New Zealand's draft principles and objectives for negotiating a new UN convention on cybercrime

Closed 6 Oct 2021

Opened 8 Sep 2021

Feedback updated 11 Nov 2021

We asked

We asked you to provide you views on a set of draft principles and objectives that will guide New Zealand’s engagement in a new United Nations process to negotiate an international cybercrime treaty.

Cybercrime is a growing issue that causes widespread damage and disruption, and New Zealand’s geographic remoteness does not exclude us from the impact. By taking part in this survey you have let us know what issues you think are important for New Zealand to consider, promote and advocate for in the negotiations.   

You said

There was resounding support for New Zealand’s participation in the UN Ad Hoc Committee negotiations, with many of you agreeing that international cooperation has become critical to combatting cybercrime. Some of you expressed doubt over how necessary a new international treaty is for New Zealand, especially considering the work currently underway to accede the Council of Europe's Budapest Convention. However, there was consensus that, if the process is going ahead, New Zealand should have a seat at the table. Furthermore, you agreed with our stance that the new treaty should complement and build upon international instruments like the Budapest Convention, rather than conflict with them.

Points referencing the protection of Māori and indigenous rights and interests garnered overwhelming support, with an appreciation for the strong wording around the value placed on our commitments to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Many of you advocated for more explicit language regarding New Zealand’s commitment to ensuring international human rights law is upheld in the negotiating process and remains front of mind in the implementation phase of any eventual treaty.

Finally, the importance of keeping the negotiation process open and inclusive for a broad range of stakeholders resonated with many of you. We understand that states have a limited influence in ICT matters. The expertise and insight of industry and civil society will be crucial for the development of a robust, practical, and effective international instrument against cybercrime.      

We did

Using your comments, we were able to update our draft principles and objectives and formulate a national submission which was lodged with the Ad Hoc Committee secretariat at the UN on 29 October. The national submission sets out New Zealand’s aspirations for the treaty and the values that will be front of mind for New Zealand as the negotiations progress. You can view New Zealand’s national submission as well as submissions from other member states on the Ad Hoc Committee website.

We have also used your thoughts to develop a national approach which will be taken to Cabinet in December. Once approved, New Zealand will then have an official negotiating mandate from Cabinet and can begin preparing for the first negotiating session taking place in New York from 17 January 2022.

The depth and range of the responses we received were invaluable to us in this process. We would like to thank everyone who took the time to provide their input. As we have said, this is just the beginning of a long-term process and we are committed to keeping an open dialogue with all interested stakeholders throughout. Watch this space for more opportunities to have your say and keep up to date with how the negotiations are tracking.

A call for applications for interested industry and civil society groups to participate in the negotiations has been advertised on the Ad Hoc Committee website. If your organisation is interested in participating and has any questions about what to expect, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Applications close on 1 December.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Ministry of Justice are inviting public feedback on New Zealand’s draft principles and objectives for negotiating a new UN convention on cybercrime.

Negotiations have been launched in the UN

On 27 December 2019, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 74/247 establishing an Ad Hoc Committee to Elaborate a Comprehensive International Convention on Countering the Use of Information and Communications Technologies for Criminal Purposes.

This Resolution launched negotiations of a new international convention on cybercrime. The convention will further enable international cooperation in the ongoing and increasingly complex fight against cybercrime. Beyond that, the shape and potential scope of the convention are unclear at this stage.

New Zealand will be participating in the negotiations

The starting point for New Zealand’s participation in these negotiations are the vision and values set out in our existing Cyber Security Strategy Vision: that New Zealanders are secure online, that human rights are protected for all, that opportunities for economic growth are enhanced, and that our national security is protected.

This is underpinned by our broader vision for cyberspace:

  • a cyberspace that is safe, secure, stable, multi-stakeholder-governed, free, open and interoperable;
  • a well-functioning rules-based order in cyberspace that protects and promotes human rights including the right to freedom of expression and the right not to be subjected to arbitrary and unlawful interference with privacy; and
  • respect for the rule of law online and offline.

We know that New Zealanders have a strong interest in a safe, secure, free and open internet.

As part of the negotiating process, there may be opportunities for New Zealand to contribute to improvements in global responses to combatting crime online and cooperation to collect and share evidence of criminal offending.

We would like to invite your thoughts on our proposed approach

In order to inform New Zealand’s initial approach to the negotiations, we are welcoming your thoughts now on our draft high-level principles and objectives for engagement in the process, and/or particular areas of interest for you on this topic.

Input will be collected and analysed and will influence the negotiating mandate that officials have to obtain to participate in the first session, commencing on 17 January 2022.

At the bottom of this page you will find links to:

  • background information on the UN cybercrime treaty negotiation process
  • our proposed principles and objectives

Submissions will be open until Wednesday 6 October.

Your submission will become official information

Note that any submission you make becomes official information. People can ask for copies of submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says information shall be made available if requested unless there is a good reason for withholding it. Reasons to withhold official information are given in sections 6 and 9 of the OIA. If you think there is a reason why anything in your submission should not be made public, please let us know on your submission form. Reasons for this might include that it is commercially sensitive. If you are an individual, as opposed to an organisation, the Department will consider removing your personal details from the submission before disclosing it. Any decision to withhold information can be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may find that a decision to withhold official information is wrong.