The Parliamentary Counsel Office has signed a deal with Unisys that will eventually see New Zealand's legislation put up on the internet free of charge.
Currently legislation is available via the Knowledge Basket website, but casual searches cost from $1 each, plus $1 per document viewed or printed. Alternatively, a monthly subscription costs $45 for access to the bills, while full access to all legislation costs $220 per month.
Stage one of the project, which Unisys will conduct, should be complete by late November and includes working out the scope of the project and development of user requirements and specifications.
Stage two, the actual building of the system, involves the acquisition of the legislative database and will allow end users to view the documents online, but won’t be completed until the end of next year.
"This project will significantly improve public access to legislation," says attorney-general Margaret Wilson.
"The right of the public to access legislation is a fundamental democratic right and the state has a duty to facilitate that access."
The overall cost of the project won't be known until stage one is complete and tenders are received.