Burial and Cremation Act 1964 review

Update on the review of the Burial and Cremation Act 1964 and next steps.

The Burial and Cremation Act 1964 provides a framework for the management of cemeteries and the operation of crematoria. It also provides a process for the certification of cause of death.

Review of the Burial and Cremation Act

During 2019-2020, we undertook a public consultation on options to modernise the Burial and Cremation Act 1964 and related legislation. This followed a Law Commission report which made recommendations to modernise the law (read the report Death, Burial and Cremation: A new law for contemporary New Zealand (R134)

View the:

Following the consultation, we continued to engage further with stakeholders in developing policy options. However the prioritisation of resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in some delays in the policy response to the consultation.

Non-legislative changes made

Non-legislative changes have been made to address some of the Law Commission recommendations. 

The most significant change has been to provide for an online death certification process. We launched Death Documents in 2017-2018 together with the Department of Internal Affairs.

Death documents

Another change has been updating the guidance to support practitioners completing a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.

Completing death documents

Next steps

We’re now reassessing our policy work in this area.

We’re looking at whether a broader range of factors need to be considered than were initially covered in the consultation, particularly given the time that has passed since the Law Commission completed its report. We’re also considering the impact of the non-regulatory changes, such as implementing online death certification and updating guidance for practitioners.

Back to top