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Access to Subordinate Instruments Project

The objective of the Access to Subordinate Instruments Project is to improve access to legislation by publishing all subordinate instruments on the New Zealand Legislation website.

The New Zealand Legislation (NZL) website provides free public access to up-to-date versions of New Zealand Acts, Bills (proposed Acts), and some subordinate instruments.

Subordinate instruments are made under the delegated law-making authority of Parliament (or under the Royal prerogative). They come in many different forms and have many different names, including regulations, orders, notices, rules, bylaws, directions, and programmes.

Subordinate instruments cover all aspects of New Zealand’s legal system. They include matters such as food standards, transport rules, financial reporting standards, national policy standards for environmental matters, and eligibility for social housing and special social security assistance.

Subordinate instruments that are drafted by the PCO are published in full on the NZL website. There are thousands of other subordinate instruments, however, that are drafted and published by over 100 agencies. These agency-drafted instruments are published either in the Gazette, on a variety of different websites or in newspapers, or are not readily available to the public. This makes it difficult to find and access all subordinate instruments.

As a result there is currently no single place where people can see all of New Zealand's legislation. The project has been set up to address this problem.

Extending the scope of the NZL website to include subordinate instruments drafted by agencies will enable people to access official versions of New Zealand’s legislation for free in one central location.

The increased availability of subordinate instruments is expected to enhance the ability of individuals and businesses to comply with the law, and understand their rights and obligations. Over time this is expected to reduce the cost of regulatory compliance and the cost of doing business in New Zealand.

The Access to Subordinate Instruments Project aims to provide a single, comprehensive, official, public source of New Zealand legislation, enabling New Zealanders to have ready and free access to the legislation that affects them.

About the Access to Subordinate Instruments Project

Find out more about why the Access to Subordinate Instruments Project has been established, who is on the project team, and what has happened so far »

What will the project do and how will it do it?

There are three main components to the project:

  • Changes to, and simplification of, the Legislation Act 2012 and empowering provisions throughout New Zealand’s legislation.
  • The development of information technology systems to enable agencies to publish subordinate instruments on the NZL website.
  • Modifications to the PCO's publishing system and the NZL website to cater for the publication of subordinate instruments drafted by agencies.

See more detailed  information about the project's three main components »

Access to Subordinate Instruments Project news

8 December 2016

Cabinet has given its approval for the Access to Subordinate Instruments Project to proceed, and for a Bill to be drafted to implement the Project. The drafting of the Bill will commence early in 2017, with the aim that it be introduced before the 2017 general election.

In preparation for the drafting of the Bill, the project team has started analysing all legislative empowering provisions. This analysis is a significant and complex piece of work, and includes identifying whether an instrument made under an empowering provision has legislative or administrative effect, and whether there are any reasons the instrument could not be publicly published or should not be disallowable.

The project team will start working with agencies early next year to validate this analysis and confirm the proposed amendments to the empowering provisions. This in turn will inform which instruments are to be published on the NZL website.

The project team is currently collecting information from agencies that will be used to inform the design of technology systems for the drafting of subordinate instruments by agencies, and the publication of those instruments on the NZL website. An iterative approach will be taken to the development of these systems, and they will be rolled-out in a phased way.

See earlier news »

Agencies that can make subordinate instruments

There are around 106 agencies we know of that can make subordinate instruments. View the list identified to date »

Contact the Access to Subordinate Instruments Project team »

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