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Part 1—The Revision process


Request for Submission; Introduction »
Part 1—The Revision process
Part 2—The draft Bill »
Part 3—Nature of drafting change »
Part 4 —Issues noted for possible future reform »

 The Legislation Act 2012 introduced a mechanism for systematically revising the presentation of some New Zealand statutes to make them more accessible. After these statutes have been revised, they will be introduced as revision Bills into Parliament for re-enactment.

The revision powers that can be applied, and the revision process, are set out in subpart 3 of Part 2 of the Legislation Act 2012.

A revision programme is required to be presented to the House of Representatives for each new Parliament.  Each revision programme sets out the statutes that will be revised over the corresponding three-year Parliamentary term.

Revision: purpose and powers

Revision will update selected New Zealand statutes to make them more accessible, readable, and easier to understand. Revision can change the form of the legislation but not its substantive legal effect.

The revision powers are set out in section 31(2) of the Legislation Act 2012. Revision Bills may be used to:

  • combine or divide Acts or parts of Acts
  • adopt a new Title
  • omit redundant and spent provisions
  • renumber and rearrange provisions
  • change the current drafting style and format, and generally express better the spirit and meaning of the law
  • include new purpose or overview provisions and examples, diagrams, and other devices to aid accessibility and readability
  • correct typographical, punctuation, and grammatical errors.

A revision Bill will not make policy changes because it can only make minor changes to the effect of the law as allowed under section 31(2)(i) and (j) of the Legislation Act 2012. This section does allow a revision Bill to:

  • make minor amendments to clarify Parliament’s intent, or reconcile inconsistencies between provisions
  • update monetary amounts for Consumers Price Index changes (other than jurisdiction amounts, or offences or penalties) or provide for amounts to be prescribed by Order in Council.
Revision programme and consultation

The PCO is responsible for preparing the revision programme in consultation with the government departments that administer the legislation.

Current revision programme

The revision programme for the 51st Parliament was published for comment in July/August 2014 and was presented to the House of Representatives on 8 December 2014.

Next steps

After the consultation period has closed and submissions have been analysed, the Bill will be finalised for presentation to the revision Bill Certifiers under section 33 of the Legislation Act 2012. The Certifiers are the President of the Law Commission (the Honourable Sir Grant Hammond KNZM), the Solicitor-General (Michael Heron QC), a retired High Court Judge (the Honourable John Priestley CNZM QC), and the Chief Parliamentary Counsel (David Noble). They must  be satisfied that:

  • the revision powers set out in section 31 of the Legislation Act 2012 have been exercised appropriately; and
  • the revision Bill does not change the effect of the law except as authorised by section 31(2)(i) or (j) of the Legislation Act 2012.

The Certifiers may require the Bill to be changed before certifying it for the Attorney-General as ready for introduction into Parliament. The Bill will be introduced in 2016.

There is a streamlined parliamentary process for revision Bills, because they will not contain any element of new policy, and they will not make substantive changes to the law.  The process is set out in the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, see Standing Order 271.

The Bill is expected to be enacted during the current parliamentary term, as indicated in the revision programme.

Next: Part 2—The draft Bill »

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