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This issue of Policy Quarterly features two symposia, the first dealing with New Zealand’s regulatory system and the second that discussed the NZ Constitutional Advisory Panel report’s recommendations including amending the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

The system for assuring high quality regulation across all regulatory regimes is the point of focus rather than issues with specific matters such as competition law, or occupational health and safety, or regulatory philosophies such as performance-based or disclosure-based regulation.

Well-known regulatory failures in the areas of building regulation (leaky buildings), financial market regulation (finance companies) and occupational health and safety regulation (Pike River) have demonstrated the importance of each and every phase of the regulatory cycle, from design through to implementation. A system perspective demands a holistic perspective, treating performance as a whole-of-system property. But this also introduces a new level of difficulty, as regulation is both inherently complex and must adapt to changing circumstances over time.

Five articles discuss the performance of New Zealand’s regulatory system in the light of this complexity.

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