Incorporated Societies Act review

This page provides information about the review of the Incorporated Societies Act 1908.

Latest developments

The Bill to replace the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 was signed into law on 5 April 2022. This follows a first reading on 6 April 2021, a second reading on 17 November 2021, and a third reading on 31 March 2022.

Incorporated Societies Act 2022(external link) — New Zealand Legislation

Law changes for incorporated societies(external link) — New Zealand Companies Office

While the Bill has been enacted, many of its provisions will not take effect immediately. For example, for groups considering creating new societies:

  • until October 2023, they must register under the 1908 Act;
  • after that time, they must register under the 2022 Act.

In addition, the situation for any society registered under the 1908 Act (including those that register before the end of October 2023) is as follows:

  • until October 2023, they remain subject to the rules in the 1908 Act;
  • at some point in the period from October 2023 to around April 2026 (a period of about 2½ years), they must re-register with the Companies Office or they will cease to exist;
  • as soon they re-register, they become subject to the rules in the 2022 Act. This means each society will become subject to the new rules at the time of its own choosing.

The 1908 Act

The aim of the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 is to give guidance to the many New Zealanders who run societies. The Act is now more than 100 years old and needs updating to help volunteers govern and administer a society in today’s conditions.

The review process

In February 2014, the Government agreed to implement modern legislation that will help guide the sector into the future.

The Incorporated Societies Bill was released for public comment between October 2015 and June 2016. It aims to:

  • make societies more robust
  • help societies govern themselves
  • provide societies and their members with more constructive options when things go wrong.

View the Incorporated Societies Bill - Exposure draft [PDF, 562 KB] 

View the Request for Submissions document [PDF, 590 KB] 

In May 2019, the Government agreed to make a number of changes to the draft Bill before it was introduced.

You can read:

The minute recording Cabinet’s decision [PDF, 173 KB]

The Cabinet paper on which that decision was based [PDF, 956 KB]

Annex 1 to the Cabinet paper [PDF, 79 KB]

Annex 2 to the Cabinet paper [PDF, 793 KB]

In March 2021, the Government agreed to introduce the draft Bill to parliament.

You can read:

The minute recording Cabinet’s decision [PDF, 414 KB]

The Cabinet paper on which that decision was based [PDF, 461 KB]

Related information

The Law Commission’s report: A New Act for Incorporated Societies(external link)

Cabinet paper and Government’s response to the Law Commission’s report [PDF, 43 KB]

Regulatory impact statement [PDF, 211 KB]

Incorporated Societies Act 1908(external link)

Agricultural and Pastoral Societies Act 1908(external link)

Contact us

If you have any questions email societies@mbie.govt.nz

Last updated: 16 June 2022