Regulatory stewardship

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has a responsibility to all New Zealanders to monitor the ongoing performance of our regulatory systems and ensure they remain fit for purpose.

What does regulatory stewardship mean for MPI?

Good quality regulatory systems, and the capability to keep them fit-for-purpose, are important to MPI and to the well-being of New Zealanders.

We aim to have regulatory systems that are well designed, well understood, and well operated.  We support our stewardship by carrying out regular system reviews to help identify what is working well, potential areas for future work, and system gaps that need attention.

The systems we steward

We administer 52 Acts of Parliament as well as the associated regulations, notices, standards, and orders. We organise these Acts of Parliament into 6 regulatory systems:

The 6 documents above provide a summary of the objectives of each system, its major pieces of legislation, the major participants, and the key regulatory and operational changes planned for the next 12 months. We update these descriptions of our systems every year as part of our annual regulatory stewardship reporting.  

How we monitor, evaluate and review our regulatory systems

The health of each system is reassessed every 4 years. The assessments help us determine how well our regulatory systems are working, what we are doing well, and the changes we can make to do better.

We map our systems against 4 measures:

  • efficiency
  • effectiveness
  • durability and resilience
  • fairness and accountability.

Our assessments are done by a small team not directly involved in the system. One of the ways we assess our systems is to interview people involved in all parts of the system at all levels. The feedback from system participants is then mapped against a set of assessment criteria based on the Best Practice Regulation Model developed by Treasury.

Once the assessment is completed, we release a public summary of the assessment. 

Food safety system assessment

We assessed the food safety system in 2019. Overall, we found the system is in good health.

However, our assessment identified some issues, such as the complexity of lower-level rules, the level of understanding that some businesses have of their obligations, and the complexity of demands from multiple regulatory systems. MPI is responding by working to ease compliance, deepen its understanding of small businesses, and provide further assistance to businesses that interact with other regulatory systems.

Other systems will be assessed over the next 3 years (2019 to 2022). We'll publish the results on this website.

The food safety system assessment [PDF, 802 KB]

Who to contact

If you have questions or feedback about MPI's regulatory stewardship strategy, email

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