Changes coming to format of legislation

27 March 2015

During the weekend of 11 April, we will be making some minor changes to the format of legislation and to the New Zealand Legislation website.

  • The changes will have no legal effect—they will not change the meaning of legislation.
  • The changes are being made in response to user demands.
  • We have followed the principle that any new format must be:
    • unambiguous and readable/easy to follow
    • as simple as possible to implement technically
    • workable in both the PDF and HTML formats (PDFs are for downloading and printing; HTML is the "regular" website view).

The changes will include:

  • amendments in Bills and amending legislation—blocks of text to be inserted into other legislation will be shaded, instead of enclosed in quote marks
  • improvements to the usability of the New Zealand Legislation website
  • page size—this will be standardised to A4; printed legislation will have more text on the page, with slightly less surrounding white space.

We do not anticipate there will be any problems in accessing the website during this time.

More information about the changes …

2014 table of Legislative Instruments and Acts under which they were made now available online

6 March 2015

Legislative Instruments are made under the authority of empowering legislation. A table listing the Acts or other authorities under which Legislative Instruments were made in 2014, and the 2014 Legislative Instruments, is now available on the Parliamentary Counsel Office website. Tables for earlier years are also provided.

View the tables …

Official online legislation now available through this website

6 January 2014

From today, the Chief Parliamentary Counsel issues official electronic legislation under section 17 of the Legislation Act 2012 via the New Zealand Legislation website.

What does “official” mean?

From section 18 of Legislation Act 2012:  “An official version of legislation as originally enacted or made is taken to correctly set out the text of the legislation.” If the legislation has been amended, an official version “is taken to correctly state, as at the date at which it is stated to be reprinted, the law enacted or made by the legislation reprinted and by the amendments (if any) to that legislation”.

Section 16 of the Legislation Act states that “All courts and persons acting judicially must take judicial notice of all Acts, regulations, and legislative instruments”.  In the courts, official legislation is taken to correctly state the law without any further proof of its accuracy unless the contrary is shown.

Until now, only printed legislation, published by the Parliamentary Counsel Office or the New Zealand Government, was official.

What legislation is official?

Official legislation is in PDF format and displays the New Zealand Coat of Arms on the first page.

PDFs of the following documents are official:

  • every Act and Legislative Instrument enacted or made since 2008
  • every reprint (subsequent version) of those Acts and Legislative Instruments
  • the latest version of all principal (ie not amendment) Acts and Legislative Instruments enacted or made between 1931 and 2007, if still in force
  • the latest versions of some pre-1931 Acts, eg the Judicature Act 1908 and Sale of Goods Act 1908
  • some earlier reprints of those 1931-2007 Acts and Legislative Instruments, and some earlier reprints of those pre-1931 Acts.

A printout of an official PDF is also official.

Who needs to know?

All website users benefit from official online legislation, because the accuracy of official legislation has been checked and assured. Pre-2008 principal legislation (made or enacted before the current electronic drafting and publishing system came into use) has been through a thorough checking process to ensure it meets the standard required for official legislation—comparing it with the original text, checking every amendment made to it, adding history notes, and updating its format.

Access to online official legislation will save time and effort for all those involved in court proceedings. Legal practitioners and litigants in person will no longer need to rely on out-of-date printed legislation when filing court papers, and Judges will have access to accurate on-line legislation.

9 January 2014

View the Legislation (Official Electronic Versions) Notice 2014 ...

Print on demand: buy commercial prints of any legislation (or just print yourself for free)

6 January 2014

New to the website: print on demand, a feature that allows users to order a commercially printed copy of any Act, Legislative Instrument, Bill, or Supplementary Order Paper on this website. You can select the legislation you want to print using a “shopping cart” system, then send your order to Legislation Direct for printing and delivery. More about ordering commercial prints online …

Any version with any “as at” date can be ordered, so commercially printed reprints are available every time a document is amended. (Web feeds are available to alert users to updates.) If a PDF is official, the commercial print is also official (although as with any printed copy, it is likely to go out of date rapidly).

You can still print documents for yourself free of charge.

With the move to providing up-to-date official legislation online, which can be printed either by the user or commercially, the Parliamentary Counsel Office will stop providing some of its hard-copy products. Publication of traditional printed reprints will stop after the current reprinting programme has been completed. The 2013 annual bound volumes of legislation, to be published early in 2014, will be the last published by the Parliamentary Counsel Office. (However, legislation users can arrange to have their booklet legislation bound if they wish, and Legislation Direct will continue to offer annual bound volumes.) The Tables of New Zealand Acts and Ordinances and Statutory Regulations and Deemed Regulations in Force will be published for the last time for the 2013 year (in early 2014) since this information, in an up-to-date format, is available via the search facility on the website. More about the Tables …

The Parliamentary Counsel Office will continue to publish booklet legislation, available through Legislation Direct and designated bookshops.

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Legislative disclosure statements published on new legislation disclosure website

7 August 2013

As from 29 July 2013, most Government Bills and substantive SOPs will contain a link in their explanatory notes to a disclosure statement containing information about the development and content of the Bill or SOP. The first disclosure statement was published today in relation to the Te Urewera–Tūhoe Bill.

The statements are published, as part of an administrative trial, on a new website maintained by the Parliamentary Counsel Office at that links to the New Zealand Legislation website. Legislation is being developed to implement the disclosure regime and the findings of the administrative trial will inform the development of this legislation.

Disclosure statements assist Parliament in its consideration of legislation and assist people who make submissions on new Bills that are being considered by a select committee. The statements are prepared by the department that is responsible for the legislation. Contact details for any enquiries about published disclosure statements are available at

New website labels

5 August 2013

From today, the category of “Regulations” on this website has been replaced by “Legislative Instruments”, and “Deemed Regulations” have been replaced by “Other Instruments”.

This doesn’t affect how individual documents are named—for example, the Family Courts Rules 2002 and the Building Regulations 1992 still have the same names, but to find them, search or browse under Legislative Instruments rather than Regulations (or use Quick Search and don’t specify a category).

These label changes are because provisions of the Legislation Act 2012, which came into force today, affect how some types of legislation (Orders in Council, regulations, rules, notices, etc) are referred to.

For more on what these terms mean, see What is on this website and the Glossary. For more on the Legislation Act 2012, visit the Parliamentary Counsel Office website.

Update: 30 January 2014

From January 2014, the "SR" ("Statutory Regulation") reference series has been replaced by "LI" ("Legislative Instrument") —so, for example, LI 2014/37 rather than SR 2014/37 will appear in search and browse results for Legislative Instruments made after 2013. This change took effect in January 2014 rather than earlier, so that the Statutory Regulations series could continue to the end of 2013.

New features added to the New Zealand Legislation website

4 March 2013 (updated 5 August 2013)

New features were released to the New Zealand Legislation website yesterday. They include:

Tagged sections/clauses

You can now download sections or clauses in PDF or Word format by tagging them—ideal when you need to print just a few sections, or when you want to incorporate legislation into a larger document. Just click the Tag section button when viewing legislation. More on tagging sections/clauses …

Amendment legislation easier to locate

Amendment legislation is found by using Advanced search. Amendment Acts in force (and Amendment Legislative Instruments in force) have been given their own category under Status, making them easier to identify. In addition, Acts not yet in force now includes not-yet-in-force amendment Acts (and the same applies for Legislative Instruments).

To find out what is included in each category under Advanced search, click its adjacent question mark symbol.

Quick search now searches amendment legislation not yet in force, as well as principal Acts and Legislative Instruments (both in force and not yet in force), current Bills, and the titles of Other Instruments.

Web feeds more intuitive

Web feeds are a powerful way to keep up to date with changes to legislation. They are now easier to set up, plus you can regenerate and edit an existing feed. More about web feeds …

Stemming can be turned off

"Stemming" means that variants of a word are included in a search, as well as the word itself. For example, a search for govern will also find governs, governed, and governing. Advanced search now allows you to turn this feature off, which is otherwise applied by default. More about searching techniques …

A new format for Supplementary Order Papers

29 November 2012

Supplementary Order Papers (SOPs) can now be produced in a new format—the RT SOP. This new format can make the changes proposed to a Bill easier to understand, by presenting them in context.

An RT SOP is an SOP where the proposed changes that the SOP makes to the Bill are identified using revision tracking markup. Instead of the SOP describing the proposed changes to be made, the changes are shown applied to the Bill. In this an RT SOP is similar to a revision tracked Bill produced for a select committee.

Only Government SOPs will use the RT SOP style, and only in some instances—the new style is likely to be used when the amendments proposed are complex or extensive, although decisions on the format will be made on a case-by-case basis. RT SOPs have the same status as a "regular" SOP, and they are published online and in hard copy as usual.

The first SOP to be published in the new format was SOP No 151 to amend the Advanced Technology Institute Bill.

To find RT SOPs on this website, do the same as for other SOPs—first, navigate to the relevant Bill. Then find SOPs under the Versions and SOPs tab.

GST increase to 15% from 1 October 2010 is not automatically reflected in fees and charges in published legislation

14 September 2010 (updated 5 August 2013)

The prescribed fees and charges in Acts and Regulations (or Legislative Instruments) set out on this website do not reflect the increase in GST that took effect on 1 October 2010 (except in the case of changes made specifically by amending legislation that came into effect on or after 1 October).

The effect of section 78(3) of the Goods and Services Tax Act 1985 is, in general terms, to increase the amount payable for a fee/charge. For more about tax changes, visit the Inland Revenue website.

However, you will need to consult with the Government agency that administers the relevant legislation to obtain details of the actual fee or charge payable. The name of the relevant agency appears on the contents page of an Act or Regulation (or Legislative Instrument), or under Legislative history or Administrative information on the contents page.