New Zealand spam law

Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) is responsible for enforcing the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007, which defines spam as 'unsolicited commercial electronic messages'.

The Act came into force on September 5th, 2007, and covers email, fax, instant messaging, mobile/smart phone text (TXT) and image-based messages of a commercial nature. It does NOT cover Internet pop-ups or voice telemarketing.

Purposes of the Act

The purposes of the Act are to:

  • prohibit unsolicited commercial electronic messages with a New Zealand link (i.e. messages sent to, from or within New Zealand)
  • require commercial electronic messages to include accurate information about the person who authorised the sending of the message and a functional unsubscribe facility to enable the recipient to instruct the sender that no further messages are to be sent to the recipient
  • prohibit address-harvesting software being used to create address lists for sending unsolicited commercial electronic messages
  • deter people from using information and communication technologies inappropriately.

The Act is also intended to encourage good direct marketing practice by:

  •  requiring electronic messages to contain a functioning unsubscribe facility
  •  ensuring electronic messages are sent only to customers who have consented to receiving it
  •  restricting the use of address-harvesting software.

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