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Law in 
New Zealand

 For a traveller to known, the law in New Zealand is similar to Australian law. The law courses are about the same except for the part that refers to indigenous people. The biggest difference between the Law of Australia and New Zealand, is that New Zealand has a very simple federal Law, which is the same for the entire country, while Australia has also a federal Law, but it is complemented by states law, which are different from state to state, especially when talking about traffic Laws. Australia follows more or less the USA system, while New Zealand when to the KISS principle.

The Maori people also are allowed to follow the traditions of theirs ancestors since the Waitangi Treat. Each chief or elders of a community can impose theirs customs, traditions, and  village rules to the young in theirs home or village to follow, but anyway, the federal Law prevails to everybody in New Zealand. It is important to remind that New Zealand has the same justice system of most occidental countries in the world, meaning, everybody ifs free and innocent until someone have a proof in court that the person is guilty of committing an offence or crime. Usually is a Police task to become the prosecutor in court.

Offences and Breaking the Law will certainly call a fine or a penalty. Depending on the offence, the person may be invited to attend a Court of Law, were the Judge can declare the person not guilty, or fine the person according to how serious the infringement was. This penalty can be just an order to pay the fine, or the Judge can order a jail term for the infractor. As an example, someone driving a car at 120 Km/h on a 50 km/h street, can be sentenced to a jail term, loss of license, and a huge fine at the same time. On the top of that, the Magistrate can even order the person to pay for all the Court costs. Meaning, one has to Think a thousand times before even think of breaking the law in New Zealand. Just to make it clear how seriously the law is taken, the country has been known as one at the top of the less corrupt country in the world. Bribes in general, tax evasion, fraud, and some others outlaw procedures are not tolerated in New Zealand's judicial system.

The Immigration Department also has the power to send an infractor to court, jail, or expel any person that didn't comply with the rules of the Visa which was given. Tourists working without the appropriated Visa can be fined and deported out of New Zealand. In this case the person deported may have a penalty of a waiting period before be able to apply again for any kind of Visa to enter New Zealand. Another point to pay attention is not to overstay your Visa. Yes, if you didn't notice the expiration date of your Visa and stay longer than that, at the time you decide to leave New Zealand you may be asked to pay a very heavy fine. Do not hesitate to contact the Immigration Department for any Visa matter. The guys there are very friendly and will try to help you to solve your problem under the law, but will not hesitate to give you a penalty if you get out of the rail.

Fines in New Zealand are heavy, but in my point of view could be even higher for certain offences. Speeding in certain roads, in front of schools, in residential areas, drinking and driving, should have a much tough penalties. Also, there are people working for the Council called Council Officers, whom can apply fines such as prohibit parking, dispense cigarette butts on the streets, and many more. There are some offences, which the fine is applied on the spot. If you don't agree to a fine for any reason, you can talk to the issuer about the offence, explaining why you didn't know about it before, and they (Under their) discretion waive the penalty. If you don't pay a fine in the time given, this fine may grow to a point that you are going to have to sell an arm to pay for it.

Most common offence in New Zealand

  • Drink & Drive.

  • Speeding.

  • Not wearing a seat belt inside a vehicle.

  • Drive while talking on the mobile phone.

  • Drive in a way that puts your life or others people's life in risk.

  • Parking in a No Parking zone.

  • Blow the time, or not putting enough coins in a Parking meter.

  • Agreetion or domestic violence.

  • Agressão física e violência doméstica.

  • Drug trafficing and drug use.

  • Trespassing private property.

Note: The page about Law in Australia complements this one.

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