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Consultation on first revision programme

Page updated 26 August 2014: This consultation is now closed.

The Parliamentary Counsel Office is now consulting on the first revision programme under Subpart 3 of Part 2 of the Legislation Act 2012.

About the revision process

What is this consultation about?

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

The process involves selecting a number of statutes to be revised over a three-year period that coincides with a Parliamentary term.  The first three-year programme of revision work will be undertaken during the term of the next Parliament from 2015 to 2017.  

As the Attorney-General is required to seek public submissions on the revision programme, we are seeking your views.  More details about how revision will work are set out below.

Revision: purpose and powers

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

Revision Bills may be used to:

  • combine or divide Acts or their parts
  • adopt a new Title
  • omit redundant and spent provisions
  • renumber and rearrange provisions
  • change to the current drafting style and format, and generally to 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
  • update monetary amounts for Consumers Price Index changes or provide for amounts to be prescribed by Order in Council. 
Revision programme and consultation

The Parliamentary Counsel Office is responsible for preparing the revision programme in consultation with the Government departments that administer the legislation.  The Attorney-General is required under section 30 of the Legislation Act 2012 to invite public submissions on each new programme before seeking the Government’s approval and presenting the revision programme to Parliament.

Revision Bills and certification

The Chief Parliamentary Counsel will prepare the Bills on the programme in accordance with the statutory revision Bill powers. 

Revision Bills must be certified by a panel of eminent lawyers comprising 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).  The certifiers must be satisfied that:

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

They may require a Bill to be changed before certifying it.

After certification, the Bills and their certificates will be provided to the Attorney-General in readiness for the Bills' introduction into Parliament. 

The explanatory note of a revision Bill must include (as required by section 32 of the Legislation Act 2012) a statement setting out, in general terms, the inconsistencies, anomalies, discrepancies, and omissions that were identified when preparing the revision, and how they have been remedied in the Bill.

The intention is that the Parliamentary examination of revision Bills will be streamlined because these Bills will have no element of new policy in them, and they will not make substantive changes to the law. The Parliamentary process has yet to be finalised.

Revision Bill candidates

Suitable Acts for including in the first programme have been selected on the basis that they:

  • are outdated in language and drafting style, and they may be heavily amended or repealed in part
  • contain related areas of law that could be consolidated with other statutes into one statute
  • are in frequent use or affect a significant sector of the public
  • are unlikely to be proposed for amendment during the revision process
  • will be more easily accessible to people if revised.
First revision programme 2015–2017

The programme below is a draft programme for consultation purposes.  The programme has been developed in the context of the current resourcing commitments of agencies.

Titles of revision Bills are provisional.  The revision exercise is intended to determine the most suitable form, title, and location of the enacted law.

How to make a submission

We welcome your views about the suitability of the Acts that have been selected for revision on the revision programme, and whether they might benefit from revision. Please suggest any other Acts that you think may be suitable for revision, with your reasons—for example, would renumbering be helpful?

Comments on the revision programme can be sent to the PCO by emailing, marked attention of Julia Agar, or by post to the Parliamentary Counsel Office, PO Box 18 070, Wellington 6160.

Please supply your name and address (including a telephone number or email address) so that we can contact you if we need to clarify anything in your comments.

Please provide comments by 9 am on 25 August 2014.

Revision Bill programme 2015 to 2017

Revision Bills that are proposed to be started during three-year revision periodActs proposed for revisionReasons for revisionAdministering agency
Contracts and Commercial Revision Bill To revise and consolidate:
  • Carriage of Goods Act 1979
  • Contracts (Privity) Act 1982
  • Contractual Mistakes Act 1977
  • Contractual Remedies Act 1979
  • Electronic Transactions Act 2002
  • Frustrated Contracts Act 1944
  • Illegal Contracts Act 1970
  • Mercantile Law Act 1908
  • Minors’ Contracts Act 1969
  • Sale of Goods Act 1908
  • Sale of Goods (United Nations Convention) Act 1994
These are largely older Acts that are expressed in language that is out of date and many provisions have been repealed. Their consolidation in a modern form will make them more accessible and reduce regulatory costs for business. Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Ministry of Justice
Land Valuation Proceedings Revision Bill Land Valuation Proceedings Act 1948 The Act is older with many repealed provisions Ministry of Justice and Land Information New Zealand
Civil Liability Legislation Revision Bill To revise and consolidate or incorporate into other Acts:
  • Law Reform Act 1936
  • Law Reform Act 1944
There are only a few provisions left in these older Acts relating to the effect of death on causes of action, charges on insurance as indemnity for liability to pay damages, liability of tortfeasors, damages for injury from shock. This revision Bill title is an umbrella title for provisions that might be enacted separately or incorporated into other Acts. The title will be revisited in the course of preparing the revision Bill. Ministry of Justice
Occupiers’ Liability Revision Bill Occupiers’ Liability Act 1962 This Act is written in out of date language Ministry of Justice
Partnership Revision Bill Partnership Act 1908 This Act is old and expressed in archaic language Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
Summary Offences Revision Bill Summary Offences Act 1981 This Act would benefit from being modernised and renumbered Ministry of Justice
Victims’ Rights Revision Bill Victims’ Rights Act 2002 The Act’s structure could be simplified and its provisions expressed in simpler, plain English Ministry of Justice

Revisions that are expected to be enacted during the three-year revision period:

Contracts and Commercial Revision Bill

Revisions on which work is expected to continue during the three-year revision period:

Other revision Bills

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