Acts and regulations
If you have a question that cannot be answered from the information provided below or the other frequently asked questions (FAQ), please contact us.
How do I find a particular Act or set of regulations?
How does an Act become law?
How do regulations become law?
How do I find out what Acts or regulations are in force?
Which versions of legislation are official?
How do I find legislation relating to a particular topic?
How do I get help with understanding or applying a particular Act or set of regulations?
How do I find out which agency administers a particular Act or set of regulations?
How do I find out which Minister is responsible for a particular Act or set of regulations?
How do I find repealed or revoked legislation?
How do I find out whether regulations have been made under an Act?
How do I find out when regulations come into force?
How do I get a copy of a reprinted Act or set of regulations?
When does a new Act or set of regulations become available?
You can search, browse, and print Acts and Statutory Regulations on the New Zealand Legislation website. This site provides current versions of legislation (with amendments incorporated), amendment Acts and amendment regulations from 1999, and legislation repealed or revoked after 4 September 2007. More information on the website is available at About this site, and help with using the site is available from the Guide to using the New Zealand Legislation website.
Regulations that are made by Order in Council are usually submitted in draft form to Cabinet (or a Cabinet Committee) for approval, and then signed by the Governor-General at a meeting of the Executive Council (a special meeting of Cabinet Ministers). See Chapter 7 of the Cabinet Manual.
Regulations that are not made by Order in Council are made in various ways. For example, a Ministerial notice is simply signed by the Minister who has power to issue the notice. See also What are deemed regulations?
All Statutory Regulations (as defined in section 2 of the Regulations (Disallowance) Act 1989) are required to be printed and published as part of the official publication known as the Statutory Regulations series.
The New Zealand Legislation website provides current versions of legislation. If legislation on the site is not yet in force, it will carry an alert message. See How up to date is this website? for the New Zealand Legislation website’s currency.
A list of new legislation (Acts, Bills, Statutory Regulations, and Supplementary Order Papers) published in the current year is available on the Legislation Direct website, and is updated weekly.
The Tables of New Zealand Acts and Ordinances and Statutory Regulations and Deemed Regulations in Force list all Acts and Statutory Regulations in force at 1 January for a given year. This annual publication, available in hard copy format only, is available from Legislation Direct. The electronic version of the Tables was withdrawn from 31 March 2008. More information.
Official New Zealand legislation is published in hard copy by the PCO and printed by Legislation Direct. Copies of Acts and regulations are available for sale from Legislation Direct and some bookshops. The reprints of Acts and Statutory Regulations published by the Parliamentary Counsel Office are also official.
At present, no official version of New Zealand legislation is available in electronic form. The PCO is working towards making the New Zealand Legislation website an official source of legislation, and the more recent legislation it provides has "semi-official" status. See Making online legislation official.
If you do not know which piece of legislation is relevant, you can search the New Zealand Legislation website to find your topic. See the Guide to using the New Zealand Legislation website.
Alternatively, you can use newzealand.govt.nz to search for the topic you are interested in. The websites of government agencies that administer legislation in the topic area may also be useful. Web addresses for agencies are available under A-Z of Government Agencies on newzealand.govt.nz.
The PCO does not give advice to the public about the interpretation or operation of legislation. For this advice, you should contact the Government agency that administers the legislation. See How do I find out which agency administers a particular Act or set of Regulations? You may also wish to contact a lawyer, or your local Citizens Advice Bureau or community law centre. Another useful site is the Legal Services Agency's LawAccess website, a catalogue of law-related information and resources.
On the New Zealand Legislation website you can usually find the name of the administering agency from the contents page of each Act or set of regulations. Alternatively it may appear under Legislative history or Administrative information in the contents.
The official printed copy of each Act and each set of regulations states, at the end, which Government agency is responsible for administering them.
The administering agency is generally responsible for the operation of the legislation and for making recommendations to the government of the day about improving it. It does not mean that the agency is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the legislation. Another agency may have that responsibility. To find out, check with the administering agency first.
The Cabinet Office maintains a ministerial list that sets out the portfolios and other responsibilities of each Minister. As a general rule, a Minister who has responsibility for a particular agency is responsible for the Acts and regulations that it administers. However, sometimes this responsibility may be shared with another Minister, or delegated to an Associate Minister. See also How do I contact my MP or a Minister?
The New Zealand Acts 1841–2007 As-Enacted Collection includes repealed Acts that were enacted between 1841 and 2007. It is available from NZLII, the New Zealand Legal Information Institute. Note that the Acts do not show whether they are in force or have been repealed, or amendments made after they were enacted.
Some revoked regulations are available from the Knowledge Basket website.
Repealed or revoked legislation can be found in some public libraries. It may be possible to buy a copy of the repealed or revoked legislation from Legislation Direct. Alternatively, the National Library of New Zealand or the Parliamentary Information Service may be able to help.
Statutory Regulations are usually given a name that starts with the name of the Act under which they were made. For example, the names of regulations made under the Health Act 1956 usually start with the word "Health" (eg Health (Immunisation) Regulations 1995).
You can search the New Zealand Legislation website, or look in the Tables of New Zealand Acts and Ordinances and Statutory Regulations in Force, for regulations with titles beginning with the name of the Act in question.
Another approach is to refer to the annual bound volumes of New Zealand Statutory Regulations. Volume 1 of each annual set contains a table of "Acts and other authorities under which Statutory Regulations are made" for that year.
The table of Acts and other authorities under which Statutory Regulations are made is available electronically for regulations made in 2005 and subsequent complete years.
Regulations may come into force at different times. The most common are:
- on a specific date
- after the occurrence of a specified period (for example, on the 28th day after the date of notification in the Gazette).
Sometimes different parts of regulations come into force at different times.
Regulations will usually contain a specific provision stating when they come into force. For regulations made before 1 January 2000, this will usually be stated in regulation 1(2) of the regulations. For regulations made after 1 January 2000, this will usually be stated in regulation 2 of the regulations.
The date on which particular regulations were notified in the Gazette is stated at the very end of the regulations.
If regulations made before 1 November 1999 do not state specifically when they come into force, they usually come into force on the date on which they are made.
If regulations made after 1 November 1999 do not state specifically when they come into force, they usually come into force on the day after the date of their notification in the Gazette (in accordance with section 9(2) of the Interpretation Act 1999).
Reprints are available from Legislation Direct (the PCO's contracted printer and distributor of legislation) individually or on subscription. Please contact Legislation Direct for details. Reprints are also available from selected retail outlets and from many public libraries.
Reprints of Acts published since 1/11/02 and of regulations published since 1/10/03 are also available from the Knowledge Basket website.
Unofficial electronic versions of Acts and regulations with their amendments incorporated are available on the New Zealand Legislation website.
Printed copies become available from Legislation Direct and some bookshops up to ten working days after an Act receives Royal assent. Regulations are usually available two working days after they are made.