Foreword from the Minister for Economic and Regional Development

This is an opportunity for you to have your say on the government’s approach to space activities, engagements with international partners and the use of space technologies and data.

A person on a beach silhouetted against a hillside with the milky way visible in the night skyNew Zealand’s association with space goes back centuries: the first Māori explorers navigated by the stars to Aotearoa New Zealand, and centuries later they were followed by European navigators whose instruments also looked to the stars. Today, our modern navigation systems are still guided from space.

New Zealand is home to space success stories, such as Bill Pickering, who went through Wellington College and Canterbury University before becoming director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Peter Beck, the founder of Rocket Lab, launching satellites from the world’s first fully private launch facility on Mahia Peninsula.

Our journey to becoming a space faring country has rapidly accelerated, following Rocket Lab’s decision to launch rockets from New Zealand. This has been the catalyst for establishing the New Zealand Space Agency, within the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, and creating a regulatory system through the Outer Space and High-altitude Activities Act 2017.

Global space industry revenues are now more than NZ$600 billion per annum. New Zealand is part of this growth. In 2018/19, our space sector contributed $1.69 billion to our national economy and supported 12,000 jobs.[1]

Space is also becoming more crowded and complex, and making sure it is used sustainably is a global challenge. As a small nation, we have an interest in having a strong international rules-based system that ensures space is used responsibly and peacefully. The data we get from space can help us address a range of critical challenges – for New Zealand and the world – and provides an opportunity to model sustainable practices in new ways.

As the Minister responsible for all payloads launched from New Zealand, I am acutely aware that we must ensure our system, and the principles and policies that we adhere to, remain consistent with the expectations of New Zealanders.

Your feedback on this consultation will help us develop a National Space Policy that reflects the values and interests of New Zealand in space, and will guide our future policies, regulations, and international engagements. Thank you.

Hon Stuart Nash

Minister for Economic and Regional Development

[1] Deloitte. (2019). New Zealand space sector: its value, scope and structure [PDF, 1.9 MB] — Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.