Product Safety Standards are regulations made under section 29 of the Fair Trading Act 1986. The purpose of these regulations is to prevent or reduce the risk of injury to any person.
Before recommending that a Product Safety Standard be introduced the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs must:
- consult with such persons or representatives of such persons as the Minister considers will be substantially affected by the proposed product safety standard
- provide those persons with an opportunity to comment, and
- consider such comment.
A product safety standard may cover:
- the nature of the product and its performance - eg, composition, contents, manufacture, processing, design, construction, finish or packaging
- tests the product should go through during or after manufacture
- the form and content of any markings, warnings or instructions on the product.
Once put into place as regulations, Product Safety Standards are enforced by the Commerce Commission. Complaints about products that are subject to a Product Safety Standard ought to be referred to the Commerce Commission.
It is an offence under the Fair Trading Act 1986 to supply, or offer to supply, or advertise to supply any goods that do not comply with the requirements set out in the Product Safety Standard. The Courts may impose fines of up to $200,000 for any one individual, or up to $600,000 for a company.
Goods that do not comply with a mandated Product Safety Standards are deemed prohibited imports under the Customs and Excise Act 1996. Import of such goods is an offence and the goods can be seized by Customs and forfeit.
Currently there are six Product Safety Standards under the Fair Trading Act. They relate to:
Enforcing the Standards
The Commerce Commission(external link) is responsible for enforcing all of these standards and has published some guidelines.
Standards can be purchased from Standards New Zealand, see their website(external link) for details.