3 May 2010

Australian law on SIM card purchases envied

12:07 pm on 3 May 2010

Police say they would welcome a law change which mirrors an Australian law about the purchase of cellphone SIM cards.

At present in New Zealand, anyone can buy a $5 SIM card for their pre-paid mobile, effectively giving them annonymity and a phone number to text or call someone.

In Australia, the law requires the person's name and address to be recorded before a SIM card is activated - with documentation to support it.

The Police Organised Crime Unit says the majority of its time is spent chasing people behind anonymous pre-paid phone numbers.

Dectective Inspector Paul Berry says criminals know they can buy new phones and numbers relatively cheaply.

He says the Australian model is a pretty good one to work from.

However, the New Zealand government says it isn't looking at a law change.

A spokesperson for Telecommunications Minister Steven Joyce says the issue is yet to be formally raised with the Government by the police or a telecommunication company.