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Consultation on option to reform the Burial and Creation Act 1964 and related legislation

Following Cabinet approval, the Ministry of Health has formally commenced consultation on options to reform the Burial and Cremation Act 1964 and related legislation.

This work follows the 2015 Law Commission report Death, Burial and Cremation: A new law for contemporary New Zealand, which made recommendations to modernise the law that governs death, burial, cremation and funerals in New Zealand.

In response, the Ministry of Health are seeking widespread feedback on the options developed.

The consultation document sets out a range of options for modernising the legislation relating to death, burial, cremation and funerals in New Zealand, including the Burial and Cremation Act 1964, Cremation Regulations 1973 and the Health (Burial) Regulations 1946.

Urupā (Māori burial grounds), registration of mortuaries, burial at sea and international transportation of bodies are out of scope of this review.

The Ministry of Health is seeking feedback on the options from industry and other interested stakeholders, including the general public. This consultation will help inform the development of a modern, fit-for-purpose legislation for death, burial, cremation and funerals.

Given the range and complexity of the issues involved in updating the legislation, this consultation document is split into five sections:

  1. Death certification and auditing
  2. Regulation of the funeral services sector
  3. Burial and cemetery management
  4. Cremation regulations and the medical referee system
  5. New methods of body disposal.

Each section proposes a range of options to modernise the law in relation to the topic. The Ministry has indicated its preferred option in each section. We now want to seek the views of stakeholders to inform further policy development.

The consultation document and related survey can be found here: https://consult.health.govt.nz/environmental-and-border-health/death-funerals-burial-and-cremation/

Submissions will be accepted until 5.00 p.m. on Friday 10 April, 2020.

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