Beehive from Old Government Buildings

New Zealand public law

The Centre explores New Zealand public law issues concerning the constitution, administrative law, and a wide range of areas of governance.

Our focus

We analyse and discuss issues pertaining to New Zealand public law. This includes core constitutional law issues related to the nature and limits of the power of the New Zealand state, the constitutional status of the Treaty of Waitangi, and the past and future of the country’s constitution.

Other issues we examine include administrative law and aspects of governance, such as resource management, immigration, the public health system, criminal justice, and the regulation of the economy.

The Centre holds an annual Government Law Year in Review half-day seminar, where new developments in many of these areas are discussed. We also hold public lectures by academics, judges, and other state officials.

Find out more about our events.

Our research, publications, and projects examine many different aspects of New Zealand’s system of public law.

Explore our publications and projects.

Recent activity

New Zealand Lives in Public Law

In this episode, the NZCPL Director Professor Joel Colón-Ríos talked to Dame Sian Elias, Chief Justice (1999-2019) and Distinguished Fellow at the Faculty of Law at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington. They talked about her early life and education, about some of her experiences as a barrister and as a judge, about law and social change, and about her views on key contemporary public law issues.

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Public Law Theory of Regulation

On 23 March 2022, Edward Willis gave a seminar on the public law theory of regulation.

New Zealand Lives in Public Law

In this episode, the NZCPL Director Professor Joel Colón-Ríos talked to Emeritus Professor Tony Angelo about his early life and education, his experience in the teaching of comparative law, his work in small island states in the Pacific and beyond, and his views on NZ constitutional future.

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Children’s Commissioner Series: Five missing pieces in the Youth Justice jigsaw

On 13 October 2021, Commissioner Andrew Becroft focused on the challenges for, and gaps in, Aotearoa’s youth justice system.

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Kaikōmihana Ture—The Changing Roles and Responsibilities of Law Commissioners

Amokura Kawharu, President of the Law Commission spoke on  6 October 2021 as part of the public officeholders series.

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New Zealand Lives in Public Law

NZCPL Director Professor Joel Colón-Ríos talked to Sir Kenneth Keith about his early life and education, about his role in the judiciary and experience in law reform, and about some of his views about sovereignty and the Treaty of Waitangi.

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On the Value and Future of the Office of the Ombudsman

On 27 September 2021, Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier reflected on the value and future of the Office of the Ombudsman in New Zealand.

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Working together for disarmament

The Hon Phil Twyford facilitated a discussion on disarmament  - 1 June 2021.

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Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Māori issues

Dr Carwyn Jones of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington gave a presentation on Māori issues related to health services in New Zealand.

Find out about the Health Services and Outcomes Inquiry on the Waitangi Tribunal website.

Judicial review

Dr Eddie Clark gave a judicial review presentation as part of the NZCPL Government Law Year in Review 2020.

Bill of Rights and human rights

In February 2020, Prof Claudia Geiringer gave a presentation to the Government Law Year in Review on the New Zealand Bill of Rights in 2019.

Crown–Maori relationship: change or status quo?

Nicola Ngawati from the Ministry for Women led a panel discussion on New Zealand's new Public Service Legislation Bill.

New public service legislation bill

The Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC contributed notes to a panel discussion on new public service legislation.