The Crimes (Match-fixing) Amendment Bill passed its third reading in Parliament on 4 December 2014 and comes into force on 15 December 2014 as the Crimes (Match-fixing) Amendment Act 2014.

The commentary and introduction to the Bill explains that match-fixing is a growing international problem and that the Bill seeks to ensure that criminal sanctions are available to address match-fixing in New Zealand.  The purpose is to help address match-fixing risks presented by New Zealand hosting the Cricket World Cup and the FIFA Under 20 (football) World Cup, which will occur over February-March 2015 and May-June 2015 respectively.

The new Act is not designed to capture every form of match-fixing activity – it is intended to address the most serious of match-fixing activity where influencing a better outcome is intended by improperly manipulating a sporting match or race.  Non-legislative measures, such as codes of conduct or disciplinary procedures by relevant government sports bodies, will still be available and appropriate to address other forms of match-fixing.

The Act amends the Crimes Act 1961 by inserting a new section, section 240A, to clarify that match-fixing is a form of deception under section 240 (obtaining by deception or causing loss by deception) of the Crimes Act.  The punishment for anyone found guilty of obtaining by deception or causing loss by deception if the loss caused or the value of what is obtained or sought to be obtained exceeds $1,000, is a term of imprisonment not exceeding 7 years.

In the wake of recent high-profile cases and allegations of match-fixing in both international and domestic cricket matches, it will be very interesting to see if section 240A will come into play for the 2015 Cricket World Cup.