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Keeping Regulation Fit for Purpose

Page updated 16 Aug 2017

Assessing the condition of existing regulatory systems

The “Government Expectations for Good Regulatory Practice” ( set out the responsibility of regulatory agencies to, among other things, work collaboratively to:

  • monitor the ongoing performance and condition of the regulatory systems and the regulatory environment in which they operate
  • review each system at appropriate intervals to determine whether it is still fit-for-purpose, and likely to remain so in the medium to longer-term
  • test existing operating assumptions, and consider the perspective and experience of regulated parties and others directly affected by the regulatory system’s rules and practices, when undertaking their monitoring and review work
  • periodically look at other similar regulatory systems, in New Zealand and other jurisdictions, for possible trends, threats, linkages , opportunities for alignments, economies of scale and scope, and examples of innovation and good practice
  • use available monitoring and review information to proactively identify and assess, and then report or address, problems, vulnerabilities, and opportunities for improvement in the design and operation of that regulatory system, and
  • pay particular attention to requirements that appear unnecessary, duplicative, ineffective or excessively costly.

Departmental regulatory stewardship strategies and plans

The Government response to the New Zealand Productivity Commission 2014 report on Regulatory Institutions and Practices sets out the Government’s expectation that each year the major regulatory departments will publish information on their regulatory management strategy, information on the state of their regulatory stock and their regulatory priorities for the year ahead (their regulatory stewardship strategy).

See the 2017 Departmental Regulatory Stewardship Strategies page for further information and links to each department’s strategy.

Since 2014, information on a department’s regulatory priorities may also be included in their Four Year Plans as part of the department’s medium term interventions to achieve their strategic objectives. Before 2014, departments prepared annual portfolio regulatory plans.

Best practice regulation assessments

Before the major regulatory departments began to produce and publish regulatory stewardship strategies, the Treasury attempted to collate and present a set of summary information in a standardised format on the quality or performance of a large cross-section of regulatory systems. 

These regulation assessments drew on information about system performance provided by the relevant administering departments, assessed against a set of high-level “best practice” regulation principles identified by the Treasury.

See the Best Practice Regulation page for more information.

Rules Reduction Taskforce

The Government response to the Rules Reduction Taskforce 2014 report on frustrating, ineffective property rules accepts, or partially accepts, 72 of the 75 opportunities identified by the Taskforce and outlines the government measures underway to address these concerns.

Further information on the Rules Reduction Taskforce, including a copy of their report and the Government response, can be found at You can still identify frustrating, ineffective property rules at

Statutes Repeal Bills and Regulatory Systems Bills

The government promised in its response to the New Zealand Productivity Commission report on Regulatory Institutions and Practices to look at mechanisms to better keep legislation up to date, including omnibus bills like:


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