It’s an action packed year for our policy staff.
“It is going to be a very busy year for us,” says Rajesh Chhana Deputy Secretary Policy, ‘but I am confident we will meet the challenge as our policy staff here at Justice are very good, and we will be making sure that our staff gets the best possible support.”
“While it’s a very big workload for us over the next two years,” says Rajesh, “it is also an exciting time to be a policy analyst at the Ministry of Justice as we are working at the forefront of major legislative changes which will affect thousands of people.”
They are working on 44 projects to meet the coalition, and confidence and supply agreements. For example, the Criminal Cases Review Commission, Cannabis Referendum Bill), Abortion law reform, Family Justice system review, and Hāpaitia te Oranga Tangata (Safe and Effective Justice).
There are three bills currently before the House which need to be passed through their remaining stages. They are the Crimes Amendment Bill, Trusts Bill, and Coroners (Access to Body of Dead Person) Amendment Bill).
The Government plans to introduced into Parliament five bills emerging from select committee in March and April.
Also a number of reports are due to international organisations such as the United Nations. In January, for example, New Zealand has to present its Universal Periodic Review of New Zealand’s human rights record to the UN in Geneva.
Rajesh says an unpredictable element is the Members’ ballot. “About a third of the bills able to be drawn amend Justice legislation, so we expect this will generate additional demand.”
As the Government has an ambitious legislative programme in December Minister Little identified his immediate priorities. The Criminal Cases Review Commission Bill and Canterbury Earthquakes Insurance Tribunal Bill are planned to be enacted in April 2019.
In December 2019 it is planned to enact the Cannabis Referendum Bill, Abortion Bill and Time-limited referendum legislation and it is hoped the NZBOR (Declarations of Inconsistency) Amendment Bill.
In 2020 the Government is aiming to enact the Family Court Reform Bill, Electoral Amendment Bill, Sexual Violence Bill and the Criminal Justice (Remedial Matters) Bill.
“We have around 15 months to get work completed before election preparations really make themselves felt,” Rajesh says.