What we do and don't do, and who can help
Trading Standards administers the product safety elements of the Fair Trading Act and Consumer Guarantees Act. Some products are regulated by other agencies.
What we do
The Trading Standards team works to reduce significant risks and hazards that products may pose to New Zealand consumers. How we do this includes:
- monitoring and investigating local and international consumer product safety issues
- engaging with industry, standards making bodies, injury prevention agencies and other regulators
- overseeing product recalls
- putting regulatory controls in place where necessary.
For more about what we do, see About us.
While we provide policy advice and implement regulations regarding products under the Fair Trading Act, enforcement in this area is done by the:
- Commerce Commission (in-market)
- NZ Customs Service (at the border).
See Who enforces safety standards and bans below for more information.
What we don't do
The safety of food, medicines, energy and vehicle products is handled by other government agencies. These are listed in the table below under Who regulates what.
We can't offer advice on legal compliance or standards. For guidance regarding:
- product standards, contact Standards New Zealand
Standards New Zealand website(external link)
- compliance with mandatory standards under the Fair Trading Act, contact the Commerce Commission
Commerce Commission website — Product safety standards(external link)
- a product you wish to manufacture, sell or import — we recommend you seek independent legal advice.
See Requirements for all businesses for more information about complying with product safety requirements.
Who regulates what
Products that are regulated by agencies other than Trading Standards are shown in the table below, along with the agency that is responsible for regulating them.
Items in contact with food
|Ministry for Primary Industries||www.foodsafety.govt.nz|
|Medicines and therapeutic goods
|Ministry of Health
Bicycle and motorcycle helmets
Children's car seats
|Ministry of Transport
NZ Transport Agency
|Gas and electrical products||Energy Safety (Worksafe New Zealand)||www.energysafety.govt.nz|
|Hazardous products and products used in the workplace||Worksafe New Zealand||www.worksafe.govt.nz|
|Hazardous substances and organisms||Environmental Protection Agency||www.epa.govt.nz|
|Products used in building and construction||Building Performance team||www.building.govt.nz|
Who enforces safety standards and bans
The Commerce Commission enforces product safety standards and product bans made under the Fair Trading Act.
The New Zealand Customs Service can also enforce the safety provisions. They generally do this under the Customs Act.
Your role as a consumer
As a consumer, you can encourage retailers to make sure that they sell safe goods by demanding goods that comply with safety standards.
When buying and using goods, make sure you choose products that:
- are age appropriate
- are appropriate for the intended use, and
- don’t have any obvious hazards.
However, not all hazards are clearly visible or obvious when choosing a product. Some hazards, such as chemical content, can only be identified by rigorous laboratory testing. Other hazards may only become an issue under certain circumstances.
If you have product safety concerns
If you have concerns about the safety of a product, or are injured by a product or have a near miss, let us know.
See What to do about unsafe or recalled products for more information.