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Public Access to Legislation (PAL) Project

17 March 2005

Public Access to Legislation (PAL) Project

The Public Access to Legislation (PAL) Project will resume following agreement between the Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO) and Unisys on the commercial basis on which the project will be completed, and Cabinet approval of that agreement. The PAL Project is designed to improve the way in which New Zealand legislation (Bills, Acts, Statutory Regulations, and Supplementary Order Papers) is made available to the public.

The aim of the project is to provide public access to up-to-date official legislation in both printed and electronic form. This involves the implementation of a new XML-based drafting and publishing system within the PCO, and a website with free public access.

The PAL Project was originally scheduled to go live in February 2003, but the PCO and Unisys identified a number of issues that required further work. In May 2003, the Government sought independent assurance that the system, when implemented, would be operationally stable, maintainable, and capable of future enhancement. A review, conducted by Australian-based firm InQuirion, provided that assurance.

The Government then authorised the PCO (together with Treasury and State Services Commission officials) to negotiate with Unisys over the terms on which the project could be completed. As a result of those negotiations, Unisys will complete the project to agreed time and quality criteria and, when it is completed, Unisys will house and maintain the new PAL system on behalf of the PCO at Unisys’ Kapiti Data Centre. Completion is not expected until late 2006 at the earliest.

The Cabinet has approved extra funding for the PCO to cover the project management, independent quality assurance, and other costs of completing the project. “We are pleased with the outcome of this negotiation process. We now look forward to working together with the aim of making legislation more accessible to New Zealanders”, George Tanner, Chief Parliamentary Counsel, and Chris Thompson, Unisys Partner, Public Sector, Australia/New Zealand, jointly stated.

ENDS

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