Law, College of


Date of this Version



An article in Proceedings of the 60th (2017) Colloquium on the Law of Outer Space, vol. 60 (2017), pp. 453–467.


Copyright © 2017 Frans G. von der Dunk. Published by the International Institute of Space Law and Eleven International Publishing. Used by permission.


The number of countries with more or less comprehensive national space legislation that addresses in particular the authorization and supervision of private space activities continues to grow, and several more countries are currently in the process of adding themselves to that list. One of the more recent ones among them is New Zealand, which has an extensive “Outer Space and High-Altitude Activities Act” that is to enter into force in December 2017.

The paper briefly recaps the general underlying international obligations, in particular as following from Articles VI, VII, and VIII of the Outer Space Treaty, the Liability Convention, and the Registration Convention, New Zealand being a party to the first two but not the third. It then proceeds to analyze the Bill from the above perspective. It will compare the legislation in statu nascendi as needed or helpful with other national space laws already pronounced on those issues, including that of its neighbor Australia, which has had a national space law in place since 1998, and in doing so will take New Zealand’s policies in the field into consideration. This will finally allow for some conclusions as to the contribution to the further development of (international and national) space law represented by these legislative efforts on the part of New Zealand.