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Watching Brief – December 2017

Home Insights Watching Brief – December 2017

Matter of opinion

Pilgrim's Progress – half way to 100 days

The Labour-led coalition Government is at the half way point on its 100 Day Plan timeframe. With the self-imposed deadline rapidly approaching (3 February), the Government will be determined to achieve all 17 objectives, not least to maintain credibility with voters and avoid handing the opposition easy points. 

While initially considered ambitious, the list of objectives are, on closer inspection, attainable and progress to date is well on track. More telling will be the pre-Christmas fiscal update and Budget Policy Statement to be announced this Thursday. It now appears likely the Government will be unable to meet all of its spending promises, in small part due to the Coalition deal (for example the $billion regional development fund) but more significantly because of the view the Government is taking of the Government's books. While the 100 Day Plan objectives might not be affected, cuts will have to be made somewhere. Another option Labour is considering is to prioritise a pre-election policy to invest more money in IRD, with a view to getting back more revenue due from corporates, although this in itself is unlikely to be sufficient.

The 100 Day Plan objectives are out in the table below, the key points on progress being as follows:

  • Only three of the objectives require legislation to be passed by 3 February 2018, namely the healthy homes policy (requiring rentals to be warm and dry), the family package (Winter Fuel Payment, Best Start and increases to Paid Parental Leave), and banning overseas investment in residential property. The Healthy Homes Guarantee Act (No 2) and the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Act passed into law on 5 December. Announcements on the remaining elements of the Family Package are due this week. The ban on overseas persons buying existing homes is expected to be introduced before Christmas and passed early next year.
  • There are promises to introduce legislation by 3 February in relation to the legalisation of medical cannabis and setting a child poverty reduction target.
  • Increases to the minimum wage are expected to be introduced early next year to take effect from 1 April 2018.
  • In relation to the other objectives, Labour has committed only to commencing work (for example to begin the KiwiBuild Programme to or set up inquiries).
  • Making good on its promise to prospective students, Labour has announced the eligibility criteria for their free tertiary education plan. From January 1 next year, new students will be entitled to one year of free tertiary education or training and to receive an extra $50 a week for living costs. 

The former Labour Finance Minister, Sir Michael Cullen, will head the controversial Tax Working Group's (TWG) inquiry into potential tax reform. The TWG is required to investigate tax reform with the goal of treating "all income and assets in a fair, balanced and efficient manner, having special regard to housing affordability." As assured pre-election, the TWG will not consider potential increases to GST or income tax and the family home will not be the subject of any new taxes.

For a Government that has been out of power for 9 years, it is keen to make quick progress. Hon David Parker is demonstrating an ability to be across a range of critical reforms. He is shaping up as a key figure in the administration but other Ministers are also starting to step up. 

As noted above, the extent to which the Government has to dial back on election promises and polices will be clearer following its budget announcement on Thursday. This will provide the opposition with ammunition and test the Government's ability to set out a convincing rational for any about turns.

Active policy development outside the 100 Day Programme to watch for include:

  • The Commerce Act is to be amended as a matter of urgency to address the market power definition, with changes expected to be implemented by end of 2018. This is a tight timeframe for complex economic reform, noting in order for legislation to be passed, a Bill will need to be drafted and introduced some months before the end of the year. Stakeholders will need to ensure they are up to speed with developments and ready to provide evidence based submissions early on.
  • On the banking front, terms of reference have been released for the Reserve Bank review.
  • Consistent with what we had previously highlighted, Minister Faafoi has been vocal on commencing a review of some aspects of the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003, including whether that Act should be amended to provide for interest rate caps. He has also confirmed that he will progress work on a significant package of insurance law reform in 2018.
  • Substantive reform of the Overseas Investment Act which is expected to be progressed over 2018.

In addition to initial policy announcements, the Government is progressing a number of law reform projects that had been underway under the National Government, including a Tax Bill introduced last week and the Financial Services Legislation Amendment Bill (which includes provisions amending the financial advisors regimes). 

In politics

Is the new Government in the woods?

In its short tenure, forestry has proven to be an area of central focus for the new coalition Government. During the election campaign, both Labour and NZ First narrowed in on forestry as a critical area of economic development in regions and claimed that National was failing to take advantage of New Zealand's comparative advantage in the industry. Following the announcement on the makeup of the Government, the Prime Minister quickly appointed Hon Shane Jones as the new Regional Economic Development Minister to implement their combined reforms. 

From the Coalition agreement between Labour and NZ First, the main changes in respect of forestry are a $1 billion per annum Regional Development Fund that includes a programme to plant 100 million trees per year in a "Billion Trees Planting Programme." This will be accompanied by re-establishing the New Zealand Forestry Service to be located in regional New Zealand.

More generally, in addition to enhancing regional development, the Government sees forestry as having a critical role to play in many of its priority areas, including reducing carbon emissions and improving water quality.

Reflecting the new emphasis on forestry, an explicit Forestry Directive has been included in the new Ministerial Directive Letter issued to the Overseas Investment Office (Directive), which sets out the Government’s policy approach to overseas investment in sensitive New Zealand assets. The Directive is clear that forestry is not to be included in the stricter approach that now applies to rural land. The Directive states that overseas investment in the forestry sector, and the associated downstream industries, has the potential to add value to the overall economy and environment. It directs that high relative value be placed on processing and government policy criteria when assessing forestry applications. The Directive implicitly recognises that the forestry sector in New Zealand is reliant on overseas investment, there being insufficient available domestic capital to maintain a well-functioning sector.

In relation to domestic processing, the coalition agreement reflects a watered down version of NZ First's pre-election commitments. NZ First's election policy was generally more interventionist – with the Rt Hon Winston Peters referring in speeches to a minimum domestic log price, quotas on harvesting and timber licences, and the need for timber companies to enter into "sustainable forestry agreements" with the Crown. These references, however, lacked specificity and fell under the radar in terms of the overall policy debate on how best to ensure regional economic development. 

We await more detail regarding how the Development Fund will operate, and how the Government intends to plant a billion trees. What is known is that the target of one billion trees will include trees that would have already been planted by the private sector. However, it is unclear what role the private sector will play in planting trees on top of what they have historically produced per annum.

Hon Shane Jones is expected to announce further information on the Government's plan for forestry prior to Christmas.

In the news

Government announces terms of reference for Tax Working Group

On 23 November, Finance Minister Hon Grant Robertson and Revenue Minister Hon Stuart Nash announced the terms of reference for the Tax Working Group. Its establishment was a key component of the new Government's first 100 Day Plan that the Labour Party campaigned on and Former Deputy Prime Minister, Sir Michael Cullen will chair. The Tax Working Group will consider how to improve the overall structure, fairness, and balance of New Zealand's tax system.

The terms of reference provide the Government's blueprint for potential changes to New Zealand's tax system. Stating that the rationale behind the Tax Working Group is to address current inequality between individual wage earners, businesses, asset owners, and speculators, the Government also aims to promote the long-term sustainability and productivity of the economy, and maintain an ongoing revenue base to fund spending at its historical level of 30% of GDP through the Tax Working Group. To meet these goals, the plan calls for a progressive tax and transfer system for individuals and families that will treat all assets and income "fairly", having particular regard to housing affordability.

The Tax Working Group's mandate includes reporting to the Government on whether the tax system operates equitably for all taxpayers, and whether it strikes the correct balance between supporting both productive and speculative economies. The Tax Working Group must also report on possible changes to the tax system that will bolster its integrity and make it fairer, more balanced, and efficient.

Specific policies the Tax Working Group have been directed to consider include the implementation of a capital gains tax and other housing tax measures (although those will not extend to the family home or the land underneath it), and the introduction of a progressive company tax (with a lower rate for small companies). The Tax Working Group will also have the authority to recommend further reviews on issues that it is unable to explore sufficiently or which are not expressly provided for in the terms of reference.

In relation to timing, the Tax Working Group is expected to:

  • Convene by February 2018.
  • Issue an interim report by September 2018.
  • Release a final report no later than February 2019.

The media statement is available here.

UK Secretary for International Trade meets New Zealand ministers

In late November, the UK Secretary for International Trade, Liam Fox, spent four days in New Zealand meeting with ministers and business leaders. The future of New Zealand's red meat exports dominated discussions, as New Zealand exporters are increasingly concerned about the impact Brexit will have on New Zealand's current tariff-free quotas within Europe. Despite Secretary Fox and Minister for Trade and Export Growth, Hon David Parker, expressing a commitment towards "maintaining maximum certainty and stability in bilateral trade and investment conditions", Secretary Fox noted during his visit that the UK alone does not have total control and influence over the issue. Secretary Fox was therefore unable to guarantee that New Zealand's red meat industry would be unaffected by the UK's exit from the European Union.

As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, both countries maintain they are committed to continuing the existing close relationship with each other. A comprehensive free trade agreement is part of this agenda, with discussions centred on how citizens, businesses, and regions can share in the benefits of a potential agreement. The precise details of the agreement remain unclear, and Hon David Parker has said he is awaiting a formal response to a recent trade proposal.

Outside of trade, other topics discussed included social policy, science and innovation, and the development of the digital economy. Both countries expressed a willingness to continue to learn from each other's domestic experiences in these areas.

The press release is available here.

Adrian Orr named new Reserve Bank Governor

Super Fund Chief Executive Adrian Orr has been named as the new Reserve Bank Governor. Mr Orr will begin his five-year term on 27 March 2018, taking over the role from acting Governor, Grant Spencer.

Mr Orr has been Chief Executive of the Super Fund since its inception in 2007. Prior to that, he was the Deputy Governor and Head of Financial Stability at the Reserve Bank from 2003-2007, the Chief Economist at Westpac in New Zealand from 2000-2003, and the Chief Manager of the Economics Department at the Reserve Bank from 1997-2000. Mr Orr has also held roles at the Treasury, the OECD, the National Bank of New Zealand, and the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research.

Finance Minister Hon Grant Robertson made the decision to appoint Mr Orr after receiving a unanimous recommendation from the Reserve Bank Board. During the announcement, the Minister recognised Orr's "strong track record of delivery and public service", as well as his possession of the necessary "technical and leadership qualities required to be the Governor and CEO of the Reserve Bank". Hon Grant Robertson also highlighted that he considers Mr Orr to have the necessary skills to lead the bank through a period of change.

In accordance with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act 1989, Hon Grant Robertson will sign a Policy Targets Agreement (PTA) with Orr in March 2018, prior to him taking up the appointment. The Government announced a review of the Act in November, and while legislation will not pass prior to the PTA, Hon Grant Robertson has said that the PTA will be "developed in a manner consistent with the direction of reform".  

The Reserve Bank press release is available here.

Privacy Commissioner releases guidance on personal information

On 6 November, the Privacy Commissioner released the guide Releasing personal information to Police and Law Enforcement Agencies (Guide). The Guide is for private companies and public sector agencies who are asked to provide personal information to the Police or another law enforcement agency.

The Guide sets out that the first question a company or agency should consider when asked to provide personal information is – whether it has been requested to provide personal information or whether it is required to provide it.  

A company or agency is required to provide personal information under a search warrant, production order, or by the operation of a specific statutory power. Where personal information has been requested to be released on a voluntary basis, a company or agency will be under no compulsion to comply. However, a company or agency may disclose personal information if it is satisfied that a principle 11 exception in the Privacy Act applies. 

Principle 11 contains two exceptions:

  • Principle 11(f) exception: A party may release personal information if it believes on reasonable grounds that the disclosure of personal information is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious threat to health or safety. 
  • Principle 11(e)(i) exception: A party may release personal information if it believes on reasonable grounds that it is necessary to avoid prejudice to the maintenance of the law by any public sector agency, including the prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution and punishment of offences. 

The Guide provides a helpful Quick Guide to determine whether either of the above exceptions apply. The Guide also advises that if it is unclear what personal information is sought or why it is needed, the party should ask the agency for clarification. If in doubt, the party can decline the request, seek legal advice, or contact the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

The Guide can be accessed here.

Government establishes Ministerial Advisory Group for Health

On 5 December, the Minister of Health, Dr David Clark, announced the establishment of a new Ministerial Advisory Group on the health system, per s 11 of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2001. This announcement came a day after the Director-General of Health, Chai Chuah, announced his resignation.

In comments to the media, Dr Clark said that, "the Ministerial Advisory Group will help ensure that investment makes a positive difference to people's lives. It will provide fresh perspective and independent advice about how we can improve our health system and deliver better services to New Zealanders". The purpose of the group is to make up for a "lack of leadership at a strategic level".

The advisory group will sit for a two-year term, and report directly to the Minister.

In Parliamentary question time, Dr Clark highlighted the need for "strong, independent advice" relating to lifting the Ministry's performance, particularly in regards to rebuilding relationships "which were seriously strained under the previous government".

The group will be made up of five members, chaired by Sir Brian Roche, former Chief Executive of NZ Post and PwC NZ. Sir Roche has extensive experience chairing both Crown and private entities.

Academic Professor David Tipene-Leach, E Tū Union president Muriel Tūnoho, former Director-General of Health Dr Karen Poutasi, and Chair of several Auckland DHBs Dr Lester Levy, will make up the remaining four members of the group. 

The Government press release is available here.

Electricity Authority seeks submissions on Multiple Trading Relationships

On 28 November, the Electricity Authority (Authority) published the Multiple Trading Relationships Consultation Paper (Paper).

The Paper identifies and discusses barriers that limit the consumer's ability to use electricity services from more than one provider at the same time and location.

The consultation process stems from disruption in the electricity industry. The current 'bulk supply' model assumes that consumers have a one-to-one relationship with their retailer, which meets all of their electricity needs. However, following the introduction of technologies such as solar panels, electric vehicles and smart controls for appliances and equipment, the consumer can now play a more active role in determining when, and how, they use electricity. Accordingly, consumers can now establish multiple trading relationships with a number of different electricity retailers. There may be a need for regulation to adapt, in order to ensure that consumers have choice.

The Paper identifies two key concerns:

  • Current market rules may constrain new ways of conducting business and prevent consumers from receiving the full benefit of available technology.
  • Electricity service providers, other than the consumer's sole retailer, face barriers to obtain the data needed to provide the service the consumer has chosen.

The Paper identifies a number of industry systems, rules and processes that may limit the extent to which consumers benefit from current and future technological developments. These include:

  • the registry and switching processes;
  • market operation systems and processes, such as the data system and exchange of information;
  • the process for selecting meter functionality, recording and exchanging meter data; and
  • specific consumer-related responsibilities (eg for medically dependent customers).

The Authority is seeking stakeholder feedback on these points, to identify further barriers and any potential long-term net benefit to customers that may stem from their removal.

Submissions are due on 27 February 2018. The submission form can be found here.

Reserve Bank announces changes to LVR restrictions

The Reserve Bank has announced that it will undertake a modest easing of Loan to Value ratio (LVR) restrictions from 1 January 2018. Reserve Bank Governor Grant Spencer identified the decision as a response to a moderation of pressures on the housing market over the past six months. Pressure reduction was due to the successful consequences of tightening on LVR restrictions in October 2016, a general firming of bank lending standards, and an increase in mortgage interest rates in early 2017. Housing policies implemented by the new Government are also expected to have a "dampening effect" on the housing market.

Under the new restrictions, no more than 15 percent (moving from 10 percent) of each bank's new mortgage lending to owner-occupiers can be at LVRs of more than 80 percent, and no more than 5 percent of each bank's new mortgage lending to residential property investors can be at LVRs of more than 65 percent (moving from 60 percent).

The Reserve Bank has used LVR policies since 2013 as a tool to moderate rapid house price inflation and increasing household debt. LVR restrictions have improved banking system resilience by substantially reducing the share of high LVR loans. 

When releasing the Reserve Bank's November Financial Stability Report, Mr Spencer noted that while momentum in the global economy has continued to build over the past six months, New Zealand "remains exposed to international risks related to elevated asset prices and high levels of debt in a number of countries". He noted that a cautious approach to adjustment would ease restrictions on homebuyers, while reducing the risk of either a resurgence in the housing market or deterioration in lending standards. Further adjustments would occur if financial stability risks stayed in check.

The Reserve Bank's press release is available here.

Speech from the Throne kicks off Parliamentary term

On 8 November, the Governor-General Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, delivered the Speech from the Throne at the opening of Parliament. The Speech is delivered at the opening of every Parliament and highlights the legislative policy agenda of the incoming Government. To support the independence of Parliament from the sovereign, the Governor-General, being the representative of the monarch of New Zealand, delivers the Speech in the Legislative Council Chamber as opposed to the House of Representatives. The first major debate in Parliament is a reply to the Governor-General's speech, known as the Address in Reply debate. 

The Speech outlined the Government's focus on inclusion, transformation and aspiration. Key proposals include:

Inclusion

  • Regional development through the pledging of one billion dollars per annum to the Regional Development (Provincial Growth) Fund.
  • Pursuing new trade opportunities with the Eurasian Customs Union, Europe and the United Kingdom in the post-Brexit era. 

Transformation

  • Changing housing policy in three key respects: firstly, through ending state house sell offs and building 100,000 affordable houses through the Kiwibuild programme; secondly, in 'banning' foreign speculators from purchasing existing New Zealand homes; and thirdly, extending the bright-line test to five years. Currently, income tax paid on gains from the sale of residential property is only required within a two-year period.
  • Increasing penalties for corporate fraud and tax evasion, although no significant tax changes will be implemented until 2021.
  • Raising the minimum wage to $16.50 an hour from 1 April, with the intention of rising to $20 an hour by 2020. 

Aspiration

  • Making the first year of tertiary education free with the aim of increasing this to three years free by 2024.
  • Creating a Net Zero Carbon Emissions Economy by 2050 alongside legally binding emissions reduction targets.
  • A myriad of social policies, including free counselling at primary school and repealing proposed tax cuts by the previous government, with a replacement Families' Package aimed at supporting families with children. 

The transcript of the Speech from the Throne can be accessed here.

Progress of legislation

New Bills

Reinstatement of legislation – what is still on the agenda after a change in government?  

After the dissolution of each Parliament, all Parliamentary business such as legislation and select committee reporting is suspended. In accordance with the Constitution Act 1986, the new Government must decide which legislation from the previous Parliamentary session will be reinstated in the new session. A formal motion is proposed by a representative of the Government in the new Parliament, usually the Leader of the House, which outlines exactly which pieces of legislation and other business will be carried over. Per the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, all Parliamentary business that is reinstated is resumed at the stage it had reached in the previous Parliamentary term.

On 8 November 2017, Parliament voted to reinstate the majority of legislation for the previous Parliamentary term. The following four Bills from the 51st Parliament were not reinstated:

  • Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill
  • Natural Health and Supplementary Products Bill
  • Regulatory Standards Bill
  • Taxation (Income-Sharing Tax Credit) Bill

The Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2) was previously a member's bill but has now been made a government bill supported by Hon Phil Twyford. 

Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Bill

Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Dr Megan Woods
This Bill intends to facilitate the reinstatement of the Christ Church Cathedral and is part of an offer accepted by the Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch. The purpose of the Bill is to facilitate reinstatement in an expedient manner, to ensure reinstatement is cost effective, and to improve certainty around reinstatement for the Christchurch community.

The Bill would create a delegated legislation mechanism by permitting the Governor-General to make Orders in Council on the recommendation of the Minister responsible for the administration of the legislation. These Orders in Council would have the ability to grant exemptions from, modify, or extend an enactment, or any provisions of certain enactments to allow the Minister to achieve the above purposes.

A number of controls are provided in the Bill to restrict the power of delegated legislation making power, including:

  • Limiting the geographic scope of the Bill to Cathedral Square.
  • Requiring Orders in Council to relate directly to the Bill's proposed purposes.
  • A set list of Acts that an Order in Council can relate to, specifically excluding some Acts (for example, the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and the Electoral Act 1993).
  • Creating a Review Panel, whose members’ experience could include legal and other relevant expertise, that would review draft Orders in Council and provide advice to the relevant Minister.
  • Requiring the Minister to publish his or her reasons for recommending an Order in Council.
  • Providing draft Orders in Council to the Regulations Review Committee, or to leaders of political parties if the House is adjourned.

The Bill proposes to impose a time restriction on the right to judicial review. It provides that any application under the Judicial Review Procedure Act 2016 that relates to an order, recommendation or decision of the Minister under the Bill must be made to the High Court within 28 days after the making of the order, recommendation, or decision (or such longer time that court allows).

Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill

Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Iain Lees-Galloway
This Bill has been passed under urgency and is discussed in the Acts Assented section below.

Taxation (Neutralising Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) Bill

Type of Bill: Government
Member in charge: Hon Stuart Nash

This Bill contains a suite of amendments to New Zealand's tax rules to counter the base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) activities used by some multinationals to reduce the amount of tax paid in New Zealand and around the world. The Bill's measures largely reflect proposals the last Government had consulted on and approved in principle prior to the election. 

The Bill proposes:

  • a number of amendments to the transfer pricing rules, including a substance over form rule and the power for Inland Revenue to re-characterise an arrangement that is considered not to be commercially rational;
  • a series of prescriptive rules for determining the maximum permitted rate of interest on certain related party lending;
  • changes to the thin capitalisation rules, which in many cases will reduce the permissible level of debt on which interest may be deducted;
  • a series of new provisions targeting so-called hybrid mismatch arrangements, under which tax advantages may result from differences in the tax treatment of an arrangement between the tax rules of two or more countries;
  • a rule to counter arrangements that are considered to avoid New Zealand tax by avoiding the creation of a permanent establishment in New Zealand.

This Bill would introduce amendments to the following enactments:

  • Income Tax Act 2007
  • Tax Administration Act 1994
Bills awaiting first reading

Autonomous Sanctions Bill
Conservation (Infringement System) Bill
Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment Bill
Education (Public Good not Profit from Charter Schools) Amendment Bill
Education (Teaching Council of Aotearoa) Amendment Bill
Employment Relations (Restoring Kiwis’ Right to a Break at Work) Amendment Bill
End of Life Choice Bill
Local Government (Freedom of Access) Amendment Bill
Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis and Other Matters) Amendment Bill
Newborn Enrolment with General Practice Bill
Ngā Rohe Moana o Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Porou Bill
Ngāti Tūwharetoa Claims Settlement Bill
Sentencing (Domestic Violence) Amendment Bill
Sentencing (Livestock Rustling) Amendment Bill
Taxation (Neutralising Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) Bill
Te Pire Haeata ki Parihaka/Parihaka Reconciliation Bill

Bills before Select Committee

Submissions open

Bill

Select Committee

Closing date for Submissions (2018)

Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Bill

Governance and Administration

Not yet called

Brokering (Weapons and Related Items) Controls Bill

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

16 February

Court Matters Bill

Justice

16 February

Heretaunga Tamatea Claims Settlement Bill

Māori Affairs

19 January

Legislation Bill

Justice

23 February

Financial Services Legislation Amendment Bill

Economic Development, Science and Innovation

Not yet called

Military Justice Legislation Amendment Bill

Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Trade

Not yet called

Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki Claims Settlement Bill

Māori Affairs

19 January

Racing Amendment Bill

Primary Production

13 December (2017)

Social Workers Registration Legislation Bill

Social Services and Community

 31 January  

Telecommunications (New Regulatory Framework) Amendment Bill

Economic Development, Science and Innovation

2 February

Thames-Coromandel District Council and Hauraki District Council Mangrove Management Bill

Governance and Administration

23 February

Tribunals Powers and Procedures Legislation Bill

Justice

16 February

Trusts Bill

Justice

5 March

Statutes Amendment Bill (No 2)

Governance and Administration 

28 May


Submissions closed

Bill

Select Committee

Closing date for Submissions (2018)

Arbitration Amendment Bill

Justice

29 March

Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Bill

Environment Committee

18 December (2017)

Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Bill

Primary Production

29 March

Crimes (Increased Penalty for Providing Explosive to Commit Crime) Amendment Bill

Justice

29 May

Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Bill

Justice

29 March

Domestic Violence — Victims' Protection Bill

Justice

31 May

Education (Tertiary Education and Other Matters) Amendment Bill

Education and Workforce

29 March

Friendly Societies and Credit Unions (Regulatory Improvements) Amendment Bill

Finance and Expenditure

29 March

Marriage (Court Consent to Marriage of Minors) Amendment Bill

Justice

9 May

Ngāti Tamaoho Claims Settlement Bill

Māori Affairs

29 March

Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill (No 2)

Governance and Administration

29 March

Social Security (Stopping Benefit Payments for Offenders who Repeatedly Fail to Comply with Community Sentences) Amendment Bill

Social Services and Community

29 March

Taxation (Annual Rates for 2017-18, Employment and Investment Income, and Remedial Matters) Bill

Finance and Expenditure

29 March

Bills awaiting second reading

Employment Relations (Allowing Higher Earners to Contract Out of Personal Grievance Provisions) Amendment Bill
Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill
Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water) Amendment Bill
Iwi and Hapū of Te Rohe o Te Wairoa Claims Settlement Bill
Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill
Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngā Pōtiki Claims Settlement Bill
Social Security Legislation Rewrite Bill
Tauranga Moana Iwi Collective Redress and Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Ranginui Claims Settlement Bill

Bills awaiting third reading

Customs and Excise Bill
Electronic Interactions Reform Bill
Food Safety Law Reform Bill
Insolvency Practitioners Bill
Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2)
Maritime Crimes Amendment Bill
Maritime Transport Amendment Bill
New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill
Rates Rebate (Retirement Village Residents) Amendment Bill
Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill

Acts assented

Films, Videos, and Publications Classification (Interim Restriction Order Classification) Amendment Act 2017
This Act amends the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 to provide the President of the Film and Literature Board of Review, and the High Court, with more options for interim restriction orders. Previously, the Office could only impose a complete ban on a publication as an interim order. The Act introduces three new interim restriction order classes that the Office of Film and Literature Classification can apply, namely; people of a certain age; people belonging to a certain class (such as tertiary students); and people accessing publication for a certain purpose (such as a film festival). The Act also introduces a new section 133A into the amended Act that creates new offence provisions that accommodate the interim restriction orders.

Healthy Homes Guarantee Act 2017
This Act amends the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 to introduce a requirement for minimum standards for rental properties, to be set by the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment. The Act outlines a number of factors which may be included in the healthy home standards including, levels of moistures, heating, insulation, ventilations, draught stopping, and drainage. The Act applies to all tenancy arrangements after 1 July 2019 with all rental properties needing to meet the prescribed standard by 1 July 2024. This allows five years for landlords to ensure their rental properties comply with the new standards. Section 4(2) of the Act requires landlords to include a clause in tenancy agreements which states compliance or intended compliance with the healthy homes standards. The Act also introduces a potential fine of $4,000 in cases where landlords fail to meet the new standards. This brings the consequence in line with existing obligations of cleanliness, health and safety requirements, and provision of smoke alarms.

Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Act 2017
This Act was passed under urgency. This Act amends the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 to provide additional parental leave and monetary support to parents. This Act will increase paid parental leave to 26 weeks in two stages. Entitlements to parental leave payments and primary carer leave will increase to 22 weeks from 1 July 2018, with a further increase to 26 weeks from 1 July 2020. Funding for the costs associated with these proposals will be provided in Budget 2018.

Private International Law (Choice of Law in Tort) Act 2017
This Act clarifies which jurisdiction’s law is applicable in actions of tort and provides guidance to the courts on matters of characterisation. The Act abolishes certain common law rules dealing with action-ability and sets out the general rule that the applicable law will be the law of the country in which the events constituting the tort in question occur. Where elements of events occur in different countries, the Act establishes the following general rules:

  • For a cause of action in respect of personal injury caused to an individual or death arising from personal injury, the law of the country where the individual was when he or she sustained the injury will apply.
  • For a cause of action in respect of damage to property, the law of the country where the property was when it was damaged will apply.
  • In any other case, the law of the country in which the most significant element or elements of those events occurred will apply.

For the avoidance of doubt, section 5(4) of the Act clarifies that the Act applies to events that occur in New Zealand as well as events in other countries.

Subordinate Legislation Confirmation Act 2017
This Act prevents the revocation of subordinate legislation that, by virtue of the Acts under which they are made, are revoked at a stated time unless earlier confirmed by an Act of Parliament. This Subordinate Legislation Confirmation Act specifically refers to orders under the;

  • Commodity Levies Act 1990
  • Customs and Excise Act 1996
  • Education Act 1989
  • Energy (Fuels, Levies, and References) Act 1989
  • New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001
  • Social Security Act 1964
Legislative instruments

Note: Some amendments have not yet been incorporated

Auctioneers Amendment Regulations 2017
Climate Change (Stationary Energy and Industrial Processes) Amendment Regulations 2017
Climate Change (Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Levies) Amendment Regulations 2017
Climate Change (Unique Emissions Factors) Amendment Regulations 2017
Commodity Levies (Kiwifruit) Order 2017 [This order deemed revoked on close of 31 December 2018, unless confirmed prior to that date.]  
Financial Markets Conduct (Forward Foreign Exchange Contracts) Designation Notice 2017
Financial Markets Conduct (Multiple-participant Schemes—Participation Agreements) Exemption Notice 2017
Financial Markets Conduct Amendment Regulations (No 2) 2017
Financial Service Providers (Registration) Amendment Regulations 2017
Fisheries (Notification of Tāngata Kaitiaki/Tiaki for Area/Rohe Moana of Ngāti Wakarara and Ngāti Hau) Notice 2017
Fisheries (Notification of Tāngata Kaitiaki/Tiaki for Area/Rohe Moana of Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui, and Ngāti Pūkenga) Notice 2017
Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Amendment Act 2015 (Transitional Controls) Regulations 2017
Health Practitioners (Protected Quality Assurance Activity—ANZGOSA Audit) Notice 2017
Health Practitioners (Protected Quality Assurance Activity—New Zealand Family Planning Association Incorporated) Notice 2017
Health Practitioners (Protected Quality Assurance Activity—Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Practice Visit Programme) Notice 2017
Health Practitioners (Protected Quality Assurance Activity—SATURN) Notice 2017 L
Judicial Salaries and Allowances (2017/18) Determination 2017
Land Transport (Approved Vehicle Surveillance Equipment) Notice 2017
Members of Parliament (Accommodation Services for Members and Travel Services for Family Members) Determination 2017
Members of Parliament (Former Prime Ministers Travel Services) Determination 2017
Outer Space and High-altitude Activities (Definition of High-altitude Vehicle) Regulations 2017
Outer Space and High-altitude Activities (Licences and Permits) Regulations 2017
Parliamentary Salaries and Allowances Determination 2017
Tax Administration (Financial Statements—Foreign Trusts) Order 2017
United Nations Sanctions (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) Amendment Regulations 2017
Waste Minimisation (Microbeads) Regulations 2017   

In the week ahead

What’s coming up in the House

This week, the House will consider a range of Government bills, including the first reading of the Taxation (Neutralising Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) Bill and the third readings of the:

  • Electronic Interactions Reform Bill
  • Maritime Crimes Amendment Bill
  • Maritime Transport Amendment Bill

Wednesday will be a members’ day.

As notified to the Business Committee, urgency will be moved after question time on Thursday for legislation that progresses the Government's 100-day programme.

In consultation

New

Who

What

By when

Commerce Commission

Review of input methodologies.

14 December

Review of Fonterra’s Milk Price Manual for each season.

15 December

Review of input methodologies for customised price-quality paths (as part of the input methodologies review).

20 December

Proposed amendments to information disclosure determinations for airport services and electricity distribution and gas pipeline businesses to address identified issues for the 2018 disclosure years for airport, electricity distribution and gas pipeline services.

22 December

Review of Transpower's management of Waikato and Upper North Island voltage due to the closure of Southdown and Otahuhu Power stations in Auckland and the proposed closure of the Huntly Power Station in Waikato.

1 November – 30 November 2018

Department of Conservation

Application to operate commercial tours to view marine mammals by Descend Limited.

25 January

Proposed list of distributed generation in the lower South Island that would be eligible under the regulated terms in Part 6 of the Code to receive avoided cost of transmission payments from distributors.

30 January

Proposal to grant a National Park concession to Grand Properties Limited to construct, maintain and operate a 37 Unit Motel in Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park.

31 January

Intention to grant a 5-year concession to Manawatu Marine Boating Club Incorporated at Foxton Harbour Improvements Reserve.

15 February

Intention to grant a concession to The Otago Central Rail Trail Charitable Trust.

19 February

Submissions sought on Multiple Trading Relationships consultation paper.

27 February

Call for submissions on any changes to the status of New Zealand fresh water invertebrates, to inform a revision of the assessments for this group in the New Zealand Threat Classification System.

28 February

Electricity Authority

Consultation on 2018 / 19 levy-funded appropriations and work programme focus areas.

19 December

Financial Markets Authority

Proposed exemption to facilitate personalised robo-advice.

15 December

Food Standards Australia New Zealand

Application for approval for food derived from cotton line GHB811, genetically modified to provide resistance to isoxaflutole and glyphosate. 

21 December

Inland Revenue Department

Exposure Draft on Part 5A of the Tax Administration Act 1994 and changes relating to the application of s BG 1.

20 December

Comments sought on when income from a cash dividend paid on ordinary shares should be derived.

22 December

Comments sought on when an arrangement should be considered "materially different" from the arrangement identified in a private or product ruling.

31 January

Ministry of Justice

Proposed changes to the way mental health cases are assigned and how rosters are managed.

28 January

Ministry of Health

Feedback sought on draft Code of Practice for Radiation Therapy.

29 January

Feedback sought on draft Code of Practice for non-medical uses of ionising radiation.

29 January

Ministry for Primary Industries

Proposal to amend the Animal Products Notice: Specifications for National Microbiological Database Programme

12 January

Feedback sought on the proposed Import Health Standard for Vehicles, Machinery and Equipment (formerly Vehicles, Machinery and Tyres), a related guidance document, and a risk management proposal.

29 January 

Proposal to amend the Maximum Residue Levels for Agricultural Compounds Food Notice 2017.

29 January

Proposed operational code post-slaughter activity – Chapter 9 of the Red Meat Code of Practice.

2 February

Proposed guidance document: Risk management programme manual for animal product processing.

9 February

PHARMAC

Proposal to list a range of NPWT Products supplied by ConvaTec (New Zealand) Limited in Part III of Section H of the Pharmaceutical Schedule from 1 February 2018.

15 December

Feedback sought on a proposal to list a range of Anaesthesia Small Equipment and Consumable devices in Part III of Section H of the Pharmaceutical Schedule from 1 February 2018.

20 December

Feedback sought on a proposal to list a range of orthopaedic implants and associated products in Part III of Section H of the Pharmaceutical Schedule from 1 February 2018, supplied by Ortho Medics Limited.

22 December

Feedback sought on draft amendment to NZS 4243.2:2007 Energy efficiency – Large buildings – Part 2: Lighting.

14 February

Standards New Zealand

Feedback sought on general requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories, applicable to all organisations performing laboratory activities, regardless of the number of personnel ISO/IEC 17025:2017.

15 February

Seeking feedback on the draft revision to NZS 3602:2003 Timber and wood based products for use in buildings.

2 March

WorkSafe

Comments sought on draft Electric Vehicle Charging Guidelines.

27 February

Current

Who

What

By when (2018)

Ministry of Justice

Māori Land Court customer survey.

30 June

Productivity Commission

Inquiry into transitioning to a low emissions economy.

June

Inquiry into improving state sector productivity in New Zealand.

August

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