Regulatory Constitution will improve quality of lawmaking
EMBARGOED UNTIL 1:00PM, SUNDAY, 16 JUNE 2019
“A bold new legislative approach will improve the accountability of politicians and the transparency and quality of
lawmaking”, ACT Leader David Seymour says.
“Red tape is a complaint in every industry and a massive handbrake on the economy. It often takes longer to get
permission to do things than to actually do them. It’s estimated that the annual compliance cost associated with red
tape is $5 billion.
“As issues arises, new legislation is almost invariably proposed as the solution. Parliament has passed 60,000 pages of
red tape in the past two decades, much of it poor quality. The Government’s bans on oil and gas exploration and foreign
home-buyers are classic examples.
“If New Zealand is to overcome the disadvantages of its small size and geographic isolation – and attract people, ideas
and investment – we need to do much better.
“ACT is proposing a Regulatory Constitution that will require our politicians to lift their game.
“ACT’s Regulatory Constitution will contain a clear statement of the principles of good lawmaking. For example, a
government must properly define the problem it is seeking to solve. It must show that, were it not to act, harm would be
done. It then must show that the benefits of a proposed law would outweigh the costs, and identify who the winners and
losers would be.
“Governments will be required to publicly state that the regulation they are making complies with the principles of good
lawmaking, or if it doesn’t, why that is the case. This will improve the transparency of the legislative process.
“Finally, New Zealanders will have the right to challenge bad laws in court. If the courts find that a law hasn’t been
made in accordance with the basic principles of good lawmaking, it can be declared invalid.
“The Regulatory Constitution will require our politicians to publicly confront the costs of the red tape they are
imposing on the rest of us. It will allow for more informed public debate about the impact of about new regulation on
“Poor-quality regulation is damaging our economy. If we want New Zealand to be an aspirational, achieving society, we
need to get red tape under control. The Regulatory Constitution is a step toward making lawmaking more transparent and
politicians more accountable for the red tape they impose on New Zealanders.”