Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Army of 10,000 overseeing outdated and poorly written regs

Army of 10,000 overseeing outdated and poorly written regulation

By Pattrick Smellie

July 16 (BusinessDesk) - A 10,000-strong army of bureaucrats is administering as many as 200 different regulatory regimes which often overlap, are outdated, poorly written, or inadequately reviewed before being implemented, says the Productivity Commission in its final report on the impact of New Zealand's regulatory environment on economic performance and productivity.

"New Zealand has a large and complex regulatory system," the commission says in a report that urges much greater leadership from top government agencies, especially the Treasury, because of the potential for too much regulation to act as a dead weight on activity right across the economy and society.

While a variety of mechanisms exist to try and improve the quality of new regulation, the commission says the Law Commission has recently stopped reviewing all legislation for regulatory coherence because of funding cuts, while Parliament's regulations review select committee is a shadow of its former self, with dwindling membership by MPs and insufficient support staff.

The system requiring all new legislation to include a regulatory impact statement, while innovative when first introduced, is not working as intended, the commission says.

The New Zealand Parliament also showed a tendency to a far greater volume of new legislation and regulations than comparable Westminster Parliaments, introducing "on average, 100 to 150 Acts and about 350 Legislative Instruments" annually since the mid-1990s.

"The large stock makes it difficult for ministers and officials to know whether specific regimes are still needed, or are delivering the outcomes that were originally intended," the commission found. "A vigorous and well-focused review programme could help remove unnecessary and inefficient regulation, and fix holes in regimes."

The report also identified "highly variable departmental appointment processes" for regulatory bodies, "including inadequate assessments of the skill needs of boards, poor planning and patchy induction for new board members." Both the Treasury's and State Services Commission's expertise in appointments to departments and state-owned enterprises should be drawn on by agencies seeking to appoint regulators.

In a more wide-reaching proposal, the commission also suggests that policy departments are not always the best judges of the quality of regulatory implementation.

"The commission heard from a number of parties that the best judges of regulatory practice are other regulators, and found these arguments persuasive.

"A system of peer reviews should be established, where panels of senior regulatory leaders, such as current and former chief executives, would examine and provide feedback to regulators, and should become part of the Performance Improvement Framework audits of government agencies overseen by the SSC."

Using polling it commissioned from Colmar Brunton, interviews and a survey conducted by the Public Service Association, which represents government workers, the commission found evidence of a mismatch between the views of regulatory agency leaders and their staff, and between regulators and the regulated.

Staff on the whole disagreed more than they agreed that their agencies were good at learning from mistakes or encouraged challenges to poor practice, while the majority of their managers believed there was good communication and feedback occurring.

"The response of some regulators has been to adapt to their mistake-intolerant environment by encouraging behaviour that minimises the 'threat' of harsh criticism," the report says. "Through time, this strategy has proven successful in reducing criticism, embedding a culture that places a high value on managing institutional risk."

The result was weak evaluation and a 'set-and-forget' mentality that favoured judgements about performance based on recognising mistakes rather than successes. It also found low completion rates for qualifications available to regulatory staff over the last six years.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

SOE Results: TVNZ Lifts Annual Profit 25% On Flat Ad Revenue, Quits Igloo

Television New Zealand, the state-owned broadcaster, lifted annual profit 25 percent, ahead of forecast and despite a dip in advertising revenue, while quitting its stake in the pay-TV Igloo joint venture with Sky Network Television. More>>

ALSO:

Insurers Up For More Payouts: Chch Property Investor Wins Policy Appeal In Supreme Court

Ridgecrest NZ, a property investor, has won an appeal in the Supreme Court over insurance cover provided by IAG New Zealand for a Christchurch building damaged in four successive earthquakes. More>>

ALSO:

Other Cases:

Royal Society: Review Finds Community Water Fluoridation Safe And Effective

A review of the scientific evidence for and against the efficacy and safety of fluoridation of public water supplies has found that the levels of fluoridation used in New Zealand create no health risks and provide protection against tooth decay. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Croxley Calls Time On NZ Production In Face Of Cheap Imports

Croxley Stationery, whose stationery brands include Olympic, Warwick and Collins, plans to cease manufacturing in New Zealand because it has struggled to compete with lower-cost imports in a market where the printed word is giving way to electronic communications. More>>

ALSO:

Prefu Roundup: Forecasts Revised, Surplus Intact

The National government heads into the election with its Budget surplus target broadly intact, delivering a set of economic and fiscal forecasts marginally revised from May to reflect weaker commodity prices and a lower tax take. More>>

ALSO:

Convention Centre: Major New SkyCity Hotel And Laneway For Auckland

Today SKYCITY Entertainment Group Limited revealed plans to build a new hotel and pedestrian laneway of bars, restaurants and boutique shopping on land it owns in the Nelson and Hobson Streets block, expanding the SKYCITY Entertainment Precinct. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news