If you don’t agree with the law, you can take steps to change it.

There are a number of ways to influence the political process. Below are some ways you can have your say to advocate for law reform and some resources to help you.

Talk to your local MP

Making and changing the law is the domain of elected officials, MPs. The best way to make legislative change is to influence those officials. Your local MP acts for you in Parliament, and by being elected is aiming to represent your views. A way to bring about law reform is to contact your MP, either in person or in writing, to advocate your views and explain why the change you seek would be beneficial.

Make a submission to a Select Committee

A submission to a Select Committee will explain your views about what changes should be made with regard to a proposed Bill. In a submission to a Select Committee, you should clearly state what changes you are seeking, and put forward the best arguments you can think of in support.

A select committee writes a report on the proposed Bill usually over a period of about 6 months. Anyone can make a submission, either by sending a written submission or by presenting a submission in person at a public hearing. The more arguments you have, and the more compelling they are, the more likely the Select Committee will be influenced by them. Be sure to tell the Select Committee who will benefit from the changes you are promoting, and why.

Put together a petition

Putting together a petition can be a great way to let elected officials know how you and your community feel about the direction a law change is taking. There are many petition sites (such as ActionStation and Change.org) and these are a great way to spread the word and get the community to show support for the change you advocate. A petition can then be put before Parliament.

How a bill becomes law

Click on the diagram on the left for a useful summary of how a Bill becomes law. For more information about the stages a Bill passes through to become law, click here.

Law change diagram



To view any Bill and check its progress through Parliament, visit the Parliament website.

The law reform pipeline

The pipeline keeps track of the progress of bills and other law reform initiatives of particular importance to the community. The pipeline is updated monthly and we read through the fine-print and summarise potential changes to make sure our community is informed about upcoming law reform.

This table provides a quick update about the progress of Bills through Parliament, as well as the progress of government, Select Committee, Law Commission or other inquiries. The first section of the table show law reform initiatives other than Bills.

Inquiry / Legislation Stage and Progress Impact

Incorporated Societies Bill – Exposure Draft



The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment is seeking submissions on the Exposure Draft of the Incorporated Societies Bill. Submissions due 30 June 2016.



The proposed changes include requiring societies to have 10 members at all times, detailed annual reporting requirements, mandatory dispute resolution procedures, minimum detailed rules and the introduction of a range of criminal offences for offences such as using a position of responsibility to obtain an advantage, and infringement offences for non-compliance with filing and other obligations under the act.



Review of Family Violence Law



The Ministry of Justice is consulting about New Zealand’s Family Violence Laws. Submissions closed.



The Government is seeking a more cohesive and efficient response to family and sexual violence. During the public consultation period between August and September 2015, around 500 submissions were made. Read the discussion document here.



Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration (Preventing Name Change by Child Sex Offenders) Amendment Bill



Member’s Bill (National). First reading 2 December 2015. Submissions closed 3 February 2016. Report due 2 June 2016.



Would prevent individuals convicted of a child sex offence from changing their name.



Child Protection (Child Sex Offender Register) Bill


Government Bill. First Reading 15 September 2015. Submissions closed 28 October 2015. Report due 15 March 2016.



Would establish a Child Sex Offender Register with information for government agencies to monitor child sex offenders in the community.



Customs and Excise (Prohibition of Imports Made by Slave Labour) Amendment Bill



Member’s Bill (Labour). Introduced 3 December 2015.



Would make goods produced in whole or in part by slave labour a prohibited import.



Environmental Protection Authority (Protection of Environment) Amendment Bill


Member’s Bill (Labour). First Reading 24 June 2015. Submissions closed 10 September 2015. Reported back 14 December 2015.



Adds the objective that the organisation must aim to protect, maintain and enhance New Zealand’s environment.



Home and Community Support (Payment for Travel Between Clients) Settlement Act



Government Bill. Passed 18 February 2016. Came into force 24 February 2016.



Implements a settlement between the Crown, District Health Boards, providers of home and community-based care and support services to pay for travel time between clients.



Keep Kiwibank Bill



Member’s Bill (Labour). First reading 14 October 2015. Submissions closed 4 December 2015. Report due 14 April 2016.



Would ensure that any proposal to partly or wholly privatise Kiwibank would require the support of 75% of all members of the House of Representatives or, alternatively, the support of a majority of voters in a referendum, in order to lawfully proceed.



Māori Language (Te Reo Maori) Bill



Government Bill. First reading 24 July 2014. Submissions closed 5 December 2014. Reported back 26 February 2016.



Would repeal the Māori Language Act and affirm the status of the Māori language as a taonga of iwi and Māori and an official language of New Zealand by establishing Te Mātāwai as an independent statutory entity to provide leadership on behalf of iwi and Māori in their role as kaitiaki. The Māori Language Commission would be renamed Te Taura Whiri. Its status as a crown entity would be removed and it would be responsible to Te Mātāwai.



Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment Bill



Member’s Bill (Labour). First reading 12 August 2015.
Submissions closed 24 September 2015. Report due 29 April 2016.



Would amend the Minimum Wage Act 1983 to ensure that people paid under Contracts for Services are not paid less than minimum wage.



Official Information (Parliamentary Under-Secretaries) Amendment Bill



Member’s Bill (Labour) First reading 14 October 2015. Submissions closed 10 December 2015. Report due 14 April 2016.



Aims to make Parliamentary Under-Secretaries subject to that Act in the same way that Ministers of the Crown are subject to it. Extends Governmental accountability by adding to the class of documents that can be requested under the Official Information Act.



Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Leave and Work Contact Hours) Amendment Bill



Member’s Bill (Labour). First reading 16 September. Submissions closed 6 November 2015. Report due 16 March 2016.



Would extend paid parental leave from 16 weeks to 22 weeks from 1 April 2016 and then from 22 weeks to 26 weeks from 1 April 2018. Aims to increase flexibility and duration of parental leave.



Public Works (Prohibition of Compulsory Acquisition of Māori Land) Amendment Bill



Member’s Bill (Greens). Introduced 3 December 2015.



Would protect Māori freehold and Māori customary land from being acquired by a Minister or local authority for public works.



Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill



Government Bill. First reading 8 December 2015. Submissions closed 27 January 2016. Report due 8 June 2016.



Would require smoke alarms and ceiling and underfloor insulation in residential rental properties.



Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill



Government Bill. First reading 3 November 2015. Submissions closed 21 January 2016. Report due 3 May 2016



Would give territorial authorities a limited power to create bylaws that allow shop trading on Easter Sunday, and enable shop workers to refuse work on Easter Sunday.



Social Housing Reform (Transaction Mandate) Bill



Government Bill. Second reading 5 November 2015. Committee of the whole House 17 February 2016. Divided by Committee of the whole House.



Would allow certain Ministers to sell Housing New Zealand Corporation properties.



Substance Addiction (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Bill



Government Bill. Introduced 8 December 2015.



Would replace the Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Act 1966 and provide for the compulsory assessment and treatment of individuals who are considered to have a severe substance addiction and who do not have the capacity to participate in treatment.



Social Security (Stopping Benefit Payments for Offenders who Repeatedly Fail to Comply with Community Sentences) Amendment Bill



Member’s Bill (National). Introduced 12 November 2015.



Would give the Department of Corrections the power to issue warnings to persons who have not complied with community-based sentences, with the consequence of withholding benefit payments.



Support for Children in Hardship Bill



Government Bill. Second reading 5 November 2015. Committee of the whole House 1 December 2015. Divided by Committee of the whole House.



Would increase work expectations and increase assistance for parents on a benefit and who have dependent children.





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