Consultation opens on modernising death, burial and related legislation

News article

14 November 2019

The Ministry of Health has opened public consultation on proposed options for modernising New Zealand's legislation relating to death, burial, cremation and funerals.



In 2015, the New Zealand Law Commission published its report Death, Burial and Cremations: a new law for contemporary New Zealand. That report, focused on the Burial and Cremation Act 1964 and related legislation, made a number of recommendations which have been developed into the proposed options.

‘Consultation will help inform the development of a modern, fit-for-purpose legislation that meets the need of people living and dying in New Zealand,’ says Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay. ‘We want to hear what people think – whether that feedback comes from the public, the sector or other interested stakeholders.

‘Everyone will be affected by laws relating to death, funerals, burial and cremation so it's really important people tell us what they think these laws should cover.’

The consultation document, which goes online today, is split into five sections:

  • Death certification and auditing
  • Regulation of the funeral services sector
  • Burial and cemetery management
  • Cremation regulation and the medical referee system
  • New methods of body disposal.

Public consultation on the proposed options closes on 28 February 2020. People are encouraged to learn more about what’s being proposed and provide feedback.

To access the full consultation document and provide feedback, please visit the Ministry of Health’s Consultation Hub.