Sunday, November 28, 2021

Report into NZ’s export controls system released

Foreign Affairs Minister, Nanaia Mahuta today welcomed the findings of an independent review into Aotearoa New Zealand’s export controls system, which regulates the export of goods to foreign militaries, police forces or paramilitaries.

Produced by David Smol, a former Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the report found that while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) has managed the export of these goods in line with legislative requirements, the design and implementation of the system falls short of contemporary best practice in several respects.

“The report concludes that while Aotearoa New Zealand’s export controls regime has been run in accordance with the legislation, it is now not fit – or resourced – for what is likely to be an increasingly challenging future,” said Minister Mahuta.

“Aotearoa New Zealand is proud of our adherence to international human rights standards and it’s important that this counter proliferation remains fit for purpose and continues to play a role in preventing human rights abuses.”

She said the independent review has allowed for a range of recommendations that will enable the system to be modernised to ensure it is consistent with best practice.

These recommendations include:

  • reviewing and refreshing the criteria for assessment;
  • investing in more structured and comprehensive systems and processes;
  • strengthening the decision-making framework;
  • strengthening record-keeping and evidencing of critical steps;
  • enhancing the transparency and public confidence in the regime;
  • extending proactive outreach and education;
  • conducting regular independent reviews.

“I agree with the recommendations and have made my expectations clear that MFAT will implement these. I look forward to an improved export controls system as soon as possible. I would also expect further advice from officials, early next year, on recommendations relating to legislative reform,” the Minister said.

The review is now available on the MFAT website.

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