Regulation is a fact of life. It affects the food we eat, the safety of our workplace, the goods and services we buy and sell and the quality of our natural environment. It plays an important role in guarding New Zealanders from harm, protecting our rights, and ensuring that markets work fairly and efficiently. However, when regulation is badly designed or implemented it can fail to provide these protections, or place unnecessary burdens on personal freedoms and business efficiency. So is the New Zealand regulatory system as good as it should be, and how could it be improved?
Steven Bailey is a director at the Productivity Commission and led the commission’s inquiry into regulatory institutions and practices. Judy Kavanagh is a principal advisor at the New Zealand Productivity Commission.