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Three-Party Government unveils sweeping changes: What you need to know

Three-Party Government unveils sweeping changes: What you need to know

Three-Party Government unveils sweeping changes: What you need to know

Monday 27 November, 2023

The new three-party coalition government is bringing in a number of policy changes, some of which were well signalled and one or two which were unexpected. The two coalition agreements, between National and Act, and National and New Zealand First, set out the policies agreed to. These include:


  • Reversing the ban on live animal exports
  • Improving Farm Environment Plans so they are more cost-effective and pragmatic for farmers
  • Enabling farmers and landowners to offset sequestration against their on-farm emissions
  • Liberalising genetic engineering laws
  • Replacing the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 to allow district councils more flexibility in how they meet environmental limits and seek advice on how to exempt councils from obligations under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 as soon as practicable

Banking and Financial Services

  • Rewriting the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2005 to increase protections for vulnerable consumers.
  • Establishing a select committee inquiry into banking focussed on competition, customer service and profitability.


  • Introducing financial incentives for councils to enable more housing
  • Amending the Building Act and the Resource Consent system to make it easier to build granny flats or other small structures up to 60sqm requiring only an engineer’s report
  • Exploring allowing home builders to opt out of needing a building consent provided they have long-term insurance for the building work


  • Abolishing Fair Pay Agreements by Christmas
  • 90 day trial periods being extended to all businesses
  • Reforming health and safety law and regulations
  • Potentially making it more difficult to bring a personal grievance claim by:
    • removing eligibility for remedies where an employee is deemed at fault; and
    • setting an income threshold above which a personal grievance cannot be brought.
    • Maintaining the position that contractors, who have explicitly signed up for a contracting arrangement,  cannot challenge their employment status in the Employment Court

Firearms Law Reform

  • Rewriting the Arms Act 1983 to provide for greater protection of public safety and simplifying regulatory requirements to improve compliance
  • Transferring the responsibility for the Arms Act 1983, policy and regulation to the Ministry of Justice
  • Reviewing, by June 2024, whether the Firearms Registry is effectively improving public safety
  • Repealing and replacing Part 6 of the Arms Act 1983 relating to clubs and ranges


  • Stopping the implementation of the new Significant Natural Areas and seeking advice on the operation of existing Significant Natural Areas
  • Amending the Resource Management Act 1991 for the primary sector including forestry.
  • Amending the National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry regulations to create a duty on harvesters to contain and remove post-harvest slash

Healthcare & Life Sciences

  • Repealing the Therapeutic Products Act 2023
  • Repealing the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Act 2022 before March 2023, removing requirements for denicotisation, removing the reduction in retail outlets and the generation ban, while also amending vaping product requirements and taxing smoked products only
  • Updating Pharmac’s decision making model to ensure it appropriately takes patient voice into account and reform the funding model to account for positive fiscal impacts on the Crown of funding more medicines
  • Requiring the Ministry of Health to publish a Medicines Strategy every three years
  • Requiring Medsafe to approve new pharmaceuticals within 30 days of them being approved by at least two regulatory agencies recognised by New Zealand
  • Allowing the sale of cold medication containing pseudoephedrine
  • Allowing appropriately qualified pharmacists to directly prescribe certain treatments
  • Agreeing the terms of reference for the statutory requirement to review the End of Life Choice Act 2019 following consultation between the Parties 


  • Increasing the cap on the number of workers under the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme
  • Introducing a renewable five-year parent category visa conditional on covering healthcare costs, with consideration of a public healthcare levy
  • Removing median wage requirements from Skilled Migrant Category visas
  • Amending rules to make it easier for visa holders' family members to work in New Zealand

Landlord & Tenant

  • Allowing landlords to issue a 90-day notice to a tenant to end a periodic tenancy without providing a reason or applying to the Tenancy Tribunal
  • Returning tenants’ notice period to 21 days and landlords’ to 42 if the tenant wishes to move or landlord wishes to sell a property
  • Introducing “pet bonds” to make it easier for tenants to have pets in rental properties

Natural Resources

  • Repealing the ban on offshore oil and gas exploration
  • Updating the Crown Minerals Act 1991 to clarify its role as promoting the use of Crown minerals
  • Establishing a National Infrastructure Agency
  • Commencing an urgent review into the National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity 2023 before any implementation
  • Replacing the National Policy Standards for Freshwater Management 2020 and the National Environment Standards for Freshwater to better reflect the interests of all water users

Public Sector

  • Removing co-governance from the delivery of public services
  • Passing the Constitution (Enabling a 4-Year Term) Amendment Bill
  • Introducing a Treaty Principles Bill and amending Waitangi Tribunal legislation
  • Stopping the Law Commission's work on hate speech legislation.

Resource Management

  • Repealing the Natural and Built Environment Act 2023 and the Spatial Planning Act 2023 by Christmas 2023
  • Reinstating and amending the Resource Management Act 1991 to remove barriers around consenting new infrastructure, including a fast-track option for regional and national projects of significance
  • Replacing the Resource Management Act 1991 with new laws centred on the enjoyment of property rights


  • Restoring mortgage interest deductibility for rental properties with a 60 per cent deduction in 2023/24,80 per cent in 2024/25, and 100 per cent in 2025/26.
  • Repealing the Clean Car Discount 
  • Replace fuel excise tax with electronic road user charges for all vehicles, including electric vehicles.

These changes are widespread and likely to impact most industries and sectors. Our team of experts are available to discuss and answer any questions you may have. We will publish further updates as details come to hand and the new Government is sworn in.

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