Chapter 1

A new statute

1.17This Report is divided into four substantive parts, reflecting the four streams of work in this project. In each part, we recommend that the existing legislative provisions be repealed and replaced by new, more modern requirements.

1.18One of our key findings is that it is only the death certification provisions of the Act that have a primarily health focus. Consequently, in the future, the Ministry of Health should have responsibility for only those provisions. We consider that the provisions relating to the determination of the cause of death would fit better into the Health Act 1956 or another existing health statute.

1.19We consider that the proposed new requirements for cemeteries, crematoria and the funeral sector should be in a new, standalone statute administered by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA). Those areas closely align with other areas of responsibility of the Department, particularly the Resource Management Act 1991 and the Local Government Act 2002. Local governments already register funeral directors and, through the resource consent process, consider land use issues arising in the establishment of new cemeteries and crematoria.

1.20Our recommendations in Part 4 for a new legislative framework for burial decisions could be located in the new burial, cremation and funeral sector statute or in a separate statute. The Ministry of Justice should have responsibility for administering this framework.


R1The Burial and Cremation Act 1964 should be replaced by a new statute for burial, cremation and funerals to be administered by the Department of Internal Affairs. However, provisions relating to the determination of the cause of death should be transferred to a statute administered by the Ministry of Health.