Chris Hipkins says his Government never removed requirement for regulatory impact statements - except during COVID-19

Labour leader Chris Hipkins insists his Government never decided to remove the requirement for regulatory impact statements (RIS) - except during the COVID-19 response.  

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said on Monday it was a "huge waste of time for everybody to go off and create a regulatory impact statement" about policies concerning the new Government's 100-day plan. 

Regulatory impact statements essentially model the impact of changes rules could have on the Government's coffers and a particular business sector and/or community group.  

Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson said on Monday the move was "reckless".

 Speaking to AM on Wednesday, Hipkins echoed Robertson.  

"It's a boringly named process... so that when you go and make a law change or change something in regulation, you have to analyse how much that's going to cost - they've now just dispensed with that requirement altogether," Hipkins said.  

He accused the Government of making decisions without knowing the costs.  

"Yeah but, to be fair, you all do that when you come in [to Government] don't you? You suspend the RIS?" AM host Ryan Bridge went on to ask.  

"No, we did not do that," Hipkins said. "The only time we suspended that requirement was during the COVID-19 pandemic response when we were making urgent decisions - pretty big, urgent decisions - that had to be taken with haste."  

Hipkins said that applied to both previous Labour Governments - including the 2017-2020 coalition with NZ First, which is part of the current administration.  

Finance Minister Nicola Willis would have a tough job ahead of her because of the RIS suspension, he said.  

"I think Nicola Willis is going to have a massive headache putting together her first Budget because, on a day-to-day basis, ministers keep making these huge spending commitments on her behalf."  

Luxon on Monday stressed the Government's belief there was "no value in any public servant wasting time preparing regulatory impact statements for" policies being repealed.  

He said the Government had been straight up about what it wanted to change.  

"We went to the people of New Zealand, we pitched it as part of our campaigns and, as a result, we've got a mandate now to go and get those things done," he told reporters.  

He acknowledged the Government would need "regulatory impact statements where we have new regulations, for sure", he said.  

"But, on these things [in the 100-day plan], we're trying to unblock the country, get it moving and get things happening quickly. On things that we have well-established positions on, on repeal, there's no need for it."