Attorney-General Christoper Finlayson has introduced a bill to Parliament which would require secondary legislation to be published on the New Zealand Legislation website.
The Legislation Bill would give New Zealand a single, official, public source of legislation, excluding only legislation made by local authorities.
Mr Finlayson says that currently over 100 agencies are empowered to make secondary legislation on a wide range of matters such as food standards and financial reporting standards. There is no single source for the legislative instruments, many of which are published on agency websites or in gazette notices.
“This Government is committed to producing an accessible, clear and up-to-date statute book. The Legislation Bill will make it easier to find and access secondary legislation by requiring it to be published on the New Zealand Legislation website alongside Acts of Parliament,” he says.
As well as providing for greater accessibility of secondary legislation, the bill makes major changes to the legislative framework for the making, interpretation and publication of New Zealand legislation.
The bill would repeal the Interpretation Act 1999 and the Legislation Act 2012. Part 2 of the bill would become the ruling legislation for the interpretation and application of legislation.
Mr Finlayson's statement indicates that the intention is to absorb the Interpretation Act "with some technical improvements" so that all laws about the making and application of legislation are contained in one piece of legislation.
New measures in the bill include Part 4, which enacts legislative disclosure requirements requiring agencies to disclose information about the development and key features of government-initiated legislation at the time of introduction to Parliament.