New Zealand to Review Button Battery Regulation in 2023

Button Batteries In New Zealand

It has been 5 months since Australia implemented four new standards regarding button batteries and products containing button batteries. New Zealand, an important market, shares a similar compliance landscape with Australia. Their current requirements for button batteries and products containing button batteries may seem to be less stringent, however, New Zealand regulators are looking to follow Australia.

In February 2018, the New Zealand Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs issued a statement entitled: “Product Safety Policy Statement – Button Batteries; safer products and packaging.” This policy statement emphasised the risks associated with button batteries and household goods containing button batteries. It is a guide for manufacturers and suppliers of such goods to help them mitigate those risks and contribute to improved safety outcomes. The policy statement sets the expectation that suppliers of button batteries, and goods containing or supplied with button batteries, take reasonable steps to ensure that their products limit access by children to button batteries and highlight the potential risks to parents and caregivers.

It is noted in the statement that “voluntary compliance with the policy statement will be monitored closely over the next two to three years, and feedback on its effectiveness will be sought from relevant interest groups.” This policy statement encourages good practice for businesses and the New Zealand regulator is looking to review it in 2023 to determine what intervention would be most effective in New Zealand. The product safety notice has remained in place since February 2018.

The current standards for supplying goods in Australia are not mandatory for businesses supplying goods in New Zealand. However, there is still a requirement under the Consumer Guarantees Act to ensure any products a supplier sells are safe. The responsibility lies with a supplier to ensure their products are safe and this is done by following any relevant standards and product safety notices. The only party that can confirm whether a certain product, such as button cell batteries, would be compliant with any relevant standards that may or may not be in place would be an accredited testing lab.

If they are deemed not to be safe, the products and the distributor/retailer could be reported to Product Safety and a remedy may be able to be claimed under the Consumer Guarantees Act. Importantly, If a business imports button batteries where there are mandatory standards or restrictions in place, they risk being stopped at Customs and requested to show that all products are compliant.

Considering this situation, it is extremely important that importers, distributors and retailers are fully conversant with the latest and potentially changing compliance landscape in New Zealand for button batteries. BWES are very well placed to assist in this important area of compliance.

Should you have any questions or wish to discuss your organisation’s situation, kindly contact the BWES team who will be pleased to assist you.

This communication (including any attachment) has been prepared by BWES and is based on the available information at the time of publication and is believed to be true and accurate. The information contained in this communication should be used as a guide only and may cease to apply if applicable regulation or the product’s design or application is altered. BWES does not take responsibility for any Injury, Loss for damage suffered by any party’s interpretation or decisions made by any party on the information provided in this communication.