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PCO news

Three Cabinet Papers proactively released

2 November 2021

Three Cabinet Papers have been proactively released:

  • Update to Legislation Guidelines (2018 edition)
  • Government Response to the Report of the Regulations Review Committee on the Review of Secondary Legislation Made in Response to COVID-19
  • Government Response to the Report of the Regulations Review Committee on the Inquiry into the Parliamentary Scrutiny of Confirmable Instruments

Read the papers and the associated minutes »


Legislation Act 2019 comes into force 28 October 2021

22 October 2021

The Legislation Act 2019 comes into force on 28 October. The Act promotes high-quality legislation for New Zealand that is easy to find, use, and understand.

Read more about the Act, including how it provides principles and rules about the interpretation of legislation: About the Legislation Act 2019 »


Secondary legislation on the NZ Legislation website

22 October 2021

You may soon notice some changes on the NZ Legislation website:

  • The label “Legislative Instrument” will be replaced by “secondary legislation”. You’ll see this when using the website’s search and browse tools, and on search results pages, from 28 October 2021.
  • For Acts that allow secondary legislation to be made, it will be easier to see where the secondary legislation must be published, and whether it must be presented to Parliament. This information will be shown in a table added under the provisions within an Act that identify a power to make secondary legislation. Tables will be added to hundreds of Acts over several months, with work starting on 28 October 2021.
  • The Secondary Legislation Act 2021 makes thousands of technical amendments to hundreds of Acts on 28 October. While we will update the affected Acts as quickly as possible, the process will take several months to complete. In the meantime, each Act will carry a note saying that some in-force amendments have not been incorporated.
What is secondary legislation?

Secondary legislation is law made:

  • by someone other than Parliament
  • under a power that Parliament has formally delegated in a particular Act.

There is also a small amount of secondary legislation made not under an Act but under the Royal prerogative. Secondary legislation is defined in section 5 of the Legislation Act 2019.

Secondary legislation can have titles like “regulations”, “rules”, and “Orders-in-Council”.

Not all secondary legislation is available from the NZ Legislation website. All secondary legislation drafted by the Parliamentary Counsel Office is published there in full. But some secondary legislation is drafted by other agencies and published by them in other places, typically on their website or in the NZ Gazette.

Why the changes?

The changes stem from the Legislation Act 2019 and Secondary Legislation Act 2021 coming into force on 28 October 2021. They are part of a reform of secondary legislation that provides certainty as to what counts as secondary legislation, where it must be published, and what Parliamentary oversight applies to it. See Legislation Act changes for more details.


PCO Annual Report

21 October 2021

The PCO's Annual Report for the year ending 30 June 2021 was presented to the House today.

View the report »


Report on legislation waiting to be brought into force by Order in Council as at 1 July 2021

22 September 2021

This report was presented to the House of Representatives on 21 September 2021. View the report »


PCO welcomes new leadership team

15 September 2021

The PCO re-shaped its organisational structure from 9 August, and is pleased to announce that Richard Wallace, Karl Simpson, Michelle Groves and Vicki Scott have now joined Chief Parliamentary Counsel Cassie Nicholson as PCO’s new Executive Leadership Team (ELT).

The new ELT leads four groups: a Drafting Group, a new System and Stewardship Group, an Access and Digital Strategy Group, and a Business Services Group.

This structures us well to deliver on our leadership role for stewardship of New Zealand’s legislation, making Great law for New Zealand. The changes give us a strong and visible focus on stewardship, with the new System and Stewardship Group dedicated to this work and to growing our partnerships with others. The changes also integrate our digital strategy with our publication services in the Access and Digital Strategy Group. This enables end-to-end system design, strengthening our focus on access for end-users.

Read more about the PCO's four groups and the members of the ELT: Meet the team »


Proactive release of Cabinet paper

15 September 2021

The Cabinet paper “Legislation Act 2019—Regulations and Commencement Orders” has been proactively released.

Read the paper »


Disclosure of Chief Parliamentary Counsel's expenses for the 12 months to 30 June 2021

3 September 2021

In 2010, the State Services Commissioner introduced a disclosure regime for expenses, gifts, and hospitality incurred by Chief Executives of Public Service departments and Crown entities.

Although the PCO is a non-public service department and therefore not bound by that disclosure regime, it has decided to voluntarily publish this information.


Revision Bill programme 2021-2023

10 June 2021

The revision programme for the 53rd Parliament was presented to the House today.


Proactive release of Cabinet paper

31 May 2021

The Cabinet paper “Legislation Act 2019 regulations and commencement order: policy approvals” has been proactively released.

Read the paper »


Appointment of Chief Parliamentary Counsel

13 April 2021

Attorney-General David Parker today announced the appointment of Cassie Nicholson as Chief Parliamentary Counsel for a term of five years.

“Cassie is a respected leader with a deep understanding and knowledge of the work of the Parliamentary Counsel Office,” David Parker said. “She is a dedicated public servant and understands the role of the agency within New Zealand’s law making system.”

Ms Nicholson starts in the role on 7 May 2021. The current Chief Parliamentary Counsel, Fiona Leonard, finishes her term on 6 May 2021.

“I would like to thank Fiona Leonard for her service as Chief Parliamentary Counsel. She has made a significant contribution to ensuring our system of government works smoothly,” David Parker said.

More »


Secondary Legislation Act 2021 enacted

The Secondary Legislation Act 2021 received Royal assent on 24 March 2021.

Read the Act »


Revision report presented to Parliament

19 March 2021

On 16 March the Attorney-General Hon David Parker presented the Chief Parliamentary Counsel’s Report on Subpart 3 of Part 2 of the Legislation Act 2012 to Parliament.

The report reviews the operation and effectiveness of the revision requirements in Subpart 3 as at 30 June 2020.


Proactive release of Cabinet paper

10 March 2021

The Cabinet paper "Secondary Legislation Bill—Two supplementary order papers: Approval for release" has been proactively released.

Read the paper »


Consulting on revision programme 2021-2023

29 January 2021

“The Government is now seeking feedback on its next three-year statute revision programme”, Chief Parliamentary Counsel Fiona Leonard announced today.

The Acts on the programme have been selected because they are old, expressed in outdated language, or heavily amended. 

“The Acts will be rewritten in plain, modern language and in our current drafting style and format. The result will be law that will be easier to find, use, and understand”, said Fiona Leonard. 

Before a revision Bill is introduced into Parliament, certification is required that the statutory revision powers have been exercised properly and that the Bill does not change the substance of the law.    

The first revision Bill, now the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017, revised 12 Acts setting out general rules about contracts and commercial transactions. It won the 2017 WriteMark Best Plain English Legal Document award. The next Bill, now the Partnership Law Act 2019, revised the Partnership Act 1908 to make the law more accessible for partnerships in New Zealand. With over 64,000 GST-registered unincorporated partnerships in New Zealand last year, and an unknown number that are not GST-registered, partnership law has a direct impact on many New Zealanders.

The revision programme is available on the Parliamentary Counsel Office website at pco.govt.nz/revision-consultation-2021.

Submissions are due by 5 pm on Friday 12 March 2021 and can be emailed to contact@pco.govt.nz, attention: the revision programme team.


Table of 2020 Legislative Instruments

26 January 2021

Legislative Instruments are made under the authority of empowering legislation. A table listing the Acts or other authorities under which Legislative Instruments were made in 2020, and those 2020 Legislative Instruments, is now available. Tables for earlier years are also available.

View the tables »


 Briefing for Incoming Attorney-General published

15 December 2020

The PCO's 2020 Briefing for the Incoming Attorney-General was published on 15 December 2020.

Briefings to Incoming Ministers (BIMs) are required from all public sector agencies and Crown entities soon after a general election and formation of a new cabinet.   

View the briefing »


Turning Policy Into Law: A step-by-step guide for instructors

23 November 2020

Turning Policy Into Law is an interactive and easy-to-use resource for instructors. It covers:

  • the key steps in a standard process for Bills, with the roles of instructors, drafters, and other key people at each step
  • tips for how to work best with others and what are the “PCO essentials” that you need to know
  • more detailed FAQs that address particular issues that instructors regularly encounter
  • a kit for instructions, including instructions templates for Bills and secondary legislation, and a planner for developing Bills
  • handy links to other external resources useful when developing instructions or planning your process.

Its current main focus is on Bills, but includes resources for secondary legislation with more to come.

Turning Policy Into Law replaces and updates the Guide to Working with the PCO, the Kit for Instructors, FAQs for instructors, and checklists for drafting instructions and the introduction of Bills.

Find Turning Policy Into Law under the Instructing the PCO tab.


 PCO Annual Report and Strategic Intentions published

6 November 2020

The PCO's Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2020 and the Strategic Intentions for the period 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2024 were published today.


Independent Review of the Process for Introducing the COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Other Regulatory Urgent Measures) Bill

15 September 2020

This report provides the PCO and the Inland Revenue Department with an independent assessment of the processes surrounding the introduction of the COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Other Regulatory Urgent Measures) Bill 2020.

View the report (PDF 956KB) »


COVID-19 legislation

8 April 2020

View a collection of legislation produced in response to COVID-19:

COVID-19 legislation »


Secondary Legislation Bill: submissions invited

20 December 2019

The Secondary Legislation Bill, introduced to the House on 10 December, received its first reading on 17 December and was referred to the Regulations Review Committee.

Submissions on the Bill are invited from the public. Submissions can be made online via the Parliament website. The closing date for submissions is Friday 14 February 2020.


Consultation: Land Valuation Proceedings Bill

29 November 2019

We are seeking feedback on this draft Bill before introduction. Its purpose is to revise the Land Valuation Proceedings Act 1948, which is old and expressed in out-of-date language. Revising this Act in a modern form will make it more accessible and help to reduce regulatory costs.


Unofficial consolidation of Climate Change Response Act showing amendments proposed by Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill

26 November 2019

An unofficial consolidation of the Climate Change Response Act 2002 has been prepared to show the amendments proposed by the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill as introduced on 24 October 2019.

It is intended to assist public submissions and select committee consideration of the amendment Bill. It does not have any official status as a Bill.

View the unofficial consolidation (PDF 2.5MB) »


Partnership Law Act 2019 enacted

23 October 2019

The Partnership Law Act 2019 is the second revision Bill to be enacted. The Bill received Royal assent on 21 October 2019, and comes into force on 21 April 2020.

The Act re-enacts the Partnership Law Act 1908 in up-to-date language and drafting style without changing the substantive effect of the law. The 1908 Act will be repealed on 21 April 2020.

The Act brings forward the rules for (unincorporated) business partnerships that define a partnership, the rights and obligations between partners and with third parties, and the rules that apply when partnerships end. The new Act applies to all partnerships regardless of when they were formed.

Schedule 3 of the Act contains a comparative table of the old and the corresponding new provisions.

View the Partnership Law Act 2019 »

Read more about the revision programme and the Partnership Law Bill »


Unofficial consolidation of Arms Act showing amendments proposed by Arms Legislation Bill

26 September 2019

An unofficial consolidation of the Arms Act 1983 has been prepared to show the amendments proposed by the Arms Legislation Bill as introduced on 13 September 2019.

It is intended to assist public submissions and select committee consideration of the amendment Bill. It does not have any official status as a Bill.

View the unofficial consolidation (PDF 742KB) »


New PCO phone numbers

7 August 2019—updated 6 January 2020

PCO phone numbers have changed from today. The main office number is now 04 333 1000. All DDIs have also changed, so please ask your regular contacts for their new numbers.

Calls to the old numbers will be automatically diverted until 20 January 2020. After this date they will no longer work.


Partnership Law Bill introduced

28 May 2019

The Partnership Law Bill was introduced to the House today. This Bill was developed under the 2018–2020 revision programme.

The related Cabinet paper Partnership Law Bill: Approval for Introduction has been proactively released.

Read more about the Bill and the revision programme, and view the Cabinet paper »

Update 14 June 2019: The Justice Committee has called for submissions on the Bill by 25 July. Their report is due on 11 December 2019.

The committee asks submitters to note that any amendments will be restricted by the Bill's narrow purpose of making the existing law more accessible. The committee said it is particularly interested in whether the Bill accurately and clearly expresses the substance of the existing law.


Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Act 2019 enacted

12 April 2019

The Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Act 2019 received Royal assent on 11 April 2019.

Update 16 April 2019: The Arms Act 1983 and the Arms Regulations 1992 have been reprinted as at 12 April 2019 to reflect amendments made by this Act.


Supplementary Order Paper released proposing amendments to Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill

10 April 2019

The Hon Stuart Nash, Minister of Police, has released a Supplementary Order Paper (No 201) that proposes amendments to the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill.

View Supplementary Order Paper No 201 »

Other Supplementary Order Papers for the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill may be released before the Bill’s committee of the whole House stage. If so, these would be available on the Bill’s Versions and SOPs page. In addition, the select committee’s report on the Bill is available.

Note that the unofficial consolidation (PDF 492KB) of the Arms Act 1983, released on 2 April, does not include the amendments proposed by Supplementary Order Paper No 201, nor any other amendments that may be proposed.


Unofficial consolidation of Arms Act showing amendments proposed by Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill

2 April 2019

An unofficial consolidation of the Arms Act 1983 has been prepared to show the amendments proposed by the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill as introduced on 1 April 2019.

It is intended to assist public submissions and select committee consideration of the amendment Bill. It does not have any official status as a Bill.

View the unofficial consolidation (PDF 492KB) »


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