How New Zealand regulates spam

Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) is made aware of potential email, TXT, or fax unsolicited electronic messages (spam) through complaints and reports from members of the public or other organisations.

Following these reports, we initiate an investigation to determine whether we consider there has been a breach of the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007 (the Act).

If we determine there has been no breach, no further action will be taken. In such cases, we may advise the complainant and, where relevant, the subject of the complaint of our decision.

Where we suspect a breach may have occurred, but an investigation is unable to substantiate this, we may issue education and guidance material about compliance with the Act.

Where the results of an investigation indicate that a breach has occurred, we will determine what, if any, action to take, including the appropriate size of any penalty to be imposed. We have multiple enforcement options available, ranging from a formal warning to pursuing pecuniary penalties, compensation, and damages on behalf of victims through High Court action. Failure to comply could mean a fine of up to $500,000.

For an overview of the circumstances we consider when determining the appropriate action to take in response to a breach, see our Enforcement Response Guidelines 2017 (PDF, 197KB).

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