New Zealand, United States Sign Criminal Information-Sharing Agreement
New Zealand and the United States signed an Agreement on enhancing cooperation in preventing and combating crime today.
The Agreement – which was signed by New Zealand Ambassador Mike Moore, and United States Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security Alan Bersin and Deputy Assistant Attorney-General Bruce Swartz – will enhance New Zealand’s security against cross-border criminal activities, particularly terrorism and organised crime.
The Agreement provides for New Zealand and the United States to exchange, in specific cases, fingerprint data on a ‘match/no match’ basis. If there is a match, then additional information may be exchanged in accordance with each country’s domestic laws. Fingerprint queries will be able to be made under the Agreement in relation to offences with a maximum penalty of more than one year of imprisonment or a more serious penalty.
“This Agreement will make it easier for us to prevent individuals with criminal records in the United States from seeking sanctuary in New Zealand,” Ambassador Moore said.
“New Zealand is committed to law enforcement cooperation with the United States in accordance with our national laws and privacy standards – and we are pleased that this Agreement will enable our respective law enforcement and border agencies to share information contained in our criminal and immigration databases,” Ambassador Moore said. The Agreement ensures the protection of privacy by incorporating privacy and data security protections.
Since 2008, the United States has sought to sign information-sharing Agreements on combating and preventing crime with members of its Visa Waiver Program. New Zealand is joining 36 other countries which have concluded such Agreements.
The Agreement will be subject to a Treaty examination process by the New Zealand Parliament, during which it will be open to public scrutiny and debate.