Submissions open to update the Burial & Cremation Act 1964

On Friday, the Ministry of Health opened a consultation on modernising New Zealand's laws around death, burial and funerals.

The current wording in the Burial and Cremation Act 1964 and other related legislation, no longer represent the changing trends in society, growth in sexuality and gender diversity. The current Act was not designed for the increase in cremations, demand for eco-burials nor alternatives to traditional funeral arrangements.

Presently there are no official regulations for the funeral services sector. Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand (FDANZ) has been working tirelessly with the Ministry, and other relevant government agencies to introduce their proposal of necessary regulations within the funeral services sector.

The consultation document divides the issues involved in updating the legislation;

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

Each section explains the current legislation and a selection of proposed options, followed by what the Ministry recommends as the preferred option.   The Ministry now want to hear our views before further development of the document.

This is your chance to have a say, you may agree with what the Ministry recommends or perhaps you think they have it wrong.  Either way, we need to speak up.  The consultation document is an easy read with reference to the current legalisation.  See the NZLC report for further information on the review process, findings and contributors.

Submissions can be made online or contact

Submissions close 28 Feb 2020



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