislation Design and Advisory Committee focuses on supporting better legislative design.

3. In its stewardship role, the PCO has looked at how to define a shared goal with others in the legislative system. We have defined that goal as having great law for New Zealand. For law to be great, it must be fit for purpose, constitutionally sound, and accessible for users.

4. Fit for purpose: Laws should be necessary, and effective, for their purpose. Laws need to provide certainty as to legal rights and obligations, but also have sufficient flexibility to adapt to the future. They need to integrate both with the wider statute book and the legal system generally.

5. We focus, in drafting, on finding the best legal mechanism to implement the Government’s intentions with minimum risk of unintended consequences. Government departments often seek early design input from PCO, and we can be involved (even before instructions are received) on these issues.

6. Throughout the drafting process, parliamentary counsel work closely with government departments who have the policy and legal expertise in the particular subject matter. This is backed up by additional quality assurance processes later in the process (peer review and proofreading) that focus on legal workability and minimising the risk of errors.

7. Constitutionally sound: High-quality legislation is critical to the functioning of New Zealand’s democracy. Laws that overreach can do significant harm by inhibiting freedoms or undermining important values or institutions of our society. It is important to check how proposals interact with the Treaty of Waitangi and post-settlement obligations well in advance of legislation being developed so that risks can be identified and proactively managed. Following a good process for making law supports the legitimacy of that law, and increases public confidence in the system more generally.

8. The PCO embeds these considerations in its drafting, but also by working with others. For example, we work with the Ministry of Justice on vetting under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, with Crown Law on issues that raise Crown legal risks, with both Crown Law and the Te Kāhui Whakatau (Treaty Settlements) on Treaty issues, and by providing the policy, legal, and secretariat support to the Legislation Design and Advisory Committee. The extensive role that parliamentary counsel play in drafting and advising on select committee amendments supports Parliament’s scrutiny of legislation.

9. Accessible: If laws cannot be found or understood, the rule of law risks being undermined. The PCO publishes primary legislation and all secondary legislation that it drafts on the NZL website.

10. We seek to draft in plain language that ordinary users can understand. We have a number of tools that we are using to systematically bring legislation into a simpler and more coherent framework.

11. The PCO’s legislation website is a critical tool to provide one central place from which to access New Zealand’s laws. The PCO has a strong focus on maintaining the durability of this asset and incrementally improving it for the public, particularly through increasing the extent of secondary legislation that can be found on or via the website.

Back to top

© Crown copyright 1997–2021