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Disclosure Statements for Government Legislation: Technical Guide for Departments

Disclosure for Government Bills

Disclosure is required for all government Bills that are introduced to Parliament except for:

  • Imprest Supply and Appropriation Bills;
  • Statutes Amendment Bills;
  • Regulatory Reform (Repeal) Bills;
  • Subordinate Legislation (Confirmation and Validation) Bills; and
  • Revision Bills (a new vehicle created by the Legislation Act 2012).

Bills require disclosure in all of the areas outlined from page 14 of this guidance. Disclosure is structured around a series of 'primary questions' which must be answered, and in some instances 'subsidiary questions' which clarify the original response. Further information may be required where the response to a primary or subsidiary question is affirmative.

Disclosure must be completed using the Departmental Disclosure Statement template for Bills. The template is intended to ensure consistency of response and assist the Parliamentary Counsel Office in publishing disclosure statements; it can be found on the Treasury's website (www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/guidance/regulatory/disclosure statements). General instructions on how to complete the template are outlined on page 11.

Disclosure for shared or omnibus Bills

Legislation is expected to reflect a whole-of-government approach rather than the work of individual departments. As such, a single disclosure statement should generally be prepared to reflect the development and content of the Bill. In most instances this should be possible, even where multiple acts may be being amended.

Where responsibility for the policy development of a Bill is shared by multiple departments it is likely to be appropriate for the departments to share responsibility for the preparation of the disclosure statement. This may include:

  • the lead department taking responsibility for the disclosure statement;
  • joint responsibility of the full disclosure statement; or
  • responsibility for different parts of the disclosure statement.

Individual departments can decide which approach is most appropriate for their situation. The introductory section of the disclosure statement should make it clear if responsibility has either been shared jointly, or split for different parts.

There may be limited instances where omnibus Bills are introduced with discrete changes to different acts, but within a broad policy objective (for instance, a Regulatory Reform Bill which collates different initiatives with a broad purpose of reducing business compliance costs). Where this occurs, and a collective disclosure statement is not practical, separate disclosures may be prepared for the different parts of the Bill and then collated by the lead department into a single multi-part document for the complete Bill. The lead department should, however, consult with the PCO and the Treasury before pursuing this option.

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