Motorists will pay $65 less for car registration fees as part of a raft of changes which come into effect today.

July 1 is the implementation date for several Government policies, including ACC motor vehicle levy changes, new Pharmac funding and the removal of restrictions to using KiwiSaver funds to buy a home.

Car registration costs will fall from around $195 to $130, the second consecutive annual decrease.

The changes applied to drivers of light vehicles - cars, vans, utes and SUVs - and would save New Zealanders about $218 million in total.


New melanoma and Hepatitis C drugs will become available as a result of a funding boost to bulk-buying agency Pharmac.

Budget 2016 allocated a further $124 million over four years to the agency, which is funding melanoma drug Opdivo and two new drugs for people with Hepatitis C.

The maximum paid parental leave rates will rise from $516 to $527 before tax today - in line with the rise in the average weekly wage. It comes after paid leave entitlements were raised from 14 weeks to 18 weeks on April 1. A bid by Labour to extend paid parental leave further, to 26 weeks, was vetoed by Finance Minister Bill English on Tuesday, despite having majority support in Parliament.

As of today, income limits for KiwiSaver are being removed for "second chance" homebuyers.

Until now, only first-home buyers and people who have previously bought property but have low assets and earnings have been allowed to access their KiwiSaver to buy a house.

In announcing the policy change in April, the Government said it would help middle-aged people who have had a relationship break-up or a business failure to get back into the housing market.

July 1 is also the implementation date for the first part of the Government's mandatory requirements for rental properties.

Housing Minister Nick Smith said yesterday that they were the biggest changes to tenancy laws in 30 years and would affect 450,000 homes.

Landlords must have installed a smoke alarm in their properties by today. Rentals with no insulation will have to upgrade to 2005 standards by 2019.

Labour's housing spokesman, Phil Twyford, said yesterday that the changes were "a small step in the right direction". But they should go further, he said, by introducing minimum standards for heating and ventilation.

These requirements are included in a Labour bill being considered by Parliament. If passed into law, the bill would also require landlords to insulate to higher standards within a shorter timeframe.

National's changes are expected to lift rents by $3.20 a week, while Labour's changes would lift rents by around $6 a week.