List of access keys

Access to Secondary Legislation Project

Ready access to the law is fundamental to a democratic society based on openness and the rule of law.

While all Acts of Parliament (primary legislation) are easily accessible in consolidated form on the NZ Legislation website, most secondary legislation is not published centrally.

Secondary legislation drafted by the PCO is published on the NZ Legislation website. Secondary legislation drafted by other agencies—which is the majority—is more difficult to find. Some is notified or published in the New Zealand Gazette, some is published on agency websites or in newspapers, while some is not published at all.

This means there is no definitive way to know what secondary legislation has been made or is currently in force. Several inquiries and reports have highlighted the real difficulties faced by individuals and businesses in accessing the secondary legislation that applies to them.

Read more about why the project was set up »

Parliament can delegate the power to make legislation, under an Act, to a person or agency. Under the Legislation Bill, this legislation is called secondary legislation.  Read more about secondary legislation.

What is planned?

Ministers agreed in late 2016 that the NZ Legislation website should be expanded to provide access to all current secondary legislation. To do this, the PCO set up the Access to Secondary Legislation Project. The aim of the project is:

To make New Zealand’s secondary legislation readily accessible

Read about what the project team is doing » 

(Note that Cabinet directed that secondary legislation made by local authorities and council-controlled organisations is not in scope for the project.)

The Access to Secondary Legislation Project is a commitment in the current New Zealand Open Government Partnership 2016-2018 Action Plan. Read more about the Open Government Partnership commitment.

Enabling legislation

New legislation is needed to define secondary legislation and make it accessible. The Legislation Bill (which will repeal the Legislation Act 2012) is currently being considered by Parliament. A second Bill, with the working title Secondary Legislation (Access) Bill, is being prepared for introduction to Parliament.

First stage: Key information publication

Secondary legislation will be made accessible in two stages. The first stage will be the publication of key information about secondary legislation on the NZ Legislation website, linking each instrument to the Act that empowers its making.

Website users will be able to find out what secondary legislation is in force, where the full text is located, and which agency administers the legislation and can provide guidance about it. The PCO will provide the tools for the over 100 makers of secondary legislation to supply this information.

Publishing all of this information in one place will improve Parliament's oversight of secondary legislation.

Read about what agencies need to do for the first stage »

Second stage: Full-text publication

The second stage will be the publication of the full text of all secondary legislation the NZ Legislation website. It will be published in searchable, reusable formats, meeting open data requirements. The PCO will provide the tools for makers of secondary legislation to draft and publish the full text.

Read about what agencies will need to do for the second stage » 

Project news

On 1 June 2018, the Legislation Bill was reported back to the House by the Justice Committee.

Read the latest project news update »


Your questions may be answered in the frequently asked questions page »

Contact the Access Project team

If you have further queries, the project team is always pleased to hear from you at

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