12.33New Zealand has made a number of commitments at an international level as to how it will provide assistance to foreign countries in criminal matters. In Chapter 13, we look at the relationship these international commitments have with MACMA and examine whether the current approach is the best way to give effect to New Zealand’s existing and future international commitments in this area.
12.34Chapters 14 and 15 discuss the gatekeeping role of the Central Authority. Chapter 14 looks broadly at the role of the Central Authority and who is best placed to carry out this function. Chapter 15 discusses the grounds for refusal and considers whether reform is warranted through the amendment of any existing ground or the addition of further grounds.
12.35Chapters 16–18 discuss some of the specific types of assistance available under MACMA and the emerging issues in these areas. These chapters cover search and surveillance, proceeds of crime, information requests, and the interviewing of voluntary witnesses during a criminal investigation.
12.36In Chapter 19, we examine the mutual assistance processes that take place between New Zealand regulatory agencies and their foreign counterparts (inter-agency mutual assistance regimes). Mutual assistance is not limited to, but may include, assistance in criminal matters. These regimes pose a challenge in criminal matters because it is sometimes unclear at what point the inter-agency mutual assistance regime should give way to MACMA. In this chapter, we consider how to manage the overlap that exists between MACMA and inter-agency mutual assistance regimes.
12.37It is currently not clear whether MACMA can be used by defendants. In Chapter 20, we ask whether MACMA should be amended to expressly provide for defence requests and, if so, what that amendment should look like.
12.38Chapter 21 considers some compliance issues that have been raised with us about MACMA. These include the use of new technology in MACMA and whether MACMA ought to include a procedure for urgent requests or a procedure for contributing to the costs of undertaking a request.
12.39While much of the focus of the Act and this issues paper is on incoming requests, Chapter 22 looks at the provisions in MACMA that govern outgoing requests. As mentioned earlier, the ability for New Zealand to make requests is dependent on assistance the foreign country can provide under its own legislation. In this chapter, we look at the value of having provisions relating to outgoing requests. In the second part of the chapter, we consider section 63, which exists to ensure that evidence received by New Zealand will be admissible in criminal proceedings in a New Zealand court. While there is no doubt this is a valuable and necessary provision, concerns have been raised about the ease of securing evidence in accordance with the requirements of this section.
Q44 Does this issues paper set the right balance between the gateway and gatekeeper mechanisms necessary in MACMA?