Friday, March 01, 2013


The Regulations (Disallowance) Act 1989 is one of our more obscure pieces of constitutional legislation. It allows for Parliamentary scrutiny of subordinate legislation (regulations, rules etc established under another law), and for those regulations to be overturned by motion of the House. Parliament's Standing Orders provide for a committee to perform such scrutiny, and allow any member of that committee to move that a regulation be overturned. Interestingly, if a motion to overturn is not debated and voted on within 21 days, it takes effect - giving us in theory a powerful check on the executive.

While many regulations have been reviewed and amended by the committee since the law was passed, nothing has ever been disallowed. Until today, when some provisions of the Road User Charges (Transitional Matters) Regulations 2012 were disallowed after a motion by Charles Chauvel was allowed to expire. Its a minor constitutional milestone, and one which shows the value of the disallowance scheme. And hopefully Graeme Edgeler's complaint about the New Zealand Teachers Council (Conduct) Rules 2004 will have the same result.

For those who are interested, the Regulations Review Committee's report on the RUC regulations is here [PDF].