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Have Your Say On The Maritime Powers Bill 2021

The Maritime Powers Bill aims to give New Zealand law enforcement agencies powers to respond to serious criminal offending in international waters. The powers to enforce New Zealand’s criminal law will address a range of serious criminal offending including: 

  • offences that take place on board a New Zealand-flagged vessel in international waters 
  • offences that take place on board a foreign-flagged vessel or stateless vessel in international waters for which New Zealand has extraterritorial jurisdiction 
  • situations where an alleged offender or evidence of criminal offending is located on a New Zealand, foreign, or stateless vessel in international waters. 

The bill targets serious criminal offending at sea, particularly focusing on transnational organised crime. This is reflected by the bill only allowing powers to be used in cases when the penalty for offending is imprisonment for life or two or more years’ imprisonment. It is important to note that fisheries enforcement in New Zealand waters and on the high seas will remain subject to the Fisheries Act 1996 and will not be covered by this bill. 

The bill also aims to uphold New Zealand’s rights and obligations regarding international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and international human rights obligations. 

Tell the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee what you think Make a submission on the bill by midnight on 15 August 2021. For more details about the bill:

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