Defining what stewardship of the statute book means was one of the Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO)'s highlights in the 2015/16 year.
The PCO annual report for the year to 30 June 2016 says its formal Performance Improvement Framework (PIF) review identified the stewardship of the statute book as a key challenge.
"Starting with the definition in the State Sector Act 1988 ["stewardship means active planning and management of medium- and long-term interests, along with associated advice"], the PCO considers that stewardship means a proactive duty of care of, and planning in the medium- to long-term interests for, an asset or resource (in this case, the statute book) on behalf of another group," it says.
The PCO says it undertakes the stewardship function of the statute book on behalf of the public, Parliament, the judiciary, and the Executive.
"It does so because, for a state's laws to be effective, people must have access to those laws that apply to them and with which they must comply."
The report notes that the responsibilities of chief executives in the state sector to exercise stewardship over the legislation that their departments administer is "separate but complementary" in relation to that of the PCO over the statute book.
"The PCO, as steward, provides a whole-of-statute book perspective and ensures legislation is legally effective and accessible, while chief executives are responsible for the content and currency of their legislation."
The PCO says the Access to Subordinate Instruments Project is one of the ways it plans to fulfil its stewardship role.
The report notes that there continues to be good public use of the New Zealand Legislation website, with an average of just under 250,000 monthly unique visitors in the year to 30 June 2016. This was well up on the average of just over 150,000 monthly unique visitors in the previous year, and 100,000 monthly unique visitors in the year to 30 June 2012.
During the 2015 calendar year, the PCO drafted and published 65 Government bills and 323 Legislative Instruments were made and published.
Bills and Legislative Instruments drafted/made and published, calendar year