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Bill to give DOC staff more power

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 29/03/2016

A proposed law change to give Department of Conservation rangers stronger powers to deal with smugglers, poachers and hunters has passed its first hurdle in parliament.

The Wildlife (Powers) Amendment Bill passed its first reading in parliament on Tuesday evening.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says the law changes will make it easier for DOC staff to do their job protecting native wildlife.

When the bill becomes law, DOC enforcement officers will have authority to arrest in cases of serious offending against protected wildlife.

Rangers will also be able to:

* Take action to prevent an offence that is about to occur

* Temporarily stop people suspected of an office so an investigation can be carried out

* Seize a broader range of evidence such as laptops, cameras and mobile phones

* Require identification details from suspected offenders

The bill now goes to the local government and environment select committee for consideration.

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