Rules Consultation


Kia ora, talofa lava, bula vinaka, mālō e lelei and hello!

NZQA is reviewing the NZQA Rules to reflect amendments to the Education and Training Act 2020 (the Act) which came into effect on 1 August 2022, and to ensure the rules remain up-to-date and fit for purpose. Public consultation on the proposed rule changes closed on 24 October 2022. As part of this consultation NZQA also presented skill standard design principles, components, and sample standards for feedback.

For more information on why we are making changes to our rules, see the Background section below.


Public consultation on proposed Rule changes was open from 12 September to 24 October. A summary of the submissions can be found below.

Key consultation resources

Information sessions

We ran a series of public information sessions via Zoom in mid-September.

What we sought feedback on

We consulted and sought feedback on the following topics: 

Topic Who this is relevant to
Micro-credential approval and accreditation

- Those who develop micro-credentials, including workforce development councils

- Tertiary education providers who deliver micro-credentials

- Tertiary education providers who currently have approved training schemes or micro-credentials

- Schools

- Learners

- Employers and industries

Skill standards

- Standard-setting bodies, including workforce development councils

- Tertiary education providers

- Schools

- Learners

- Employers and industries

New Zealand Programmes (national curricula)

- Workforce development councils

- Tertiary education providers who offer programmes towards vocational qualifications

- Learners

- Employers and industries

Changes to Qualification and Micro-credential Listing and Operational Rules including micro-credentials and level 7 diplomas

- Workforce development councils

- Qualification developers

- Micro-credential developers

- Tertiary education providers who offer programmes towards level 7 diplomas

- Learners

- Employers and industries

Offshore programme delivery

- Tertiary education providers who offer programmes offshore

- Learners

Industry training transition

- Te Pūkenga

- Private training establishments

Changes to Programme Approval and Accreditation Rules

- Tertiary education providers who apply for programme approval or accreditation

- Tertiary education providers who enrol international students

Changes to Student Fee Protection Rules

- Any person who receives money from a student for the purpose of enrolling, or helping a student to enrol, in a course at a provider, including providers, agents and suppliers

Record keeping requirements and definition of assessment materials

- All tertiary education providers

Amended requirements for the annual declaration of compliance

- All tertiary education providers

Site visits of new site

- Private training establishments

Clarify when the annual registration fee is due

- Private training establishments

What happens next

Next steps

We are currently analysing the responses to this consultation, considering the feedback, and making any appropriate amendments to the draft rules.

Subject to the approval of the NZQA Board and the Minister, the rule changes are expected to come into effect by the end of 2022. We will publish the updated rules on the NZQA website.

We will update our guidelines relating to the rule changes. We will work with our stakeholders to establish the supporting guidelines and processes associated with the rule changes.

Transition to new products

The proposed rules changes will mean changes to some existing products over time, including:

  • some existing training schemes becoming qualifications or being approved as micro-credentials under the new rules
  • unit standards being replaced by skill standards
  • some programmes being replaced by New Zealand Programmes
  • some Level 7 diplomas being replaced by New Zealand diplomas
  • programmes of industry training transitioning to programmes

We will work collaboratively with providers, sector representative groups, workforce development councils and other stakeholders to plan and communicate these transitions and to minimise any potential disruption to learners.

Exposure drafts of rules

In addition to the consultation document, you can see the changes proposed to Rules at the links below.

New text that has been added, or updated text replacing the old wording is highlighted.

Text that will be deleted is shown in red strikethrough.

Background and process


Two years ago, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) held two meetings to gather industry, employer, and education expert views on the vocational qualifications landscape. Participants agreed there was an opportunity to simplify the system, ensure that employer skills needs are met, and that learners could transfer their learning across delivery modes and different contexts. You can view a summary here (PDF, 240KB). This led to changes being made to the Education and Training Act 2020 (the Act), including:

  • Renaming the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) to the Qualifications and Credentials Framework and listing approved micro-credentials on the framework.
  • Requiring providers to be accredited to deliver approved micro-credentials listed on the framework.
  • Replacing training schemes with micro-credentials.
  • Renaming the Directory of Assessment Standards to the Directory of Assessment and Skill Standards.
  • Including learning outcomes in skill standards.
  • Enabling standard-setting bodies to develop a national curriculum for a qualification, in collaboration with industry and providers and requiring NZQA to recognise national curricula.
  • Streamlining the consent to assess process, so that if a provider is granted accreditation for a qualification or credential that includes standards, consent for the standards is automatic.

We propose the following changes to the NZQA Rules in response to the changes to the Act:

  • Including requirements for listing micro-credentials on the framework in the Qualification and Micro-credential Listing and Operational Rules.
  • Creating rules for the approval and accreditation of micro-credentials.
  • Creating rules for the recognition of national curricula (‘New Zealand Programmes’).
  • Removing the requirement for applicants to hold consent to assess for standards before applying for accreditation in the Programme Approval and Accreditation Rules.
  • Making technical updates to reflect the changes to the Act, including ensuring consistency with new terminology.

We also propose changes to simplify and clarify the rules and ensure they remain up-to-date and fit for purpose, including:

  • Adding requirements for listing skill standards on the Directory of Assessment and Skill Standards in the Directory of Assessment and Skill Standards Listing and Operational Rules.
  • Regulating level 7 diplomas in the same way as level 1–6 qualifications.
  • Applying the Programme Approval and Accreditation Rules to work-based training.
  • Updating the Offshore Programme Delivery Rules to clarify offshore delivery and offshore partnerships and allow for programmes that include work placements or practical training to be offered online and offshore.

Process for making rule changes

The Act provides the legal framework for making NZQA Rules.

NZQA Rules are secondary legislation made under the Act. The Act sets out the policy framework. Rules contain detailed requirements, including standards and processes, for putting policy into operation. The development of rules is also guided by the requirements in the Legislation Act 2019. Compliance with rules is required because they form part of New Zealand education law.

The rules cover a range of education quality issues. 

The proposed rules must be approved by the Board of NZQA and the Minister before coming into effect. Any issues raised during consultation will be analysed and considered in preparing the proposed rules for the NZQA Board and the Minister to approve.

Further questions

Please direct any questions that you have in relation to the submission process to

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