3 November 2023 was the day the final vote count for the recent general election was announced, and it was also the day of ComplyWith’s annual customer conference at Te Papa.

This was a perfect opportunity to give an overview of what we expect to be the main law changes impacting organisations’ legal compliance obligations.

Here’s a summary of some of the key points in the presentation by our ComplyWatch Lead, Alisha Jackson.

Employment law changes

Restoring 90-day trial periods for all organisations

National plans to bring back 90-day trial periods for organisations of all sizes. Employers can dismiss an employee during a trial period, and the employee can’t raise a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal if the trial period was valid.

At the moment only organisations with 19 or fewer employees can use 90-day trial periods.

Repealing the fair pay legislation

National has also said it will repeal the Fair Pay Agreements Act (FPA) which came into force in December 2022. The FPA brings together employer associations and unions to bargain for employment terms for all covered employees in an occupation or industry.

Only 6 FPA applications have reached the bargaining stage, and none have been concluded.

Environment law changes

Repealing 3 waters

The previous government's 3 waters reforms are on the chopping block, with National saying it will repeal the Water Services Entities Act 2022 and replace it with its Local Water Done Well. The Water Services Entities Act created 10 new water services entities to deliver drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater services in New Zealand.

While work has been done to establish the new entities, from a legal compliance perspective, the rubber hasn’t really hit the road yet as the first entity is only due to begin delivering water services on 1 July 2024.

​Repealing the Resource Management Act reforms

National has said it will wind back the recent resource management reforms contained in the Natural and Built Environment Act 2023 (NBEA) and the Spatial Planning Act 2023 (SPA).

Although the Labour government passed these Acts just before the House adjourned for the election, not much has changed from a practical, legal compliance perspective. Most changes aren’t in force yet, and the new regime would take 7-10 years to be fully implemented.

National plans to make its own changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA), including a fast-tracked 1-year consenting process for major infrastructure and renewable energy projects. The National Party has also said it plans to develop a longer-term replacement for the RMA.

Buildings law changes

Beginning work on the Going for Housing Growth Plan

National’s Going for Housing Growth Plan aims to unlock land for housing. Councils in major towns and cities would be required to zone land for 30 years’ worth of housing demand immediately.

Councils would have more flexibility about where houses are built by being able to opt-out of the Medium Density Residential Standards. These Standards allow 3 homes of up to 3 storeys on each site without a resource consent. Central government would reserve powers to make sure councils set aside enough land to meet demand targets.

The Plan also includes changes to the Infrastructure Funding and Financing Act to reduce red tape for developers to fund infrastructure. National has said that combined with targeted rates to fund greenfield developments, this would remove the need for councils to fund greenfield infrastructure from their balance sheets.

Rolling back residential tenancies changes

National has said it will roll back some of the Residential Tenancies Act changes that were introduced by the Labour. It plans to reinstate no-cause eviction and remove provisions which convert fixed-term tenancies to periodic tenancies.

Transport law changes

Transport law changes announced by National include:

  • By 31 December 2023, scrapping the Clean Car Discount Scheme which discounts low emission vehicles.
  • Replacing the Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2022 to increase speeds on local roads and state highways, except where this is unsafe.


Wondering how you can keep on top of these changes?

The best way to keep track of the upcoming pipeline of law changes is ComplyWatch. Here’s a short introductory video.

Once the laws have come into force, the best way to see what obligations have changed, and how they’ve changed, is in your Obligations Register. Here’s a link to short video about the Obligations Register

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