19 Oct 2010

Gaps in law allow illegal arms trade - Oxfam

10:23 pm on 19 October 2010

A report by charity group Oxfam says illegal arms dealers are able to operate in New Zealand and the Pacific because of gaps in the law.

The report is aimed at highlighting the need for a global Arms Trade Treaty, and examines the case of the Auckland shell company, SP Trading, which was used to lease a ship carrying an illegal shipment of arms from North Korea to Iran.

The report says so far only one person in New Zealand has been held accountable.

Lu Zhang, listed as SP trading's director, last month faced multiple charges of making false statements in company registration forms.

Oxfam's report says the New Zealand system will be open to abuse until commercial regulations are tightened.

Oxfam New Zealand's arms control co-ordinator Luke Roughton says the charity is not asserting New Zealand is a big player in the arms trade, but is trying to illustrate that legislative gaps in any country can contribute to the global arms trade.