The Beehive building

The Social Security Legislation Rewrite Bill

The Social Security Act 1964 (SSA) establishes New Zealanders’ fundamental legal entitlements to social assistance delivered through the benefit system.

The SSA is long overdue for an rewrite. It was written in 1964 and has been changed many times since then. As a result it is fragmented and can be confusing. It can be difficult to navigate through the Act to find out what help is available.

The Government has asked the Ministry to look at how we can rewrite the Act so it’s easier to understand and reflects a modern approach to delivering assistance to New Zealand families. A rewrite would provide greater clarity and coherence, ensure greater consistency and modernise language so that existing policies are more understandable.

An aim of the rewrite is to make the Act easier to read and use for all interested parties. A rewritten Act that is clearer in its intent would be less open to interpretation and challenge.

The Social Security Legislation Rewrite Bill was introduced into Parliament for consideration on Thursday 17 March 2016.

How the Social Security Act has changed since 1964

There have been 153 amending Acts

  • There are 523 sections within the Act
    • 214 sections have been repealed
  • Of the 523 sections in the Act only four remain unchanged
  • Section 3 has been amended 286 times
  • Section 69C has 20 subsections – the most current subsections within a single section.

Read the Social Security Act FAQs