Economy Minister Steven Joyce and Secretary of State Murray McCully announced today that an agreement has been reached between the governments of New Zealand and the United States of America on security measures related to the use of U.S. controlled missile technologies in New Zealand. “The development of a New Zealand space industry is another exciting opportunity for our country,” says McCully. “These agreements will ensure that New Zealand is well positioned to be a responsible and trustworthy partner in the global space industry.” “The agreement with the United States will provide a platform to build on the long-standing relationships between many New Zealand and U.S. technology-based companies. It adds an additional dimension to our close and established relationship with the United States while protecting New Zealand`s national interests,” said McCully. One of the first steps in this process was to assess whether New Zealand`s existing national law is suitable for the management of space activities or whether a new law would be needed. When UN international treaties were ratified, New Zealand policy makers and legislators made it clear that New Zealand legislation was not necessary to implement it. Fifty years later, Rocket Lab`s activities illustrate how technological developments have transformed the space industry and made it accessible to a wider group of participants. This necessitated a change of heart on the need for legislation to implement the rights and obligations of space treaties.
It also encouraged New Zealand to think about how to ensure that legislation strikes a balance between risk management and non-holding economic development and innovation. “The TSA provides security measures to protect U.S. controlled missile and satellite technology, while ensuring that New Zealand authorities are always able to carry out their legal missions,” Joyce said. “New Zealand has also reserved the option of preventing a departure to New Zealand that violates New Zealand laws or directives.” The Technology Safeguards Agreement (TSA) is a bilateral agreement between the New Zealand government and the U.S. government to allow the safe use and management of U.S. space launch technology and satellites in New Zealand. In order for Rocket Lab to begin its space launch activities from New Zealand, it had to obtain approval from the U.S. government to transfer sensitive technology to New Zealand. The United States would only authorize the transfer of this technology if New Zealand entered into a contractual technology protection agreement with the U.S.
government. The TSA imposes certain obligations on New Zealand with respect to the secure transfer, use and management of space launch technologies in the United States. Today, many more players can access the space. Technological advances have enabled the production of smaller, cheaper and more efficient satellites. Standardization and production of small satellites have also reduced barriers to entry and encouraged innovation in space services and applications. The development of a New Zealand space industry would enable New Zealand to participate directly in this new economy and ensure that all New Zealanders could benefit from the opportunities offered by the use of space and New Zealand`s participation in the global space economy.