Bill to rewrite social security laws

Update - 15 September 2016

The Social Services Committee has now reported back to the House on the Social Security Legislation Rewrite Bill. This bill aims to update the drafting, style, and structure of New Zealand’s social security legislation.

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Source: iStock

The committee has recommended many changes to the bill. Most of the changes would make the bill clearer and bring it more closely in line with existing law.

The committee has also recommended a change to allow health practitioners, such as nurses, to sign certificates about a person’s capacity to work.

It has also recommended that, before making regulations to redirect the benefits of certain groups, the Minister must consult appropriate individuals or organisations.

The committee adopted a recommendation of the Regulations Review Committee to insert purposes and criteria into provisions enabling regulations for granting exemptions from the bill’s requirements.

Although most of the bill was just rewriting existing law, many submitters suggested major policy changes to that existing law. The committee considered that these proposals went beyond the scope of the bill.

The committee considered the bill alongside a report from the Attorney-General saying that the bill’s advantageous treatment of people who are totally blind (compared to its treatment of others with disabilities) limits the right to freedom from discrimination under section 19 of the Bill of Rights Act 1990. The committee did not recommend a change to the bill, because the advantageous treatment is not a change from existing law.

A copy of the bill showing the Social Services Committee’s recommended changes can be found here. The Attorney-General’s report can be found here.