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Governing legislation

Our timezone, the daylight saving dates and the rules around what happens if you are working when the clocks change are governed by 2 pieces of legislation.

Time Act

The Time Act 1974 defines New Zealand standard time and the time in the Chatham Islands.

New Zealand standard time is 12 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (known as UTC). The Chatham Islands are 45 minutes ahead of New Zealand standard time.

The Act also:

  • defines the time, whenever it is mentioned in laws or documents (for example contracts)
  • says how the start and end points for daylight saving time affect pay and allowances.

The Time Act 1974

NZ Daylight Time Order

The New Zealand Daylight Time Order 2007 defines when the clocks change each year.

Daylight saving starts each year on the last Sunday in September, and ends on the first Sunday in April.

The New Zealand Daylight Time Order 2007 

Working when daylight saving begins or ends

Early Sunday morning was chosen for the changeover because fewer people are working at that time, and this reduces the impact on workers and employers.

If you are working when daylight saving begins and the clocks go forward, you actually work an hour less, but you are entitled to payment for your normal hours. For example if you were meant to work from midnight to 8am you will only work 7 hours, but you are entitled to be paid for 8 hours of work.

If you are working when daylight saving ends and clocks go back an hour you are entitled to any extra hours that you work. So if you were meant to be working from midnight to 8am but actually work 9 hours you will be paid for 9 hours of work.


Daylight saving was last reviewed in 2007. After extensive consultation the period of daylight saving time was extended by 1 week.

There are no current plans to review daylight saving times. Any changes would need a high level of public support.

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