Chapter 2
Guidance for future pecuniary penalty regimes

The need for effective guidance

2.3At present 18 statutes contain pecuniary penalties. Each deals to a greater or lesser extent with matters such as:

2.4Few statutes deal with these issues in the same way. There are differences in both substance and the approach to drafting. The Law Commission supports the general interest in achieving, where possible, consistency in legislation for a number of reasons:

2.5We do not consider that consistency must be achieved at all costs. Nevertheless, some aspects of legislative design are a product of, and should be driven by, the distinctively punitive nature of pecuniary penalties. A common approach should be taken to those aspects.

2.6Without effective guidance and direction, the existing degree of inconsistency between regimes is likely to continue. In fact, the range of variants may well expand. At present, policymakers contemplating pecuniary penalty regimes have 18 New Zealand precedents to turn to, from which they can pick and choose provisions and tailor them for their particular statute. In excess of 50 Australian statutes now contain pecuniary penalties, and in a diverse range of fields.18 Although New Zealand may not adopt pecuniary penalties in all those same fields, we anticipate that the number of pecuniary penalty provisions will grow.
18Australian examples, which may indicate areas for pecuniary penalty growth in New Zealand, include the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth); Clean Energy Act 2011 (Cth); Do Not Call Register Act 2006 (Cth); Energy Efficiency Opportunities Act 2006 (Cth); Future Fund Act 2006 (Cth); Health Insurance Act 1973 (Cth); Migration Act 1958 (Cth); Shipping Registration Act 1981 (Cth); Road Safety Remuneration Act 2012 (Cth); Water Act 2007 (Cth); and Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth).