Luxton Announces "Six Pack" of Measures to Improve Government Interventions

  • John Luxton

Minister of Commerce, Hon John Luxton, today announced a package of six measures designed to improve the quality of Government interventions and compliance costs in the economy.

Mr Luxton said today, "The Government's role in the economy has an impact on growth. Government has improved its fiscal management over the last few years with the assistance of the Public Finance Act and the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

"However there is room for improvement on the regulatory side of the Government activities. The quality of New Zealand's regulatory environment is a key factor in helping to achieve the Government's wider economic, social and environmental goals

"This package, which builds on a number of initiatives and reviews already underway, is the next step to address this," Mr Luxton said. Cabinet has recently agreed to the regulatory six pack of measures which includes:

the adoption of Code of Good Regulatory Practice which is based on the principles of effectiveness, efficiency, equity, transparency and clarity; implementation details to be reported back by officials by 1 May 1998;

agreed in principle that government agencies, in formulating new regulation, develop processes to achieve the outcomes of the Code of Good Regulatory Practice according to the features of the Generic Policy Development Process;

agreed in principle to Regulatory Impact Statement, with report back by officials by 28 February 1998. This builds on the current requirement relating to Compliance Cost Statements in Cabinet papers be expanded to include information on the total regulatory impact and would include the following information;

a statement of the nature and magnitude of the problem to be addressed;
a statement of the public policy objective;
a statement of possible options (regulatory and non regulatory);
a statement of the net benefit of the proposal, including the total regulatory costs (administrative, compliance and economic costs) and benefits (including non-quantifiable benefits) of the proposal, and other possible options; and
a statement of the consultative programme undertaken.

agreed in principle to a Regulatory Responsibility Act, analogous to the Fiscal Responsibility Act, to enhance the disciplines supporting quality regulatory management. Officials to report back by 1 May 1998 on the design and implementation issues;

a review of some selected legislation which business considers has significant cost impacts. The intentions of the reviews are to ensure that costs imposed by the legislation are minimised, not to question the basic principles on which the legislation is based. The following legislation has been selected for review, with officials to report by the specified dates:

Building Act 1991, by 1 March 1998
Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, by 1 December 1998
Privacy Act 1993, by 1 July 1998
Human Rights Act 1993, by 1 July 1998
Meat Act 1981, Dairy Industry Act 1952 and related legislation governing food safety, by 1 March 1999
A "Case Study of the Impact of the Resource Management Act 1991 on Business", was released last Friday. The Employment Contracts Act, Holidays Act, ACC are being considered by the Ministries responsible.

directed officials to undertake further development work on the concept of an independent Regulatory Task Force and report back by 1 July 1998. This task force would look at existing regulation and ways of improving it. It is likely to build on the reviews currently underway.
"Over the last decade the Government has enacted about 1600 new or amended statutes and 3600 regulations. I hope that as we work to implement these measures we will see an improvement in Government regulatory interventions and also in the incentives for the public service," Mr Luxton concluded.