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Legislation Act changes

Updated 25 November 2021

A summary of changes brought about by the Legislation Act 2019, which came into force on 28 October 2021.

We will update this table as changes come into effect.

About the Legislation Act »

  What's changed? Main commencement (or soon after) … Next steps …


We have one clear category of secondary legislation—including only things that Parliament has judged to have legislative effect (ie that make or change the law, rather than just apply it in a particular case)

2700+ empowering provisions across the statute book have been amended to state expressly that instruments made under those provisions are secondary legislation—these amendments will be all inserted into the principal Acts by early 2022.

Guidance on when something should be identified as secondary legislation has been incorporated into the LDAC’s Legislation Guidelines (2021 edition)—see Chapter 14.2

We also have more clarity about where secondary legislation must be published, whether it must be presented to Parliament, and whether Parliament can disallow it Tables are being inserted in legislation (see eg section 7 of the Wildlife Act 1953) that set out publication, presentation, and disallowance requirements—providing new clarity to both makers and users of secondary legislation—see "Accessing" below for more detail  
Drafting …

Who drafts legislation has not changed (much), but there will be more consistency going forward. See Legislation drafted and published by PCO.

The categories for drafting change slightly but the status quo as to who drafts largely remains. The PCO continues to draft secondary legislation that goes through Cabinet and other secondary legislation it is already drafting Guidance for when the PCO will draft non-Cabinet secondary legislation is available at Process to obtain drafting agreement. If you are potentially interested in an agreement for the PCO to draft, first review the guidance, then get in touch
Making …  The toolbox of supporting powers, generic definitions, and other aids to making legislation has shifted from the Interpretation Act 1999 into the Legislation Act 2019—with some enhancements Part 2 of the Legislation Act 2019 is key when making legislation We will update Turning Policy Into Law and provide other support material for instructors and agencies who need to know about these powers when developing legislation. We are developing new standardised clauses and guidance for the highest use provisions that take advantage of the new rules—eg commencement, regulation empowering provisions, transitional provisions
Legislative requirements for disclosure statements will be coming For now the administrative requirements for disclosure statements continue Treasury is leading the next steps on this work
Accessing …    Where secondary legislation is published is not changing much for now, but there will be ongoing access improvements.    
For PCO-drafted secondary legislation   A new secondary legislation tab and links will be added to Acts on the NZ Legislation website, enabling you to access PCO-drafted secondary legislation for that Act 
For agency-drafted secondary legislation  For existing empowering provisions, where it must be published is not changing automatically Agencies will be able to opt into the new minimum standard of Gazette + internet publication (via being added to Schedule 2 of the Legislation (Publication) Regulations 2021)—we will engage with relevant agencies in 2022 on the requirements for agencies who wish to opt in
For new empowering provisions, the Legislation (Publication) Regulations 2021 set the new minimum standard of Gazette + internet publication We will work with agencies on guidance and requirements to improve the availability and organisation of their collections of secondary legislation, so that they are up to date and accessible on their individual websites with better access to them via the legislation website
Understanding … The rules for interpreting legislation shift from the Interpretation Act 1999 into the Legislation Act 2019—with some enhancements Part 2 of the Legislation Act 2019 is key when reading legislation We will put up new guidance for users to better support their understanding of legislation
Refreshing the system … The PCO has a new stewardship objective for all legislation, with a requirement to report annually on key stewardship matters The PCO has a new System and Stewardship group, which will be leading the development of a legislative stewardship strategy in 2022 We will talk with agencies about our legislative stewardship role, and how we can work together to enhance the stewardship of legislation

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