Executive summary

1In 2010, we were asked to undertake a first principles review of the Burial and Cremation Act 1964 (the Act). That Act provides a framework for the management of cemeteries, regulates the operation of crematoria (through regulations made under the Act) and provides a process for doctors to determine the cause of death when a person dies from natural causes.

2Through an extensive consultation process on this project, we determined that the Act is now significantly deficient in a number of respects. Some of the problems we encountered simply reflect outdated legislation that is overly specific and difficult to understand. In some cases, the legislation has not kept pace with other legislative developments, such as the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, the Resource Management Act 1991 and the Local Government Act 2002. Other problems reflect general trends in society, particularly a growth in diversity from increasing immigration and the changing nature of family relationships.  

3Other key trends and problems in this sector include the following:

4Consequently, we recommend that the current Act should be repealed and replaced by new statutes. The recommendations we make in this Report for the new statutory provisions reflect the basic principles of:

5We have divided our review into four parts, reflected in the four substantive parts of this Report, which cover: