Offences against the person

Key statutes

  • Crimes Act 1961
  • Crimes of Torture Act 1989
  • Harassment Act 1997
  • Maritime Crimes Act 1999
  • Summary Offences Act 1981
  • Terrorism Suppression Act 2002
  • Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Act 2019

Key secondary legislation

  • Crimes (Interception Warrants) Regulations 2003

Information/links to recent or currently underway reviews

Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 (TSA) - several proposed changes are in the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill (the Bill) that was introduced in 2021.

The proposed changes include:

  • making amendments to clarify the definition of a 'terrorist act'
  • create a new offence to criminalise planning or preparation for a terrorist act
  • create a new offence to more clearly criminalise terrorist weapons and combat training
  • create a new offence for international travel to carry out terrorist activities
  • expand the criminal offence of financing terrorism to include broader forms of material support
  • extend the eligibility for a control order to include individuals who have completed a prison sentence for a terrorism-related offence if they continue to present a real risk of engaging in terrorism-related activities.

Harassment Act 1997 - The Act was looked at in 2012 by the Law Commission as part of its investigation into the adequacy of current sanctions and remedies as part of its work on harmful digital communications. Amendments to the Act were made via the Harmful Digital Communications Act.

Crimes of Torture Act 1989 (CTA) is the Act by which NZ subsequently implemented the optional United Nation's Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) to prevent torture and other ill-treatment. NZ’s compliance with OPCAT is monitored by way of regular visits.

Maritime Crimes Act 1999 - amended in 2017 by the Maritime Crimes Amendment Act 2017, including clarification of enforcement officers’ powers to board and search ships. The Act implements obligations under two maritime counter-terrorism treaties to ensure the maritime security framework can respond to contemporary transnational terrorist threats.

Crimes Act 1961 - amended by the Crimes Act Amendment Act 2019 that:

  • repealed three provisions in the Crimes Act (including blasphemous libel and the ‘death within a year and a day rule’)
  • increased the penalty for theft of animals from agricultural land
  • protected spouses and civil union partners in cases where they would otherwise be an accessory after-the-fact to an offence

 and by the Crimes (Definition of Female Genital Mutilation) Amendment Act 2020 that amended the definition of female genital mutilation.

Summary Offences Act 1961 - last amended by the Family Violence Act 2018 that created an offence of associating with violent offenders in breach of an order under the FVA.