Domain range

New law helps secure New Zealand’s maritime domain

Honorable Nanaia Mahuta
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Minita Take Aorere

Legislation that will help prevent serious crime at sea, including trafficking in people, drugs, wildlife and weapons, passed its third reading in Parliament today, Nanaia Mahuta announced.

“Today is an important milestone that allows us to respond to the increasingly dynamic and complex maritime security environment facing Aotearoa New Zealand,” said Nanaia Mahuta.

“Through the passage of this legislation, we will be better equipped to protect our maritime environment against threats such as drug trafficking, wildlife trafficking and human trafficking.

“Our vast maritime domain and the way we secure it is critical to our national security and prosperity, especially given our growing reliance on the sea for trade,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

The Maritime Powers Act gives the Police, New Zealand Defense Force, Customs and Department of Conservation powers to stop, board, search and detain vessels in international waters, including including the exclusive economic zone of New Zealand, where they have reasonable grounds to suspect a serious criminal offense has been committed.

It also allows for the detention and arrest of suspects and the return of a vessel to New Zealand to search for evidence.

“The Maritime Powers Act establishes a comprehensive regime that will enhance our ability to enforce New Zealand criminal law in international waters. It brings a coherence to our national arrangements that was missing before,” said Nanaia Mahuta.

“The powers of the act are consistent with existing powers under New Zealand law, including the Bill of Rights Act and with New Zealand’s rights and obligations under international law.

“I would like to thank everyone who made submissions on the bill and the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade for the changes they recommended to improve and strengthen our maritime environment,” said Nanaia Mahuta.

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