New Zealanders are fed up wasting time and money trying to work with loopy rules. We were tasked with identifying rules and regulations which are not fit-for-purpose and which impose unnecessary bureaucratic burdens on property owners and businesses.
Everyone we heard from has had tales to tell of loopy rules - requirements that are out of date, inconsistent, petty, inefficient, pointless or onerous. These are the things that really annoy people, whether they run a business or own their own home.
In the last few months we have travelled around New Zealand listening to people in their communities. We have also met with councils, sector interest groups, and government agencies. We thank all those who have candidly shared their frustrations and given us their views on how rules could be changed to make more sense.
We did hear of rules that protect people, the environment, infrastructure and our heritage but which still enable individuals, businesses and our economy to prosper and grow. But we are struck by the number of instances where the good intentions of the rule-makers are somehow lost in the translation to the real world.
Examples abound of inappropriate interpretation, over-zealous enforcement, and lack of focus on the customer. New Zealanders have told us they are confused and frustrated by frequent changes in the rules. They are exasperated by inconsistency, time-consuming processes and unreasonable costs.
It was a surprise to us to find out that a number of the loopy rules are in fact just myths. They are misinterpretations and misunderstandings that have been repeated so often that they have taken on the status of facts. We heard many examples where people are not clear about what they need to do and why. Myths fill the gap when clear information is hard to find. We highlight these myths in this report along with the loopy rules that need to be changed or removed.
We discovered that loopy rules are difficult to get rid of because they’re part of a wider system, because a focus on the customer is absent, or because of the interests of experts or the fears of their administrators. What’s clear is they thrive when rule makers fail to take responsibility for them.
Most importantly, we identify opportunities to fix many loopy rules and bust the myths. Our top ten fixes are listed on page 7.
We call on both central and local government to stop making more loopy rules.
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