List of access keys

About the Access to Secondary Legislation Project

Why was the Access to Secondary Legislation Project established?

There are thousands of items of secondary legislation drafted and published by over 100 agencies. Very little of this is published on a single, centralised website. The issues resulting from the fragmented publication of secondary legislation have been documented in various sources:

  • During the Government inquiry into the Whey Protein Concentrate Contamination Incident (PDF 2.47MB) (December 2013), it was noted that the inquiry had difficulty finding the secondary legislation that applied to the dairy sector.
    The report stated that “Creating a set of simple rules of general application for the creation, amendment and publication of all tertiary instruments would also result in order, continuity and better accessibility. This could serve as a model on which to shape future regulation.”
  • The Regulations Review Committee’s 2014 “Inquiry into the oversight of disallowable instruments that are not legislative instruments” noted that the inability to identify secondary legislation that is not drafted or published by the PCO was the main problem they face in their scrutiny of regulations. The committee recommended that the Government establish a register of delegated legislation similar to the Australian Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.
  • The report of the NZ Productivity Commission’s inquiry into Regulatory institutions and practices (June 2014) observed that “The absence of a central electronic repository of Other Instruments … constrains the ability of firms and individuals to understand their regulatory rights and obligations”. It recommended that the PCO “expand its New Zealand Legislation website to provide a single, comprehensive source of these regulations”.
  • The 2014 Performance Improvement Framework review of the PCO advised that the agency’s “strategic vision should encompass the role of guardian or steward of New Zealand’s system of legislation”. At a minimum, this requires PCO to be in a position to take a view of the whole NZ statute book, which is challenging due to the amount of secondary legislation made without the PCO’s knowledge.
  • The PCO’s strategic objective of providing ready access to legislation cannot be achieved unless all of New Zealand’s legislation is accessible, regardless of who drafted it.

As part of its response to the Regulations Review Committee inquiry, the Government directed the PCO to explore options to remedy these concerns.

This led to the establishment of the Access to Secondary Legislation Project (originally the Access to Subordinate Instruments Project), announced by former Chief Parliamentary Counsel David Noble on 29 September 2015.

How is the Access to Secondary Legislation Project governed and managed?

The project is led by Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) Jonathan Robinson, who is accountable for ensuring that the project meets its objectives and delivers the intended benefits. The SRO is the owner of the overall business change that is being enabled by the project. The SRO has clear authority and necessary delegations from Project Sponsor Fiona Leonard. The SRO chairs a formally constituted Project Board that was established in June 2016. Its membership comprises senior internal and external officials as well as an independent expert. The day-to-day management of the project is provided by workstream leaders (Legal Research and Analysis, Policy Development, IT Systems, Business Implementation) supported by a professional project manager.

What has happened so far?

The Access to Secondary Legislation Project is being managed in multiple stages. Completed so far:

  • From September 2015 to April 2016, initial concept development focused on assessing the high level project scope, exploring legal and procedural consequences and document design, and early discussions with the Regulations Review Committee, the Office of the Clerk, the Ministry for Primary Industries, and several other agency stakeholders. Exploratory drafting of the legislative changes required was also included.
  • The establishment phase, which commenced in May 2016 through a mandate and concluded in June 2017, focused on:
    • preparing the Business Case using the Treasury Better Business Case standard
    • preparing the Legislation Bill
    • advancing the legal research to a point where the findings can be concluded with the agencies
    • preparation of a drafting template that has been trialled internally by the PCO.

Our plans to June 2018

The next stage of the project (Implementation Stage-I) commenced in July 2017. This stage will:

  1. establish requirements for technology for authoring, lodgement, and publication through a process of understanding end-user needs and piloting solutions with agencies
  2. estimate the quantity of secondary legislation and the amount made each year, and identify characteristics of secondary legislation that may inform the design of the new processes and systems
  3. determine the change management support required for agencies to adopt any new processes and systems
  4. determine the changes and ongoing resource requirements for the PCO to support agency users in their use of any new processes and systems
  5. conclude the analysis of empowering provisions that is necessary to prepare the Secondary Legislation (Access) Bill, in consultation with agencies
  6. support the passage of the Legislation Bill and the Secondary Legislation (Access) Bill
  7. commence the development of regulations that are required to give operational effect to the Legislation Bill.

Open Government Programme—Commitment 6

The Access to Secondary Legislation Project forms Commitment 6: Improving access to legislation in New Zealand’s 2016–18 National Action Plan under the Open Government Partnership (OGP). The OGP is a forum of countries working to be more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens. The State Services Commission is leading this in New Zealand. The New Zealand Government released the second (2016–18) National Action Plan for the OGP in October 2016, updated in June 2017.

View the 2016–18 New Zealand Action Plan »

Back to top »

© Crown copyright 1997–2017