Glossary

Please note that this page is not intended to give complete definitions of these terms, but rather is to help the general user by explaining how the terms are used in the context of this website.


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A

Act
An Act is a law passed by Parliament. Before an Act is passed by Parliament it is called a Bill. There are five types of Acts: public, private, local, provincial, and imperial.

administering department, ministry, or other agency
Most Acts and secondary legislation titles are administered by a government agency, usually a department or ministry. That department or ministry is generally responsible for the operation of the legislation and for making recommendations to the government of the day about improving it. You can usually find the name of the administering agency at the start of the document. Alternatively it may appear under legislative history or administrative information at the end of the document (linked to from the contents page).
Secondary legislation that is not drafted by the Parliamentary Counsel Office, including legislation found through the Other Instruments collection, can be administered by a wider variety of agencies.

amendments
Changes made to an Act or secondary legislation are called amendments. By default, this website shows Acts and secondary legislation with the amendments incorporated, up to the date indicated (the "as at" date). Amendment Acts and amendment secondary legislation (as opposed to principal Acts and principal secondary legislation) are documents that make changes to existing Acts or secondary legislation.
In amending legislation, blocks of text to be inserted into an Act or secondary legislation are shaded (if published after 11 April 2015) or indicated with quotation marks (if published before this date). See Why does the format of some documents vary?

as at
When viewing an Act or secondary legislation, the Versions and amendments tab displays an "as at" date for each version. This indicates the last date that amendments commenced and were incorporated into each individual version. (If the legislation is not official and has not been amended since it was loaded into the database and it shows an "as at" date, the "as at" date will be the date it was loaded.) See also consolidation.

as enacted
"Enacted" means, in relation to a Bill, passed or made into law (ie when it was assented to by the Governor-General). On this website, "as enacted" refers to the original version of an Act when it was passed into law.

as made
On this website, "as made" refers to the original version of secondary legislation when it was made into law. Secondary legislation that is an Orders in Council is made into law by being signed by the Governor-General. Other secondary legislation is made in different ways.

assent
See Royal assent.

B

Bill
A Bill is a proposed Act that has been introduced (although not all Bills will become Acts). Bills change as they go through the legislative process—see Bill number. For information on the legislative stages a Bill passes through, see How a bill becomes law. To comment on a Bill before a select committee, see Make a submission.

Bill number
Bills are assigned a number when they are introduced into the House of Representatives. A version number is shown after the Bill number, eg 100—1, 100—2, 100—3.
The first version is the Bill "as introduced" into the House of Representatives. The second version will usually be as reported from the relevant select committee. The third version will usually be as reported from the committee of the whole House. (See How a bill becomes law for information on the various stages.)

C

clause
On this website, a clause refers to the basic unit of secondary legislation or a Bill. Each clause within secondary legislation or a Bill deals with a separate subject or idea and has its own number. When a Bill becomes an Act, its clauses are called sections.
Within the text of secondary legislation, the basic unit may actually be called "regulation", "rule", or "clause".

commencement
Commencement refers to the date when an Act or secondary legislation (or part of it) first comes into force.

commentary
After a select committee has examined a Bill, it will report back to the House of Representatives. The commentary explains the changes to the Bill recommended by the select committee, and describes the issues the committee has considered. The commentary usually appears at the start of the Bill.

committee of the whole House
This is a committee that includes all members of Parliament. For more information, see How a bill becomes law.

consolidation
On this website, a consolidation (earlier known as a reprint) is a version of an Act or secondary legislation that incorporates all amendments made to it as at the date of publication of the consolidation. There may be multiple consolidations with different "as at" dates, which enables a user to locate a specific version of legislation with amendments incorporated "as at" a particular date. However, only legislation that has been updated since September 2007 will state that it is a consolidation (or reprint), and will include consolidation notes at the end of the document. For more about consolidations, see the Parliamentary Counsel Office website.

consolidation notes
In a consolidation, a note at the start of the document indicates the provision that has authorised changes to be made to the consolidation, and refers to consolidation notes at the end of the document. The consolidation notes at the end of the consolidation explain its status and list the amendments incorporated in that particular consolidation. Consolidation notes in unofficial legislation refer to the legislation as an eprint.

D

disclosure statement
A disclosure statement provides information about the development and content of legislation proposed by the government. The explanatory note of a Bill (or Supplementary Order Paper) may link to a disclosure statement. Disclosure statements are available at disclosure.legislation.govt.nz.

E

empowering provision
A section in an Act that allows secondary legislation to be made, or a provision in secondary legislation that allows another kind of secondary legislation to be made (for example, a Regulation may allow notices to be made). The provision will state what secondary legislation can be made and by whom.

eprint
See consolidation and consolidation notes.

explanatory note
When a Bill is first introduced to the House of Representatives (the "as introduced" version), its text is prefaced by an explanatory note. This note is only available with this version.
When secondary legislation is published, an explanatory note appears at the end of the text. It is not part of the secondary legislation itself. Some types of secondary legislation are published with a "statement of reasons" instead of an explanatory note. If the secondary legislation is later amended, the explanatory note will not appear in the amended version (since it may no longer accurately reflect the content of the secondary legislation). But it is retained in the "as made" version.

G

Gazette
The New Zealand Gazette is the official newspaper of the Government of New Zealand. Secondary legislation is notified in the Gazette after it is made. The date of notification is given at the end of the secondary legislation, under administrative information or the Gazette information. Secondary legislation not drafted by the Parliamentary Counsel Office may be published or notified in the Gazette.

government Bill
A government Bill is a Bill introduced into the House of Representatives by a member of Parliament in his or her capacity as a Minister. Government Bills deal with matters of public policy.

Governor-General
The Governor-General is the representative of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second in New Zealand. Royal assent, given by the Governor-General as the Queen's representative, is required before a Bill passed by the House of Representatives can become an Act.

H

House of Representatives
The House of Representatives is a body made up of elected individuals who are called members of Parliament. For more information on the House of Representatives and Parliament, see What is Parliament? and Role of Parliament.

HTML
Hyper text markup language, the standard web page language. On this website, HTML versions of documents are the versions you see when you first navigate to a document.

I

imperial Acts
Imperial Acts are Acts of the Parliaments of England, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom that are part of the law of New Zealand under the Imperial Laws Application Act 1988.

imperial subordinate legislation
Imperial subordinate legislation is a type of secondary legislation made under an imperial Act and in force in New Zealand under the Imperial Laws Application Act 1988.

in force
In force means that the Act or the secondary legislation has the force of law. On this website, all Acts and secondary legislation that have come into force, or have had any provisions in them come into force, and have not been repealed or revoked, are said to be in force.

interpretation
An Act, Bill, or secondary legislation may contain one or more interpretation sections or clauses, which define specific words and phrases used in the document and may include other matters of interpretation. If words or phrases are not defined in the particular Act or secondary legislation (or defined in the Act under which the secondary legislation is made), their ordinary meaning applies unless a definition in other legislation applies. Part 2 of the Legislation Act 2019 provides definitions that apply to all legislation.

introduced
A Bill is introduced when a member of Parliament (or in the case of a Government Bill, a Minister) formally puts it before the House of Representatives for its consideration. Once a Bill is introduced, it is publicly available.

K

key
If amendments are made to a Bill as part of its progress through the House, there is a key before the contents page that explains how the amendments are shown.

L

legislation
On this website, legislation refers to Acts, Bills, secondary legislation, and Supplementary Order Papers (although Bills and Supplementary Order Papers relate only to proposed legislation).

legislative history
For Bills and Acts, legislative history is a summary of the key dates of a Bill's progress through its legislative stages in the House of Representatives. These dates include the date of the Bill's introduction, the date when it was reported back to the House from the select committee, and the date when it received the Royal assent, as appropriate. Legislative history appears at the end of post-introduction versions of Bills. It is also included at the end of as-enacted versions of Acts, although not in older Acts.

Legislative Instruments
“Legislative Instrument” is a term that was defined in section 4 of the Legislation Act 2012 (repealed on 28 October 2021). To find Legislative Instruments on this website, search or browse under Secondary legislation.
The Legislative Instruments publication series used an “LI” reference number (eg (LI 2020/46). For more about the change, see About legislation.

local Act
A local Act deals with matters of public interest but only affects a particular part of New Zealand, eg the Aid to Water-Power Works Act 1910 and the Masterton Trust Lands Act 2003.

local Bill
A local Bill is a Bill promoted by a local authority that becomes a local Act if enacted.

M

member's Bill
A member's Bill is a non-government Bill promoted by a member of Parliament who is not a Minister. A member’s Bill deals with matters of public policy, and becomes a public Act if it is enacted.

N

not yet in force
This refers to an Act or secondary legislation (or part of one) that has been enacted or made but that has not yet come into force because its commencement date is in the future.

O

official
An official version of legislation is legislation that is taken to correctly set out the text of legislation. It will be taken by the Courts to correctly state the law without any further proof of its accuracy. See sections 79 and 81 of the Legislation Act 2019. Only legislation that displays the New Zealand Coat of Arms on the front page is official.
If the legislation does not display the New Zealand Coat of Arms on its front page, it is not an official version and is provided for information only. See Status of legislation on this website: what is official for more information about identifying official legislation.
"Official" is not a term that is relevant to Bills or SOPs, because they are not enacted law.

officialisation
Officialisation is the term that was used by the Parliamentary Counsel Office to describe the process that was used to check compiled legislation to confirm its accuracy, before the New Zealand Legislation website became a source of official legislation.
The officialisation process included the exercise of the powers conferred by section 24 of the Legislation Act 2012 and section 17C of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989, both now repealed. They authorised the Parliamentary Counsel Office to make certain editorial changes to a consolidated enactment so that it could be consolidated in a format consistent with current legislative drafting practice.

Order in Council
A type of secondary legislation that is made by the Executive Council presided over by the Governor-General. Most secondary legislation on this website is made by way of Order in Council. For more information about the Executive Council, see the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website. To find Orders in Council on this website, search or browse under Secondary legislation.

Other Instruments
Other Instruments, in the context of this website, is secondary legislation not drafted by the Parliamentary Counsel Office and not published on this website, but made available here by linking to where the legislation is hosted. Titles can be found through search and browse. This collection is not complete and is only updated according to the information we receive from the agencies responsible for administering the legislation.

P

Parliament
Parliament is New Zealand's principal law-making body. It has full power to make laws that apply to anyone in New Zealand. Parliament is made up of the House of Representatives and the Sovereign (represented in New Zealand by the Governor-General). For more information, see the New Zealand Parliament website.

Parliamentary Counsel Office/Te Tari Tohutohu Pāremata
New Zealand's Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO) is responsible for drafting and publishing most of New Zealand's legislation. The Parliamentary Counsel Office provides and maintains this website. For more information, see the Parliamentary Counsel Office website.

PDF
Portable document format, on this website a format intended for downloading and printing. See Downloading PDFs.

PCO
See Parliamentary Counsel Office.

principal Act
Principal Act (as opposed to an amendment Act) refers to an Act that deals with a particular topic and whose main job is not to amend another Act.

principal secondary legislation
On this website, principal secondary legislation (as opposed to amendment secondary legislation) refers to secondary legislation that deals with a particular topic and whose main job is not to amend other secondary legislation.

private Act
A private Act is an Act that deals with the particular interest or benefit of an identified person or body, eg the Wills’s Road Hall Act 1935 and the Sydenham Money Club Act 2001.

private Bill
A private Bill is a Bill promoted by a person or a body of persons that becomes a private Act if enacted.

provincial Act
A provincial Act is an Act that dates back to the time when New Zealand was a colony divided into six provinces. Each province had the jurisdiction to pass Acts that only applied within that province.

public Act
A public Act is an Act that affects the public at large. It deals with matters of public policy and is promoted by the Government or a member of Parliament who is not a Minister.

R

Regulations
See secondary legislation. To find Regulations on this website, search or browse under Secondary legislation.

regulatory impact statement
The explanatory note of a Bill may link to, or include, a regulatory impact statement (RIS). This summarises the responsible agency's advice given at the time decisions were made leading to the creation of the Bill. Recent regulatory impact statements are also available at www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/informationreleases/ris.

repealed Act
A repealed Act is no longer in force. When searching on this website, an Act that is spent or expired will also be found under repealed Acts.

reprint
See consolidation.

reprint notes
See consolidation notes.

revoked secondary legislation
Revoked secondary legislation.is no longer in force. When searching on this website, secondary legislation that is spent, has been disallowed, or has expired will be found under revoked secondary legislation.

Royal assent
Royal assent, given by the Governor-General as the Queen's representative, is required before a Bill passed by the House of Representatives can become an Act.

S

secondary legislation
Secondary legislation is law that is made by someone other than Parliament. It is made under a power that Parliament has formally delegated in a particular Act. There is also a small amount of secondary legislation made not under an Act but under the Royal prerogative. Secondary legislation is defined in section 5 of the Legislation Act 2019.
Secondary legislation can have titles like “regulations”, “rules” and “Orders in Council”.
On this website, “secondary legislation” refers only to secondary legislation drafted by the Parliamentary Counsel Office. See Legislation drafted and published by PCO and Where else is legislation available from?.

section
A section is the basic unit of an Act. Each section deals with a separate subject or idea and has its own number.

select committee
These are committees made up of members of Parliament. For more information, see Select committees on the New Zealand Parliament website.

SOP
See Supplementary Order Paper.

Statutory Regulations
The Statutory Regulations publication series (which ceased publication in December 2013) uses an “SR” reference number (eg SR 2011/139). To find Statutory Regulations on this website, search or browse under Secondary legislation. For more about the change, see About legislation.

Supplementary Order Paper
A Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) is a published document that sets out proposed amendments to a Bill.

T

terminated
On this website, "terminated" refers to a Bill that has been defeated, discharged, vetoed, or withdrawn, or has lapsed. A terminated Bill has failed to become an Act.

type
On this website, for an Act, "type" means public, local, private, provincial, or imperial. For a Bill, "type" means government, local, private, or member's.

Y

year
On this website, for an Act, "year" means the year it was enacted. For a Bill, "year" means the year it was introduced. For secondary legislation, "year" means the year it was made. For Other Instruments, "year" means the year it was made or, on occasion, the year it came into force.