Brokering weapons and dual-use items for military use
Any brokering activity requires registration with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and a permit for each brokering activity.
Under the Brokering (Weapons and Related Items) Controls Act 2018 (external link), any brokering activity that is carried out of weapons and dual-use items for military use requires those wishing to engage in brokering to register with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and to obtain a permit for each brokering activity.
The law applies to:
- New Zealand citizens, ordinary residents and persons present or entities incorporated or registered in New Zealand
- New Zealanders and New Zealand-based entities operating offshore
Persons in New Zealand or New Zealanders and New Zealand entities operating offshore wanting to engage in brokering activity need to be registered as a broker with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade and have a permit for each brokering activity.
Registration of brokers and applications for permits for brokering activity began as of 1 February 2019.
Brokering is arranging, facilitating, or negotiating a transaction that involves the international transfer of strategic goods - weapons or dual-use items for military use - from a place outside New Zealand to another place outside New Zealand.
Brokering includes acting as an agent or as an intermediary for person/s involved in the transaction. Brokering also includes acquiring and storing weapons or dual-use items in a place outside New Zealand for the purpose of transferring the weapons or related items to any person outside New Zealand.
Brokering does not include the provision of any service that is merely ancillary to a brokering activity, for example providing administrative services, customs broking, or financial services.
Brokering controls enable New Zealand to play its part in the international framework to prevent and deter weapons and dual-use items for military use being transferred to illegitimate users or undesirable destinations.
New Zealand is a member of the four international export control regimes along with the Arms Trade Treaty. These form the basis of our own brokering and export control regime:
- Wassenaar Arrangement (external link), which controls conventional weapons and dual-use goods and technologies
- Missile Technology Control Regime (external link), which controls missile-related goods and technologies
- Australia Group (external link), which controls chemical and biological weapons-related materials
- Nuclear Suppliers Group (external link), which controls nuclear material, equipment and technology
- Arms Trade Treaty (external link), which controls certain conventional weapons and their associated ammunition/munitions
Brokering controls support New Zealand’s commitments to these regimes. This recognises our strong support for disarmament, arms control and counterproliferation.
Individuals and/or companies who unlawfully attempt to broker weapons and dual-use items for military use may be fined or imprisoned under the Brokering (Weapons and Related Items) Controls Act 2018 (external link).
For an individual convicted of an offence under the Act, the penalties can be a fine of up to $100,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 5 years.
For a company, penalties can be a fine of up to $1 million.
Additionally, if a court is satisfied that the offence occurred in the course of producing a commercial gain, and if the value of that commercial gain can be readily ascertained, the penalty can be three times the value of that commercial gain.
Find more detail on penalties in sections 12, 14 and 15, 25 and 39 of the Brokering (Weapons and Related Items) Controls Act 2018 (external link).
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade maintains a publicly available register of Brokers. This Register [PDF, 101 KB]shows all individuals who are currently registered to conduct brokering under the Brokering (Weapons and Related Items) Controls Act 2018. (external link)
Before applying for a permit to broker the transfer of strategic goods you should first ensure that the country you are intending to export to is not subject to UN sanctions.
New Zealanders must fully comply with the regulations that implement UN sanctions. A breach of the sanctions regulations is a criminal offence. Given the wide scope of the regulations, and the penalties for non-compliance, it is essential that anyone contemplating doing business with sanctioned countries obtains independent legal advice first.
Information about how New Zealand implements UN sanctions and the listing of countries subject to sanctions can be found here.
The export from and import into New Zealand of certain controlled chemicals, and the export from New Zealand of strategic goods - weapons or dual-use items which have military or civil uses - is prohibited under the Customs and Excise Act 1996, unless a permit has been obtained from the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Information about the New Zealand export controls regime and how to import and export can be found here.