Secondary legislation drafting toolkit launched

Attorney-General Judith Collins today welcomed the release of the Parliamentary Counsel Office’s (PCO) Secondary Legislation Drafting Toolkit.

"Both businesses and people tell us they find it hard to understand their obligations under secondary legislation,” Ms Collins says.

“This toolkit, with its focus on design and content, will help with both consistency and quality of the secondary legislation drafted in agencies.”

Secondary legislation is law made under, as opposed to in, an Act of Parliament. It includes such things as regulations, most Orders in Council and class (and some individual) exemptions.

The toolkit includes guidance on the standard components of secondary legislation, a “How to Draft” guide and a template for drafting secondary legislation.

It builds upon the Secondary Legislation Access Standards released in February 2024, for agencies that administer secondary legislation. The Standards make it easier for them to meet legal requirements and apply best practice for access to the secondary legislation they draft and publish. 

The Attorney-General has endorsed the Access Standards, as have the Regulations Review Committee and the Public Service Commissioner.

The secondary legislation work programme is in a multi-year transition towards improved access and quality. The Access Standards and Drafting Toolkit are two key parts of work the PCO is doing with administering agencies to support this system shift. 

“It is a fundamental requirement of a free and democratic society that people can easily find, use and understand the law that they are subject to,” Ms Collins says.

“Good access lowers costs, drives better compliance and improves legislative decision-making - key factors as this Government works to grow the economy. It also lifts transparency and accountability.”

The Secondary Legislation Access Standards can be viewed here, and the drafting toolkit here.