National Emergencies

Start date
01 November 1989
04 473 3453
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Project Overview

This project reports on the law which should govern the action to be taken in a national emergency. The First Report on Emergencies: Use of the armed forces (NZLC R12 1990) was largely implemented by the Defence Act 1990. The Final Report addresses the balance of emergency powers. As its extent indicates, it covers a wide range of matters. The Commission recommends that when emergency powers are required they should be conferred in sectoral legislation, that is, legislation tailored to the needs of the particular kind of emergency.

Terms of Reference 

The Law Commission has been asked to consider and report on the following questions:

1. What executive powers are needed and justified to deal effectively with a national emergency in New Zealand, in a manner consistent with our basic constitutional system and traditions;
2. What rights and freedoms ought not to be derogated from in any national emergency;
3. What procedures are most appropriate for bringing emergency powers into effect;
4. What safeguards are needed to confine the exercise of emergency powers to a national emergency;
5. What limits and controls should be placed on the exercise of emergency powers, and what remedies should there be for the abuse of these posers;
6. What changes are needed in the existing law to achieve these objects.