PCO initiating programme to digitise all historical Acts
19 March 2010
The PCO is starting a programme to digitise historical New Zealand Acts, from 1841 to 2007. The aim is to provide free online access to all New Zealand Acts in their original form (as enacted), whether or not they have subsequently been repealed. The format will be searchable PDFs. This will make legislation available that in many cases is currently only held in printed volumes in a limited number of libraries around the country.
This collection of historical Acts will supplement that already available on the New Zealand Legislation website. That website provides Acts currently in force (the earliest of which dates back to 1275) together with Acts that have ben repealed since the site went live 2 1/2 years ago. Some earlier legislation is available online from other sources, either free of charge or commercially. But the bulk of historical New Zealand Acts are not available online. This gap in collections of digital legislation affects the legal profession, researchers, and anyone who needs to know what the law was when it was first enacted.
Government response to Law Commission reports presented
The government's response to the Law Commission reports "Presentation of New Zealand Statute Law" and "Review of the Statutes Drafting and Compilation Act 1920" (a review of the Act that established the Parliamentary Counsel Office) was presented to the House of Representatives on 20 November 2009.
Shattering statutes now online
30 June 2009
PCO publishes facsimile printed editions of 1888 to 1894 Acts
24 May 2009
The PCO has republished damaged volumes of statutes for 1888 to 1894—the "shattering statutes". Read more »
PAL Project Post Implementation Review
The PAL Project, designed to improve the way in which New Zealand legislation is made available to the public, was completed in January 2008. It has involved the implementation of a new XML-based drafting and publishing system within the PCO, and the provision of the New Zealand Legislation website. The new website provides free access to Acts, regulations, Bills, and Supplementary Order Papers.
The PAL Project was concluded with the undertaking of a Post Implementation Review (PIR), published in February 2009, as required by the SSC/Treasury Guidelines for Managing and Monitoring Major IT Projects.
The PIR reviewed the project's timeline, its methodology, governance, and management, and examined the benefits delivered against the aims set out in the business case. The report also sets out considerations which, with the benefit of hindsight, could be of use to other similar-sized agencies undertaking a similar project.
The completed project has created a drafting and publishing system and opened up public access to legislation through the provision of the New Zealand Legislation website. This website provides Acts, regulations, and Bills in a way that makes them easy to find and easy to print. It is comprehensive and up to date, and it also tracks legislation through its stages of development, from when a Bill is first introduced to Parliament to when it becomes an Act and through all the amendments that are made to it.
Legislative text, created by legislative drafters, is captured and flows through the processes of parliamentary consideration and amendment, to publication in electronic and printed forms, using one single integrated system.
A database of New Zealand legislation is now owned by the Crown and is available free to all users. In time it will become an official source of legislation. Nothing is deleted from the database, so it gradually builds up over time into a repository of historical as well as current data from the go-live date forward.
The Post Implementation Review report is available in PDF format (439 KB).
If you would like to receive the report in an alternative format, please contact us. The PCO documents referred to in the report are also available on request.
Media statement from the Attorney-General, 16 January 2008
New site sees improved public access to legislation
A new website launched today will mean greatly improved access to legislation for New Zealanders, Attorney-General Michael Cullen said today.
The new website—www.legislation.govt.nz—provides free public access to Acts, Regulations, and Bills to anyone with access to the internet.
"Providing public access to legislation is an important step in improving public engagement with the legislative process," Michael Cullen said.
"New Zealanders have a right to know what’s on our statute books and the government has an obligation to make that as easy as possible."
The New Zealand Legislation website is the culmination of the Public Access to Legislation (PAL) Project, undertaken by the Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO) in conjunction with the Office of the Clerk, and the Tax Drafting Unit of the Inland Revenue Department.
The PAL system is designed to improve the way in which New Zealand legislation (Bills, Acts, Statutory Regulations, and Supplementary Order Papers) is made available to the public. The aim is to provide public access to up-to-date official legislation in both printed and electronic form.
As the library of legislation on the website is built up over time, the website will show legislation at all its different stages—from a Bill as introduced, at each stage during its passage through Parliament, to an Act as originally passed, to an Act as it is amended over time, to a repealed Act. The new website also provides extensive information about the site and how to use it, in its "About this site" and "Glossary" sections.
The legislation on the new website will initially be an unofficial version of New Zealand legislation.
The PCO will now undertake a process of "officialising" the legislation, so that the website can ultimately become an official source of New Zealand legislation. This process is expected to take around three years.
Media Statement, 24 April 2006
Legislation—changes to format and access
The Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO), which drafts and publishes New Zealand' s legislation, has made several changes this year to legislation format. The PCO is also providing more legislative information on its website.
Annual bound volumes
The format of the annual bound volumes of Acts and Statutory Regulations has been simplified, the changes effective from the 2005 annual volumes. To speed the publishing process, legislation now appears exactly as it was assented to or made, rather than being reformatted for the annual volumes. Thus page numbers will no longer be sequential across volumes: page numbers for each Act or set of Statutory Regulations will start at "1". The index at the front of each volume will still list Acts or Statutory Regulations alphabetically, along with their number and the volume number. Because Acts and Statutory Regulations are published in numerical order, and the number appears at the top of every page, any individual Act or set of Statutory Regulations can be found by its number. The change will enable the annual bound volumes to be published more quickly than in the past.
Other format changes
Several other changes have been made to legislation format, effective from 1 January 2006. Those most noticeable to users are to the table of contents (formerly the "analysis") of Acts and Statutory Regulations. Tables of contents now include page numbers, and appear in a single column rather than double columns. The type size is also larger.
Regulations table now on website
Volume 1 of each year' s bound Statutory Regulations contains a table of Acts and other authorities under which Statutory Regulations are made. In October 2005 the PCO consulted with users of legislation to establish whether the table was of use to them, with a view to ceasing publication of the table if appropriate.
As a result of the consultation, the table is not only to be retained but is now also available on the PCO's website. The response to the survey showed that some specialist groups value the information it provides and would benefit from electronic access.
Deemed regulations on website
A list of principal deemed regulations, with information on how to access them, now appears on the PCO website. This list is updated regularly from information supplied by the agencies that administer the regulations.
The deemed regulations on the website include land transport rules, civil aviation rules, and a wide variety of other rules, codes, and other legislative instruments. Unlike Statutory Regulations made by the Executive Council on the recommendation of Cabinet, they are made by Ministers, officials, or organisations. They are not drafted by the PCO and are not published in the Statutory Regulations series. Because of their varied origins and nature, it has sometimes in the past proved difficult to access them.