List of access keys

Legislation Act 2019

Updated 28 October 2021

The Legislation Act 2019 came into force on 28 October 2021.

What does the Act do?

The Legislation Act 2019 promotes high-quality legislation for New Zealand that is easy to find, use, and understand.

Interpretation of legislation: The Act provides principles and rules about the interpretation of legislation. These includes providing default definitions (eg the definition of working day), and rules about the commencement, amendment, and repeal of legislation. See Part 2 of the Act.

Secondary legislation: The Act is part of a legislative package that clarifies the law relating to secondary legislation. The Act defines secondary legislation in section 5(1). An instrument is secondary legislation if it is stated by an Act to be secondary legislation. The related Secondary Legislation Act 2021 has inserted those statements into each relevant empowering provision in Acts of Parliament. More about secondary legislation reforms »

Drafting and publishing of legislation: The Act sets out responsibilities for drafting and publishing of legislation, and provides tools for simplifying legislation and keeping it up to date. See Part 3 of the Act. The tools include:

  • Error correction and other editorial changes: The Act allows some errors to be corrected and other editorial changes to be made, to keep legislation up to date and maintain its accessibility for users.
  • Revision Bills: The Act allows for a process to systematically re-enact earlier law to modernise it and make it more accessible without changing its effect (except within narrow limits).

There are future amendments to the Act in Schedule 2 of the Legislation (Repeals and Amendments) Act 2019. They are not yet in force but will replace sections 69 to 77 to provide for online publication of all legislation in one place.

Disclosure requirements: The Act sets out disclosure requirements for Government-initiated legislation, to support parliamentary and public scrutiny of legislation. See Part 4 of the Act, which is yet to come into force. See Disclosure statements for information about current disclosure requirements.

Parliament’s oversight of secondary legislation: The Act supports parliamentary oversight of and control over secondary legislation. See Part 5 of the Act.

Parliamentary Counsel Office: The Act sets out the objective and functions of the PCO—drafting and publishing legislation and other functions that support the stewardship of New Zealand legislation. See Part 6 of the Act.

See more about changes brought about by the Legislation Act: Legislation Act changes »

History of the Act

On 28 October 2019 the Legislation Act 2019 and associated Legislation (Repeals and Amendments) Act 2019) were enacted. And on 24 March 2021 the Secondary Legislation Act 2021 was enacted. More about the Secondary Legislation Act 2021 and its history »

The Legislation Act 2019 forms a package with the Secondary Legislation Act 2021 and the Legislation (Repeals and Amendments) Act 2019. The reforms made by the package include the repeal, on 28 October 2021, of the earlier Legislation Act 2012 and the Interpretation Act 1999. More about the Legislation Act 2012 » 

About the Legislation Bill

The Legislation Act 2019 and the Legislation (Repeals and Amendments) Act 2019 arose from the Legislation Bill introduced to Parliament on 20 June 2017. The Bill received its first reading on 5 December 2017 and was referred to the Justice Committee, which reported back on 1 June 2018. The Bill's second reading was on 15 October 2019. Two Supplementary Order Papers were released on 15 October 2019: a substantive Supplementary Order Paper and a second Supplementary Order Paper dividing the Bill into the Legislation Bill and the Legislation (Repeals and Amendments) Bill. The resulting Bills received their third reading on 22 October 2019.

See also:

The content of the earlier Legislation Amendment Bill introduced to Parliament in 2014 was incorporated into the Legislation Bill. The 2014 Amendment Bill was withdrawn from the House in 2017.

The PCO released a discussion paper in 2013 in relation to re-enacting the Interpretation Act 1999 in the Legislation Act 2012.

Proactive release

Related Cabinet papers and their associated Cabinet Legislation Committee (LEG) minutes have been proactively released:

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