Independent report into export controls system released


The findings of an independent review commissioned by MFAT into the management of its export controls system have been released today.

The export controls system oversees the export of military and dual-use goods and goods to foreign militaries, police forces or paramilitaries by Aotearoa New Zealand-based companies, and is managed by MFAT. 

The review shows that while MFAT has managed the system in line with legislative requirements, the system needs more investment and to be modernised to ensure it is consistent with best practice.

The review acknowledges that administering a system of export controls is inherently difficult and is becoming more so with the changing international situation and the pace of technological developments.

The report, produced by David Smol, a former Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, makes a range of recommendations that will enable the system to meet current and emerging challenges and to bring it into line with contemporary best practice.

These recommendations include:

  • Reviewing and refreshing the criteria for assessment
  • Providing for clearer interpretation of the Criteria for Assessment by officials and exporters
  • Investing in more structured and comprehensive systems and processes
  • Strengthening the decision-making framework
  • Strengthening record-keeping and evidencing of critical steps
  • Enhancing transparency and public confidence in the system
  • Extending proactive outreach and education
  • Conducting regular independent reviews

MFAT has accepted all the recommendations and expects that the majority of these will be implemented by the first quarter of 2022. Other steps to modernise the system will be taken over the longer term, including through possible legislative reform.

The review is now available on the export controls section of the MFAT website.


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