These Regulatory Impact Statements provide an analysis of options to improve the protection provided by the Wildlife Act 1953, in particular through the enforcement powers used to manage offending.

These Regulatory Impact Statements were prepared by the Department of Conservation. They provide an analysis of options to improve the protection provided by the Wildlife Act 1953, in particular through the enforcement powers used to manage offending.

Download the publication

Two Regulatory Impact Statements (RIS) were developed:

The first Regulatory Impact Statement was developed in August 2012, when the Bill (then called the Wildlife (Smuggling Deterrence) Amendment Bill), amended both the enforcement powers and penalties for offences under the Wildlife Act. Therefore this Regulatory Impact Statement addresses both enforcement powers and penalties.

However the Bill did not progress further at that time, and the penalties in the Wildlife Act as well as five other conservation-related Acts were subsequently amended by the Conservation (Natural Heritage Protection) Act 2013.

The second Regulatory Impact Statement was developed in April 2015 when the Bill, now the Wildlife (Powers) Amendment Bill, focused solely on amending the enforcement powers in the Wildlife Act. This Regulatory Impact Statement therefore solely addresses enforcement powers


The Wildlife Act 1953 (the Act) sets the protection status of New Zealand’s wildlife, and provides for its management. It absolutely protects most native birds; all native reptiles, frogs and bats; some specified native land and marine invertebrates; and eight marine fish species – which means that it is illegal to take, hunt, kill, hold, sell or export these species without proper authorisation. However offences regularly occur – people have been convicted of attempting to smuggle geckos and tuatara out of New Zealand and of taking or killing protected birds. Such offending, even at low levels, can significantly affect wildlife already threatened by introduced predators and habitat loss.

The Act has various enforcement powers, but they have not been updated for 60 years and have gaps that can make it difficult to detect and investigate offences and to prosecute offenders where appropriate. The Wildlife (Powers) Amendment Bill seeks to reduce offending against wildlife by updating and enhancing these powers. It provides four new standard enforcement powers and a limited power of arrest, and updates the existing ability of rangers to call for assistance.

The Bill was introduced into Parliament on 2 December 2015.


To find out what is happening on this Bill, see the Wildlife (Powers) Amendment Bill page on the New Zealand Parliament website. Copies of the Bill and other related documents are also available through this page.

You may also contact:

Whare Kaupapa Atawhai / Conservation House Head Office
Phone:   +64 4 471 0726
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   18 Manners Street
Wellington 6011
Postal Address:   PO Box 10420
Wellington 6140
Back to top