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Regulations Review Committee identifies areas of concern

20 April 2017

Parliament's Regulations Review Committee says it made 26 reports during 2016 to other parliamentary committees about regulation-making powers in bills.

The committee examines all bills which come before select committees for delegated legislation-making powers. Its purpose is to determine whether the delegation of Parliament's law-making power is appropriate and clearly defined.

In its Activities Report 2016, the committee says there were a number of recurring areas of concern that arose in its scrutiny during 2016.

Commencement by Order in Council: Four of the bills scrutinised included provision for the resulting Act to come into force on a date to be set by the Governor-General by Order in Council. The committee says it wrote to the Primary Production Committee about the Food Safety Law Reform Bill, four clauses of which would come into force on a date to be appointed by Order in Council, with no fall-back commencement date. It recommended that the Primary Production Committee consider amending the bill to insert a fall-back date for commencement, and this was recommended in the committee's report on the bill.

Henry VIII Powers: During 2016 the committee identified Henry VIII provisions in seven bills. This occurs when the primary legislation proposed to allow delegated legislation to amend, suspend or override it.

Broadly drafted regulation-making powers: The committee says it wrote to the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee about the broadly drafted regulation-making powers in clause 31 of the Land Transport Amendment Bill. The committee recommended in its report on the bill that this clause be deleted.

Significant policy that would more appropriately be included in primary legislation: The committee says it found two examples of this in delegated legislation. One was in the Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill before the Commerce Committee. The Commerce Committee was unable to reach agreement on the bill, which was reported back without any changes.

Exemption-making powers without express consents: During 2016 the committee advised relevant committees that 11 bills allowed for regulations to grant exemptions from the requirements of an Act.

Non-standard form of regulation-making powers: The committee says it identified an issue with the way regulation-making powers were drafted in four of the bills it examined in 2016.

Last updated on the 20th April 2017