Every statute specifies one or more administering departments, or is otherwise assigned by the Prime Minister to administering Ministers and departments (see: www.dpmc.govt.nz/cabinet/ministers/register-assigned-legislation). Prior to the 2013 amendments, there was little guidance or specification of the duties and responsibilities of an administering department. Similarly, the Cabinet Manual is virtually silent on the Minister's role in monitoring and reviewing legislation.
The amendments to the State Sector Act in 2013 have extended the responsibilities of chief executives to include a stewardship role that specifically mentions managing the legislation administered by the department. This role is analogous to the department's role of maintaining and caring for physical assets on the agency's balance sheet or the assets that they are administering on behalf of the Crown.
To operationalise this new responsibility, Cabinet agreed to a set of initial expectations for the stewardship role over government regulation [CAB Min (13) 6/2B refers]. Departments are now required to maintain a database of legislative instruments they have responsibility for, and gather information in order to monitor and assess the operation of regulatory regimes. The Treasury has provided detailed guidance to support Cabinet's expectations.