If you disagree with the law, there are steps you can take to change it. You can:
Select committees examine bills after their first reading and make recommendations about whether a bill should be passed and what amendments are necessary. By making a submission to a select committee, you can have a say on what recommendations they should make.
Anyone can make a submission and there will be a set date by which submissions need to be made. You should clearly state what changes you are seeking, and put forward the best arguments you can think of in support. You can make an oral presentation to the committee in addition to providing written submissions.
Making and changing the law is the domain of elected officials, MPs. A way to bring about law reform is to contact your MP, either in person or in writing, to advocate your views and explain why the change you seek would be beneficial. Your local MP acts for you in Parliament, and by being elected is aiming to represent your views. You can contact them at their electorate office.
Putting together a petition to Parliament can be a great way to let elected officials know how you and your community feel about an issue. It can also help build awareness and support from your cause.
A petition asks Parliament to take action on a matter of policy or law. Anyone can start a petition, and there are many sites (such as ActionStation and Change.org) that can help you spread the word and get the community to show their support. When your petition is ready, you can ask a member of Parliament to arrange for it to be presented to Parliament. It will then be allocated to a Select Committee for consideration.
A powerful way to show elected officials your view about an issue is by taking direct action, like organising a protest, a strike, or having your say at a public meeting. Actions like protests are also an important way of influencing public opinion, getting media attention for your cause and building support.
The rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly are guaranteed under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. However, these right have some limitations. Police may intervene in a protest if the behaviour of any demonstrators amounts to an offence. When planning a peaceful demonstration, you should inform the Police of your plans. The Police will be able to tell you about any permits that your local authority might require. If you are planning a protest on Parliament grounds, it is a good idea to contact the Speaker’s Office with your plans first.
Please note that the Pipeline is currently not being updated. You can check out the progress of upcoming legislation changes here: https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/
The Pipeline helps keep track of law reform initiatives that affect our communities.
To find out more about how a Bill becomes law, click here.
Check out Frequently Asked Questions and Answers related to COVID-19 on our website here
Most Community Law Centres have returned to their normal face-to-face free legal services during Level 1. Find the contact details of your nearest Community Law Centre here
You will also find out useful information on our Community Law Manual Facebook page.