While there has been a recent slowing down of law changes, there have still been updates across a number of sectors.

What laws have changed recently?

With the recent general election we’ve had a brief reprieve from what was starting to feel like an avalanche of law changes. That said, there have been a few law changes which are described below.

Parliament is expected to resume in mid-November 2020 and no doubt the pace of legislative change will start to increase again.

Changes for all sectors

  • The Epidemic Preparedness (COVID-19) Notice 2020 was extended again until 23 December 2020 (but can be revoked earlier). Many temporary COVID-19 changes will end when the notice expires.
  • On 3 September 2020, changes to strengthen the controls for freshwater came into force. These included:

    • 3 new pieces of legislation:
      • National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 
      • Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020
      • Resource Management (Stock Exclusions) Regulations 2020
    • Changes to the Resource Management (Measurement and Reporting of Water Takes) Regulations to phase in recording water taken in 15 minute periods (instead of each day) and daily reporting to regional councils. These changes are being phased in from 3 September 2022 to 3 September 2026.

  • On 31 August 2020, the Addendum to the Responsible Lending Code: COVID-19 was extended. It now expires on 31 March 2021.

Local authorities

  • On 30 September 2020, changes to the Resource Management Act included a new obligation about suspending the processing of non-notified resource consent applications, and minor changes to the process for deciding whether to publicly notify an application. 
  • The deadline for local authorities (and organisations funded by them providing regulated services) to complete safety checks of all existing children’s workers was 1 September 2020.

Food businesses

  • On 11 September 2020, changes were made to the temporary exemption in the Food Act which exempts food business operators from complying with certain verification requirements because of COVID-19.

Residential landlords

  • From 26 September 2020, the ban on rent increases on residential tenancies ceased to apply. 

Civil aviation 

  • On 1 September 2020, changes were made to the recent experience and medical requirements in Part 66 of the Civil Aviation Rules for aircraft maintenance engineer licence or certificate holders. 

Animal exporters

  • On 22 September 2020, the Animal Welfare (Temporary Prohibition on Export of Livestock by Sea) Regulations came into force.

What’s coming up?

  • 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.
  • The COVID-19 Deferred Payment of Distribution Charges amendment will be removed on 18 November 2020.
  • On 30 November 2020, further changes to the emissions trading scheme will come into force. These include cancelling legacy units held in private accounts from the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
  • 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.
  • The Epidemic Preparedness (COVID-19) Notice 2020 is due to expire on 23 December 2020 (but can be revoked earlier).


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