How to comply with the Weights and Measures Act - guidelines for New Zealand Packers and Importers.

Guidelines for packers and importers

Trading Standards has put together guide for packers and importers of packaged goods. This is designed to help you understand your legal requirements under the:

  • Weights and Measures Act 1987
  • Weights and Measures Regulations 1999

In particular, how these relate to labellling and the Average Quantity System (AQS).

Does the Weights and Measures Act apply to me?

If you import, pack, or sell packaged goods, it's up to you to make sure your goods meet the requirements of the Weights and Measures Act 1987.

You're responsible for the accuracy and marking of packages that are imported, produced, or sold in New Zealand. That means all systems and equipment must comply with the Weights and Measures Act 1987 and Weights and Measures Regulations 1999.

Your responsibilities 

Packers and importers of pre-packaged goods must:

  • make sure packages are correctly labelled
  • make sure packages contain the stated net quantity
  • have suitable and accurate measuring equipment.

As a packer or importer, you must make sure that your packaged goods meet the requirement of the Weight and Measures Act 1987 or if they are catchweight goods that they contain no less than the stated net weight.

If you're importing goods into New Zealand you need to make sure that the supplier is aware of the New Zealand Weights and Measures legislative requirements. It's a good idea to ask the overseas packer to confirm that the product you're importing meets New Zealand requirements.

It's also advisable to perform your own checks on goods, once they have arrived in New Zealand to make sure their quantity hasn't altered during transport.

Trading Standards

Trading Standards Officers regularly inspect goods which have been manufactured, packed or imported. This may be done pro-actively or in response to consumer complaints.

Checks can be conducted at retail, manufacture, importation and storage sites, or wherever sufficient packages are available.

Spot checks can be undertaken without formal warning. You may be required to assist Trading Standards Officers with their requests. This may include providing access to goods and weighing or measuring equipment.

The purpose of the Weights and Measures Act is to make sure consumers get what they pay for. It also means that New Zealand’s manufacturers and packers that are packing correctly and not disadvantaged.

If your goods are checked by a Trading Standards Officer you'll get a copy of the results after the inspection.

Some goods may need further testing depending on the nature of the goods. In this case Trading Standards will conduct the testing at the nearest Trading Standards laboratory.

Trading Standards Officers carry with them a range of health and safety resources. They will follow any health and safety requirements you may have while conducting inspections at your premises.

Specific product testing procedures: