New space payload principles protect the national interest

Cabinet has approved a new set of principles to strengthen the New Zealand’s Space Agency regulatory function and ensure decisions about payload permits are made in the national interest, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today.

“Our existing regulatory framework encourages the growth of a safe, responsible and sustainable space industry that creates economic opportunities through space-related research and development, and launch activities.

“Four policy principles have been approved as an enhanced approach to payload permit assessments under the Outer Space and High-altitude Activities Act (OSHAA). They will guide my decisions about payload permit applications and my assessment of national interest.

“Our understanding of space activities and how the requirements of the OSHAA apply has matured since the Act was implemented and these principles reflect that,” Phil Twyford said.

The principles include sustainability, safety, responsibility and alignment with New Zealand’s values, policies, interests and laws.

In response to these principles, Cabinet has also agreed the following launch activities will not be allowed because they are not in New Zealand’s national interest or breach New Zealand and International laws:

  • payloads that contribute to nuclear weapons programmes or capabilities,
  • payloads with the intended end use of harming, interfering with, or destroying other spacecraft, or space systems on Earth,
  • payloads with the intended end use of supporting or enabling specific defence, security or intelligence operations that are contrary to government policy,
  • and payloads where the intended end use is likely to cause serious or irreversible harm to the environment.

“All previously approved payloads are consistent with these principles and there will be no significant change in approach to payload assessment.

“These principles enhance our regulatory regime and support the development of an internationally credible, competitive and well connected New Zealand-based space economy that can make a difference in our everyday lives,” Phil Twyford said.