Police Act Review


In 2006, the government announced its intention to redesign the legislative basis for policing in New Zealand.

Over the following two years, the Police Act Review progressed through a series of consultation phases. It concluded with the passing of the Policing Act in 2008, and its subsequent implementation.


The documents produced by the review are a valuable part of the history of policing in New Zealand, and many are reproduced here. The project’s progress is also charted.

By the end of the year, papers had been released for public consultation on eight separate topics:

Principles of policing in New Zealand, and clarifying the purpose of New Zealand Police including its functions

Issues 1 Paper: Principles [PDF 726KB]

Governance and accountability arrangements applying to Police, including its legal status and name; and the relationship between the Minister of Police and the Commissioner

Issues Paper 2: Governance and Accountability [PDF 54KB]

Employment arrangements covering all Police employees, from appointments to health standards to the process for agreeing terms and conditions; and introducing the notion of the ‘authorised officer’

Issues Paper 3: Employment Arrangements [PDF 665KB]

Community engagement on Police priorities and services, and active involvement in policing by interested citizens such as volunteers

Issues Paper 4: Community Engagement [PDF 302KB]

Powers and protections, including the assignment of powers, aspects of operational powers, and the modernisation of powers (eg., the taking of identifying particulars)

Issues Paper 5: Powers and protections [PDF 605KB]

Relationships with other agencies, domestically and internationally, that have justice, safety and security responsibilities, including monitoring agencies and oversight bodies

Issues Paper 6: Relationships [PDF 327KB]

Administration of some important matters internally, such as command and control, delegations, general instructions, the Police crest and badge, and recovery of some service delivery costs

Issues Paper 7: Administration [PDF 541KB]

Conduct and integrity of individual staff members; including standards of behaviour and ethics, oaths, codes of conduct, political neutrality, and alcohol and drug testing

Issues Paper 8: Conduct and integrity [PDF 462KB]


The perspectives of those commenting on these issues papers were published in early 2007.

During this consultation phase, research into what the New Zealand public want and expect from their police in the 21st century was also published.

In May 2007, the government released its proposals to introduce new legislation for New Zealand Police. These were housed in the document Policing directions in New Zealand for the 21st century.

A final round of public consultation resulted in a overview of submissions on the government’s proposals being published in August 2007.

Cabinet considered a suite of papers in late 2007, and approved the introduction of a new Bill to Parliament. In October 2008, the Policing Act was passed. A special edition of Ten-One issued at the same time summarised the impact of the new legislation on Police.