This is a single section from Chapter 9. Read the full chapter here.

Are any pre-existing treaties or international obligations relevant to the proposed legislation?

New legislation must not be inconsistent with existing international obligations.

MFAT, the Crown Law Office, and the particular department that has responsibility for the relevant existing treaty should be consulted to identify any relevant international obligations and whether the proposed legislation will result in any inconsistency.

If possible, any relevant non-binding international instruments should be identified. Although not binding on New Zealand in international law, they may have wider significance. Non-binding instruments include declarations, resolutions, and instruments under negotiation or non-binding international standards. Advice should be sought from MFAT, the relevant department, or the Crown Law Office as to the legal significance of any relevant non-binding international instruments.

New Zealand is currently party to, and is in the process of negotiating, a number of trade agreements (sometimes called Free Trade Agreements, Closer Economic Partnerships, or Strategic Economic Partnerships). These agreements may have specific provisions in areas such as intellectual property rights (including the use of trademarks and patent rights), and dispute resolution processes that domestic law must not inadvertently restrict. Further information about existing trade agreements and those currently under negotiation can be found on MFAT’s website.

If legislation relates to the sale of goods or occupational registration, the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement may be relevant and should be considered. That non-treaty arrangement, implemented in New Zealand in the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997, overrides other legislation unless specifically excluded. More information can be found on the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment website.

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