Birth Registration: Children born in the country attain citizenship if either parent is a citizen or legal permanent resident of the country. Children born outside the country attain citizenship if either parent is a citizen born in the country. The law requires notification of births by both parents as soon as “reasonably practicable,” deemed as generally being within two months of the birth, and most births were registered within this time frame.
Child Abuse: The number of substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect increased from 21,525 to 21,778 for the July 2012 to June 2013 fiscal year compared with the same period in 2011-12. More public awareness campaigns were conducted to bring attention to this issue, which was believed to have led to more reports of concern. A disproportionately high number of reported cases of child abuse (more than 50 percent) involved Maori children.
The government promoted information sharing between the courts and health and child-protection agencies to identify children at risk of abuse. The Office of the Commissioner for Children played a key role in monitoring violence and abuse against children.
Forced and Early Marriage: The legal minimum age for marriage is 20 for both men and women, except that persons ages 16-19 may marry with parental permission. Marriages involving persons under age 18 were rare.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law makes it an offense punishable by seven years’ imprisonment to assist a person under age 18 in providing commercial sexual services; to receive earnings from commercial sexual services provided by a person younger than 18; or to contract for commercial sexual services from, or be a client of, a person under 18. The law also makes it an offense to deal in individuals younger than 18 for sexual exploitation or engagement in enforced labor. The law provides that any person who has a sexual connection with a person younger than age16 is liable to imprisonment for up to 10 years.
The penalty for a person who enters into an arrangement or takes an action involving a person under 18 for the purposes of sexual exploitation or enforced labor is 14 years’ imprisonment. Citizens who commit child sex offenses overseas may be prosecuted in the courts.
Commercial sexual exploitation of children remained a concern. No recent data was available on its prevalence, however. The government, in concert with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), operated programs to reintegrate children out of prostitution through vocational training and educational opportunities.
The law prohibits child pornography and provides for a NZ$10,000 ($8,260) fine of an individual, and NZ$30,000 ($24,790) of a corporate body, if a person makes, imports, supplies, distributes, possesses for supply, displays, or exhibits an objectionable publication. The law also provides a penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment or a NZ$200,000 ($165,290) fine of a corporate body if a person commits such an act knowing that the publication is objectionable. Possession of objectionable material is also an offense punishable by a NZ$2,000 ($1,650) fine for an individual and NZ$5,000 ($4,130) for a corporate body. Knowingly possessing objectionable material is punishable by five years’ imprisonment or a NZ$50,000 ($41,300) fine for an individual or a NZ$100,000 ($82,600) fine for a corporate body. For sentencing purposes, it is an aggravating factor if the publication promotes or supports exploitation of youth for sexual purposes, deals with sexual conduct with or by children or young persons, or exploits nudity of children or young persons.
The Department of Internal Affairs Censorship Compliance Unit actively policed images of child sex abuse on the internet and prosecuted offenders.
International Child Abductions: The country is a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. For country-specific information see http://travel.state.gov/abduction/country/country_5884.html.