The process to establish a rule

Read about the rigorous process that a rule must go through before it becomes law.

Rules go through a rigorous drafting, consultation and review process before they become law. Rule amendments go through the same process.

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) develops maritime and marine protection rules on behalf of the Minister of Transport, under the Maritime Transport Act 1994.


Why we have new rules

The maritime and marine protection rules are statutory instruments (or secondary legislation) made by the Minister of Transport under the Maritime Transport Act 1994.

While the Maritime Transport Act stipulates broad principles of maritime law, the rules contain detailed technical standards and procedures. Compliance with the rules is required because they form part of New Zealand maritime law. Failure to comply with the rules may be an offence under the act.

MNZ has the power to make emergency rules in certain circumstances, under the Maritime Transport Act 1994.


Rule development process

The rule-making process was introduced in 1995 when the Maritime Transport Act 1994 came into force.

The chart below shows the rule development process. New rules and rule amendments go through the same process.

  1. Policy gap identified
  2. Decision made
    A decision is made to address the gap with a new rule or rule change
  3. MNZ prepares the first draft
  4. Informal consultation takes place
  5. The first draft is reviewed and revised
  6. Invitation to comment
    An invitation to comment on the draft rule is advertised widely to the maritime community and general public
  7. The draft rule is made available for comment
  8. Public submissions received
    MNZ receives and considers submissions during the consultation period
  9. Revised draft may be circulated
    The revised draft may, depending on the particular rule, be circulated to key stakeholders for final comment
  10. Final draft rule is prepared by MNZ
  11. Final rule is signed
    The Minister of Transport signs the final rule into law
  12. Final rule is published and distributed
  13. The rule comes into force
  14. Ongoing evaluation
    The rule is monitored and evaluated on an ongoing basis


Commenting on rules under consultation

The invitation to comment on a draft rule is advertised in major newspapers and in the New Zealand Gazette - the official newspaper of the New Zealand Government.