Letters: Dangerous to rely on 25yo laws

Saturday 16 November 2019 | Published in Letters to the Editor


Dear editor, I don’t wish to cast a sour note – but it concerns me that the announcement regarding the presentation of “law books” to the library will suggest to the public that this will be a convenient research venue to find out what the law is on any given subject.

What was donated is the reprint of laws – up to 1994. Ten volumes. That is a quarter of a century ago. There have been many repeals and amendments of the Acts and regulations in those volumes-plus totally new enactments since 1994 – so it is misleading to suggest that the 1994 reprint can be relied upon, other than for historical purposes.

To give another set to Tereora College and the Ministry of Cultural Development is equally dangerous.

What is needed is a reprint and consolidation of laws up to the present, eclipsing and updating the 1994 yolumes. Such a reprint and consolidation should be online. “PacLii”, a Pacific regional site, is incomplete and difficult to access.

An ideal aid project for New Zealand or Australia, whose Parliamentary Counsel have assisted us in the past. I doubt that we have the resources here.

A reliable (official) set of current Acts and Regulations should be available – and free – to everyone.

Of more use, meantime, would be copies of the “Finding List” compiled by Professor Tony Angelo of Victoria University, most recently up to 2016, but that may be now out of print.

It is an index but doesn’t reproduce the texts. Most lawyers rely on that to at least locate the current law.

Legislative Services have had surplus copies of the 1994 set of 10 volumes since it was produced – 25 years ago.

Mike Mitchell