This project is sizeable and significant. Trust law is in need of reform as much of it is no longer suited to the modern trusts context in New Zealand. Trust use is prolific in both private and business settings. Because of the importance of trusts to individuals, as a way of managing personal and family property, and to the business community, as a business and investment structure, it is vital that New Zealand is seen to have robust trust law. The Law Commission is devoting considerable time and resources to this wide-ranging and complex project in order to get this important work right.

In this paper we present the options we consider best address the issues and problems with the law of trusts following extensive research, consultation and submissions. The proposals cover all of the ground traversed in the previous five issues papers. Rather than proceeding directly to a final report, we want to give those interested an opportunity to see and provide feedback on our preferred options as a package. In our view, these proposals best meet the objectives of this review: the modernisation and clarification of trust law; providing a more useful trusts statute; reducing administrative difficulties and costs; ensuring fairness; and making sure the law is fit for the New Zealand context but consistent with relevant overseas trust law.

The general approach taken with this review has been to focus on getting core trust law right. It must be clear, coherent and practical. We want the range of New Zealanders who interact with trusts to have better access to and understanding of trust law. Legislation needs to give appropriate emphasis to the key elements that make a trust a trust.

The intention with this paper is to set our proposed package of reforms before a wide audience of interested parties and to encourage feedback. We invite feedback on whether people agree with the proposals or not. We are certainly open to altering the proposals if it is shown that they will not work as intended or that there is a better approach. We intend to publish our final report and recommendations in 2013.

Sir Grant Hammond Signature

Grant Hammond