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Earlier news 2006–2012

Legislation Bill passed

7 December 2012

The House yesterday passed a Bill to modernise and improve the law regarding publication of legislation. It also modernises the law relating to the PCO.

For a summary of what the Act will achieve, view the press release from the Hon Christopher Finlayson, Attorney-General ...

View the Legislation Act 2012 ...

More about the Legislation Bill ...

A new format for Supplementary Order Papers

29 November 2012

Supplementary Order Papers (SOPs) can now be produced in a new format - the RT SOP. This new format can make the changes proposed to a Bill easier to understand, by presenting them in context.

An RT SOP is an SOP where the proposed changes that the SOP makes to the Bill are identified using revision tracking markup. Instead of the SOP describing the proposed changes to be made, the changes are shown applied to the Bill. In this an RT SOP is similar to a revision tracked Bill produced for a select committee.

Only Government SOPs will use the RT SOP style, and only in some instances - the new style is likely to be used when the amendments proposed are complex or extensive, although decisions on the format will be made on a case-by-case basis. RT SOPs have the same status as a "regular" SOP, and they are published on the New Zealand Legislation website and in hard copy as usual.

The first SOP to be published in the new format was SOP No 151 to amend the Advanced Technology Institute Bill.

To find RT SOPs on the New Zealand Legislation website, do the same as for other SOPs - first, you navigate to the relevant Bill. Then find SOPs under the Versions and SOPs tab.

Legislation page size survey indicates strong support for the move to A4 pages

26 November 2012

Thank you to everyone who responded to our survey on preferences for legislation page size. The survey, which ran from 18 October to 8 November, asked users whether they preferred the page size that legislation is printed on to remain at its current size of B5 (a smaller size) or increase it to A4. Page size relates to both bought, printed legislation and PDFs downloaded from the New Zealand Legislation website.

We received 290 responses. A clear majority supported the change to A4:

  • 73% for A4
  • 18% for B5
  • 9% didn't mind or weren't sure.

Some opinions were strongly held. Supporters of B5 find it easier to handle and to read. Those in favour of change want to save paper, expect it to reduce costs, and find A4 easier to read. Some people are only interested in on-screen legislation, but more than 90% use printed legislation and expect to do so in the future.

The survey provides strong support for our intention to move to A4. We will make the change during the 2013/14 financial year. The final timing will depend on factors such as when the New Zealand Legislation website becomes a source of official legislation and the production of bound annual volumes. The work will also be slotted into the website's work programme so as to make the most efficient use of development resources. We will give legislation users advance notice of the change closer to the time.

Deemed regulations now available through NZ Legislation website

2 May 2012

Deemed regulations are now available through the New Zealand Legislation website. Using that website, you can search or browse for deemed regulations by title or year, although content searching is not available.

This replaces the list of deemed regulations that up until now has been maintained on this website.

More about deemed regulations on the New Zealand Legislation website ...

More information about deemed regulations ...

The New Zealand Legislation website has a new look

11 April 2012

The New Zealand Legislation website has a new look, with faster, simpler ways to find and view legislation.

We think the changes make it easier for everyone, from general user to legal researcher, to find what they want. Some of the changes include:

  • Quick search is available on every page
  • Quick search provides suggestions as you type, plus you can access your recent searches
  • Advanced search is more intuitive
  • search and browse results are more flexible and easier to understand
  • you can swap between views of legislation more easily
  • information about amendment history is more accessible, under the Versions and amendments tab
  • the homepage provides quick ways in to popular legislation and other resources
  • if you get lost, there is plenty of help, with pop-up explanations and "how to" information.

The website is also set to provide access to Deemed Regulations - included as a way of making them more accessible to the public. Links to Deemed Regulations will be added gradually in the weeks following implementation. When they all have been added, the list of Deemed Regulations currently on this website will be removed.

If you have saved bookmarks to legislation, or use links from other websites to access legislation, these links should work as before. An occasional link may break, so feel free to contact us if you need help locating legislation.

The changes to this website have been arrived at through a process of user testing, consultation, and exposure through the "Preview website". Development work has progressed well, ahead of timetable. We have more improvements planned, most fundamental being making the website a source of official legislation. We aim to achieve this in the 2012-13 financial year.

New ways to describe amendments in legislation

19 January 2012

New ways to describe amendments have been approved for use in legislation that sets out amendments to be made to other legislation. The changes will make amendments easier to follow, and more efficient to draft and to apply.

The new terminology will be introduced gradually from 1 January 2012. Bills already before the House will continue to use the old terminology.

More about the changes ...

Acts from 1841 to 2007 As-Enacted Collection and 1908 Consolidation now available

28 September 2010 - updated 25 May 2011

The PCO has been working on a project to digitise New Zealand Acts from 1841 to 2007 as originally enacted. The aim of the project is to provide free online access to all New Zealand Acts in their original form (ie as enacted), whether or not they have subsequently been repealed.

The digitisation project has now been completed and the collection is being hosted by NZLII, the New Zealand Legal Information Institute, with the collection also being made available to the National Library.

The collection is called the New Zealand Acts 1841-2007 As-Enacted Collection. The Acts are in PDF format and do not include any later amendments or show whether or not they have been repealed.

NZLII also hosts the 1908 Consolidation, a separate database that the University of Auckland kindly provided to the PCO. The 1908 Consolidation is a collection of 208 Acts enacted via the Consolidated Statutes Enactment Act 1908 to revise, re-enact, and replace 806 earlier Acts (which were repealed by that 1908 Act).

For current legislation, and for legislation enacted or repealed since 2007, visit the
New Zealand Legislation website.

More about the PCO's historical legislation digitisation programme ...

GST increase to 15% from 1 October 2010 not automatically reflected in fees and charges in published legislation

14 September 2010

The prescribed fees and charges in Acts and Regulations set out on the
New Zealand Legislation website and contained in printed legislation will not reflect the increase in GST that takes effect on 1 October 2010 (except in the case of changes made specifically by amending legislation that comes into effect on or after 1 October).

The effect of section 78(3) of the Goods and Services Tax Act 1985 is, in general terms, to increase the amount payable for a fee/charge. For more about tax changes, visit the Inland Revenue website.

However, legislation users will need to consult with the Government agency that administers the relevant legislation to obtain details of the actual fee or charge payable. The name of the relevant agency appears on the contents page of an Act or Regulation, or under Legislative history or Administrative information on the contents page.

PCO initiating programme to digitise all historical Acts

19 March 2010

The PCO is starting a programme to digitise historical New Zealand Acts, from 1841 to 2007. The aim is to provide free online access to all New Zealand Acts in their original form (as enacted), whether or not they have subsequently been repealed. The format will be searchable PDFs. This will make legislation available that in many cases is currently only held in printed volumes in a limited number of libraries around the country.

This collection of historical Acts will supplement that already available on the New Zealand Legislation website. That website provides Acts currently in force (the earliest of which dates back to 1275) together with Acts that have ben repealed since the site went live 2 1/2 years ago. Some earlier legislation is available online from other sources, either free of charge or commercially. But the bulk of historical New Zealand Acts are not available online. This gap in collections of digital legislation affects the legal profession, researchers, and anyone who needs to know what the law was when it was first enacted.

More information »

Government response to Law Commission reports presented

The government's response to the Law Commission reports "Presentation of New Zealand Statute Law" and "Review of the Statutes Drafting and Compilation Act 1920" (a review of the Act that established the Parliamentary Counsel Office) was presented to the House of Representatives on 20 November 2009.

Government Response to Reports of the Law Commission: Presentation of New Zealand Statute Law and Review of the Statutes Drafting and Compilation Act 1920 »
PDF version (25KB)

Statutes Drafting and Compilation Act 1920 »

Shattering statutes now online

30 June 2009

The "shattering statutes", the 1888 to 1894 annual volumes of Acts that were disintegrating, are now available in PDF format on the Knowledge Basket website. Read more »

PCO publishes facsimile printed editions of 1888 to 1894 Acts

24 May 2009

The PCO has republished damaged volumes of statutes for 1888 to 1894—the "shattering statutes". Read more »

PAL Project Post Implementation Review

The PAL Project, designed to improve the way in which New Zealand legislation is made available to the public, was completed in January 2008. It has involved the implementation of a new XML-based drafting and publishing system within the PCO, and the provision of the New Zealand Legislation website. The new website provides free access to Acts, regulations, Bills, and Supplementary Order Papers.

The PAL Project was concluded with the undertaking of a Post Implementation Review (PIR), published in February 2009, as required by the SSC/Treasury Guidelines for Managing and Monitoring Major IT Projects.

The PIR reviewed the project's timeline, its methodology, governance, and management, and examined the benefits delivered against the aims set out in the business case. The report also sets out considerations which, with the benefit of hindsight, could be of use to other similar-sized agencies undertaking a similar project.

The completed project has created a drafting and publishing system and opened up public access to legislation through the provision of the New Zealand Legislation website. This website provides Acts, regulations, and Bills in a way that makes them easy to find and easy to print. It is comprehensive and up to date, and it also tracks legislation through its stages of development, from when a Bill is first introduced to Parliament to when it becomes an Act and through all the amendments that are made to it.

Legislative text, created by legislative drafters, is captured and flows through the processes of parliamentary consideration and amendment, to publication in electronic and printed forms, using one single integrated system.

A database of New Zealand legislation is now owned by the Crown and is available free to all users. In time it will become an official source of legislation. Nothing is deleted from the database, so it gradually builds up over time into a repository of historical as well as current data from the go-live date forward.

The Post Implementation Review report is available in PDF format (439 KB).

If you would like to receive the report in an alternative format, please contact us. The PCO documents referred to in the report are also available on request.

Media statement from the Attorney-General, 16 January 2008
New site sees improved public access to legislation

A new website launched today will mean greatly improved access to legislation for New Zealanders, Attorney-General Michael Cullen said today.

The new website——provides free public access to Acts, Regulations, and Bills to anyone with access to the internet.

"Providing public access to legislation is an important step in improving public engagement with the legislative process," Michael Cullen said.

"New Zealanders have a right to know what’s on our statute books and the government has an obligation to make that as easy as possible."

The New Zealand Legislation website is the culmination of the Public Access to Legislation (PAL) Project, undertaken by the Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO) in conjunction with the Office of the Clerk, and the Tax Drafting Unit of the Inland Revenue Department.

The PAL system is designed to improve the way in which New Zealand legislation (Bills, Acts, Statutory Regulations, and Supplementary Order Papers) is made available to the public. The aim is to provide public access to up-to-date official legislation in both printed and electronic form.

As the library of legislation on the website is built up over time, the website will show legislation at all its different stages—from a Bill as introduced, at each stage during its passage through Parliament, to an Act as originally passed, to an Act as it is amended over time, to a repealed Act. The new website also provides extensive information about the site and how to use it, in its "About this site" and "Glossary" sections.

The legislation on the new website will initially be an unofficial version of New Zealand legislation.

The PCO will now undertake a process of "officialising" the legislation, so that the website can ultimately become an official source of New Zealand legislation. This process is expected to take around three years.

Media Statement, 24 April 2006
Legislation—changes to format and access

The Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO), which drafts and publishes New Zealand' s legislation, has made several changes this year to legislation format. The PCO is also providing more legislative information on its website.

Annual bound volumes

The format of the annual bound volumes of Acts and Statutory Regulations has been simplified, the changes effective from the 2005 annual volumes. To speed the publishing process, legislation now appears exactly as it was assented to or made, rather than being reformatted for the annual volumes. Thus page numbers will no longer be sequential across volumes: page numbers for each Act or set of Statutory Regulations will start at "1". The index at the front of each volume will still list Acts or Statutory Regulations alphabetically, along with their number and the volume number. Because Acts and Statutory Regulations are published in numerical order, and the number appears at the top of every page, any individual Act or set of Statutory Regulations can be found by its number. The change will enable the annual bound volumes to be published more quickly than in the past.

Other format changes

Several other changes have been made to legislation format, effective from 1 January 2006. Those most noticeable to users are to the table of contents (formerly the "analysis") of Acts and Statutory Regulations. Tables of contents now include page numbers, and appear in a single column rather than double columns. The type size is also larger.

Regulations table now on website

Volume 1 of each year' s bound Statutory Regulations contains a table of Acts and other authorities under which Statutory Regulations are made. In October 2005 the PCO consulted with users of legislation to establish whether the table was of use to them, with a view to ceasing publication of the table if appropriate.

As a result of the consultation, the table is not only to be retained but is now also available on the PCO's website. The response to the survey showed that some specialist groups value the information it provides and would benefit from electronic access.

Deemed regulations on website

A list of principal deemed regulations, with information on how to access them, now appears on the PCO website. This list is updated regularly from information supplied by the agencies that administer the regulations.

The deemed regulations on the website include land transport rules, civil aviation rules, and a wide variety of other rules, codes, and other legislative instruments. Unlike Statutory Regulations made by the Executive Council on the recommendation of Cabinet, they are made by Ministers, officials, or organisations. They are not drafted by the PCO and are not published in the Statutory Regulations series. Because of their varied origins and nature, it has sometimes in the past proved difficult to access them.

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