List of access keys


  1. Checklist for drafting instructions
  2. Checklist for introduction of Bills
  3. Transitional and savings checklist

1. Checklist for drafting instructions

Check that your instructions contain the following:
  • explanation of the legislative problem to be remedied
  • explanation of what the legislation should do
  • explanation of how the proposal relates to existing law
  • description of what transitional and savings arrangements will be required
  • description of consequential and related matters
  • for a Bill: mention of any regulations that will be needed
  • identification of any unresolved difficulties
  • statement of which department will administer
  • statement of expected timetable/any time constraints/when to come into force
  • description of your consultation to date with other departments and agencies
  • if instructions are incomplete, state what is to follow and when
  • contact details: yours, plus those of an alternative contact
  • if forms or graphics are supplied, they are in the appropriate format.
Check that the proposed legislation will be:
  • consistent with the Legislation Guidelines
  • consistent with the Bill of Rights
  • for regulations: within the ambit of the empowering provisions.
Check that you have included copies of the following:
  • all relevant Cabinet papers and papers provided to the Minister
  • all relevant precedents, cases, legal opinions, and reports
  • notes of any relevant court or other proceedings in contemplation
  • official copies of any relevant international agreements or obligations
  • any other relevant background material.

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2. Checklist for introduction of Bills

Check that your timetable allows enough time for:
  • Bill of Rights vetting (two weeks is the standard turn-around time)
  • departmental consultation (a minimum of one week)
  • PCO's quality control processes (proof reading and peer review—a minimum of one week).
Check that you have provided the PCO with:
  • the general policy statement component of the explanatory note—to be provided to the PCO as soon as it is in final form but a minimum of two weeks before the Bill goes to LEG
  • the URL to the location on the department's website where the regulatory impact assessment will be published—to be provided to the PCO at least a week before the Bill goes LEG—more information on regulatory impact assessment requirements »
  • the disclosure statement—sent to the Publications Unit and copied to the drafter when the Bill goes to LEG, and if changes are made, a revised statement sent to the Publications Unit and copied to the drafter no later than two days before introduction—more information on disclosure statements »

Taken from section 6.1 of the Guide to Working with the PCO. See sections 2 and 3.4 of the Guide for more information.

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3. Transitional and savings checklist

This checklist is designed to alert you to cases where you may need to provide for the transition from an old law to a new law.

Consider the default rules in sections 17 to 22 of the Interpretation Act 1999. Do you need specific and targeted provisions in the new law to clarify or change the policy outcome under those default rules?

Policy design principles

In designing a policy response to an issue, consider whether the response:

  • moves from the old law to the new law in an orderly, fair, and efficient manner
  • avoids retrospective effects.
Is an existing right/status, office/position, or entity being affected by the new law?
  • Are there existing rights (for example, a licence, registration, certificate, approval, consent, permit, or exemption) under the old law? If so, do they continue as equivalent rights (or with any changes)?
  • Does any person hold an office or a position under the old law? If so, do they continue in an equivalent office or position under the new law?
  • Is an organisation, a committee, or other body under the old law abolished or replaced under the new law? If so, what happens to its rights, obligations, assets, liabilities, contracts, entitlements, and employees, etc? 
  • Are registers or other records kept under the old law continued under the new law and, if so, in what form?
Will processes be in progress under the old law when it is changed?
  • What happens if a person has made an application or a request under the old law, but a decision on the application or request has not been made when the new law comes into force (commencement)?
  • How is a proceeding, investigation, inquiry, or other action dealt with if it is started under the old law, but not completed at commencement?
  • How is a breach or other conduct dealt with if it occurs while the old law is in force, but a proceeding or other action is not taken before commencement?
When does the new law start to apply and how? (ie, timing and scope)
  • Will the new law apply to everyone equally from day one, or will certain groups have a grace period after commencement?
  • Is a previously unregulated activity becoming regulated under the new law? If so, what is the pathway for becoming subject to the new rules?
  • Is a previously regulated activity becoming less regulated under the new law? If so, what is the pathway for moving away from old rules?
  • Does the new law affect only new contracts, property rights, or other arrangements? Or does the new law apply to existing contracts, rights, or arrangements?
  • Do contracts, deeds, or other documents refer to, or “hook into”, the old law? Will these documents be treated as referring to, or hooking into, the new law?
  • Does the new law involve a duty that is performed for a particular period of time? For example, a report or return that must be prepared for a financial year. If so, from which period will the new law apply?
  • Do any concepts under the old law need to be changed over? (For example, “certificates of title” become “records of title” under the Land Transfer Act 2017.)
Does anything need to be expressly saved so that it continues to apply once the new law starts?
  • Should any rules or requirements of the old law be treated as continuing as rules or requirements under the new law?
  • What legislative or administrative instruments are in force under the old law? Do any instruments need to be continued? If so, do they need to be changed to help the instrument to work smoothly under the new law?
  • Does the new law cause any doubt about whether some other law may have been impliedly repealed? If so, consider expressly saving the effect of that law.
  • Does the new law have an effect on the common law? If so, does any aspect of the common law need to be saved?
  • Are there any rights, powers, or privileges under the old law that need to be saved?

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