The Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007

The Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007 came into effect on the 5th of September 2007. The Act defines spam as ‘unsolicited commercial electronic messages’.
The purposes of the Act are to:
* Prohibit unsolicited commercial electronic messages (spam) 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.

The Act covers email, instant messaging, SMS and MMS (text and image-based mobile phone messaging) of a commercial nature. It does not cover faxes, Internet pop-ups or voice telemarketing.Anti-Spam enforcement
The Department of Internal Affairs enforces the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007 by:

* Investigating complaints about spam
* Acting against ‘spammers’ who are deliberately flouting the law
* Undertaking research into technologies used to send spam
* Advising Government and organisations on spam matters
* Liaising with relevant overseas bodies to ensure New Zealand complies with international agreements concerning spam.

Businesses and individuals are able to lay complaints about spam with the ‘Anti-Spam Compliance Unit’. The Department may investigate these complaints and take the appropriate action.
If you have any questions you can contact us at

What is spam?

Spam is the generic term for the electronic commercial ‘junk mail’ you receive without having requested it. This includes unwanted messages sent to people’s email accounts or mobile phones.

The negative effects of spam are significant and far-reaching. Current estimates suggest that around 12 billion spam messages are sent every day. These emails clog up the Internet, disrupt email delivery, reduce business productivity, raise Internet access fees, irritate recipients and erode people’s confidence in using email.

These messages are essentially commercial in nature and often sent in bulk. Some spam is sent by legitimate businesses inviting the recipient to buy a product or service. Other spam may attempt to trick people into divulging their bank account or credit card details. Many spam messages also contain offensive or fraudulent material or spread computer viruses.