Regulatory systems and stewardship

MBIE is one of the biggest regulatory departments in New Zealand. About three-quarters of what we do relates to designing and delivering regulatory systems. We are responsible for stewardship of 112 statutes.

Regulatory stewardship

Parliament makes laws – regulates – to protect the community from harm or to achieve outcomes that New Zealand may not otherwise be able to achieve.  But regulation isn’t just about the law. To make Parliament’s intentions come to life, organisations need to deliver services, educate and inform, make sure people follow the rules and support resolution of disputes. The rules, organisations and their practices – the whole regulatory system – work together to shape people’s behaviour.

The quality of our regulatory systems has a major impact on the lives, work and businesses of New Zealanders. The Government expects regulatory agencies to be stewards of the regulatory systems within which they work. This means adopting a whole-of-system view, and a proactive, collaborative approach to the care of the regulatory system. The regulatory stewardship role includes responsibilities for:

  • monitoring, review and reporting on regulatory systems
  • robust analysis and implementation support for any changes, and
  • good regulatory practice.

Taking a whole-of-system view involves thinking about how all the regulatory functions within a system are working together as a whole to deliver the best possible outcomes. Common regulatory functions include:

  • policy advice
  • standard setting
  • operational policy/service design
  • service delivery
  • information and education
  • compliance and enforcement
  • dispute resolution
  • monitoring and evaluation.

Depending on the design of the system, MBIE may perform all of these functions in a given system, but usually there are a number of agencies involved which deliver different aspects.

In addition, an individual regulatory system will often impact on, or be impacted by, another regulatory system and will sometimes share common or overlapping components. This is the case with several of MBIE’s regulatory systems. We also have an interest in regulatory systems that other government agencies have stewardship responsibilities for. We strive to apply a cross-system perspective so that we understand, anticipate and design for these overlapping impacts.

Transparency about the state of our regulatory systems and plans for improvements supports this proactive, collaborative stewardship approach. The following links to MBIE’s regulatory systems provide information about their objectives, which agencies are involved and their roles, who the regulated parties and stakeholders are, how fit-for-purpose we think the system is and proposed or planned changes.

Best regulatory practice by 2022

We are focusing on ensuring our regulatory systems are performing to a high standard. We have a goal of reaching best practice in all of our regulatory systems by 2022.

We have developed an initial set of standards to define what best practice means and to start measuring our progress. In implementing this approach we also:

  • develop regulatory systems amendment bills, which provide a regular process for the maintenance and continuous improvement of legislation administered by MBIE
  • undertake assessment processes for our regulatory systems, and look across assessments to identify any broader issues
  • set expectations for the performance of regulatory systems, under the working description of a regulatory system statement of intent/charter
  • reinforce shared ownership for regulatory systems among relevant agencies
  • ensure that each regulatory system is treated as a living system, where there is good knowledge of how the system is intended to perform and is performing.

We want to hear from you

As we keep track of issues with our regulatory systems we want to hear from you about any challenges you have in the areas of business, housing, employment and science.

For instance, you may know about an unnecessary cost associated with reporting to government or an unexpected impact from a statutory provision.

Contact us

If you would like to discuss our regulatory systems performance work programme, contact us at