Chapter 6
Extradition offence


6.1At the heart of any extradition is the offence that the person sought has allegedly committed in the requesting country or the offence for which they have already been convicted. But the existence of a foreign offence alone is not sufficient. There are additional requirements. For instance, for an incoming extradition request, the offence:147

(a) must be sufficiently serious (the seriousness threshold) and there must be a similar or comparable offence in New Zealand (dual criminality); or

(b) the offence must be listed as an extradition offence in a treaty.

6.2Our draft Bill maintains these basic requirements but seeks to express them more clearly. We also propose one significant departure from the current Extradition Act 1999 and that relates to the seriousness threshold (as indicated by the maximum penalty), which we consider should be raised to two years for all countries except Australia.

6.3In this chapter, we explain the policy behind the “extradition offence” test in the new Bill and outline how we envisage this test will work in practice.

147Extradition Act 1999, ss 4 and 11(1), which allows a treaty to override the definition of “extradition offence” in the Act, in the event of an inconsistency. See Government of the United States of America v Cullinane [2003] 2 NZLR 1 (CA) at [55].