New arms control law comes into effect

File photo.

Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Winston Peters today welcomed new laws that make it harder for arms and military equipment to fall into the wrong hands.

“As well as tightening up where arms and military equipment end up, we also want to avoid having illicit brokers shift their activities to New Zealand."

The Brokering (Weapons and Related Items) Controls Act 2018, which comes into partial force today, introduces comprehensive controls that regulate the brokering of arms and military equipment by New Zealanders and New Zealand-based entities.

“Too many communities in our region and around the world have felt the devastating impacts of weapons – in terms of lives lost, crime and conflict, and the crippling effect on development and prosperity,” says Winston.

Brokering involves the transfer of arms from one foreign country to another. This new brokering regime complements controls for the import, export or internal movement of these items already in place under existing legislation.

Any New Zealander or New Zealand entity, including those operating offshore, wishing to engage in brokering activity will need to be registered as a broker with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade and have a permit for each brokering activity, by 1 June.

Failure to comply with the new laws include penalties of a term of imprisonment of up to 5 years and/or a fine of up to $100,000 for an individual or $1 million for an organisation.

Registration of brokers and applications for permits for brokering activity will begin from 1 February. Information and application forms are available on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website: https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/trade/brokering-weapons-and-dual-use-items-for-military-use

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