Sexual exploitation of children will be punished more severely after a new law passed a final parliamentary hurdle.
Those found to have supplied, distributed or made an “objectionable material” face a maximum 14 years in prison, up from 10.
The penalty for possession, import and export also increases, from five years to 10.
And those convicted of a child exploitation material offence will almost certainly go to jail, under the Objectionable Publications and Indecency Legislation Bill.
The bill also targets paedophiles who attempt to “groom” under-16s online by establishing a new offence of “indecent communication with a young person”.
It will apply to texts, verbal and any other communications.
And it closes a legal loophole, ensuring that Kiwis who assist foreigners in sexual exploitation of children overseas can be prosecuted here.
Justice Minister Amy Adams said the new law, which was supported by all parties, sent “a clear message that activities which sexually exploit children are abhorrent and will not be tolerated”.
It would work to protect children who were often re-victimised by the knowledge that images of their abuse could be shared over the internet for years to come, she said.
Other changes include
– Accident compensation covers mental injury caused by an existing sexual grooming offence, and the new offence of indecent communication with a young person
– Clarification that possession of objectionable electronic material includes intentionally viewing material without consciously downloading or saving it
It was the final legislation debated by the House on Thursday before a three-week recess.
Source: Stuff News dated 2 April 2015