Technical three-year review of OSHAA
The scheduled three year review of the Outer Space and High-altitude Activities Act 2017 (OSHAA) is now complete. This technical and operational review assessed the performance of the Act against its objectives, and considered how it might be improved operationally.
Report on the operation and effectiveness of the OSHAA
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment led the review, and Minister Nash has agreed to the Report's recommendations.
The Report is presented in four parts:
- An introduction: which provides the rationale for regulating space activities from New Zealand, key features of the existing regulatory regime, and the approach to the statutory review.
- Key findings: Overall, the report concludes that the regulatory regime has a good track record to date and is well regarded by those entities that engage with it. There have been no material safety or security incidents and the licencing and permitting processes under the Act have operated efficiently.
- Substantive matters: Including identifying some areas where legislative change may be desirable to take account of technological developments since the legislation was enacted – including developments relating to high-altitude vehicles – or in light of experience with the operation of the Act. Each suggested change within this section is separated into status quo, issue, analysis and recommendation.
- Other issues: A number of more minor issues have also been identified through the consultation process and included in the Report.
Consultation on the Review
Consultation on the Review occurred from mid-August to the end of September 2021. The MBIE Review team identified and targeted the following entities that were directly affected by the Act, but an open invitation was also placed on the MBIE website for any others to provide their direct interest:
- Agencies involved in administering the licensing and permitting processes – over a dozen government agencies were included as part of this group.
- International regulatory agencies – including from Australia, Japan, Europe and the United States.
- Industry stakeholders who have applied, or will apply, for licences and permits – Regulated parties (past, present and prospective) comprised the largest consulted group - many existing permit holders and some prospective entrants.
- Other engaged stakeholders (eg universities and sector providers).
Submitters to the Space Policy Review public consultation proposed changes to the Outer Space and High-altitude Activities Act 2017 (“the Act”); the majority of these related to payload permitting processes, environmental monitoring, engagement with Māori, and updating the Act to reflect broader disarmament interests.
Feedback on changes to the Act will be considered alongside other proposed regulatory or legislative amendments. Further amendments may arise from workstreams relating to the statutory review of the Act and policy workstreams from the Space Policy Review.
Payloads to continue to be considered on a case-by-case basis.
In April 2023, Cabinet agreed that there would be no blanket ban on permitting payloads with national security applications under the Outer Space and High-altitude Activities Act 2017. A ban on such payloads would preclude considering New Zealand’s interests (e.g. our defence and security, international relations, economic and other interests) at the time of assessing permit applications. All payloads will continue to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.