What's on the site and how it works

What is on this website

Acts, Bills, Legislative Instruments, Other Instruments, Supplementary Order Papers

This website provides free public access to up-to-date versions of New Zealand Acts, Bills (proposed Acts), and Legislative Instruments. It links to Other Instruments—see below. The website also provides Supplementary Order Papers (SOPs, a type of proposed amendment to a Bill). All in-force legislation is provided, and all current Bills and Supplementary Order Papers, as well as earlier versions.

If an Act or Legislative Instrument has been amended, it is shown with the amendments incorporated—so the website provides up-to-date legislation. (See How up to date is this website?). The individual amendment Acts and Legislative Instruments are also available—see Amendment legislation below.

Acts include:

Bills include:

Legislative Instruments can include Orders in Council, regulations, rules, notices, determinations, proclamations, or warrants.

The website label "Legislative Instruments" replaced the previous label "Regulations" on 5 August 2013. Use it to find:

Amendment legislation

Amendment Acts and amendment Legislative Instruments are provided in full from 2008 onwards. Those from 1997 to 2007 may be provided, but may have the text of the amendments removed as the amendments have been incorporated in the principal legislation. In general, amendment Acts and amendment Legislative Instruments before 1997 are not provided.

See Search tips for finding amendment legislation and repealed and revoked legislation.

Earlier versions

Earlier versions of Acts, Legislative Instruments, and Bills are retained on the website so you can view the law that was in force at a particular time (or view earlier Bills or their versions that are no longer current). Look under a document's Versions tab. However, versions from before 4 September 2007 are not provided.

Repealed and revoked legislation

Acts repealed and Legislative Instruments revoked since 4 September 2007 are available on this website. (See below for minor exceptions.) Legislation repealed or revoked before 4 September 2007 is not generally available, with certain exceptions (such as portions of the Building Regulations 1992, particularly the Building Code, which is still in force). See Search tips for finding repealed and revoked legislation and amendment legislation. See Where else is legislation available from? In particular, earlier (repealed) Acts are available from the New Zealand Acts 1841–2007 As Enacted Collection.

Bills and Supplementary Order Papers

Bills and Supplementary Order Papers published after 1 January 2008 are available through this website. (Some Bills that were current then but that have not been republished since that date are not available, but will be if and when they are republished as a later version.)

Supplementary Order Papers are located under the Versions and SOPs tab of their related Bill.

Other Instruments

This website links to Other Instruments (previously referred to as Deemed Regulations). The Other Instruments themselves are not hosted on this website. The Parliamentary Counsel Office relies on information received from the agencies responsible for administering Other Instruments. Because of this, the Parliamentary Counsel Office does not assume responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the links provided. For advice about particular Other Instruments, contact the agency responsible for administering them.

Exceptions: Customs legislation

Schedule 3 (Thai goods containing non-originating materials) and Schedule 7 (Product-specific rules of origin for Australian goods) of the Customs and Excise Regulations 1996 are not currently available in the collection. See the New Zealand Customs Service website for these documents.

Schedule 3 (Excise and excise-equivalent duties) of the Customs and Excise Act 1996 and Schedule 1 (The Tariff) of the Tariff Act 1988, both now repealed, are not available on this website; however, the Tariff and the Excise and Excise-equivalent Duties Table are available in up-to-date form on the New Zealand Customs Service website.

What is not on this website

See above for what amendment legislation, repealed and revoked legislation, and Bills and Supplementary Order Papers are not on this website, and exceptions to what is otherwise available. In addition, the following sources of law are not available on this website:

  • decisions of courts
  • international treaties and conventions (unless the text is set out in an Act or Legislative Instrument)
  • local authority bylaws.

Where else is legislation available from?

See the Parliamentary Counsel Office website for other sources of online legislation. In particular, Acts enacted before 2008 (including repealed Acts) are available from the New Zealand Acts 1841–2007 As Enacted Collection.

As well as being available through this website, commercially printed legislation is available from Legislation Direct by subscription and by mail order. See their contact details. You can also buy legislation from some bookshops.

Printed legislation is also available from some public libraries.

For Other Instruments, see the Other Instrument's information page for where to obtain copies.

Status of legislation on this website: what is official

Only PDF versions of Acts and Legislative Instruments that display the New Zealand Coat of Arms on their first page are official.

PDFs without the New Zealand Coat of Arms, and all HTML versions (under the By sections or By clauses and View whole tabs), are not official.

A quick way to check whether a PDF is official is to look at its associated View whole version. While not itself being official, the View whole version will display the New Zealand Coat of Arms if the PDF is official.

The following documents are official:

  • every Act and Legislative Instrument enacted or made since 2008
  • every reprint (subsequent version) of those Acts and Legislative Instruments
  • the latest version of all principal Acts and Legislative Instruments enacted or made between 1931 and 2007, if still in force
  • some earlier reprints of those 1931–2007 Acts and Legislative Instruments
  • the latest versions of some pre-1931 Acts, eg Judicature Act 1908 and Sale of Goods Act 1908
  • some earlier reprints of those pre-1931 Acts.

A printout of an official PDF, whether self-printed or a commercial print ordered through this website, is also official.

If the PDF of an Act or Legislative Instrument does not display the New Zealand Coat of Arms on its first page, it is not an official version. The only official version of such a document will be a "traditional" printed version published under the authority of the New Zealand Government (the copy may alternatively say it was issued under the authority of the Legislation Act 2012 or corresponding former Act), if such a version was published. It may be available from Legislation Direct or selected bookshops. Copies are also available in many public libraries. See also the New Zealand Acts 1841–2007 As Enacted Collection.

Note that links only to Other Instruments are provided on this website, rather than the Other Instruments themselves. The status of online versions of Other Instruments will depend on the agency that publishes them.

How up to date is this website?

The date and time that the website was last updated is shown on the homepage.

We aim to make legislation available on this website according to the following timeframes (or earlier where possible):

  • new Acts: within five working days of Royal assent
  • new Legislative Instruments: the day after the date they are notified in the Gazette
  • Bills:
    • new Bills introduced into the House: the day after introduction
    • subsequent versions: the day after the printed version is made available to the House
  • Supplementary Order Papers: the day after they have been circulated to Members of Parliament.

New Acts, Bills, and Supplementary Order Papers are made publicly available only after we receive notification to publish from Parliament.

Links to Other Instruments are updated once a month, based on information received from the agencies that administer them.

You can track newly published legislation using our web feeds. See Keeping up to date with the law—web feeds.

Up-to-date versions with amendments incorporated

Legislation on this website has amendments incorporated to provide a snapshot of the law as it currently stands. Amendments are added as soon as possible after they come into force, but not before. We aim to incorporate amendments within 15 working days after the amendment comes into force.

Each Act or Legislative Instrument states when amendments were last incorporated (the "as at" date). If an amendment has been enacted/made, but not yet incorporated into the principal enactment, an alert message will appear on that principal enactment. We aim to make this alert message available on the website within five working days of the publication of the amendment on the website.

Our ability to meet these timeframes may be affected from time to time by the number or complexity of amendments.

What Acts and Legislative Instruments are in force

In general, legislation on this website is in force unless noted otherwise. If the legislation has been repealed or revoked, or if the entire Act or Legislative Instrument is not yet in force, there will be a note at the top of the document stating this.

However, if some provisions of an Act or Legislative Instrument are in force and others are not, this may not be noted. You may need to check the commencement provisions. See also How up to date is this website?

If amendments to an Act or Legislative Instrument are not yet in force, they will not have been incorporated in the principal enactment. If amendments have not yet been incorporated, whether they are in force or not, there will be an alert message noting this. A link to the amendments that have not yet been incorporated will appear under the Versions and amendments tab.

Finding when an Act comes into force

An Act passed since 1 January 2000 has a section that states when it comes into force (commencement), usually in section 2. Acts passed before this date may contain a specific commencement section, usually as section 1(2).

Acts can be brought into force in various ways. The most common are:

  • on a specific date
  • on, or the day after, the date on which it receives assent (Royal assent)
  • on a date to be appointed by the Governor-General by Order in Council, in which case the date will be published in a commencement order (found on this website under Legislative Instruments—see below)
  • after a specified period (for example, one month after assent).

Sometimes different sections of an Act come into force at different times.

The date of assent appears on the Act's contents page.

If an Act does not state when it comes into force, it comes into force on the day after the date of assent (in accordance with section 8(2) of the Interpretation Act 1999, for Acts passed after 1 November 1999) or on the date of assent (in accordance with section 10A(1) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1924, for earlier Acts).

Finding commencement orders: You can find commencement orders under Legislative Instruments. The title of a commencement order usually starts with the title of the Act being brought into force, and usually includes the word "Commencement". Commencement orders made from 2013 onwards can be found using Quick search, as they are classed as principal Legislative Instruments. Earlier commencement orders were classed as amendment Legislative Instruments—so to find them, use Advanced search (select Amendment Legislative Instruments in force) or Browse (select Include amendment Legislative Instruments), not Quick search.

When a commencement order is made, it is noted under the commencement section of the Act to which it relates.

Finding when a Legislative Instrument comes into force

A Legislative Instrument may come into force at different times. The most common are:

  • on a specific date
  • after a specified period (for example, on the 28th day after the date of its notification in the Gazette)
  • on, or the day after, its notification in the Gazette.

Sometimes different clauses of a Legislative Instrument come into force at different times.

Legislative Instruments will usually contain a specific provision after the title clause stating when they come into force.

The date of its notification in the Gazette is stated at the very end of the Legislative Instrument. From the Legislative Instrument’s contents page, follow the Administrative information or Gazette information link.

If a Legislative Instrument does not state when it comes into force, it comes into force on the day after the date of its notification in the Gazette (in accordance with section 9(2) of the Interpretation Act 1999, for Legislative Instruments made after 1 November 1999) or on the date on which they are made (for Legislative Instruments made before 1 November 1999).

Finding when Other Instruments comes into force

If an Other Instrument does not state when it comes into force, visit the administering agency's website for more information.

Why do only some Acts and Legislative Instruments show the New Zealand Coat of Arms?

Acts and Legislative Instruments may show the New Zealand Coat of Arms at the start of the document under the View whole tab and on their PDF. The PDF versions of these documents are official. See Status of legislation on this website: what is official.

Keeping up to date with the law—web feeds

Web feeds (or RSS feeds) are available to help keep you up to date with changes to the law. After you subscribe to a feed your feed reader automatically checks the feed and displays whatever is new in one place without you having to revisit the website. You can subscribe to ready-made feeds, or set up custom feeds from Acts, Bills, or Legislative Instruments, or any title search or browse. See About web feeds for more information.

You may also find Alerts on the Parliament website helpful, particularly if you want to keep up to date with Bills and Supplementary Order Papers.

If you need more information

About the interpretation or operation of legislation

If you need more information about legislation, you should know that the Parliamentary Counsel Office does not give advice to the public about the interpretation or operation of legislation. Instead, you can contact the government agency that administers the legislation. You can usually find the name of the administering agency near the top of an Act or Legislative Instrument, or by following the Legislative history or Administrative information link on the contents page. For Other Instruments, the administering agency's details are provided on the Other Instrument's information page. See also Contacting government agencies and Who else may be able to help.

If you want to comment on a Bill or on an Act or Legislative Instrument

If you want to have a say in relation to Parliament, see Get involved on Parliament's website. A select committee will often seek comments from the public on a Bill that is before it. For a list of those Bills and how to make a submission, see Make a submission.

If you wish to comment on an Act or Legislative Instrument, you could contact the agency that administers the legislation. You can usually find the name of the administering agency near the top of an Act or Legislative Instrument, or by following the Legislative history or Administrative information link on the contents page. For Other Instruments, the administering agency's details are provided on the Other Instrument's information page. See also Contacting government agencies.

About this website

If you have any questions or comments about this website, please Contact us.