How government manages regulation

The government uses a variety of tools to manage regulation. Some of these are more often used than others.

  • Derek Gill “Applying the Logic of Regulatory Management to Regulatory Management in New Zealand” in Susy Frankel and Deborah Ryder (eds) Recalibrating Behaviour: Smarter Regulation in a Global World (LexisNexis 2013). Regulatory management is a form of meta-regulation that involves responding to the special features of regulation with special measures – tools, procedures and institutions that specifically apply to primary and delegated legislation. Regulatory management attempts to ‘regulate the regulation makers’ by requiring a demonstration of the linkage between clearly articulated problems, the preferred response (from a range of regulatory policy options), and how that response leads to well-articulated impacts on behaviour and hence to a desired ultimate outcome. This paper applies the logic of regulatory management to itself. It shows that despite superficial similarities, the logic and desired impacts on behaviour from regulatory management are different in New Zealand from comparable jurisdictions. A stylised Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) was prepared for the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) process in New Zealand which suggested that the RIA imposes low costs and has the potential to pay its way by identifying more effective interventions. Occasionally the RIA process may result in significant harm being avoided. One indirect effect, however, is that over time, RIA’s rebalance the bargain between Ministers and bureaucrats. The paper suggests that regulatory management is not solely a policy problem that only requires policy tools. Instead, effective regulatory management in Westminster derived systems requires strengthening the capability of regulatory institutions and increasing the focus on learning, based on tracking regulations over their life cycle. The latter requires shifting the focus from ‘big policy’ design to implementation, adaptation of ‘little policy’ and review.

  • See also Derek Gill “Regulatory Management in New Zealand: What, Why and How?” in Susy Frankel (ed) Learning from the Past Adapting to the Future: Regulatory Reform in New Zealand (LexisNexis, 2011).