As might be expected, there's been a rush of law changes affecting all sectors as the government pushed through its legislative agenda before the election and in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

What laws have changed recently?

Since our June newsletter, we have seen an avalanche of law changes as the government pushed through key items of its legislative agenda before the election.

Our content team is working furiously to update ComplyWith Legal Compliance content with these changes. Reports on each development will be published in your Updater in your ComplyWith site as changes are completed.

Some key changes for all sectors

  • Most of the COVID-19 Response (Further Management Measures) Legislation Act (No 2) 2020 came into force on 7 August 2020. It:
    • changes tax legislation to assist with COVID-19 management and recovery
    • continues the Accident Compensation (Experience Rating) Regulations for the 2020-21 tax year
    • extends various reporting timeframes for public sector entities, local authorities, and council-controlled organisations.
  • On 1 July 2020:
    • Paid parental leave was increased from 22 weeks to 26 weeks.
    • Changes to the Resource Management Act came into force. These include reinstating subdivision restrictions that were in force before 2017 changes, extending the time frame to apply for a resource consent for emergency works, and a new freshwater planning process.
    • Road user charges were increased, and new RUC vehicle types were added to the Road User Charges Regulations.
  • Schedule 2 of the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (Exemptions and Prohibited Substances) Regulations was replaced on 23 July 2020.
  • The Arms Legislation Act 2020 came into force on 25 June 2020. Additional high-risk firearms were made ‘prohibited firearms’ and new requirements were added for internet firearms sales.

More changes for certain sectors

Public sector

  • On 7 August 2020, the Public Sector Act 2020 came into force and replaced the State Sector Act. It provides a more modern legislative framework for an adaptive and collaborative public service. The Public Finance Amendment Act 2020 changed the Public Finance Act to align with the new Public Sector Act.


  • On 1 August 2020, the Education and Training Act 2020 came into force. It replaced the Education Acts 1989 and 1964, and Parts 7, 7A, and 7B of the State Sector Act. The compliance obligations for institutions, private training establishments, and early childhood service providers are largely unchanged.


  • On 7 August 2020, the scope of the Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlement Act was expanded to include vocational and disability support workers and mental health and addiction support workers.


  • The Electricity Industry Participation Code Amendment (Default Distributor Agreement) 2020 came into force on 20 July 2020. It added new requirements for default distributor agreements to Part 12A and removed the requirements for use-of-system agreements.


  • The levies on gas industry participants for the 2020/21 financial year came into force on 1 July 2020.

Housing and urban development

  • On 7 August 2020, 2 new Acts came into force to improve the framework for housing and urban development:
    • The Infrastructure Funding and Financing Act 2020 allows special purpose vehicles (SPVs) to be created to finance and construct infrastructure assets. The infrastructure is funded by a new levy which is administered by territorial authorities.
    • The Urban Development Act 2020 establishes a streamlined process for urban development projects called a specified development project (SDP) and gives Kāinga Ora a range of powers to progress these projects.

Local government

  • On 9 July 2020, the remuneration for certain members was temporarily reduced until 6 January 2021 by the Local Government Members (Temporary Reduction – COVID-19) Determination 2020.
  • The Local Government Members (2020/21) (Local Authorities) Determination 2020 replaced the Local Government Members (2019/20) (Local Authorities) Determination 2019 on 1 July 2020.
  • The provisions that allowed, during the COVID-19 outbreak, the LTP consultation document and the amended LTP not to contain a report from the Auditor-General if certain conditions were met, were repealed on 1 August 2020.
  • The COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act 2020 came into force on 9 July 2020. It provides an alternative fast-track scheme to obtain a resource consent or designation.
  • On 7 August 2020, the requirement for a statutory declaration for a rates rebate application was removed. The income threshold for a rates rebate and the maximum rebate was increased on 1 July 2020.
  • The Racing Industry Act 2020 came into force on 1 August 2020 and replaced the Racing Act 2003.
  • The Land Transport (Rail) Legislation Act 2020 came into force on 1 July 2020 and changed the requirements for regional transport committees and regional land transport plans for Auckland, the Wellington region, and other committees named by the Minister.

Residential landlords

  • The minimum period between rent increases was changed from 6 months to 12 months on 12 August 2020. However, the current prohibition on rent increases remains in place until 25 September 2020.
  • On 30 June 2020, the date by when the healthy homes standards statement must include information about the current level of compliance with the healthy homes standards was changed to 1 December 2020. Previously it was 1 July 2020.

What’s coming up?

  • The Privacy Act 2020 and Privacy Regulations 2020 will come into force on 1 December 2020. Draft content for the Act and Regulations is now available for you in the Managing Information section of your ComplyWith Legal Compliance tool.
  • Local authorities (and organisations funded by them providing regulated services) must complete safety checks of all existing children’s workers by 1 September 2020.
  • The Epidemic Preparedness (COVID-19) Notice 2020 is due to expire on 24 September 2020 (but can be revoked earlier). Many temporary COVID-19 changes will end when the notice expires.
  • The Equal Pay Amendment Act 2020 will come into force on 6 November 2020. It provides a new process for pay equity claims.
  • The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act 2020 will come into force on 11 November 2020. It extends the prohibition on smoking in workplaces to vaping in the workplace.
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