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Cabinet policy paper additional requirements

Issue date: 
Thursday, 29 June 2017
Issue status: 
Published by: 
Version note: 

This publication is part of the CabGuide.

This page provides advice about the additional requirements of Cabinet policy papers.

There are specified sections for each set of requirements in the Cabinet policy paper template. See these links for advice on the other key sections of the policy paper template:

Human rights implications

When developing policy proposals, consideration must be given to their consistency with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (the Act) and the Human Rights Act 1993. An important aim of these requirements is to provide Ministers with relevant information on the implications of any inconsistency with the Act and the Human Rights Act 1993 before policy proposals reach the legislative or implementation stage.

It is the responsibility of each department to make its own assessment and sign off on human rights implications in the department’s area of responsibility. In carrying out this assessment, departments should, where appropriate, consult agencies with an interest or experience in human rights issues, such as the Ministry of Justice (human rights policy), and the Crown Law Office (legal advice). Cabinet papers should include a paragraph on the consistency of the proposals with the Act and the Human Rights Act 1993 under the heading “Human Rights Implications”, which:

  • states the nature of any potential inconsistencies that have been identified (or states that there are none); notes the steps taken to address the issues; or
  • includes information on any justifications for the policy infringing a right or freedom.

When preparing government bills

The Attorney-General is required by section 7 of the Act to bring to the attention of the House any provision in a bill that appears to be inconsistent with any of the rights and freedoms contained in the Act. In the case of government bills, this must occur upon the introduction of the bill.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) provides advice to the Attorney-General in relation to non-Justice bills, and the Crown Law Office (Crown Law) provides advice on Justice bills. All final versions of government bills must be with MoJ/Crown Law at least two weeks in advance of the relevant Cabinet committee meeting (usually LEG) on that bill.

The two week deadline allows MoJ/Crown Law sufficient time to check the bill for consistency with the Act and to advise the Attorney-General accordingly, and also allows the Attorney-General to receive the advice at least a week in advance of the LEG meeting. If a final version of a government bill is not with MoJ/Crown Law at least two weeks in advance of the LEG meeting, the Minister sponsoring the bill should defer submission of the bill to LEG.

Gender implications

Gender analysis assists decision making by examining how gender differences are affected by government action, and communicating that information to decision makers. A gender implications statement is required for all papers submitted to the Cabinet Social Policy Committee.

The gender implications statement should say whether gender analysis has been undertaken and if not, why not. The length of the statement will vary according to the complexity of the proposed policy, the number of alternatives considered, and the extent of the costs and benefits.

Disability perspective

Public service departments should be familiar with the vision, objectives, and actions in the New Zealand Disability Strategy. Where appropriate, papers submitted to the Cabinet Social Policy Committee should include a disability perspective, i.e. consideration of the impact of policies and proposals on disabled people. A disability perspective should be included, as appropriate, in relevant papers submitted to other Cabinet committees.

The New Zealand Disability Strategy includes information that is useful to determine whether a disability perspective should be included in a Cabinet paper. For further advice, relevant information can be found on the Office for Disability Issues’ website, or the Office (located in the Ministry of Social Development) can be contacted directly.

Implications of use, long-term lease, or disposal of Crown-owned land

The Crown is not free to use, lease, or dispose of Crown-owned land as it sees fit. Through the Treaty of Waitangi, Treaty settlements, legislation, and Cabinet directives, the Crown has imposed principles, limitations, and obligations on itself that restricts the use, long-term lease, or disposal of Crown-owned land.

When developing policy proposals which involve the use, long-term lease, or disposal of Crown-owned land the proposal must, therefore, contain an assessment of the impact of Treaty of Waitangi principles (i.e. possible opportunities for partnership with iwi or hapu), and the stages of the Crown's property disposal process (Stage 3 of which addresses Treaty settlements). A summary of the Crown's property disposal process can be found here.

For advice on:

Last updated: 
Monday, 3 October 2016

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