21 Jun 2021

Peace activists say NZ space law vague on military

From Midday Report, 12:42 pm on 21 June 2021

Peace activists picketing outside Rocket Lab's Auckland headquarters are demanding it stop launching surveillance and military satellites from New Zealand. 

They say it's contributing to the militarisation of space, and could damage our nuclear free status. 

A Green MP Teanau Tuiono speaks to Max Towle from the protest.

Meanwhile the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment's Dr Peter Crabtree provided the following statement to RNZ: 
"Any payload permit application that the Minister approves, regardless of the applicant, must comply with the Outer Space and High-altitude Activities Act 2017 (OSHAA) and other relevant New Zealand legislation, including the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act 1987. Each payload permit application is also assessed for consistency with New Zealand's international obligations, including those covering nuclear non-proliferation.  
"The Outer Space and High-altitude Activities Act also requires that that the activity is safe, is consistent with our international obligations, does not contribute to orbital debris and is not contrary to New Zealand's national interest and national security. 
"The following payload types are not be permitted because they are not in New Zealand's national interest or breach New Zealand and International laws: 

  • payloads that contribute to nuclear weapons programmes or capabilities
  • payloads with the intended end use of harming, interfering with, or destroying other spacecraft, or space systems on Earth
  • payloads with the intended end use of supporting or enabling specific defence, security or intelligence operations that are contrary to government policy
  • payloads where the intended end use is likely to cause serious or irreversible harm to the environment"