The Treasury

Global Navigation

Personal tools

Regulatory impact analysis

Regulatory impact statements

Cabinet requires government agencies to undertake regulatory impact analysis for any policy proposals submitted to Cabinet that includes discussion of regulatory options. A regulatory impact statement (RIS) summarising the impact analysis undertaken must be attached to the policy submission to Cabinet.

The agency producing the RIS is required to take responsibility for the analysis and advice it contains. The RIS is expected to contain an agency's best advice on the policy problem, the policy objectives, and the identification and analysis of a full range of practical options for addressing these. It must also have attached a signed disclosure statement that highlights any key gaps, assumptions, dependencies, constraints, caveats, or uncertainties concerning the analysis able to be undertaken.

Access to the RIS allows a reader to consider the merits of the policy supported by the Bill alongside other options, drawing on the knowledge and expertise of the agency that ought to know most about the issue within government.

Independent opinion on the quality of a regulatory impact statement

Cabinet requires that an agency opinion on the quality of the RIS is included in the Cabinet submission to which it is attached. If any of the regulatory options are considered likely to have significant impacts or risks, this opinion is provided independently by the RIA Team based in the Treasury. Otherwise it is provided by someone nominated by the chief executive of the authoring agency.

The opinion provided to Cabinet does not express a view on the policy merits of the options presented in the RIS, but assesses the analysis summarised in the RIS against 4 key dimensions - is the material presented: complete; convincing; consulted; and clear and concise?

The relevance of a regulatory impact statement to the policy in the Bill

The primary function of a RIS is to provide analysis and advice to the lead Ministers and Cabinet in advance of them taking policy decisions about how they might respond to an issue. Its role is to inform, rather than to rationalise, the decisions taken.

As a result, the options analysed in a RIS will not always fully or accurately reflect the actual policy decisions subsequently taken by the government, and now reflected in the Bill. This may not be initially obvious to a reader, however, unless told. Identifying the key differences is intended to help a reader assess how relevant the RIS analysis was to the decisions taken by Ministers, and how relevant it still is to understanding the content of the Bill.

Question 2.3.

2.3.  Were any regulatory impact statements provided to inform the policy decisions that led to this Bill? [YES/NO]

What matters are covered by the question?

You should report any regulatory impact statements that were prepared in accordance with Cabinet requirements, and presented to Cabinet in advance of the relevant policy decisions being taken.

There can be more than one relevant RIS if the Bill covers multiple policy issues, or a progressive series of policy decisions.

Any statements that were not produced by or on behalf of the administering agency, or that were produced or updated after Cabinet policy consideration, are not regulatory impact statements for the purposes of this question. Any such statements could, however, be relevant to Question 2.4.

You should also report any extended National Interest Analysis (NIA) report that:

  • incorporates all the Cabinet requirements of a RIS,
  • was prepared in accordance with guidance provided by MFAT and The Treasury, and
  • was presented to the House of Representatives in accordance with Standing Orders to support the examination of a proposed treaty action.

What is the nature of the further information sought?

If the answer is YES, please provide:

  • a suitable citation for each relevant RIS, or extended NIA incorporating the RIS requirements (full title, date, authoring agency, etc.);
  • active hyperlinks to where each RIS (or extended NIA) can be accessed for free;  and
  • if any of these RISs is not going to be publicly available, or any of the original RIS content is being withheld, a sentence noting this, with a brief reason;
  • an answer to the two subsidiary questions (Question 2.3.1 and Question 2.3.2)..

Consistent with recent practice for hyperlinks to RISs included in the explanatory notes for Bills, two hyperlinks should be provided for each RIS.

  • The primary link should be to a page on the authoring agency's website that will provide direct access to the RIS (potentially including an html version, consistent with government web standards).
  • The secondary link should be to the main RIS page on the Treasury website, where all RISs are independently published (but only in PDF versions) - see http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/informationreleases/ris).

Example: (for a YES answer, concerning a potential Legislation Amendment Bill)

Regulating for Better Legislation - What is the Potential of a Regulatory Responsibility Act?, The Treasury, 2 February 2011.

Increasing the Visibility of Regulatory Quality Issues, The Treasury, 29 January 2013.

Both RISs are accessible at http://purl.oclc.org/nzt/f-1541 and can also be found and downloaded at http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/informationreleases/ris.

If the answer is NO, please indicate why none was prepared or supplied.  You can then delete the two subsidiary questions (Question 2.3.1 and Question 2.3.2) from the disclosure statement.

In most cases, this will be because it met one of the grounds for an exemption set out by Cabinet. Please do not, however, claim an exemption that does not apply - if the agency did not have enough time to prepare one, or it was not made available to Cabinet when Cabinet took the relevant policy decisions, then say so.

Example: (for a NO answer, concerning a Treaty of Waitangi Claims Settlement Bill)

Legislative initiatives that simply implement deeds of settlement for Treaty of Waitangi claims, and do not amend or affect existing regulatory arrangements, are exempt from the Cabinet requirement to provide a regulatory impact statement.

Question 2.3.1

2.3.1.  If so, did the RIA Team in the Treasury provide an independent opinion on the quality of any of these regulatory impact statements? [YES/NO]

What matters are covered by the question?

You should only report an independent opinion on the quality of a RIS if it was provided by the RIA Team based in the Treasury for inclusion in the relevant Cabinet paper.

While independent quality assurance is sought for all RISs, external evaluations continue to show that the opinions provided by the authoring agency still tend to systematically overestimate the quality of the RIS. For this reason, the agency opinions are not considered to be consistently independent and reliable enough to report in the disclosure statement - at least at this point in time.

What is the nature of the further information sought?

If the answer is YES for at least one RIS reported under Question 2.3, please provide the verbatim text that was provided by the Treasury RIA Team for inclusion in the Cabinet paper.

If there is more than one RIS, please indicate the RIS to which any or each opinion refers.

Example: (for a YES answer, concerning a potential Legislation Amendment Bill)

Only the RIS dated 2 February 2011 met the threshold for receiving an independent opinion on the quality of the RIS from the RIA Team based in the Treasury.  Their opinion for Cabinet on that RIS is set out in full in Appendix One of this disclosure statement.

If the answer is NO, please explain why no independent opinion was provided.

In most cases, this will be because it did not meet the threshold for RIA Team assessment.

Example: (for a NO answer)

The RIS identified above did not meet the threshold for receiving an independent opinion on the quality of the RIS from the RIA Team based in the Treasury.

Question 2.3.2

2.3.2.  Are there aspects of the policy to be given effect by this Bill that were not addressed by, or that now vary materially from, the policy options analysed in these regulatory impact statements? [YES/NO]

What matters are covered by the question?

The focus here is on identifying whether there are key aspects of the policy found in the Bill but not covered by, or different in substance from, any of the options analysed in the RIS.

It does not seek disclosure of situations where the policy details had still to be resolved when the RIS was developed, or situations where the agency has subsequently changed, refined or extended its assessment of the impacts of the policy. These situations could be relevant to Question 2.4 however.

What is the nature of the further information sought?

If the answer is YES, briefly describe:

  • the key policy features of the Bill not covered by the RIS, and/or
  • how any key policy features of the Bill vary from those of the closest policy option analysed in the RIS.

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

However, you may want to take the opportunity to state which of the options analysed in the RIS is a good match to the policy reflected in the Bill.

Example: (for a NO answer, concerning a potential Legislation Amendment Bill)

The features of Option 5 in the 2 February 2011 RIS, and Package 2 in the 29 January 2013 RIS, correspond reasonably well with the key policy features of this Bill.

Page top