30 Mar 2023

Ten bills passed this week in Parliament

From The House , 6:55 pm on 30 March 2023

Parliament spent extra hours this week churning through quite a long list of proposed legislation. 

Over the week, eight bills had their first reading, and ten bills had their third and final readings. Most of this was done under urgency. 

Because it’s always nice to know what the new laws are, here’s a rundown on the bills that finished their remaining stages in the chamber:

A wide shot of the Debating Chamber during Question Time

The Debating Chamber during Question Time Photo: ©VNP / Phil Smith

The Coroners Amendment Bill will establish new coronial positions, known as Associate Coroners, whose holders will be able to perform most of the functions, powers, and duties of Coroners. This can help to free up coroner’s so they can work on more complex cases.

The Digital Identity Services Trust Framework Bill sets a legal basis for a statutory trust framework for digital identity services - digital tools, products, and services that allow the collection and sharing of information when authorised by those who own the information. The bill would create an opt-in accreditation scheme for digital ID service providers that verify identities.

As a response to demand that has grown significantly since 2020 in a period of unusually high demand for consular assistance caused by the pandemic, the Foreign Affairs (Consular Loans) Amendment Bill gives Government an ongoing ability to issue loans to New Zealand citizens and permanent residents who require consular assistance while overseas and are facing exceptional circumstances. 

The Criminal Activity Intervention Legislation Bill amends four acts to: include a new offence of discharging a firearm with intent to intimidate; expand the powers of enforcement officers to seize and impound vehicles in response to dangerous, reckless, and aggravated careless driving; provide new powers for search and surveillance during a gang conflict, as well as seizure of cash; and  update anti-money laundering rules to prohibit cash transactions over a specified value for certain high-value goods.

There was a second crime related bill to go to completion, the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) amendment Bill. It means new requirements for gang associates to prove to the court how they came to possess their assets legitimately or risk having them frozen.

An omnibus bill, the Taxation (Annual Rates for 2022-23, Platform Economy, and Remedial Matters) Bill does three things, one of them being to set the annual rates of income tax for the 2022-23 tax year. Regarding the other two things, it would be unwise of The House to even attempt to explain. Just follow the hyperlink above and read it yourself.

The Civil Aviation Bill repeals and replaces the Civil Aviation Act 1990 and the Airport Authorities Act 1966 with a single statute “aimed at providing a platform for safety, security, and economic regulation of civil aviation now and well into the future”.

The Construction Contracts Bill amends the Construction Contracts Act 2002 to strengthen and clarify the rules on retention money. Retention money refers to part of a payment, under a construction contract, that is held back by a payer (eg a contractor) as security to ensure a payee (eg a subcontractor) fixes any defects with their work.

Aimed at increasing consumer confidence in commercial organic products, the  Organic Products and Production Bill creates a regulatory framework for the production, processing, and labelling of organic products.

The  Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Levy) Amendment Bill recognised that the levy system through which Fire and Emergency New Zealand gets its main source of funding has been too complicated; it seeks to simplify and improve this levy regime in order to, among other things, minimise disruption and compliance costs.


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