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New Zealand: Landmark Judgment Recognizes Customary Rights in Coastal Marine Area

(May 21, 2021) On May 7, 2021, the High Court of New Zealand, the third highest court in New Zealand’s court hierarchy, issued a decision in Re Edwards (Whakatohea) (No 2) [2021] NZHC 1025 in which it “granted recognition orders for customary marine title and protected customary rights to a number of applicant groups in […]

New Zealand: Government Indicates that “Drug Checking” Law Will Be Made Permanent

(Apr. 14, 2021) On April 9, 2021, New Zealand’s health minister, Andrew Little, stated in a press release that interim legislation set to expire in December 2021 that enables illegal substances to be tested to verify their contents would be made permanent through legislation passed during this year. The Drug and Substance Checking Legislation Act […]

New Zealand: Bill Providing for Bereavement Leave Following Miscarriage Passed

(Mar. 26, 2021) On March 24, 2021, the New Zealand Parliament unanimously passed the Holidays (Bereavement Leave for Miscarriage) Amendment Bill (No 2). The Bill “makes it clear that the unplanned end of a pregnancy by miscarriage or still-birth constitutes grounds for bereavement leave for the mother and her partner or spouse, and that the […]

New Zealand: Amendments Enacted to Remove Barriers to the Establishment of Maori Seats by Local Authorities

(Mar. 5, 2021) On March 1, 2021, the Local Electoral (Maori Wards and Maori Constituencies) Amendment Act 2021 (2021 Act) received royal assent, having been passed by the New Zealand Parliament on February 23, 2021. The amendments to the Local Electoral Act 2001 were passed under urgency procedures, as the government considered that local authorities […]

New Zealand: Pre-Departure COVID-19 Testing Introduced for Certain Travelers

(Jan. 22, 2021) On January 3, 2021, New Zealand’s COVID-19 response minister, Chris Hipkins, announced that “[t]ravellers from the United Kingdom or the United States bound for New Zealand will be required to get a negative test result for COVID-19 before departing, and work is underway to extend the requirement to other long haul flights […]

New Zealand: Mandatory Climate-Related Financial Disclosures Proposed for Financial Sector

(Oct. 12, 2020) On September 15, 2020, the New Zealand Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw, announced that the government would introduce legislation requiring the financial sector to report on climate risks. He stated that “New Zealand will be the first country to introduce a mandatory climate-related financial disclosure regime.” The Ministry of Business, Innovation and […]

New Zealand: Court Partially Upholds Challenge to Legality of COVID-19 Lockdown

(Aug. 20, 2020) On August 19, 2020, the High Court of New Zealand, the third-highest court in the judicial hierarchy, released its decision in the case of Andrew Borrowdale v Director-General of Health [2020] NZHC 2090 (Decision), in which Borrowdale, a former government legal drafter, challenged the legality of aspects of the New Zealand government’s lockdown measures […]

New Zealand: Government Launches Charter on Use of Algorithms by Public Agencies

(July 31, 2020) On July 28, 2020, the New Zealand government launched the Algorithm Charter for Aotearoa New Zealand, with the minister for statistics stating that it was the first country in the world “to outline a set of standards to guide the use of algorithms by public agencies.” The charter, which has been signed by 21 public […]

Chile; New Zealand; Singapore: Digital Trade Agreement Signed

(June 17, 2020) On June 12, 2020, the governments of Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore signed the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) in an online ceremony, with e-signature tools utilized. Negotiations for the agreement were launched in May 2019 when the trade ministers of the three countries met and “discussed ways to maximize the contributions that […]

New Zealand: New COVID-19 Public Health Response Legislation Enacted

(May 28, 2020) On May 13, 2020, the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 was enacted in New Zealand. The act provides a new legal framework for making and enforcing orders containing restrictions and requirements for businesses, gatherings, and movement in response to COVID-19. It was enacted in time for the country’s move to “Alert […]