The Conservation (Natural Heritage Protection) Act 2013 may have gone unnoticed when it was passed into legislation, but itcan have serious consequences for offenders.
The aim of the Act
In short, it amends six of the main Acts administered by the Department of Conservation to create what is described as effective deterrence against conservation related offending.
The Act amends the Conservation Act, National Parks Act, Reserves Act, Wildlife Act, Wild Animals Control Act and Marine Mammals Protection Act by providing within each for increased penalties for illegal activities.
Increased penalties are aimed at protecting the interests of legitimate tourism operators within Conservation areas and national parks. They are also intended to better deter offending such as stealing and smuggling precious plants and animals.
For offending such as carrying out a commercial activity in a conservation area or national park without a concession, disposing of contaminants into or onto any conservation area or national park, taking plants or protected animals, resisting or obstructing a DOC officer or ranger the penalties are now:
• for offending motivated by commercial gain or reward, imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or a fine up to $300,000.00 or both; with a further fine of up to $20,000.00 each day for continuing offences;
• for offending not motivated by commercial gain or reward, imprisonment for up to two years or a fine not exceeding $100,000.00 or both (for Body Corporate a fine not exceeding $200,000.00); with a further fine of up to $10,000.00 each day for continuing offences.
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