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Legislative disclosure statements

From 29 July 2013, all Cabinet or Cabinet committee papers seeking approval to introduce a government Bill or substantive government SOP must have a disclosure statement attached that reflects the content of that Bill or SOP—as set out in Cabinet Office Circular CO (13) 3: Disclosure Requirements for Government Legislation. (The circular identifies certain limited types of Bills and SOPs that are exempt from this requirement.)

The PCO will publish the disclosure statement on the new dedicated website disclosure.legislation.govt.nz at the same time as the Bill or SOP is published on the New Zealand Legislation website. The Bill or SOP’s explanatory note will link to the disclosure statement.

The disclosure statement templates with full guidance material are available on the Treasury website.

For this new publishing process to operate smoothly, several steps are involved:

  • It is essential that departments and agencies do not introduce external styles or formatting into the document as this will prevent successful conversion to HTML. The correct template must be used for the disclosure statement.
  • The statement (in final or near-final form) should be emailed to the PCO Publications Unit and copied to the PCO drafter for the Bill or SOP at the same time that the paper (with statement attached) seeking approval to introduce the Bill is submitted to Cabinet, or approval to release the SOP is sought.
  • If Cabinet requires amendment to the Bill before introduction, the disclosure statement will need to be updated if appropriate. It should also be updated if the PCO has identified any obvious content or formatting issues with the statement. However, checking the document is not part of PCO’s role.
  • At least two working days before the Bill is introduced, or the SOP is tabled in the House, the statement, checked and formally signed off by your agency, should be emailed to the Publications Unit and copied to the drafter.

The PCO will insert a link to the disclosure statement from the Bill or SOP’s explanatory note.

  • If the statement in final form is not received in time for publication at the same time as the Bill or SOP, the link in the explanatory note will point to a placeholder page on the disclosures website. This page will note that the statement has not yet been provided, and direct any enquiries to the responsible agency. When the disclosure statement becomes available and is published, the disclosure statement will replace the placeholder page.

This is an administrative trial, being carried out before the disclosure regime is implemented by legislation. The intention is that the legislation will extend the obligation to provide disclosure statements to also include disallowable instruments drafted by the PCO.

If you or your officials have general feedback about the usefulness or accuracy of disclosure statements, or about how they are made accessible, please contact the Regulatory Quality Team in the Treasury (regulation@treasury.govt.nz).

Questions about the publication process and use of the templates only can be addressed to the PCO Publications Unit.

To email the Publications Unit: please contact us for their email address.

The relevant templates, together with guidance on the disclosure requirements and on how to complete a disclosure statement, are contained in Treasury's Disclosure Statements for Government Legislation: Technical Guide for Departments.

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