11 Sep 2012

Harsher penalties for wildlife smugglers

7:26 pm on 11 September 2012

The Cabinet has agreed to introduce harsher penalties for those caught smuggling native wildlife out of New Zealand.

New legislation will increase the maximum penalty for smuggling the likes of tuatara, geckos and parrots from six months' imprisonment or a $100,000 fine, to up to five years in jail and a $300,000 fine.

The Department of Conservation has successfully brought four prosecutions involving seven foreign nationals and 68 lizards since 2010.

The new law will also give DoC rangers limited powers of arrest so that the smugglers can't escape before police arrive.