List of access keys

What agencies need to know and do

Secondary legislation will be made accessible in two stages:

  • first, publication of key information about all secondary legislation on the NZ Legislation website
  • second, direct publication by makers of the full text of secondary legislation onto the NZ Legislation website.

Why have two stages?

Around 4,000 provisions that empower the making of secondary legislation have been identified through the PCO’s research. Since multiple instruments may be made under a single provision, the research suggests there may be many thousands of secondary legislation instruments currently in force.

The PCO recognises that preparing all of this secondary legislation for full-text publication on the NZ Legislation website will take some years.

To ensure that benefits are delivered earlier, a duty on makers to provide lists of secondary legislation was added to the Legislation Bill during the select committee stage. Makers of secondary legislation (as defined in section 5(1) and 5(1A) of the Legislation Bill) will be obliged to provide the PCO with a definitive list of the in-force secondary legislation made by them. The information will be integrated into the NZ Legislation website.

This will bring forward one of the key benefits of the project—identifying for the first time what secondary legislation exists and where it is located.

What agencies need to do for the list

Agencies that make secondary legislation (which include government departments, Crown entities, and statutory bodies) will need to:

  • provide a definitive list of their secondary legislation to the PCO
  • ensure that the full text of each instrument is published on their website or is otherwise readily accessible to the public.

Agencies need to start preparing a definitive list of the in-force secondary legislation for which they are responsible. The list will include information about when, by whom, and under what authority each instrument was made, and where the full text is located. It will also need to provide a link to the website of the agency that administers the legislation and that can provide guidance about it to users. The PCO will define the information that is required and support agencies to supply the information.

Agencies will need to supply lists to the PCO within 12 months of the commencement of Part 3 (Drafting and publishing of legislation) of the Legislation Bill and of the Secondary Legislation (Access) Bill. The Bill recognises that a few agencies may need further time owing to the high volume or age of legislation for which they are responsible.

Because the NZ Legislation website will provide information about where the secondary legislation can be accessed, agencies will also need to ensure that the full text of each instrument is readily accessible to the public. Where practicable, the instruments should be published on the agencies’ websites.

Online publication by agencies will also ensure that New Zealand complies with its obligations under international trade agreements for accessibility of legislation.

What agencies will need to do for full publication

Full publication on the NZ Legislation website will ultimately require agencies to:

  • draft instruments in a standard drafting template, and
  • lodge instruments for publication through a secure online portal.

Read more about the authoring and publication systems, which will include a drafting template and lodgement portal.

New secondary legislation made after commencement of Part 3 of the Legislation Bill will be progressively published in full on the NZ Legislation website over time. The transitional provisions in the Legislation Bill allow for the setting of deadlines by which categories of secondary legislation must be published in full. These deadlines will be set in consultation with agencies.


There is an exemption to publication requirements under the Legislation Bill for secondary legislation made by local authorities and council-controlled organisations.

In addition, partial exemption from publication of the full text of an instrument may be granted by the Chief Parliamentary Counsel if there is good reason to allow an alternative means of publication. The full text must be publicly available elsewhere and the details of its availability included with the key information about the instrument on the NZ Legislation website.

Full exemption from listing as well as publication for instruments whose contents cannot be publicly disclosed must be stated in the relevant empowering provision in primary legislation. Amendments to state this can be made in the upcoming Secondary Legislation (Access) Bill.

Read more about exemptions to publication in the Legislation Bill  »

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