If you sell liquor you don't have to sell it by measure. If you do state a measure, it must be accurate, and your measuring instruments will be deemed to be 'in use for trade' and they must be:

  • of an approved type
  • verified by an Accredited Person or Trading Standards.

An Accredited Person is an organisation accredited by Trading Standards to verify measuring instruments.


Beer is traditionally sold by the glass or the jug. It is not usually sold by measure.

The use of Imperial measures (eg, 'pint') for trade is illegal, so avoid using this term.

Wine and spirits

Wine is usually sold by the glass, carafe or bottle, and spirits by the nip - ie, by description, and not by measure.

Measuring instruments

Trading Standards tests and approves weighing or measuring instruments, including those which importers wish to bring into New Zealand.

Trading Standards encourages manufacturers and importers of spirits dispensers to have these instruments approved.

If the country of origin of imported dispensers is a full member of the International Organisation of Legal Metrology (OIML) then Trading Standards can recognise the Certificate of Approval that applies to the dispenser and approve it without the need for a full range of tests.

Contact Trading Standards on 0508 627 774 for information on approved types of spirit dispensers that can be used for trade.

Penalties for breaching the Weights and Measures Act

The penalty for using an incorrect measuring instrument is an infringement offence notice (issued by Trading Standards), the fee for which is $500. Alternatively, on conviction in the District Court, you will be fined up to a maximum of $10,000.

For delivering or causing to be delivered a quantity less than purported or where the quantity does not correspond with the price charged, the penalty is a fine up to a maximum of $10,000 as this type of offence can only be prosecuted in a District Court.