For importing and exporting
Regulation is an important component of a well-functioning society. In New Zealand, regulations are structured to meet requirements around the risks posed to health and safety or environmental impacts. The New Zealand regulatory system is largely governed through Acts, Regulations, and cited Standards and Codes of Practice. These are managed and enforced by government agencies and regulatory bodies.
This means you may be required to comply with multiple regulatory regimes mandated by different regulators depending on your type of business and industry.
New Zealand has a range of government agencies responsible for maintaining, preserving and managing our unique environment. The following agencies work with thousands of New Zealand businesses each year, granting resource consents, lowering energy consumption, or helping businesses to import and export goods.
All are an invaluable source of information and guidance for small businesses.
On this page:
- Office of Film and Literature Classification
- New Zealand Food Safety Authority
- National Enforcement Unit
- Ministry of Fisheries
- Ministry of Culture and Heritage
- Ministry of Consumer Affairs
- Ministry for Primary Industries
- Ministry for the Environment
- Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority (Medsafe)
- Maritime New Zealand
- Department of Internal Affairs
- Customs New Zealand
- Commerce Commission
- Biosecurity New Zealand
The Office of Film & Literature Classification (OFLC) is the government body responsible for classifying publications that may need to be restricted or banned. The legal definition of a ‘publication’ covers a wide range of mediums such as film, video, music recordings, books, magazines and computer games.
The New Zealand Food Safety Authority’s (NZFSA) mandate is to protect consumers by providing an effective food regulatory programme covering food produced and consumed in New Zealand as well as imports and exports of food products.
The National Enforcement Unit (NEU) investigates and, where appropriate, prosecutes offences under various legislation on behalf of the Registrar of Companies, Official Assignee (court-appointed individual responsible for managing insolvency procedures), and the Registrar of Motor Vehicle Traders.
The Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) works to ensure fisheries are used in a sustainable way and that we have a healthy aquatic ecosystem. It is responsible for ensuring people and companies comply with fisheries laws and regulations so all New Zealanders can get the best value from this resource.
The Ministry for Culture and Heritage (MCH) provides advice to the New Zealand government on culture and heritage matters. Through the Protected Objects Act 1975, the ministry regulates the export of protected New Zealand objects; the illegal export and import of protected New Zealand and foreign objects; and the sale, trade and ownership of taonga tuturu. Other regulatory work undertaken by the ministry can be seen in the administration of the Flags, Names and Emblems Act 1981 and the Broadcasting Act 1989.
The primary role of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs ( MCA) as part of the Ministry of Economic Development is to create an environment that promotes good and accurate information flows between suppliers and consumers, and a fair and equitable trading environment so consumers can transact with confidence. It is responsible for the development of consumer policy relating to product safety and weights and measures; provision of education and advice on consumer laws; the implementation of weights and measures legislation; the investigation of unsafe consumer products; and the monitoring of motor vehicle fuel quality.
The Ministry for Primary Industries ( MPI) is the agency responsible for protecting and leading the sustainable development of New Zealand’s biological resources. Its mission is to enhance New Zealand’s natural advantage by encouraging high-performing sectors, developing safe and freer trade, ensuring healthy New Zealanders and protecting our natural resources for future generations.
The Ministry for the Environment (MfE) advises the government on all matters related to the environment and is one of its major advisers on the sustainable development of New Zealand. The ministry is responsible for policy advice and implementation of government decisions in the environment and climate change portfolios, covering both domestic and international matters.
Medsafe is the New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority. It is a business unit of the Ministry of Health and is the authority responsible for the regulation of therapeutic products (including imported and exported products) in New Zealand. Medsafe is responsible for administering the Medicines Act 1981 and Regulations 1984.
Maritime New Zealand is responsible for developing and monitoring maritime safety rules and marine protection rules. This includes licensing seafarers and registering ships, conducting safety inspections of all New Zealand ships and foreign-flagged ships calling at New Zealand ports, and ensuring relevant port facilities and New Zealand ships meet the requirements of the Maritime Security Act 2004. This can also involve overseeing services provided by organisations under contract, mainly in the areas of marine radio services and the Safe Ship Management system.
The role of the Regulation and Compliance Branch of the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) is to ensure gaming is fair, honest and lawful, and to uphold community standards of censorship including regulating the possession and supply of objectionable material.
The New Zealand Customs Service (Customs) is the government agency with the job of protecting the community from potential risks arising from international trade and travel, while facilitating the legitimate movement of people and goods across the border.
The Commerce Commission is New Zealand’s competition regulatory agency. The Commerce Commission enforces legislation that promotes competition in New Zealand markets and prohibits misleading and deceptive conduct by traders. The Commission also enforces a number of pieces of legislation specific to the telecommunications, dairy and electricity industries.
Biosecurity New Zealand is the division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry charged with leadership of the New Zealand biosecurity system. It facilitates international trade, protects the health of New Zealanders and ensures the welfare of our environment, flora and fauna, marine life and Maori resources.
Find out more about regulatory authorities for: