New Zealand Law Society - Four bills introduced to Parliament

Four bills introduced to Parliament

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Four bills have been introduced to Parliament.

Christchurch Regeneration Amendment Bill

The Greater Christchurch Regeneration Amendment Bill was introduced on 19 February 2019. Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration Megan Woods is in charge of the bill.

The bill amends the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act 2016 by repealing specific provisions early, removing some extraordinary powers that are no longer required, and disestablishing Regenerate Christchurch; and providing for limited extension of some land powers.

The Act supported the regeneration of greater Christchurch by establishing a focused and expedited regeneration process, facilitating ongoing planning and enabling community input into decisions. The majority of the Act expires on 30 June 2021.

In light of the significant progress since 2016, the bill would repeal specific provisions early by removing some extraordinary powers (Part 1) that are no longer required and will provide for limited extension of some land powers, eg, to amalgamate titles, aligning with the Crown’s obligations under the Global Settlement Agreement with the Christchurch City Council (Part 2).

Sections 9 and 18 and Schedule 2 come into force on the close of 30 June 2020.

Sections 19, 20, 22 to 27, and 29, and Schedule 1 come into force on the close of 30 June 2021.

The remainder of the Act comes into force on the day after Royal assent.

Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill

The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill was introduced on 17 February 2020. The Minister for Housing (Public Housing) Kris Faafoi is in charge of the bill.

Since the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 came into force home ownership rates have declined and the proportion of households living in rental properties has increased. Some people are having difficulties finding tenancies, which can leave to people using government emergency or transitional housing.

The bill aims to modernise the Act and while balancing the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords.

The main changes include:

  • increasing security of tenure for tenants who are meeting their obligations
  • promoting good-faith relationships in the renting environment
  • modernising and clarifying the Act to reflect the modern renting market and environment
  • enhancing powers and tools for the chief executive of the department responsible for the administration of the Act (the regulator) (clauses 60 to 65), and
  • supporting tenants’ ability to assert their legal rights.

Clause 7 replaces section 13 with new section 13 which provides that it will be an unlawful act and an infringement offence for the landlord to fail to ensure that the tenancy agreement is in writing or to fail to provide a signed copy to the tenant before the tenancy commences.

Clause 17 inserts new sections 22F and 22G which are designed to prevent rental bidding. Clause 19 amends section 24 and provides that rent cannot be increased more than once every 12 months.

The bill also provides for a tenant to make minor changes to premises with the landlord’s consent (clauses 22 and 23). A landlord must respond within 21 days to a request.

New sections 43A and 43B deal with assignment and provide that a clause prohibiting assignment by a tenant is of no effect (unless it is for a social housing tenancy, in which case it does have effect). It will be unlawful for a tenant to assign a tenancy without the prior written consent of the landlord.

A landlord must, if requested by the tenant, provide information relating to compliance with healthy homes within 21 days (clause 27 amending section 45). The information to be provided is described in regulation 40 of the Residential Tenancies (Healthy Homes Standards) Regulations 2019.

New section 45B requires a landlord to permit and facilitate the installation of a fibre connection in the premises in some circumstances.


Clauses 31 and 32 remove landlord’s ability to end a periodic tenancy on 90 days’ notice without giving a reason. That is replaced by a range of justifications for ending the tenancy by notice or by a Tenancy Tribunal order (section 51 and new section 53B)

Section 55 provides new grounds for an application to the Tenancy tribunal – if the tenant repeatedly fails to pay the rent on time or repeatedly engages in anti-social behaviour or it would be unreasonable for the landlord to continue with the tenancy due to hardship.

Clauses 31 and 32 increase the notice period for a tenant to end a periodic tenancy by notice, from 21 to 28 days.

Clause 39 adjusts the process by which a fixed-term tenancy becomes a periodic tenancy when the fixed term ends. It amends section 60A to restrict the landlord’s ability to give notice to certain circumstances.


The upper monetary limit of the Tribunal’s jurisdiction is increased from $50,000 to $100,000 (clause 47 amending section 77).

Clause 51 inserts new section 95A, which provides that the Tribunal may make a suppression order prohibiting the publication of evidence or of the name or any identifying particulars of any witness or party.

The Act comes into force on the day that is 6 months after the date of Royal assent.

Regulatory System (Transport) Amendment Bill

The Regulatory System (Transport) Amendment Bill (RSTA) was introduced on 14 February 2020. Minister for Transport Phil Twyford is in charge of the bill.

The bill is an omnibus bill that contains amendments to legislation administered by the Ministry of Transport. The objective of the bill is to maintain the effectiveness and efficiency of the regulator system established by transport legislation, and to reduce the chance of regulatory failure.

Transport instruments

The RSTA empowers the use of transport instruments within land and maritime legislation. This will enable quick response to change, ensure that decision-making sits at the right level in terms of authority and expertise, support efficiency and accountability, and ensure that the regulatory system is up to date.

Clarifying powers of exemption and revocation

The bill proposes amendments to land transport and maritime legislation to clarify exemption powers in secondary legislation as currently these powers are unclear and are not modern best practice.

Minor regulatory stewardship matters

The bill includes other matters that support regulatory stewardship, including adjusting the permitted size of transport Crown agent boards, increasing the time period for impounding vehicles after serious crashes as the current period puts unreasonably tight time constraints on inspectors, and increasing maximum fines in maritime legislation to align the figures with those with those in land and civil aviation legislation.

Part 1 contains amendments to the Land Transport Act 1998.

Part 2 contains amendments to the Land Transport Management Act 2003.

Part 3 contains amendments to the Maritime Security Act 2004.

Part 4 contains amendments to the Maritime Transport Act 1994.

Part 5 contains amendments to the Railways Act 2005.

Part 6 contains amendments to other legislation.

The Act comes into force on 1 July 2020.

Screen Industry Workers Bill

The Screen Industry Workers Bill was introduced on 18 February 2020. Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Iain Lees-Galloway is in charge of the bill.

This bill introduces a workplace relations framework for contractors working in the screen industry.

This framework will provide clarity about the employment status of people doing screen production work and introduce a duty of good faith and mandatory terms for contracting relationships in the industry.

The bill contains provisions to allow collective bargaining and creates processes for resolving disputes.

Part 1 contains preliminary provisions, which include defining the employment status of workers in the screen industry (clause 5), and clause 11 defines a screen worker.

Part 2 contains sections regarding workplace relationships (subpart 1) and individual contracts (subpart 2).

Clause 13 provides that parties to a workplace relationship must act in good faith and clause 14 prohibits a person from exerting undue influence on a screen production worker with the intention of inducing that worker to do or not do certain things.

Individual contracts must be in writing and clause 17 sets out terms that must be included in every contract including obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and the Human Rights Act 1993.

Part 3 contains the provisions relating to collective bargaining. Clause 26 requires collective bargaining to be carried out in good faith and provides minimum requirements to be met in subclause 1.

Occupation-level collective contracts (subpart 3) will apply to an entire occupation of workers. An important safeguard is that bargaining may only be initiated it the Employment Relations Authority is satisfied there is sufficient support for bargaining on the side of the initiating party.

Part 4 contains dispute resolution, challenges and reviews provisions.

For bargaining disputes, Employment Mediation Services will provide free mediation, and the Employment Relations Authority can make determinations, however parties can request assistance from the Authority in the form of facilitation first (clause 58).

The Act comes into force 28 days after the date of Royal assent.

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