Susy Frankel and John Yeabsley “Introduction” in Susy Frankel Learning from the Past, Adapting for the Future: Regulatory Reform in New Zealand (LexisNexis 2011). We will use this research and analysis to advance our understanding of the most effective approaches to regulatory reform in New Zealand. In order to progress our research we have identified some cross-cutting issues and common threads between the chapters that echo the questions posed at the beginning of this introduction. These cross-cutting issues and common threads emerge from the New Zealand based setting of this project, discussed above, and will be further developed in that context. They are:
1. What are the relevant factors in deciding whether to regulate and how to regulate?
2. It is important to identify, with some precision, the problem before any decision to regulate or not to regulate is made. If the problem is not properly identified then regulating may not improve the situation and may create more difficulties. Also, when a problem is identified it may or may not require regulatory intervention.
3. What are the likely effects of choosing one method of regulation over another? Should any specialist bodies be involved/created/dismantled? How much should be left to the courts?
4. Who decides who is affected (for example, consumers, businesses) and how? How much is public participation relevant? To what extent are the options for regulation restrained by international agreements, such as trade agreements and other international obligations?
5. If a decision is made to regulate should we create a New Zealand way or use the advantages of the resources of other parts of the world that have tested regulatory models? Does the size/scale of New Zealand make a difference to use of overseas models?
6. Given the size of New Zealand and the scale of regulatory issues, what are the practicalities of regulating in a particular field? How valuable are New Zealand-based experiments? How should they be monitored? How should the success or otherwise of regulation be monitored more generally?
7. How much regulation should be rules and how much should be left to discretion? What role for the ‘rule of law’? Does there need to be a completeness or wholeness to the law? How certain should the law be? Is new language better than old?
8. How well do existing mechanisms work in assuring quality regulation?
9. What are the benefits and limitations of an overarching set of principles or guidelines?
We predict, perhaps boldly, that in order to achieve the anticipated benefits of regulatory reform in New Zealand the path forward does not lie in looking at isolated regulatory outcomes and proximate causes in specific areas. Rather, those specific areas can be the basis from which we learn about regulatory techniques and devise improved regulatory systems.