We use some specific terms in this section of the MFAT website. If you find a term you don’t understand, or would like more clarity on, look for the definition below. 

You may also find the glossary of formal definitions used throughout the strategic goods list useful.

Australia Group

International regime which controls chemical and biological weapons-related materials. Read more on the Australia Group website(external link).

Assessment criteria

The Export Control team use six assessment criteria to guide decision-making on applications for export permits. Find out more about the assessment process and how the criteria are applied.

Biological weapon

The New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987 defines a ‘biological weapon’ as: ‘Any agent, toxin, weapon, equipment, or means of delivery referred to in Article 1 of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction of 10 April 1972’.

Catch-all controls

Catch-all controls cover goods that are not on the New Zealand Strategic Goods List but are being exported to a military end-user or have military application.  Find out more about which exports are controlled.

Chemical weapons

The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (the Chemical Weapons Convention) defines “Chemical Weapons” as meaning the following, together or separately:

  1. Toxic chemicals and their precursors, except where intended for purposes not prohibited under this Convention, as long as the types and quantities are consistent with such purposes;
  2. Munitions and devices, specifically designed to cause death or other harm through the toxic properties of those toxic chemicals specified in subparagraph (a), which would be released as a result of the employment of such munitions and devices;
  3. Any equipment specifically designed for use directly in connection with the employment of munitions and devices specified in subparagraph (b).

Controlled goods

The goods controlled by the Export Controls regime include:

- Strategic goods (Equipment, software and technology on the New Zealand Strategic Goods List), and chemicals which have other military uses.

- Goods that are part of exports covered by 'Catch-all controls’

Find out more about which exports are controlled.


The Customs and Excise Act 2018 defines a ‘document’ as including any of the following:

  • any form of writing on material:
  • information recorded, transmitted, or stored digitally or electronically, and any material subsequently derived from that information:
  • any label or mark:
  • any book, map, plan, graph, or drawing:
  • any photograph, film, negative, or device in, on, or from which 1 or more visual images are capable of being stored or reproduced.

Dual-use goods

Equipment, software and technology developed to meet commercial needs but which may be used for the development or production of military equipment of technology are ‘dual-use goods’. These are listed in detail in the New Zealand Strategic Goods List (Part 2- Dual Use List). 


The Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade has issued certain General Consents (exemptions) for the export of strategic goods without the need for a permit from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). These are listed under the General Consents section of the New Zealand Strategic Goods List.

In some cases there is a requirement to notify the MFAT of the details of the export, such as in order to meet the Arms Trade Treaty international reporting requirements for arms exports. Find out more about exemptions here.


Goods are considered exported if they are shipped in any craft or transportation to a point outside of New Zealand e.g. beyond the 12 mile limit of our terrotorial sea. Documents are considered exported if they are transmitted by any means (other than broadcasting) from New Zealand to a point outside New Zealand.


All kinds of movable personal property.  This includes documents that are not otherwise classed as goods.


Goods are considered imported if they arrive in New Zealand in any manner from a point outside New Zealand. Documents are considered imported if they are transmitted by any means (other than broadcasting) to New Zealand from a point outside New Zealand.

Fundamental or basic research

Experimental or theoretical work undertaken principally to acquire new knowledge of the fundamental principles of phenomena or observable facts, not primarily directed towards a specific practical aim or objective.

'Fundamental or basic research' is not subject to export controls.

New Zealand Strategic Goods List

A list of military and dual-use goods and technology, derived from the control lists produced by the four export control regimes New Zealand belongs to as well as a small number of nationally listed items. The New Zealand Strategic Goods List is updated regularly.

Find out more about which exports are controlled, including the latest version of the Strategic Goods List. 

Find out how to self-assess your exports using the Strategic Goods List. 

Nuclear explosive device

Any nuclear weapon or other explosive device capable of releasing nuclear energy, irrespective of the purpose for which it could be used, whether assembled, partly assembled, or unassembled.

Nuclear-related goods

Items related to nuclear materials, facilities and equipment.  For more detail on what nuclear-related goods are controlled refer to the content of the New Zealand Strategic Goods List (Part 2 - Dual Use List, Section 0). 

Nuclear Suppliers Group

International regime which controls nuclear material, equipment and technology. Read more on the Nuclear Suppliers Group website(external link).

Non-Military Lethal Goods

Equipment that is inherently lethal, incapacitating or destructive such as non-military firearms, non-military ammunition and commercial explosives and initiators.


The prevention of an increase or spread of something for example preventing countries possessing nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles.


Any armed force, paramilitary force, police force, or militia, as defined by the Customs and Excise Act 2018.

Military end-user

Any armed force, paramilitary force, police force, or militia who would receive or use an export. 

Military end-use goods

Goods or electronic publications incorporated into weapons, or used in the production, maintenance or testing of weapons, or to materially enable or support operations and activities of a military or internal security nature.

These are listed in detail in the New Zealand Strategic Goods List (Part 1 – Munitions List). 

Military goods

Goods, software or technology that are designed or adapted for military purposes, including their parts and accessories.


Missile Technology Control Regime

International regime that controls missile related goods and technologies. Read more about New Zealand’s support of the Missile Technology Control Regime


The Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade is also referred to as the ‘Secretary’, The Secretary has a number of roles and obligations in relation to export controls under the Customs and Excise Act 2018. 


A collection of one or more “programs” or “microprograms” fixed in any tangible medium of expression.

Strategic goods

Those items listed on the New Zealand Strategic Goods List.


To export goods after importing them from a different location.


Specific information or software necessary for the development, production or use of a product. This information takes the form of ‘technical data’ or ‘technical assistance’.

Technical data

This may be:

  • blueprints
  • plans
  • diagrams
  • models
  • formulae
  • tables
  • engineering designs and specifications
  • manuals and instructions written or recorded on other media or devices such as cds, tape, read-only memories (ROM).

Technical assistance

This may take the form of:

  • instruction
  • skills
  • training working knowledge, and
  • consulting services and may involve the transfer of ‘technical data’.


Cargo being offloaded from one vessel and transferred to a different vessel (in the same port or a different port).


Cargo passing through a port, where it is not offloaded.

Wassenaar Arrangement

International export controls regime which controls conventional and dual-use goods and technology. Read more on the Wassenaar Arrangement website(external link).

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Devices that can cause large scale harm to people and/or property (including nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological weapons) are Weapons of Mass Destruction.



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