Summary Offences Act 1981

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Reprint as at 18 December 2013

Summary Offences Act 1981

Public Act1981 No 113
Date of assent23 October 1981
Commencementsee section 1(2)


Changes authorised by subpart 2 of Part 2 of the Legislation Act 2012 have been made in this reprint.

Note 4 at the end of this reprint provides a list of the amendments incorporated.

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Justice.



1 Short Title and commencement

2 Interpretation

Offences against public order

3 Disorderly behaviour

4 Offensive behaviour or language

5 Disorderly behaviour on private premises

5A Disorderly assembly

6 Associating with convicted thieves

6A Associating with violent offenders

6B Associating with serious drug offenders

6C Proof of habitual association

7 Fighting in public place

8 Publishing document or thing explaining manufacture of explosives, etc

Offences against persons or property

9 Common assault

10 Assault on Police, prison, or traffic officer

10A Ill-treatment or wilful neglect of child [Repealed]

10B Leaving child without reasonable supervision and care

11 Wilful damage

11A Graffiti vandalism, tagging, defacing, etc

11B Possession of graffiti implements

12 Acts endangering safety

13 Things endangering safety

13A Possession of knives

14 Possession of burglary tools


14A Sale of spraycans to people under 18 prohibited

14B Access to spraycans in shops to be restricted

Offences resembling forgery or fraud

15 Seeking donations by false pretence

16 Acting as medium with intent to deceive

17 Publishing false notice of birth, marriage, civil union, or death

18 Imitation of court documents

19 Imitation of official documents

20 False claim of qualifications

Official information

20A Unauthorised disclosure of certain official information

Intimidation, obstruction, and hindering Police

21 Intimidation

22 Obstructing public way

23 Resisting Police, prison, or traffic officer

24 False allegation or report to Police

25 Advertising reward for stolen property


26 Soliciting [Repealed]

27 Indecent exposure

Loitering and trespass

28 Being found in public place preparing to commit offence

29 Being found on property, etc, without reasonable excuse

30 Peeping or peering into dwellinghouse

31 Trespass on a ship

Offences resembling nuisance

32 Excreting in public place

33 Billsticking

34 Throwing stones

35 Setting off or throwing fireworks

36 Lighting fires

37 Disturbing meetings

38 Drinking in public place

Infringement offences

38A Infringement offences

38B Commission of infringement offence

38C Infringement notices

38D Payment of infringement fees

38E Regulations

Search, arrest, and jurisdiction

39 Arrest

40 Jurisdiction

41 Charge alleging imitation of court documents

42 Charge alleging false claim of qualifications

43 No jury trial for offence of assault [Repealed]

44 Defendant may be convicted of lesser charge of disorderly behaviour

44A Seizure and forfeiture of burglary instruments

45 Seizure and forfeiture of alcohol

45A Attachment order default

Amendments and repeals

46 Military Decorations and Distinctive Badges Act 1918 amended

47 Machinery Act 1950 amended [Repealed]

48 New sections inserted in Crimes Act 1961

49 Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Act 1966 amended

50 Children and Young Persons Act 1974 amended [Repealed]

51 Amendments and repeals

Schedule 1
Enactments consequentially amended

Schedule 2
Enactments consequentially repealed

Schedule 3
Offences involving violence

Schedule 4
Serious drug offences

Crimes Amendment Act (No 3) 2011

Reprint notes

An Act to reform and restate the law relating to summary offences, and to replace the Police Offences Act 1927 and its amendments