4 May 2012

Minister wants tougher penalties for animal smugglers

3:19 pm on 4 May 2012

The Conservation Minister wants to see tougher penalties for those caught smuggling endangered species.

A German tourist, Andreas Hahn, was sentenced on Friday to four months jail after taking four endangered jewelled geckos from Banks Peninsula.

Minister Kate Wilkinson says the current maximum penalties under the Wildlife Act for taking protected wildlife are a fine of $100,000 or six months in prison.

She wants to see the fine doubled to $200,000 and the prison term raised to three years.

The minister says she would also like to see convicted smugglers banned from New Zealand for 10 years.