Today we live in a largely borderless world. Goods, information, capital and people flow more easily over borders than ever before. Globalisation has also given new opportunities to criminals. Just as it is important that New Zealand has a modern and efficient legal infrastructure to facilitate the advantages that come with globalisation, so too must it have a modern infrastructure to deal with criminals who seek to take advantage of it.
The Government has referred to the Law Commission a review of the Extradition Act 1999 and the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1992. The Law Commission has arrived at a preliminary conclusion that both these Acts are not fit for purpose in the modern globalised world. They do not provide the efficient and effective infrastructure that New Zealand needs in order to play its part as a good global citizen concerned, as it ought to be, with the detection of crime and the prosecution of offenders. In the case of both the Extradition Act and the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, the Commission’s view is that they should be replaced with new statutes or substantially redrafted, and the Commission now seeks feedback from all New Zealanders on the new arrangements that we think are appropriate.
The Commission is concerned that these statutes not only provide an appropriate means of dealing with international crime, but that they also respect human rights and other concerns that New Zealanders care so deeply about. The statutes play an important gateway function in allowing foreign countries to use New Zealand’s tools to investigate, prosecute and extradite criminals, but must also fulfil an important gatekeeping function in ensuring that such investigations, prosecutions and extraditions accord with New Zealand’s values and respect for human rights. The Commission is particularly interested in whether our proposals find the appropriate balance between, on the one hand, facilitating extradition and international investigations and prosecutions, and on the other hand, protecting the rights of those who might be sought or who are being investigated.
The Commission looks forward to receiving your submissions about this important and critical part of our legal system.
Sir Grant Hammond