First Revision Programme of Statutes Begins

  • Christopher Finlayson

The first revision programme of statutes has been presented to the House of Representatives, Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson announced today. “This is a banner day for the New Zealand statute books,” said Mr Finlayson. “It is the start of a systematic programme of statute revision which will make the law clearer and more accessible for New Zealanders. There has not been a major revision and consolidation of our legislation since 1908.”

“The presentation of some of New Zealand’s older, much-amended statutes will be improved without changing the substantive effect of the law,” said Mr Finlayson. “Revision will reduce regulatory costs by assisting individuals and businesses to understand more easily the rules that apply to them and contribute to the Government’s priority of building a more competitive and productive economy.”

The Legislation Act 2012 requires the Government to consult on, and approve, a 3-year revision programme for each new Parliament.

The acts selected for inclusion in the first programme are contract and commercial statutes, many of which are expressed in language and a structure that is out of date. The acts contain rules underpinning transactions in a commercial context and also in dealings between individuals who are not in trade. 

The statutes on the programme will be restated in the current drafting style and format using clear language, rearranged and renumbered. 

After the Parliamentary Counsel Office has drafted each Bill, a panel of eminent lawyers will examine and certify them before introduction to ensure the revision powers have been appropriately applied. 

The revision bill certifiers are retired High Court Judge Hon John Priestley CNZM QC; President of the Law Commission, Hon Sir Grant Hammond KNZM; Solicitor-General, Michael Heron QC and Chief Parliamentary Counsel David Noble. 

The Parliamentary procedure for enacting revision bills will be streamlined under recent changes to the House’s Standing Orders, as these bills will have no new policy in them, but the select committee process is retained.

The first 3-year programme of statute revision is now available at