If you have a question that cannot be answered from the information provided below or the other frequently asked questions (FAQ), please contact us.
See also Types of legislation.
Acts (Acts of Parliament, also called "statutes") are laws made by Parliament. Parliament consists of the House of Representatives and the Sovereign (the Queen), who acts through her representative in New Zealand, the Governor-General. See also How do I find a particular Act or set of regulations?
Bills are proposed Acts. A member of Parliament introduces a Bill into the House of Representatives. If the House of Representatives passes the Bill, it is assented to (signed) by the Governor-General, and becomes an Act. See Types of Bill on the New Zealand Parliament website. See also How does a Bill become law? and How do I find a particular Bill or Supplementary Order Paper (SOP)?
Statutory Regulations (often shortened to regulations, although not all regulations are Statutory Regulations) generally consist of laws made by the Governor-General, Ministers of the Crown, and certain other bodies under powers conferred by an Act of Parliament. Regulations generally deal with matters of detail or administration, or matters that are subject to frequent change (for example, forms, fees, administrative procedures). Regulations may also be known as Orders in Council, rules, notices, proclamations, or warrants. See also About legislation, How do regulations become law?, and How do I find a particular Act or set of regulations?
Matters of detail may also be covered in rules, codes, or other legislative instruments that are not, technically, regulations. These are often deemed regulations.
SOPs are published documents that set out proposed amendments to a Bill. See also How do I find a particular Bill or Supplementary Order Paper (SOP)?
A reprint is a printed copy of an Act or set of regulations that incorporates all amendments made to it as at the date of the publication of the reprint.
"Deemed regulations" is used here to mean instruments that are treated as regulations for the purposes of the Regulations (Disallowance) Act 1989, but are not drafted by the PCO (except in special cases) or published in the Statutory Regulations series. They are made primarily by Ministers, officials, or organisations, rather than the Executive Council on the recommendation of Cabinet. Examples include most land transport rules, civil aviation rules, and a wide variety of other rules, codes, and other legislative instruments.
The PCO provides links to deemed regulations through the New Zealand Legislation website. These links are updated regularly from information supplied by the agencies that administer the regulations.
The phrase "shattering statutes" has been coined to describe the volumes of New Zealand Acts of 1888 to 1894. They were printed on acid paper that has deteriorated over the years, and are now in many cases so brittle that the pages disintegrate when handled.
To preserve access to these important historical documents, the PCO has published hard copy facsimile editions of the original volumes that are available from Legislation Direct.
We have also published the Acts online in PDF format through NZLII, the New Zealand Legal Information Institute.