List of access keys

PCO news

Disclosure of Chief Parliamentary Counsel's expenses for the 12 months to 30 June 2016

28 July 2016

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.


Justice and Electoral Committee invites submissions on Contract and Commercial Law Bill

4 July 2016

The Justice and Electoral Committee has invited submissions on the Contract and Commercial Law Bill, the first revision Bill on the Government’s triennial statute revision programme. Submissions are due by 12 August 2016, and the committee's report is due on 14 December 2016.

The Bill consolidates 11 contract and commercial Acts, some dating back to 1908, into a single piece of legislation with a modern style and format. This will make the law clearer and easier to understand, without changing its substance.


Appointment of Deputy Chief Parliamentary Counsel (Director Drafting Legislation)
Cassie Nicholson 2016 06

Cassie Nicholson

17 June 2016

Chief Parliamentary Counsel Fiona Leonard is pleased to announce the appointment of Cassie Nicholson as Deputy Chief Parliamentary Counsel (Director Drafting Legislation).

Cassie is a senior Parliamentary Counsel, having been with the Parliamentary Counsel Office for 17 years. She began her career as a commercial lawyer in the private sector and joined the public sector after completing postgraduate study in law and regulation at the London School of Economics. She gained experience leading complex policy reform on secondment to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment from 2013 to 2015. She has been the acting Drafting Team Manager leading the Resources and Treaty team for the past 12 months.

Cassie heads the PCO's four drafting teams. She stepped into the role on 7 June.


First revision Bill in Parliament: Contract and Commercial Law Bill

20 May 2016

A bill to modernise and consolidate the laws underpinning contracts and commercial transactions was yesterday introduced into Parliament. This is the first revision Bill on the Government’s triennial statute revision programme—the first major statute law revision exercise by any government for over 100 years.

Eleven contract and commercial Acts, some dating back to 1908, are consolidated into a single piece of legislation with a modern style and format. This will make the law clearer and easier to understand, without changing its substance.


Statutory Regulations as made 1936–2007 now online

4 May 2016

Now available online, a complete collection of all Statutory Regulations published in the Statutory Regulations series 1936–2007:

These regulations are as originally made—they don’t include any later amendments or show whether they have been revoked, or are expired or spent.

The new collection, provided by the PCO and hosted by the New Zealand Legal Information Institute (NZLII), makes available free online PDF versions of regulations that were previously only available in printed volumes or at a cost.

Historical legislation available through NZLII

Alongside the Statutory Regulations 1936–2007 As-Made Collection, the partnership between the PCO and NZLII provides free access to the New Zealand Acts 1841–2007 As-Enacted Collection, the 1908 Consolidation of Acts, and the growing collection of New Zealand Historical Bills.

To create the as-made collection, the PCO has scanned Statutory Regulations published in annual bound volumes beginning with 1936, which is when the Statutory Regulations series began, through to 2007—over 21,000 documents. An OCR (optical character recognition) process has been applied to the resulting PDFs to make text searching possible, although further checking has not been carried out so search results are not guaranteed.

Current legislation on New Zealand Legislation website

The Statutory Regulations 1936–2007 As-Made Collection supplements the Statutory Regulations and Legislative Instruments provided by the New Zealand Legislation website. For current legislation, legislation revoked since 2007, and versions of legislation from 2008 until now, always visit legislation.govt.nz.

On the New Zealand Legislation website, Statutory Regulations and Legislative Instruments include all amendments that have been made to them. When they are amended, earlier versions are retained—but early Statutory Regulations may not be available in the form in which they were originally made.

Note: Statutory Regulations can include Orders in Council, rules, notices, determinations, proclamations, or warrants. Since 5 August 2013, the term “Legislative Instrument” (defined in section 4 of the Legislation Act 2012) is used. To find Statutory Regulations on the New Zealand Legislation website, search under Legislative Instruments.


Appointment of Chief Parliamentary Counsel

Prime Minister John Key announced on 4 April the appointment of Fiona Leonard as Chief Parliamentary Counsel for a term of five years.

“Fiona is a highly qualified legal drafter and her experience in the Parliamentary Counsel Office will give the agency consistency and certainty of leadership,” Mr Key said.

Ms Leonard will commence her term on 7 May 2016. The current Chief Parliamentary Counsel, Mr David Noble, will remain in the role until 6 May 2016.

“I would like to thank Mr Noble for his service as Chief Parliamentary Counsel. He has made a significant and lasting contribution to New Zealand’s government and legal system,” Mr Key said.

More »


PCO Legislative Drafting Assistance to Pacific Nations Evaluation Report

24 March 2016

In 2015 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade engaged Allen & Clarke to evaluate the PCO's Pacific Islands Desk. The Evaluation Report (October 2015) and MFAT Management Response (March 2016) have now been published. The evaluation concluded that the activity is effective, efficient, and sustainable. MFAT should continue to fund the activity on a five-year cycle without making any substantive changes and see continued benefits to the Cook Islands and Niue in the longer term.

The Management Response noted that the PCO is "open to responding to requests for support from other Pacific Island Countries … on a case by case basis … subject to resources".

View the reports »


Historical Bills 1949–2008 now online

14 March 2016

The PCO has been working with its free access partner, the New Zealand Legal Information Institute (NZLII), to make historical legislative documents available online. The latest results of this collaboration, Bills from 1949 to 2008, are now on the NZLII website in PDF format:

The volumes will be added to over time and will extend back to 1854 when complete. The collection includes Bills that became Acts as well as those that did not.

The collection has been put together from scans of bound volumes provided by the PCO and the Office of the Clerk, and the documents hosted by NZLII. While most volumes were taken apart to enable scanning, some of the earliest (not yet available online) were too rare to treat in this way. Instead they were scanned by the Australasian Legal Information Institute (in Sydney) using a non-destructive scanner that produces high-quality images from books open to only 30°.

The Historical Bills Collection sits alongside the New Zealand Acts 1841–2007 As-Enacted Collection of historical Acts. Work on providing as-made Statutory Regulations 1936–2007 is also nearing completion.

For current Bills, and Bills that were current from 2008 onwards, visit the New Zealand Legislation website.


Table of 2015 Legislative Instruments

2 February 2016

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 2015, and the 2015 Legislative Instruments, is now available. Tables for earlier years are also available.

View the tables »


Online HTML legislation is official

5 January 2016

“Official online legislation now includes legislation in HTML format”, Chief Parliamentary Counsel David Noble announced today. “This is the format that people see first when they search for Acts or Legislative Instruments on the New Zealand Legislation website at www.legislation.govt.nz. People can be confident that they are reading authoritative versions of legislation.”

Previously, only online PDF versions with the New Zealand Coat of Arms (or printouts of those PDFs) had official status, together with printed legislation. “Official legislation is taken by the courts to correctly set out the text, without further proof”, Mr Noble said.

Both HTML and PDF versions are derived from the same XML-based drafting and publishing system used by the PCO that underlies the NZ Legislation website. For more information about official versions of legislation please refer to www.legislation.govt.nz.


PCO Strategic Intentions

The PCO's Strategic Intentions document for 2015–2019 was presented to the House on 3 December 2015.

View the document »


Coming in January 2016: official legislation in HTML format

19 November 2015

The Legislation (Official Versions) Regulations 2015, gazetted on 19 November 2015 and coming into force on 5 January 2016, pave the way for hyper text markup language (HTML) versions of legislation on the New Zealand Legislation website to be declared official by the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, together with the same legislation in PDF format on the New Zealand Legislation website.

These regulations, which revoke and replace the earlier 2013 regulations of the same name, set out the features of official electronic and printed versions of legislation that the Chief Parliamentary Counsel may issue.


Legislation Design and Advisory Committee website: www.ldac.org.nz

4 November 2015

The Legislation Design and Advisory Committee (LDAC) has taken over responsibility for the former LAC website.  The site is provided and supported by the Parliamentary Counsel Office.  The website has now been updated and can be accessed at www.ldac.org.nz. The website will act as the first port of call for officials and the public seeking information on the LDAC and access to the LAC Guidelines (2014 edition).


PCO Annual Report

21 October 2015

The PCO's Annual Report for the year ending 30 June 2015 was presented to the House today.

View the report »


Consultation: Contract and Commercial Law Bill

21 October 2015

The Parliamentary Counsel Office and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment are seeking feedback on this draft Bill before introduction. The Bill's purpose is to revise 11 contract and commercial law Acts, combining them into a single modern Act without changing their substantive legal effect, to make the law easier to understand.


Consultation: Statutes Repeal Bill

13 October 2015

The Parliamentary Counsel Office and the Treasury are seeking feedback on the Statutes Repeal Bill before it is introduced into Parliament. The Statutes Repeal Bill will repeal legislation that is unnecessary and spent.


PCO’s Access to Subordinate Instruments Project (ASIP)

29 September 2015

Chief Parliamentary Counsel David Noble announced today a new project team to be led by Richard Wallace, one of PCO’s four drafting team managers. The project team will develop the PCO’s information and business systems so that all tertiary instruments are available on the New Zealand Legislation (NZL) website, providing a single, official, public source for all NZ legislation.

This project is part of the PCO’s continuing programme to improve access to legislation in New Zealand and response to a directive from Cabinet to investigate a means for ensuring access to all NZ legislation. It also follows PCO’s recent discussions with the Regulations Review Committee of Parliament over their inability easily to identify and track disallowable instruments that are not drafted and published by the PCO. In addition, it will also respond to issues identified in both the PIF Review of the PCO and Parts B and C of the Report of the Government Inquiry into the Whey Protein Concentrate Contamination Incident.

David notes that the PCO has already carried out initial enquiries and research concerning:

  • similar systems operated in neighbouring jurisdictions; in particular, the Commonwealth of Australia, New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory
  • the feasibility of developing the information systems that support the PCO’s drafting and publishing service and the NZL website for these purposes
  • the level of financial and staffing resources needed to make these developments (given PCO’s current appropriation)
  • the amendments that would be required to various empowering provisions across the statute book and to the relevant provisions in the Legislation Act 2012. Part of this will also seek to simplify and clarify the current terminology used to describe different types and levels of subordinate legislation.

Further analysis, within the structure and management of a formal project, is now required to deliver the type of comprehensive registration and publishing system needed to capture the tertiary level legislation that the PCO does not currently draft or publish (other than via the “other instruments” link on legislation.govt.nz).

From the initial work PCO has already undertaken it is clear that:

  • reliance upon the New Zealand Gazette as the vehicle for capturing and publishing tertiary instruments is not a sensible option and does not deliver the required comprehensive, single, official source of all NZ legislation for the public; nor would it resolve the issues which the public and the Regulations Review Committee currently have with this category of subordinate instruments
  • the system operated by the ACT Parliamentary Counsel Office in Canberra appears to be preferable to other models so far examined, although the scale of the task in New Zealand is significantly larger and covers a far wider spectrum of departments and agencies that prepare these “tertiary-level”  subordinate instruments; this includes non-Crown bodies, such as the New Zealand Law Society
  • to be workable for all of those bodies, the system cannot operate using the PCO’s specialised in-house drafting and publishing tool
  • the system the PCO develops will need to both create a “way in” to the NZL website’s underlying database and structure, and provide a number of simple-to-operate templates or frameworks for use by those who draft, publish, and enforce these “tertiary-level” subordinate instruments.

“This will be no small task for the project team to achieve. Currently the NZL website provides links to more than 870 existing tertiary instruments, but there are likely to be far more than that in existence. The number and variety of tertiary instruments in New Zealand is much greater than was the case in the ACT when they developed their system”, David says.

Richard will be seeking to engage, as members of the project design team, both PCO staff and other people who produce, review, and use these tertiary-level subordinate instruments. This is to make sure the information technology is designed to work for:

  • the producers of tertiary instruments
  • the users of tertiary instruments (including the general public), via the internet and printed copy
  • the reviewers of tertiary instruments (in particular those with the power to disallow these instruments; that is, Parliament on the recommendation of the Regulations Review Committee).

“This project to capture all tertiary legislation will be the single most significant technology-assisted development of the NZL drafting and publishing system and website content since we delivered the website back in 2008. We need to ensure that we can design and deliver a system that works for all producers, publishers, reviewers, and users of these instruments, and to do so having learned the lessons from the post implementation review of the Public Access to Legislation project [PDF 440KB] in the early 2000s”, David concludes.

NOTE TO EDITORS:

“Subordinate instruments/legislation” refers to instruments/legislation that have legislative effect and are made under an empowering provision in a superior enactment. For example, a regulation or a notice that is made under an Act of Parliament.

“Tertiary instrument/legislation” refers to a category of subordinate instruments/legislation that are drafted by government departments or other agencies and are not published in the official Legislative Instruments series nor on the New Zealand Legislation website.  For example, a “notice” that is drafted by a government department and is published on the department’s website or in the Gazette is an example of this category of subordinate legislation.


Table of legislation waiting to be brought into force by Order in Council (as at 1 July 2015)

23 September 2015

This table was presented to the House of Representatives today. View the table »


Establishment of Legislation Design and Advisory Committee

29 June 2015

Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson today announced the establishment of the Legislation Design and Advisory Committee to improve the quality and effectiveness of legislation.


Reappointment of Chief Parliamentary Counsel

Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson has announced the reappointment of David Noble as Chief Parliamentary Counsel to 6 May 2016.


Changes to format of legislation

11 April 2015

We have made some minor changes to the format of legislation and to the New Zealand Legislation website.

  • The changes have no legal effect—they do not change the meaning of legislation.
  • The changes have been made in response to user demands.
  • We have followed the principle that any new format must be:
    • unambiguous and readable/easy to follow
    • as simple as possible to implement technically
    • workable in both the PDF and HTML formats (PDFs are for downloading and printing; HTML is the "regular" website view).

The changes include:

  • amendments in Bills and amending legislation—blocks of text to be inserted into other legislation are shaded, instead of enclosed in quote marks
  • improvements to the usability of the New Zealand Legislation website
  • page size—this is standardised to A4; printed legislation has more text on the page, with slightly less surrounding white space.

The changes apply to legislation published (or republished) from 11 April 2015 onwards—the changes are not retrospective. This means that when you view or print legislation last published before 11 April 2015, it will be in the "old" format. Existing legislation will take on the new format only when it is republished, for example if it is later amended.

More information about the changes »


Government responses to reports of the Regulations Review Committee

Two Government responses were presented to the House on 9 December 2014:


Revision Bill programme 2015 to 2017

The revision programme for the 51st Parliament was presented to the House on 8 December 2014.


Performance Improvement Framework

The Performance Improvement Framework Review of the PCO was released on 28 November 2014.

View the report »


Legislation Advisory Committee has a new website

17 September 2014

The Legislation Advisory Committee (LAC) has a new website: www.lac.org.nz. The site is funded by the Parliamentary Counsel Office, with a development team that includes representatives from the PCO, the Law Commission, and an external vendor.

The site contains:

For further information see the LAC's launch announcement »

The LAC Guidelines no longer appear on this website under the Instructing the PCO tab, but all pages under that tab include a link to the Guidelines under "Further Resources".


Consultation on first statute revision programme begins; revision Bill certifier appointed

16 July 2014

The Attorney-General Chistopher Finlayson yesterday announced that the Honourable John Priestley CNZM QC has been appointed as a revision Bill certifier under the Legislation Act 2012.

He also announced the start of consultation on the 2015–2017 statute revision programme. This programme identifies the Acts to be revised over the next Parliamentary term, to make them clearer and more accessible.

For the revision programme, information on the revision process, certification, and the how to take part in the consultation:


New Zealand Legislation website a source of official legislation

6 January 2014

From today, the Chief Parliamentary Counsel issues official electronic legislation under section 17 of the Legislation Act 2012 via the New Zealand Legislation website.

All website users will benefit from official online legislation, because the accuracy of official legislation has been checked and assured. And access to online official legislation will save time and effort for all those involved in Court proceedings.

More information about this and other developments in access to legislation, on the New Zealand Legislation website.

View the media release from the Attorney-General ...

9 January 2014 update: View the Legislation (Official Electronic Versions) Notice 2014 ...


Legislative disclosure statements published on new legislation disclosure website

7 August 2013

As from 29 July 2013, most Government Bills and substantive SOPs will contain a link in their explanatory notes to a disclosure statement containing information about the development and content of the Bill or SOP. The first disclosure statement was published today in relation to the Te Urewera - Tuhoe Bill.

The statements are published, as part of an administrative trial, on a new website maintained by the Parliamentary Counsel Office at disclosure.legislation.govt.nz that links to the New Zealand Legislation website. Legislation is being developed to implement the disclosure regime and the findings of the administrative trial will inform the development of this legislation.

Disclosure statements assist Parliament in its consideration of legislation and assist people who make submissions on new Bills that are being considered by a select committee.

The statements are prepared by the department that is responsible for the legislation. Contact details for any enquiries about published disclosure statements are available at disclosure.legislation.govt.nz/contact.


Legislation Act 2012 changes terminology

5 August 2013, updated 1 February 2014

All provisions of the Legislation Act 2012 (the Act) are now in force (as at 1 February 2014).

Change of terminology for secondary legislation

The words "Legislative Instrument" are now used to describe the category of legislation that has loosely been known as "Regulations", or as "Statutory Regulations". Legislative Instruments can include Orders in Council, regulations, rules, notices, determinations, proclamations, and warrants. The term is defined in section 4 of the Legislation Act 2012.

Similarly, the words "Other Instruments" are used to describe the category of legislation that has been known as "Deemed Regulations".

Legislative Instruments and Other Instruments are available through the New Zealand Legislation website.

The changes don't affect how individual documents are named - for example, the Family Courts Rules 2002 and the Building Regulations 1992 still have the same names - but to find them on the New Zealand Legislation website, search or browse under Legislative Instruments rather than Regulations (or use Quick Search and don't specify a category).

References to Legislative Instruments will be abbreviated to LI - for example, LI 2014/37, rather than SR 2014/37. However, this change will not take effect until 1 January 2014. To allow a clean changeover in reference numbering, the 2013 Statutory Regulations series will continue until the end of 2013 and Legislative Instruments made in 2013 will carry an SR number.

For more information about types of legislation, see About legislation.

Reprinting powers

The Act also extends the PCO's reprinting powers. When we republish an Act or Legislative Instrument with any amendments incorporated, any obvious typographical, grammatical, or numbering errors, for example, may now be corrected. (Changes that would alter the effect of legislation are not permitted.) More about the conventions applied to reprints ...

Other changes from the Act

In addition, the Act makes provision for incorporation by reference. Incorporation by reference is where an instrument gives effect to provisions contained in another document, without having to set out those provisions in the instrument itself. More information ...

The Act includes provisions on disallowance of items of subordinate legislation that are "disallowable instruments" (defined in section 38 of the Act). More information ...

See also the table Subordinate legislation before, and under, the Legislation Act 2012.

See more about the Legislation Act 2012 ...


Clauses for standard elements of Treaty settlement Bills

25 March 2013

The Attorney-General and Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations recently decided that standard clauses are to be used in new Treaty of Waitangi settlement Bills covering redress that is common to most settlements.

View the standard clauses ...


Proposal to re-enact and update the Interpretation Act 1999 in the Legislation Act 2012

6 March 2013

We are seeking your views on the proposal to re-enact the Interpretation Act 1999, with updating modifications, in the Legislation Act 2012. Please send us your comments by 5 pm on 16 April 2013.

View the discussion paper and the draft Legislation (Interpretation) Amendment Bill ...


New features added to the New Zealand Legislation website

4 March 2013

New features were released to the New Zealand Legislation website yesterday. They include:

Tagged sections/clauses

You can now download sections or clauses in PDF or Word format by tagging them - ideal when you need to print just a few sections, or when you want to incorporate legislation into a larger document. Just click the Tag section button when viewing legislation. More on tagging sections/clauses ...

Amendment legislation easier to locate

Amendment legislation is found by using Advanced search. Amendment Acts in force (and Amendment Regulations in force) have been given their own category under Status, making them easier to identify. In addition, Acts not yet in force now includes not-yet-in-force amendment Acts (and the same applies for Regulations).

To find out what is included in each category under Advanced search, click its adjacent question mark symbol.

Quick search now searches amendment legislation not yet in force, as well as principal Acts and Regulations (both in force and not yet in force), current Bills, and the titles of Deemed Regulations. However, the drop-down list that appears as you type does not currently include in-force amendment legislation - to include them, click Search (or use Advanced search).

Web feeds more intuitive

Web feeds are a powerful way to keep up to date with changes to legislation. They are now easier to set up, plus you can regenerate and edit an existing feed. More about web feeds ...

Stemming can be turned off

"Stemming" means that variants of a word are included in a search, as well as the word itself. For example, a search for govern will also find governs, governed, and governing. Advanced search now allows you to turn this feature off, which is otherwise applied by default. More about searching techniques ...


Archive of earlier news

Back to top

© Crown copyright 1997–2016