Publications

Watching Brief – June 2015

Home Insights Watching Brief – June 2015

Matter of opinion

Leadership or Commentary – The Role of Parliament on Major Social Issues?

A regrettable feature of politics in New Zealand is the increasing unwillingness to engage across party lines on important social policy matters. Too often major parties steer clear of issues that might be perceived as “controversial”, leaving any resolution and debate to the lottery of a private member’s bill. 

Such an approach comes at a high cost. First it diminishes the relevance of Parliament in the public’s eyes: one of Parliament’s critical roles is to examine difficult issues that go to the heart of how we see ourselves as a community. The process and debate that ensues through the Parliamentary process enables us to evolve and progress as a society; ensuring our laws do not lag behind the realities and expectations of the community we live in. Second, these issues are not academic; they are real. While the issue is shelved because it is “controversial” real people who are affected by the Parliamentary paralysis suffer.

A stark case in point is the assisted dying litigation brought by Lecretia Seales. The substantial public interest and debate surrounding this case demonstrates that this is an issue people care deeply about (with polls indicating majority support for legislative change). This is no surprise given it raises questions about how we live, how we die and how we exercise autonomy in our lives. Justice Collins concluded on the evidence that palliative care, while having made great strides, cannot always address all suffering. He found that, under the status quo, terminally ill people were at risk of taking their life prematurely while they were still physically able. He concluded that “the consequences of the law against assisted dying as it currently stands are extremely distressing for Ms Seales and that she is suffering because that law does not accommodate her right to dignity and personal autonomy”. But he also concluded that any change on the issue is a matter for Parliament. These and other findings only highlight the urgent need for a wider debate, providing a strong evidential basis for doing so. 

While John Key has said that he personally supports assisted dying, and would support legislation in its favour, his view remains that it should be left for a private member’s bill. In support of this position, John Key emphasises that it is a complex issue and legislation would be difficult. He has downplayed the usefulness of a Select Committee inquiry, noting that it will not necessarily result in legislation. 

The fundamental flaw with this reasoning is that a Select Committee inquiry process is precisely what is required for proper consideration of a cross party issue such as this. Under an inquiry a Select Committee can receive public submissions and evidence and appoint experts and advisors. It can draw on international developments and assess what has worked and what has not. Views from all sides can be fully considered and evidenced recommendations given to the House. Contrary to what Mr Key suggests such an inquiry can be instrumental in preparing or developing the foundations for a draft Bill. A Select Committee in Quebec has done precisely this, producing an impressive report with clear recommendations on the way forward from which legislation has now emerged and been enacted.

Waiting for a private member’s bill by comparison is a poor substitute. There is a considerable risk that the issue will never be considered, and if it is, potentially not for many years. In addition, private member’s bills are developed with limited resources and without the benefit of broader public engagement or the expertise of the Parliamentary drafting office. Finally, if and when tabled in Parliament (which is down to chance), private member’s bill are often perceived as associated with the party of the member involved and accordingly less likely to proceed past the first reading. 

A Select Committee can initiate an inquiry on its own behest or following a request from the House. The difficulty is that the relevant Select Committees comprise at least 50% Government MPs. Without support from the National Party leadership, a Select Committee is highly unlikely to initiate an inquiry on this issue. John Key has a clear and obvious option that would enable the debate to be had in an open and well resourced environment. Andrew Little and Metiria Turia support a cross party approach and a Select Committee inquiry. All that is needed is for the Government to come on board. It is a first important step where those who are opposed, as well as those in favour, can contribute. If the recommendations are that assisted dying is not right for New Zealand, then we at least know this is an evidenced and appropriate response. 

Lecretia has started an informed and rigorous debate. It presents a great opportunity for New Zealand to continue its tradition of being a progressive and evolving society. We need politicians that are unafraid to have these discussions, regardless of where they ultimately land. We are a lot poorer as a community if the debate itself is effectively shut down.

Disclaimer
Russell McVeagh represented Ms Lecretia Seales in her recent test case Seales v Attorney-General [2015] NZHC 1239 [4 June 2015]. In accordance with our general disclaimer below, the information provided in this editorial is only intended to provide an opinion on the subject covered. It does not necessarily represent the views of all partners of Russell McVeagh. It does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. No person should act in reliance on any statement contained in this publication without first obtaining specific professional advice.

In the news

Law Commission review of National Security Information in Proceedings

The Law Commission released its Issues Paper ‘National Security Information in Proceedings’ on 18 May 2015. The Issues Paper considers the kind of protections the Crown should be able to claim over information that might prejudice national security interests if disclosed in criminal, civil, or administrative proceedings. The objective of the review is to establish whether the current law effectively protects national security information while upholding fair trial rights and the principles of natural justice, and more generally, whether there is a need for reform.

The review will discuss:

  • the option of greater statutory guidance for the use of special advocates in civil and administrative proceedings;
  • the role of public interest immunity, under which information can be withheld from proceedings;
  • how to define “national security information”;
  • where the appropriate source of authority lies (ie should it be the judiciary or the Government that decides when and how national security information is to be protected); and
  • how national security information could be protected in cases where it is taken into account.

Currently, under the Criminal Disclosure Act 2008, the Crown may restrict evidence from proceedings where the disclosure of information might prejudice national security.

Submissions on the Issues Paper are due by 20 June 2015. The Commission intends to publish its final report by the end of 2015.

A copy of the full Issues Paper can be found here.


LGNZ nod to intended work programme

Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) and its membership councils are currently producing a work programme aimed at improving performance and value for money in the local government sector. The programme will be informed by independent research undertaken by Colmar Brunton in 2014. Results of that research showed that local government performance is weak in areas such as financial management and community leadership, and that generally local government does not enjoy a strong reputation with the general public or businesses. The six priority areas of the programme are:

  • best practice governance, leadership and strategy;
  • financial decision-making and transparency;
  • asset management and infrastructure;
  • engagement with businesses;
  • communication and engagement with the public; and
  • building stronger relationships with central government.

Achieving the work programme’s goals will likely depend on building a stronger relationship between local government and Government (including central government and local members of Parliament). LGNZ President Lawrence Yule commented that better collaboration and communication across the sector should mean greater understanding of the breadth, value and quality of local government services.  

The full LGNZ media release regarding the work programme can be found here


Tasman Housing Accord agreed between Government and Council

Minister of Building and Housing and Tasman District Council have signed a Housing Accord, intended to improve the supply and affordability of housing in the Tasman district. This is the seventh Accord to be signed between central and local governments. The Accords are not binding, but they do set targets for improving housing affordability.

While not as severe as Auckland house prices, the average house price in the Tasman district is 7.7 times the median income – more than double the international definition of “affordable” (which is 3 times the median income).

The Accord is specifically tailored to the needs of the Tasman district. It sets a target of an additional 620 homes and 260 sections over the next two years, an increase of 17 percent and 30 percent, respectively. The Government and the Tasman District Council jointly commit to:

  • enabling a mix of housing types, including more affordable homes;
  • encouraging developers to both prepare their land and build houses at pace;
  • increasing developer confidence in the Council to encourage a more constructive approach between the two parties, resulting in a commitment to bring a continuous supply of land and houses to the market over the long term; and
  • better aligning public infrastructure investment and private sector housing development.

In general terms, the Government’s reforms of the Building Act 2004 and Resource Management Act 1991 are expected to assist in reaching the objectives of these Housing Accords, particularly by reducing compliance costs in new housing development. For the Tasman District Council, the Accord commits to establishing a Developers’ Forum and ensures the Council’s infrastructure programme and the Tasman Resource Management Plan respond appropriately to development demand.

A copy of the Accord can be accessed here.


Reserve Bank committed to enhancing stakeholder dialogue

The Reserve Bank has committed to further enhancing dialogue with its stakeholders, following its external Stakeholder Engagement Survey (SES) conducted in 2014 by global market research company, Ipsos. In the context of the SES, ‘stakeholder’ refers to the general public, businesses, regulated industries, financial markets, educators, researchers and government. The results of the SES showed that, overall, the Reserve Bank had a positive relationship with its stakeholders and that dialogue should continue to be enhanced, further increasing levels of trust and familiarity. Stakeholders envisage that communications will be relevant, targeted, and accessible.

Head of Communications at the Reserve Bank, Mike Hannah, commenting on the results of the SES, stated that “Fundamentally, our engagement with stakeholders is designed to support the Bank’s policy objectives of maintaining price and financial stability, and protecting the value of money. Understanding of, and confidence in, our actions and messages – and indeed in the institution itself – are essential”.


Reserve Bank announces new LVR restrictions on Auckland housing

Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler identified three systemic risks facing the New Zealand financial system in the Reserve Bank’s May ‘Financial Stability Report’. These are:

  • Auckland’s house prices: due to ongoing supply constraints,increased demand driven by net immigration, low interest rates and increasing investor activity, Auckland’s median house price is 60 percent above what it was in 2008;
  • Dairy sector: the sector is experiencing a significant fall in incomes due to lower international prices.  Many highly leveraged farms are now facing negative cash-flows, and the risk will become more pronounced if low milk prices persist beyond the current season; and
  • Global financial conditions: investors are being encouraged into riskier assets in the search for yields due to low interest rates, and prices of financial and real assets are becoming overextended in many markets

In response to the first of those systemic risks, the Reserve Bank announced proposed changes to the loan-to-value ratio (LVR) policy. The policy changes will:

  • require residential property investors in the Auckland Council area using bank loans to have a deposit of at least 30 percent;
  • increase the existing speed limit for high LVR borrowing outside of Auckland from 10 to 15 percent, reflecting more subdued housing market conditions outside of Auckland; and
  • retain the existing 10 percent speed limit for loans to owner-occupiers in Auckland at LVRs of greater than 80 percent.

The LVR restrictions will not apply to loans to construct new houses or apartments.

The proposed changes reflect a change in position for the Reserve Bank, which previously has been reluctant to impose policy on one geographic region. The Reserve Bank now considers that reducing the rate of increase in Auckland house prices will promote financial stability and improve the resilience of the banking system. 

The changes are proposed to take effect from 1 October 2015, though the Reserve Bank has made it clear that it expects banks to observe the spirit of the restrictions prior to that date.

A copy of the full Financial Stability Report can be viewed here.


The New Zealand Initiative recommends charities law revamp

Public policy think tank, The New Zealand Initiative, has released ‘the Giving Charities a Helping Hand’  report, which analyses over a decade of regulatory change in the New Zealand charities sector. The report calls for a revamp of charities law, relying on a 2010 commitment by the Government to review the Charities Act 2005, including the definition of “charitable purpose” contained in section 5.

The report states that current regulation lacks clarity and transparency, and that the rules are ultimately stacked against small operations in favour of large for-profit arms of charity groups (particularly in relation to income tax exemptions). Independent charity researcher Michael Gousmett observes that, as an estimated 700 limited liability companies on the Charities Register generate over $372 million in tax-exempt profits per year (at a tax rate of 28 per cent), the Government has forgone approximately $104 million in fiscal revenue annually. The report does not propose for-profit arms of charities to be disallowed, but to require these businesses to compete with private firms on equal footing.

Other problem-areas raised in the report include:

  • a high regulatory bar for new charities, meaning many legitimate groups struggle to attain or retain registered charitable status; 
  • lack of transparency in the charities registration process by the regulator, Department of Internal Affairs Charities Services (ie charities have little input into how their ‘charitable purpose’ is assessed); and
  • no adequate right of recourse – a Charities Services decision cannot be appealed to the District Court and instead application must be made to the High Court. This can be a costly and inefficient exercise for smaller groups who may have inadequate resources

Progress of legislation

New Bills

Accident Compensation (Financial Responsibility and Transparency) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government       
Member in Charge: Hon Nikki Kaye
This Bill aims to amend the Accident Compensation Act 2001 by introducing certain principles that guide the setting of levies. In particular, these principles would provide that levies derived for each account must meet the lifetime cost of claims in relation to injuries that occur in a particular year, and that large changes in levies must be avoided. The Bill would also allow the Minister to issue a funding policy statement within three months of the intended Act coming into force. The Bill would require the ministerial statement to address target levels for the funding of each account, an approach to managing deviations from the target level over time, limits on annual levy changes, and the circumstance in which levy changes are not required.

Appropriation (2014/15 Supplementary Estimates) Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Bill English
This Bill seeks parliamentary authorisation of the individual appropriations and changes contained in ‘The Supplementary Estimates of Appropriations for the Government' for the year ending 30 June 2015. These estimates were presented to the House as part of the 2015 Budget process.

Appropriation (2015/16 Estimates) Bill
Type of Bill: Government       
Member in Charge: Hon Bill English
This Bill seeks parliamentary authorisation of the individual appropriations contained in ‘The Estimates of Appropriations for the Government of New Zealand’ for the year ending 30 June 2016. These estimates were presented to the House as part of the 2015 Budget process.

Border Processing (Arrivals and Departures) Levy Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Nathan Guy
This Bill was introduced as part of the Budget 2015 and has since been divided into the Biosecurity Amendment Bill (No 2) and the Customs and Excise Amendment Bill. These Bills have since passed into law under urgency and are discussed in the Acts Assented section below. 

Electronic Monitoring of Offenders Legislation Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga
This Bill seeks to amend provisions in the Parole Act 2002 to enable greater use of electronic monitoring. In particular, the Bill would amend provisions in the principal Act that prevent offenders released from a sentence of imprisonment of two years or less, and sentenced to intensive supervision, being required to be subject to electronic monitoring. The Bill intends to recognise that electronic monitoring can improve public safety and update the principal Act in line with technological developments in this area. 

Evidence Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Amy Adams
This Bill aims to make a number of technical amendments to the Evidence Act 2006 following the 2013 review of the principal Act by the Law Commission.

Hineuru Claims Settlement Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Christopher Finlayson
This Bill would give effect to the Deed of Settlement entered into by the Crown and Hineuru on 2 April 2015. The Bill seeks to provide an apology to Hineuru on behalf of the Crown for failures to respect the mana of Hineuru and for failures to fulfil obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles. In doing so, this Bill would provide for cultural and commercial redress as full and final settlement of all historic claims Hineuru have against the Crown.

KiwiSaver Budget Measures Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Todd McClay
This Bill was introduced as part of the Budget 2015. It has since passed into law under urgency and is discussed in the Acts Assented section below. 

Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Members
Member in Charge: Hon David Parker
This Bill would amend the Minimum Wage Act 1983 to provide greater employment protection for service contract workers. In particular, the Bill seeks to insert sections 4A and 6A which provide that contracts for services cannot be paid at a rate that is less than the minimum rate. The Bill would also introduce additional reporting requirements incumbent upon employers of specified service contract workers.

Social Housing Reform (Flexible Purchasing and Remedial Matters) Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Paula Bennett
This Bill was introduced as part of the Budget 2015 and has since been divided into four Bills. These are the:

  • Housing Corporation (Social Housing Reform) Amendment Bill;
  • Housing Restructuring and Tenancy Matters (Social Housing Reform) Amendment Bill;
  • KiwiSaver (HomeStart) Amendment Bill; and
  • Taxation (Social Housing Reform) Bill

These Bills have since passed into law under urgency and are discussed in the Acts Assented section below. 

Support for Children in Hardship Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Anne Tolley
This omnibus Bill forms part of the package of reforms announced by the Government in Budget 2015 and intends to make a number of amendments to the Social Security Act 1964. The Bill intends to strengthen work expectations and increase assistance for parent's on a benefit with dependent children. In particular, the Bill reduces the age of the youngest child at which parents are required to be available for work from five to three, and increases the benefit rates for beneficiary families with dependent children by $25 per week.

Tariff (Free Trade Agreement between New and the Republic of Korea) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Tim Groser
This Bill intends to make a number of technical amendments to the Tariff Act 1988 to implement the Free Trade Agreement signed between New Zealand and the Republic of Korea on 23 March 2015. The Bill would enable the application of preferential tariff rates under the Free Trade Agreement and provide for transitional safeguard measures to be applied as required on Korean imports.

Telecommunications (Development Levy) Amendment Bill
Type of Bill: Government
Member in Charge: Hon Amy Adams
This Bill was introduced as part of the Budget 2015. It has since passed into law under urgency and is discussed in the Acts Assented section below. 


Bills awaiting first reading

Appropriation (2014/15 Supplementary Estimates) Bill
Electoral (Adjustment of Thresholds) Amendment Bill
Environmental Protection Authority (Protection of Environment) Amendment Bill
Fighting Foreign Corporate Control Bill
Hineuru Claims Settlement Bill
Land Transport (Safer Alcohol Limits for Driving) Amendment Bill
Legislation Amendment Bill
Local Government (Auckland Council) Amendment Bill (No 3)
Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment Bill
New Zealand International Convention Centre Act 2013 Repeal Bill
Ngā Rohe Moana o Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Porou Bill
Overseas Investment (Owning our Own Rural Land) Amendment Bill
Remuneration Authority Amendment Bill
SuperGold Health Check Bill
Tariff (Free Trade Agreement between New and the Republic of Korea) Amendment Bill
Underground Coal Mining Safety Bill


Bills before Select Committee

Submissions open

Bill

Select Committee

Closing date for Submissions

Taxation (Annual Rates for 2015–16, Research and Development, and Remedial Matters) Bill

Finance and Expenditure

12 June

Support for Children in Hardship Bill

Social Services

8 July


Submissions closed

Bill

Select Committee

Report Due (2015)

Accident Compensation (Financial Responsibility and Transparency) Amendment Bill

Transport and Industrial Relations

3 November

Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Bill

Local Government and Environment

30 July

Coroners Amendment Bill

Justice and Electoral

19 August

Drug and Alcohol Testing of Community-based Offenders and Bailees Legislation Bill

Law and Order

10 September

Electronic Monitoring of Offenders Legislation Bill

Law and Order

Date not yet set.

Health and Safety Reform Bill

Transport and Industrial Relations

24 July

Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill

Māori Affairs

31 July

New Zealand Business Number Bill

Commerce

18 June

New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill

Justice and Electoral

29 July

Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill

Law and Order

29 June

Radiation Safety Bill

Health

10 September

Weathertight Homes Resolution Services Amendment Bill

Local Government and Environment

31 July

Bills awaiting second reading

Bills that have recently been reported back to the House from a Select Committee are in bold and the Select Committee reports on these Bills are linked.

Defence Amendment Bill
Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) (Transitional Provisions) Amendment Bill (As reported by the Local Government and Environment Committee)
Hawke's Bay Regional Planning Committee Bill
Housing Corporation Amendment Bill
Land Transport (Admissibility of Evidential Breath Tests) Amendment Bill
Public Health Bill
Register of Pecuniary Interests of Judges Bill
Regulatory Standards Bill
Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Amendment Bill
Spending Cap (People’s Veto) Bill
Taxation (Income-sharing Tax Credit) Bill
Te Hiku Claims Settlement Bill


Bills awaiting third reading

Appropriation (2015/16 Estimates) Bill
Commerce (Cartels and Other Matters) Amendment Bill
Construction Contracts Amendment Bill
Environmental Reporting Bill
Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3)
Harmful Digital Communications Bill
Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
Human Rights Amendment Bill
Insolvency Practitioners Bill
Judicature Modernisation Bill
Natural Health and Supplementary Products Bill (formerly the Natural Health Products Bill)
New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Amendment Bill
Organised Crime and Anti-corruption Amendment Bill
Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months Paid Leave) Amendment Bill
Radio New Zealand Amendment Bill
Reserves and Other Lands Disposal Bill
Social Assistance (Portability to Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau) Bill
Standards and Accreditation Bill
Waitangi National Trust Board Amendment Bill


Acts awaiting assent

Boarder Processing (Arrivals and Departures) Levy Bill


Acts assented

Animal Welfare Amendment Act (No 2) 2015
This Act amends the Animal Welfare Act 1999 by implementing a number of changes resulting from the 2011-2012 government review of the principal Act. In particular, the Act inserts a new section 84A into the principal Act which makes it an offence to use an animal in research, testing or teaching for the purposes of making a cosmetic or its ingredients.

Arts Centre of Christchurch Trust Act 2015
This Act sets out the objects and purposes of The Arts Centre of Christchurch Trust and updates its administrative and governance functions by replacing the Trust's constitution. In doing so, the Act is aims to recognise the local, national, and international heritage significance of The Arts Centre and its historic buildings.

Biosecurity Amendment Act (No 2) 2015
Customs and Excise Amendment Act 2015
These Acts were formerly part of the KiwiSaver Budget Measures Bill Act and amend their respective principal Acts to introduce a border levy for every person who arrives or departs New Zealand after 1 January 2016. The objective of the levy is to assist in meeting the costs incurred by Customs in performing its functions under the principal Act. The Biosecurity Amendment Act (No 2) 2015 amends the Biosecurity Act 1993 by inserting sections 140AA and 140AB and Customs and Excise Amendment Act 2015 amends the Customs and Excise Act 1996 by inserting sections 288B and 228C. These Acts implement measures announced in Budget 2015 and were passed under urgency.

Christchurch City Council (Rates Validation) Act 2015
This Act validates a number of irregularities identified by the Christchurch City Council that occurred in the setting of the Council’s rates, payment dates for those rates, and the imposition of penalties in relation to unpaid rates between the 2003/2004 and 2012/2013 financial years (inclusive). In doing so, section 6 of the Act declares any failures by the Council to comply with section 57 of the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 to have always been valid and lawful.

Housing Corporation (Social Housing Reform) Amendment Act 2015 (formerly part of the Social Housing Reform (Flexible Purchasing and Remedial Matters) Bill)
This Act amends the Housing Corporation Act 1974 to clarify the functions of the Housing Corporation. In particular, the Act inserts a new term into section 18(2)(j) to make it clear that research and monitoring trends in housing and services undertaken by the Housing Corporation is not for the purpose of advising the Minister of Housing on those matters. The Act also removes section 3B(b) of the principal Act, thereby removing the objective of the Housing Corporation to ensure that the Minister of Housing receives appropriate policy advice. The Act clarifies that this responsibility now lies with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. This Act implements measures announced in Budget 2015 and was passed under urgency.

Housing Restructuring and Tenancy Matters (Social Housing Reform) Amendment Act 2015 (formerly part of the Social Housing Reform (Flexible Purchasing and Remedial Matters) Bill)
This Act amends the Housing Restructuring and Tenancy Matters Act 1992 by inserting section 102(1)(1A) which enables the Minister to give directions to the Agency to enter into tailored agreements. The introduction of a new section 137A into the principal Act enables the Agency to enter into arrangements with social housing providers for the provision, by that provider, of social housing and related services. This Act implements measures announced in Budget 2015 and was passed under urgency.

KiwiSaver Budget Measures Act 2015
KiwiSaver (HomeStart) Amendment Act 2015 (formerly part of the Social Housing Reform (Flexible Purchasing and Remedial Matters) Bill)
These Acts make technical amendments to the KiwiSaver Act 2006. The KiwiSaver (HomeStart) Amendment Act 2015 combines clause 8(1)(ab) and (b) in Schedule 1 of the principal Act to clarify that a person who has either been a member of one or more KiwiSaver schemes or qualifying complying superannuation funds, for a combined total of three years or more, may withdraw their funds for the purpose of purchasing a first home. The KiwiSaver Budget Measures Act 2015 repeals section 226 of the principal Act to remove the requirement for the Crown to pay the $1,000 kick-starter for new members of the KiwiSaver scheme. These Acts implement measures announced in Budget 2015 and were passed under urgency.

Social Security (Clothing Allowances for Orphans and Unsupported Children) Amendment Act 2015
This Act amends the Social Security Act 1964 by inserting a new section 29B into the principal Act. Section 29B provides for a person who receives an orphan’s or unsupported child’s benefit, for a child placed in their care under section 362 of the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989, to receive a clothing allowance for that child. The Act comes into force on 1 July 2018.

Taxation (Social Housing Reform) Act 2015 (formerly part of the Social Housing Reform (Flexible Purchasing and Remedial Matters) Bill)
This Act amends the Goods and Services Tax Act 1985 by clarifying the meaning of the term “supply” in section 5. To this end, the Act inserts a new section 6F which ensures that payments for residential social housing provisions under these agreements are GST-exempt, thereby making them consistent with the current treatment for residential rental payments. This Act implements measures announced in Budget 2015 and was passed under urgency.

Telecommunications (Development Levy) Amendment Act 2015
This Act amends the Telecommunications Act 2001 by altering schedule 3B of the principal Act. In doing so, it maintains the annual telecommunications development levy at $50 million between 2016/17-2018/9 rather than allowing the levy to decrease to $10million in 2016/7 as stated in schedule 3B of the principal Act. This Act implements measures announced during the Budget 2015 and was passed under urgency.


Legislative instruments

Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (Fees, Charges, and Levies) Regulations 2015
Animal Products (Dairy Industry Fees, Charges, and Levies) Regulations 2015
Animal Products (Fees, Charges, and Levies) Amendment Regulations 2015
Animal Welfare (Cost Recovery) Regulations 2015
Auditor Amendment Regulations 2015
Auditor Regulation Amendment Act 2014 Commencement Order 2015
Biosecurity (Costs) Amendment Regulations 2015
Biosecurity (System Entry Levy) Amendment Order 2015
Criminal Procedure (Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2015
Customs and Excise (Expiry Date for Interim Arrangements for Information Sharing for Joint Border Management) Order 2015
Dairy Industry (Fonterra Levy) Regulations 2015
District Courts Amendment Rules 2015
Education Amendment Act 2015 Commencement Order 2015
Electoral (Expenditure Limit) Order 2015
Electricity Industry (Levy of Industry Participants) Amendment Regulations 2015
Financial Markets Conduct (Derivatives Issuers – Link to Financial Statements) Exemption Notice 2015
Financial Markets Conduct (Derivatives Issuers – Responsibilities in Event of Shortfall) Exemption Notice 2015
Financial Markets Conduct (Dual-listed FMC Reporting Entities) Exemption Notice 2015
Financial Markets Conduct (Financial Reporting – DIMS Licensees) Exemption Notice 2015
Financial Markets Conduct (Overseas Registered Banks and Licensed Insurers) Exemption Notice 2015
Financial Reporting Amendment Act 2014 Commencement Order 2015
Financial Reporting Regulations 2015
Fisheries (Challenger Area Commercial Fishing) Amendment Regulations 2015
Fisheries (Notification of Tangata Tiaki/Kaitiaki for Area/Rohe Moana of Murihiku Rūnanga) Notice 2015
Fisheries (Notification of Tangata Tiaki/Kaitiaki for Area/Rohe Moana of Te Rūnanga o Ōnuku) Notice 2015
Fisheries (Notification of Tangata Tiaki/Kaitiaki for Area/Rohe Moana of Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri Rūnanga) Notice 2015
Fisheries (Notification of Tangata Tiaki/Kaitiaki for Mātaitai Reserve at Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera) Notice 2015
Fisheries (Southland and Sub-Antarctic Areas Commercial Fishing) Amendment Regulations 2015
Food (Fees and Charges) Regulations 2015
Gas (Levy of Industry Participants) Regulations 2015
Governor-General (Annuities) Determination 2015
Health and Disability (Geographical Areas of DHBs) Order 2015
Health Sector Transfers (Canterbury DHB) Order 2015
High Court Amendment Rules 2015
Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas (Queenstown) Order 2015
Immigration (Visa, Entry Permission, and Related Matters) Amendment Regulations 2015
Income Tax (Maximum Pooling Value) Order 2015
Land Transport (Offences and Penalties) Amendment Regulations 2015
Limited Partnerships Amendment Act 2014 Commencement Order 2015
Local Government Elected Members (2014/15) (Certain Local Authorities) Determination 2014 Amendment Determination 2015
Maritime Transport (Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims) Order 2015
National Animal Identification and Tracing (Levies) Amendment Regulations 2015
National Animal Identification and Tracing (Obligations and Exemptions) Amendment Regulations 2015
National Civil Defence Emergency Management Plan Order 2015
New Zealand Council for Educational Research (Electoral College) Amendment Order 2015
New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants Amendment Act 2014 Commencement Order 2015
Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Rate of Parental Leave Payment) Regulations 2015
Parliamentary Annuities Determination 2015
Parliamentary Salaries Determination 2015
Rates Rebate (Specified Amounts) Order 2015
Registered Architects Amendment Rules 2015
Road User Charges Amendment Regulations 2015
Road User Charges (Rates) Regulations 2015
Social Security (Long-term Residential Care) Amendment Regulations (No 2) 2015
Student Allowances Amendment Regulations (No 2) 2015
Takeovers Code (Class Exemptions) Notice (No 2) 2001 Amendment Notice 2015
United Nations Sanctions (South Sudan) Regulations 2015
Vulnerable Children Act Commencement Order 2015
Vulnerable Children (Requirements for Safety Checks of Children’s Workers) Regulations 2015
Wine Amendment Regulations 2015

In the week ahead

What’s coming up in the House

The Government will look to continue the Budget Debate and further a number of first readings on the Order Paper, including the Accident Compensation (Financial Responsibility and Transparency) Amendment Bill and the Electronic Monitoring of Offenders Legislation Bill.

In committee

Recent Committee meetings

Select Committees met over the last two weeks.

Each Select Committee was briefed by the Treasury on the Estimates process in relation to Budget 2015.

The Commerce Committee continued to hear submissions on the New Zealand Business Number Bill.

The Finance and Expenditure Committee continued to hear submissions on the Taxation (Annual Rates for 2015-16, Research and Development, and Remedial Matters) Bill, and considered two Reports from the Controller and Auditor-General – Auckland Council: how it deals with building consents; and Inland Revenue Department: Governance of the Business Transformation programme.

The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee was briefed by Dr Claire Spencer on the United Nations Security Council.

The Government Administration Committee was briefed by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management on the proposed national civil defence emergency management plan.

The Primary Production Committee was briefed on the New Zealand Drylands Forest Initiative, a research and development project relating to genetically improved planting stock and management systems for ground-durable eucalypt species suited to dryland regions.

The Social Services Committee heard submissions on the Support for Children in Hardship Bill.

Speeches of note

Minister of Civil Defence speaks on building better connections between Asia and the Pacific

The Minister of Civil Defence addressed the International Conference on the Future of Asia at the Nikkei Forum in Tokyo on 21 May.

The address canvassed New Zealand’s economic, social and cultural links with Asia. The Minister emphasised that New Zealand valued its ties with Asia and that “bigger steps” could be taken to deepen social and economic integration within the Asia-Pacific region. The Minister emphasised that cooperation in areas such as trade liberalisation, education and disaster risk reduction would be powerful tools in achieving that integration. She also emphasised the importance of greater economic integration through trade and business.

The Minister heralded New Zealand as a leader in efforts to develop better rules for trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific, notably, the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. The Minister also discussed Japan’s recent reform agenda for its farming sector, which could see a revitalisation of Japan’s food business, and consequently, generate major opportunities for New Zealand producers. It was noted that New Zealand’s links with Asia extend beyond the economic, with a rapidly growing range of education, cultural and social connections drawing the two closer together. For example, it is estimated that by 2021 over 34 per cent of the population of Auckland will be of Asian origin. In terms of education, the New Zealand system attracts over 100,000 international students annually, the top four source countries being China, India, Japan, and South Korea.

A copy of the full address can be found here.

In trade

TPPA negotiations update: Obama's quest to secure fast-track legislation

Five years on from the commencement of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations, the future of the TPPA appears delicately balanced. The negotiations are effectively on hold until the US Congress determines whether to pass the Trade Promotion Authority Bill, which would grant President Obama fast-track powers to negotiate international trade agreements, such as the TPPA. Most of the other 11 nations involved in the TPPA negotiations are reluctant to continue discussions until the Bill has passed - the scheduled May TPPA talks in Guam have been delayed.

The Bill's fast-track provisions would limit Congress to a simple up-down vote on any final TTPA (without an ability to make amendments or requirements of a Senate super-majority). Without the fast-track provisions, Obama would have to take the TPPA to Congress, where it could be amended and consequently rendered unacceptable to the other 11 nations involved in the talks.

President Obama received the Senate’s approval for the Bill in a 62-37 vote (a coalition of 48 Senate Republicans and 14 Democrats voting in favour). Now, the Bill must face the scrutiny of the House of Representatives, where it is predicted to come up against severe opposition from the Democrats.

Due to the secretive nature of the negotiations, the exact ramifications of any TPPA for New Zealand’s economy and social policy remain uncertain. However, if the Bill receives Congressional approval, a final deal could be concluded within a few months. At that point, stakeholders will no doubt review the final text closely to ascertain how it might affect them.


Tariff concessions

The following applications for tariff concessions have been made in the past two weeks:

Applicant

Proposed tariff concession

Tariff item

Closing date for objections (2015)

Blueberry Country Limited (New Zealand)

Blueberries, individually quick frozen, 500 tons only, for use in manufacture by Blueberry Country Limited, for the period of 1 May 2015 to 31 December 2015

0811.90.19

16 June

Cubic Defence New Zealand Limited

Ballistic protection material, non-vulcanized rubber, Dura-Panel EXP™ and Dura-Bloc EXP™

40.06

23 June

Dairy Solutions International Limited (New Zealand)

Packing or wrapping machine, for butter products of sizes ranging (between and including) 5g to 2kg

8422.40.01

23 June

In consultation

New

Who

What

By when (2015)

Department of Conservation

Intention to grant a lease at Fort Takapuna recreation reserve for the restoration of two barracks buildings

28 July

Inland Revenue Department

Draft General Depreciation Determination ED0178: for galvanised steel portable fences by adding a new asset class

26 June

Draft changes to the Tax Administration Act 1994 – Meaning of “due and payable” under section 91E(4)(d)(i)

8 July

Internal Affairs

Fire Services Review discussion document proposing:

  • enhancement of the status quo;
  • coordinated service delivery; or
  • national fire service

10 July

Law Commission

Protection of Classified and Security Sensitive Information Issues Paper

30 June

Medsafe

Addition of warning statements on labels of OTC oral and topical diclofenac medicines

22 June

Ministry for Primary Industries

Proposed changes to soil and plant-based fertiliser import health standards

12 June

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Review of Product Safety Standards (Children’s Nightwear and Limited Daywear Having Reduced Fire Hazard) Regulations 2008

12 June

Supplementary Financial Markets Conduct Regulations to be made under the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013

2 July

Review of Financial Advisors Act and Financial Service Providers Act

22 July

Proposed system to manage buildings and life-safety risks after a state of emergency

24 July

Ministry of Defence

Defence White Paper 2015 Public Consultation Document

22 June

PHARMAC

Haemophilia treatments funding proposal including treatments using recombinant factor VIII, recombinant factor IX, recombinant factor VIIa and factor VIII inhibitor bypassing fraction

15 June

Reserve Bank

Feedback on technical consultation on draft wording changes to capital adequacy residential mortgages

19 June

Te Puni Kōkiri

Review of Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 and amendments designed to make it easier for Māori land owners to use and develop their land whilst also respecting Māori land as a taonga tuku iho

3 July

Standards New Zealand
- Joint standards

Methods of testing bitumen and related roadmaking products method 4: Determination of dynamic viscosity by rotational viscometer

15 June

Timber structures – dowel-type fasteners

  • Part 1: Determination of yield moment
  • Part 2: Determination of embedding strength

19 June

Luminaries Part 2.2: Recessed luminaries – Revision of AS/NZS 60598.2.2:2001

26 June

Wheelchairs:

  • Part 3 determination of effectiveness of brakes
  • Part 8 requirements and test methods for static, impact and fatigue strengths

Wheelchair seating:

  • Part 9: interface pressure mapping for seating in the clinical setting
  • Part 12: Apparatus and method for cushion envelopment testing

1 July

Luminaries Part 2.12: Particular requirements – Mains socket outlet mounted nightlights

14 July

Pliable building membranes and underlays Part 1: Materials (Revision of AS/NZS 4200.1:1994)

17 July

Approval and test specification – minimum safety requirements for Lampholder adaptors

20 July

Revision of NZS 5259:2004 Gas measurement

22 July

Household and similar electrical appliances – Safety:

  • Part 1 General Requirements
  • Part 2.40 electrical heat pumps, air-conditioners and dehumidifiers
  • Part 2.58 commercial electric dishwashing machines
  • Part 2.65 air-cleaning appliances
  • Part 2.8 amusement machines and personal service machines
  • Part 2.95 drives for vertically moving garage doors for residential use amendment 1
  • Part 2.11 tumble dryers
  • Part 2.111 electric ondol mattress with a non-flexible headed part
  • Part 2.2: vacuum cleaners and water-suction cleaning appliances
  • Part 2.30 Room heaters
  • Part 2.31 Range hoods and other cooking fume extractors
  • Part 2.4 spin extractors
  • Part 2.5 dishwashers
  • Part 2.6 Station cooking ranges, hobs, ovens and similar appliances
  • Part 2.7 washing machines
  • Part 2.81 foot warmers and heating mats
  • Part 2.9 grills, toasters and similar portable cooking appliances

24 July

Safety of power transformers, power supplies, reactors and similar products Part 1: General requirements and tests

24 July

Electric motor-operated hand-held tools, transportable tools and lawn and garden machinery – Safety. Part 2.9: Particular requirements for hand-held tappers and threaders

24 July

PVC-U pipes and fittings for drain, waste and vent application. (Revision of AS/NZS 1260:2009)

29 July

Worksafe

Workspace exposure standards for respirable quatrtz/respirable crystalline silica

7 August

Current

Who

What

By when (2015)

Commerce Commission

Transpower TPM operational review initial consultation paper

Ongoing

Department of Conservation

Intention to grant a 30 year concession to the Te Anau Scout Group to construct a new scout hall on land it currently occupies near the shore of Lake Te Anau

10 June

Changes in status of New Zealand bat, bird, reptile and frog taxa to inform a revision of the lists for these groups in the New Zealand Threat Classification System

31 October

Review of wildlife, research and collection authorisations undertaken on public conservation land

Ongoing

Electricity Authority

Dispatchable demand regime - late bid revisions

16 June

Environmental Protection Authority

Reassessment for herbicide Callisto – APP202063 which contains the active ingredient mesotrione

10 June

Inland Revenue Department

Non-Resident Withholding Tax related party and branch lending issues paper

16 June

Ministry for Primary Industries

Draft Import Health Standards for importing zoo marsupials and monotremes

15 June

Fishing rules for Marlborough Sounds Blue Cod Fishery

15 June

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Submissions on property regulations and local rules that are irrelevant or unnecessary

Ongoing

Ministry of Health

Proposal for New Zealand to become a party to The Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, developed by the World Health Organisation under the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

12 June

Standards New Zealand
- Joint standards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Performance of electrical appliances – Air conditioners and heat pumps Part 1.5: Non-ducted portable air-cooled air conditioners having a single exhaust and non-ducted portable air-cooled heat pumps having a single exhaust duct – testing for performance

10 June

Method 4: determination of dynamic viscosity by rotational viscometer

15 June

Luminaries Part 2.8: particular requirements – Handlamps. Revision of AS/NZS 60598.2.8:2002

16 June

Pipelines – gas and liquid petroleum: Part 2: Welding (revision of A S 2885.2-2007)

18 June

Approval and test specification – residual current devices (current operated earth-leakage devices) (Revision of AS/NZS 3190:2001)

19 June

Amendment 4 to AS/NZS 1170.2.2011 Structural; design actions Part 2: Wind actions

24 June

Information technology – Home electronic system (HES) architecture Part 3 Communication layers:

  • 3.1 Application layer for network based control of class 1
  • 3.2 Transport, network and general parts of data link layer of class 1
  • 3.3 User process for network based control of class 1
  • 3.4 System management
  • 3.5 Media and Media dependant layers - Powerline for network based controls
  • 3.6 Media and Media dependant layers  – twisted pair

25 June

Compliance Management Systems – Guidelines for establishing, developing, implementing, evaluating, maintaining and improving an effective and responsible compliance management system within an organisation

25 June


This publication is intended only to provide a summary of the subject covered. It does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. No person should act in reliance on any statement contained in this publication without first obtaining specific professional advice. If you require any advice or further information on the subject matter of this newsletter, please contact the partner/solicitor in the firm who normally advises you, or alternatively contact one of the partners listed below.

Read more:
Watching Brief
Talk to one of our experts:
Related Expertise