To practice as a midwife in New Zealand requires registration with the Midwifery Council of New Zealand. Wholly separate from the College, the Midwifery Council is a statutory body and works within the provisions of the Health Practitioners Competency Assurance Act 2003. This Act governs the regulation of all health professionals in New Zealand.
Regulatory functions of the Midwifery Council
The Midwifery Council has a range of regulatory functions such as approval of undergraduate educational programmes and discipline. The Council is responsible for registering midwives, issuing practising certificates and is responsible for the protection of the health and safety of women and babies during the childbirth process by providing mechanisms to ensure that midwives are competent and fit to practise midwifery.
The role of the Council is distinct from the New Zealand College of Midwives, however the two bodies have a relationship which is complementary. The College supports many of the functions of the Council by providing aspects of the Recertification Programme such as Midwifery Standards Review and continuing education for midwives.
The College also produces portfolios for midwives. These provide a structured framework for midwives to maintain documentation about their professional lives. The Council requires that all midwives who hold annual practising certificates maintain a portfolio.