Serious Fraud Office Act 1990

The Serious Fraud Office operates under the Serious Fraud Office Act 1990, the full text of which can be found on the New Zealand Legislation website.

Solicitor General Guidelines

The Solicitor General Prosecution Guidelines and the Crown Law Office Media Protocol for Prosecutors can be found on this page.

Bribery and Corruption Offences

New Zealand's criminal offences relating to bribery and corruption are contained in:

The Crimes Act 1961

Part 6 of the Crimes Act 1961 contains:

  • criminal bribery offences in relation to the corruption of the Judiciary, Ministers of the Crown, Members of Parliament, law enforcement officers, public officials and the corrupt use of official information 
  • penalties ranging from terms of imprisonment not exceeding seven years to terms of imprisonment not exceeding 14 years.

The Secret Commissions Act 1910

The Secret Commissions Act 1910 contains:

  • bribery and corruption-style offences relevant to the private sector
  • person who commits an offence against this Act is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years.


Under the Act the key corruption offence criminalises the bribing of an agent to act in a certain way in respect of their principal's affairs or business. The Act also contains other corruption-style offences, such as:

  • an agent not disclosing to their principal a financial interest in a contract
  • giving an agent a false receipt, or for an agent to knowingly give their principal a false receipt
  • an agent receiving a secret reward for giving advice to enter a contract.

It is not a defence to a charge under the Secret Commissions Act to claim that the 'gift' was of a customary nature. The principal cannot complain if they knew, or ought to have known, that the agent has received a profit or other benefit, despite being unaware of its extent.
For more detail on bribery and corruption, go to Bribery and corruption explained.