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Govt wants public say on space bill

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 26/10/2016

New Zealand is preparing for lift-off with submissions opening on the nation's entry into the space and rocket industry.

Parliament passed the first reading of its Outer Space and High-altitude Acitivites Bill this month, seeking to develop a space industry in New Zealand.

The foreign affairs, defence and trade select committee is now seeking the public's thoughts on the legislation.

The bill seeks to introduce a licensing regime for space launches, introduce new penalties for launching objects into space without permission, and other regulatory rules.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce, who is in charge of the bill, says it's the passport for New Zealand to be part of the global multi-billion dollar industry.

US company Rocket Lab, which has a New Zealand subsidiary, is expected to start launching from its Mahia Peninsula site later this year.

"Rocket Lab is capitalising on some of New Zealand's advantages as an attractive location for space launches - we have clear skies, access to good launch angles, a skilled workforce and an innovation-friendly business environment," Mr Joyce said after the bill passed.

Submissions on the bill close on December 1.

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