Occupational regulation

The Ministry is responsible for the regulation of certain occupations to protect consumers.

This area includes the following systems:

Lawyers and conveyancers

This system provides for the regulation of the legal profession and conveyancing practitioners. It primarily affects lawyers as there are very few conveyancers in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Its objectives are to support the rule of law by:

  • maintaining public confidence in the provision of legal services
  • protecting the consumers of legal services and conveyancing services.

The Ministry works closely with the New Zealand Law Society (NZLS). The NZLS is the professional organisation for lawyers. Along with the Ministry, it regulates the practice of law in Aotearoa New Zealand and represents the interests of lawyers who choose to be members.

Further information about lawyers and conveyancers

Private security personnel

This system aims to ensure that people offering specified private security and investigation services for hire, and personnel providing those services, are suitably qualified and do not behave in ways that are contrary to the public interest.

Further information about private security personnel


This system provides for the regulation of second-hand dealers and pawnbrokers. It aims to make it harder for criminals to dispose of stolen goods through second-hand dealers and pawnbrokers, and to make it easier for the New Zealand Police to recover stolen goods and solve property crimes.

Key statutes

  • Secondhand Dealers and Pawnbrokers Act 2004

Key secondary legislation

  • Secondhand Dealers and Pawnbrokers Regulations 2005

Real estate agents

This system promotes and protects the interests of consumers in real estate transactions and promotes public confidence in the performance of real estate agents and agencies. The Real Estate Agents Act 2008 assists to achieve this purpose by:

  • regulating agents, branch managers and salespeople
  • raising industry standards
  • providing accountability through a disciplinary process that is independent, transparent and effective.

The Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA) is a Crown entity established under the Real Estate Agents Act 2008. It is the independent government regulatory body for the real estate industry in Aotearoa New Zealand. REAA’s role is to promote a high standard of service and professionalism in the real estate industry and help protect buyers and sellers. They provide information for buyers and sellers, provide advice and guidance for agents and deal with complaints about agents' behaviour.

Further information about real estate agents


Prostitution was decriminalised in 2003. Consequently, this system was implemented to regulate prostitution in Aotearoa New Zealand. The Prostitution Reform Act 2003, and the system surrounding prostitution law in our country, governs:

  • who can be an employee
  • who can run a brothel
  • the process for obtaining a licence to run a brothel.

It aims to ensure that those working in the industry are protected and that any businesses established protect the health and safety of both their employees and customers.

Key statutes

  • Prostitution Reform Act 2003

Key secondary legislation

  • Prostitution (Operator Certificate) Regulations 2003  
  • Prostitution Reform (Form of Warrants) Regulations 2003

Alcohol regulation

This system regulates the sale and supply of alcohol in New Zealand. The Ministry of Justice administers the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 (the Act). The Act covers the safe and responsible sale, supply, and consumption of alcohol. It also seeks to minimise the harm caused by excessive or inappropriate use of alcohol.

Further information about alcohol regulation