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Published reviews or evaluations

Formal inquiries, law reviews, policy or operational reviews, and evaluation reports are a frequent source of recommendations for changes to legislation.

The reports themselves are a particularly valuable resource for those wishing to scrutinise legislation because they are often the result of considerable informed deliberation and consideration of evidence by experts, and will generally acknowledge uncertainties and give clear explanations for any recommendations made. Even when they are not the driver for reform, such reports might be reasonably expected to inform legislative proposals in the policy area to which they relate.

Question 2.1

2.1.  Are there any publicly available inquiry, review or evaluation reports that have informed, or are relevant to, the policy to be given effect by this Bill? [YES/NO]

What matters are covered by the question?

In general, you should consider for disclosure any report (which might be mandatory or discretionary, independent or in-house, ad hoc or scheduled, local or international) that was:

  • the source of, or inspiration for, important aspects of the policy; or
  • a catalyst for the development of the policy; or
  • a major source of evidence or other input for the analysis underpinning the policy.

Those officials overseeing the policy development process for a Bill will know what reports have informed the underlying policy. A report can inform the policy without necessarily indicating support for, or reaching conclusions aligned with, that policy.

While the most influential reports are likely to be specific to, and produced within, New Zealand, policy thinking and research is international and increasingly exchanged across jurisdictions, so could come from outside New Zealand.

You should also consider for disclosure any other available report that:

  • was produced by or on behalf of a department, statutory body, commission of inquiry, or taskforce appointed by or established with the support of the government; and
  • reviews or evaluates a specific failure in, or the general operation or effectiveness of, New Zealand's existing law or institutional arrangements in policy areas that will be impacted by the current Bill.

Informed scrutiny benefits from looking at proposed legislation in context, including how well it fits with existing legislation, and the different ways in which the problems to be addressed might be framed.

Inevitably, departmental judgement will need to be exercised over whether the subject matter of a report provides, or continues to provide (given passage of time), relevant context for the Bill.

If there are quite a number of relevant reports, use your judgement as to which most deserve to be listed. The most important criterion should be their level of influence on the policy, but give a degree of preference to reports that can be accessed free online.

What is the nature of the further information sought?

If the answer is YES, please provide, for all major reports deemed within scope:

  • a suitable citation for the report (title, authoring body, date - and publisher if necessary);
  • an active hyperlink to where the report can be accessed for free, or otherwise a sentence indicating how a reader can access the report.

Ideally, no additional information about each report would be necessary here. In the first instance, you could look to use the general policy statement to provide contextual information about, say, how a listed report may have informed the Bill, or the existence of a formal government response.

Example: (for a YES answer, concerning a possible Courts Bill)

Review of the Judicature Act 1908: Towards a New Courts Act (NZLC R126), New Zealand Law Commission, 27 November 2012 (accessible at http://www.lawcom.govt.nz/project/review-judicature-act-1908-and-consolidation-courts-legislation/report).

If the answer is NO, no further information is required.

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