New Zealand

New Zealand has progressively refined its regulatory management policy in recent years. Regulatory stewardship represents a defining principle within the Public Service Act 2020, and the Chief Executive of the Treasury was recently given formal responsibility for its promotion across the public service. This approach applies to all regulatory agencies and involves adopting a whole-of-system, lifecycle view of regulation. It also involves an increased focus on international regulatory co-operation (IRC) in the design and ex ante assessment of new proposals. This will soon be supplemented by an IRC Toolkit, which will build on practical experiences to identify a series of IRC options for reducing regulatory overlap and improving coherence with key partners.

The Regulatory Strategy Team (RST) within the Treasury is responsible for the quality control of regulatory management tools and the systematic improvement of regulation. Its activities have recently expanded to include the regulatory aspects of economic strategy and wellbeing. The RST co-ordinates the Interagency Group on Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIANet), which is a network of government agency experts and specialists interested in the RIA framework and Cabinet's RIA requirements. RST also leads an interagency group that promotes and shares agency experience in implementing regulatory stewardship.

The Cabinet Manual provides that government agencies can adopt a flexible approach in stakeholder consultation and encourages them to develop and maintain close relationships with stakeholders throughout the regulatory policy cycle. Updated in 2018, the Legislation Guidelines provide regulators with advice on how stakeholder engagement should be pursued. It will be important to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the consultation system over time. New Zealand’s transparency practices would benefit from a more systematic approach to notifying stakeholders of upcoming opportunities to contribute to regulatory proposals.

The Government’s Expectations for Good Regulatory Practice instruct regulatory agencies to monitor the performance of existing regulatory systems to determine whether they remain fit-for-purpose. Although relatively few formal ex post evaluations have been undertaken, the 2019 Assessment of the Crown Pastoral Land Regulatory System provides a notable example on which to build. The 2019 Guidance Note on Best Practice Monitoring, Evaluation, and Review (MER) may also contribute to more widespread evaluation in future, by requiring departments to specify how they will monitor and evaluate regulatory changes in RIA and establishing a framework for engaging in MER.

RIA is required for all primary laws and subordinate regulations. A requirement for a Supplementary Analysis Report (SAR) is triggered in the event that regulatory proposal is agreed despite having no RIA and no valid exemption, or when the RIA was assessed as not meeting the quality assurance criteria. In 2020, revised Impact Analysis Requirements introduced conditional exemptions from conducting RIA when regulations are enacted to tackle an emergency.

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