New Zealand Law Society - Parliamentary Counsel Office pilots new development pipeline for legislative drafters

Parliamentary Counsel Office pilots new development pipeline for legislative drafters

The Parliamentary Counsel Office is establishing a new team within its Drafting Group to pilot a development pipeline for legislative drafters.

Amy Orr, left, with members of her Drafting, Resources and Treaty, team, from left: Natalie Moore, Olivia Salmon, Leigh Talamaivao, Madeline McDonald, Tim Workman.

The aim of the programme is to mentor, support and inspire associates – lawyers with a minimum of two years’ experience.

All new PCO associates will start in this team and support the other drafting teams, getting experience and exposure into the four different drafting areas: Commercial, Resources and Treaty, Justice and Social, and Infrastructure. 

Amy Orr, acting Drafting Team manager, says legislative drafting is a specialist skill. Creation of the new team is partly in response to the growing workload in recent years, including work related to Covid-19, Severe Weather Emergency legislation and other significant large and complex reforms.

It is also in response to better reflect Te Ao Māori in New Zealand legislation. “We are proud to be working on a Māori strategy / Whitikau I te Ora for our mahi. Our mahi includes bilingual legislation, where agreed by Cabinet. To that end, we are developing a process for producing dual language legislation."

“Drafters are creative lawyers, who tailor-make schemes to deal with problems for Aotearoa/New Zealand’s unique needs – working closely with others across government and in Parliament on the most interesting and important current issues. We aim for ‘great law for New Zealand’ – law that is fit for purpose and constitutionally sound and accessible.”

Amy Orr says PCO is currently working to increase access to a larger range of legislation online. “The PCO exercises stewardship of New Zealand’s legislation as a whole. This is an important role and means we must always be open to learning and improving how we work.”