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Rules Reduction

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People are often frustrated by local rules and property regulations making life more difficult than it needs to be. The Government is pursuing opportunities to reduce frustrating rules that are holding our communities back.

Tell us about frustrating property rules that you’ve experienced! 

Email us at

If it’s a rule that isn’t already being looked into, we’ll pass it on to the relevant government agency.

The Government Response

The Government has considered and accepts 72 of the 75 opportunities identified by the Rules Reduction Taskforce in it’s report “The loopy rules report: New Zealanders tell their stories”, and is either remedying or actively addressing these concerns.

The report linked below outlines what the Government is and will be doing, to address rules and regulations that are not fit-for-purpose. It also identifies important work to improve rule-making in the future.

Read the Government's response:

Read the Minister’s media release: Government response to 'Loopy Rules' report (Beehive website)

Rules Reduction Taskforce

The Rules Reduction Taskforce was established in late 2014 to capture public concerns about frustrating, ineffective property rules and identify opportunities for addressing them.

The Taskforce was one of the Government’s responses to the recommendations of the Productivity Commission’s report, Towards Better Local Regulation.

For more on the Taskforce establishment:

The loopy rules report: New Zealanders tell their stories

The Taskforce report was released in September 2015, recommending opportunities to address frustrating rules. The report also identified perceived rules that don’t actually exist or have been misinterpreted.

The full report and an executive summary are available online:

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Minister's media release: Rules Reduction Report released (22/09/2015)


The Rules Reduction Taskforce engaged with the public online and in 50 meetings held in local communities across the country. The Taskforce received submissions on 2,000 topics covering 11 ministers’ portfolios and local councils nationwide.

Local council, sector group and individual submissions are available to view or download.

Busting a few myths

Myth: Lolly scrambles are banned because they’re unsafe for kids

  • Reality: Not true. There are no Government health and safety rules against lolly scrambles at things like Santa Parades. There has been some concern that children could be injured running in front of floats, and while this is a valid concern, the most important thing is for event organisers, parents and caregivers to use common sense to keep kids safe.

Myth: It’s illegal to use step-ladders and saw horses

  • Reality: There are no Government rules banning their use. There are also no rules requiring harnesses or scaffolding to complete work at small heights. What is absolutely important is that people are careful when they use step-ladders or saw horses.

    However, The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 requires that they be used in the way the manufacturer intended them and that employers take steps to eliminate the risk of a person falling and injuring themselves.

Myth: People living in retirement villages can’t serve alcohol to their friends

  • Reality: It is fine for residents in retirement villages to have other residents around to their rooms for a drink.

    If the retirement village itself wants to run a ‘happy hour’ or provide alcohol to residents (whether selling it or as part of the rest home fee), they will have to obtain an alcohol licence. In most cases, they would be able to get a club license, and would likely pay the lowest possible fee (depending on the number of residents).

Myth: Farmers are liable if a visitor to their property trips over a tree root

  • Reality: Not true. Farmers only have a duty to warn visitors about out-of-the-ordinary work-related hazards on the farm, and to ensure that no action or inaction of any employee harms another person.

Myth: Kiwis can no longer complete DIY work on their own properties

  • Reality: Home owners can continue to do most DIY work as has always been the case.

    In some cases, a home owner can also obtain an owner-builder exemption to carry out “restricted building work” on their own home i.e. work that is structural or affects the weathertightness of the building, such as foundations, roofing or cladding.

    Any restricted building work that does not come under the owner-builder exemption must be done by a licensed building practitioner.

    The owner-builder exemption can be found at