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Checklist: Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act

The Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007

As of 5 September 2007 it will be illegal to send unsolicited commercial electronic messages (spam) with a New Zealand link (i.e. messages sent to, from or within New Zealand).


An email is only spam if it fits both of these criteria

Is your email commercial?
Commercial = marketing or promoting goods, services or land, or directing the recipient to a location where a commercial transaction can take place (such as a website).
Is your email unsolicited?
Unsolicited = An unsolicited message is one that the recipient has not consented to receive.

There are three steps to follow:


You need the consent of the email recipient in order to send them email messages

Express - Direct indication that it is okay to send messages. Can be gained by: filling in a paper form, ticking a box on a website, a phone or face-to-face conversation. Businesses should keep a record of consent. It is advisable to verify that consent has come from the holder of the electronic address. This can be done by requesting recipient reply to confirm.

Inferred - The person you wish to contact has not directly instructed you to send them a message, but it is still clear that there is a reasonable expectation that messages will be sent i.e. address holder provided their email address when purchasing goods and services in the general expectation there will be follow-up communication, or swapping business cards.

Deemed - Someone conspicuously publishes their work related electronic address or mobile number (i.e. on a website, brochure or magazine). If the publication includes statement that the person does not want to receive spam at that address, consent cannot be deemed.

REMEMBER: The onus is on you as the sender to prove consent.


Commercial emails must always clearly identify the business responsible
for sending the message and how they can be contacted.
* Identify you as the sender;
* Identify how you can be contacted;
* Details must be likely to be accurate for 30 days.


Commercial emails must contain a functioning unsubscribe facility.
* FREE of charge
* Clear and conspicuous
* Functional for at least 30 days
* Able to be sent using the same method of communication
* Actioned within five working days

This is intended as a brief guide only. For more information about spam
and the new law see


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