PSP Licensing Authority Update

By NZISM Secretary


Kia ora koutou members and supporters of NZISM. I thought I’d take this opportunity to update you on the Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority (Licensing Authority) situation. As a quick recap: In June 2020, the Licensing Authority issued an important decision regarding the Private Security Personnel and Private Investigators Act 2010 (the Act). The decision highlighted [14] “…the definition of private investigator to cover all people in the business of carrying out investigations into a person’s character, actions or behaviour…”.

This means that external Health and Safety Investigators and Auditors (along with Employment Related Investigators and, interestingly, Forensic Accountants) who don’t hold the correct licence may be found in breach of the Act. Health and safety practitioners and professionals conducting in-house workplace investigations or audits are exempt.

Mid year, myself and Jodi Wright (Chief Executive Officer - New Zealand Safety Council) along with HASANZ, met with the Ministry of Justice and the Licensing Authority to seek clarity on the requirements. As a result of these meetings, the Licensing Authority issued a Directive in August this year referring the matter to their Complaints, Investigations and Prosecution Unit to undertake an investigation and provide a report for them to consider. This investigation is now underway and a number of organisations and people (including NZISM) have provided feedback.

Personally I’m hoping the investigation process will be finished early next year, and what is likely to happen next is a submission process and hearing that will allow NZISM and other interested parties (including yourselves) to provide feedback. From this we will have a formal ruling as to what fits within the definition of a private investigator and whether any are exempted from holding a licence or certificate under the Act. If external Health and Safety Investigators and Auditors are not exempt from the Act, then we do have some options that we could consider that may address the process, along with making it more relevant to the work being done.

Currently the Licensing Authority has put a dispensation in place to ‘chartered members’ of HASANZ, and like HASANZ we have taken this to mean current NZISM members who are on the HASANZ register. This means that until the Licensing Authority issues a substantive decision on whether any HASANZ member fits within the definition of a private investigator, they are not required to apply for a licence or certificate, and no complaint will be accepted against a member on the HASANZ register on the basis that they are carrying out investigation work without a licence or certificate.

What I want to flag to you as a member, is that if you are an external consultant offering health and safety investigation or audit services without being registered on HASANZ, you are potentially in breach of the law. Furthermore, if an employer engages a non-HASANZ registered consultant for health and safety investigation or audit services, there are potential implications as well. I know this may cause concern for a number of you. However, it’s important we keep the dispensation and its implications in mind until we have a definitive outcome.

I am actively tracking the progress of this activity on behalf of you all, and will keep you updated as it progresses. If you wish to contact me, please do so by email at

For reference

Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority
Private Security Personnel and Private Investigators Act 2010
Employment New Zealand