List of access keys

Frequently asked questions about the Access Project

  1. What is secondary legislation?
  2. What types of secondary legislation will be exempted from publication on the NZ Legislation website under the Legislation Bill?
  3. When do agencies need to supply a definitive list of the secondary legislation they administer to the PCO?
  4. What can agencies with secondary legislation do in advance of the Legislation Bill passing?
  5. What are the implications of an instrument being secondary legislation under the Legislation Bill?
  6. What are the implications of an instrument not being secondary legislation under the Legislation Bill?
  7. If an important instrument is found not to be secondary legislation under the Legislation Bill, will it still be published on the NZ Legislation website?
  8. During the first stage, can my agency publish the full text of some of our secondary legislation on the NZ Legislation website, if it is available? 

1. What is secondary legislation?

Secondary legislation is the term in the Legislation Bill for instruments that make or change the law and are made under a law-making power delegated by Parliament. This term will replace existing categories, including "disallowable instrument", "legislative instrument", and "tertiary legislation".

Instruments will be categorised as secondary legislation according to their effect rather than their form. This means that secondary legislation may include regulations, standards, rules, codes, or any other instruments that make or change the law, rather than merely applying it in a particular case.

To define what is secondary legislation, the upcoming Secondary Legislation (Access) Bill will amend every provision in primary legislation that empowers the making of secondary legislation to state this explicitly.

Other provisions will also be amended that empower the making of instruments that are not secondary legislation under the Legislation Bill. Read more about what an instrument not being secondary legislation will mean.

2. What types of secondary legislation will be exempted from publication on the NZ Legislation website under the Legislation Bill?

The Legislation Bill allows two types of exemption from publication: a complete publication exemption and a partial publication exemption.

If a secondary legislation instrument has a complete publication exemption, neither its key information nor its full text will be published on the NZ Legislation website.

If secondary legislation has a partial publication exemption, its key information will be published on the NZ Legislation website, but not the full text. However, the key information must include details of where the instrument is publicly available.

The Legislation Bill provides:

  • a complete publication exemption for secondary legislation made by local authorities or council-controlled organisations, and
  • for the Chief Parliamentary Counsel to grant a partial publication exemption on a case-by-case basis if there is good reason to allow an alternative means of publication (for example, if all or part of the legislation is already accessible in another format and cannot easily be converted for publication on the legislation website).

If a complete or partial publication exemption is needed for any other secondary legislation, the empowering legislation will need to be amended to state this expressly. Amendments for this purpose can be made in the upcoming Secondary Legislation (Access) Bill, on instruction to the PCO from the relevant agency.

3. When do agencies need to supply a definitive list of the secondary legislation they administer?

Within 12 months of the commencement of Part 3 of the Legislation Bill and of the Secondary Legislation (Access) Bill.

4. What can agencies with secondary legislation do in advance of the Legislation Bill passing?

Prepare a definitive list of secondary legislation made or administered by the agency that is currently in force. Ensure that the full text of each instrument is readily accessible to the public.

5. What are the implications of an instrument being secondary legislation under the Legislation Bill?

The Legislation Bill, once enacted, will require all instruments that are secondary legislation to be:

  • published on the NZ Legislation website
  • presented to the House of Representatives
  • subject to disallowance.

These requirements are subject to any exemptions that apply. See question 2 above.

6. What are the implications of an instrument not being secondary legislation under the Legislation Bill?

Instruments that are not secondary legislation will not be subject to the publication, presentation, and disallowance requirements of the Legislation Bill. This means they will not be published on the NZ Legislation website. However, they may be notified or made available in other ways, if this is required by the empowering legislation or as a matter of good administration.

If empowering legislation needs to be amended to ensure that instruments that are not secondary legislation continue to be accessible, amendments can be made in the upcoming Secondary Legislation (Access) Bill.

7. If an important instrument is found not to be secondary legislation under the Legislation Bill, will it still be published on the NZ Legislation website?

No. See question 6 above.

8. During the first stage, can my agency publish the full text of some of our secondary legislation on the NZ Legislation website, if it is available?

The PCO intends to introduce full publication progressively. To be published in full, secondary legislation instruments will need to be drafted using a standard drafting template and lodged through a portal, once they are available. Read more about the drafting template and lodgement portal.

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