General policy statement
The Bill amends the New Zealand Geographic Board (Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa) Act 2008 (the principal Act) to clarify that—
alternative geographic names may be used either separately or together in official documents:
the name assigned to a Crown protected area must be removed from the list of official geographic names in the New Zealand Gazetteer of Official Geographic Names (the Gazetteer) if the Crown protected area ceases to exist.
The New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa (the Board) was established under the New Zealand Geographic Board Act 1946 (the 1946 Act). The Board was made responsible for assigning and altering the use of names for geographic features, such as place names. These functions were continued, and new functions were added, under the principal Act.
The 1946 Act enabled the Board to assign alternative names, being 2 or more names for the same geographic feature that may be used either separately or together in official documents. However, in an effort to carry this provision over, the principal Act inadvertently made the policy intent less clear and could be interpreted as requiring all alternative names to be used in official documents and publications. This Bill restores the pre-2008 status quo by clarifying that alternative official geographic names may be used either separately or together in official documents.
The principal Act also provides for the Board to review proposals from the Department of Conservation (DOC) for naming specified Crown areas (Crown protected areas) and to amend the list of official geographic names in the Gazetteer accordingly. If an area loses its Crown protection, or is combined with another Crown protected area with a different name, the official name for the area is discontinued. However, the principal Act currently does not require DOC to notify the Board when the name of a Crown protected area needs to be discontinued and nor does it provide for the Board to remove the name from the Gazetteer. The Bill addresses this oversight by providing that the Minister of Conservation must advise the Board of the change and the Board must update the Gazetteer accordingly.
Clause by clause analysis
Clause 1 is the Title clause.
Clause 2 is the commencement clause. The Bill comes into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.
Clause 3 provides that the Bill amends the New Zealand Geographic Board (Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa) Act 2008.
Clause 4 amends section 4, which is an interpretation provision. The amendments—
insert a definition of alternative official geographic names; and
provide that the definition of official geographic names includes any alternative official geographic name for the same geographic feature or Crown protected area.
Clause 5 inserts new section 31A, which requires the Minister of Conservation to notify the Board if the name assigned to a Crown protected area under subpart 3 of Part 2 is discontinued. Subclause (2) provides that if the Board receives notice of the discontinuation of a name for a Crown protected area it must remove the name for that area from the list of official geographic names in the Gazetteer.
Clause 6 amends section 32, which requires official geographic names to be used in official documents, by inserting new subsection (1A). The amendment clarifies that if 2 or more alternative official geographic names exist for the same geographic feature or Crown protected area, the use of any 1 of those names, or all of those names, is sufficient for the purposes of section 32.