New Zealand legislative history

Legislation 2005 -

To research current or recent legislation visit the New Zealand Parliament website, if you are looking for a particular Bill use the search bar on the right, enter your Bill's name.  On the left of your results is a box which allows you to add filters, the default is all, you may want to just search Bills.  Click on the green apply filter button at the bottom of the page.  You can sort your results at the top by relevance or date.

From the result list select the result with the most recent date.  Your results will give you: the Progress of the Bill table, which shows you at which stage your Bill is at; the dates of the readings and when it went to select committee;  the Bill History tab, providing  information such as the member in charge, what type of Bill, the supplementary order number;  the Bills Digest lets you know the intention of the Bill, changes made to the Bill, relationship with existing legislation;  clicking on the Hansard link gives you the full text of the readings and debate. 

Earlier Bills may have less documents attached to them and you may have to search for those related materials as described below.

Earlier legislation


There are four different types of Bills: government Bills, private members Bills, local Bills, and private Bills.

Each Bill goes through 3 readings in the House and there are changes made at each stage. The different versions of the Bill are known as bar versions, so the first reading will be referred to as the bar 1.  The bar 1 version may have an explanatory note attached, which sets out the intention of the Bill.  The bar 2 version may have the select committee report attached.  The bar 3 should have no further changes/ committee of the whole house.

NZLII has an excellent collection of Bills.

The library also has a collection of print Bills, see the issue desk or the subject librarians for help accessing them.

Select Committee Reports

These may be attached to the bar 2 version of the Bill.  If not then you should first check the Journals to find which committee the Bill was sent to.  Then consult the Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives on level 3 at KH310 A674 1858. 1858-1950 are available from AtoJsOnline  Each report in the A to Js has a shoulder number.  The select committee reports have the shoulder number I.

Parliamentary Debates

Bills are introduced and debated in parliament.  These debates are recorded in the New Zealand Parliamentary Debates, commonly referred to Hansard.  In the index you should go to Bills to see the complete listing of Bills, 1R, 2R, 3R refer to readings.  The page numbers are continuous for the session and can get quite large, refer to the spines of the volumes to see which pages are included.

Supplementary Order Papers

Written advice of specified amendments to a Bill before the House.  They are generally circulated by Ministers but other members may use this method to recommend changes to the Bill.  Changes may involve dividing a Bill, amending its working or adding or admitting a clause