Please note that this page is not intended to give complete definitions of these terms, but rather is to help the general user by explaining how the terms are used in the context of this website.
An Act is a law passed by Parliament. Before an Act is passed by Parliament it is called a Bill.
There are five types of Acts: public, private, local, provincial,
administering department, ministry, or other agency
Most Acts and Regulations are administered by a government agency, usually a department or ministry, which is identified in the Act
or Regulation. That department or ministry is generally responsible for the operation of the legislation and for making recommendations to
the government of the day about improving it. You can usually find the name of the administering agency at the top of the contents page of each Act
or Regulation. Alternatively it may appear under legislative history or administrative information at the end of the document (linked to from the contents page).
Deemed Regulations can be administered by a wider variety of agencies. The administering agency is provided on the Deemed Regulation's information page.
Changes made to an Act or Regulation are called amendments. By default, this website shows Acts and Regulations with the
amendments incorporated, up to the date indicated (the "as at" date). Amendment Acts and Amendment Regulations (as opposed to principal Acts and principal Regulations) are those that make changes to existing Acts or Regulations. Deemed Regulations can also be amended; how their amendments are shown depends on the agency that administers them.
When viewing an Act or Regulation, the Versions and amendments tab displays an "as at" date for each version. This indicates the last date that amendments commenced and were incorporated into each individual version.
If the legislation hasn't been amended since it was loaded into the database, the "as at" date will be the date it was loaded until it is officialised. See also reprint.
"Enacted" means, in relation to a Bill, passed or made into law. On this website, "as enacted" refers to the original version of an
Act when it was passed into law.
Regulations are generally made by the Governor-General in Council, Ministers of the Crown, and certain other bodies. On this website,
"as made" refers to the original version of the Regulations when they were made into law.
See About legislation for more on Regulations.
A Bill is a proposed Act that has been introduced (although not all Bills will become Acts). Bills change as they go through the legislative process—see
Bill number. For information on the legislative stages a Bill passes through, see
How a bill becomes law. To comment on a Bill before a select committee, see Make a submission.
Bills are assigned a number when they are introduced into the House of Representatives. A version number is shown after the Bill number,
eg 100—1, 100—2, 100—3.
The first version is the Bill "as introduced" into the House of Representatives. The second
version will usually be as reported from the relevant select committee. The third version will usually be as reported from the committee of the whole House. (See How
a Bill becomes law for information on the various stages.)
A break-up SOP is a Supplementary Order Paper that divides a Bill into two or more Bills.
On this website, a clause refers to the basic unit of a Regulation or a Bill. Each clause within a Regulation or Bill deals with a separate
subject or idea and has its own number. When a Bill becomes an Act, its clauses are called sections.
Within the text of a Regulation, the basic unit may actually be called "regulation", "rule", or "clause".
Commencement refers to the date when an Act or Regulation (or part of it) first has the force of law.
After a select committee has examined a Bill, it will report back to the House of Representatives. The commentary explains the changes
to the Bill recommended by the select committee, and describes the issues the committee has considered. The commentary usually appears at the start
of the Bill.
committee of the whole House
This is a committee that includes all members of Parliament. For more information, see the New Zealand Parliament website.
Deemed Regulations, in the context of this website, are instruments required to be treated as regulations for the purposes of the Regulations (Disallowance) Act 1989, but are not drafted by the PCO or published in the Statutory Regulations series. They are made by Ministers, officials, or organisations, rather than the Executive Council on the recommendation of Cabinet. Examples include most land transport rules, civil aviation rules, and a wide variety of other rules, codes, and other legislative instruments.
Deemed Regulations are not hosted directly on this website; instead, we provide a link to where they are hosted, usually on the website of the agency that administers them, or to the relevant New Zealand Gazette. Limited information about each Deemed Regulation is held on the New Zealand Legislation website, which is why only searching and browsing by title and year are available.
For more information on Deemed Regulations,
see Deemed regulations and About legislation on the
Parliamentary Counsel Office website.
See reprint and reprint note.
When a Bill is first introduced to the House of Representatives (the "as introduced" version), its text is prefaced by an
explanatory note. This note is only relevant to the introduction version of the Bill and is only available with this version.
When a Regulation is published, an explanatory note appears at the end of the text. It is not part of the Regulation itself.
Some types of Regulations are published with a "statement of reasons" instead of an explanatory note. If the Regulation is later amended, the explanatory note will not appear in the amended version (since it may no longer accurately reflect the content of the Regulation). But it is retained in the "as made " version.
The New Zealand Gazette
is the official newspaper of the Government of New Zealand. Regulations are notified in the Gazette after they are made. The date of notification is given at the end of Regulations, under administrative information or the Gazette information.
A government Bill is a Bill introduced into the House of Representatives by a member of Parliament in his or her capacity as a Minister.
Government Bills deal with matters of public policy.
The Governor-General is the representative of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second in New Zealand. Royal assent, given by the Governor-General as the Queen's representative, is required before a Bill passed by the House of Representatives can become an Act.
House of Representatives
The House of Representatives is a body made up of elected individuals who are called members of Parliament. For more information
on the House of Representatives and Parliament, see What
is Parliament? and Role of Parliament.
Imperial Acts are Acts of the Parliaments of England, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom that are part of the law of New Zealand under
the Imperial Laws Application Act 1988.
Imperial Regulations are Regulations made under an imperial Act and in force in New Zealand.
In force means that the Act or the Regulation has the force of law. On this website, all Acts and Regulations that have come into force, or have had parts or sections or clauses come into force, and have not
been repealed or revoked, are said to be in force.
An Act, Bill, or Regulation may contain one or more interpretation sections or clauses, which define specific words and phrases used in the document and may include other matters of interpretation. If words or phrases are not defined in the particular Act or Regulation, their ordinary meaning applies unless a definition in other legislation applies. The Interpretation Act 1999 provides definitions that apply to all legislation.
A Bill is introduced when a member of Parliament (or in the case of a Government Bill, a Minister) formally puts it before the House of Representatives for its consideration. Once a Bill is introduced, it is publicly available.
If amendments are made to a Bill as part of its progress through the House, there is a key before the contents page that explains how the amendments are shown.
On this website, legislation refers to Acts, Bills, Regulations, Deemed Regulations, and Supplementary Order Papers (although Bills and Supplementary Order Papers relate only to proposed legislation).
For Bills and Acts, legislative history is a summary of the key dates of a Bill's progress through its legislative stages in the House of
Representatives. These dates include the date of the Bill's introduction, the date when it was reported back to the House from the select
committee (if appropriate), and the date when it received the Royal assent. Legislative history appears at the end of post-introduction versions of Bills. It is also included at the end of as-enacted versions of Acts, although not in older Acts.
A local Act deals with matters of public interest but only affects a particular part of New Zealand, eg the Aid to Water-Power Works Act 1910 and the Masterton Trust Lands Act 2003.
A local Bill is a Bill promoted by a local authority that becomes a local Act if enacted.
A member's Bill is a non-government Bill promoted by a member of Parliament who is not a Minister. A member’s Bill deals with matters
of public policy, and becomes a public Act if it is enacted.
not yet in force
This refers to an Act or Regulation (or part of one) that has been enacted or made but that has not yet come into force because its commencement date is in the future.
An official version of legislation is legislation that is taken to correctly set out the text of legislation. In a court of law, it will be taken to correctly state the law without any further proof of its accuracy. At present only "traditional" printed legislation is official—see Buy online for how to obtain it. The intention is that the New Zealand Legislation website will become a source of official legislation in the future.
Officialisation is the term used on this website for the process of checking compiled legislation to confirm its accuracy, which is the first step towards making the New Zealand Legislation website a source of official legislation. Legislation that has been officialised shows an image of the New Zealand Coat of Arms in its PDF or View whole HTML versions.
Parliament is New Zealand's principal law-making body. It has full power to make laws that apply to anyone in New Zealand. Parliament is made
up of the House of Representatives and the Sovereign (represented in New Zealand by the Governor-General). For more information, see the New Zealand Parliament website.
Parliamentary Counsel Office/Te Tari Tohutohu Pāremata
New Zealand's Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO) is responsible for drafting and publishing most of New Zealand's legislation.
The Parliamentary Counsel Office provides and maintains this website. For more information, see the
Parliamentary Counsel Office website.
See Parliamentary Counsel Office.
Principal Act (as opposed to an amendment Act) refers to an Act that deals with a particular topic and whose main job is not to amend another Act.
Principal Regulation (as opposed to an amendment Regulation) refers to a Regulation that deals with a particular topic and whose main job is not to amend another Regulation.
A private Act is an Act that deals with the particular interest or benefit of an identified person or body, eg the Wills’s Road Hall Act 1935 and the Sydenham
Money Club Act 2001.
A private Bill is a Bill promoted by a person or a body of persons that becomes a private Act if enacted.
A provincial Act is an Act that dates back to the time when New Zealand was a colony divided into six provinces. Each province had the jurisdiction
to pass Acts that only applied within that province.
A public Act is an Act that affects the public at large. It deals with matters of public policy and is promoted by the Government or a
member of Parliament who is not a Minister.
Regulations are laws made by the Governor-General, Ministers of the Crown, and certain other bodies under powers conferred by an Act of Parliament.
Regulations generally deal with matters of detail or administration, or matters that are subject to frequent change. Orders in Council, rules, notices, determinations, proclamations, or warrants may also be referred to as Regulations. On this website, in general "Regulations" refers to Statutory Regulations, which are published in the
Statutory Regulations series and have an "SR" number (eg SR 2011/139). The website also links to Deemed Regulations. See About legislation
for more on Regulations.
regulatory impact statement
The explanatory note of a Bill may link to, or include, a regulatory impact statement (RIS). This summarises the responsible agency's advice given at the time decisions were made leading to the creation of the Bill. Recent regulatory impact statements are also available at www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/informationreleases/ris.
A repealed Act is no longer in force. When searching on this website, a principal Act that is spent or expired will also be found under repealed principal Acts.
On this website, a reprint, or eprint, is a version of an Act or Regulation that incorporates all amendments made to it as at the date of the most recent in-force
amendment. There may be multiple versions of a reprint with different "as at" dates, which enables a user to locate a specific version of an Act or Regulation with amendments incorporated "as at" a particular date. However, only the legislation that has been updated since September 2007 will state that it is a reprint, and will include a reprint
note at the end of the document.
The technical and traditional meaning of "reprint" refers to a copy of an Act or Regulation, printed and published by the Parliamentary Counsel Office,
that incorporates all amendments made to it as at the date of publication of the reprint. There is more information on printed reprints and eprints on the
Parliamentary Counsel Office website.
A reprint note is a note that appears at the end of a reprint or eprint, explaining its status and listing the amendments incorporated in that particular
reprint or eprint. Reprint notes in unofficialised legislation refer to the legislation as an eprint. See also officialisation.
A revoked Regulation is no longer in force. When searching on this website, a principal Regulation that is spent, has been disallowed, or has expired will also be found under repealed principal Regulations. Note that revoked Deemed Regulations are not available through this website.
A section is the basic unit of an Act. Each section deals with a separate subject or idea and has its own number.
These are committees made up of members of Parliament. For more information, see the New Zealand Parliament website.
See Supplementary Order Paper.
Supplementary Order Paper
A Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) is a published document that sets out proposed amendments to a Bill.
On this website, "terminated" refers to a Bill that has been defeated, discharged, vetoed, or withdrawn, or has lapsed. A terminated Bill has
failed to become an Act.
On this website, for an Act, "type" means public, local, private, provincial, or imperial. For a Bill, "type" means government, local, private, or member's.
On this website, for an Act, "year" means the year it was enacted. For a Bill, "year" means the year it was introduced. For Regulations, "year" means the year it was made. For Deemed Regulations, "year" means the year it was made or, on occasion, the year it came into force.