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Labour's laws in limbo - What happens to all those bills after the election?

Author
Ben Leahy and Jaime Lyth,
Publish Date
Thu, 19 Oct 2023, 10:52AM
 Photo / Dean Purcell
Photo / Dean Purcell

Labour's laws in limbo - What happens to all those bills after the election?

Author
Ben Leahy and Jaime Lyth,
Publish Date
Thu, 19 Oct 2023, 10:52AM

Labour set a furious pace trying to pass new laws through Parliament in its last months in power, but not everything has made it through. 

Instead, 52 bills were still being debated and worked on when Parliament closed on September 8 ahead of the election. 

So what happens under Christopher Luxon’s new National-led Government? 

Well, the new Government has options. 

Natasha Wilson, public law specialist at Buddle Findlay, says a new Government will typically on its first day in Parliament reinstate a lot of old bills by putting them back up for debate. 

Some bills may be uncontroversial and continue smoothly to becoming new laws. 

Some may be significantly rewritten and debated again before becoming law. 

Others will be scrapped immediately because the new Government doesn’t agree with them. 

Here are some bills currently in limbo in Parliament. 

Making ram raids a new crime 

Ram Raid Offending and Related Measures Amendment Bill 

This bill would make ram raids a new crime, punishable by up to 10 years in jail - and give police the power to charge offenders as young as 12. 

It would also make it possible to take body samples from 12-13-year olds, and make publishing or live-streaming ram raid footage an aggravating factor during a court sentencing. 

National earlier supported the bill but criticised Labour for trying to rush it through Parliament under urgency in its last sitting week. 

Higher tax for trustees 

Taxation (Annual Rates for 2023-24, Multinational Tax, and Remedial Matters) Bill 

The biggest change proposed by this bill is increasing the trustee tax rate from 33 per cent to 39 per cent - thus bringing it into line with the highest income tax rate. 

New Zealand’s estimated 400,000-plus trusts are typically used to protect assets, like family homes. An example could be to help stop creditors claiming the home of a failed business owner. 

Some accountants have criticised the bill for applying a blanket 39 per cent tax to all trusts when some trustees earn lower incomes and pay only 33 per cent income tax. 

National and Labour support a bill now in Parliament that would make ram raiding a new crime and allow police to charge offenders as young as 12. Photo / Hayden WoodwardNational and Labour support a bill now in Parliament that would make ram raiding a new crime and allow police to charge offenders as young as 12. Photo / Hayden Woodward 

Lowering the voting age 

Electoral (Lowering Voting Age for Local Elections and Polls) Legislation Bill 

The voting age for local elections would be lowered to 16, under this bill. 

While Act’s David Seymour initially supported potentially using local elections as a trial for lowering the voting age, National opposes the bill. 

Emergency management 

The Emergency Management Bill to replace the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 

This bill would replace the 1983 Civil Defence Emergency Management Bill that was brought in to create 14 civil defence bodies instead of leaving emergency responses to 86 local authorities. 

Supporters of the bill say the loss of life, economic cost, frequency and complexity of recent natural disasters highlighted the need to ensure all laws are up to date. 

Giving victims more rights 

Victims of Family Violence (Strengthening Legal Protections) Legislation Bill and Victims of Sexual Violence (Strengthening Legal Protections) Legislation Bill 

The first of these bills would give a Family Court judge greater power to stop a person from taking further proceedings if they are using the court to harass another person. 

The latter would give sexual assault victims more control around the suppression of their names. It would also ban child victims of sexual assault being asked questions about consent. 

Surrogacy 

Improving Arrangements for Surrogacy Bill 

This bill would make surrogacy easier by streamlining the legal process parents have to step through. 

Under the bill a child’s parents would legally become parents at the moment of birth. Currently, parents must wait until after the birth before legally beginning the process of adopting the child. 

The bill would also allow surrogates to be compensated for the cost of surrogacy. 

The bill is also an example of a Members’ Bill - bills introduced by individual Members of Parliament, rather than a whole political party. 

Members’ Bills typically deal with less sweeping or financially costly changes. As such, new Governments typically allow most Members’ Bills to continue passing through Parliament. 

Former Labour MP Tamati Coffey lost his seat during the election but took to Facebook recently to say another Labour colleague would continue to champion the bill. 

“It’s not controversial, it’s widely needed,” he said in hoping it receives bipartisan support. 

Licencing property managers 

Residential Property Managers Bill (the Bill) 

This bill would require rental property managers to undertake training and education and be licenced and subject to disciplinary action if needed. 

lt aims to protect both tenants and property owners. 

Raising a glass 

Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Cellar Door Tasting) Amendment Bill 

This bill would allow wineries with licences to sell takeaway alcohol to also be able to charge visitors for wine samples without needing a separate licence to sell on premise. 

Politicians may love a tipple because this one passed its first reading in Parliament with overwhelming support. 

Protecting Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf 

Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill 

Bottom trawling - the technique of dragging a weighted net along the seafloor to catch more fish - would be mostly banned in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf under this bill. 

It would also create 12 new “high protection areas” and enlarge marine reserves at Cape Rodney and Whanganui a Hei. 

Environmental group WWF-New Zealand welcomes the announcement, while fishing lobby Seafood NZ raised some concerns, saying bottom trawling was used for 70 per cent of nation’s commercial catch. 

A new marine sanctuary 

Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill 

News of a new marine park in the Kermadec Islands about 800km northeast of New Zealand was announced with much fanfare by the National-led Government at the United Nations in 2015. 

However, a bill for the ocean sanctuary is still passing through Parliament. 

Immigration 

Immigration (Mass Arrivals) Amendment Bill 

This bill seeks to allow authorities to detain asylum seekers - who arrive in groups of 30 or more - for 28 days without a warrant or special legal order. 

National opposes the bill, saying it isn’t making any significant changes. But Labour said this bill seeks to strengthen a law National introduced in 2013. 

Getting global tech to pay for local news 

Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill 

This bill would create a “bargaining code” for New Zealand media companies to negotiate payment from big tech firms for stories used on social media platforms. 

A list of the laws in limbo: 

Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill 

Child Protection (Child Sex Offender Government Agency Registration) (Overseas Travel Reporting) Amendment Bill 

Corrections Amendment Bill 

Crimes (Theft by Employer) Amendment Bill 

Digital Services Tax Bill 

District Court (Protecting Judgment Debtors on Main Benefit) Amendment Bill 

Electoral (Equal Protection of Māori Seats) Amendment Bill 

Electoral (Lowering Voting Age for Local Elections and Polls) Legislation Bill 

The Emergency Management Bill, which if passed will replace the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act. 

Employment Relations (Protection for Kiwisaver Members) Amendment Bill 

Employment Relations (Restraint of Trade) Amendment Bill 

Employment Relations (Trial Periods) Amendment Bill 

Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill 

Fair Trading (Gift Card Expiry) Amendment Bill 

Family Proceedings (Dissolution for Family Violence) Amendment Bill 

Fisheries (International Fishing and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 

Girl Guides Association (New Zealand Branch) Incorporation Amendment Bil 

Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill 

Human Rights (Prohibition of Discrimination on Grounds of Gender Identity or Expression, and Variations of Sex Characteristics) Amendment Bill 

Immigration (Mass Arrivals) Amendment Bill 

Improving Arrangements for Surrogacy Bill 

Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill 

Māori Fisheries Amendment Bill 

McLean Institute (Trust Variation) Bill 

Medicines (Exemption for Authorised Prescribers) Amendment Bill 

New Zealand Bill of Rights (Right to Lawfully Acquired Property) Amendment Bill 

New Zealand Public Health and Disability (Restriction on Crown Funding Agreements and Unfunded Cancer Medicines) Amendment Bill 

New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income (Controlling Interests) Amendment Bill 

Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngā Pōtiki Claims Settlement Bill 

Ngāti Hei Claims Settlement Bill 

Ngāti Paoa Claims Settlement Bill 

Ngāti Tara Tokanui Claims Settlement Bill 

Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) (Improving Mental Health Outcomes) Amendment Bill 

Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) (Provision of Breast Cancer Screening Services) Amendment Bill 

Pare Hauraki Collective Redress Bill 

Privacy Amendment Bill 

Ram Raid Offending and Related Measures Amendment Bill 

Regulatory Systems (Climate Change Response) Amendment Bill 

Regulatory Systems (Education) Amendment Bill 

Regulatory Systems (Primary Industries) Amendment Bill 

Residential Property Managers Bill (The Bill) 

Restoring Citizenship Removed By Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act 1982 Bill 

Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Cellar Door Tasting) Amendment Bill 

Secondary Legislation Confirmation Bill (No 2) 

Social Workers Registration Legislation Amendment Bill 

Tauranga Moana Iwi Collective Redress and Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Ranginui Claims Settlement Bill 

Taxation (Annual Rates for 2023–24, Multinational Tax, and Remedial Matters) Bill 

Te Korowai o Wainuiārua Claims Settlement Bill 

Te Pire Whakatupua mō Te Kāhui Tupua/Taranaki Maunga Collective Redress Bill 

Victims of Family Violence (Strengthening Legal Protections) Legislation Bill 

Victims of Sexual Violence (Strengthening Legal Protections) Legislation Bill 

Whakatōhea Claims Settlement Bill 

Ben Leahy is an Auckland-based journalist covering property. He has worked as a journalist for more than a decade in India, Australia and New Zealand. 

Jaime Lyth is an Auckland-based reporter who covers crime. She joined the Herald in 2021 and has previously reported for the Northern Advocate. 

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