News Item

New Toolkit aids better regulation in New Zealand

An important new weapon in the ongoing battle to achieve effective regulation in New Zealand was launched in Wellington on Thursday 4th July.

The New Zealand Law Foundation Regulatory Reform Toolkit provides anyone interested in quality regulation with easily accessible, free online tools to help analyse regulatory problems, along with user-friendly access to detailed research about regulation.

The toolkit, formally launched by Finance Minister Hon Bill English, is the major output of a three year, $1.85 million study of the challenges around regulation in New Zealand.

The multi-disciplinary study team was led by Professor Susy Frankel of Victoria University Law Faculty, and included experts from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research and law firm Chapman Tripp.

Mr English says the Toolkit is a smart response to the problem of getting regulation right for New Zealand.

“There’s no template for good regulation – each situation is different, and the answers require drawing on the best of local and overseas experience.

“The Regulatory Reform Toolkit brings that knowledge together in an accessible format. It’s an innovative approach, and I’m sure it will be a valuable resource for the Government to draw on in reforming regulation.

“I congratulate the Law Foundation and the Project Team for bringing this Toolkit together, and I encourage everyone with an interest in good regulation to use it,” he says.

Law Foundation Chair Dr Andrew Butler says the Foundation launched the project in 2010 because the subject was so important, yet under-researched in New Zealand.

“Regulation affects the cost and quality of most of the goods and services we use every day,” he says. “The cost of regulatory failure can be spectacular – the leaky buildings debacle is just one example of that.”

“As an open, globally connected and trade-dependent society, New Zealanders expect first-world regulatory standards, yet our small size can make it difficult to sustain complex regulatory mechanisms used in other developed economies.

“This toolkit helps overcome that by drawing together the best available experience from here and overseas on the regulatory issues that confront us.”

“The Regulatory Reform Project has been supported by Government ministers, and the project team has worked with officials from Treasury and other agencies throughout, because of the important contribution it makes to the regulatory reform agenda.”

Dr Butler says that as New Zealand’s only truly independent funder of legal research, the Law Foundation is the only funding body that can support major, multi-year research projects like this.

“Our projects are not connected to political or commercial agendas, but can deliver real value for New Zealanders,” he says.

“Before this, we initiated the $3 million Human Genome Research Project at Otago University, a three year study of the complex and challenging legal issues around the rapidly-evolving field of genetic research, and we have supported cutting-edge research on criminal justice and family proceedings.” Dr Butler says.

The Regulatory Reform Toolkit can be found at www.regulatorytoolkit.ac.nz.

For further information about the Regulatory Reform Project and Toolkit, please contact Professor Susy Frankel, Victoria University Law Faculty 04 463 6350, or Susy.frankel@vuw.ac.nz.

The Law Foundation provided funding of $1.85m for this project.