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Regulatory institutions and practices

The Productivity Commission completed its inquiry into regulatory institutions and practices and presented its final report to the Government.

The Commission considered 104 submissions, met with 113 interested parties and surveyed 1,526 businesses.

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  • Our brief
    10 July 2013
  • Consultation and engagement starts
  • Issues paper
    28 August 2013
  • Submissions closed 25 October 2013
  • Draft report
    13 March 2014
  • Submissions closed 8 May 2014
  • Final report
    16 July 2014
  • Evaluation
    October 2014
  • Government response
    28 July 2015

The inquiry

New Zealand has a large and complex regulatory system, with as many as 200 different regimes, a large number of regulatory agencies, and more than 10,000 people employed in administering regulation. It is a major piece of government infrastructure, and is as significant as the tax and spending systems in terms of its impact on the lives of New Zealanders. Why does regulation matter? Chair of the Productivity Commission Murray Sherwin explains in this video.

Done well, regulation improves our wellbeing – allowing us to better reach our social, environmental and economic goals. The big challenge is to design regulation and regulators for the future that are clear in their purpose, are designed to maximise the chances of achieving what was intended, and are adaptable to risks and changing circumstances. Murray Sherwin explains what good regulation looks like in this video.

What did the inquiry find?

The Commission found that New Zealand regulators often have to work with out-of-date legislation, quality checks are under strain, and regulatory workers need better training and development. Read an infographic about the inquiry - the problem, the solution and results.

Key recommendations

Chair of the Productivity Commission Murray Sherwin explains the recommendations from our final report in the following short video:

In our final report, the Commission made a number of recommendations for a better-performing regulatory system that is more coherent, more responsive to market developments, and enjoys greater confidence from business.

We recommend that the policy and Parliamentary processes for testing proposals for new regulation needs to be tightened. Public service departments should concentrate their review and evaluation efforts on the regulations where there are the largest likely benefits. New Zealand needs a more professionalised regulatory workforce, with better training and career pathways. And Ministers need to provide clearer strategies and stronger leadership for the regulatory system as a whole.

Find out more by reading our final report or summaries:

Government response

In July 2015, the Treasury released the Government response to the Commission's report and there was the following media release: Government drive to lift regulatory quality.


An independent evaluation of the Commission’s performance was undertaken. For the results, see the ‘Evaluation documents’ below.